Sunday, June 25, 2017

California, Gospel Conversation and a Simple Perspective

My son invited me to take a trip with him and some of his friends and associates to ride bikes and motorhome down the coast of California from Monterey to San Diego. We rode about 200 miles on our bikes at various stages, doing one hundred miles on Friday and enjoyed scenic areas with a few arduous climbs for the 3 days.  

Paul's invitation was happy Father's Day, come and do this. It was quality time away from the pressing concerns of our busy lives.  I ended my adventure in Redondo Beach with Chip picking me up to spend the afternoon with him and Stephanie and the grandkids.  Boyd also stopped by.

We decided to go to dinner on our way to drop me off at the airport as Chip and Steph had already planned their date.  Before leaving Chip and I went to get a pizza for the kids.

I launched into the somewhat extended version of the dialogue that goes on in my head regarding my observations about the criticism of the church and the belief systems available to us. I told him that my understanding the gospel was simple and and filtering out the nonsense and criticisms of the church was easy.

At the end of my monologue Chip simply said that believing In the church and gospel as established by the prophet Joseph Smith was even easier to understand.  "Living the teachings of the church makes me happy and his family life good.  Happiness is the result of keeping the covenants that are administered by the church."  They are after all the teachings and pure gospel of Jesus Christ.

My dialogue was as follows.

First I have received a personal witness by direct revelation. The Holy Ghost has born an undeniable witness to me that God called a prophet, Joseph Smith. Millions of others attest to this process of a personal witness as well. The clarity of this path of truth continues to became ever more apparent to me as I live it and my son agrees as do my other seven children. 

By virtue of the message of the Book of Mormon I see the unique relationship of a prophetic ministry demonstrated by the prophet's life. I also find it as reassuring as anything I know that family relationships are eternal and marriage is not until death do you part.

The book and this teaching is a distinguishable witness and doctrine among all other witnesses and testaments in the earth. The confusion and division that exists in sectarian bible scholarship and the orthodox mainstream religions is easily observed.  The the one factor they hold in common, the idea of a triune incorporeal god, a trinity of beings in single deity does not unite their theologies or activities.

The churches and religions from Catholic to Protestants,(who in a sense are just Anti-Catholics) and Evangelicals Anti-Protestant and Anti-Catholic) all believe in the same basic definition of God. How is it that many of them also criticize each other for the way they preach their respective gospels? 

I have found that religious individuals, many of our friends simply adapt whatever they have been taught into their own religious philosophy and attend church for fellowship and ignore any doctrinal confusion. 

None of the teachers or administrators of these organized doctrines are or claim to be prophets.  They claim to be scholars, philosophers and clergy by education and ministers by a personal feeling that they should do it.  While worthwhile and noble it is not an authoritative calling from God.

The only concept that even begins to make sense is a restoration of authority and truth as the prophet claimed happened.  Did he make it up?  Based on what I have observed, not a chance.  It is divine and from God.

The prophet Joseph Smith claimed none of their credentials, only to be a prophet called by God to restore a fullness of truth and a church that would precede and prepare the world for the second coming of Jesus Christ. The fruits of his calling are evident.  

Christ invites those that desire to minister and all people to come into his church, to join his priesthood authority and the covenants administered by it.  There is a steady and growing result of goodness in the lives of people that incorporate the doctrines of the restored gospel he taught into their lives.

It is easy for me to see that the religious philosophies of organized sectarians and non-Christian sects are driven by the temporary purposes of men and not by the eternal purposes of God. Some ministers do a very good and noble work of ministering to those in need and others taking advantage of the gullible nature of humans.   

I said it was easy to see that Joseph has acquainted us with our Eternal Father and the eternal family. Can God be a single parent?  Would not motherhood be eternal as well and ordained in the heavens? Because of it fatherhood exists.  They are inseparable.  The image of God is male and female not a single genderless being. We understand clearly the relationships of intimacy, love and creation of family units based on an eternal pattern.

The philosophies of men called the precept of eternal marriage and heavenly parents that are corporeal in nature as blasphemous and they do this because their philosophies cannot stand in the light of truth.  

The critics of the Church of Jesus Christ as well are philosophers, islands of self appointment, judging the church from misguided perspectives, standing on a foundation of sand, waiting to be swept away with the tides of time.  They have their arguments based on their faulty perceptions and biases.  They lead to nowhere. They have no plan of salvation to offer.  They offer a dark mind and an empty life.

Is God's gift an eternal realm, a never ending kingdom of celestial glory,  the exaltation of husband and wife and the continuation of the family?  Or is the promise of life eternal an abandonment of family bonds, defaulting to an unnamed status of genderless existence to sit in a state of eternal complacency as told by the doctrines of men and their religious dogmas?