Jump to content

The Great Apostasy


mercyngrace

Recommended Posts

Last week I taught about the apostasy and restoration. This followed on the heels of studying Hosea, one of my favorite books of scripture, in Gospel Doctrine a few weeks ago.

After reading in Hosea of the gentle way in which the Lord promised to deny blessings of the covenant to a wayward Israel so that Israel would see her nakedness and recognize her true husband, I began to see the Apostasy as a blessing. Surely God left mankind to discover our lewdness and awaken to an awareness that all other lovers, be they gods, ideologies, or things which moth doth corrupt, are false and not true benefactors. This He allowed, knowing that he would allure us, bring us into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto us. The glorious promise then is that after we have strayed and are brought back, we are washed, anointed, dressed and the eternal covenant is reinstated. He wants to draw us to Him in judgment, lovingkindness, and mercies and establish the covenant, this time in faithfulness.

So, is it possible that the Great Apostasy is a necessary part of the progression of God's children? If so, is it possible that a degree of personal apostasy is a necessary part of individual spiritual progression?

Link to comment

So, is it possible that the Great Apostasy is a necessary part of the progression of God's children? If so, is it possible that a degree of personal apostasy is a necessary part of individual spiritual progression?

Like the other attributes of a fallen world, the Great Apostasy was a perfectly natural outgrowth of what human beings do. God leveraged it to demonstrate the principle outlined in John 12:24 ("Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."). The same as if Adam and Eve had remained in the Garden, had the Millenium started instantly with the resurrection of Jesus, those children of God that needed to endure the darkness in order that they might be exalted would not have been "brought forth." The Apostasy was "bad", but was used to test many people (even us in exerting faith in the Restoration), and to boldly demonstrate the power of Christ to overcome such complete rejection and loss of His Gospel and Priesthood power and authority.

Link to comment

Like the other attributes of a fallen world, the Great Apostasy was a perfectly natural outgrowth of what human beings do. God leveraged it to demonstrate the principle outlined in John 12:24 ("Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."). The same as if Adam and Eve had remained in the Garden, had the Millenium started instantly with the resurrection of Jesus, those children of God that needed to endure the darkness in order that they might be exalted would not have been "brought forth." The Apostasy was "bad", but was used to test many people (even us in exerting faith in the Restoration), and to boldly demonstrate the power of Christ to overcome such complete rejection and loss of His Gospel and Priesthood power and authority.

Making sure I understand:

Do you believe the Apostasy was a predictable event rather than part of the plan?

I think I'm seeing it as a necessary part of opposition in all things. (Still pondering...)

Link to comment

Making sure I understand:

Do you believe the Apostasy was a predictable event rather than part of the plan?

I think I'm seeing it as a necessary part of opposition in all things. (Still pondering...)

I think that because John 12:24 is an eternal principle (and reflects the eternal principle of opposition in all things--alone/many, death/birth, end/begin, decrease/increase), the Apostasy was both predictable and woven into the plan (much like Adam's choice) to allow a test for many of God's children. That we sin or experience a personal apostasy is not necessarily part of the plan, for it was not so for Jesus, and is not so for little children, and I find it doubtful that Adam and Eve actually apostatized. But because of agency and the outcomes of choice, sin and apostasy are addressed in the plan in mortality, and God will even use them to further His purposes (demonstrating Christ's victory, wicked destroying wicked, etc.). The Plan from the beginning has always been to become like our Father in Heaven.

Link to comment

I think that because John 12:24 is an eternal principle (and reflects the eternal principle of opposition in all things--alone/many, death/birth, end/begin, decrease/increase), the Apostasy was both predictable and woven into the plan (much like Adam's choice) to allow a test for many of God's children. That we sin or experience a personal apostasy is not necessarily part of the plan, for it was not so for Jesus, and is not so for little children, and I find it doubtful that Adam and Eve actually apostatized. But because of agency and the outcomes of choice, sin and apostasy are addressed in the plan in mortality, and God will even use them to further His purposes (demonstrating Christ's victory, wicked destroying wicked, etc.). The Plan from the beginning has always been to become like our Father in Heaven.

