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Thursday, June 30, 2016

All things denote there is a God

This post was taken from the July 2016 Ensign, inside front cover. The photograph of the Milky Way was taken from Jackson Lake, Wyoming, USA.

Milky Way

All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.

Alma 30:44

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Creation: By God's hand or by evolution?

During more than a decade of blogging, I've discussed evolution with faithful and committed Mormons who believe that the world was created and peopled by the big bang and evolution.

Scripture, however, doesn't support that point of view. According to scripture, God was directly involved in the Creation. For example, He said, "I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine." (D&C 104:14.) The apostle John introduces Jesus as "the Word" by whom "all things were made ... and without him was not any thing made that was made." (John 1:3.)

So, it seems to me that if God can make stuff without being directly involved, as some people claim, then so can I. In fact, using that approach, I created the building pictured below.

It's true. I created this beautiful building. Here's how: Every day for three years, I drove past this street corner on my way to and from work. In the beginning, it was just an empty field. But using a policy of strict non-interference, I checked up on its progress twice a day every Monday through Friday for the entire three years that it was under construction.

In other words, I created the above building. Of course, all I really did was watch. But that is exactly what certain LDS evolutionists believe God did. He just stood by quietly and watched, while the big bang and evolution created the world and everything in it.

Elder Neil L. Andersen said recently:

"The Lord declared, 'I am able to do mine own work.' (2 Nephi 27:20.) ... Under the direction of His Father, He created this world. 'All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.' (John 1:3.) As we are spiritually awake and alert, we see His hand across the world and we see His hand in our own personal lives." (Ensign, May 2015.)

I believe Elder Andersen. I believe it's important to see God's hand in the Creation as well as in our personal lives.

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dallin H. Oaks affirms NDBF

According to LDS doctrine, there was no death before the Fall. The creation was paradisiacal. There was no mortality. Death for all forms of life began when Adam fell.

During the April 2016 general conference, Dallin H. Oaks affirmed the doctrine of no death before the Fall. He said: "Adam and Eve ... made the choice that introduced mortality." (Ensign, May 2016.) "Introduce" means to bring something into operation for the first time.

In the October 1993 general conference, Dallin H. Oaks said: "It was Eve who first transgressed the limits of Eden in order to initiate the conditions of mortality." (Ensign, Nov. 1993.) In this case, "initiate" means to cause something to begin.

The English definition of "mortality" is the state of being subject to death. Therefore, according to Dallin H. Oaks, there was no death before the Fall.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Called to serve as a Mission Office Couple

My wife and I have been called to serve 23 months as a Mission Office Couple in the New York New York South Mission. We enter the MTC in Provo, Utah, on March 21st, 2016. Since receiving our call letter, we have been re-reading the missionary guide, Preach My Gospel, where we find the concept of no death before the fall presented as Church doctrine.

Richard G. Scott introduced Preach My Gospel in his April 2005 general conference talk. Among other things, he said:

"Intensive effort on the part of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve, other General Authorities, and most capable teams of devoted, experienced staff members produced Preach My Gospel and its planning tools. Those who participated in its development are witnesses of the inspired direction of the Lord through the Holy Ghost in the conception, framing, and finalization of the materials in Preach My Gospel.

"After extensive testing in 14 missions, Preach My Gospel was adjusted. That result was reviewed, modified, and approved by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve." (Ensign, May 2005.)

Preach My Gospel sets forth doctrines that missionaries are expected to study and teach. Twenty eight times, missionaries are directed by Preach My Gospel to read and become familiar with ideas found in the LDS Bible Dictionary.[1]

The Scripture Study section on page 52 asks missionaries to study the Bible Dictionary entry for "Death" which states explicitly:

"Latter-day revelation teaches that there was no death on this earth for any forms of life before the fall of Adam. Indeed, death entered the world as a direct result of the fall (2 Ne. 2:22; Moses 6:48)."

Preach My Gospel directs missionaries (10 times) to read and become familiar with ideas found in the doctrinal guidebook, True to the Faith,[2] which was written specifically for teens, young single adults, and new members. Teachings about no death before the fall found in True to the Faith were discussed in an article posted on this blog May 15, 2005.


Notes:

[1] Three times on page 14, twice on page 23, twice on page 42, twice on page 52, and twice on page 90. See also pages 21, 24, 25, 34, 62, 63, 66, 73, 91, 92, 93, 95, 106, 117, 118, 119, and 182.

[2] See pages viii, 21, 35, 92, 117, 165, 171, 182, 221, and 228.

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Saturday, February 27, 2016

NDBF in the March 2016 Ensign

An article featured in the March 2016 Ensign consists entirely of excerpts from Bruce R. McConkie's last (April 1985) general conference talk. Bearing apostolic witness of the Savior, McConkie teaches the doctrine of NDBF (no death before the Fall):

"We must cast aside the philosophies of men and the wisdom of the wise and hearken to that Spirit which is given to us to guide us into all truth....

"In Eden we will see all things created in a paradisiacal state—without death, without procreation, without probationary experiences.

"We will come to know that such a creation, now unknown to man, was the only way to provide for the Fall.

"We will then see Adam and Eve, the first man and the first woman, step down from their state of immortal and paradisiacal glory to become the first mortal flesh on earth.

"Mortality, including as it does procreation and death, will enter the world. And because of transgression a probationary estate of trial and testing will begin....

"Thus, Creation is father to the Fall; and by the Fall came mortality and death; and by Christ came immortality and eternal life.

"If there had been no Fall of Adam, by which cometh death, there could have been no Atonement of Christ, by which cometh life." (Ensign, March 2016.)

Occasionally we hear rumors that the Church is backing away from NDBF teachings. The March 2016 Ensign refutes this unfounded rumor.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Bored in Sunday School

Spencer W. Kimball reproved those who get bored in Church:

"We do not go to Sabbath meetings to be entertained or even solely to be instructed. We go to worship the Lord. It is an individual responsibility, and regardless of what is said from the pulpit, if one wishes to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, he may do so by attending his meetings, partaking of the sacrament, and contemplating the beauties of the gospel. If the service is a failure to you, you have failed. No one can worship for you; you must do your own waiting upon the Lord." (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, chapter 16.)


Featured today at LDS.org

An article written by Tad R. Callister, Sunday School general president, is being featured today on the front page of LDS.org. In this article, Callister quotes Bruce R. McConkie's 1980 BYU speech, "The Seven Deadly Heresies." The passage quoted and referred to by Callister is as follows:

"We come into these congregations, and sometimes a speaker brings a jug of living water that has in it many gallons. And when he pours it out on the congregation, all the members have brought is a single cup and so that’s all they take away. Or maybe they have their hands over the cups, and they don’t get anything to speak of.

"On other occasions we have meetings where the speaker comes and all he brings is a little cup of eternal truth, and the members of the congregation come with a large jug, and all they get in their jugs is the little dribble that came from a man who should have known better and who should have prepared himself and talked from the revelations and spoken by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are obligated in the Church to speak by the power of the Spirit. We are commanded to treasure up the words of light and truth and then give forth the portion that is appropriate and needful on every occasion." (Click here.)

In the above passage, McConkie describes one aspect of the relationship that should exist between teacher and learner. However, as Spencer W. Kimball points out, we must do our own waiting upon the Lord, and that is possible even when the teacher brings an empty jug.

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