What kind of a god do Muslims consider Allah to be?

What kind of a god do Muslims consider Allah to be?

Question

 

Gramps,

What kind of a god do Muslims consider Allah to be?  A person like Heavenly Father?  Does he have a wife?  Is he considered the father of the spirits of people?

Bobbi

 

Answer

 

Dear Bobbi,

For a moment I considered telling you that it isn’t my place to explain the doctrines of other religions.  But I changed my mind, because interfaith dialogue is important. More about that in a moment. First the answer to your question:

It is my understanding that the Muslims believe in a God much like the Jewish God, an incorporeal being of perfection. They believe in ex nihilo creation, and that we are the created beings (and thus children) of God. They do not attribute to him things they consider to be purely human, such as having a wife. They would doubtless see such a belief as blasphemous.

 

Recently the Deseret News published an article called A Mormon, A Muslim and A Hindu sit down together on a plane.  In that article Tiffany Gee Lewis says:

“A Muslim, a Hindu and a Mormon sit down together on a plane.  It sounds like the beginning of a bad religious joke, but this is what happened to me recently on a flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta. The next three hours included some of the best discussion of my life.”

And while I have answered your initial question, I think that if you had the opportunity to sit down and talk to a Muslim, you would find that experience more beneficial as Lewis says:

“Thanks to a wonderful undergraduate religious education, I had a solid understanding of both Hinduism and Islam. This helped me in the context of our dialogue. However, my encounter with my fellow passengers broadened my understanding of their faith as practiced and applied on a day-to-day basis. It reminded me that textual understanding, while useful, is never as powerful as face-to-face understanding.”

So Bobbi, thanks for your question, and if you do make some new Muslim friends, send them my way.

 

 

Gramps

 

 

 

Is God’s love unconditional?

Is God’s love unconditional?

Question

 

Gramps,

Is God’s love unconditional?

Pam

 

Answer

 

Dear Pam,

Elder Russell M. Nelson has taught that “Divine love is infinite and universal. The Savior loves both saints and sinners.”  Divine Love, Ensign, Feb 2003.  However, Elder Nelson also cautions that “the higher levels of love the Father and the Son feel for each of us—and certain divine blessings stemming from that love—are conditional.”

In other words:  Yes, at a fundamental level, God loves us unconditionally as His children; the Atonement is available to all, and the gift of resurrection, at least, is absolutely free.  According to Elder David B. Haight, “God does not love us because we are lovable, have a pleasing personality or a good sense of humor, or at rare times show exceptional kindness. In spite of who we are and what we have done, God wants to pour out His love on us, for the unlovable are also precious unto Him.”  Love All, October 1982 General Conference.

However, certain manifestations of God’s love are available only to those who love Him in return, and keep His commandments.  “The love of God”, says Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “does not supersede His laws and His commandments, and the effect of God’s laws and commandments does not diminish the purpose and effect of His love.”  Love and Law, October 2010 General Conference.  Elder Oaks’ sermon is particularly enlightening, because it takes the principle of divine love and applies it to the parent-child relationship.

We certainly need to avoid the trap of assuming that since God created us all, He will love and reward us all equally regardless of our personal choices.  But, just as importantly, we should never allow a feeling of being worthless, or cast off or unloved, to deter us from repenting and seeking the Lord’s presence in our own lives:

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  –Romans 8:38-39

 

 

Gramps

 

 

 

 

How can I have a personal audience with Heavenly Father face to face?

How can I have a personal audience with Heavenly Father face to face?

Question

 

Gramps,

The scriptures give plenty of evidence that man can see God face to face and speak with Him. In addition our temple ceremonies seem to imply that one can receive a personal audience with God the Father or His Son. And in writing this I feel the Spirit telling me this is indeed possible.

Tell me, how can I receive a personal audience with my Heavenly Father face to face, while in the flesh?

