Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tradition of Their Fathers "The Arm of Flesh" Continued

Truth ought to be allowed to destroy everything that is false or untrue. The evil one, according to the lord, uses traditions of their fathers to take away light and truth from the children of men in order to destroy the work of God. (D&C 93: 39) Traditions of the latter day Saints that have come down from their fathers are strongly held and deeply entrenched within the church even though the church was originally established by, and continues to belong to the Lord. The lord allows all people to err, make mistakes, turn away from His counsel, and even drive the entire bus into the ditch if that is what they choose to do.  The Lord will never remove any man's right to choose even if the evil one instills the idea that the Lord will kill the man rather than allow him to make a choice that may lead you astray. The bus, if driven into the ditch by foolish, misdirected drivers, continues to be His even while in the ditch.

He has provided everything needed to show and instruct individual members of His church how to please Him and do His will. He has given everything His children need to "come to Him." And they need not "follow" any man in order to come unto Him. In fact, they cannot "follow" the prophet or anyone else if they ever hope to find His presence. (2Nephi 9: 41 and D&C 76: 98-101)

Despite His work to restore through the prophet Joseph Smith, the truth, ordinances, and power needed for individuals to find and traverse the path back to His presence, few ever find it. (D&C 132: 22) When the lord refers to "few," He is not speaking about something relative. "Few," means not very many at all. Isaiah suggests those that remain after the fury of the Lord is dealt out in the last days, after the "standard bearer fainteth," there will be so few remaining, a child will be able to count them. (2Nephi 20: 18-19) There are so "few" because although He lengthens out His arm to them from day to day, they will (and do) deny Him. (2Nephi 28: 32) They prefer the traditions of their fathers which include reliance on the arm of flesh (2Nephi 28: 31) and following men that can only lead them to a telestial reward. (D&C 76: 98-101)

The tradition and belief that there are men who will not be allowed to lead the church or it's people astray, is designed to draw focus away from the only one who really will never lead astray, to those who cannot save. If it is true there are men that cannot be led astray, then, there are men that are better, and in a higher class than the prophet Joseph Smith. Joseph was very fallible and prone to mistakes and errors just like every man that has ever lived. Joseph, because of his foolishness, was responsible for the loss of 116 pages of precious, sacred writings. The Lord had labored in unimaginable ways for centuries to construct, preserve, and bring forth in a miraculous way the writings of Lehi. Joseph, because he was only a man, was capable of throwing that all away because he was a man like all other men. The Lord pointed out Joseph’s mistake and foolishness in D&C 3.

I do not suggest there was anything of malicious intent in what Joseph did. What he did respecting the manuscript was just foolish. The Lord tried, as He always does, to persuade Joseph and to reason with him to do something wiser. But Joseph chose to push his own agenda and the result was disastrous. The undisputed fact Joseph was fallible and capable of error and mistakes like other men, does not make him any less a prophet and true messenger of God. I suspect if we had enough detail in the record of every prophet from the beginning of time, we would find Joseph is much more the rule than the exception. They were all flawed and error prone men. Joseph did not need the false cloak of "mighty prophet and mouthpiece of God who will not be allowed to lead astray." Joseph simply allowed himself to be a man who knew what it meant to need to repent often, probably daily like all other men.

Joseph never claimed infallability for himself. He understood what was needed in the church was to teach correct principles then get out of the way and allow people to "govern themselves." "Governing themselves," implies little need for central control, compulsion, or dominion. "Correct principles" when taught by humble ministers and servants of the people, become the government of the people of the Lord, including those that claim to be "leaders." Correct principles preclude the need for false statements like, "I will never be allowed to lead you astray." Correct principles never lead astray.

There has not been a man since Joseph Smith that was, or is, his equal. There have been 15 men since Joseph who have been sustained by the vote of the church as president of the church. Every one of those men was sustained by the members of the church as "prophet, seer, and revelator." Sustaining by the membership does not make a man a prophet, as Joseph was a prophet of God. The sustaining by members does not give a man the gift and power of seer-ship. Revelation, and the addition of new and salvific principles from heaven for the benefit of Gods children like the kind that came through Joseph, does not derive from the sustaining vote of the membership of the church. Those spiritual gifts do not derive from any "keys" that men claim to have been given by other men. Power from heaven comes by a man's personal connection with heaven and in no other way. (D&C 121: 36) Joseph was a great example of that. Joseph received his power and the spiritual gifts of prophet, seer, and revelator, from heaven in the one and only way any man can receive them, (JST Gen 14: 29) from the mouth of God Himself. (D&C 132: 45-46)

Several of Joseph's successors that we know of, though sustained by the members as "prophets, seers, and revelators," never had any personal contact from God's own mouth as is required to receive that order of power. (JST Gen. 14: 29) Among those of Joseph's successors who claimed in their own records that they never saw an angel or God, were Brigham Young and Heber J. Grant. I have read substantial portions of Heber J. Grant's diaries. My personal conclusion after having read the man's own record is that there was very little of spirituality about him at all. I don't fault him for that. It is just what he was. He was a businessman first and foremost, and apparently a very astute and good one. Business and politics made up substantially all of His personal activities and record. I learned that he had very deep and strong negative feelings about many of his fellow quorum members in the quorum of twelve, but especially George Q. Cannon. In His entire personal diary, I found nothing that suggested he ever communed with heaven. To the contrary, he said himself he was averse to direct contact and communication from God or angels. He seemed to fear direct contact from heaven. His diary is available on the Internet, anyone can read it. He was not a "prophet, seer, or revelator," in any sense except in the sense that he was sustained by the vote of the people as such. There is no power in the vote given to him or any other man by the members to produce the necessary connection with heaven where the power resides. (D&C 121: 36-37) Nor did the "keys" he or any other man received from other men produce the necessary connection with heaven. "Power" from heaven comes from the mouth of God to an individual man. There is no other way it can, or does, or ever has come to any man. (JST Gen. 14: 29 and Helaman 10: 4-7 and D&C 132: 45-46) 

The volume of new revealed truth from heaven virtually stopped after Joseph died. Joseph spoke often about all that remained to be given. His successors have not only failed to produce the added truth, knowledge, and revelation at anywhere near the order that it was given by Joseph; but much of what Joseph himself taught and revealed has been reduced, ignored, hidden, and outright discarded by his successors. Joseph's successors are sustained presidents of the Lord's church who hold primarily administrative positions provided for in the revelations received by Joseph. (D&C 107) Nothing more. We should allow them to be just that in order that the evil one have no basis upon which to trap the Lords children into relying on the arm of flesh needlessly.

Heber J. Grant, Brigham Young, and every other one of Joseph's 15 successors were/are flawed, fallible, imperfect men. We should allow them to be just that. They do not deserve or qualify to be adored, deified, or followed. They can be sustained as president of the Lord's church by common consent of the members and fulfill the responsibilities devolving upon that office without us needing to "follow" them. "Flesh" is not to be relied on or followed. Period.

The bright illuminating light of truth should summarily destroy every false tradition of their fathers. The Lord may yet be found. Anyone may be among the very few that find Him. He is not to be found by following men regardless of false claims that you need them to find Him.

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