“I Never Knew You”

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From the October 2016 General Conference

Elder Bednar began his talk with a passage taken from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7:21-23 in the Kings James Bible.  His point was to emphasize that, the Lord’s statement in the King James Version, “I never knew you,” was changed in the Joseph Smith Translation to read in Matthew 7:33, “Ye never knew me.” 

Then he recites in the King James Bible the parable of the ten virgins found in Matthew 25:1-12, where Jesus tells the foolish virgins “I know ye not.”  Once again, Elder Bednar explains to us that, the Kings James Version was clarified in the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 25:11 to read, “Ye know me not.”     

At the end of his talk found on lds.org under references, you’ll find the footnotes to these JST passages.  It’s interesting the Lord inspired Joseph Smith to revise the word of God by taking out the incorrect wording and, replacing it with what should have been in there.  But Elder Bednar makes a critical mistake in using the Joseph Smith Translation to prove his point.

If we turn to the Book of Mormon which is considered the “most correct book,” we find the sermon at the temple in Bountiful, where Jesus supposedly appeared to the Nephites following His resurrection.  It says in 3rd Nephi 14:23 “And then will I profess unto them: I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”  That verse is exactly the, same as the one in the Kings James Version of Matthew 7 – word for word.  And the 3rd Nephi 14 verse footnote b. is cross-referenced with two other Book of Mormon passages: Mosiah 26:25-27 “And it shall come to pass that when the second trump shall sound then shall they that never knew me come forth and shall stand before me.  And then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, that I am their Redeemer; but they would not be redeemed.  And then I will confess unto them that I never knew them; and they shall depart into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”  Mosiah 5:13 “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?”

You not only have two verses in the Kings James Bible, but also three verse in the Book of Mormon – supposedly translated by the gift and power of God – that differ with the Joseph Smith Translation.  What, was Joseph Smith thinking?  If, it was good enough for the Lord to be quoted in the Bible and substantiated in the Book of Mormon, why did Joseph Smith feel it necessary to change the Lord’s words in his Inspired Version?  And what was, Elder Bednar thinking?  Why, is the footnote in Elder Bednar’s talk only referencing Matthew 7 and not, 3rd Nephi 14 and Mosiah 26 and Mosiah 5?  Is it because Joseph Smith copied the sermon at the temple from the King James Bible sermon on the Mount? 

Review Summary:

If you have a modern-day apostle telling its members in a world-wide General Conference that the Bible is wrong and the Joseph Smith Translation is inspired – in spite of what was just pointed out in the Book of Mormon – as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, what do you do with that information?

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Plan of Happiness

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I agree with Elder Bowen.  The LDS plan of happiness/salvation/exaltation is a modern construct.  The LDS plan is certainly not in the Bible, or for that matter, in the Book of Mormon (BofM).  There is no discussion in these two books about families being together forever, the need for temple ordinances and masonic handshakes/tokens/signs, that there is an Aaronic Priesthood outside of the tribe of Levi, a celestial kingdom, three degrees of glory, that men can become Gods or that Heavenly Father was once a man who progressed to Godhood.

If these doctrines or principles were so important, why didn’t Jesus, Paul or the other apostles discuss them?   In fact, Paul tells us in Romans 15:19  – “…I have fully preached the gospel of Christ”.  What did he preach?  He tells the Corinthians in 1 Cor 15:1-4 – “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand.  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures”.  (Not changed in the Joseph Smith Translation.)

Then Paul adds this warning in Galatians 1:8,9 – “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”    Sounds like Paul felt he had delivered the gospel as Jesus had directed him.  Any additions or changes were not acceptable.  Elder Bowen’s argument falls back on determining Joseph Smith’s prophetic calling by reading and praying about the BofM.   Modern prophets, including Joseph Smith, stand in stark contrast to the scripture in Hebrews 1:1,2 – “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.”

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Garden or the Cross?

