A Foundation of Truth

Posted by: Andee / Category: , , ,


Yes, it is time.

My Ensign collection has blessed me with another article that makes me want to ram my head into the wall over and over again.  Why?  Because Henry B. Eyring feels he should tell us about lives founded in light and truth.  Yes.  You read that correctly.  Truth.  This should be kind of fun.

A Life Founded in Light and Truth

By Elder Henry B. Eyring Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

One glance at the newspaper or at the television tells us that we live in stormy times. One thought of our families grips our hearts with concern for the forces of error that beat upon them. All of us know that we must build our lives on a solid foundation of truth to be safe. And we are under covenant to be witnesses of truth to others as long as we live. It won’t protect them just to have our witness of truth unless they build their lives on it. So there are few questions as important as this one: How does a person build a life founded on truth? It won’t surprise you that the answer is simple enough for a child to understand but that applying it is easy only to a person who has the heart of a child.

How does a person build a life founded on truth?  Not by listening to Church leaders who do nothing but cover up the past and lie about it.  That is for damn sure.  Where is this so-called foundation of truth in the church?  Please... show me.

Jesus Christ answered the question of how to build on a foundation of truth with a story. You not only can remember it, but you can visualize it, especially if you’ve ever lived on a floodplain or in tornado country.

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

“And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matt. 7:24–27).

So, Jesus is basically saying, "Do what I tell you, silly children.  If you don't listen to me, your entire lives will suck ass.  Yeah.  Suck. Ass.  Oh, and your house will fall down.  Ramen.

Obedience to commandments is the way we build a foundation of truth. Here is the way that works, in words so simple that a child could understand: The truth of most worth is to know God our Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and Their plan for us to have eternal life with Them in families. When God communicates that priceless truth to us, He does it by the Spirit of Truth. We have to ask for it in prayer. Then He sends us a small part of that truth by the Spirit. It comes to our hearts and minds. It feels good, like the light from the sun shining through the clouds on a dark day. He sends truth line upon line, like the lines on the page of a book. Each time a line of truth comes to us, we get to choose what we will do about it. If we try hard to do what that truth requires of us, God will send more light and more truth. It will go on, line after line, as long as we choose to obey the truth. That is why the Savior said that the man who obeyed His commandments built on a rock so solid that no storm or flood could hurt his house.

Oooooh, so you are talking about the "spirit" of truth and not real truth.  Yeah, I was wondering how you were going to talk yourself out of this one!  We simply have to FEEL what is truth, and be obedient to the church leaders.  What they say is truth.  Gotcha. 

Ignore the facts.  Facts are not truth.  Church leaders will tell us what is the truth.

*puke*

In another place in the scriptures, the Lord described in a beautiful way how that foundation could be built so that we could finally come to know all He knows and become like Him and our Heavenly Father:

“I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness.

“For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace” (D&C 93:19–20).

And then a few verses later the Lord says:

“And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;

“And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.

The wicked one who was a liar from the beginning?  You mean Joseph Smith?

“The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying: He received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth;

Well, okay... if John says so!

“And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments.

“He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things” (D&C 93:24–28).

"Blah Blah Blah obey us, blah blah... do what we say... wahhh wah awah... give us money... blah."

Here is President Joseph F. Smith’s description of the work it takes to build an imperishable foundation of truth:

“The men and the women who are honest before God, who humbly plod along, doing their duty, paying their tithing, and exercising that pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father, which is to visit the fatherless and the widows in their afflictions and to keep oneself unspotted from the world, and who help look after the poor, and who honor the holy Priesthood, who do not run into excesses, who are prayerful in their families, and who acknowledge the Lord in their hearts, they will build up a foundation that the gates of hell cannot prevail against; and if the floods come and the storms beat upon their house, it shall not fall, for it will be built upon the rock of eternal truth” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 7–8).

President Smith made building on a foundation of truth sound like a long list of things to do. He seems to be describing work. I remember President Ezra Taft Benson saying with a smile about his service, “I love this work. And it is work.”

Yet you will notice that the work is simple obedience. It is not complicated things; it is not fancy things or getting great spiritual manifestations. This is work within the abilities of the most humble and the least educated.

Obedience.  Obey the brethren.  Repeat after me.  Obey the brethren.

Thus sayeth Joseph F. Smith... the same man that brought you more polygamy, racism, and these gems:

May 14, 1961 - Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith announces to stake conference in Honolulu: 

"We will never get a man into space. This earth is man's sphere and it was never intended that he should get away from it." 

