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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dallin H. Oaks affirms NDBF

According to LDS doctrine, there was no death before the Fall. The creation was paradisiacal. There was no mortality. Death for all forms of life began when Adam fell.

During the April 2016 general conference, Dallin H. Oaks affirmed the doctrine of no death before the Fall. He said: "Adam and Eve ... made the choice that introduced mortality." (Ensign, May 2016.) "Introduce" means to bring something into operation for the first time.

In the October 1993 general conference, Dallin H. Oaks said: "It was Eve who first transgressed the limits of Eden in order to initiate the conditions of mortality." (Ensign, Nov. 1993.) In this case, "initiate" means to cause something to begin.

The English definition of "mortality" is the state of being subject to death. Therefore, according to Dallin H. Oaks, there was no death before the Fall.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Called to serve as a Mission Office Couple

My wife and I have been called to serve 23 months as a Mission Office Couple in the New York New York South Mission. We enter the MTC in Provo, Utah, on March 21st, 2016. Since receiving our call letter, we have been re-reading the missionary guide, Preach My Gospel, where we find the concept of no death before the fall presented as Church doctrine.

Richard G. Scott introduced Preach My Gospel in his April 2005 general conference talk. Among other things, he said:

"Intensive effort on the part of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve, other General Authorities, and most capable teams of devoted, experienced staff members produced Preach My Gospel and its planning tools. Those who participated in its development are witnesses of the inspired direction of the Lord through the Holy Ghost in the conception, framing, and finalization of the materials in Preach My Gospel.

"After extensive testing in 14 missions, Preach My Gospel was adjusted. That result was reviewed, modified, and approved by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve." (Ensign, May 2005.)

Preach My Gospel sets forth doctrines that missionaries are expected to study and teach. Twenty eight times, missionaries are directed by Preach My Gospel to read and become familiar with ideas found in the LDS Bible Dictionary.[1]

The Scripture Study section on page 52 asks missionaries to study the Bible Dictionary entry for "Death" which states explicitly:

"Latter-day revelation teaches that there was no death on this earth for any forms of life before the fall of Adam. Indeed, death entered the world as a direct result of the fall (2 Ne. 2:22; Moses 6:48)."

Preach My Gospel directs missionaries (10 times) to read and become familiar with ideas found in the doctrinal guidebook, True to the Faith,[2] which was written specifically for teens, young single adults, and new members. Teachings about no death before the fall found in True to the Faith were discussed in an article posted on this blog May 15, 2005.


Notes:

[1] Three times on page 14, twice on page 23, twice on page 42, twice on page 52, and twice on page 90. See also pages 21, 24, 25, 34, 62, 63, 66, 73, 91, 92, 93, 95, 106, 117, 118, 119, and 182.

[2] See pages viii, 21, 35, 92, 117, 165, 171, 182, 221, and 228.

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Saturday, February 27, 2016

NDBF in the March 2016 Ensign

An article featured in the March 2016 Ensign consists entirely of excerpts from Bruce R. McConkie's last (April 1985) general conference talk. Bearing apostolic witness of the Savior, McConkie teaches the doctrine of NDBF (no death before the Fall):

"We must cast aside the philosophies of men and the wisdom of the wise and hearken to that Spirit which is given to us to guide us into all truth....

"In Eden we will see all things created in a paradisiacal state—without death, without procreation, without probationary experiences.

"We will come to know that such a creation, now unknown to man, was the only way to provide for the Fall.

"We will then see Adam and Eve, the first man and the first woman, step down from their state of immortal and paradisiacal glory to become the first mortal flesh on earth.

"Mortality, including as it does procreation and death, will enter the world. And because of transgression a probationary estate of trial and testing will begin....

"Thus, Creation is father to the Fall; and by the Fall came mortality and death; and by Christ came immortality and eternal life.

"If there had been no Fall of Adam, by which cometh death, there could have been no Atonement of Christ, by which cometh life." (Ensign, March 2016.)

