The Parable of the Offensive Remedy

[ Cross posted from Sixteen Small Stones ]

For the kingdom of heaven is likened unto an hospital. And behold great plagues came upon the land, and the people were brought low by all manner of sickness; some with the pox, some with fevers, some with the palsy.

Théodule-Augustin-Ribot-The-Good-Samaritan

Therefore with great lore and wortcunning the master physician prepared remedies of bitter herbs and strong tonics. And so great was the number of the sick that the master physician called servants and sent them forth to carry the prescribed elixirs unto the sick that they might be healed. Continue reading

Rejecting the Living Prophets by Following Future Prophets

[Cross posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

kept-my-cupOne of the key doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that we have living prophets and apostles today who are authorized by God to receive revelations for the church and for the world. The scriptures are full of stories of how the people of the church rejected the messages of the living prophets, often justifying themselves by appealing to the words of previous prophets. Even Jesus was rejected by appealing to Moses or Abraham.

As President of the Twelve Apostles, Ezra Taft Benson warned: “Beware of those who would set up the dead prophets against the living prophets, for the living prophets always take precedence.” (Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, 1980)

Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained further: “…the most important difference between dead prophets and living ones is that those who are dead are not here to receive and declare the Lord’s latest words to his people. If they were, there would be no differences among the messages of the prophets.” (Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall, 1992)

I’ve noticed a troubling parallel among some progressive members of the church: Rejecting living prophets in favor of what they anticipate future prophets will do*. Continue reading

The Long Promised Day: Why the LDS Church Priesthood Ban is NOT a Hammer for Your Liberal Wedge Issue

[Cross Posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

Those who disagree with the the LDS Church on certain policies and positions, especially its stance on homosexuality and same-sex marriage, but also on various other policies that clash with current liberal cultural trends, often cite the Church’s former Priesthood Restriction as a precedent for the church to make further changes to accommodate their views.

In fact, for many of them the Priesthood Ban has become a useful hammer that they employ to drive their agenda. It has become a kind of folklore for heretical members of the church that is used to prop up and justify their agitation for change and rejection of prophetic authority. Continue reading

Timeline of Book of Mormon and Old Testament Prophets 800 BC – 400 BC

[Cross Posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

I’ve been getting ready to study the Book of Mormon for Sunday school in 2012. I wanted to create a way to more easily place the first three prophets of the Book of Mormon (Lehi, Nephi, and Jacob) into context related to the prophetic books, and some historical writings like Ezra, of the Old Testament. After some research and experimentation with layout, I put together this timeline of Old Testament and Book of Mormon prophets between 800 B.C. and 400 B.C.

For the best view, and especially for printing, I recommend Continue reading

On The Arrogance of Circumscribing God With Man’s Logic

[Thank you to the folks at the Millennial Star for inviting me to participate here by cross posting some of the content from my own blog.  It has been several years since I last participated here and I look forward to contributing in a small way. - J. Max Wilson]

One of my favorite definitions of logic comes from Ambrose Bierce’s satirical Devil’s Dictionary: “Logic: n. The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding.”

History is a testament to the nearly limitless incapacity of the human misunderstanding. And while each generation reserves a regular chuckle for the naiveté of its ancestors, it is often just as blind to its own errors.

I believe that our minds are not only limited by lack of experience and information. They are fundamentally limited by mortality. Our two eyes can only extrapolate three dimensions, though with some effort we can conceive of a tesseract even if we cannot visualize it in its true form. We can only perceive colors of light within about 380 to 750 nanometer wavelengths, and as a result plants and flowers that exhibit intricate ultraviolet patterns and designs appear to us quite plain and ordinary to our limited vision. Technology allows us discover their patterns by translating the ultraviolet into our visible spectrum, but we are incapable of actually seeing them as they really are.

Reality is not circumscribed by your or my ability to comprehend, conceive of, or perceive it.

Continue reading