I know my journey from the Mormon Jesus to the Biblical Jesus has been a surprise for me.   Even when I learned about the history and theological problems of Joseph’s restored gospel, I believed I had a positive relationship with Jesus and what He did for me in the Garden of Gethsemane.

However, upon reading the Bible, especially the Gospels and Hebrews, I began to learn that, while His praying in the Garden showed humility and subjection to the will of the Father, it had nothing to do with the actual sacrificing and shedding of blood required for the atonement.  In other words, if He had not gone to the cross, there would have been no atonement.

Israel was commanded to sacrifice animal blood for the atonement of their sins.  This was done once each year by the high priest who would enter through the veil and enter the Holy of Holies and sprinkle blood on the altar.  Jesus was asked to shed his blood, not ‘sweat as it were, drops of blood’.  Jesus told Peter on the way out of the Garden in John 18:10 “….the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”.    He had not made the sacrifice He needed to make until He was lifted on the cross.

Heb 9:12,16 “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.  For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of a testator.”

In order to appreciate the magnificence and unsurpassed depth of the work on the cross, one must understand the fulfillment of prophecy and symbolism associated with the shed blood of Jesus. 

Lastly, it is interesting to note the Garden of Gethsemane is not mentioned after the Gospels, but this cross is mentioned at least 11 times.

Conclusion:  Thinking Jesus atoned for our sins by praying hard in the Garden of Gethsemane is missing the whole point of the Old Testament, the purpose of temples and the willing, selfless, loving sacrifice of Jesus.

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Is Jesus Your Friend?

After listening/reading the clip, please note the titles used to talk about my friend, Jesus.  I’m not picking on Elder Ashton.  There were only  7 individuals who used the name of “Jesus” throughout the 34 or so talks included in the November 2018 Ensign.    And, most of the references referred to a story, testimony or scripture Jesus is included.  For example:  “”I am come” Jesus declared”; “Jesus is the Christ”;  and,  “Jesus saith unto him, ‘Rise, take up thy bed and walk'”.  Terms like  Savior, God,  Redeemer, Him, Jesus Christ, Lord, Christ, and Jesus of Nazareth are used extensively.   I believe “Jesus” could be substituted for almost every title and it would strengthen our personal relationship with Jesus.

Many Latter-day Saints who leave the church fail to take Jesus with them.  They become agnostic or even skeptical that God even exists.  I’ve pondered why.  First,  the LDS do not trust the Bible, entirely.  Second, they’ve been told in so many different ways, you cannot trust the Christian community for truth or answers…the LDS Church is the only true church; and, third, they do not have a personal relationship with Jesus.

I know this sounds strange, since they are coming out of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  but  I’ve interviewed over 300 former Mormons who, universally, say they did not have a real, biblical understanding and relationship with Jesus when they were LDS.

Just consider that if a Methodist leaves to become a Baptist or a non-denominational becomes an Episcopal or any other transition in Christianity, they take Jesus with them.  They know Jesus.  They believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

I would ask the reader at this point to say out loud:   “I love Jesus”.  Doesn’t that sound more personal, loving and as a greeting to a friend rather than saying ‘ Savior, Lord, Jesus Christ, or Redeemer”.   I believe we keep Jesus at arm’s length when we use titles.

The first time this lack of focus on Jesus occurred to me while I was reading the Christmas message of the First Presidency in the December 2017 Ensign by Pres. Uchtdorf “Seeking Christ at Christmas”.  In that entire article about finding Christ at Christmas, he did not use the term “Jesus” one time.   (To his credit, Pres. Uchtdorf used “Jesus” 3 of the 11 or so times “Jesus” was used during the October 2018 conference.)

As I think back about the lack of a personal relationship I had with Jesus, I think about the small role Jesus plays in the temple ceremony.  Also, Apostle Bruce R. McConkie telling the LDS not to worship or pray to Jesus.  Of doctrinal concern is the belief that Jesus is just my older brother and just happened to come along first. Lastly, the formal wording of “thee”, “thy” and “thou” is not something I would say to a friend.