Occasionally we hear rumors that the Church is backing away from NDBF teachings. The March 2016 Ensign refutes this unfounded rumor.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Bored in Sunday School

Spencer W. Kimball reproved those who get bored in Church:

"We do not go to Sabbath meetings to be entertained or even solely to be instructed. We go to worship the Lord. It is an individual responsibility, and regardless of what is said from the pulpit, if one wishes to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, he may do so by attending his meetings, partaking of the sacrament, and contemplating the beauties of the gospel. If the service is a failure to you, you have failed. No one can worship for you; you must do your own waiting upon the Lord." (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, chapter 16.)


Featured today at LDS.org

An article written by Tad R. Callister, Sunday School general president, is being featured today on the front page of LDS.org. In this article, Callister quotes Bruce R. McConkie's 1980 BYU speech, "The Seven Deadly Heresies." The passage quoted and referred to by Callister is as follows:

"We come into these congregations, and sometimes a speaker brings a jug of living water that has in it many gallons. And when he pours it out on the congregation, all the members have brought is a single cup and so that’s all they take away. Or maybe they have their hands over the cups, and they don’t get anything to speak of.

"On other occasions we have meetings where the speaker comes and all he brings is a little cup of eternal truth, and the members of the congregation come with a large jug, and all they get in their jugs is the little dribble that came from a man who should have known better and who should have prepared himself and talked from the revelations and spoken by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are obligated in the Church to speak by the power of the Spirit. We are commanded to treasure up the words of light and truth and then give forth the portion that is appropriate and needful on every occasion." (Click here.)

In the above passage, McConkie describes one aspect of the relationship that should exist between teacher and learner. However, as Spencer W. Kimball points out, we must do our own waiting upon the Lord, and that is possible even when the teacher brings an empty jug.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Three False Prophets

The Savior warned that prior to His Second Coming, "many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." (Matt. 24:11.) False prophets come in different types. This post will examine three.


"REPLACE-THE-TRUE-PROPHET" FALSE PROPHETS

This false prophet has received instructions from God to overthrow the existing prophet and run things himself. Howard W. Hunter once met someone who is an example of this type of false prophet.

"On February 7, 1993, President Hunter went to Brigham Young University to speak at a fireside that was attended by 17,000 people. He was just beginning his address when a man rushed onto the stand, carrying a briefcase in one hand and a black object in the other. 'Stop right there!' the man shouted. He threatened to detonate what he claimed was a bomb unless President Hunter read a prepared statement. President Hunter refused and stood resolutely at the pulpit the entire time the man was threatening him. As fear and commotion spread through the building, the audience began to sing 'We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet.' After a few minutes of suspense, two security personnel restrained the man, and President Hunter was lowered to the floor for safety. When order was restored, he rested briefly and then continued with his remarks. 'Life has a fair number of challenges in it,' he began, and then added, 'as demonstrated.'" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter, pp. 28-29.)

The man later told the Deseret News in an interview from his jail cell, "I am just doing exactly what the Lord has commanded me." He said he had asked President Hunter to "read a three-page letter that released the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency of the church and confirmed [himself] as president of the church." He also said that when the audience started singing "We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet," he thought they were singing to him. (See Deseret News, Feb 9, 1993.)


"FIX-THE-DOCTRINE" FALSE PROPHETS

This false prophet doesn't claim to be a prophet, but is a false prophet nevertheless because he views his knowledge of God as being more reliable than revelations received by the true prophet.

The Lord, in D&C 124:84, identifies such a false prophet in Nauvoo who "aspireth to establish his counsel instead of the counsel which I have ordained, even that of the Presidency of my Church."

The group "Ordain Women" is an example of this type of false prophet. The group openly advocates the ordination of LDS women to the priesthood, based on logic, scripture, personal inspiration, and the carefully selected words of certain early Latter-day Saint leaders; but not based on any special or current revelation from God. Nobody in the group claims to be a prophet, but they all want to fix the current LDS doctrine with respect to women and the priesthood.


