Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Just Some Thoughts


Just Some Thoughts

By Chris Park

When Christ came to deliver a message to the Nephites but they were too dark in their minds to receive the message He came to preach, He said to them,

"I perceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time, therefore go ye unto your homes and ponder upon the things which I have said and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand and prepare your minds for the morrow and I come unto you again." (3 Ne. 8:1)

He had a message. He was commanded of the Father to deliver the message and he did that. But He recognized their inability to understand, so He told them to go home and mull it over in prayer and meditation.

Joseph said on one occasion,

"We have reason to believe that many things were introduced among the Saints before God had signified the times; and notwithstanding the principles and plans may have been good, yet aspiring men, or in other words, men who had not the substance of godliness about them, perhaps undertook to handle edged tools. Children, you know, are fond of tools, while they are not yet able to use them.

Time and experience, however, are the only safe remedies against such evils. There are many teachers, but, perhaps, not many fathers."

Many teachers indeed. Not many fathers indeed.

He also said,

"had I inspiartion [inspiration], Revelation & lungs to communicate what my soul has contemplated in times <past> there is not a soul in this congregation but would go to their hom[e]s & shut their mouths in everlasting silnece [silence] on religin, till. they had learnd somethi[n]g. why be so certain that you comprehend the things of God. when all things with you are so uncertain." (Discourse, 13 August 1843–A, as Reported by Willard Richards)

Things with us are uncertain. We do not understand the words that Christ delivered to us in the Answer. Like the Nephites and early Saints, we should shut our mouths and go back to our homes and spend time in prayer and meditation until we have learned something.

If you just thought "I already do that; I don't need to do that" you're the one that needs it the most.

We know even the original scribe, Enoch, was slow to speak. (Gen. 4:2) Are we better than Enoch?

It's said in the epistle of Jacob that we should, "let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay aside all filthiness and excess of wickedness, and receive with meekness the grafted word, which is able to save your souls. But, be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves, for if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror; for he beholds himself and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was. But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridles not his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the vices of the world."

Perhaps if we went about doing this, we'd know what to do after a couple years. Fact is, we don’t know what to do. This process could be much more organic than we want it to be. You can’t force a tree to grow. Just happens as you nourish it. Then about five years later, you enjoy some orange juice.

I know people who are printing and distributing their preferred document. What if we just let that process play out? Perhaps in a year or two of time and experience and seeing how certain documents work we’d all end up agreeing on and using one. And in five years we could add it to the scriptures because everyone would already agree on it and be using it.

I know people are worried about some imaginary time constraint because the Lord said "[...]if you cannot [agree upon a statement of principles] you will be unable to accomplish other works that I will require at your hands."(A&C, p. 8). But nothing in that statement puts a limit on the amount of time we can take to accomplish this task. Imagination can be a tricky thing and we would do well to remember, "A fanciful and flowery and heated imagination beware of; because the things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out."(TPJS, p. 137)

Why not just be still?

Here are some relevant wisdom quotes from the book of Proverbs:

He that has knowledge spares his words; a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.

Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise; he that shuts his lips, a man of understanding.

A fool has no delight in understanding, but that his heart may reveal itself.

A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calls for strokes.

A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.

The words of a tale-bearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

He that answers a matter before he hears, it is folly and shame unto him.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

The poor uses entreaties, but the rich answers roughly.

The tongue of the wise uses knowledge aright, but the mouth of fools pours out foolishness.

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps his soul from troubles.

He that keeps his mouth keeps his life, but he that opens wide his lips shall have destruction.

The heart of the righteous studies to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

7 comments:

  1. Well said. I appreciate this and feel reminded I have much to learn.

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  2. But the people didn't go back and meditate. The Lord sensed they desired for Him to stay, so He did. Then He got creative and used healing the sick and blessing the children to teach them, and it brought angels down in their midst. He instituted the sacrament and gave the 12 power to give the Holy Ghost. Then when He did finally depart, the people didn't go back and meditate, they did the opposite... they noised about and quickly gathered as many as they could.

    So it seems to me that what is more important than ever-learning and studying is the desire of our hearts. Do we have the faith to be healed? Is there another group who already has the law written on their hearts that we could ask the Lord to visit and bless so we could learn?

    Pondering and praying would possibly work, but my guess is that there are things which wouldn't take 5 to 10 years too. The Lord appears to be as adaptable as we are.

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  3. These are great thought Chris. Thanks for taking the time to put them together. In the past year I have considered carefully the idea of waiting this assignment out indefinitely until we all come to the same mind on it. To participate in the conversation, I just wanted to add a couple thoughts of my own on that.

    First, it’s unlikely that the entire body of believers will ever view things the same way and that is probably as it should be to maintain creativity and original thought which we can all benefit from. Zion will most definitely be composed of those who have the same heart and mind but we will not be clones. And there may even be more virtue and righteousness in moving forward while allowing others to be right even when we disagree with them. We either learn this lesson now the easy way or maybe later the hard way.

    Second, while there is much to be said scripturally, proverbially, and even logically for holding your peace while learning from others, there is equally as much to be said for hastening to be obedient to the word of the Lord. One of the things we have all come to learn in this movement is that we are our own rate-limiting step. The Lord is perfectly willing to pick the ball up and move it forward as soon as we are and I for one would like to see greater things than this come to pass in my life and the movement as a whole. I’m very excited to see what assignments come next and if I have to be stuck in the mire of Guide and Standard Hell for several more years, I may just open a vein…

    But perhaps the greatest reason I see for getting this matter concluded as soon as possible is to avoid the installation of a perceived hierarchical committee whose tenure lasts indefinitely. The “scripture committee” began as two independent groups of people coming together to accomplish a very specific task. That task is now long overdue and needs to come to completion ASAP. When it does, this committee needs to dissolve and further work on the scriptures needs to be handled by others to relieve their burden while promoting and maintaining a sense of equality. Long standing committees are how false traditions creep in and develop into official policies and procedures.

    Thanks again Chris….you have a great mind. Love ya brother.

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    Replies
    1. So the scripture committee is like a Mr. Meeseeks--it wants to serve its purpose so it can end--

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUYvIAP3qQk

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEGrOy4rGac

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  4. Enjoyed the thoughts Chris.

    Similar thoughts have been on my mind. A resolution that is totally organic, from the bottom up. Fellowship/family style.

    If the movement said for example: Hey for the next 12 months, each fellowship choose your G&S, and actually live it, then at a future conference you come back to the table, share what you learned, and persuade each other based on your evidence of having lived it. Having seen first hand what is sufficient and what may be missing. Maybe two groups decide to unite after hearing real live testimony. Maybe 3. Maybe more. No one is coerced, no one imposes anything, all voluntary. Until eventually those desirous can unite. From the bottom up.

    I bet in March a bunch of people would unite on one G&S if there were no impending publication of said G&S right then. A trial period maybe. Then next year we revisit the topic and see what people learned. This gives time and patience and opportunity for experience to help do the persuading. Then, when the movement has matured a bit, the mutually agreed statement, whatever it is, takes shape naturally by people who know each other better.

    Just thinking out loud. When anyone tries anything new, trial periods offer experience without all the formal implications of something being set in stone.

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  5. You guys make some good points. Definitely some things there to consider.

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