John 15:15 “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”

Conclusion:   I believe Latter-day Saints would draw closer to Jesus as a friend if they used Jesus’ name instead of titles.  Even in the name of the LDS church, “Jesus Christ” is at the end of a prepositional phrase.

Review Summary Paragraph:   We fail to have a personal relationship with Jesus when we use titles instead of His name.

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The Cross – Not Gethsemane

In, light of this statement, it should be mentioned that neither the Bible nor Mormon scriptures specifically state that the atonement occurred in the Garden of Gethsemane.  To have the atonement occur in the garden would be contrary to the narrative of the entire Word of God.  In Old Testament times, redemption was demonstrated through the ceremonial sacrifice of an animal.  God made it clear that forgiveness would be provided only through the death of an innocent substitute that represented the payment for the penalty of sin. Never did an animal sit somewhere alone in a pasture and suffer as a substitute sacrifice for sin.  This LDS addition of the garden has absolutely no biblical connection to the animal sacrifices of the Old Covenant, which were a picture of the shedding of the Lord’s blood which occurred, on the cross. 

The New Testament explains that the animal sacrificial system typified what Christ would do when He would voluntarily pay the price for sin through His own death.  Hebrews 9:1-10:18 emphasizes wonderful truths concerning this event.  Christ, Himself secured access into the very presence of God in heaven not just for Himself only, but for all who believed on Him.   Because Christ’s blood was shed through His death, all who believe in Him now have access into the presence of the Holy One. 

The garden is where He suffered great agony in His humanity over the impending pain and suffering that would culminate with His death on the cross.  His will was to do the Father’s will, but His flesh was shrinking at the thought of being beaten and crucified.  The agony He suffered in the garden was so intense for Him that “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22:44. The way it is written may suggest that His sweat was so profuse that the drops of sweat were heavy like what great drops of blood would look like.  The fact that only Dr. Luke records it makes it more likely that he was using a figure of speech. 

In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus prays in the garden three times to the Father that if it be possible, “this cup” – meaning His taking on our sin – would pass from Him, but that God’s will would be done.  Once Jesus was outside the garden facing the temple soldiers, Peter acts rashly by cutting off Malchus’ ear.  Jesus says to Peter, “Put up thy sword into the sheath; the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11). Jesus is implying to Peter, ‘I just overcame the temptation to follow My own will.  And now you are stepping in to impede what I was sent to do, which is to drink the cup my Father gave me to drink!  Put away your sword and let me precede to the cross, to drink this cup.’ 

While Jesus was in the garden, God sent “an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” (Luke 22:43). However, once Jesus was on the cross, the Father abandoned Him, leaving Him to His own, and sending no angel to help.  Why?  Because while Jesus was on the cross, God was delivering the full wrath for the punishment for our sins.  The imputted sins of the world caused Jesus for the first time in eternity to be separated from the Holy God.  And how did He respond?  “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Mark 15:34). It is illogical to think that if God poured out His wrath upon His Son for our sin in the garden that He would at the same time send an angel to strengthen Him.  Which is, by the way, the reason no angel was sent to strengthen Him on the cross. 

What did occur in the garden of Gethsemane?  Jesus was preparing to face the most extreme and ultimate suffering imaginable: being separated from His Father on high.  Satan was not about to leave our Lord alone when He was about to embark on the only act that would overcome the devil and his powers, once and for all.  THIS was the trial of the garden: Jesus overcoming the very natural temptation or desire to let this cup pass.  He prayed for Himself (Matthew 26:39, 42-44) to have the human strength to endure the pain and torture of the cross.  The moment Jesus relinquishes Himself into the hands of sinful men, the atonement began – the binding, the slapping, the spitting, the mockery, and the scourging “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities…with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).  Therefore the beatings, the torture, the fatigue, and humiliation, all culminating in His crucifixion and death on the cross were all part of His atonement for our sins.  Hebrews 12:2 tells us that for our sins Jesus “endured the cross, despising the shame.”  Before Jesus was put upon that horrible tree of terror, only the most vile, heinous, condemned men who were hated by society were hung there.  Anyone who was crucified was, seen as the lowest of low, a perfect picture of our state in sin. 

