Why questions? In a previous post I said this.
"I hope you'll be patient with me as I ask questions. There are a couple reasons for this method. The first is it allows you to ask and answer yourself. Asking is something I think we've lost. Asking is something that has helped me to receive answers from the Lord. Asking your own questions may lead you to a much greater understanding than I know myself or could have written. Questions allow me to ponder without pontificating which allows pride which seals off further understanding. Questions allow an evolving understanding, and an understanding now isn't necessarily negated by a greater understanding later, but it is more full."
So why questions? Because the minute you allow a man to tell you what something means, a flaxen cord has been laid upon your mind. When you come to accept that man as authoritative you are then bound by strong cords. The same man who gave us that vocabulary told us that the only authority we are justified in obeying is God, directly to us.1 Even the angels must be tested.2 When we rely on the arm of flesh, we are cursed because we have placed ourselves in bondage and trampled the knowledge God gave us that we are free. When God made us, do you think he had the Children of Israel in mind3 and their foolishness in following imposters and rejecting true prophets? Do you think he understood how apt we are to trust in man, to setup a man as our leader and the idolize him and his words such that we are willing to murder and war with our brothers without cease as we do today?4 If he knew this, then do you think he also provided the remedy? What might that be? Why is it He has given us direct access to Him? Does He know that He is the only reliable source of truth in this telestial world? Does he desire men to be free? To be intelligent? Is that why we worship Him, because he is a God of truth? Can he be a God of truth and love us, and at the same time want us to rely and pin our hopes on fallen man? Can this God desire us to be ignorant? To have our minds fogged, to see darkly, to cause the scriptures to lose their power?
If something is offered to you, and not as something you must believe, you are under the obligation of determining its truth for yourself. You must ask, you must question, you must search, you must determine if what is being spoken or written has any basis in truth and you must go to God. If you accept a doctrine that allows you to trust in man or a sequence of men and rest your mind in anything but the Lord, do you think that may qualify as placing yourself in bondage?5 If not, what sort of bondage would be more effective?
God works upon us without compulsion. What he offers us is as light and as whispy and tenuous as gossamer (or as Korihor put it "whims"). We have to reach for it, seek it, find it and cultivate it. As we do, this thread becomes stronger and stronger until we can safely grasp it and our understanding reach into heaven and have pure intelligence flow into our mind. We can let go anytime no matter how high the climb. If we let go, we can reach out again, but the question remains, if we once held on, why would we let go of that? Sometimes we must. Often worldly cares, many of which are needful, can prevent continual access.
Since I wrote my first post The Holy Ghost, I have often wondered and tried to recreate the scenario that led up to this. I have often been frustrated because I couldn't. But as I continued in the course that let to that experience, I have learned and found and I now know what conditions are required, what I must be doing in order to have that experience again.
I have thought about how the Lord rebuked6 the Brother of Jared for not praying. In many ways I have thought that prayer is not done so much on your knees as it is in searching, questioning, seeking from the best source. I think I can relate in a small degree to him, because as I study in this manner, my study itself is a prayer, and more effective at connecting with the Holy Spirit. Is it better to symbolically be on your knees digging out truth from scripture he has given? Is that a prayer, a plea in itself?
"And in them shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my rock and my salvation." (1 Nephi 13:36 )
Christ's Gospel is in the Book of Mormon. I've written books explaining just how much of His Gospel is contained in the Book of Mormon. When writing The Second Comforter I found the Book of Mormon was the best source to explain the process. In the Preface to Eighteen Verses I wrote (and meant) the following: "I am convinced the Book of Mormon is the preeminent sacred text for our times. All other volumes of scriptures are not just inferior to it, but vastly so." (Id. p. iii.)
The Book of Mormon contains Christ's Gospel. It also contains His "rock" and His "salvation." What is the "rock" contained within it?
John Hall thought the better translation of Christ's colloquy with Peter would have included the Lord identifying Peter not as a "rock" but as a "seer stone." And upon the stone or seership would the Lord build His church.
