The church history and scriptures addressed in the previous posts include information that may prove to be of great worth to some. Asking challenging questions often causes serious reflection and thoughtful consideration. New information can initially seem strange or peculiar. Some of this information might even be contrary to current beliefs that I have entertained for many years. When deep-rooted beliefs are challenged, it creates stirrings within my soul.
When new ideas and principles actually begin to make sense, I find myself in a dilemma as I reconcile my old beliefs with the new material and evidence. Certain areas of my life seem to turn upside down, inside out, and backwards as I process and adjust to the new paradigms. I realize it is critical to be grounded in and firmly connected to Christ. I must be open to everything He shares with me and focus on Him.
“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” Helaman 5:12.
As I deal with conflicting beliefs, it becomes necessary to distinguish between truth and error. Choosing what to believe and embrace and what to discard and reject is not always an easy process. When information, history, or doctrine is shared, discovered, or obtained, I like to consider it carefully. I put forth effort and due diligence to actually check things out and compare what I find with the Word of God. When I am looking at a new or unfamiliar concept, I have found it useful to do so with an open heart and without bias or pressure.
The precepts and philosophies of men mingled with scripture are not reliable. On the other hand, we can always count on God and His declarations. He really does know what He is doing and what He is talking about. Following and obeying God brings the promised results. D&C 82:10
The problem is there are too many men running around claiming to speak for God with His approval and power. In reality, they have never seen Him nor spoken with Him. Men run and “prophecy lies in my name”, but I, God, did not send these prophets.“They are prophets of the deceit of their own heart.” Jeremiah 23:21-26 This prophecy refers to the latter-days. It is critical to determine what actually comes from God’s own mouth because “whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same”. D&C 1:38
Manmade doctrine can be portrayed, declared, and acknowledged as the gospel of salvation. “And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it. But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return.” 3 Nephi 27:10-11 Believing false doctrine and practicing abominations while thinking “I am serving God” is a technique the devil uses to cheat souls, and lead people away carefully down to hell. 2 Nephi 28:21 How do I distinguish between manmade doctrine and the real thing?
While giving the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23
I do not pretend to prophecy, assert to have authority, or claim to speak for God. I have no authority or religious credentials. I am just another soul racked with sin seeking my Savior and pleading for my redemption. Do not trust in me, other men, or an institution to act as an intermediary between God and you.
No man has the power to save another soul no matter what his position, status, or rank. This act of love is reserved for Jesus Christ, the only one who can redeem. Helaman 5:9 Trust God, not men! Get a confirmation for yourself directly from heaven. Ask God the Eternal Father in the name of Christ if these things are true or false. Moroni 10:4-5 Before accepting and embracing anything, it would be wise to have the information confirmed by the power of the Holy Ghost.
I have studied, pondered, and prayed about the eternal purposes of God. I have become more familiar with the attributes and true character of Diety. I have sought to find where I fit into His great plan of salvation. I desire to increase in light and knowledge, know how and what to worship, and in due time receive of his fullness D&C 93:19
I have found that the teachings of the world are almost always in direct opposition to God, and they seek to discredit His words John 15:18-21. Satan claims to be the God of this world. By using worldly power, he controls and manipulates his slaves. Is it any surprise that whenever heaven sends truth and light to the earth, it is rejected by the world and attacked with vengeance? Matt. 23:28-34
As I discover and learn more truth, I realize how much more there is still to learn. Truth sheds light on my incorrect perceptions and beliefs. In the past I had some beliefs that I maintained and declared with conviction and emotion. But those beliefs didn’t bring me further light and knowledge. My way of thinking, believing, and acting was based more on the ways of the world and the general beliefs of society. Satan had managed to hook me on false beliefs, and the ironic part is I thought I was doing it all in the name of God.
I have heard and still hear many individuals repeat such things as: All is well in Zion 2 Nephi 28:24-25. You are a chosen generation 2 Nephi 28:32. We have the fullness D&C 124:28, 3 Nephi 16:10. We have a great reservoir of revelation we don’t need any more 2 Nephi 29:9. When leaders speak, the thinking has been done, or when the Prophet speaks the debate is over 2 Nephi 28:5-6. Follow the Prophet see Who should I follow? Just do the ordinary things 1 Nephi 17:22. Odds are you’ll be exalted 2 Nephi 28:7-8, D&C 132:22-25. etc.
I truly thought these mantras were the word of God. I accepted these beliefs hoping to please Him. I could have passed a lie detector test on these issues. Many people said they were true, including me. But God never did, as I recall. Honestly, I was oblivious to a better alternative. I was comfortable and lulled away in my dreams as the day was passing on and the night was quickly approaching 2 Nephi 28:21, 3 Nephi 27:33. My head was trying to convince me that all is well, but I did not have peace in my heart.
I admit and acknowledge that I was and still am an ignorant and uninformed fool seeking salvation through Christ. I believe there are many concerns, ideas, and doctrines worthy of review and judgment. Considering the awful situation in which I find myself, there is still much to look forward to. I have received sufficient evidence and proof to believe there really is a way out of it all. I am not doomed to damnation if I will only look to the One who can save me. “And as many as should look upon that serpent should live, even so as many as should look upon the Son of God with faith, having a contrite spirit, might live, even unto that life which is eternal.” Helaman 8:15
I have contemplated and considered the words of God recorded in the book of Moses. “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Moses 1:39 The work and the glory of God is vast and all encompassing. I find it far beyond my present comprehension and understanding, but I am convinced His motives and purposes are based on His love for His children.
I have come to a greater understanding and conviction that He knows each one of us personally and intimately. I believe God does everything within the laws of heaven to assist us in being successful. He intercedes on our behalf to overcome the obstacles we cannot overcome by ourselves. He is full of grace and truth. D&C 93:11 I have great confidence that He wants every single one of us to return to His presence and partake of what He now enjoys, immortality and eternal life.
God provides and offers salvation to you and me without money and without price. Isaiah 55:1 We must believe in Him. “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” Mark 9:23 I believe it actually works! Connection with heaven is possible! This is exciting stuff! So, what is my next step in this fallen telestial world in which I live? What do I do now?
To be continued . . .