Faith (part 02)
I have received some input pertaining to Faith (part 01). It seems that I should probably give a little bit more information about the 1835 edition (Kirtland Edition) of the Doctrine and Covenants.
DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS 1835 EDITION
- These images are screenshots from the Joseph Smith Papers project. Here is the home page.
- Here is a link directly to the preface of the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.
If you follow those links you might notice that you are able to see a menu view (bookmarks) of the document on the far left of the document navigation menu. For some reason this method of navigation does not bring you to the first page of the document. The menu seems to be limited to the “Covenants” or the “second part” of the document. (quite possibly user error) Notice the web address ends with an “83″ if you navigate using the first bookmark. You can get to the first page using the arrows or change the “83″ in the web address to a “1″.
THE JOSEPH SMITH PAPERS PROJECT
Here is a link to their frequently asked questions page. Basically the project is an effort to gather together Joseph Smith documents and provide textual and contextual annotation and transcripts of those documents. The project is presented through “The Church Historian’s Press” which is an imprint of the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
For those who do not have their own version of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants or a compilation of the Lectures of Faith, you can use this source to verify quotes and passages attributed to the lectures. If you would like your own copy of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, I have seen them on amazon.com but usually as a compilation containing other early editions of the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price and the hymns. I believe I bought my copy by itself from Herald House. It is a replica.
If there are more comments, concerns or questions, please let me know. If I have not expressed these principles clearly I will gladly try to clarify or expound where I am able. I value critical input and questions. My desire is for us to partake of the fruit, gain knowledge and be brought into His presence. I feel that if I am holding a belief that is in error, it is harmful to my progression. By receiving questions or critiques I am allowed the opportunity to further study and examine my beliefs. I consider this a healthy practice. Pondering is necessary to our progression. Perhaps the Lord affords us other peoples comments to cause us to ponder? I value that. Please keep responding as you wish.
With that, lets get back to “faith”.
FAITH & PROPHETS
If you remember, we previously looked at a principle of all God’s children being prophets. (Numbers 11:29) This principle finds its way here.
In the winter of 1834-35 in Kirtland, there were several lectures given to a class of elders. This class was called the “School of the Prophets”. It was not the only one. Nor was it limited to that name alone. Sometimes it is referred to as “the school of the elders”. Sometimes, “school for the prophets”. In that school participants were taught from prepared lectures. Those lectures (or at least some of them) are the “Lectures on Faith”.
We are all to be prophets and to progress in further light and knowledge, we will use some of the same material presented in that school… the school of the prophets. I believe Joseph felt as Moses, “would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets”. One reason I believe this is because Joseph published and distributed to even the least of the saints the very material used in “the school of the prophets”. Another reason I believe this is because of a principle found in D&C 84.
All this talk about the 1835 edition, I should probably note that section 84 of our current edition is not the same section number as in the first edition. The organization of the sections has changed over time. I will not be using references to the “covenants” portion of the 1835 edition. All the references are congruent with the organization of the current “covenants” book.
In the first half of section 84 we read about Moses trying to teach the children of Israel principles “that they might behold the face of God”. (D&C 84:23) Unfortunately they did not receive the principles.
But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory. (D&C 84:24)
The result was eventually losing what had been offered. What was the attitude that is equivalent to them “harden[ing] their hearts”?
And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. (Exodus 20:19)
These people would rather build idols. Do we?
These people would rather have a spokesmen. Do we?
These people placed their prophet far above them, so much so that they felt they would die if they found themselves in the shoes (sandals?) of Moses. Do we?
What did Moses think of himself? For one thing, he was aware “that man is nothing”. (Moses 1:10) There was a time when Moses was “afraid to look upon God”. (Exodus 3:6) Perhaps Moses didn’t place himself so high as to be above the children of Israel?
And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? (Exodus 3:11)
If you look for it, in many cases, if not all, those we call prophets in the scriptures make it clear that leadership is not what makes a prophet. The pattern is something else entirely. As we can see with Joseph Smith. Desire is there. Belief is there. Faith is there. Ultimately knowledge would come.
We are all to know. This is life eternal.
PRINCIPLE OF ACTION
Faith is a major component of this pattern and can not be ignored. Faith is the “principle of action in all intelligent beings”. (LoF 1:9)
Were this class to go back and reflect upon the history of their lives, from the period of their first recollection, and ask themselves, what principle excited them to action, or what gave them energy and activity, in all their lawful avocations, callings and pursuits, what would be the answer? Would it not be that it was the assurance which we had of the existence of things which we had not seen, as yet? Was it not the hope which you had, in consequence of your belief in the existence of unseen things, which stimulated you to action and exertion, in order to obtain them? Are you not dependent on your faith, or belief, for the acquisition of all knowledge, wisdom and intelligence? Would you exert yourselves to obtain wisdom and intelligence, unless you did believe that you could obtain them? Would you have ever sown if you had not believed that you would reap? Would you have ever planted if you had not believed that you would gather? Would you have ever asked unless you had believed that you would receive? Would you have ever sought unless you had believed that you would have found? Or would you have ever knocked unless you had believed that it would have been opened unto you?…” (LoF 1:11)
The original document does not contain highlights or emphases. I added those to pull out a few concepts.
- assurance of the existence of things which had not been seen
- consequence of belief
- action and exertion
- knowledge, wisdom and intelligence is dependent on faith and belief.
Here are a few scriptures that relate to this excerpt:
If you feel so inclined, ponder on that list of scriptures and see how it applies to the LoF 1:11 quote. See if you can find your own list of scriptures that could accompany that excerpt.
For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith. (Ether 12:12)
And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true. (Alma 32:21)
Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. (3 Nephi 14:7-8)
Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward. (D&C 6:33)
Next: Faith (part 03)