I think the plan for Jesus was a little different but I will grant you that little children don't fall into apostasy. Though technically, we could consider the fall a deliberate act of apostasy, that's not what I was thinking about.

Link to comment

Last week I taught about the apostasy and restoration. This followed on the heels of studying Hosea, one of my favorite books of scripture, in Gospel Doctrine a few weeks ago.

After reading in Hosea of the gentle way in which the Lord promised to deny blessings of the covenant to a wayward Israel so that Israel would see her nakedness and recognize her true husband, I began to see the Apostasy as a blessing. Surely God left mankind to discover our lewdness and awaken to an awareness that all other lovers, be they gods, ideologies, or things which moth doth corrupt, are false and not true benefactors. This He allowed, knowing that he would allure us, bring us into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto us. The glorious promise then is that after we have strayed and are brought back, we are washed, anointed, dressed and the eternal covenant is reinstated. He wants to draw us to Him in judgment, lovingkindness, and mercies and establish the covenant, this time in faithfulness.

So, is it possible that the Great Apostasy is a necessary part of the progression of God's children? If so, is it possible that a degree of personal apostasy is a necessary part of individual spiritual progression?

I have always seen it sort of in that way. The world would be protected from having been held to a standard like we have now. Certainly it was purposely part of the plan that it not be. It must have been something that was only workable and necessary during this end times.

Link to comment

Last week I taught about the apostasy and restoration. This followed on the heels of studying Hosea, one of my favorite books of scripture, in Gospel Doctrine a few weeks ago.

After reading in Hosea of the gentle way in which the Lord promised to deny blessings of the covenant to a wayward Israel so that Israel would see her nakedness and recognize her true husband, I began to see the Apostasy as a blessing. Surely God left mankind to discover our lewdness and awaken to an awareness that all other lovers, be they gods, ideologies, or things which moth doth corrupt, are false and not true benefactors. This He allowed, knowing that he would allure us, bring us into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto us. The glorious promise then is that after we have strayed and are brought back, we are washed, anointed, dressed and the eternal covenant is reinstated. He wants to draw us to Him in judgment, lovingkindness, and mercies and establish the covenant, this time in faithfulness.

So, is it possible that the Great Apostasy is a necessary part of the progression of God's children? If so, is it possible that a degree of personal apostasy is a necessary part of individual spiritual progression?

I don't think that apostasy helps us individually or collectively. The great apostasy has resulted in over three thousand different denominations that call themselves Christian. That certainly is not a helpful for the world's knowledge of the fulness of the gospel.

A person may learn a few bitter lessons from his/her apostasy. Check out what Thomas B. Marsh said after he returned to the church after his apostasy. I think that Spencer W. Kimball's message on sin and forgiveness is applicable to apostasy. He said that it is much better never to have sinned, but in view of the reality that people will sin, then forgiveness is possible with sincere repentance. If we come out of a sinful state and obtain forgiveness, and learn something from our errors, will will do well, but the one who does not make those errors will do better still.

The same applies to apostasy. Those who do apostatize and return to full fellowship and activity do well, but not as well as the ones who keep the faith and endure to the end.

Part of the problems incurred by apostasy is the ansence of the good works that can only be performed as a member of the church in good standing.

Glenn

Link to comment

I don't think that apostasy helps us individually or collectively. The great apostasy has resulted in over three thousand different denominations that call themselves Christian. That certainly is not a helpful for the world's knowledge of the fulness of the gospel.

A person may learn a few bitter lessons from his/her apostasy. Check out what Thomas B. Marsh said after he returned to the church after his apostasy. I think that Spencer W. Kimball's message on sin and forgiveness is applicable to apostasy. He said that it is much better never to have sinned, but in view of the reality that people will sin, then forgiveness is possible with sincere repentance. If we come out of a sinful state and obtain forgiveness, and learn something from our errors, will will do well, but the one who does not make those errors will do better still.

The same applies to apostasy. Those who do apostatize and return to full fellowship and activity do well, but not as well as the ones who keep the faith and endure to the end.

