Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"Guided Safely Home" By President Thomas S. Monson

Find this talk here.

  • I wonder sometimes that we talk remarkably rarely about how to identify priesthood, in the Church. The scriptures make several things clear enough:
    • The Hebrews had the higher priesthood, but God took it away from them, leaving them with the Levitical priesthood. Note that the scriptures don't make clear whether the Hebrews knew they'd been deprived of higher priesthood, or not, nor how they'd have known.
    • Christ acknowledged the lesser priesthood still held by the Jews, during His ministry. Apparently it's hard to lose the lesser priesthood through bad behavior.
    • D&C 121 makes clear that some form of the priesthood, at least, is conditional upon good behavior. 
    • D&C 121 also says we'll understand the "doctrine of the priesthood" only after we let 'virtue garnish [our] thoughts unceasingly" and have "bowels ... full of charity". So on the assumption that most of us haven't done that, the priesthood is something we probably don't understand all that well.
      • That's probably why, for all its talk of priesthood keys, the Church can't provide a list of those keys, nor what they do, and why even though Brigham Young taught that there are keys we don't have, the temple recommend interview requires members to claim the president of the church holds all priesthood keys.
    • D&C 124 makes clear that the fulness of the priesthood was something we had, but it was taken away, and couldn't be restored until we built the Nauvoo House -- something we never completed.
      • The standard Church narrative is that these verses speak of the Nauvoo temple, but the section talks about the Nauvoo House just previous to those verses, and never indicates that it is changing subject. Further, the Church claims the Nauvoo temple was completed, but this is very debatable, perhaps most obviously because we have no record of the fulness of anything having been restored.
  • Anyway, whether the body gathered there had the priesthood or not, I don't blame Pres. Monson for feeling humbled at having to speak to such a crowd. That would be tough.
  • It's interesting that after talking about how important it is to have guidance in life, the first concrete example of something from which to get guidance that Pres. Monson gives is the stars. The scriptures make clear the heavens are there to communicate messages from God to us (cf. Jeremiah 31:34, or most of the book of Abraham), and the most reasonable interpretation of the book of Revelation, of which I'm aware anyway, involves constellations and planets intimately. Yet the Church doesn't even talk about astronomy anymore, and tries to diminish the credibility of those Church members who do talk about such things.
  • Pres. Monson says we should follow "the Master", but he gives no concrete examples of how to do that, other than "be worthy." Is this the message of revelation and prophecy we're to expect from the Lord in times Pres. Monson rightly describes as surrounded in sin?
    • Ok, now he's saying we should be good examples. Thanks for that.
  • "Our Heavenly Father will not leave our sincere petition unanswered." I'd love to hear specific testimony of that claim. I believe it; it seems to have been true in my life. But of all the messages I've ever heard regarding the gospel, the most influential have been those that either expounded the scriptures, or that testified that principles taught there are true.
    • For instance, I can testify from experience that living what Christ tells you to do will get you dragged before Church and government leaders, and that when that happens, we don't need to worry about what to say, because Christ will tell us in the very moment what we should say (cf. Matt 10)
    • Easily the most immediately meaningful gospel message I've heard was one where a man claimed to have seen Christ, and received promises from Him. I don't know if the claim to have seen Christ was true, but I've learned that the scriptures teach it could be, and that that's the blessing we need to seek in this life. That has taught me to love the scriptures, more than any other message I've ever heard.
  • Too bad this talk didn't really say anything.

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