BECOMING FALSE PROPHETS TO OURSELVES

Ezra Taft Benson, quoting N. Eldon Tanner, said: "'The Prophet spoke out clearly on Friday morning, telling us what our responsibilities are...

"'A man said to me after that, 'You know, there are people in our state who believe in following the Prophet in everything they think is right, but when it is something they think isn't right, and it doesn't appeal to them, then that's different.' He said, 'Then they become their own prophet. They decide what the Lord wants and what the Lord doesn't want.'

"'I thought how true, and how serious when we begin to choose which of the covenants, which of the commandments we will keep and follow, we are taking the law of the Lord into our own hands and become our own prophets, and believe me, we will be led astray, because we are false prophets to ourselves when we do not follow the Prophet of God.'" (Liahona, June 1981.)

According to D&C 84:44, we should "live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God." If we can't do that, we are false prophets to ourselves.


COUNSEL TO HELP US AVOID BEING DECEIVED

1.  Dallin H. Oaks: : "Our Heavenly Father has given His children two lines of communication with Him—what we may call the personal line and the priesthood line. All should understand and be guided by both of these essential lines of communication.

"In the personal line we pray directly to our Heavenly Father, and He answers us by the channels He has established, without any mortal intermediary....

"The priesthood line is the channel by which God has spoken to His children through the scriptures in times past. And it is this line through which He currently speaks through the teachings and counsel of living prophets and apostles and other inspired leaders....

"Unlike the personal line, in which our Heavenly Father communicates with us directly through the Holy Ghost, the priesthood line of communication has the additional and necessary intermediaries of our Savior, Jesus Christ; His Church; and His appointed leaders....

"We cannot communicate reliably through the direct, personal line if we are disobedient to or out of harmony with the priesthood line.... Unfortunately, it is common for persons who are violating God's commandments or disobedient to the counsel of their priesthood leaders to declare that God has revealed to them that they are excused from obeying some commandment or from following some counsel. Such persons may be receiving revelation or inspiration, but it is not from the source they suppose." (Ensign, Nov. 2010.)

2.  Spencer W. Kimball: "An important rule was given to us by the Prophet Joseph with which you are probably familiar: 'I will give you one of the Keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom. It is an eternal principle, that has existed with God from all eternity. That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is on the high road to apostasy; and if he does not repent, will apostatize, as God lives.'" (Ensign, Jan. 1973.)

3.  Spencer W. Kimball: "President [George Q.] Cannon warned.... that the Lord gives the authority to judge and condemn only to the regularly constituted councils of the Church and not to man generally; 'and those who lift their voices … against the authority of the Holy Priesthood ... will go down to hell, unless they repent.'" (Ensign, Jan. 1973.)

4.  M. Russell Ballard: "Beware of those who speak and publish in opposition to God's true prophets and who actively proselyte others with reckless disregard for the eternal well-being of those whom they seduce." (Ensign, Nov. 1999.)

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Monday, November 30, 2015

Lest haply we be found even to fight against God

In 1846, the main body of Saints left civilization and entered a trackless wilderness in search of Zion. Again today, we travel in a wilderness, this time one that deceitfully impersonates civilization.

Recent handbook changes effecting the children of same-sex marriage partners have resulted in an outburst of criticism on the blogs, in social media, and in print. But let's remember that these handbook changes were made by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Some Church members, in openly criticizing these fifteen men, seem to have forgotten that God has placed upon them the mantle of His authority. And despite human weakness, and especially when they act in unison, they are authorized by God to guide modern Israel through the wilderness.

All of us should try to see more clearly the power of God resting upon His authorized servants. And each of us should consider more carefully the advice of a Pharisee named Gamaliel who counseled against criticizing the apostles, "lest haply ye be found even to fight against God." (Acts 5:38-39.)

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