Part of the problems incurred by apostasy is the ansence of the good works that can only be performed as a member of the church in good standing.

Glenn

Wow. Eve and I couldn't disagree more. She said: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.

I'm pretty sure Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah were powerful missionaries precisely because they came to know firsthand the power of the atonement. Same with Paul, who considered himself least among his fellows.

Don't misunderstand. I'm not suggesting that anyone leave the church or go on an iniquity binge this weekend. I'm simply saying that we can't be found without being lost first. We can't be healed without be broken. And separation from God allows us to see the brokenness so that we seek The Physician.

I don't believe the Lord was being vengeful when He told Israel through Hosea that He would withdraw His covering garment and leave her naked. Denying the blessings associated with faithful covenant keeping was necessary and instructive just as casting Adam and Eve out of the Garden allowed them to know the joy of redemption.

edit: I'm not sure President Kimball was right about it being better to never have sinned. In fact, given that only one of the Father's children has actually followed that path and He had the benefit of some spectacular DNA, I don't know that we even have a good basis for any kind of comparison.

Link to comment

I don't think that apostasy helps us individually or collectively.

Glenn

I am reminded of this line from LOTR:

Needless were none of the deeds of Gandalf in life. We do not yet know his full purpose.

I believe that everything happens for a reason and that needless are none of the deeds of God in this life.

Link to comment

Is there a scope for this apostasy? I mean did the gospel disappear soon after Christ, did parts of it stay around, was it completely gone at any time, did it occur throughout the world, did parts come back then leave again, or did specific parts get lost and never returned till JS like priesthood keys and such?. It really is a vague concept for me because it seems to mean so many different things.

Link to comment

Wow. Eve and I couldn't disagree more. She said: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.

I'm pretty sure Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah were powerful missionaries precisely because they came to know firsthand the power of the atonement. Same with Paul, who considered himself least among his fellows.

Don't misunderstand. I'm not suggesting that anyone leave the church or go on an iniquity binge this weekend. I'm simply saying that we can't be found without being lost first. We can't be healed without be broken. And separation from God allows us to see the brokenness so that we seek The Physician.

I don't believe the Lord was being vengeful when He told Israel through Hosea that He would withdraw His covering garment and leave her naked. Denying the blessings associated with faithful covenant keeping was necessary and instructive just as casting Adam and Eve out of the Garden allowed them to know the joy of redemption.

edit: I'm not sure President Kimball was right about it being better to never have sinned. In fact, given that only one of the Father's children has actually followed that path and He had the benefit of some spectacular DNA, I don't know that we even have a good basis for any kind of comparison.

I do not think you are comparing apples to apples here. Adam and Eve did not sin in partaking of the forbidden fruit. They did not know good from Evil at that point in "time". That act was necessary for them to come to a knowledge of good and evil.

We become stronger by overcoming temptation, not by giving in to it. Can you truthfully say that a recovered drug addict, or recovered alcoholic, or a recovered nicotine addict, or a recovered sex addict are stronger, are better off, for having become addicted? Such people must forever, in this life, remain on the alert and refrain from not only partaking of the addicting substance again, but also from environments where the substances are available.

Those are extreme examples, but I think illustrate the point very well. So let's take a nonaddictive sin, such as robbing a bank. Do you believe that a person will be better off spiritually by robbing a bank, then repenting of it than in never robbing a bank?

Can you give me an example of a sin where you will come out of it better off, stronger than if you had never sinned? Based upon scriptures, the words of our prophets, or any scientific evidence?

Glenn

Link to comment

Can you give me an example of a sin where you will come out of it better off, stronger than if you had never sinned? Based upon scriptures, the words of our prophets, or any scientific evidence?

Glenn

Was partaking of the fruit an act of willful disobedience that separated Adam and Eve from the presence of God? I think that the definition of "apple" in this case.

I can give you many examples of people who are better off and stronger for having sinned. Anyone who came to know the love of God and the joy of their redemption through the repentance process is better off. Again, I'm not recommending this difficult path, I'm just acknowledging that it is an intentional part of the path.

