The trick about repetition is, the more you repeat something, the greater confidence you get in that thing. Repetition does not mean understanding. It is only a way to solidify a concept. The concept might be wrong, and repetition will preserve that unbelief in concrete, like a fossil. For years the saying, “No pain, no gain” has repeated a false idea that pain equals gain, when wrong action produces a lot of pain, with no return of gain. Likewise, just because we have repeated teaching about baptism for what seems to be hundreds of years, and a child gives you the courtesy of believing you, it doesn’t mean what you have taught is true. Mom recently posted:
“Wow! I just gave a talk on baptism at Aleijah’s baptism. She is 8 years old. It was plain, simple, full of love and direction. She understood. As I read this, I don’t see how she would be able to comprehend what you are saying. Yet, Christ wants us to bring little children unto Him. In fact, he wants us to be as little children when we accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. With you it seems so unforgiving, so exact, so mandatory with little, if any, compassion, emotion, or room for improvement or growth.”
We underestimate the clear slate children offer, and we overestimate our own intelligence. What Mom labeled plain, simple, full of love and direction is only a description of her repetition. Mom doesn’t see how her grand daughter (8 years old) could understand something that she (70+ years old) is only now being introduced to, …something that hasn’t been repeated, that isn’t familiar, …and therefore a child couldn’t understand if an adult doesn’t understand it, right? The concept of baptism being a sign from the earth to the heavens, …of a rebirth, …is quite easy for an 8 year old to understand. It is your sign, showing the heavens that you are working to know the words of Christ, …if someone would only teach it to you correctly, rather than simply rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat, etc.
When baptism is properly taught as a sign to the heavens, of your seriousness to know Christ, …scripture study is a natural follow-up to act according to the sign of baptism, to not only say, but to do accordingly. Baptism, in and of itself, has no value if it doesn’t lead to the action of studying with the spirit, and then acting according to what the spirit has taught. It too can be made into something that is vain and repetitious, depending on how it is used. Thus, the saints have suffered condemnation for this very reason, saying, but not doing (D&C 84:55-57). Complacency is a result of repetition.
Entering the Lord’s rest is a process of the creation. Matter is organized, land is separated from waters, light is placed for signs, vegetation appears to feed, animals come after vegetation, and human life takes care of the creation, before entering into the rest of the Lord. The Lord’s rest offers confidence, thus someone entering there need not depend on repetition, but instead they acquire understanding. With access to the Lord, they are able to teach and learn simultaneously, as circumstances arise. Keeping the sabbath day holy can be “performed” with stringent rules, repeated with exactness, so mandatory with little, if any, compassion, emotion, or room for improvement or growth, …and still miss the mark of the Lord’s rest because of philosophies of men mingled with scripture, in vain, or without effect.
Repetition may produce in you “familiarity,” …but familiarity doesn’t necessarily indicate understanding. Ignorance is familiar in our day. Hugh Nibley wrote an article called “Zeal Without Knowledge.” At the time he delivered the talk, the BYU administration were angry, but could not respond, knowing that Nibley had the understanding to defend his argument. From that talk:
“The quality in which the Saints have always excelled is zeal. …We have zeal but not the knowledge, so to speak. And this the prophet Joseph considered a very dangerous situation in the Church. Speaking to the new Relief Society, ‘he commended them for their zeal, but said sometimes their zeal was not according to knowledge.’ What good is power, he asks, without real intelligence and solid knowledge?”
“There are a great many wise men and women too in our midst who are too wise to be taught, therefore they must die in their ignorance (TPJS pg. 309). I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them… that will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions; they cannot stand the fire at all (TPJS pg. 331). ”
“I… go into an investigation of anything that is not contained in the Bible, …I think that there are so many overly wise men here, that they would cry ‘treason’ and put me to death.” (TPJS pg. 348) But, he asks, “Why be so certain that you comprehend the things of God, when all things with you are so uncertain?” (TPJS pg. 330)
True knowledge never shuts the door on more knowledge, but zeal often does. One thinks of the dictum, “We are not seeking for truth at THE BYU, we have the truth!” So did Adam and Abraham have the truth, far greater and more truth than what we have, and yet the particular genius of each was that he was constantly “seeking for greater light and knowledge.” (Abraham 1:2)
Hugh Nibley hit the nail on the head describing Mom’s frustration with what she has read here on my blog, compared to what she was able to convey in her own talk, of what has been repeated to her, and by her, for years. There is a lot of zeal, but knowledge is left wanting. The Holy Ghost’s role is to disseminate pure knowledge. As we study the words of Christ by that spirit, the same spirit animating the author of the text, knowledge is promised to those who sincerely seek. Each blog recommends one thing, “Read the words of Christ.”
Conclusion: You must produce sweet fruits, or run the risk of being pruned off. This isn’t my warning, it belongs to Zenos, and was re-told by Jacob, preserved in the Book of Mormon in Jacob 5, the Allegory of the Olive Tree. The condemnation of the early saints is your inheritance. You have inherited a tradition of saying, but not doing. You must repent of that failure by studying to obtain knowledge, and then act and produce sweet fruit by applying that knowledge correctly.
Just as baptism is a sign tied to the first comforter, partaking of the sacrament is a sign tied to the second comforter. Baptism indicates rebirth and a time of learning. Sacrament indicates purification by acting according to the mind and will of the Lord, producing sweet fruit (Alma 32:42). Having His spirit to always be with you, serves a purpose of putting into action the truths given you by the first comforter. The condemnation of the saints began as they took lightly the words of Christ, failing to lay hold upon the gift of the Holy Ghost, trapped in ignorance, and then projected forward to rejecting the second comforter, not acting and producing sweet fruits.
To perform a baptism or take the sacrament, thinking that doing so will be sufficient, is a foolish and vain repetition. It will not produce the results you think they will produce. They are simply a sign, indicating something you intend to act upon. YOU MUST ACT …according to the sign you give, to develop confidence in the Lord’s rest, …otherwise the sign becomes a lie, offering a horrible condemnation, leaving you to your own circumstances, without the protection of the Lord.
The forces of destruction are being released. Only when you have entered the Lord’s rest can you stand firm, unwavering, immovable, …through the destruction all around you. In His rest you will not be immune to the effects of the fall-out, …instead you will have greater confidence THROUGH the fall-out, being given more and more light, to survive the darkness. Your relationship with Christ is not just a good thing, it’s the only thing that will provide your survival. You cannot develop a relationship with Him, based upon false traditions of unbelief, lies, compensation, and foolish and vain repetition. Baptism must lead to the first comforter and sacrament must lead to the second comforter, resulting in entering the Lord’s rest. That is your life line, if you will receive it.