Joseph Smith

Truth is truth. It is absolute. I LOVE that about truth. Even if you do not agree with me whenever I express a truth, it doesn’t matter! If it is truth I cannot change it.

We cannot change TRUTH to make it become what we might like it to be. We can attempt to bend, twist and make it convenient or more comfortable for our lifestyle but this still does not make it absolute truth.

TruthIt’s like black and white. Either it is truth or it’s not. I wouldn’t like just a little bit of truth. Been there. Done that. Just a little bit of truth is way too frustrating. I feel stuck. Or confused, I lose sight of the right path.

I’d like it all. Well, as much as I can humanly contain, please!

 

“Opinion? Of course, there is a difference of opinion; but again, opinion cannot change laws or absolute truths. Opinions will never make the earth to be flat, the sun to dim its light, God to die, or the Savior to cease being the Son of God.” Spencer W. Kimball

Truths are discovered. An unschooled four year old may not know that 2 +2 = 4. But it is true, even while he has not yet discovered it.

There was a time when people believed the earth to be flat. Still, this did not change the truth of its spherical shape. Before it was discovered to be so, opinions likely differed, but did not change this solid truth.

Spiritual truths, invisible to our mortal eyes are that much more absolute. Jesus Christ has said, “I am the truth” (John 14:6). That has got to be an absolute truth.

Unchanging. Whole. Perfect.

We are promised that the Holy Ghost- He being Truth will guide us into all truth. On this temporal plane is it possible to know completely absolute truths?

“When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what he hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.” John 16:13

Beginning with the tiniest grain of faith and believing what Jesus Christ has said, is a great start to seeking His guidance. Being led along we are able to increase our own knowledge of the truth little by little. Suddenly one day we shall see plainly that glorious absolute and perfect Truth.

“God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16).

Once Heavenly Father had occasion to shower me with His love and comfort, I went from believing that He is wholly love, to experiencing His all encompassing love filling and overflowing my heart and being until I could not contain it all.

The more times this happened, the more I have been able to learn from, imitate His love and feel a similar warmth, compassion and kindness for others. I am learning to become more like Him according to love.

“For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18:37 (NASB)

Like God’s love, truth works in my life in a similar way.  My first testimony of the true gospel proved to me that the Book of Mormon is true. However, I did not know the absolute complete truth of the restored gospel-yet. It was not fully revealed to me. If it would have been, I suppose my need for faith would have vanished and my progression would have been halted.

“The best way of finding truth is simply to go to the Origin of all truth and ask or respond to inspiration. For success, two ingredients are essential: first, unwavering faith in the Source of all truth; second, a willingness to keep God’s commandments to keep open spiritual communication with Him.”                                Richard G. Scott

Instead, little by little I sought to know and understand more and I learned to ask of the Lord. “The Spirit is truth” (1 John 5:6). He reveals God’s truth when we seek it. I believed that He would reveal His truths, and believed and hoped that He would communicate with me. I was willing to persevere, seeking Him humbly and (sometimes) patiently.

And I had many questions. “Were we truly spiritual beings in the presence of our Heavenly Father before coming to this earth?” “Which is the only true church accepted by Jesus Christ?” “Was this church organized through revelation by the Savior?”

“Was Joseph Smith a true prophet?” “Is Thomas S. Monson the prophet called by the Lord today?” “Is there life after death?”

Some truths were confirmed even without my asking.

 “He has given the key. You may know. You need not be in doubt. Follow the prescribed procedures, and you may have an absolute knowledge that these things are absolute truths.

The necessary procedure is: study, think, pray, and do. Revelation is the key.

God will make it known to you once you have capitulated and have become humble and receptive.

Having dropped all pride of your mental stature, having acknowledged before God your confusion, having subjected your egotism, and having surrendered yourself to the teaching of the Holy Spirit, you are ready to begin to learn. With preconceived religious notions stubbornly held, one is not teachable.

The Lord has promised repeatedly that he will give you a knowledge of spiritual things when you have placed yourself in a proper frame of mind.

He has counseled us to seek, ask, and search diligently. These innumerable promises are epitomized by Moroni in the following: “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (Moroni 10:5)

What a promise! How extravagant! How wonderful!”  Spencer W. Kimball

I love the clarity of truth. I love the feeling of expansion in my heart, in my mind and soul. I thrill that our hearts and minds are created to recognize truth.

If there was no such thing as truth, how could there be a right and a wrong?

I’m grateful for our loving Father in heaven who promises to reveal His truths and faithfully does so in remarkable ways. I know that once a person knows absolutely the truths of the gospel, even upon threat of bodily harm or death, it will not be denied. That perfect assurance is what I love about Truth.

faithI had a brief chat recently, with someone that loves just about everything about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, while rejecting the truth of the restored gospel. “All you need do is kneel in prayer and ask Heavenly Father whether this is the true church”, said I.

The response, “But I don’t believe all that other stuff”, meaning our controvertible history, questionable to the outside world, but truth and glory to the LDS heart.

I accused my chum of having the very little faith necessary, to not even consider approaching God in humble prayer, trusting Him to respond as He has promised each of His children. This episode along with ongoing thoughts and desires has me pondering the meaning of faith.

Not at all am I an expert. I am aware of the breadth of this topic and do not even promise to make a dent in its meaning.

Faith. This small word carries the weight of potential huge impact on the lives of mortals and is especially meaningful for our eternal destiny.

When you hear the word faith what comes to your mind? Today, I’d like to share one way I see it.

Picture a ruler.  Let’s make it a scale of one to ten. And let’s begin at where the majority of humankind seems to be. Now, please do remember, this is faith according to Lily…it is not gospel! It’s one concept to ponder in our spare time. 🙂

Where would you say the majority of people fit on a scale of faith? Where are you on this scale?

