An anecdote is defined as a short and amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person. The scriptures are often taken as anecdotal. They are viewed as a collection of short, real incidents, by real people, of ancient times, whose story is considered amusing. They are often reduced to providing good moral values that, if followed, can produce a good life, and provide the follower with rewards. Those who subscribe to this school of thought will find themselves searching for diamonds, in dark coal mine shafts, in distant lands, only to learn that the largest harvest of diamonds was on your dusty book shelf. So before your next venture to find the greatest of treasures, see if this blog can save you more waisted life, and instead, produce a well within you of living waters and treasures that extend beyond this life.
This blog is obviously another blog on the value of the scriptures, but its contents will produce a refreshing point of view that may possibly enhance your scripture reading drive. There are two ways to approach keeping the commandments. The least effective approach is the one that the majority of our modern saints take, and the second approach is the road least traveled, but produces the greatest of wealth in this life and the life to come. The first approach is what I call commanded in all things. The second is what I will call the mind of God.
To be commanded in all things has always produced a slothful and a not-wise servant. We often attribute this to scriptural characters like Laman and Lemuel, yet, we fail to recognize the very same conditions in ourselves. Laman and Lemuel were not forced to go with Lehi and the family, into the wilderness and into the promised land. However, opposed to Nephi’s method, they needed to be commanded in all things. They were able to escape the Babylonian conquer in 598 and 587 BC, but failed to escape the condemnation of their own slothfulness, which was their own slavery, bondage and captivity.
Those who depend on being commanded in all things convince themselves that they are willing to sacrifice all things, not even withholding their lives, …but in the meantime, until that is required of me, I can partake in the things that concern me in this world. Their logic is to keep the commandments (home teaching, visit teaching, church attendance, attend meetings, family home evenings, etc), pay their worldly obligations, and get ahead through education and occupational advancement. Those who are most disciplined are thought to be able to have the best of both worlds.
The framework of being commanded in all things is very intricate. In order to accomplish it all, it requires organizational skills, time management skills, manuals to clarify what exactly is your duty and to avoid stepping over your boundaries into the next persons duties, etc. The bigger the organization gets, the more detailed infra-structure is required. We have special ways to call people to repentance. We mention the home/visiting teaching statistics (the numbers) in our meetings and tell them that “…we can do better.” We share uplifting examples of those who paid their tithing in a financial pinch and came out on top, so that we can increase tithes and offerings. We hold interviews and special visits to ensure that people are conforming. Our priesthood executive committee meetings discuss how our statistics can improve, trying to keep it personal, by discussing specific names, rather than keeping things in the context of numbers. Eventually, the church that houses such people, must control land ownership, management positions, political power, business expansion, internet polling, market research, a large legal team, etc. The control over such things is meant to create a uniformity in the doctrine, a union among members, and a charitable social system, but the saints remain in slavery, bondage and captivity.
While the system may do some good, it has not the power to deliver any from the eventual and unavoidable slavery, bondage and captivity of the saints to the servants of Satan, the great and abominable church, even the whore of all the earth. There is little difference between us and Laman and Lemuel. It is not the fault of the programs, the problem is that our emphasis has taken out the mind and will of God. In our day, we depend on the prophet to express to us the mind and will of God. For this reason, we don’t need to know God ourselves, the prophet does that for us. Therefore, bearing testimony that the scriptures are true is sufficient. There’s no need to know what is written on its pages.
With all the good and great people within the membership of the church, it is our neglect of the mind and will of God, written in the scriptures, that keeps us in slavery, bondage and captivity to the great abominable church. We have let go of our dependance on God, and placed it in business managers, legal advisors, scholars, and men who are good at managing things in the ways of the world. We seek no more to know God. Instead, we produce statistics that show the world that we care about God. Yet, God remains a stranger to us.
Christ addressed a similar group of merchants, lawyers, and scholars in His day. They were called Dueteronomists, Pharisees, and Sadducees. Many of the good saints claimed to be of Abraham’s lineage, like we today claim to have pioneer descent. Many claimed to have created great miracles in Christ’s name and cast out devils in Christ’s name, as their evidence of knowing Christ. Christ’s response was, “…depart from me, for I never knew you.” In another location it says, “…depart from me, for you never knew me.”
The mind of God is what God intends to give those who correctly study the scriptures. Many who must be commanded in all things may memorize scriptures, can declare names, events, dates, etc. Yet, they still miss the mind of God in the matter, because they discount the necessity to have a direct connection to the heavens. Those who read the scriptures, to know the mind of God, will find, within the words, the necessity to have a connection to the heavens in order to understand what is being offered. Then, they don’t need to be commanded much at all, they act and are not acted upon.
In this scenario each person receives instruction from heaven. No man stands between you and the heavens. In this predicament, a lofty organization is unnecessary, all men know God. There is little need for a hierarchical framework. The growth of this type of church is what will produce success, and an expansion to fill the earth. It is through this mentality that slavery, bondage and captivity will be eliminated completely. It is this people that will bind and destroy Satan and his minions.
My wife showed me a scripture that expresses this concept of the purpose of the scriptures:
“41. And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen.”
That is why we read the scriptures. That is why we seek the face of Christ and God, so that we can be given their heart and mind, so that it can abide in you forever. That is why knowing God and Christ is eternal life. The knowledge is given to you to reside within you forever.
Conclusion: Those who must be commanded in all things are only concerned with an outward appearance. When others look, act, speak and think like us, we call them converted. However, those who seek to know the mind of God, seek to have their own minds and desires of their hearts aligned with God’s. In this way the grace of God the Father, and Jesus Christ may be in you, and will abide in you forever. Thus you will be at-one with them. That is the purpose of the atonement.
We must let go of our foolish traditions. We must study the scriptures to know the mind of God. Those who know the mind of God have access to an infinite source of solutions to escape slavery, bondage and captivity. Those who study the scriptures without the connection to the mind of God, are left with a handful of finite solutions, that may, or may not apply.
The Lord intends to place the living waters, the source of wealth, the eternities, within you, through the scriptures. You determine wether you seek an outward conversion or a total conversion, that is your choice. One choice leads to the ability to act, while the other will always be acted upon (commanded in all things). Those who know the mind of God will be given the power to act. Those who don’t will only see the scriptures as anecdotal, as a short and amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person, and they will struggle to find application.