How can you know Christ as your personal Savior if He hasn't saved you?

edit: The way I read what you are saying is that it is better for a man never to have sinned at all. To which I respond, There is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents. (I believe that satisfies your call for scriptural references, Glenn.)

Link to comment

Is there a scope for this apostasy? I mean did the gospel disappear soon after Christ, did parts of it stay around, was it completely gone at any time, did it occur throughout the world, did parts come back then leave again, or did specific parts get lost and never returned till JS like priesthood keys and such?. It really is a vague concept for me because it seems to mean so many different things.

Technically apostasy began after the deaths of the apostles and it refers to the loss of priesthood authority. As for the splintering into sects and the loss and alteration of doctrine, I believe that is better characterized as "dwindling in unbelief" - a progressive decline.

The restoration of authority happened rather quickly but the distilling of doctrines and our understanding of them continues as we are prepared to receive.

Link to comment

Was partaking of the fruit an act of willful disobedience that separated Adam and Eve from the presence of God? I think that the definition of "apple" in this case.

Willful by the fact that they knew that it was against God's commandment, yes. Sinful, I would say not, because they did not know right from wrong. I have a son who will willfully disobey, but does not know the difference between right and wrong. He was not required to be baptized because of that. Adam and Eve were most assuredly ahead of him on the intelligence curve but equal, "prefall", in the innocent state.

I can give you mmany examples of people who are better off and stronger for having sinned. Anyone who came to know the love of God and the joy of their redemption through the repentance process is better off. Again, I'm not recommending this difficult path, I'm just acknowledging that it is an intentional part of the path.

I agree that they are better off once they have repented because of the repentance not because of having sinned. I cannot see the stronger part. Sin is not a path that God intends for us. However He knows that we will and do sin and made provisions for us to overcome our sins through the Atonement.

How can you know Christ as your personal Savior if He hasn't saved you?

Of course you can't. But that is not really relevant to the point.

edit: The way I read what you are saying is that it is better for a man never to have sinned at all. To which I respond, There is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents. (I believe that satisfies your call for scriptural references, Glenn.)

My scriptural reference, the parable of the prodigal son is relevant here. Your reference does not make the point that anyone is stronger or better off for having sinned. Only that there is great rejoicing when a sinner repents and returns to the fold.

Where would we be if Christ had sinned even once? Would he have become stronger for it? Not hardly. He would have weakened himself to the point that He could no longer become our Savior. In fact, He would himself have needed a Savior.

Glenn

Link to comment

My scriptural reference, the parable of the prodigal son is relevant here.

Your scriptural reference points to the person who believes he has no sin being left outside the feast. That's poignant. Was the elder brother stronger? He sure thought he was stronger and better off. Or did He separate himself from his father also because he believed he had no sin? I would say that by the end of that parable, the younger brother was significantly better off. He was inside his father's house while the angry elder brother refused to enter.

Finding salvation and exaltation could only occur through the Fall - the primary act of apostasy. You can't have reconciliation/atonement without first being separated. It's all part of the plan.

I'm not excusing sin. I'm simply acknowledging that it is a necessary part of our mortal instruction. There is a reason God gave men weakness. Recognizing this allows us to embrace all men as brothers and to separate sin from sinner, recognizing that we are all subject to temptation and that we all fall short of the glory of God. It eliminates the rameumptom building mentality of those who believe salvation comes from their keeping of the law.

But... upong starting this thread, I really was thinking more about how the Great Apostasy exemplifies the law of opposition and was a vital part of our collective mortal education. It follows the same pattern of God appearing to Moses, leaving, then Satan appearing, then Moses being able to distinguish the difference between the two before returning to the presence of God a second time.

Link to comment

Your scriptural reference points to the person who believes he has no sin being left outside the feast. That's poignant. Was the elder brother stronger? He sure thought he was stronger and better off. Or did He separate himself from his father also because he believed he had no sin? I would say that by the end of that parable, the younger brother was significantly better off. He was inside his father's house while the angry elder brother refused to enter.

