What’s This Mormon Thing?

Hostile Anti-Mormon posts subject to editing or deletion

Reverence Invites Revelation

Posted by JLFuller on July 14, 2008

The natural man,” Paul told us, “receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (.)”  “If doctrines and behavior are measured by the intellect alone, the essential spiritual ingredient is missing, and we will be misled. No message appears in scripture more times, in more ways than, ‘Ask, and ye shall receive.’ (; ; ; ; ; ; ; and are examples.)Moses 6:52D&C 4:7Mosiah 4:21Enos 1:151 Ne. 15:111 Jn. 3:22James 4:3Matt. 21:221 Cor. 2:13–14

“While we may invite this communication, it can never be forced! If we try to force it, we may be deceived. Enos, who was ‘struggling in the spirit’ said, ‘Behold, the voice of the Lord came into my mind.’ (; While this spiritual communication comes into the mind, it comes more as a feeling, an impression, than simply as a thought. Unless you have experienced it, it is very difficult to describe that delicate process.Enos 1:10

The witness is not communicated through the intellect alone, however bright the intellect may be,” Elder Packer says. Personal testimony is confirmed to us initially and is reaffirmed and enlarged thereafter through a harmonious combining of both the intellect and the spirit.”

Read the rest of the article here: Boyd K. Packer, “Reverence Invites Revelation,” Ensign, Nov. 1991, 21.

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8 Responses to “Reverence Invites Revelation”

  1. jackg said

    “The witness is not communicated through the intellect alone, however bright the intellect may be,” Elder Packer says. “Personal testimony is confirmed to us initially and is reaffirmed and enlarged thereafter through a harmonious combining of both the intellect and the spirit.”

    JLF,

    This comment sounds nice, but I don’t believe it is accurate. I don’t think there is a harmonious combining of both the intellect and the spirit where an LDS testimony is concerned. First of all, let’s examine how most LDS testimonies are developed: the child is walked up to the podium by his mother (usually), who then whispers into the child’s ear her testimony, which he/she eventually repeats by wrote on their own at some future time. There is nothing intellectual in this process. I would struggle to say that there was anything spiritual happening, either. So, what we have here is a testimony crafted on the preconceived ideas and notions of the parent. This is reinforced through primary and sunday school to the point that the child has no other information other than the information being fed to him/her. Eventually, when intellectual revelation is brought to light, such revelation will be rejected if it does not fit into the context of the spoon-fed testimony. Again, I don’t see anything spriritual happening with regard to a testimony. Ultimately, the established testimony becomes the measuring stick against which all other information is measured; rather, the measuring stick should be the Bible. Therefore, I don’t see how Packard’s comments could be accurate since the personal testimony trumps any information that comes from a source other than LDS approved literature. Even in this, the Bible is regulated with the qualifier that it is only true as far as it is translated correctly, which really means as “interpreted” by JS and other Church leaders. Also, I see the formula Packard uses as being backward: I see personal testimony as confirmation of the evidence; not evidence as confirmation of a personal testimony. Then again, I see this backward approach to salvation and works (but that’s a whole other topic).

    My point is that Packard’s words sound good, but I don’t think they truly apply with respect to an LDS testimony. I understand that you believe I hang on faulty and “circular” reasoning when discussing such issues with you. That’s okay. I don’t agree with you on that, and truly believe that anything LDS leaders say is generally Church-serving as opposed to truth-serving. I believe Packard’s statements to be nothing more than a ploy to control Church members who might question some of the issues raised by what the Church lovingly calls “anti-Mormon” literature, etc. I know this is my personal opinion, but my opinion is based on intellectual study and spiritual experience/confirmation, just as you claim yours to be. So, we are really alike in why we believe the way we do. Now, I’m not making any accusations or anything but merely stating what I believe to be the real issue: who is following the Holy Spirit and who is following a false spirit? Can you at least agree that this is a fair question? In the light of everyone claiming spiritual confirmation (and I’m including anyone who believes in something, not just LDS and Christians), doesn’t this question get to the bottom of things?

    Anyway, thanks for providing this milieu to discuss the various issues.

  2. JLFuller said

    Jackg
    That might work if you only understood testimony from the human side. That is, if all one ever knew was what he was told then your assumptions would work. But like Elder Packer says, the intellectual formation of testimony will not stand the test of time without Spiritual confirmation. The rest of the article goes on to talk about reverence in Sacrament meeting in order to create a more spiritual and reverent atmosphere where the Holy Ghost’s promptings may be clearer.

