Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Spirit, the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

"The Spirit has left the Church." "Miracles and gifts of the Spirit are gone in the Church." "Members are no longer seek and follow the Spirit, but just blindly obey human leaders in a business disguised as a church." These are favorite charges of apostates seeking to seeking to tear down the Church or even to draw and lead their own followers from the ranks of the Church. If those charges resonate with you, may I suggest you examine the past few years of talks from the President of the Church and note the number of spiritual experiences, gifts of the Spirit, and touching miracles that have been shared? The life of President Thomas S. Monson, for example, is one rich in spiritual experiences and miracles encountered in Christlike service. This is a man who listens to the Spirit and note merely a businessman pushing for better key performance indicators in the coming quarter. 
Those who are in the Church and actually live its teachings in faith have, in my opinion, abundant evidences of the gifts of the Spirit and are taught in many ways the importance of following the Spirit. Miracles do happen, sometimes abundantly, as we have experienced here in China, though plenty of human stuff happens every day, more frequently and more predictably than our encounters with the hand of God. I've described a few here in this blog and over at the Nauvoo Times as well. 

In his 1993 LDS Conference talk, "Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge," Richard G. Scott had a quote from a past President of the Church:
President Joseph Fielding Smith gave this admonition:

“Today we are troubled by evil-designing persons who [endeavor] … to destroy the testimonies of members of the Church, and many … are in danger because of lack of understanding and because they have not sought the guidance of the Spirit. … It is a commandment from the Lord that members … be diligent … and study … the fundamental truths of the gospel. … Every baptized person [can] have an abiding testimony. … but [it] … will grow dim and eventually disappear [without] … study, obedience, and diligent seeking to know and understand the truth” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1963, p. 22).
Don't be deceived by those teaching rebellion, claiming that the Church now lacks the Spirit. Pay more attention in your sacrament meetings, in your scripture study, in reading Preach My Gospel (the guide for missionary work), and in your listening to LDS Conference. Pay more experience to your own experiences as you obey the commandments and do your duty in serving others and praying for their welfare. We live in an age of miracles--don't miss the excitement.

Here are some resources from recent LDS Conferences to consider:
As a final tip, experiencing the guidance of the Spirit can be enhanced when we follow this advice from President Eyring and prepare diligently for such gifts. This comes from his talk "Bind Up Their Wounds" in the October 2013 Priesthood Session:
As a quorum member, as a home teacher, and as a missionary, you cannot help people repair spiritual damage unless your own faith is vibrant. That means far more than reading the scriptures regularly and praying over them. The prayer in the moment and quick glances in the scriptures are not preparation enough. The reassurance of what you will need comes with this counsel from the 84th section of the Doctrine and Covenants: “Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.”

That promise can be claimed only if we “treasure up” the words of life and do it continually.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are spending a lot of time on apostates and apostate assertions. Are you concerned that they're getting some traction?

Jeff Lindsay said...

I wouldn't write about it if I thought it was completely irrelevant -- OK, maybe just once or twice, and that's all. For relevant topics, I'll write a little more.

Jeff Lindsay said...

In other words, yes, I think some people are being deceived, and even a few pulled away would be a sad loss.

zerabp said...

Jeff as usual you are an inspiration to me and I thanks you for your constant service to the Lord. When I was sixteen I struggled with my testimony due to the claims made against the Book of Mormon it was your webpage and the original Mormons.org that showed me that the "evidence" against the church was very very far from cut and dry. Because of that I was able to take a leap of faith and trust that the Lord would do as Moroni says he would. That was coming up on 14 years ago and since then I have witnessed many miracles large and small that have helped to strengthen my testimony. I thanked you then and still have your gracious response, but I just wanted to thank you again, and let you know this is one apostasy your apologetics helped prevent.

Anonymous said...


"Don't be deceived by those teaching rebellion, claiming that the Church now lacks the Spirit"

Jeff, I'm completely on board with you. It is absolutely imperative to scrutinize any individual claiming apostasy in the Church and I applaud you for doing so. The Bible speaks of this kind of deception.