Derek

 

Answer

 

Dear Derek,

Not only do our temple ceremonies imply that we can gain a personal audience with the Lord Jesus Christ, it also shows the steps for that. And not only does the rite suggest such a thing, the scriptures are filled with such promises. As the Spirit is already prompting you, I will only give you minimal guidance and let Him be your Teacher. The plainest instruction I have found is D&C 93:1,20.

“Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;… For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of [God the Father’s] fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace.”

In your scripture search, you may also want to seek out the Lord’s discourse on the First and Second Comforters (John 14-16). Joseph Smith taught: “Now what is this other [Second] Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ himself; and … when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even he will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, … and the Lord will teach him face to face” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pages 150-151).

Another scriptural phrase, used by Peter, that you may want to look at is “the more sure word of prophecy” (see 2 Peter 1). Peter used this phrase when encouraging the saints to make their calling and election sure (another related phrase).

For additional study, read Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Elder McConkie’s sermons and writings will often connect passages together to explain some of the concepts, but the foundation always seems to come back to Joseph Smith and the scriptures.

I have to here issue a word of caution. There is a great curiosity among the Saints with regards to this doctrine. We want to know the mysteries without the hard work of covenantal obedience. We want the physics degree without ever attending the lab. Unfortunately, there are a number of wolves in sheep clothing who (like the Gnostics of old with their writings on Christ’s 40-day ministry) are more than willing to publish a rubric and welcome you into an exclusive club. Follow the Spirit over the provocative trumpeting of such false leaders.

Finally, I must emphasize again the importance of letting the Spirit be your guide (after all, how can you receive the Second Comforter without first receiving the First?). It is the Spirit which testifies of the truth and relevance of the passages you read. It is the Spirit which testifies of the Father’s approbation for your faithfulness. It is the Spirit that teaches and instructs on the areas where you need to focus now in your climb from grace to grace.

The Lord bless you Derek.

 

 

Gramps

 

Is it okay to say “Oh my gosh” or is that taking the Lord’s name in vain?

Is it okay to say “Oh my gosh” or is that taking the Lord’s name in vain?

Question

 

Gramps,

Is it okay to say “Oh my gosh” or is that taking the Lord’s name in vain?

Kelly

 

Answer

 

Kelly,

Kelly, I am going to give you an answer you are probably not expecting. Although words like fetch, heck, gosh, even darn and dang are crass and reflective of a weak vocabulary and social mimicry, they are not a direct violation of the third commandment. The third commandment states,
“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7)
It is commonly understood that this commandment speaks to the specific use of the name of God in non-holy contexts and generally of language vulgarity in communication; it actually has little to do with that. To better understand the commandment, Allow me to insert some clarifying words, “Thou shalt not take upon you the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taken his name upon him in vain.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley once explained:
So serious was violation of this law considered in ancient Israel that blasphemy of the name of the Lord was regarded as a capital crime. There is an interesting account in the book of Leviticus:

The son of an Israelitish woman “blasphemed the name of the Lord, and cursed. And they brought him unto Moses. …

 

“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

 

“Bring forth him that hath cursed … and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him.

 

“And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin.

 

“And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him” (Lev. 24:11–16).

 

While that most serious of penalties has long since ceased to be inflicted, the gravity of the sin has not changed.  Take Not the name of  God in Vain

In the sacrament prayer over the bread, we witness that we are “willing to take upon [us] them the name of thy Son.” Taking His name upon us is a commitment that we will (1) proclaim our devotion to him and (2) act in ways that will be consistent with His discipleship. The third commandment warns all those who act hypocritically or who do not act in ways consistent with discipleship that they will not be held guiltless. Coming back to your question, “Is it okay to say “Oh my gosh?'” The actual speaking of the word “gosh” or even “God” is not as much a third commandment issue as the question of whether or not someone who has covenanted to take upon themselves the name of Christ would talk like that.

 

Gramps

 

 

Is God’s real name Elohim?

Is God’s real name Elohim?

Question

 

Gramps,

Is Gods real name Elohim?

