Article of Faith 9

We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does no reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

Lots of thoughts on this one… Lots.

I listened to Elder Cook’s talk from last April Conference this morning, and as part of his talk he shared the experience of his great-grandfather in assisting the Willy and Martin Handcart Companies. In his great-grandfather’s words, the experience and lessons learned from that wasn’t necessarily loving your fellow man or even lessons in survival; it was obedience to the prophet. We’ll come back to that in a moment.

Yesterday at church, we talked about knowledge and Joseph Smith’s teachings on that subject. At one point, we read a statement by Joseph Smith where he stated, “Truth is Mormonism.” We talked about it, particularly the direct and limiting comparative that “is” is. More particularly, we talked about Joseph’s thoughts that Mormonism isn’t defined by a particular creed but rather lays claim to all truth. In that sense, truth truly is Mormonism because Mormonism accepts all truth as divine in origin. Let’s come back to that one later as well….

The idea that God has, does, and will reveal things to His people is defining for us. The heavens are no more closed than we wish, but the openness of the heavens is dependent on our willingness to hear and accept truth, revelation, and knowledge. Equally important, however, is our willingness to accept the method of delivering the information. Amos 3:7 clearly states that the Lord works through His prophets, and we claim that there are prophets today and that the link between heaven and earth is intact.

Now a third conference talk…. I wish I knew who it was, but I’m not entirely clear on who said it (Elder Hales? I’m not sure.). Whoever said it provided a strong word of warning this last April that our obedience to the words of the prophet would have a direct correlation to our safety, blessings, and spiritual security. It was perhaps the strongest warning I’ve seen on that specific topic, and I’m sure many of us missed the warning when it was offered because the context of the warning didn’t really spark any immediate concerns or recollections. But as I’ve pondered the contents of Article of Faith 9 and the several conference talks, I was struck by the significance of three specific relatively recent events where the prophet gave specific counsel and direction and where we’ve seen failings and successes:

  1. Proposition 8: President Monson and his counselors spoke strongly on this issue over the summer. For most of us, it is still fresh enough that I’ll avoid rehashing the details, but isn’t it interesting that the conference immediately before this event included the opportunity to stand and sustain our prophet? Elder Hales pointed out in his April address that sustaining the prophet is not a vote. It’s not us saying, “Yes, I want him as my prophet.” It’s saying we will hear and obey. Sobering then that there was so much internal conflict for some members of the church.
  2. In October 1998, President Hinckley urged members of the Church to set our houses in order, to save for a rainy day, and to get out of debt. Since that time, we have ridden a financial rollercoaster to unprecedented highs and meteoric collapses. I wonder how many people listened to President Hinckley then? Those who did are certainly more comfortable, happier, and capable than those who didn’t.
  3. But the one that concerns me the most right now is food storage and emergency preparedness. Prophets have warned and spoken on this topic for generations now, and I’ve heard dozens of people say that they need to do something, but until last week, I had never heard anyone say, “I’ve done something.” We all recognize the need. We all admit that it is good and inspired instruction.
    And we haven’t moved.
    Now doesn’t that seem just a little silly?

It comes back to the if questions I wrote about last time. If we believe that God has revealed, does reveal, and will reveal, what are we doing about it? How is this knowledge changing our lives? Are we better for it? What decisions do we make on a daily basis because we believe in revelation?

But most importantly, if we aren’t doing anything, if the knowledge isn’t changing our lives, and if we aren’t better for it, why could/should we hope for more?

My sister-in-law shared a scripture with me once that has become one of my favorites. I read it each time I feel the need to complain, and it serves as a reminder of where my priorities need to lie:

Luke 6:46 And why call me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Good point.

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One Response to Article of Faith 9

  1. Dad says:

    David, one of your cousins voted for proposition 8. His logic: After fasting and prayer he was impressed that it should be passed so he voted for it. My concern: Fasting and prayer to get the Lord’s will “after” the prophet has spoken? I am concerned that this is the mind set of many “active” church members. Once the prophet has spoken, my fasting for answers is only to gain my own personal testimony of what he has said. I have that privilege to know for myself, but I am committed to obey while I gain that knowledge and if I never get it I am still committed to obedience. Only then can I claim the safety and the blessings of following a prophet.

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