Saturday, May 22, 2010

Infallability's One-way street

[This is about foundational, indispensable, bed-rock doctrines involved in salvation.  It is not about trifling changes which can come and go at any time.  I'm talking about the big stuff, in the big picture, which will make-or-break salvation itself.]
Here's the destructive course that inevitably follows from the notion that the President of the church cannot lead us astray when foundational changes are made to the doctrine - we can only subtract from our body of principles.  We never can add back what we have subtracted.
To illustrate the one-way street problem you need only look at the changes to the endowment. The endowment is considered indispensable for exaltation and therefore part of the required, correct, bed-rock doctrines.  In 1990 it was changed to drop a character, eliminate dialogue, alter the manner of covenant-making and delete things considered distasteful.  I will not discuss details, although others have and you can find them if you look.  That isn't important to understanding the problem.  It is only necessary to know some things were deleted.
Suppose that in 2015 there was a consensus that the deletions were wrong and should be returned.  If you were to attempt to return them into the endowment, you would immediately raise these questions:
-Do all church members who received their endowment between 1990 and 2015 have to do them over again?
-Do all the vicarious ordinances performed on behalf of the dead between 1990 and 2015 have to be redone?
-If not, then why would a change be made, since it isn't necessary to redo the work already done?
Now suppose that you reach a satisfactory resolution to these questions, and as a result you change back and redo ordinances -immediately critics and others then raise these questions:
-Why did they change them if it was wrong to do so?
-How could they have been "inspired" if they made a mistake?
-Does this mean that the President wasn't a prophet; or, worse, a false prophet when he made this mistake?
-How can we ever trust the President again?
So, even if there were a consensus, a change that returns what was subtracted would be such a set-back to the institution that it could never be seriously entertained.  It could not happen without shaking the very foundation of the premise (inerrancy of the President) upon which correlation relies to control the church.
It would take a very different group of people, having a much higher tolerance for changes, and a greater capacity to tolerate human failings, before it would be possible to add back what has once been deliberately subtracted.  Such a radically different kind of Saint is unlikely to be produced without some rather dramatic changes to the population.  Of course, dramatic changes are what the Lord has always told us will come as a part of preparing the earth for His return.  (He calls it "calamity" in D&C 1: 17.)
Now I've used the endowment to illustrate the point, but the same principle works across the board with any bedrock policy, ordinance or teaching which has been deliberately discarded or adopted in place of something else by the church.  Once it has been set into place by the correlation process, it is put into concrete and cannot be moved without demolition.  Therefore, if we have made any mistake, discarded anything we should have retained, or neglected or opposed any teaching which the Lord wanted us to keep, He will use demolition to prepare us to receive it back again.  We can only subtract.  Fortunately for us, a caring God can (and will) add upon us still.  'Gotta break some concrete first, of course.  But He cares enough to do that.  (Psalms 94: 14.)  He's determined that we are to be added upon.  (Abraham 3: 26.)  Even when we prefer subtraction to addition.


  1. I believe that the Prophets are now only delivering the Gospel on a 'Law of Moses' & 'Terrestrial level' for the members of Church. For it appears that, as prophesied, everyone in the Church except a few, have gone astray & become decieved to support or do evil. They have rejected the high law & cannot handle it anymore without becoming upset when they hear it.

    So since most members are not able to handle the high Celestial law anymore, the Prophet's are giving them a lesser law, that won't get them Exaltation, but at least they can earn a Terrestrial Level which is better than Telestial. For if you continue to preach a Celestial Law to weak people who don't want it they usually react to such hard doctrines by becoming a Telestial people.

    So I see the changes in the way things are done & taught in the Temple or in General Conference, etc, as the wisdom of the Lord through his Prophets. For I believe Heavenly Father wanted members to keep coming to Church & even the temple, in hopes of helping them repent & become stronger again for more, instead of becoming offended them with more than they could handle & thus driving them away completely, even if that lesser law would not Exalt them now.

    The 'Terrestrial level law' seems to be as much as most all members today they are willing to live & earn. In fact, many, & hopefully not most members are even living a Telestial Level.

    How in the world could Heavenly Father have kept preaching a Celesial level to such people, without dividing wheat & the tares sooner than he wanted to?

    Heavenly Father usually lets us have just what we want, whether good or bad. He knows most people will only learn by sad experience instead of high principles.

    But those few who still want to strive to live the high Celestial Laws can do so & it's all still in effect, even the things pertaining to the Temple. The Spirit will tell them everything the Prophets & Temple leave out. The Prophets have always only said half of a doctrine anyway, we always have had to get the other half of a doctrine from the Spirit. Without both, the Prophets & the Holy Spirit as our guide we will always be deceived & fall.

    One could follow the Prophet around 24/7 & study his every word & all the scriptures day & night & still be easily deceived, if that person does not also have the Spirit for clarification on how to interpret the words of the Prophets correctly.

    Nothing has been lost for those who seek the Celestial. It is all still there for those who want to live & understand it all.

  2. The powers that women held in the early church, some of which were given in the temple and others of which were in the wholly autonomous Relief Society organization, have been eroded, denigrated and even mocked. I believe that God is grieved when those in power, because of their own weaknesses and prejudices, place one half of His children under a restriction so wholly indefensible.

    But Denver is right---once gone, these will not be returned by the organization. However, individual women can and should approach God and seek those powers which He has promised us.

