For new readers, I want to clarify the methods used in this blog. Comments are for me to read. If they raise a question needing a response, they provoke a response. They are not for dialogue.
New readers can go back to the beginning of the blog and read through the comments when they were posted and included. Whether critical or supportive, they were all put up. The results were distracting, and hindered my intentions. The debates and distractions ultimately proved to be too much, and comments were eliminated altogether.
We recently turned the comment feature back on, NOT to publish comments, but so readers could make comments that I would read. I do read all comments that come in, but they are never posted on the blog, and they won't ever be posted on the blog. If you are anxious to comment, debate, criticize or offer your own opinions you are welcome to do so. Use the Internet and put whatever you want up for the world to read. This is not the entire universe of opportunity to discuss. It is a small, privately written, publicly viewable blog written to explain what I think important.
Some topics are impossible to explain in this medium. They require much more. As a result there are either books or essays that deal with those topics.
I am interested in doctrine. When I write about history, it is in the context of explaining doctrine. I do not attempt to give a complete history of the restoration. I focus only on those examples taken from our history which illustrate doctrine, or the transition from one understanding of a doctrinal matter early in the restoration to how the understanding of the doctrine has changed. I provide a guideline or outline, and leave it for historians to work out the details. Almost everything I have written about history has been skeletal, and would require many more words to finish the picture. But once the outlines have been set, any historian can work to fill in the missing details. In my view, what is needed is a new outline. To me, this is for the sole purpose of understanding doctrine.
In Brigham Young's Telestial Kingdom, as in Passing the Heavenly Gift, if you read it as an exposition about doctrine you will find it more helpful than if you read it merely as history. Nephi explained his method, which was to use examples from history to preserve the truth. (1 Ne. 19: 3-6.) I focus on the doctrine, or sacred teachings in an effort to preserve the memory of the Lord's original dealings as they relate to the restoration. This will allow those who are interested in understanding the restoration to see again the missing elements.
It is not my desire to debate anyone. I've not been asked by the Lord to do that. I'm also not interested in obtaining a following, undermining the church authorities, or to create unease among faithful Latter-day Saints--which I consider myself. What I write is for the sole purpose of preserving what was restored. To do that, like Nephi, it is necessary to touch upon excerpts from our history.
There is no reason for you to read this blog if it upsets or offends you. There are many, many other blogs, books, entertainers, authors and resources where your views can be reinforced.
Next week will be spent dealing with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, and the different statements made by Joseph Smith on these topics. It was introduced in two posts last Thursday and Friday. That will continue next week. If it interests you, read it. If not, don't. But there will be no debate. I am not interested in contention.
Finally, my purpose is very limited. I want to discharge an obligation, not entertain. When judged by my words and works, I wish the Lord to vindicate me for having said what needed to be said, rather than to be praised by others. I appreciate contrary views, but that is all. Criticism can help me understand someone's confusion or opposition, and I read it with that in mind. But if the criticism is merely intended to say there is another way to understand our history and doctrine, then I readily concede much of what I write is different and out of sync with popular opinion in the church today. The mainstream is where I began. I have read and was persuaded by the doctrinal work of President Joseph Fielding Smith and his son-in-law Bruce R. McConkie's. I was uber-orthodox in the beginning. I continue to read what is put into print by the Brethren. I am an admirer of Boyd K. Packer. I understand the mainstream arguments and teachings, and keep myself informed by them continually. I attend church every week, read the Ensign and Church News, and speak often with people in positions of authority as well as employees inside the Church Office Building. I am as "active" as any faithful Latter-day Saint. I am as informed as you are about any recent talks, issues or concerns propounded by the church. I have an obligation to keep and that is what I work to accomplish.
Finally, I am not concerned about reputation or praise. No one need defend me. If I cared about looking good in the eyes of others, I could never have been trusted by the Lord. Long ago I left that on the altar. Therefore, if I have no need to defend myself from criticism, you need not take up that cause.
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