Saturday, October 23, 2004

From Such Turn Away

Reading a talk from Elder Boyd K. Packer entitled "From Such Turn Away" (May 1985), I was struck by how pertinent his words are to the discussion of critizing our Church leaders, and would like to share a bit of it here:

The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy of perilous times and apostasy to come in the last days. He listed the many evils that would be abroad in those perilous times, such things as false accusers, despisers of those that are good, and traitors, and he warned, "From such turn away." (2 Tim. 3:1-5.) "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them." (2 Tim. 3:13-14) That phrase, knowing of whom thou hast learned them, has great significance. Paul taught that a knowledge of the scriptures was our immunization against these evils.

Repeating what the Lord said: "Again I say unto you, that it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except [one:] he be ordained by some one who has authority, and [two:] it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church." (D&C 42:11)

The very nature of the priesthood allows for a great variety in the gospel knowledge of members struggling to learn as they serve. A member, at any given time, may not understand one point of doctrine or another, may have a misconception, or even believe something is true that in fact is false. There is not much danger in that. That is an inevitable part of learning the gospel. No member of the Church should be embarrassed at the need to repent of a false notion he might have believed. Such ideas are corrected as one grows in light and knowledge.

It is not the belief in a false notion that is the problem, it is the teaching of it to others. In the Church we have the agency to believe whatever we want to believe about whatever we want to believe. But we are not authorized to teach it to others as truth. There is another area where caution means safety. There are some who, motivated by one influence or another, seek through writing and publishing criticisms and interpretations of doctrine to make the gospel more acceptable to the so-called thinking people of the world.

This is why, gentle readers, I do not often post my own ideas on this blog. Oh, I likely will, but with the firm disclaimer that it is only my own possibly erroneous thinking. But I do not apologize for quoting the Prophets or the scriptures, as they are given by the authority of God, and are the foundation of my faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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