  3. A friend of mine who is far better educated than I on church history told me that at some point in church history the actual laying on of hands to receive the priesthood went out of practice. Then about 30 (?) years later one of the prophets thought this a mistake and reinstated the practice.
    If this is true, my first question was just what you proposed; did that mean during the 30 years where there was no laying on of hands that those men did not receive the priesthood, and if not, what about that whole generation? Even when it was reinstated, those receiving the ordination would be at the hands of those who didn't hold it??
    It seems this would cause a serious loss of true priesthood power and authority?
    Not sure if it's true but is a bit disturbing to me.

  4. Was indispensable doctrine removed from the endowment in 1990?
    Can you give us other examples of indispensable doctrine that is currently lost?
    Surely, this topic is important enough that it deserves elaboration.

  5. It is not for me to say.

    I'm only raising an issue and illustrating a point by using an example. It is up to each person to learn for themselves, by conversing with the Lord through the veil directly and learning for themselves what He would have them know and do. And I've written a book that provides that guidance.

    The process is more important than the answer, as I have already explained. It is through the process that you learn what you need directly from God. And when you learn from God you have salvation.

  6. 1. In general, I think history and the scriptures show that the trend and causes of losing the gospel and slipping into apostasy is led by the general membership of the church, not by its leaders. Usually the leaders are all but jumping up and down shouting at the people to mend their ways.

    The 2 "outside voices" that are generally mentioned are Samuel the Lamanite and Abanadi, neither of which took it upon themselves to baptize people and form their own church. In Samuel's case, Nephi and Lehi were also active in prophesying and calling the people to repentance at the time, and had charge over the church. Those who hearkened to Samuel's warnings didn't chase him down in the wilderness, they sought out Nephi for baptism.

    Even Alma and his people, who formed after the preaching of Abinadi, weren't totally outside the operation of the main church, when Alma and his people returned to Zarahemla, it was King Mosiah (the recognized spiritual leader) who gave Alma charge over the Church in that land.

    2. All is not well in Zion. I believe we live far below our privileges in the influence of the Spirit, etc. I also find that complacency and indifference are much more prevalent attitudes among church members than a blind obedience to leaders. Of course there is a perhaps vocal minority that tends toward the fallible side, especially for the Pres. of the Church, but I don't think this attitude is as common as complacency. Again, I see this as a failing in the membership more than the leadership at this point.

    3. One of the best evidences that the Gospel has not been irretrievably lost to this generation is the fact that its teachings, programs, temples, priesthood, etc. led Denver to the ultimate earthy experience of a believer of Christ, and continues to lead and prepare those who seek such an experience. As far as I know, section 93 hasn't been revoked, the promise is still on those who will believe and follow.

    As I mentioned in another post, Bruce McConkie reemphasized that the charge to seek a personal visit from the Savior is binding on the Twelve, and extends to every member of the Church. His son Joseph McConkie, who I was able to take many classes from at BYU and in other venues, regularly read Section 93 and emphasized that this is something we can expect in this life if we are faithful, not just the next. So whether or not it is emphasized in conference or not (which is increasingly directed to recent converts), it still belongs to our beliefs.

    4. Organizationally, I think the Church is still struggling to figure out how to manage a church that is quickly having to cater a very large, very diverse membership. Its only in the last few decades that General Conference was available live in more than a few languages. Changes come carefully and deliberately and, therefore, slowly. (How scouting is still around still amazes me, but I believe it reflects preferences of leaders, but its replacement is already being prepared, imo.) I think sometimes the need to course corrections and changes outstrips the organizations ability to cope. Take just the requirements for language translation, and you can quickly see how long some things can take. As an example, I was a missionary in Hungary and despite the much criticized correlation program, the translation of the Doctrine and Covenants we had available at the time was full of errors and very poor translation choices. Just getting the basics of the gospel to the borders of the church presents a really major challenge.

    5. I rejoice in additions (ok, except for the amount of meetings). I'd love to have portions of the old endowment restored, it wouldn't bother me any and I don't think I'd think twice about whether changes impact my own endowment. I take my Covenants seriously, but the endowment is a teaching program, and can be adapted to the needs of the people. Plus, as you have said, its practice anyway.

  7. What relationship is there between this changing or subtracting of the temple ordinance, and Isaiah
    5-The earth is also defieled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, CHANGED THE ORDINANCE, broken the everlasting covenant.
    6-Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.

    I read this and am feeling rather alarmed at the implications, as Isaiah is clearly talking about us! Any thoughts on this, Denver or anyone?

  8. I say we have transgressed many celestial laws originally restored to us. As Denver says, you have to find out for yourselves... read your church history and scriptures in fine detail. We covenant to be a Zion people and to build Zion, a place the Lord can come to and from, a place where we are living the laws and orders that Gods live. We were suppposed to be creating enough celestial saints with the gifts and powers that would transform the world into a better place. It's rather hard to do that when we a barely living a terrestial law.

    On the endowment changes, much knowledge and understanding is deleted... but I think an inquiring mind could find out what they were pretty easy. Denver had his before 1990 and probably 1978. But even with change... just because the institution changes, we are still individually able and responsible to make our connection with heaven. Just means you have to dig deeper and learn on your own to visit with the Lord. Don't forget, that the Lord can prepare you for the fulness of the Father.

  9. Me-thinks you might also be hinting at Plural Marriage.

    We still have Isaiah 4:1

    that has to come about while we are being purified to prepare us to become at least a telestial people to ready ourselves for the Bridegroom. Monogamous marriage is a perfecting institution for a man and a woman. I am just guessing that the multiplication of the perfection increases with each spouse..... Principles of stewardship, charity and living as God lives.

  10. We need to worry (as Denver reminds us) to NOT let ceremony and office take the place of revelation and gifts of the Spirit.


What Say You?