If Any Lack Wisdom
The previous post (God) had a few questions but did not offer many answers in regards to those questions. This can lead to frustration and confusion, especially when we consider the nature of God and the Godhead. We should find some peace though. Joseph outlines the necessary attributes we should be familiar with. Joseph says that they “lay a sure foundation for the exercise of faith in him [God] unto life and salvation”. So, even if we have a list of other characteristics in our mind that sometimes seem to contradict what is revealed in the LoF, we can take the list contained in the LoF and base our belief from those. As we act according to that belief, and if the belief is true, we will be exercising faith. This faith will lead to knowledge.
In this message I think it might be of worth for us to look at a few scriptures and see if they make us uncomfortable. If we experience a discomfort, I think we should ask ourselves “why” and then we should “ask of God” who “giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not“. (James 1:5) We will ask “why”, because we lack wisdom. We “seek further light and knowledge” and what better way to know what the “prophets” knew than by asking what the “prophets” asked. Surely they asked questions. (JSH 1:18) Often times these questions lead to conversation with the Lord and the Lord might start asking you questions. (Ether 2:23, Enos 1:7-8)
For now, we should not be disabled by our discouragement in not understanding. We should acknowledge it. We should be humbled by it. Humility is a gift we can receive with thanksgiving and meekness or through humiliation and pain. Let us choose meekness…and express our gratitude for it.
Also, keep in mind that The Brother of Jared didn’t have a complete understanding of the attributes of God. But, he believed what was necessary. Also, remember that those who regularly walked and talked with Jesus during his mortal ministry didn’t comprehend the nature of God either:
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. (John 14:6-11)
Any points of those verses that contradict our current understanding, we tend to disregard to faulty translation. But we shouldn’t be so quick to cast aside presumed falsehoods because of our fears. We should honestly, sincerely and diligently seek for truth. If the spirit testifies of the truth, it doesn’t matter where it comes from. So, before we cast off that verse, lets look further. Is there a trusted source that can collaborate the points of doctrine we might shy away from that are contained in John 14:6-11?
There is! Lucky us. This should give us something to ponder.
And the Father and I are one. I am in the Father and the Father in me; and inasmuch as ye have received me, ye are in me and I in you. (D&C 50:43)
Wow! So the first part of that verse confirms what might make us uncomfortable from John 14 but then it goes further and adds an exclamation to the principle by drawing you into the equation. “ye are IN ME and I IN YOU.”
We can dismiss that with the use of our wild-cards but before we talk about wild-cards, check out 45 and 46. Awesome – right!? Don’t dismiss this. Believe him. Don’t just believe IN him…but believe him. In John 14:11 Jesus even pleads with Philip. Can you hear him? “Believe me…” He whispers even the same to you. And the promise is amazing to those who hear.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:27)
Now, there is a scripture in John we like. See, we sometimes pick and choose which scripture we believe is inspired and of God. Sometimes we don’t use the spirit to identify such inspiration. We use faulty methods like if it builds us up and gives credit to our life style and habits, we gladly embrace the verse as scripture. But if it seems to contradict our “doctrine” or traditions we have an easy wild-card to dismiss any words as false. Actually, we have a few wild-cards. One of those is the frequently referenced apostasy with an accompanying Nicene Creed. The other is “a living prophet trumps a dead prophet”. We wont get into the issues that substantiate or discredit each wild-card, but we should acknowledge that we sometimes use them when they are not warranted.
In the above illustrated case, we found that if we were to dismiss John 14:6-11 as merely a mis-translation we might have missed out on an amazing truth. That truth being “ye are in me and I in you”. (D&C 50:43)
Speaking of D&C 50:43, did you look at 45 and 46? If you didn’t, it is to good to miss and worth repeating here:
And the day cometh that you shall hear my voice and see me, and know that I am. Watch, therefore, that ye may be ready… (D&C 50:45-46)
Do we believe that promise of seeing him is for the next life? If it is, why does he admonish us to “watch” so that we will “be ready”. I know the promise is for this life. That is why he uses words that apply in life, not in death.
Let’s look at another topic, this time we will only use “modern revelation”. How about the Holy Ghost, or sometimes called the Holy Spirit. Are we sure they are the same thing?
And now I, Nephi, cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.
But behold, there are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit, that it hath no place in them; wherefore, they cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught. (2 Nephi 33:1)
At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to think Nephi didn’t just switch up the name. But maybe he switched the name for a reason. Is there anything in a trusted source that collaborates this idea?
The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us. (D&C 130:22)
So the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit.
