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By Bernard Gui
In sacrament meeting today, a brother announced that he had been asked to give a talk about President Oaks’ April Conference address. Most of the time, this type of talk is like a book report “Elder Oaks said this....,” “then Elder Oaks said that.....” I prefer to read the book myself rather than hear someone’s rehash of it.
Today, however, was not one of those days. Today was transformational. Taking this quote as his starting point
our speaker gave perhaps the best sermon I have ever heard and felt on repentance. He said at first he worried that his words might not be appropriate, but then he came to the conclusion that what he had to say was what the Lord wanted him to say. He told his story...
A life-long member, seminary graduate, returned missionary young man who had made some very poor choices and ended up in many years of inactivity, moral degradation, addiction, depression, homelessness, self-loathing, and despondency. At a point when he was making the decision whether or not to live any longer, he thought of his father. He called him and asked if they could meet. They agreed and at that visit in their home, his father gave him a blessing during which the slate was wiped clean. Embraced by his parents, from that moment he began to take the steps that would restore his spirit, mind, and body through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Now three years later, he is sealed to a sister from our ward who had earlier suffered at the hands of an abusive ex-husband. They and their little baby boy are now a healthy and whole loving family. God be praised!
There were many tearful eyes in the congregation, and some wept openly. We did not know of his journey, only that he had come as a great blessing into the life of our friend. I am sure many were thinking of loved ones they fear have slipped forever away from the path into forbidden areas from which there will be no return. Or perhaps there were those who are having similar feelings of uselessness and despair themselves. As the Spirit bore witness, we were given the hope that “Where will this lead?” does not necessarily have to be to tragedy, but rather to deliverance, and redemption, and joy. It is possible for all of us.
Thanks to this good brother for sharing his story of repentance, and thanks be to God and our Savior Jesus Christ.
Our recent primary program included the popular song by Melanie Hoffman entitled "Gethsemane" and when I have substituted in primary to help with piano and music direction I have noticed that the kids really like the song. the primary president loves the song, and the music leader holds the song out as a reward if they are well behaved through the rest of the music training then they will get to sing their favorite song, "Gethsemane".
I mentioned to my kids that gethsemane, gath + shemen refers to a wine or oil press, #1660 + #8081 so they could substitute "wi -eyne ne press!, "wi, ine press!" as they sing the song.
At first I thought this was a popular song, but was not doctrine officially reviewed for addition to our music canon for teaching children about the atonement. However, I was wrong. It is officially on the website and promoted for use. Hoffman retains copyright.
Many times on the mission in the south, people would say that we did not believe in the power of the cross 1 Cor 1:18 and had substituted the cross with gethsemane. https://www.mrm.org/gethsemane
A helpful FAIR article released countering the idea that we believe only in gethsemane has a number of quotes by Hinckley and others emphasizing the cross and resurrection. https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Jesus_Christ/Atonement/The_garden_and_the_cross
Also included is an extensive list of hymns which include lyrics referring to the cross
"It was the redemption which He worked out in the Garden of Gethsemane and upon the cross of Calvary which made His gift immortal, universal, and everlasting. " Ensign (December 1997) Emphasis in the original post by fair.
The most recent 2018 Preach my gospel teaches under Lesson2, Plan of Salvation "The Savior’s Atonement included His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and His suffering and death on the cross, and it ended with His Resurrection."
1) What is the best approach to teach the atonement doctrine to our children through music? How can we balance out the music which emphasizes one aspect of the atonement over all others?
2) Does the restoration or LDS Christianity require emphasis on gethsemane? “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” Joseph refers to the death of Christ first not the suffering in the garden as a fundamental principle.
3) Luke 22:43-44 is not found in most of the earliest and best greek manuscripts of the NT. One of the problems with our use of the KJV as noted by Wayment is that we lose the insight gained from the best scholarship on the new testament in our English bibles. For example most modern translations such as ESV and NRSV based on NA ver27, 28 will bracket and footnote the spurious John 7:53 - 8:11 story of the woman taken in adultery and the bloody sweat passages of Luke 22:43-44.
4) How should LDS Christians engage with the latest NT scholarship when it comes in conflict with Book of Mormon Mosiah 3:7/D&Cov 19:18 NT intertextual dependencies?
Why do members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe the priesthood keys and presiding priesthood were taken from the earth?
1) Not all apostles were killed, John an apostle who held Apostolic keys was granted "apower over bdeath, that I may live and bring souls unto thee. " according to D&Cov7 Joseph and Oliver use the seer stone and receive a vision of a parchment of John and given power to translate it that they may obtain an answer to their question. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/7?lang=eng
2) Paul teaches immortal church that the gospel of Christ Jesus would be upon the earth "throughout all ages, world without end." Ephesians 3:21
3) The letter of 1Clement (first century dated 80 - 140AD) says the Apostles themselves instructed the bishops and ordained them with power to call and ordain other bishops to retain succession and authority. 1Clem 44:1 And our Apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife over the name of the bishop's office. 1Clem 44:2 For this cause therefore, having received complete foreknowledge, they appointed the aforesaid persons, and afterwards they provided a continuance, that if these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed to their ministration.
