Saturday, August 16, 2014

Character of God

Joseph Smith’s “Lectures on Faith: Lecture #3:12-19 “From the foregoing testimonies, we learn the following things respecting the character of God. First, that he was God before the world was created, and the same God that he was, after it was created. Secondly, that he is merciful, and gracious, slow to anger, abundant in goodness, and that he was so from everlasting, and will be to everlasting. Thirdly, that he changes not, neither is there variableness with him; but that he is the same from everlasting to everlasting, being the same yesterday today and forever; and that his course is one eternal round, without variation. Fourthly, that he is a God of truth and cannot lie. Fifthly, that he is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that fears God and works righteousness is accepted of him. Sixthly, that he is love.
An acquaintance with these attributes in the divine character, is essentially necessary, in order that the faith of any rational being can center in him for life and salvation. For if he did not, in the first instance, believe him to be God, that is, the creator and upholder of all things, he could not center his faith in him for life and salvation, for fear there should be a greater than he, who would thwart all his plans, and he, like the gods of the heathen, would be unable to fulfill his promises; but seeing he is God over all, from everlasting to everlasting, the creator and upholder of all things, no such fear can exist in the minds of those who put their trust in him, so that in this respect their faith can be without wavering.”

Friday, August 15, 2014

Without the Atonement

There is one other great and eternal truth about prayer that cannot be emphasized too strongly. It is that if there had been no atonement of Christ; if the Son of God, in whose name we pray, had not ransomed man from the fall; if he had not put the great plan of redemption into operation by the shedding of his blood—except for these things, prayer in his name or any name, offered to the Father or any other person or thing, would be of no avail. Prayer is efficacious because of the atonement. As we have repeatedly pointed out in other connections, if there had been no atonement, the Father’s plan would have been frustrated and all his purposes, including the reason for creation itself, would have become void.

Bruce R McConkie, "Promised Messiah"

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Thoughts on 'looking beyond the mark'....

     In the Book of Mormon, Jacob speaks of ancient Judah as having rejected the words of its prophets because individuals living then 'despised the words of plainness' and because they 'sought for things that they could not understand.' (Jacob 4:14)
     Intellectual embroidery seems to have been preferred to the whole clothing of the gospel--the frills to the fabric. In fact, one can even surmise that complexity was preferred over plainness by some because in conceptual complexity there might somehow be escape, or excuse, for noncompliance and for failure. In any event, this incredible blindness which led to the rejection of those truths spoken by prophets and which prevented the recognition of Jesus for who he was, according to Jacob, came 'by looking beyond the mark.' Those who look beyond plainness, beyond the prophets, beyond Christ, and beyond his simple teachings waited in vain then, as they will wait in vain now. For only the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us of things as they really are and as they really will be. There is more realism in the revelations than in reams of secular research, for secularism is congenitally shortsighted. Without revelation and its absolute anchors, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would also follow the fads of the day, as some churches have done; but as Samuel Callan warned, the church that weds itself to the culture of the day will 'be a widow within each succeeding age.' This is but one of the marks of the 'true and living' Church; it is spared the fruits of fadism.
-Neal A Maxwell, 2 Jan 1974