Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Live according to the Words of the Prophets" By Carol F. McConkie

Find this talk here.

  • Do prophets always hold keys? I've mentioned before that I find our discussion of keys in the Church somewhat lacking, and if that's true, this question may be unanswerable.
  • It's interesting she'd cite D&C 132. We almost never read it, perhaps because it is confusing. For instance, it contradicts itself when saying once that plural marriage is fine when the first wife gives her consent, and then later suggesting her consent isn't actually necessary. It also says plural wives should be virgins, yet many of Joseph and Brigham's plural wives were either previously married, or in some cases concurrently married. Finally, it directly contradicts the Book of Mormon when it claims David's plural wives were actually justified, in some cases. Frankly, I think Brigham Young tampered with section 132 before it was canonized; we don't have anything remotely like the original copy anymore to verify it against, and it's far less internally consistent than Joseph's revelations usually were. Anyway, it's interesting to see it quoted.
  • She quotes from D&C 21 and claims it refers to the prophet of whatever time we happen to live in. In fact, that verse refers only to Joseph Smith, as is clear upon close reading.
  • She says the Apostles "prophesy in the name of Christ." But they don't. Even when you take the broader definition of "prophet" and "prophesy", which doesn't require telling the future but instead denotes supernaturally received information or power (supported in scripture by such incidents as Christ and the Samaritan woman at the well, or the man "blind from birth"), they still don't meet that qualification.
  • Once again, we get the modern misinterpretation of “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” It doesn't mean that anything a Church leader says is the word of God, as is clear from reading the context. It means the Lord will fulfill His promises, whether He does it Himself, or gets a servant to do it.
  • "We are grateful for a church 'built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.'" Yes, we definitely are. It was the testimony I heard from someone who claims to have seen Christ (and would thus qualify as an apostle) that started getting me excited about the gospel. I still don't know for myself whether that man's testimony was true, but it doesn't really matter; I'm not following that man, anyway.
  • "We need not be 'tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.'" If you compare the doctrine of the early church with that of today, you can see we've been tossed exactly like that. Hence polygamy starting and ending, temple ordinances changing regularly despite Joseph Smith (and Isaiah, and others) making clear they must never be changed, blacks and the priesthood, etc.
  • The "knowledge of the Son of God" Paul refers to in the scripture she quotes is more than just intellectual knowledge; it means we've seen Christ, talked with Him, and made covenants directly with Him.
  • It's interesting to consider what previous exposure the widow may have had to Elijah. The scriptures give no indication that he was some sort of ecclesiastical leader to whom the widow would have given a sustaining vote, for instance. Presumably the Spirit confirmed Elijah's promise (made, notably, in the name of "the Lord God of Israel"), to the widow. We should seek the same confirmation when leaders or others tell us to do something.
  • "We heed prophetic word even when it may seem unreasonable, inconvenient, and uncomfortable." Yes, given the Lord's confirmation, we do. And we receive subsequent witnesses from the Lord that it was right. This sustains us even when unthinking family members and friends accuse us of deception and evil because of the uncomfortable things we've chosen to do.
  • "But following the prophet is always right." I wonder if she's read the story of the two prophets in 1 Kings 13...
  • "The words of the prophets are like manna to our souls." I mentioned a man who claimed to have seen Christ. I found his words "like manna", because they helped me understand the scriptures. The Lord then opened my eyes further, that I understood the scriptures still better. Generally Church leaders don't talk in detail about scripture anymore, so I don't have that experience listening to them.
  • The line attributed to J. Golden Kimball about not getting anywhere in the Church without either "inspiration, perspiration, or relation" came to mind when she started quoting Bruce R. McConkie, her uncle-in-law.
  • "May we open our ears to hear, our hearts to understand, and our minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to our view." This is an excellent thing to be praying for. It's what Nephi prayed for when he needed to know whether to follow Lehi and the rest of the family, and it's what the scriptures call a "softened heart".

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