Thursday, September 9, 2021

Elder Rasband’s divinely-inspired insights into “Approved Sources”

"The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears.
It was their final, most essential command." (George Orwell, 1984)

Brethren and Sisters,

Today, I stand before you grateful for this opportunity to address you. 

Recently, I've become a more passionate enthusiast in the inspired words of one of the Lord's mouthpieces, even our beloved apostle, Elder Ronald A. Rasband.

In a Sept. 8, 2021 Facebook post, even Elder Rasband blessed us with the following divinely-inspired insight:

https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1819729454896250&id=167753940093818

  [1]

I must say, Brethren and Sisters, that I feel with every fiber of my being that there's so much to read, ponder and pray about here, it's difficult to know where to start.

"Speculation"

First, I'd like to start with Elder Rasband's statement that "We sometimes turn to our friends, associates, or the Internet with our questions. The adversary likes to stamp speculation as truth and cloud our thinking with frustration and disrespect." 

Here, Elder Rasband has demonized speculation -- "the forming of a theory or conjecture without firm evidence". 

I am anxious to someday ask Elder Rasband if the church was speculating, or if it was serious, that we should all trust "the wise and thoughtful recommendations of medical experts and government leaders." (the First Presidency's August 12, 2021 letter to Church members re: Covid). [3] Ask those who had to hastily exit  -- and those who have yet to exit, not to mention the families of those who never exited -- Afghanistan if our "government leaders" are "wise and thoughtful." While you're at it, ask those very same leaders if their continued support for killing unborn babies is "wise and thoughtful." Ditto for those "wise and thoughtful" government leaders who will again raise our national debt limit next month, facilitate illegal immigration and continue ignoring the ever-escalating Chinese military threat (which just violated Taiwanese air space). The implications are staggering.

Is it "wise and thoughtful" to force people to get a Covid injection (in flagrant disregard of the Nuremberg Convention)? Where are the thoughtful "medical experts" who consistently turn a blind eye to those with injection adverse effects? Where are those "vaccines" that are "proven to be both safe and effective"? According to the CDC, a vaccine specifically has to stimulate both an immunity within the person who is receiving it, but it also has to disrupt transmission. Yet the CDC's own director admits that the injections do not prevent transmission, [2] and news headlines regularly inform us of people dying of Covid who recently received a full dose.

Where is the "firm evidence" that those "medical experts" and "government leaders" are "wise and thoughtful"? And if there is no evidence of such, then who is Elder Rasband to be lecturing us on speculation, when the First Presidency's August 12, 2021 letter to Church members [3] around the world is filled with nothing but "speculation"?

"Questions" and "Answers"

Luckily, Elder Rasband got one thing right by saying we grow by asking questions. The problem is that (1) He demonizes our turning to "our friends, associates, or the Internet with our questions" presumably about the church or the gospel of Jesus Christ and (2) he wants you to limit where you can find the answers.

It is said that the truth does not mind being questioned, whereas a lie does not like being challenged. 

This is not the first time (and likely not the last) members experience the following:


On my about page (https://ldtruths.blogspot.com/p/about.html), I detail how many members (who are confronted with inconvenient information about the church) do as they are told: they sincerely turn to their Bishops and Stake Presidents for answers. Yet in many cases, these men don't have the answers. So the member often walks away not only lacking an answer, but they are also being unofficially branded as a potential troublemaker, a disobedient soul, a questioner, a doubter. Maybe even a sinner or apostate. If you doubt me, read some of the comments under Elder Rasband's Facebook post: 

https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1819729454896250&id=167753940093818

So, where are members supposed to go for the answers?

“Sources”

Fortunately, our dearly beloved Elder Rasband has a solution, embedded in the words of our global faith leader, even President Russell Marion Nelson, who taught, “Take your questions to the Lord and to other faithful sources.” (“Christ Is Risen; Faith in Him Will Move Mountains,” General Conference, Apr. 2021). 

I actually agree with Pres. Nelson on one of his points: One should take their questions and concerns, worries and more to God. At least, that's what James 1:5-6 says:

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." 

Yet we are also told to study things out in our minds (D&C 9:7-9) and to "seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith." (D&C 88:118). In fact, in 1843, Joseph Smith said, "One of the grand fundamental principles of 'Mormonism' is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may." (please excuse my using that Satanic word 'Mormonism'; it's a direct quote from Joseph Smith). [4]

Many church leaders (including our dearly beloved Elder Rasband and even global faith leader Russell Marion Nelson) have criticized those who turn to "our friends, associates, or the Internet" for insights. Anybody -- apostle and ordinary shmo like yours truly -- is on truly shaky ground whenever they imply that "our friends, associates" are agents of "the adversary." What an insult. What utter nonsense. 

