Friday, May 27, 2016

The Name of Jesus Christ, Part 6: Obtaining His Word


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.

—James 1:5


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

In the last installment of this series I concluded with the idea that we shouldn’t teach anything as God’s word unless it is actually obtained from God. I also made the point that scholarly study alone isn’t enough to obtain God’s word.


However, because ignorance of the things of God is our greatest sin, and scripture study is absolutely vital, in today’s installment I’ll examine scripture study itself and share some thoughts about an effective approach to it.


We must begin with the realization that scripture has two roles. The first, obviously, is to inform us. The search for truth starts with scripture, and if successful, leads to personal knowledge of God.


The second role of scripture is much less obvious, but every bit as important.


It is to keep things from us.


Now I realize such a statement may be surprising, so we’ll spend some time on it. Let’s start with a good understanding of how our scriptures are limited when it comes to teaching the things of God. It’s important we keep these limitations in mind as we consider scriptures and scripture study:


1. The scriptural record is VERY incomplete. For example, we have almost no information about events between Eden and the Flood. We know almost nothing at all about God’s dealings with people other than a particular family line that became a nation, and was ultimately scattered and destroyed. We are informed that the Lord ministered to other sheep, but we know nothing about them. And so on. Even great examples featured in scripture, like Enoch, Melchizedek, or Abraham have precious little written about them. Therefore, we must keep in mind the idea that the scriptures are not a very complete history—nor are they designed to be. They are a series of vignettes intended to teach specific lessons.

2. The Biblical record has been BADLY corrupted—and the most plain and precious parts of the gospel, as well as vital information about the covenants of the Lord, have been intentionally removed. The pieces of truth that remain lack proper context, and are therefore widely used to promote a false gospel, based on the assumption that these tattered vestiges of the true gospel are the complete picture. They are not.


 If you rely most heavily on the Bible as your source of truth, you are relying on the weakest link in the scriptural chain. Referring to my previous allegory, the Bible talks a bit about cars, but it will never make you a driver.


According to the Book of Mormon:

And the angel of the Lord said unto me: Thou hast beheld that the book proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew; and when it proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew it contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord, of whom the twelve apostles bear record; and they bear record according to the truth which is in the Lamb of God. 
Wherefore, these things go forth from the Jews in purity unto the Gentiles, according to the truth which is in God. 
And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away. (1 Nephi 13:24-26)
Plain and precious truths and covenants were removed by the great and abominable church for a reason: to keep people dependent upon the church and its leaders, rather than seeking the Lord themselves. After all, those who practice priestcraft must maintain a market for their services, and the solution is to blind eyes and harden hearts by withholding the true gospel. What remains essentially amounts to grace and gospel platitudes with no saving power.
...because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them. (1 Nephi 13:29)
The Bible actually gives Satan great power. Those who preach solely from the Bible cannot and do not preach enough truth to lead to salvation. Period. The covenants are gone, and with them, the fundamental understanding of the gospel. Increasingly, Biblical preaching amounts to the Prosperity Gospel of good feelings and unlimited blessings. But it is a false gospel.

Intercourse with the whore never produces fruit.


Joseph Smith made some attempts to correct the Bible, but his effort was not exhaustive and was not published during his lifetime. The work he did shed remarkable new light on the Bible, but barely scratched the surface. The Bible remains severely impaired as a source of saving truth.



3. The Doctrine and Covenants has been tampered with. Sections have been expanded and altered; important revelations have been removed or never included; and the ENTIRE “Doctrine” portion of the Doctrine and Covenants was removed in 1921 when the Lectures on Faith were stripped out of the D&C by an ignorant committee without authorization. What remains is incomplete, and even misleading. It is NOT what Joseph intended.