Kori

 

Answer

 

Dear Kori,

Elohim is a word that we Latter-day Saints use to refer to God the Father. If that’s how one defines a name, then it can certainly be considered a name. But beyond that, we don’t really know.

Elohim is a word that means many things as well. According to Strong’s Concordance it means, rulers, judges, divine ones, angels, gods, god, goddess, godlike one, works or special possessions of God, the (true) God, and God. It is interesting to note that it may be used both as plural or “singular intensive” (i.e. a superlative–like “God of Gods” or “God Almighty”) as well.

In the scriptures God is given many, many names. However, in several cases it can be difficult to distinguish the difference between speaking of God the Father and God the Son by name. For the sake of clarity, we use Elohim to refer to the Father and Jehovah to refer to the Son. I don’t think it can be safely concluded that Elohim, pronounced exactly the way we do in English, is the exact and specific appellation that God has exclusively taken as His one and only name.

 

Gramps

 

 

How do we distinguish when Elohim or Christ is speaking?

How do we distinguish when Elohim or Christ is speaking?

Question

Gramps,

How can we distinguish when Elohim is speaking or when Christ is speaking?

Doyle

 

Answer

Dear Doyle,

I believe that it is Christ speaking unless otherwise noted.  For example, we have been taught that Christ is the God of the Old Testament.  So when we read in the Old Testament that God spoke, we know that was Christ.

In the New Testament, Heavenly Father speaks (and this is clearly noted) when Christ was baptized.  (Matt. 3:17).

In the Book of Mormon, when Christ comes to visit the people, He is introduced by Heavenly Father who said, “Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name–hear ye him.”

In the Doctrine and Covenants, in the first vision Heavenly Father said, “This is my beloved son, hear Him.”

Thus, we can see a pattern, that Heavenly Father speaks to introduce Christ, and further direction is given by Christ.  This makes sense because we know that Christ is our mediator with the Father.  As John said, “No man cometh unto the Father except by Jesus Christ.” (John 14:6)

 

Gramps

How can God sit in Heaven and witness so much abuse?

How can God sit in Heaven and witness so much abuse?

Question

Dear Gramps,

With all of the horrific abuse heaped upon animals and children by others, and the unspeakable pain suffered by them as a result, how can God sit in heaven and watch it all and not be moved with righteous indignation?  Is this what we have to look forward to if we become exalted?  Forever witnessing horrific situations?

Robert

 

Answer

Dear Robert,

It is understandable that some, especially survivors of childhood abuse, might wonder if God cares about the evil that goes on here on the earth.  But I want to assure you that He does.  He cares very much.

The first “evidence” of this I would like to show you is when Christ cleansed the temple.  If you consider for a moment the Savior’s life, you will recall that He did not anger easily.  When He was being crucified, He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  And yet, He was angry when He cleansed the temple.  Why was He so angry then?

Some scholars believe, and I agree, that He was angry because people were being taken advantage of.  Some people had to travel long distances to visit the temple. Sometimes bringing an animal was not feasible, so they would purchase one when they arrived.  First they had to exchange the coins with Caesar’s image on them, for temple coins.  The money changers though did not give a fair exchange.  They were taking advantage of people.  Then these travelers would take their coins and purchase an animal for sacrifice.  Those who sold the animals did so at very high prices, also taking advantage of the poor. So people coming to the temple to worship were being cheated, and this certainly defiled the meaning of the temple. But the main issue was that people were being mistreated.

We can also see this story in a symbolic manner.  The Savior was angry that the temple was being defiled.  Our bodies are temples.  (1 Cor. 3:16-17).  Thus He surely is also angry—angry enough to brandish a whip, shout and turn over tables, when our physical bodies/temples are defiled by abuse.

Another example in the scriptures that shows that God cares is found in the Pearl of Great Price.  The Lord is conversing with Enoch, and while they are looking at the world, Enoch notices that the Lord is weeping.  Enoch is surprised by this and asks Him why He weeps:

 32 The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;

33 And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood;

34 And the fire of mine indignation is kindled against them; and in my hot displeasure will I send in the floods upon them, for my fierce anger is kindled against them.  Moses 7:32-34

Likely the Lord was thinking about many things here, but when He says, “ . . .they are without affection, and they hate their own blood;” that could certainly be applied to abuse (as well as other situations).