It should disturb us when religious leaders, who call themselves prophets and apostles, distract our attention from Christ’s suffering atonement on the cross, causing people to focus on things that are not right or true.  Statements like the President Nelson’s cause people to miss the cross, to see another Jesus, to discount the meaning of His suffering, and revise the truth of Jesus’ atoning work.  It is a twisting of the Scripture.  If Satan can get people to take their eyes off the truth of the gospel and redirect them to something that is a lie, he was won a victory.  The Bible stands on its own, testifying of exactly what His suffering and death on the cross accomplished:  Psalm 22:1, 6-8, 15-16;  Luke 9:23;  Romans 5:6-11;  Romans 6:6;  1 Corinthians 1:17-18, 23;  1 Corinthians 2:2;  1 Corinthians 5:7;  1 Corinthians 15:3;  Galatians 3:13;  Galatians 6:14;  Ephesians 2:16;  Philippians 3:18;  Colossians 1:20-22  Colossians 2:13-15;  Hebrews 2:14;  Hebrews 9:13-16;  Hebrews 12:2;  1 Peter 2:24;  Revelation 13:8.

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Mormons, now non-Mormons

President Nelson said, “When we omit His name from His Church, we are inadvertently removing Him as the central focus of our lives.”  The irony is that Joseph Smith used three different names for the church in the span of eight years. Why would Jesus instruct Smith in 1830 to call it the “Church of Christ”, then change it in 1834 to the “Church of Latter Day Saints” and, then change is once again in 1838?  Was he carelessly removing Jesus as the central focus of LDS members lives? One possible reason it took Joseph eight years to settle on an official name is the fact that God wasn’t involved at all in the decision.

In my entire life I’ve never heard or read of anyone having the silly idea that the LDS worship the “ancient American prophet” Mormon.  Most people aren’t that naïve.

In the Bible, Jesus never mentioned what the future church would be called.  That’s because it was never intended to be a formal organization, a corporate institution.  They were simply believers in Jesus Christ. Those believers were known by a, number of titles: like, “the Way”, “Christians”, “Nazarenes”, “Church of Christ”, “Church of God”, “Church of the Firstborn” “Church of the Thessalonians”, etc.  The term “Church” comes from the Greek work “Ekklesia” which means “a called-out assembly or congregation.” It is a gathering of people “called-out” to follow Jesus. What it is NOT – nor ever has been is an institution that serves as the gatekeeper of salvation or eternal life.  It’s all about a personal relationship each follower has with Jesus Christ.

Calling the Mormon Church “The Church” or the “Church of Jesus Christ” or “The Restored Church” would be an acknowledgement of Mormonism’s truth claims.  Non-members will recognize that those are more than titles and people outside that faith should not give validation to those designations. It would be an admission that the “Great Apostasy” really occurred.  Thus, the need for the Church to be “restored.” And, Christians certainly do not support that doctrinal position. Besides, how is it any better to call it the “The Church” or “The Restored Church” if the name of Jesus is still absent?        

It is hard to break old habits and I believe the terms “Mormonism” and “Mormon” will be used by members and non-members till the end of time.  President Nelson has taken what seems to be his personal, opinion and used his authority as CEO to persuade others that it is God who is making this “correction” of the Church’s name.

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Mormon Temples

There is no problem with the LDS having temples. Temples or similar worship-filled
locations have been part of the human culture seemingly from the beginning. Sacred
caves, mounds, groves, towers, Stonehenge, Mayan structures, are just a few examples of
man’s relationship with ‘temples’. The LDS declare proudly that the Church of Jesus
Christ is a restoration of Christ’s church in these latter days. Unfortunately, the temple
activity of Mormons is unlike anything discussed in the Old or New Testament. So, for
Pres. Nelson to infer that this “antiquity is thrilling and another evidence of their
authenticity” is incorrect.