4) Brigham Young teaches robust quorum succession in the event of catastrophe (see Wilford Woodruff journal July 28, 1860) that if either the first presidency or the twelve or both are killed the seventy can recreate the church and can re-organize the higher quorums - which matches the letter of Clement.
Quote: "The President of the Church holds the keys of the sealing powers & his Council act in Concert with him [in] all things. Should the Presidency die The Twelve Could organize another Presidency & should the Presidency & Twelve all be slain the Seventies being Equal in power & Authority to the Twelve or first Presidency Could organize both Quorums. He also taught that a high priest is a primal seed and can re-organize the church if all authorities are dead (nuclear holocaust, alien uprising, voyages to new planets etc). Quote: "The High Priest Could organize the Church in all its parts if all other Authorities were dead for they have the Melchizedek Priesthood out of which grow all of the Higher offices of the Church."
5) John Taylor teaches of revelations received during the time of "darkness" which coincides with Ephesians 3
John Taylor, 7-Sept 1873 "Say some—'Oh, we are so enlightened and intelligent now. In former ages, when the people were degraded and in darkness, it was necessary that he should communicate intelligence to the human family; but we live in the blaze of Gospel day, in an age of light and intelligence.' Perhaps we do; I rather doubt it. I have a great many misgivings about the intelligence that men boast so much of in this enlightened day. There were men in those dark ages who could commune with God, and who, by the power of faith, could draw aside the curtain of eternity and gaze upon the invisible world. There were men who could tell the destiny of the human family, and the events which would transpire throughout every subsequent period of time until the final winding-up scene. There were men who could gaze upon the face of God, have the ministering of angels, and unfold the future destinies of the world. If those were dark ages I pray God to give me a little darkness, and deliver me from the light and intelligence that prevail in our day;"
Just to be clear I believe in restoration - these points arose as I studied the matter more closely when I served as a ward mission leader and the update of Preach my gospel released.
I have not thought this through much yet, so help me out here.
First a preface.
I have a personal testimony of Jesus Christ, that he was a real person who came to earth, suffered in Gethsemane and in the crucifixion, and through his atonement and death we are made "square" with God, and that we are "saved by grace after all that we can do" and that, as a 40 year member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and temple worker, I don't think any aspect of these ideas can or should be altered in any way. We are talking about "salvation" here, in the sense of being forgiven from sin, and we are NOT talking about exaltation- which is a whole different level of "salvation" which is often confused with "being saved" as other Christians use the terminology. This IS the gospel of Jesus Christ and our church has the best paradigm I think, for mankind to follow. That means I consider that we are the church with the most truth about these matters than any other on earth today, and are most importantly a LIVING church because we can all receive personal revelation on a daily basis, and our leaders are inspired men, as shown by all the changes we are making which I highly endorse. In other words, I have a testimony that we are the most "true and living church" on the earth today.
On the other hand, I am personally interested in reaching out to the secular world and drawing parallels between our beliefs and the way the world sees things to help explain the gospel to secular people. We live in a secular world in which church is separate from the state- at least so far, and allegedly we still have freedom of religion, but the way things are going, that is another question beyond this thread.
But I think we need all the help we can get in converting people who are now "secular" to see us as normal people who have a church which is spiritual but also rational rather than seeing us as kooks or cultists, or people who "just believe" what they are told.
Now the question.
How does the notion of "being saved by grace after all that we can do" differ- except for the word "grace" which is a spiritual term- differ from the secular notion that, say a criminal, is forgiven by the law, after he has done all he can do by serving his sentence in prison, paid his fine, or, in short, doing whatever society feels is "all he can do" to go free and be forgiven?
The philosophy of Pragmatism eschews philosophical distinctions which make no practical "difference" in practice. In laymen's terms, one might say "it's six of one, half dozen of the other"- meaning it is virtually the "same thing"
Remember again we are talking only about our theology of forgiveness here, not exaltation, not even being "saved" technically- JUST the idea of what it takes for God to forgive us of our sins.
How does "saved by grace after all that we can do" differ from "freed by the law after all our penalties (prison sentences etc) are done"?
Could this analogy be used to explain our doctrine of the atonement to secular people who already of course understand the idea that once one has "done the crime AND served the time" he should be forgiven?
We have the ransom analogy and other analogies of the atonement- how does this view differ in a PRACTICAL sense, and could it also serve as a useful analogy?