Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

The Journey isn’t Over Yet

January 15th, 2018 by G.

Sometimes we Mormons feel like we have all the answers and are just retreading the same old path.  (Or at least descriptions of all the answers.  “Prayer” and “study the scriptures” aren’t answers, they are just words.  Actual prayer and actual scripture study are answers.)

If so, we are only half right.  We may be retreading the same old path.  But that is not all the path there is.  If we prayed and study the scriptures, we would soon find ourselves beyond the fields we know.

Glory, for instance, is never defined in the scriptures, but it is a central concept.

Or Mosiah 15 on the identity and inter-identity of the Father and the Son.  There are explanations of what that chapter is about that make sense and bear good fruit, but there are no complete explanations.

Or Christ as the Logos, the Word.  For instance, there is this from Moses 1:

And by the word of my power, have I created [numberless earths and numberless inhabitants], which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth.

We don’t realize its a deeply strange thing to say only because we are used to it.  What does it mean?  Again, I have seen some deeply interesting thoughts–but they have all only been forays into the territory.

 

Or there is this, still from Moses 1:

And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless?

Eternity and endlessness are hard enough concepts to understand when taken plain.  But passages like this indicate they should not always be taken plain.

There is always something more to learn:

there is no end to my works, neither to my words.

(Which takes on even more meaning if we remember that the Word is Christ.)

Comments (5)
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January 15th, 2018 10:28:27
5 comments

Bookslinger
January 16, 2018

Just about everything beyond the Gospel Principles manual is taught by the Holy Ghost.

The “higher truths” are in the scriptures. But they’re hidden in plain sight, “locked” as it were. It takes the Holy Ghost to unlock or reveal what the scriptures mean when they cover the higher topics. Or as JS said (in effect, not an exact quote) “The Holy Ghost opened our eyes to the true meaning of the scriptures” or “opened the scriptures to our eyes.”

Understanding and _compliance_ (or at least sincere good-faith effort) with the basics seems to be a prerequisite to having the Holy Ghost open up the higher doctrines.

This is why the general authorities repeatedly emphasize the basics. Because when you really do (or are sincerely working on) all the basics, then the Holy Ghost steps in and teaches. And the more one works the repentance/obedience cycle, becoming more and more in compliance with the commandments and with the attributes of Godliness, the more that the Holy Ghost works in your life… the process of sanctification.


JRL in AZ
January 16, 2018

@Bookslinger:
“Just about everything beyond the Gospel Principles manual is taught by the Holy Ghost.”

I find that very interesting, and mostly true. My wife and I were recently called to teach that class, and it is amazing how many very impressive and profound things I have learned by the Spirit as we use the manual, which is very basic but still very full. I have also been impressed with how very important it is to teach by the Spirit when we are talking about the very basics of the Gospel, especially because the class is full of new members and visitors. I thought it would be “easy.” It is not.

The reason I find your comment “mostly true” is because the Spirit is still very necessary to understand even the Gospel Principles “milk.”


JRL in AZ
January 16, 2018

As for the original post, President Nelson’s comments in the press conference this morning made me say that there is always more to learn, simply because there are always more people to meet and more places to go. He commented that he is more useful to the Church than he was just six months ago because of the places he has gone and things he has learned since then.


Bookslinger
January 16, 2018

JRL, yeah, but…., that wasn’t the distinction I was trying to make. Thank-you for helping me to clarify my explanation.

The basics are taught openly, in classes, at the pulpit, at conferences, etc., with verbal language; words that can be spoken and written. The Spirit then imparts understanding and confirmation of those basics.

But the church doesn’t openly teach/explain the higher stuff. (Though our “basics” may be “higher” than what other churches teach.) Not even in the temple. Yeah, the higher stuff is very much there in the endowment, just like it’s in the scriptures, but it’s not explained openly/verbally anywhere as the basics are explained over the pulpit, in correlated manuals, and in the classroom.

There are no (formal) human teachers to explain to us what the endowment means as there are human teachers to explain Gospel Principles.

(Gospel Doctrine SS class and the CES Institute classes are maybe a half-step above Gospel Principles.)

My point is that the Brethren appear to purposely avoid creating curriculum and avoid giving General Conference talks that go beyond our two Sunday School classes (Gospel Essentials and Gospel Doctrine). Because all further/higher doctrines are to be learned on an individual level (as opposed to classes and congregations), as the person is ready, through scripture study, temple attendance, prayer, and being “taught from on high.”

In the case of a teacher/preacher speaking, the Holy Ghost carries -those-audibly spoken words to your heart. The speaker’s voice/words are like the carrier wave, and the Holy Ghost provides the modulation/meaning. But for being “taught from on high”, the modulation/meaning comes directly, or is imposed directly upon the words of scriptures/endowment, as the student reads/listens to the fixed “script.”

Perhaps I’m being too technical. But I think this is the answer to those who want to be taught “higher doctrine” in “advanced” Sunday School classes, beyond Gospel Doctrine. (Not that G is seeking such in the OP. I think all the JrG regulars understand that advanced topics are given in one-on-one classes with the Holy Ghost.)

There is one variation/wrinkle that I want to mention: “Basic” talks/lessons over the pulpit and in classrooms can still be used by the Spirit as “jumping off points” to reveal new/additional or higher things to the listener. This can happen while reading scripture or attending the temple, too. Listening/reading (to the “basics”) “puts our mind in a place” where we can receive personal revelation, even if the revealed information is only tangentially related (or even unrelated) to what we are hearing/reading.


JRL in AZ
January 17, 2018

Bookslinger:
That is excellent. Sorry if my comment was obtuse, but it did provoke an excellent response. Thank you.

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