Pres. Nelson’s footnotes refer to Exodus 28,29 and Leviticus 8. A careful reading of
these chapters will show clearly they don’t reflect current Mormon temple activity.

Did you know that Peter, Paul and even Jesus were not allowed in the temple? Only the
priests from the tribe of Levi, descendants of Aaron, were allowed in the temple. Jesus
and Paul could go only into the courtyard of the temple. So, when one reads that Jesus or
Peter went up to the temple…it wasn’t ‘in’ the temple. And, only the high priest, once a
year, could go into the holy of holies.

Two other little-considered tidbits: 1) women were never allowed in the temple, and 2)
why didn’t the Kirtland temple have the Masonic-influenced rituals?

In fact, the entire use of the three Jewish temples (all in the same location) was for the
sacrificing of animals and the shedding and sprinkling of blood as an atonement for the
sins of Israel, once each year. Consider Hebrews 9:24-26: “For Christ is not entered into
the holy places made with hands…but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of
God for us. Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth in the
holy place every year with blood of others; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put
away sin by the sacrifice of himself” Read Hebrews 8-10 for what Jesus accomplished.

Hebrews 8:7, 11,12: “But into the second (holy of holies) went the high priest alone once
every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the
people. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and
more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building. Neither
by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once in the holy
place, having obtained eternal redemption for us”.

There were no marriages in Jewish temples, no baptisms for the dead, no families are
forever, and no personal garments. The handshakes, tokens, signs, etc. are of current
origin. Mormon temples were influenced by Joseph Smith’s acceptance of Masonry.

Conclusion: Mormon temple activity is not ancient. Mormons are free to enjoy the
benefits of their temple activity, but these ‘temples’ are not a restoration.

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What’s in a Name?

In 2010, the LDS Church launched a public campaign, “I’m a Mormon,” featuring biographical sketches of Church members throughout the world.   In 2014, the LDS Church released a full-length film, “Meet the Mormons.”   Thomas Monson was the President and Prophet of the Church during that era.  He had been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since 1963 and for a half century, Elder Monson was involved in the public affairs department of the Church.  It seems that if anyone would have known the will of God concerning the offensive term “Mormon” or “Mormonism” it would have been this tenured LDS apostle.  But once Russell Nelson replaced Monson as prophet he confessed, “I realize with profound regret that we have unwittingly acquiesced in the Lord’s restored Church being called by other names, each of which expunges the sacred name of Jesus Christ.”  

It seems that President Nelson is condemning every LDS leader from Joseph Smith on for the past 180 years, for using the terms “Mormon” and “Mormonism” in their speeches and writings.  As prophets and apostles, shouldn’t they have known they were being offensive to God?  How could they not know that it was such a big deal to the God of Mormonism?  And, why did God wait so long to make this “correction?”  For a century and a half, past church leaders were giving victory to Satan and offending Jesus.  Even, disregarding Christ’s atonement.  Sounds awfully serious!

Nelson is admitting that former LDS leaders for 170 years were wrong in allowing the Church’s choir to be known as the “The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.”  He is acknowledging that Church leadership was wrong in allowing the words “Mormon” and “Mormonism” to appear on official LDS websites, in periodicals, and in correlated manuals that are approved by the First Presidency.  President Hinckley quoted Joseph Smith when he said, “Mormon means more, good.” (Ensign, November 1990).  Apostle Russell Ballard said, “While Mormon is not the full and correct name of the Church, and even though it was originally given by our detractors during our early years of persecution, it has become an acceptable nickname when applied to members rather than the institution.  We do not need to stop using the name Mormons when appropriate.” (Ensign, November 2011, p. 81).  “Mormonism” is a term that has been used since the Church founder Joseph Smith, Jr. said, “One of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism’ is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church 5:499).

