The Spirit of Freedom
Alma 61:15 says in part, “according to the Spirit of God, which is also the spirit of freedom which is in them.” For years when I read that I thought Pahoran was being a little over the top to equate the spirit of freedom with the Spirit of God.
He wasn’t. Our agency is the most important thing we have from God. It is worth the price of the infinite suffering of the Son of God. I don’t wish to take time to try and explain or convince anyone of the magnitude of the importance of this principle.
I believe Thomas Jefferson summed it up well by saying, “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” But as always the most powerful words come from Jesus Christ, who said that we must have agency “otherwise there is no existence.” (D&C 93:30)
In order to have agency in this life we need to have the following: (this is borrowed from a book by H. Verlan Anderson and thank him and his son Hans V. for this information)
1. Life and some degree of physical and mental health and strength.
2. Liberty of action or the absence of restraint and coercion.
3. Knowledge of those laws which must be obeyed to achieve one’s goals.
4. The right and control of property.
The spiritual is always more powerful than the physical. Our spirits control our bodies.
When viewed from a spiritual or eternal point of view the above list changes a little. As a spirit your life is harder to remove from you. You don’t need clothing or shelter or food and physical health is not a factor. Since you don’t need these things property control is not a concern. Liberty of action seems to be a given insofar as the individual has the power to ascend to higher realms he can. It seems that it is only our choices which limit us and not another’s choices.
But the need for knowledge or truth is vital and overpowering of all else in any state of being. No matter what else you have if you don’t have the truth you cannot be free. No matter what else external forces may deprive you of if you still have truth you will be able to be free. If I know the truth and they steal all my property (or more likely prevent me from using it) or lock me in prison I can yet be free in the future. And if I have the truth and they kill me I am completely free right then.
So Satan’s real efforts are to prevent a person from finding the truth. Any person or organization of people which seeks to prevent you from gaining more knowledge is inspired of Satan. If someone uses their power to prevent you from reading or publishing something it says nothing about the validity or usefulness of the material but is tells everything about the source of the person’s motive.
Agency Killer Number One
It is the perverting of truth or lying. It is injected into us as false concepts. This goes deeper than we can realize. I would just like to discuss one very close to home aspect of it, that perhaps we can free ourselves from this avenue of attack upon our agency.
Most all LDS are completely aware of the doctrine of Papal infallibility. Here is a great definition of what I am talking about.
Papal infallibility is the dogma in Roman Catholic theology that, by action of the Holy Spirit, the Pope is preserved from even the possibility of error when he solemnly declares or promulgates to the universal Church a dogmatic teaching on faith or morals as being contained in divine revelation, or at least being intimately connected to divine revelation
So according to this the Pope when speaking as a Pope can’t be in error. Aren’t we all thankful that we don’t fall for this poppycock? Or do we?
This is what we have heard and been taught.
President Wilford Woodruff said:
“I say to Israel, the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty” (Official Declaration—1).
Elder Marion G. Romney recalled an experience he had with President Heber J. Grant:
“I remember years ago when I was a bishop I had President Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting, I drove him home. … When we got to his home I got out of the car and went up on the porch with him. Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: ‘My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.’ Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, ‘But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray’ ” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1960, p. 78).
And from thence comes the saying, “Just follow the brethren.”
These sentiments then amount to a Claim of Human Infallibility. This is the exact same as papal infallibility it just applies to 15 men instead of one. And anything and everything that the prophets and apostles agree to give us is what God wants for us to have right?
Well what about when the prophet Samuel gave the children of Israel a king? Did the Lord want them to have a king? No He did not. Did He instruct Samuel to do it? Yes He did. So the Israelites followed their prophet and they were blessed just as Heber J. Grant said they would be right? Well if you call a cursing a blessing from God yes they were really “blessed”.
We can add to this Moses having the gospel of Christ ready to give the children of Israel and then the Lord commanding he give them a taskmaster law instead for the next 1500 years. This was yet another curblessing to be sure.
We are told by God to do all things by common consent. And even in our councils we must be unanimous in order to implement the plan. The brethren speak of this principle.
And yet there are many practices which are enforced upon LDS members as if they were the law of God which were in fact never set forth as doctrine, revelation or anything just a way of viewing things. They become church practice and obtain the force of church law by use and not by revelation. They are just correlated into regulations and enforced as the Lord’s law upon us.
By this method the LDS church has lost many principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
A list of these may shock you. We have lost a lot more than the liberty to not wear a white shirt and tie to pass the sacrament. But even that liberty should never have been lost.
Her are some examples.
The law of consecration
Where is the revelation discontinuing it? Why are we not given the opportunity to live it now? Part of the covenant of God with Israel is that He would give them lands for their inheritance. Without the law of consecration this cannot happen.