With that said, is this not the very same apostasy Joseph Smith claimed about the body of Christ in 1830?

How do we know for sure that Smith himself was correct? Have we in fact also been deceived??

How do we know?

Jeff, you actually relay the best advise from Richard G. Scott and Fielding Smith! "be diligent … and study … the fundamental truths of the gospel"

Shouldn't this admonition include diligent study on whether Joseph Smith actually restored the gospel in the first place?

Why then are we asked to just pray and believe it is so??

Is this not a double standard??

Thank you in advance for any response

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon,

I am curious as to which body of Christ you are referring to that Joseph Smith preached against in 1830?

Steve

Anonymous said...

I agree with Steve, which body of Christ are you referring to? In my experience this is usually something EV's say. Did it ever occur to our critics that maybe a number of good honest people in those early years did not see that unity you are referring to? There were various protestant sects that JS was wondering about that taught conflicting doctrines, who interpreted the same bible passages differently. If he was deceived for asking to receive help to clear up his confusion, then I think that says more about what kind of being God is then what kind of character flaws Joseph had

Bob

fig anon said...

I'm speaking of whatever group of believers in that area. Local congregations refereed to as "The body" by the apostle Paul such as the Churches in Colossae and Ephesus.

Frankly, we don't really know which church it was, JS never said. I assume there was a local group of Christians that JS had doubts about. Fair enough! I'm sure there were "a number of good honest people" asking questions, I'm all for that!

My point is, JS made claims of apostasy amongst the local Christians. But Smith goes even further to declare that not only are their teachings corrupt but that HE HIMSELF has been given authority to "restore" the very gospel of Christ! A big claim, right?

Today we see something similar happening. A man claiming apostasy in the Church. Jeff Lindsay wisely advises "Don't be deceived by those teaching rebellion, claiming that the Church now lacks the Spirit"
Jeff goes on to quotes Richard G. Scott and Fielding Smith "be diligent … and study … the fundamental truths of the gospel"

I completely agree! Great advise, Jeff!

My question then still stands...

Why would we be so wisely advised to "not be deceived", to be diligent and study the claims of apostasy by one man (Snuffer) but at the same time only pray and accept the claims of apostasy by another(Joseph Smith)??

Jeff, based on your wise advise, I think you would agree. Shouldn't we study any and all claims of apostasy and "restored" gospel as to not be deceived??

Anonymous said...

Hi fig anon,

So you are referring to the disparate believers in Christ? Beliefs that were different enough to be branded with their own denominational name? "One Lord, one faith, one baptism" comes to mind. I think that the difference is Denver is preaching to the crowd that believes in a restored gospel whereas Joseph was called to preach to the disparate believers in Christ to bring them to a unity of faith. If Denver truly believes his calling, he should not limit his preaching to be among the LDS but to the entire world. That is the first part that smells fishy of Denver's claims.

Thanks,
Steve

fig anon said...

Hi Steve,

very good points.

Although I'm afraid you're making the presumption that Joseph Smith was the final authority to unify Christian disparities.
In fact, diligently studying Smith's restored gospel as Jeff so wisely advises, an argument can be made that Smith not only created yet another denomination, but introduced theology that even the most differing Christian faiths agree is unbiblical.

I realize our view of JS may differ, but my main point is to agree with Jeff that diligent studying of the gospel is of UTMOST importance when examining the claims of apostasy and/or "restoration" by ANYONE! Whether it's the contemporary and self-admitted radical claims of Denver Snuffer or the contemporary and self-admitted radical claims of Joseph Smith.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the different and radical claims of Jesus too.

fig anon said...



"Don't forget the different and radical claims of Jesus too."

Great point! Jesus shouldn't be excluded from diligent study either.
Considering Jesus has multiple Old Testament prophesies about Him, multiple public miracles displaying His deity, historically corroborated evidence of His resurrection and ascension, as well as eyewitness disciples who would have to had been martyred knowing he was a fraud, I'd say Jesus stands up to scrutiny far beyond any other religious figure known.