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What's in a Name?

From the 2018 General Conference

In 2010, the LDS Church launched a public campaign, “I’m a Mormon,” featuring biographical sketches of Church members throughout the world.   In 2014, the LDS Church released a full-length film, “Meet the Mormons.”   Thomas Monson was the President and Prophet of the Church during that era.  He had been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since 1963 and for a half century, Elder Monson was involved in the public affairs department of the Church.  It seems that if anyone would have known the will of God concerning the offensive term “Mormon” or “Mormonism” it would have been this tenured LDS apostle.  But once Russell Nelson replaced Monson as prophet he confessed, “I realize with profound regret that we have unwittingly acquiesced in the Lord’s restored Church being called by other names, each of which expunges the sacred name of Jesus Christ.”  

It seems that President Nelson is condemning every LDS leader from Joseph Smith on for the past 180 years, for using the terms “Mormon” and “Mormonism” in their speeches and writings.  As prophets and apostles, shouldn’t they have known they were being offensive to God?  How could they not know that it was such a big deal to the God of Mormonism?  And, why did God wait so long to make this “correction?”  For a century and a half, past church leaders were giving victory to Satan and offending Jesus.  Even, disregarding Christ’s atonement.  Sounds awfully serious!

Nelson is admitting that former LDS leaders for 170 years were wrong in allowing the Church’s choir to be known as the “The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.”  He is acknowledging that Church leadership was wrong in allowing the words “Mormon” and “Mormonism” to appear on official LDS websites, in periodicals, and in correlated manuals that are approved by the First Presidency.  President Hinckley quoted Joseph Smith when he said, “Mormon means more, good.” (Ensign, November 1990).  Apostle Russell Ballard said, “While Mormon is not the full and correct name of the Church, and even though it was originally given by our detractors during our early years of persecution, it has become an acceptable nickname when applied to members rather than the institution.  We do not need to stop using the name Mormons when appropriate.” (Ensign, November 2011, p. 81).  “Mormonism” is a term that has been used since the Church founder Joseph Smith, Jr. said, “One of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism’ is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church 5:499).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G7gIyCH4rI
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Where do We Seek Truth?

In the 2018 General Conference, President Oaks focus his talk on the topic of truth and the LDS plan. While he covers a few in-depth principles, we will mainly be analyzing the topic of truth according to his talk. President Oaks opens his address advising the listeners to heed to the sources of truth. Only base our personal decisions on information sources that are “qualified on the subject and free from selfish motivation”. 

             I personally agree with his advice. However, mostly applicable in a worldly use. Why? Because as a Christian, we seek Christ and His Truth. In John 8:32, Christ says “And ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free” (KJV). We find out that Jesus is that Truth (John 14:6). Thus, to seek truth in all things is by Him and in Him. To Elder Oaks’ credit, he does list the matters of finding truth with the spiritual methods: prayer, the witness to the Holy Ghost, and the study of scriptures and the words modern day prophets. 

            We would agree with his advice except for the claim to seek the words and teachings of modern-day prophets. In the scriptures, we learn that Christ fulfills the laws and the prophets (Luke 16:16) and that now Christ is our prophet (Hebrews 1:1-2). Once we lay that foundation of Christ, we can then tackle “worldly” complications such as scientific conflict, religious discrimination and hate, doctrinal disagreement, etc.  

In conclusion, I would like to refer to a quote by James E. Faust that President Oaks uses in his talk: “…We believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the fullness of the gospel of Christ, which gospel is the essence of truth and eternal enlightenment.” I would argue, as an addition to my previous claims above, that the genuine gospel perceived in the Bible is the essence of truth and eternal enlightenment. What is the gospel? Paul articulates it perfectly in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4: “ For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” My brothers and sisters, that is the Gospel we build our foundations of truth on. 

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