I have no idea what the Brethren are afraid of enough to be using such inflammatory rhetoric. As apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, I would assume that their confidence has "waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth." After all, aren't they supposed to be "men of a sound understanding" who have "searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God"? (see Alma 17:2) If so, then they should have no hesitation in our talking with others about the questions we have and the answers we seek.

Deliberating with others should be expected among members. For example: You've likely bought a car before. Before you did so, did you ever ask questions about the car you were thinking of buying? And was the only source of information you sought out the manufacturer of the car itself? Of course not. They will only tell you good things about it—whatever it takes to get you to buy it, even embellishing the details and outright lying. That's why when I buy a car, I read the reviews of the dealer and the car. I even read the negative reviews as well. What do people not like about it? What do the disinterested third party observers say about it? How does it rate compared to the other options? You’ll never get the full story from the salesman who’s trying to take your money.

God shouldn't be expected to be an information vending machine. He expects us to do our fair share of the research. And all facts considered, it looks like there's plenty of evidence (hence, it's not speculative) that Joseph Smith and the Lord are fine with us not only asking questions, but also seeking out a wide array of reputable information sources for answers. No asterisks, no exceptions, no prioritizations.

"Doubt"

Our beloved Elder Rasband also quotes Pres. Nelson: "Stop increasing your doubts and fears by rehearsing them with other doubters. Allow the Lord to lead you on your journey of spiritual discovery."

I am constantly amazed why the Brethren fear our developing doubts:

“If a faith will not bear to be investigated; if its preachers and professors are afraid to have it examined, their foundation must be very weak.” [5]

“If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.” [6]

Reading a book about Nazis doesn’t make you a Nazi. (And as much as I wish it were true), reading a book about martial artist Bruce Lee doesn't make you a Jeet-Kune-Do expert. And trust me when I say that watching Gordon Ramsey swear a string of expletives to junior chefs has yet to make me a kick-butt cook. 

In fact, doubts -- and searching for truth, wherever it comes from -- can be a fruitful thing. Here’s Hugh B. Brown:

"Doubt has a place if it can stir in one an interest to go out and find the truth for one's self. I should like to awaken in everyone a desire to investigate, to make an independent study of religion, and to know for themselves whether or not the teachings of the Mormon church are true. There are altogether too many people in the world who are willing to accept as true whatever is printed in a book or delivered from a pulpit. Their faith never goes below the surface soil of authority. We should be dauntless in our pursuit of truth and resist all demands for unthinking conformity." [7]

And another Hugh-ism:

"I admire men and women who have developed the questioning spirit, who are unafraid of new ideas and stepping stones to progress. We should, of course, respect the opinions of others, but we should also be unafraid to dissent - if we are informed. Thoughts and expressions compete in the marketplace of thought, and in that competition truth emerges triumphant. Only error fears freedom of expression. This free exchange of ideas is not to be deplored as long as men and women remain humble and teachable. Neither fear of consequence nor any kind of coercion should ever be used to secure uniformity of thought in the church. People should express their problems and opinions and be unafraid to think without fear of ill consequences. We must preserve freedom of the mind in the church and resist all efforts to suppress it." [8]

“Neither fear of consequence or any kind of coercion should ever be used to secure uniformity of thought in the church. People should express their problems and opinions and be unafraid to think without fear of ill consequences. . . . We must preserve freedom of the mind in the church and resist all efforts to suppress it.” [9]

"Worthy"

In his four-part plan to ascertain truth, our beloved Elder Rasband encourages us to "Be worthy to receive answers." 

Frankly, I'm amazed he would say this. Here is a man who has served as a high councilman, bishop, mission president, member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, member of the Presidency of the Seventy and finally, apostle...yet he is apparently unaware of the non-speculative fact that none of us are worthy:

"there is none that doeth good" [10]

"It is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes." [11]

O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth." [12]

"Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed." [13]

Remember that James 1:5-6 scripture I quoted above? God “giveth to all men liberally”. God has never set conditions on his ability to give us answers. All of us deserve them. And that's a fact that's both unconditional and non-speculative.