4. Ambiguity is a significant challenge. Take the Book of Abraham, for instance. The truths it contains are remarkable, yet its provenance gives scholars no end of fits. Most scholars stand in the shallow end of the pool, claiming it is an absolute forgery and that Joseph Smith was a fool and a charlatan. Even the LDS Church concludes that the book didn’t come from the papyrus. And yet, Joseph’s teachings correlate amazingly well with the earliest histories and records about Abraham. What is easily dismissed when knowledge is shallow, becomes astonishingly powerful, even life changing, when the depth of the picture is revealed. The greatest truths only yield to the diligent and faithful.


5. Fake and corrupt records abound. There is no shortage of apocryphal and even fictional books tantalizingly posing as scripture. Seeking after them because they contain SOME truth makes about as much sense as eating a banjo because its metal strings contain the important nutrient iron. In both cases, we’re well advised to stick with the purest sources we can find. Don’t eat the banjo.


6. True records have been withheld. For example, Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Joseph, from the Abraham Papyri, is purportedly held by the LDS church but has never been published. Joseph also kept extensive notes and expanded explanations of the Book of Abraham that have yet to see the light of day.


What’s The Solution?



The Book of Mormon was provided as the Lord’s cure for the problems with our canon of scripture. It sidestepped the Babylonian invasion of Israel and subsequent Babylonian influence found in all our other scripture. It survived by miraculous means through a thousand years of recording, prophetic selection and abridgment, and fourteen hundred years of burial, to finally be translated by the power of God for our use, targeted for our day.


And after all that, we’ve stripped it of its power through misuse and neglect. In the early days after its publication, the Book of Mormon was mostly used to prove the truth of the Bible, even though its very text says the Bible is so corrupt it actually leads into darkness. Otherwise, the Book of Mormon was mostly regarded as a group of inspiring stories for children. Its gospel truths were strictly interpreted through the corrupt lens of existent Bible teachings.

Less than three years after the Book of Mormon was printed, the Lord pointedly condemned the whole church for treating it lightly. (See D&C 84:54-57) We have no record of the Lord lifting that condemnation. Until we make the effort to comprehend the Book of Mormon and place it in its proper role, we remain condemned. The good news is that we can individually shed the condemnation, even if our group or church does not.


As we seek to elevate the Book of Mormon to its rightful place in our lives, it’s important that we understand the book’s role and limitations. So here are some tips:


The Book of Mormon likely doesn’t say what you think it does. Since it was first published, people have attempted to overlay Biblical Christianity on the Book of Mormon, claiming ideas and events are portrayed in the text that simply aren’t there. The first step to understanding the Book of Mormon is to read it for what it actually says, independent of any other book.


If you manage to drop your traditions and understand what’s actually written in the book, you’ll find it shocking, amazing, and unparalleled in its proclamation of life-changing truth.


The Book of Mormon doesn’t say what it should. By that, I mean the text has been tampered and tinkered with here and there, attempting to clarify ideas that weren’t quite comfortable to those doing the tinkering. Even the punctuation is completely invented, and was not contained in the original manuscript. Therefore, its important to look past the punctuation, and in some cases even the text changes, to get the original meaning.


The Book of Mormon is intentionally incomplete, and only contains the “lesser” things. Mormon informs us of this fact and what we must do about it:

And now there cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people; But behold the plates of Nephi do contain the more part of the things which he taught the people. 
And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken. 
And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them. And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation.
Behold, I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying: I will try the faith of my people. (3 Nephi 26:6-11)
Whether we receive any more is entirely dependent on how we respond to what we have. As Moroni mentioned, our faith is what’s on trial. Therefore, a faithful response to the Book of Mormon is vital if we want to receive more truth. But unfortunately, our response has not gone well. Remember the Lord’s condemnation that still rests on the church?

So what is the proper response to the Book of Mormon? 


In a word, it is repentance. Repentance is how we exercise faith—and faith is what’s on trial.

Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you. (Alma 34:17)
Repentance is a whole topic by itself. It doesn’t mean we feel guilty, confess, get punished, make restitution, wait for time to pass, or any other such nonsense. Repentance simply means we recognize the course we’re following is ineffective and will not lead where we want to go. So we change course. To repent is to turn and face God, and pursue the course that leads to Him. Until we do this, we cannot receive more truth—a fact also made known by Moroni:
For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord. 
And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are. (Ether 4:6-7)
In fact, the notion of repentance necessarily requires that we come to know more than we do now. To repent is to come to understand enough to want to change course. And scripture study is where that understanding begins. 

How Not to Study


So, now that we’ve faced the very real limitations of the canon of scripture available to us, coupled with the necessity of overcoming our ignorance and gaining understanding, let’s talk about the most common mistakes we make when we attempt to “study” the scriptures. Don’t do these:



Proof texting: This is when you start with a conclusion and then “cherry pick” a snippet of scripture here and there to “prove” it. This is easy to do, and if your goal is to support what you already believe, you will. The problem is that your initial premise may be false. And if so, you will only succeed in “proving” a falsehood. This is no way to search for truth.

I’ll add that proof texting is most common in lesson manuals and conference talks that start with a premise and then use fragments of scripture to “prove” what has already been stated as truth, though the scripture may actually mean something very different.


Cherry picking snippets of scripture to establish your proposition is NOT scripture study.


Faulty logic: Sometimes true ideas are presented as proof for other ideas that aren’t true. One of the simplest to recognize is taught by missionaries throughout the world every day. It goes like this:


The Book of Mormon is true, so therefore Joseph Smith was a prophet, so therefore we have a prophet today, so therefore the church is “true,” So therefore you must get baptized. It’s all or nothing.


Of course, the truth may not be remotely close to all the assumptions strung together in that chain. The Book of Mormon is indeed true, but it has nothing to do with whether we have a prophet today. And you should get baptized because Christ has invited you to, not because the church is “true.”


It’s incorrect to assume something is true just because something else is. Check your assumptions.


“Reading” the scriptures: Have you ever encountered someone who attempts to substantiate his knowledge by telling you how many times he’s read the Book of Mormon? Obviously, it’s possible to read the book a hundred times and never understand it. A proper study of the Book of Mormon may take a lifetime, and may not encompass “reading” the book from cover to cover even once. You won’t find the gold by scratching at the surface.


Scholarship as a source of truth: As I covered previously in this series, a lifetime of scholarly study and research may not lead to one iota of saving truth. Scholarship and research are NOT the tools that will lead you to God.


Corrupt vocabulary: The words of scripture have particular meanings, many of which have changed over the years. When we speak of priesthood, temples, grace, atonement, sin, repentance, iniquity, or a thousand other terms, we may assume we know what they mean, when in fact the original authors ascribed a very different meaning to those words. Even the right vocabulary will get us nowhere if we have the wrong understanding. 


Only God knows the meaning HE had in mind when he caused the scriptures to be written. Therefore, to understand what is written, you MUST access the mind of God. And what is the mind of God? According to Lectures on Faith 5:2, the mind of God is the Holy Spirit.


Therefore, any correct understanding of scripture MUST come by the Holy Spirit. As Joseph Smith said, “Thou must commune with God.”


Communing with God


And now, finally, we’ve come full circle to the point of this post. Let’s review:


  • Scripture is here to inform us, but is also designed to withhold information.
  • Our current canon of scripture has important limitations that do, indeed, withhold or conceal information. 
  • Scholarship, poor logic, and improper study are incapable of arriving at truth.
  • The only correct way to understand scripture is to access the Holy Spirit, or mind of God. You must commune with God. 
  • According to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, to “commune” means “To converse; to talk together familiarly; to impart sentiments mutually, in private or familiar discourse.”
  • Therefore, the fact that information is withheld should entice us to seek what is missing.
And so, here’s the most important thing I can tell you about studying scripture:


The purpose of scripture is to cause you to ask questions.

Did you get that? It’s really that simple. All the limitations, difficulties, and even corruption ought to cause us to question. Our ignorance and foolishness ought to cause us to question. Our desperate need for redemption ought to cause us to question desperately. And we must bring those questions to God. Faced with such a limited canon in our lost and fallen state, we ought to be desperately seeking answers from God.


