Thursday, August 20, 2015

House of Order

Recently, the FairMormon Conference was held in Provo, providing the public with several presentations on various subjects on the Mormon faith. Michael Otterson's presentation seems to have gone semi-viral as I've seen it posted multiple times on Facebook. I personally enjoyed that one and the points he brought up.

I've just now read the presentation by Cassandra Hedelius about Mormon Gnosticism, which is, in her opinion, based on the assumption that deeper spiritual knowledge holds the key to salvation, but also leads the way to apostasy. She touches on various points and when you have the time to read it, go here for the complete transcript

However, the thing that made me really think was one specific claim of Mormon Gnosticism is the command to share revelations an individual may receive. I finished a book not more than a week ago that dealt with this very thing. This man claimed he received these visions of events leading up to the Second Coming and Millennium and was told he could finally share them and thus a book was published. I doubt his claim to have received those visions, but I seriously doubt whether he was given permission to share these deeply personal and spiritual experiences. Sure, they were fascinating to read about, but guess what? These were for him. 

Hedelius states:

"Many self-proclaimed visionaries would respond, and I know this because this is part of their public teaching, that they were commanded by the Lord to share their vision(s). Some of them even make a great show of humility and reluctance, saying they wanted to keep it quiet and had no desire for publicity, but the Lord or another messenger told them they must tell the world. But that is not possible; this claim violates scripture and revelation. It’s another example of false teaching being very persuasive because it incorporates much that sounds true. The Adversary is good at being subtle. 
Gnostic visionaries love to quote Joel 2:28, which foretells that men and women will prophesy and have dreams and visions. But the Lord gave us an important caution in the Book of Mormon: 
“It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.” (Alma 12:9)

I hadn't fallen victim to his claims nor did I decide that his vision of things is the be-all and end-all but as she says, the Adversary is subtle. It would be easy to think more of what he says than to look at modern-day prophets and the scriptures.

A few years ago, I was reading another book that threw into question the doctrines outlined in "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." It was about the author's assumptions regarding homosexuals and their place in the Plan of Salvation. Her claims, thoughts and opinions tore at me and I was lead to agree with her. As I discussed these thoughts with my husband, he (gently) reminded to me to study and read that inspired document again. Once I did that, all my issues were resolved, and with his encouragement, I didn't finish the book.

I loved that Hedelius asserts (more than once) when sharing examples from early church history (think Hyrum Page and his stone):
It’s important to notice what the Lord does not say. He does not say “you all have the gift of the Holy Ghost, so when someone comes among you proclaiming revelation and authority, you should be able to just discern if it’s legitimate or not without revealed standards to guide you.” We are not told to face a free-for-all anarchy of truth claims out there, any of which might be of equal weight to revelations received through prophets.

The Lord is mindful of us, His flock, and wants us to know so we won't be led astray. It is through His divinely called prophets that we will know His will. And if one becomes fallen, there is still order in His church and another will be called in his stead. No one will just come out from nowhere and claim he is the voice of the church. The Lord's church is a house of order. This was a great presentation and reminder for me.