Another example is found in the Doctrine and Covenants section 98.  At the time this revelation was given, the Church was undergoing severe persecution.  In this section the Lord gives counsel to the Saints about how this should be dealt with. In the latter part of the section the Lord instructs them that if the enemy comes upon them and then asks for forgiveness they should forgive him until seventy times seven.  But notice what the Lord says about the offender who does NOT repent (as often is the case in abuse), for the first, second and third offenses they are told to forgive.  However, on the fourth offense:

44 But if he trespass against thee the fourth time thou shalt not forgive him, but shalt bring these testimonies before the Lord; and they shall not be blotted out until he repent and reward thee four-fold in all things wherewith he has trespassed against thee.

45 And if he do this, thou shalt forgive him with all thine heart; and if he do not this, I, the Lord, will avenge thee of thine enemy an hundred-fold;

Now that we know the Lord is moved with righteous indignation against the horror that occurs in this world, how does He stand it?  How can we if this is what we will experience if we become exalted?

Part of our answer is in D&C 121, remember that here Joseph was pleading unto God for some relief and redress for the suffering of the Saints.  The Lord said:

 7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.

I believe that though it does pain Him to see us suffer due to the sins of others, He allows it because He knows that it is a small moment and a much greater reward is coming.  I think that it must be like when we, human parents, take our child to the doctor to get stitches, for example.  We sorrow for the crying child who doesn’t understand, but we know that this is but a small moment in their lives, and that they will benefit from these stitches. You might ask if that is a fair analogy, the child benefits from the stitches, but can anything good come from abuse?

To answer that question, I‘d like to share the words of one of my heroes Admiral James Stockdale.  He was a pilot during the Vietnam War and was shot down over North Vietnam and taken as a prisoner of war.  He suffered terrible abuse and torture.  Later when James C. Collins interviewed him for the business book, Good to Great, Collins asked how he had survived. Admiral Stockdale said:

“I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”

Is this sort of healing and overcoming possible for everyone though?  Dr. Richard Mollica says it is, absolutely.  His opinion is important because he works at the Harvard Program for Refugee Trauma.  He and his colleagues have treated over ten thousand patients who have been emotionally and mentally scarred by war, rape, violence and torture. He has met people who survived the killing fields of Cambodia, the massacres of Bosnia, the genocide of Rwanda and the destruction of the World Trade Center.  Still he says,

“Every human being is born with the strength to heal. No amount of violence or torture can destroy that capacity. No barbarism or savagery can crush the ability to recover and rebuild. Even in the most hopeless human being there is hope.”

It has been often been said that Satan tries to pervert all the good things that God gives us, for example, music and the Internet. I think the lesson from Admiral Stockdale and Dr. Mollica is this: any evil that Satan can create in the world, the Lord can turn to our benefit and growth.  Ours is a powerful God.

So, Robert, rather than thinking of being a God as a position of forever witnessing horrific things, I like to think of it as forever turning pain into growth, peace and eventually even joy.

 

Gramps

Is God both our Father and Mother in Heaven?

Is God both our Father and Mother in Heaven?

Question

Gramps,

Forgive me for this question. I have many speculate that our Father in Heaven is our Mother in Heaven too. Can you please clarify this for me? I personally would rather have two separate parents. Thank you

Marco

 

Answer

Marco,

I think the most clear answer we have to your question is found in the Church’s Proclamation on Families. The Family: A Proclamation to the World

In it we read that all human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents.

Please note the plural parents.  To me this makes it very clear that there is both a Mother and a Father in Heaven.  The problem we face is we don’t have any more information about our Heavenly Mother other than  that she exists.