When dealing with the parable of the prodigal son, it's interesting to note that even though the 'good' son was outside during the feast pouting, the Father still reminds him that all he has is his. The wayward son spent his inheritance and is promised no more but the good son, regardless of his prideful feelings, is still promised to gain all that the father has.

In the parable, the good son is better for not having sinned because he still has the inheritance while the prodigal's inheritance is gone and he will get nothing more after his father dies-it will ALL go to the good son.

For this reason, i dont' know that it' prudent to use this parable as an example of the benefits of sinning over not sinning. It seems to illustrate that the negative consequences for our sins cannot be done away with, even when we are forgiven.

However, if looked at in a different way, it also shows that no one is sinless. Though the good son didn't sin to the same extent, he still sinned.

Thus, we could say that the parable backs up the scripture that declares that all are fallen and shows that a person doesn't have to sin grieviously to need their Savior or to know their Savior.

Link to comment

I do not think you are comparing apples to apples here. Adam and Eve did not sin in partaking of the forbidden fruit. They did not know good from Evil at that point in "time". That act was necessary for them to come to a knowledge of good and evil.

We become stronger by overcoming temptation, not by giving in to it. Can you truthfully say that a recovered drug addict, or recovered alcoholic, or a recovered nicotine addict, or a recovered sex addict are stronger, are better off, for having become addicted? Such people must forever, in this life, remain on the alert and refrain from not only partaking of the addicting substance again, but also from environments where the substances are available.

Those are extreme examples, but I think illustrate the point very well. So let's take a nonaddictive sin, such as robbing a bank. Do you believe that a person will be better off spiritually by robbing a bank, then repenting of it than in never robbing a bank?

Can you give me an example of a sin where you will come out of it better off, stronger than if you had never sinned? Based upon scriptures, the words of our prophets, or any scientific evidence?

Glenn

I agree with you that it's better to have not sinned. But to those who have, there is a way back. Some will be stronger for having gone through repentance and certainly gain empathy for those who follow on the same road, and some simply were strong to begin with. There are possible dangers in teaching that one can be stronger due to apostasy and recovery. It can send the message that one can sin and "fix it" later.

We have plenty of examples in the scriptures of those who sinned, repented, and become strong advocates of God's kingdom. There are also plenty of examples of people who were faithful and righteous from day one. The former might be better equipped to empathize and help others as I said above and would have an intimate understanding of the Atonement. The latter can testify that less or no sin saves one from a lot of pain, suffering, and danger, which also helps others by their example and can get to know the Atonement in other ways. I firmly believe that God helps us along whichever path is best for us individually because He is our biggest advocate.

Also, sin can lead to consequences outside ourselves, which won't be rectified by our own repentance. ie. - others who are hurt by our sin, or follow the sinful example that we set. Generations can be affected by one person's choices.

Link to comment

Technically apostasy began after the deaths of the apostles and it refers to the loss of priesthood authority. As for the splintering into sects and the loss and alteration of doctrine, I believe that is better characterized as "dwindling in unbelief" - a progressive decline.

The restoration of authority happened rather quickly but the distilling of doctrines and our understanding of them continues as we are prepared to receive.

So if I understand correctly "The Great Apostasy" refers directly to the loss of priesthood authority after the time of Christ's apostles until JS restored these keys? Or is there more to it?

Oh and I'll try not to derail your thread too much.:P

Link to comment

Your scriptural reference points to the person who believes he has no sin being left outside the feast. That's poignant. Was the elder brother stronger? He sure thought he was stronger and better off. Or did He separate himself from his father also because he believed he had no sin? I would say that by the end of that parable, the younger brother was significantly better off. He was inside his father's house while the angry elder brother refused to enter.

I don't know that the older brother thought he was without sin. He was pouting a bit though.

Finding salvation and exaltation could only occur through the Fall - the primary act of apostasy. You can't have reconciliation/atonement without first being separated. It's all part of the plan.

Being separated is part of the plan. Knowing that we will sin is part of God's foreknowledge.