In Conclusion

Brethren and Sisters, my time's almost up. 

I agree that what our beloved Elder Rasband has said is true: "By divine design, truth speaks to your spirit; it brings light to your mind and comfort to your heart. Truth will deepen your commitment to love what the Lord loves and steady your everyday challenges with an eternal perspective." 

But with every fiber of my being, I don't think that a "loving Heavenly Father" is after more “strong and effective servants." "Eternal servitude" is a concept never mentioned in the scriptures. Instead, he wants his sons and daughters to love God and others -- in other words, the two commandments. When love exists, obedience happens naturally, organically.

Appeal to authority, servitude and obedience are not the primary messages of the Beatitudes.

Love is.

Sources

  1. https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1819729454896250&id=167753940093818
  2. https://theconservativetreehouse.com/blog/2021/08/06/cdc-director-makes-case-vaccination-passports-are-futile-vaccines-do-not-prevent-covid-infection-or-delta-variant-transmission
  3. https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/first-presidency-message-covid-19-august-2021
  4. Joseph Smith, Jr., as quoted in History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1949), 5:499, as quoted in https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/authority-in-the-church
  5. George A. Smith, JD 14:216
  6. J. Reuben Clark, "J. Reuben Clark: The Church Years", D. Michael Quinn. Brigham Young University Press, 1983, p. 24
  7. Hugh B. Brown, "An Abundant Life: The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown", 1988, http://www.lds-mormon.com/brown.shtml
  8. Hugh B. Brown, counselor in First Presidency, Speech at BYU, March 29, 1958
  9. James E. Talmage, The Improvement Era, Vol. 23
  10. Psalm 14:1; 53:1-3
  11. Romans 3:10-18
  12. Helaman 12:7
  13. Moses 1:10

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have just recently come to know of this blog and am so grateful that I have. Your scriptural knowledge; perspectives; as well as the breadth of where you pull your information from are truly a blessing. So much of what you post I have felt for a long time, but didn't know where to find others who see the truth.

Thank you!! Thank you!!

Bryce Passey said...

I ponder the "wise and thoughtful" medical and government experts who, for more than 20 years, told us the Fenfen was "safe and effective".

epicworld said...

Right on. I second everything you said. And thank you so much for your diligent documentation, both from the scriptures and other sensible sources. You validate the very questions and thoughts that many of us have. As these false doctrines continue to be exposed, I'm so grateful for the word of the Lord that we can count on unequivocally. Keep up your important work. the truths you share are so refreshing in this mist of darkness that seems to be enveloping general authorities.

Anonymous said...

The First Presidency put the Church into a box. They have put God in a box. Now they are offended that Church members have Faith and Intelligence and can discern truth and error independent of them.

These are crazy times. I understand BYU football had its first sellout in several years. I saw a bit of the game on TV and the fans seemed excited and boisterous like any other game prior to 2020. If there were an actual pandemic would we be seeing sellout crowds? No, we would not

Yet LDS leaders are strongly pushing we are in a pandemic!

I was at a hospital the other day to visit a friend. There was no indication of a crush on medical services - and the state where this hospital is located is at all-time highs of Covid cases.

Elder Rasband who do you trust to discern truth and lies? I trust my common sense. I trust the Light of Christ. I trust the Holy Ghost. I trust the Word of God. I trust God will allow me to see things as they really are and really will be.

Said Nephi:

"Cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee."

Said Paul:

"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."

Said also Paul:

"God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind"

Said Moroni:

"The Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil"

Said Jesus:

"If it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it.

But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return."

The word of God is clear. We must place our Trust in God, and not in man. We must believe in God and in his Mercy and Power and Justice. By doing this we are promised great blessings, even miracles. We are promised that if we exercise Faith in Christ then God will make bare his arm to the deliverance of his people. That is the Covenant path and the path we are determined to follow.

Anonymous said...

So many problems in the administration of the Church would be mitigated if the lay church was fully insulated from the corporate church. What I see happening is the lawyers of the corporate church are so afraid the members will put their wealth at risk that they are defining what is and is not appropriate expressions of faith. The consequence being that loving God has been placed below pleasing men.

This can only bring much sorrow to the church and its members.

So time for a course correction. The corporation of the LDS church should appoint its own board and it can manage church assets and facilities. But everything else is out under the direction of prophets and apostles who have the sole objective of testifying of God and His Righteousness and in preparing the people for the return of the Savior.