The law of tithing
If you read D&C 119 it says tithing begins after you enter the law of consecration. How can we start to live tithing until we do the initial consecration?
And then under this disabled law we are told that income is interest. Where was the revelation or even the vote of the council of the twelve or the church?
I am thankful that Gordon B Hinckley put it so correctly that we can see there none of these occurred. Read with me from his, “The Sacred Law of Tithing,” Ensign, Dec 1989, 2
“Tithing is so simple and straightforward a thing. The principle, as it applies to us, is actually set forth in one verse of section 119 of the Doctrine and Covenants.
“And after that [after the Saints offered their ‘surplus property’ to the bishop in 1838], those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord.” [D&C 119:4]
For many years, presidents of the Church have interpreted “interest” as “income.” Beyond that, they have not elaborated.”
Notice what he did not say. He did not say any of the Prophets (a priesthood title referring to the president of the High Priesthood) have interpreted interest as income. He said presidents of the church (a corporate title) and not even all of them but many of them. Did Joseph Smith interpret it that way? And he never said the Lord interpreted interest as income.
The law of plural marriage
No revelation given to end the practice. Read carefully the official declaration. Here is the summation paragraph.
There is nothing in my teachings to the Church or in those of my associates, during the time specified, which can be reasonably construed to inculcate or encourage polygamy; and when any Elder of the Church has used language which appeared to convey any such teaching, he has been promptly reproved. And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.
President Woodruff just says, we have stopped practicing it and we don’t teach or encourage polygamy anymore. And then he gives advice to the church members to put the law of man above the law of God.
Making of temple garments by church members
I know in times past it was allowed. The Lord speaks of making our own garments in D&C 42. Why is this right given by the Lord now removed? What did I do to lose it? How can it be that if I now make a temple garment I can be subject to reproof?
The reality is that to change the meaning of the Lord’s revelations is to pervert the Holy Word of God. Mormon and Moroni told us this would happen. I just thought it would be at some future date. Realizing these things for myself is like taking a trip by airplane to a distant city for a real important interview. You are real tired and ask the hotel night clerk to give you a wake up call a 7 am because you don’t dare miss that meeting. Then the phone rings and you wake up. Thanks you say and hang up. Then glance at the clock and see it is 9:30! You are awake but the event has already past.
To convert tithing from ten percent of interest to ten percent of income effects every member of the church in a profound way. Do you believe the Lord is pleased with these things?
By believing the present Claim of Human Infallibility we are robbed of much truth and we have not been blessed for it. We are cursed for it.
But amidst all the lack of truth passing as the will of the Lord there are things that are said which are true. And the scriptures are still full of truth.
Although Dallin H Oaks may say our personal line of revelation is suspect and weak that is not what the Lord says. Let that which is true sink into your heart and dwell there that you can act upon it.
Here are two quotes. Take from them the truth and then hold up all else in the light of that truth.
It is not to be thought that every word spoken by the General Authorities is inspired, or that they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost in everything they write. I don’t care what his position is, if he writes something or speaks something that goes beyond anything that you can find in the standard church works, unless that one be the prophet, seer, and revelator – please note that one exception – you may immediately say, “Well, that is his own idea.” And if he says something that contradicts what is found in the standard church works, you may know by that some token that it is false, regardless of the position of the man who says it. We can know or have the assurance that they are speaking under inspiration if we so live that we can have a witness that what they are speaking is the word of the Lord. There is only one safety, and that is that we shall live to have the witness to know. President Brigham Young said something to the effect that “the greatest fear I have is that the people of this Church will accept what we say as the will of the Lord without first praying about it and getting the witness within their own hearts that what we say is the word of the Lord.” (Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye In Holy Places, pp. 162-3, “The Prophet, Seer, and Revelator,” Address delivered to seminary and institute teachers, BYU, July 8, 1964)
To the faithful Latter-day Saint is given the right to know the truth, as God knows it; and no power beneath the celestial kingdom can lead him astray, darken his understanding, becloud his mind or dim his faith or his knowledge of the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It can’t be done, for the light of God shines brighter than the illumination of falsehood and error, therefore, those who possess the light of Christ, the spirit of revelation and the knowledge of God, rise above all these vagaries in the world; they know of this doctrine, that it is of God and not of man.” (Joseph F Smith Conference Report, October 1909, pp. 8–9.)
Do not fear to reject outright things which run counter to the Spirit of the Lord as it is manifest in the words of the Lord in the scriptures and in your heart. Your freedom to return to God rests upon your willingness to reject the doctrine of the Claim of Human Infallibility. So we need not accept as from God all that is given through the Claim of Human Infallibility or the CHI for short.