Now one of the reasons that people might speculate that we have 2 in 1 Heavenly parents is much the same reason that many believe in the trinity (aka 3 in 1 of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost).  The scriptures are read with the term God being singular.  The scriptures talk about the Father, Son and Holy Ghost being one.  They also talk and command husbands and wives to be one. Therefore it seems reasonable to me that there is a oneness between our Heavenly Father and our Heavenly Mother that can be difficult for us to truly understand.  Much like we can struggle with the oneness of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. For the three we have D&C 130:22 which makes very clear the physical differences of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  But we do not have a similar scripture for the Father and the Mother.

The big driver of this speculation of Father and Mother being the same comes from the accounts of creation where God creates man and woman.  Genesis 1:27

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

If we take this alone it would seem that we have singular male God creating male and female in his own image.  Which frankly, if that was all we had, would be very confusing.  Not just about gender but also about the different body types, hair types, skin colors, eye colors, and all the many other physical differences that the human race has. Which one is God’s image?  Do we combine them all into one as well?

Then we have an account of creation given in the Pearl of Great Price. Abraham 4:27 

So the Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them.

Note that this account does away with a singular God creating male and female.  When we take the accounts of creation and put it in context of everything else that has been revealed, it seems to be a rather safe speculation that we have a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother working side by side each other.

 

Gramps

Is saying “Oh my Lord” using His name in vain?

Is saying “Oh my Lord” using His name in vain?

Question

Gramps,

Does saying “good Lord’ or “Oh my Lord” count as using the Lord’s name in vain?

Marie

 

Answer

Marie,

I believe it does. I avoid saying such things and have taught my children not to say them.

What does it mean “to take the Lord’s name in vain”, anyway? Well, what does it mean “to take the Lord’s name”?

When we are baptized, we take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ. As I understand it, that means that we are supposed to act as Jesus would act, do what Jesus would do, in every situation. In other words, we are supposed to take Jesus’ place. We are supposed to be like Jesus. People should be able to look at us and say, “Oh, look, there is a disciple of Jesus”, just as you might look at Sister Jones’ daughter and say, “Oh, look, there is a Jones girl”. We should be carrying the image of Christ with us.

So then, what would it mean to take Christ’s name in vain? It would mean that we take the covenant of baptism, wherein we take Christ’s name to ourselves, but then we don’t actually do the Christlike thing. We “talk the talk” but we don’t “walk the walk”. We claim to be “Christian”, but those looking at us and our actions and speech can’t tell that we are Christ’s, because we don’t act like Christ.

In this larger sense — which I believe is the fuller, truer sense of the commandment — anything we do that is unChristlike is “taking the Lord’s name in vain”.

That phrase has traditionally been understood to mean that we use a name (or title) of God in a profane, unholy sense. This certainly is an unChristlike thing to do; we should never profane God’s name or title, using it as a swear word or expression of surprise or displeasure. In this sense, I believe that the examples you mention are indeed a vain, vulgar use of the name of God, which should be used only in reverence.

 

Gramps

Can God call men (like he did Lehi) to become messengers of repentance?

Can God call men (like he did Lehi) to become messengers of repentance?

Question

Dear Gramps,

My Grandson asks this question.  Because we have  Prophets/Apostles today we don’t get messengers any more. In reference to this question;talking about Jeremiah/Ezekiel giving warning Jerusalem to repent. “Lehi” a plain man not prophet who (called by a Angel/Messenger) to call people to repentance and especially his family/friends. Besides our leaders in scriptures/writings, can God call men (as Lehi) to be messengers of repentance?

Jonnie

 

Answer

Jonnie,

I want to address two things in responding.

First, the idea that we don’t get messengers today. If I’m rightly understanding you, by messengers you are specifically meaning angels? Unless it is God speaking to man Himself, of course, then all messengers from Heaven are either Angels or the Holy Ghost.

So wherein are we presuming we don’t get messengers today?

I think we do. I know we do. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland does too.

“But I testify that angels are still sent to help us, even as they were sent to help Adam and Eve, to help the prophets, and indeed to help the Savior of the world Himself.”