I'm not excusing sin. I'm simply acknowledging that it is a necessary part of our mortal instruction. There is a reason God gave men weakness. Recognizing this allows us to embrace all men as brothers and to separate sin from sinner, recognizing that we are all subject to temptation and that we all fall short of the glory of God. It eliminates the rameumptom building mentality of those who believe salvation comes from their keeping of the law.

But... upong starting this thread, I really was thinking more about how the Great Apostasy exemplifies the law of opposition and was a vital part of our collective mortal education. It follows the same pattern of God appearing to Moses, leaving, then Satan appearing, then Moses being able to distinguish the difference between the two before returning to the presence of God a second time.

I don't think that the "Great Apostasy" was necessary, nor any of the many apostasies that occurred in Israel. They happened and those involved were the worse for it. It is good if we can learn from our own mistakes, but much better if we can learn from the mistakes of others. But yes, we all will make mistakes.

Glenn

Link to comment

I'm not excusing sin. I'm simply acknowledging that it is a necessary part of our mortal instruction.

We certainly learn from our suffering for sin. I have! But we can learn from suffering for sin by commiting it, or by empathizing with the sorrow or condemnation of those who have commited it.

I believe the Fall, temptation and weakness, are a necessary part of our mortal instruction; sin, no. The plan is that we exercise agency to become like God, and when we do not, we are condemned.

The choices we make are the result of our response to enticements (2 Nephi 2:16, Moroni 7:12-16) in the form of invitation to do good (light) or temptation to do evil (darkness). "Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light."

The Fall does not require us to sin, only to enter mortality (a choice made in the pre-mortal world) and its attendant enticements for good and evil. Had no one ever sinned, like children, we would still need the Redeemer

Link to comment

I don't know that the older brother thought he was without sin. He was pouting a bit though.

"Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: "

Being separated is part of the plan. Knowing that we will sin is part of God's foreknowledge.

Agree on both counts but that doesn't mean the great apostasy wasn't a necessary part of the plan. You don't have to see it that way :P I'm okay with us disagreeing.

I don't think that the "Great Apostasy" was necessary, nor any of the many apostasies that occurred in Israel. They happened and those involved were the worse for it. It is good if we can learn from our own mistakes, but much better if we can learn from the mistakes of others. But yes, we all will make mistakes.

Glenn

So the atonement doesn't heal sinners as much as it heals those people who really don't need it so much?

edit: We must have church at the same time Glenn - lol - we stopped posting at the same time and started up again at the same time.

Link to comment

So the atonement doesn't heal sinners as much as it heals those people who really don't need it so much?

I don't quite know how you derived that from my posts. The atonement heals as it is needed, for those that repent and do all of the other things that are necessary to take advantage of it. Those who sin a lot will need more healing, and receive it, than one whose life has been more in harmony with the teachings of Christ.

By the way, you nailed me on the prodigal son feeling he was sinless. Painful, but not fatal. :P

I am going to leave our discussion at that. I think to discuss it any further would only have us going in circles. I have enjoyed the repartee though.

Glenn

Link to comment

I don't quite know how you derived that from my posts. The atonement heals as it is needed, for those that repent and do all of the other things that are necessary to take advantage of it. Those who sin a lot will need more healing, and receive it, than one whose life has been more in harmony with the teachings of Christ.

If we follow the thinking that one is better off and stronger having never sinned vs. having sinned and repented to the natural conclusion, then we seem to be saying that no matter how complete your repentance, you aren't as good or strong as the guy who sinned less than you. So then, the atonement becomes limited in its ability to heal and reconcile.

By the way, you nailed me on the prodigal son feeling he was sinless. Painful, but not fatal. ;)

Happens to me all the time. Join the club. :P You can sit by me :crazy:

I am going to leave our discussion at that. I think to discuss it any further would only have us going in circles. I have enjoyed the repartee though.

Glenn

I enjoyed it, too, Glenn. I'm one of those people who learns a lot by talking things out and I'm willing to take a position I'm not sure about just to learn from the discussion. You brought up some points I'm happy to ponder.

MnG

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...