For fun here is my scale:

1.  Never having heard the gospel, still, most folks believe in something, -science, evolution, philosophies, etc-we’ll give them a one. “Live and let live” is their motto.

“By faith the harlot Rehab perished not with them that believed not” Hebrews 11:31

2.  These believe in Jesus Christ. Might not attend or associate with any church, but they do know of Him.

3.  These believe in Jesus Christ, are members of some church but do not know or follow all of His commandments. They have faith, but do they believe Him and all His words? Do they seek to know more from Him? Do they expect to hear from Him?

“Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

4.  Let’s place believers of the atonement of Jesus Christ, the gift of the Holy Ghost  and members of the true gospel at this level.

“By faith Moses…refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter…choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season…esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt…by faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king” Hebrews 11:24-27

5.  These are members of the true gospel. However obeying commandments is not high on their list of priorities.

“Through faith (Moses) kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them” Hebrews 11:28

6.  These people believe the true gospel and live to obey the commandments of the Lord.

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down” Hebrews 11:30

7.  Attention to prayer, communication with God and a relationship with Christ is important to this group.

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts”        Hebrews 11:4

8.  These diligently seek God. Desire to hear from Him. Sacrifice and serve when called upon. They are tested and face trials with His divine help.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went…For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Hebrews 11:8-11

9.  These faithful follow directions and build an ark. That is, they have enough faith to accept their God given assignment.

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet…prepared an ark to the saving of his house” Hebrews 11:7

10.  These champions offer up all that they have.

“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac…his only begotten son” Hebrews 11:17

The following inspiring thoughts are written by Michael T. Ringwood of the Seventy in January’s Ensign, page 56 :

“Let’s look at Joseph Smith as an example of faith and of demonstrating the particles of desire, belief, and hope.

Joseph wanted to find the true Church of Jesus Christ. His desire was so strong that it led him to the scriptures, where he read, “if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:5) He thought about this scripture. He desired to have wisdom, and he believed that he would receive it if he asked God. He did the only logical thing: he prayed and asked God.

Now think about this for a minute. Joseph had the desire to know the truth. He believed the words of James. He hoped for an answer. But if he had stopped there, we would not be here today. Exercising faith meant he had to enter the grove and pray.

I believe that when Joseph went into the grove to pray, he expected to walk out with an answer. He might not have expected to see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, but he did expect an answer. What a great example of faith! He had desire, he believed, he hoped and he took action.

The faith of a 14 year old boy changed the world. Because of Joseph’s prayer in the Sacred Grove, the heavens were opened and God spoke again …”

 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1

So…what do you think of my list? Missing anything?

When you hear the word ‘faith’ what comes to your mind?

What does ‘faith’ look like in your life?

 

Walking briskly, I stopped abruptly to stare at a lone tree. Not a thing unusual about it-not distinctly beautiful or breathtaking.

Passing it by for years, I had never noticed it before. However, this day there was something different about it.  It must have been the way the sun was shining on it.

Curious, I crossed the road to inspect it. It had berries! And as I got closer, I could see their powdery blue prolific little orbs.

I stared, contemplating. What kind of a tree produces this blue fruit? I wondered what value there is in its fruit. I believe everything created by God serves some purpose.

There the tree stands; doing what it was created best to do. Given life and light, it stands alone. It just is. Facing each storm that lambastes it. Growing stronger. Straighter. Enduring. Year after year.

Not attracting much attention. Unnoticed by the casual observer, it seems apparently not good for much. Yet in season and when the time is ripe, it produces the fruit that it was meant to produce.

The Lord…will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” Isaiah 51:3

How very much like Heavenly Father’s children.

Have you ever found yourself feeling totally alone? Like that lone tree. What was your wilderness? A widower? Are you a single mom?  Grieving orphan? A virtuous teen making choices that alienate you from the vast majority? Terminal illness?  A student?

Or ‘other’, presently? The rest of the world races by unaware of you.  You may linger in your wilderness 30 days, a year, 40 years, or for a night.

“God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.” Deuteronomy 8:2

I don’t know about you; however I do not have a desire to experience the wilderness. But you know, sometimes we don’t have a choice. If we don’t choose the wilderness, it may be brought to us. Then it may be that we must stand in the Light, face the storms and strive to grow stronger.  And straighter.

Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it…ye shall know them by their fruits…every good tree bringeth forth good fruit…by their fruits ye shall know them” Matthew 7:14-20

Numerous souls have spent time in the wilderness. Think of those people you admire and long to understand, know or emulate. Among these, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, the prophet Joseph Smith, and not least, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Each was familiar with the feeling of being alone. Each stepped out of pace apart from the rest of the world.

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness” Matthew 4:1

Each stood alone and is now known to us because she/he produced the fruit that served and blessed countless lives. Some temporally. Some spiritually. ONE eternally. Each learned their life’s purpose or mission and served her/his brothers and sisters as best they could-at home, in the community, abroad or universally.

By the way, superior to any other person, Jesus Christ still stands-at the right hand of our Father in heaven. Countless pay Him no mind at all. Millions upon millions pass Him by year after year never heeding His direction and not at all interested in seeking His truths.

“There shall be no other name  given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” Mosiah 3:17

To the casual observer He may not be recognized for Who He is. Today, resurrected and alive, He continues to serve and work in our behalf. He leads His true church in these latter days.

The power of His atoning sacrifice continues to bear fruit in obvious ways. Yet in season and when the time is ripe, He promises to produce and will bear fruit in ways that we cannot yet comprehend or imagine.

Have you found yourself feeling totally alone? What is the fruit you are meant to bear?