At the very least, I have personal experience receiving messages from God through the Holy Spirit. But I also know that there are angels. I also have no reason to doubt that God may well speak to our prophets at times directly. The fact that we don’t hear about these things immediately does not mean they are not occurring. In general these extremely sacred experiences are to be kept private. They are not meant to be published at large. Even many of the accounts of angels that we know of from scripture and Church history were not published at large when they occurred. Many of them only became commonly known much later.

In Moroni 7:29-30 and 35-37 we read:

“And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.

“For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.”

[…]

“And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?

“Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?

“Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.”

Secondly then, your question. The plain answer is very much, yes!

In short, Jonnie, every one who has been given the truth is commanded to become a messenger.

Lest we think that only those who are officially sustained as prophets, seers and revelators may be messengers like unto Lehi, let us recall Moroni Chapter 7:7-17 (vs. 7,8,13,14 and 17 quoted here):

“And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever.

“And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God. And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them.

“And again, to another, that he may prophesy concerning all things;

“And again, to another, the beholding of angels and ministering spirits;

“And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will.”

Everyone of us has the right to the beholding of angels and ministering spirits, and everyone of us should be “plain-men” prophets like unto Lehi declaring repentance. We are, in fact, commanded to be. The Savior commanded, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” (Matthew 28:19) He reiterated this teaching in 3 Nephi 11:41 “Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.” And the words that He had spoken that we are to declare in verse 38: “And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson taught:

“In Doctrine and Covenants 6:9, 11:9, 14:8, and 19:21, the Lord repeats the command, ‘Say nothing but repentance unto this generation,’ He tells several brethren that the thing of most worth to them ‘will be to declare repentance unto this people.’ In section 18, as He eloquently declares the worth of souls, the Lord speaks repeatedly of repentance—that He suffered the pain of all that they might repent, what joy He has in the soul that repents, and the blessings that come to us in crying repentance.”

We all have equal responsibility to cry repentance to the world once we have learned His words.

But we must keep in mind God’s pattern. “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7).

The Lord reveals His truth to His followers. The primary method He uses for this is through the words of His prophets. Then He asks us to verify those words by direct communication with Him through the Holy Ghost. Whereupon He commands us to preach those truths to others, persuading them to follow the same method of learning and asking.

We are not all called as prophets with the authority to guide the Church. We are all given stewardships, and we will never be given direction from God that is outside our stewardships. There is no reason to presume that Lehi was acting outside his authority and stewardship. He preached repentance or destruction. Which part of that is outside what we all have been commended to preach. Moreover, it’s entirely reasonable that Lehi may have been well within the hierarchy of the organized church. We do not know. In verse 4 of 1 Nephi 1 we read:

“For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, (my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days); and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed.”

That’s all we get. We don’t know who these prophets were. We don’t know if they were in or out of the system. What we do know is that they preached according to prophesy and that we all may do the same, as long as we aren’t preaching against the authorized organization as set by the Lord.

It is true that the structure of the Church has not been able to function exactly the same throughout history. For example, there were twelve apostles in Jerusalem at the time of Christ who were to lead the Church. Then, upon His visit to America, Christ called twelve other disciples to lead the Church on that continent. Why do we not do the same in our day? Simple. Television. Airplanes. The Internet. Because technology allows it, we have one Quorum of Twelve who lead the Church, whereas there were at least two in one instance we know of. It’s possible there were others.

Likewise we might have seen multiple head-of-the-church prophets leading the world in days past. That was, perhaps, necessary because of the limitations of communication. Now that it is not necessary; the organization of the Church is established as it is.

But even now, we are all called. We should remember, as taught by Elder Holland, that not all angels are from the other side of the veil:

“But when we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day. Some of them reside in our own neighborhoods. Some of them gave birth to us, and in my case, one of them consented to marry me.”

I recommend listening to Elder Hollands entire talk on angels.

http://youtu.be/5pALOQ-ynHY

 

Gramps

 

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