I've thought the Book of Mormon was more a Urim and Thummim than a book. It is a tremendous source of subject matter upon which to ponder, oftentimes drawing a veil at critical moments while inviting the reader to ponder, pray and ask to see more. Used in that fashion, the Book of Mormon can open the heavens and make any person a seer indeed.
The words of a prophet are best understood by a prophet. If you can come to understand the Book of Mormon's words, you can become a prophet. Or, more correctly, a seer before whom scenes of God's dealings with mankind, past, present and future, will be put on display. Mosiah 8:17 reports: "But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known."7
Consider Denver's many talks, books, and blog posts. In these he almost never says anything outright, and when he offers you one thing, he often shows the alternative. All of this to to activate the latent child-like question asker in you.
In a single sentence God answered Joseph in a combination of Paul, Isaiah, Jeremiah.8 The angel quoted multiple scriptures. If angels teach by the scriptures, is it any surprise that when we are seeking, the words of prophets are the ones that come to our mind to teach us what it is God wants us to know? The comforter brings all things to our remembrance. Why would answers to questions we ponder come to us in scriptures that present themselves to our minds?
Once I was trying to identify a plant which I though was poisonous. It took me hours over a few days to be able to know it when I saw it, but once I did, recognizing that plant came easier and easier until I drove down the road and say, there's one, there's another...and...another. What once took days took a second or less. The funny thing about that, is what I thought I was identifying as poison sumac, were actually Black Walnut trees that grow wild around here which are not only not poisonous, but bear a lot of fruit. A bit nutty, I agree, but fruit nonetheless. Maybe there's more than one lesson here.
This has been a repeated and favored theme of mine, because I am jealous for the Lord of Hosts and all that desire to come to him but don't know how, I hope to help with my own experiences. To me this is the single most important topic of which I can write, and is the most exciting and thrilling to my soul. How can we obtain the Second Comforter if we do not know the First?
I thank thee Lord, that from where I stand looking back, I can see thou hast led me along gently through the endless doctrines and philosophies of men. Thou has allowed me to explore, seek, and find, but because my goal was always to find thee, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, thou has led me until I found truth and a servant. Will thou continue to so bless me, that it may likewise be said, the God of MSB, the God of LHB, and the God of my sons and daughters?
1. "Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost." (2 Nephi 28:31) Count how many times in Chapter 28 references directly or indirectly how the Gentiles will be afflicted with and warned against the "precepts of men".
2. D&C 129
3. "But they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord. The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim." (D&C 130:7-8)
4. "And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety. And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another." (D&C 45:68-69)
5. "And I now give unto you a commandment to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life. For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God. For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ. And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit. And every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father. And the Father teacheth him of the covenant which he has renewed and confirmed upon you, which is confirmed upon you for your sakes, and not for your sakes only, but for the sake of the whole world.
"And the whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin. And by this you may know they are under the bondage of sin, because they come not unto me. For whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin. And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me. And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now.
"And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion. For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay." (D&C 84:43-59)
"President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel--said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church--that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls--applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall--that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves...." (Joseph Smith, TPJS, Section Five 1842-43, p.237)
"It is an imperative duty that we owe to God, to angels, with whom we shall be brought to stand, and also to ourselves, to our wives and children, who have been made to bow down with grief, sorrow, and care, under the most damning hand of murder, tyranny, and oppression, supported and urged on and upheld by the influence of that spirit which hath so strongly riveted the creeds of the fathers, who have inherited lies, upon the hearts of the children, and filled the world with confusion, and has been growing stronger and stronger, and is now the very mainspring of all corruption, and the whole earth groans under the weight of its iniquity. It is an iron yoke, it is a strong band; they are the very handcuffs, and chains, and shackles, and fetters of hell." (D&C 123:7-8)
6. Ether 2:14
8. "I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: 'they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.'" (JSH 1:19)
"Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men. (Isaiah 29:13)
"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (2 Timothy 3:5)
"Thus saith the Lord, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?" (Jeremiah 2:5)