Q. How many personages are there in the Godhead?
A. Two: the Father and the Son (LoF 5)
So there are only two personages and the Holy Ghost isn’t one of them. But what about the Godhead? Isn’t the Holy Ghost apart of the Godhead?
Q. Do the Father, Son and Holy Spirit constitute the Godhead?
A. They do. (LoF 5)
It doesn’t say “Holy Ghost” when referring to the Godhead. It says “Holy Spirit”. What is the Holy Spirit again?
Q. Do the Father and the Son possess the same mind?
A. They do.
Q. What is the mind?
A. The Holy Spirit. (LoF 5)
So the Holy Spirit is the “mind” of the Father and Son. It seems that it is not a personage, because there are only two personages in the Godhead. But surely the Holy Ghost (which is a personage) is part of the Godhead – right?! The Godhead should be made of three personages – right?
You should do a word search in the scriptures, specifically the Book of Mormon, D&C, Pearl of Great Price. Look for the word “godhead”. See if “Holy Ghost” is ever mentioned there. Then do a search for “Holy Ghost”. Again, do this in the scriptures Joseph revealed. Does the word “godhead” ever accompany “Holy Ghost”? What about “Holy Spirit”? Wait, “godhead” wasn’t in the scriptures Joseph revealed…oh boy. Is it possible that the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit are two different things?
The above questions are intended to get us to ask questions. When we ask questions though, we should not stop studying it out. Asking is important. Studying it out in our minds is important as well.
Remember this brief account of Oliver?
Oliver Cowdery wanted to translate. The Lord had the following to say:
Ask that you may know the mysteries of God, and that you may translate and receive knowledge from all those ancient records which have been hid up, that are sacred; and according to your faith shall it be done unto you. (D&C 8:11)
In the very next section of the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord has this to say:
Be patient, my son, for it is wisdom in me, and it is not expedient that you should translate at this present time.Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. (D&C 9:3, 7-8)
This was a result of Oliver’s actions. The Lord didn’t just change his mind. Because of Oliver’s actions it was no longer expedient for Oliver to translate at that time. The action was a lack of study reinforced by not asking. If we take that approach we will probably have a similar outcome – The Lord will tell us that “it is not expedient… at this present time“. But if we study AND ask, the mysteries of God begin to unfold. And what might be more mysterious than the nature of the “Godhead”.
There are answers to be discovered. No matter the contradictions we may stumble upon. There is a source to know the truth of all things. (Moroni 10:5) But we must be willing to seek, knock and ask.
Here are a few more thoughts to consider as we study these things out in our minds and hopefully inquire of God for the solutions to these mysteries.
The Holy Ghost is now in a state of probation which if he should perform in righteousness he may pass through the same or a similar course of things that the Son has. (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 245, 27 August 1843)
Would to God, brethren, I could tell you who I am! Would to God I could tell you what I know! But you would call it blasphemy, and there are men upon this stand who would want to take my life. (Joseph Smith – Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, p. 333)
I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions: they cannot stand the fire at all. How many will be able to abide a celestial law, and go through and receive their exaltation, I am unable to say, as many are called, but few are chosen. (Joseph Smith – History of the Church, 6:184–85)
And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead. (Alma 12:24)
Look at that, we are in “probationary state” just like the Holy Ghost. Interesting.
The Alma 12:24 scripture mentions Amulek. Amulek has some interesting things we should consider.
And Amulek said: Yea, there is a true and living God. Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God? And he answered, No. (Alma 11:27-29)
And Zeezrom said again: Who is he that shall come? Is it the Son of God? And he said unto him, Yea. (Alma 11:32-33)
Now Zeezrom saith again unto him: Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father? And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth, and all things which in them are; he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last; (Alma 11:38-39)
Interesting – right? There are other references in the Book of Mormon that suggest similar doctrine. But then in Abraham we learn about “the gods”. (Abraham 4:1) Then there are the scriptures that say he dwells in our heart but others say that is a false notion.
And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb. (Alma 34:36)
John 14:23—The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false. (D&C 130:3)
Again, these things are presented to encourage each of us to ask questions. The intent is not to break down, but to build up. To often the answers come from other people and those answers seem to contradict what the scriptures say because the scriptures seem to contradict themselves. Its almost as if there are two sides to choose from and to accept one is to reject the other.
Maybe the answer is more complex… or perhaps more simple. I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I know Joseph was correct when he said “the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book”. (Book of Mormon – Introduction) The Book of Mormon is a covenant and discovering that covenant brings about the blessings of heaven which the fathers received. We can receive even the same. But to do so requires faith and faith requires a belief in that which is true. May we each discover truth to believe in so that we might obtain knowledge and be partakers in the blessings of heaven… even eternal life, which is to KNOW God.