Smith, the Twelve's president and next in succession as LDS President, adds: 

"The moon is a superior planet to the earth and it was never intended that man should go there. You can write it down in your books that this will never happen."
In May 1962, he privately instructs that this view be taught to "the boys and girls in the Seminary System." 

On 20 July 1969 U.S. Astronauts are first men to walk on moon. Six months later Joseph Fielding Smith becomes church president.

I am therefore confused.  Was he not living the commandments when he received his revelations about the moon?  Was he not being a good person?  Was he lying?  What is up with that?  Just sayin...

It sounds so simple to build upon a foundation of truth that you may wonder why everyone doesn’t succeed. For one thing, it takes great humility. It’s hard to repent, to admit you are wrong on faith alone, before the evidence of a feeling of being forgiven and light comes. But that is the way it has to be. First comes obedience and then come the confirming assurances, the revelation of truth, and the blessing of light.

Yes, it does seem kind of simple to build on a foundation of truth.  Why not start now?  Lets discuss how Joseph Smith hid polygamy from Emma, his 14 year old brides, and his "treasure seeking" activities.  Lets talk about tithing money going to a billion dollar project in Salt Lake City.  Lets be 100% honest Mr. Eyring.  Please.  Be the first. PLEASE.  You said yourself that you would be blessed, right?

That is so because God gave us agency, not just as a right but as a necessity. We must choose with our agency to obey in faith that the promised blessing will come, that the promise is true because it comes from God.

So use your agency to tell the truth, Mr. Eyring.

You remember the words of the scripture in Ether, the 12th chapter, which tell us both why that is hard and why it is necessary:

“Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

“And it came to pass that Ether did prophesy great and marvelous things unto the people, which they did not believe, because they saw them not.

“And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith” (Ether 12:4–6).

There is another reason why it is not easy for the proud to build on a foundation of truth. It is because the enemy of righteousness also works in little steps, so small that they are hard to notice if you are thinking only about yourself and how great you are. Just as truth is given to us line upon line and the light brightens slowly as we obey, even so, as we disobey, our testimony of truth lessens almost imperceptibly, little by little, and darkness descends so slowly that the proud may easily deny that anything is changing.

Uh... yeah... right... zzZZZzZzZZZ

I have heard the boast of a man who walked away from the Church slowly, at first just ceasing to teach his Sunday School class and then staying away from Church and then forgetting tithing now and then. Along the way he would say to me: “I feel just as spiritual as I did before I stopped those things and just as much at peace. Besides, I enjoy Sundays more than I did; it’s more a day of rest.” Or, “I think I’ve been blessed temporally as much or more as I was when I was paying tithing.” He could not sense the difference, but I could. The light in his eyes and even the shine in his countenance were dimming. He could not tell, since one of the effects of disobeying God seems to be the creation of just enough spiritual anesthetic to block any sensation as the ties to God are being cut. Not only did the testimony of truth slowly erode, but even the memories of what it was like to be in the light began to seem to him like a delusion.

Oh, so the man couldn't tell that he wasn't a good person even though he stopped going to church and stopped paying tithing... but *YOU* could tell.  Something was missing from his eyes, you said.  

How easy is it for a church leader to say this and people will automatically believe them because they are authorities?  It's so easy!  It's like they get up on a stage and try to amaze the people of the church with their superpowers.  If he saw anything missing from this man's eyes in this made-up story, he saw the boredom and the brainwashing slipping away.

This is classic... it really is.  No matter how many times we tell our Mormon friends and family that we are perfectly happy, we are not sinning, and that our lives are better without the church, they will look at and read articles like this from their so-called religious authorities and discount everything we say as wrong.  It pisses me off.

More than a few of those slides down the path of disobedience come in the years of transition from childhood to maturity. How often have you heard a parent describe a child’s tragic journey into years of sin and sorrow by saying, “It began when he was 16,” or “It began when she was 14.” And yet in those same years the young man or the young woman who chooses obedience can build a foundation of truth to last in the years ahead, and many do. It is not by accident that seminary across the world is offered to young Latter-day Saints in those years. They are at risk in that time of transition; yet the very source of that risk creates an opportunity for them and for us who serve them.