    I wanted to address the intellectualizing we sometimes see in Gospel discussions. The point works in both settings. With the growth in church membership come many very bright people who spend a lot of mental energy on such things as “intellectual honesty”, a term which is tossed around on some ex-Mormon sites. All that is fun up to a point but when it comes down to knowing the Gospel is true, as we claim it is, intellectual understanding is left standing in the wings just as Paul said. Knowing is different than believing, a point which many are quick to point out, and no one can know without a first hand experience that proves it beyond a doubt. Knowing, as these same people would say, is the confirming experience provided by the five senses so how can one “know” the gospel is true? After all doesn’t everybody” know” their version of religion is true? Is not your knowing just as good as mine and mine yours?

    That is precisely what Paul was getting at. No one can know the things of God using only the intellect. And “there’s the rub”, as Hamlet says. Intellect only goes so far. It gets you to the point where you may believe, but not know. Reverence creates the spiritual place where we can begin to learn about knowing. Reverence is more than just being quiet and respectful in Church. It is also about respecting others. It is about self respect and honoring others, even those with whom you disagree. It is about accepting the Gospel as everything God has created and does. I think it is learning the truth about the things of the universe, about human beings and everything God has created in its entirety.

    I think it is not separating things into religion on one hand and everything else on the other. I think it is everything we know plus the things we don’t know. That is why studying history, literature, chemistry, physics, mathematics, the galaxies and everything in the universe(s) is the good news of the Gospel too. Can you accept that our universe may be like a bubble floating in an ocean of other universes as String Theory postulates? “Yes Timmy,” it appears there may be multiple universes too. (My apologies to the American Primary Teacher of 1880) And eleven dimensions. The Gospel just gets interestinger and interestinger!

  3. JLFuller said

    I think reverence means we don’t know very much but are willing to learn from what ever source we encounter. It means we accept that we may have entertained angels unaware, John the Beloved and the three Nephites and wish that we were more spiritual so that we could have recognized them. I think it means it is OK for me to be biased as long as I am not blinded by it because I am always trying to learn more and do better. I think it means that I am anxious to know more about the other guy’s religion, history, values and the things important to him. Because in all that I find we really are brothers and sisters and have a common Father and heritage. In reverence I can find that Christ is not only my Lord but my elder brother. In reverence I can accept that man is not dirt under somebody’s shoe but we really do have a divine spark which makes us more like God than not like him. But without intellect I couldn’t believe these things. Without intellect I could not expect to know these things someday. Without reverence I am not certain I would ever know these things.

  4. jackg said

    JLF,

    Thanks for your response. You believe Mr. Packer to be a divinely-called servant of the LORD, I don’t. You give weight to his words, I don’t. My friend, I have received spiritual witness that complements the light God has given me through the intellect that informs my soul that the LDS Church is not the true church because it was founded by a false prophet. His fruits are a gospel that is different, a gospel that teaches God had a beginning, a need for redemption, and that he is not powerful enough to preserve his word. My God is without beginning, had no need for redemption Himself, and is powerful enough to preserve His word. So, I think we come back to the question of who is following a false spirit.

  5. Now wait just a danged minute here! Are you telling me you have your own opinion? How positivley human.

  6. jackg said

    Yeah, I’m a human being saved by the grace of God simply because He loves me. 🙂

  7. johnson said

    Jackg,

    You are not saved just by the grace of God my friend. After you do all that which is asked of you in this life, it is then that you are saved. It is insulting to me that you think that just by the “grace” of God that you are saved. You are a sinner as am I and we need to repent of our sins and live the gospel and only then we are saved. Do not think that just because Jesus suffered as he did and because he “simply loves” you that you have an automatic ticket into heaven and that no effort is required from you. that is a destructive doctrine that born again Christians preach. The gospel is not just a state of elation and happiness…..it is blood sweat and tears and painful realizations of the sins we commit and the real joy comes after we know that we have to put forth a lot of effort to live the gospel and that all the effort will be worth it.

  8. JLFuller said

    Johnson
    You and I agree. However Jackg is a former member and RM. He knows this and rejected it. But it is important that we keep the Gospel principles in front of the world. Certainly Jackg and his fellow travelers have their own understanding. We are not going to change his mind. But we can inform the casual reader who recognizes anti-Mormon hate speech for what it is and wants to hear the Mormon side of the story. This site is here to discuss theological ideas and, hopefully, dispel the misinformation about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints propagated by many others. It seems obvious that if some people are bound and determined to hate us they ought to know the truth about us rather than that made up by the anti-Mormons. Thanks for your input.

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