"For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light..."
February 7, 2008

One Reason Why Truth Hurts

Like Jesus, a lot of prophets were put to death for testifying of the truth. What is it about the truth that so provokes a society that it starts killing people? My answer is that a particular truth caused this violent reaction — for Jesus and the prophets alike. It wasn’t just the everyday little truths that teach you to be good. Rather, the truth which Jesus and the prophets testified ran completely counter to the teachings of the day — religious teachings, that is.

People get fanatical over religion. When evils in society cause the lights to go out, religion inevitably changes into a superficial version of the truth once it is promoted. Its perception of God becomes virtually that of a false god, and people, unaware of this mutation, are offended by the real thing….

…It is no wonder, then, that tensions should arise between….those who may be living side by side in the same world but who have completely different philosophies of life. Babylon deals with this tension by tormenting and persecuting those higher than itself, attempting to justify itself in the face of its own inherent failings. In that way, it momentarily alleviates feelings of guilt and paranoia… (Avraham Gileadi, Isaiah Decoded, pp. 1, 71-72)

February 5, 2008

How Key Is the Atonement?

Now let us suppose a modern-day case. Suppose we have the scriptures, the gospel, the priesthood, the Church, the ordinances, the organization, even the keys of the kingdom — everything that now is down to the last jot and tittle — and yet there is no atonement of Christ. What then? Can we be saved? Will all our good works save us? Will we be rewarded for all our righteousness?

Most assuredly we will not. We are not saved by works alone, no matter how good; we are saved because God sent his Son to shed his blood in Gethsemane and on Calvary that all through him might ransomed be. We are saved by the blood of Christ.

To paraphrase Abinadi: “Salvation doth not come by the Church alone: and were it not for the atonement, given by the grace of God as a free gift, all men must unavoidably perish, and this notwithstanding the Church and all that pertains to it.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Promised Messiah, p. 416)

February 3, 2008

The Renewing Holy Ghost

Water baptism is only a preparatory cleansing of the believing penitent…whereas, the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost cleanses more thoroughly, by renewing the inner man, and by purifying the affectations, desires, and thoughts which have long been habituated in the impure ways of sin.  Without the aid of the Holy Ghost, a person would have but little power to change his mind, at once, from its habituated course, and to walk in newness of life…So great is the force of habit, that he would, without being renewed by the Holy Ghost, be easily overcome, and contaminated again with sin.  Hence, it is infinitely important that the affections and desires should be, in a measure, changed and renewed, so as to cause him to hate that which he before loved, and to love that which he before hated.  To thus renew the mind of man is the work of the Holy Ghost.  (Orson Pratt, “The Holy Spirit,” in Writings of an Apostle, pp. 56-57

Conversion

Being converted…and having a testimony are not necessarily the same thing…A testimony comes when the Holy Ghost gives the earnest seeker a witness of the truth.  A moving testimony vitalizes faith; that is, it induces repentance and obedience to the commandments.  Conversion, on the other hand, is the fruit of, or the reward for, repentance and obedience…Conversion is effected by divine forgiveness, which remits sins…Thus he is converted to a newness of life.  His spirit is healed.  (Marion G. Romney, in Conference report, October 1963, p. 24)