All kids rebel.  It's not because Satan does it... it's because kids like to find independence.  Its up to the parent to make sure their kids are okay and making the transition from child to adult the right way.  Telling them to blindly follow the church leaders and to do whatever they say is no different than telling them to blindly follow their goth friends.  Instead, we should be teaching them to find out who is telling the truth, and teaching them how to make wise decisions.  Blindly following is far from wise.

Agency is the source of that risk. It is so priceless a gift from our Heavenly Father that a war in heaven was fought to defend it. Lucifer sought to take it from us and to take for himself the honor and glory of our Father. The teenager you love may well have been one of the valiant warriors on the side of agency and truth. Satan seems to feel he can win a double victory by drawing teenagers into sin. He can destroy one of his antagonists and in the process try to prove the Father wrong, prove that the risk of agency was too great.

Yeah, it's Satan.  Give me a break.  Talk about a lie!

We can help by seeing clearly the opportunity. The teenager who begins to say, “It’s my life to live, my choices to make,” is speaking the truth, a wonderful truth. The choice to do good is the only way to build a life on the foundation of truth and light. Yet these words can strike fear into a parent or a bishop or a Young Women leader who loves the teenager. That outburst of independence usually comes when a rule is announced or something is forbidden. It may come with the mere appearance of authority, of anyone telling them what they must do.

Ahh, yes.  It is the church's goal to scare anyone... anyone.. away from making choices on their own.  Instead, we should focus on the Book of Mormon which is basically one big lie.  We teach the kids about how wonderful Joseph Smith was.  Lie.  We teach them about the translation of the book of Mormon... another lie.

Where is their foundation of truth if the Church won't give it to them?

Our opportunity and theirs lies in their seeing a simple truth. It is their life to live, and yet they live it with two powerful opposing forces pulling on them. One is from God, who loves and will not compel and who offers eternal life through the plan of salvation. That plan depends on the Atonement made by the Savior, Jesus Christ, and the teenager’s choice to follow Him. The other, a terrible power, will use deception, force, and hatred to bring them into bondage and misery. And the teenager is free to choose.

The opportunity is in their seeing that reality, but that is also the problem. It takes the revelation of truth from God for the teenager to see those opposing forces as real. Once seen, the choice will be obvious. But many young people have little experience with persisting in obedience, when the truth must be taken on faith alone until truth is revealed to them. The opportunity lies in their sensing what they once knew, that the power to choose is a gift from God to bring them happiness in this life and in the life to come with Him.

We can help by the way we react to their determination to choose for themselves. They will sense whether we see them as if they could well have been one of the faithful warriors from the premortal existence, committed still to the defense of moral agency and aware of its great value to bring them happiness. If we can see them as faithful warriors from the premortal existence, we may also see their claims of independence as a sign of their potential, a sign that they are testing the power of agency which will bring them happiness. That is hard, because we know the risk should they choose sin. But when fear for them comes, as it does, it helps for us to remember and take comfort that there are opposing pulls. There is an influence of evil in the world, but there is also in the world and across all creation the powerful light of Christ.

Sorry... he put me to sleep... that was the longest explanation of good vs. evil I have ever read in my life... and boring to boot!  

How about this?

How about we give everyone all the information?  All of it?  Then, they have the ABILITY to decide for THEMSELVES what is truth?  Whats that?  Oh, of course you think that is a bad idea.  My bad.

Our young people were born with access to the Light of Christ. Because of that, they have in them the power to apply for themselves this test given in the book of Moroni, if they believe they can and if they choose to do it:

“Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.

“But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

“Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil” (Moro. 7:12–14).

And then a few verses later:

“But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

“And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged” (Moro. 7:17–18).

The warning not to judge what is of God to be evil nor what is from the devil to be good is a helpful caution to those of us who would help the young learn to choose the right. They will see some choices as good, or at least neutral, which we may see at first as evil. Before we begin to force a choice with what authority we may have, it will be wise to apply the test found in Moroni ourselves. More than once I have been restrained and more than once I have been energized to action by those practical rules. What I at first thought was evil became clear to me as being neutral. And what I had thought was neutral was revealed to me as inviting to do evil. And when the teenager knew I would apply the test myself in humility, it was more likely that they would try the test for themselves.

Our best hope is that they will follow our example of humbly seeking to know if the choice they are considering will draw them nearer to God or away from Him. If they do what we have done—pray in faith—light and truth will come to them. And if they obey, not only will more truth come but they will have learned how to build their lives on a foundation of truth.

Gawd. Sorry. Fell asleep again.  This guy is rather dull.  

Yeah, pray for the truth.  Pray and pray and pray.  If you don't get the answers that tell you the church is true, you are not praying correctly.  Pray harder, get on your knees, fast, and pray again.  Still no testimony?  What is wrong with you? Are you sinning?  Oh my God! Satan has turned you into a raging homosexual! 

I would love to continue on reading this article... nope, sorry.  That is a lie.  I would not like to continue reading this article.  Thats right.  I am being honest.  100% honest.

The church should give it a try!

Andee


4 comments:

  1. [kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] Says:

    More than anything else, this is what finally drove me from the church - not even being gay was quite enough to do that. I was pretty much content to be inactive and gay, but then I started to realise how incredibly dishonest and immoral the church has been.

    The church is in the business of brainwashing and emotionally abusing its members. It disgusts me and makes me absolutely furious. Of course, no member will admit that, will even see that because they are brainwashed/emotionally abused.

    I wonder whether the church leaders are aware of what they're actually doing, or whether they've blinded themselves just as much as the general membership. I mean, they obviously know that they're lying and covering things up, but it seems that they justify it to themselves - the ends apparently justify the means when you're a mouthpiece of the LORD TM. But if any member "justifies" lying, sinning, etc., then its obviously wrong, well unless they're carrying out the Brethern's orders to lie and deceive others about the truth of church history.

    It seriously makes me want to beat someone's head it with a shovel. Ok, not really.

    I just can't believe how supremely hypocritical the whole religion is. They talk of "pure love" and "truth" and "christlike- this and that", and the whole time they're scurrying away from the truth, attacking anyone they deem as "sinning", trying to destroy all "unideal" families (which now include polygamist families, how ironic), and acting in such supreme self-interest. The fact that they purport to do exactly the opposite is what makes it all the worse. They claim to have such lofty and God-given moral authority, and then they abuse the trust given to them left and right.

    And then you try to tell someone else about the littlest thing the church has done that contradicts its claims, something that is totally proven and true, and they accuse YOU of being immoral, dishonest, sinful, etc.

    The most virtuous thing in the church is blindly obeying what Tommy. S. and Co. tell you, NO MATTER WHAT!!!

    "It is never right to criticise the church leadership, even if that criticism is true"

    "Once the prophet has spoken, the time for thought is over"

    AAK! How can you live like that? How is that being free to choose? The joke about agency is ridiculous. Mormons aren't free to choose at all - they're guilted, beguiled, lied into only being able to choose ONE thing, the thing the church wants. You're not really given choices, when it's either A) live for ever with your family and loved ones or B) Die, be cast off from the LORD TM, reject all goodness and light and beauty, have no family, no one to love you FOR ALL ETERNITY!!!

    And when you believe that, then you do anything to get A, ANYTHING. And this is wrong.

    Whew. Sorry for the novella. I just got to ranting. Everything you write seems to set me off - we seem to think very similarly and have had a lot of the same experiences in the church. I really love reading your blog.

  1. Andee Says:

    You are very kind! I am glad to listen to your opinions any time! I agree that we think similarly, and I think that we would get long quite nicely if we knew each other in the "real world."

    If a group of old white guys in Salt Lake City feel they have the right to judge people so harshly, they should be judged as well.

    They lie, and then they lie to cover the first lie... and it just grows.

    I often wonder if Joseph Smith had any idea that his little tall tale about meeting angels/God/Jesus would turn into the corporation that exists today...

    Andee

  1. [kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] Says:

    I'm sure he had no idea. How could he have? No, I don't think he was any different from any other leader of a small bunch of religious crazies - just in this case, the craziness got mainstreamed and grew - 1) because it was isolated for so long and
    2) there were actually successors.

    Most religious groups like the one JS started never last beyond the death of the leader - this one was just different enough to take on a life of its own. It is really fascinating, in a morbid, disturbing way.

  1. Andee Says:

    Very true.

    I think Joseph Smith was just trying to make a quick buck. He wanted to publish a book, and get people to read it. I think it was one lie that led to another and yet another until it was completely out of his hands.

    My Mom and I had a conversation one night about how different things would have been if Joseph Smith wasn't assassinated and made a martyr.

    If that were the case, he would have lived longer and his lies would have caught up with him. Instead, everyone looks back at him with love.