Joseph modeled it perfectly when, as a boy of 14, he could not settle the most important of questions with an appeal to scripture, “for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.” (JSH 1:12) So he took James’s advice and appealed directly to God. 


And that’s why our Lord’s brother James wrote what he did. That’s how it works. That’s what it’s for. That’s how God is revealed. We must ask.

Said our Lord to His disciples:

Say unto them, Ask of God; ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened. (JST Matthew 7:12-13)
Do you know of any other statements in scripture about how to receive, how to find, or how to have truth opened to you that don’t entail asking, seeking, knocking? It doesn’t happen by accident; it happens by effort.

Receiving Answers


If the purpose of scripture is to cause us to ask questions, we shouldn’t be surprised when the Lord also uses scripture to provide the answers. When Joseph asked his question at age 14, the Lord’s answer primarily consisted of quoting scripture.


When the angel visited Joseph in his bedroom and spent the entire night in conversation, the discussion consisted primarily of expounding scripture.


The pattern is no different today. The scriptures are both the puzzle and the solution, and are properly used as a Urim and Thummim. The Hebrew words “urim” and “thummim” are plurals meaning “lights” and “perfections.” When our lack of light causes us to seek God, his answers bring perfect understanding. Ask and ye shall receive. Seek and ye shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you. Seek light to gain perfection in your understanding.


One of the first times I recognized this process at work, I was studying the Book of Mormon, and I encountered an odd phrase that contradicted my current understanding. As I thought it over, I formed a question in my mind, along the lines of “Lord, what does that mean?” And instantly, an inner voice answered, in a sentence, quoting scripture.


The experienced shocked me because I wasn’t expecting to hear a voice, and didn’t even realize God was listening to my question. But that answer unmistakably came from God and led me into a further search, leading in turn to more questions, more answers, more light, and a more perfect understanding.


Do you want to receive revelation? Do you want to commune with God? Ask Him questions about scripture. You have your very own Urim and Thummim, right there on your shelf. It has been carefully designed to both conceal, and in due time, reveal, lights and perfections.



We have now clearly set forth how it is, and how it was, that God became an object of faith for rational beings; and also, upon what foundation the testimony was based, which excited the enquiry and diligent search of the ancient saints, to seek after and obtain a knowledge of the glory of God: and we have seen that it was human testimony, and human testimony only, that excited this enquiry, in the first instance in their minds—it was the credence they gave to the testimony of their fathers—this testimony having aroused their minds to enquire after the knowledge of God, the enquiry frequently terminated, indeed, always terminated, when rightly pursued, in the most glorious discoveries, and eternal certainty. 

—Lectures on Faith 2:56

17 comments:

  1. Love this post! Thanks you for sharing with the rest of us. One of my favorite things to do when I have the scriptures open is to write down questions in the margin with pencil. My scriptures are all marked up with questions, answers, insights, ect.

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  2. All of you who are wearing badges of honor for being excommunicated, including Denver, I believe are filled with pride.

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    1. Randy, what does this accusation have to do with the point of this post?

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    2. It's all about coming to know our Savior, Jesus Christ, and coming into his presence. Denver does not want followers and those that have accepted his messages from the Lord don't follow him. He has just caused some of us to awaken, or has been a second witness to the which we have already been taught by the spirit. We are following Jesus and seeking his face.

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  3. It seems to me there are a lot of you who are wearing badges of honor for being excommunicated. It is rather disturbing to me that you worship Denver, worship Joseph and put Jesus on the backburner. Seriously, you think the Book of Mormon overrides the bible? Have you not all read the CES letter and pondered and prayed? I asked Denver to address it but he is too busy shepherding his flock. The Jews got into trouble because they worshipped Moses ... I believe the same thing is happening with the Mormons and Joseph and I do not think God is pleased. How many of you spend time with God, spend time entering his presence and being taught by him? Or is your time spent instead with the teachings of Joseph and defending him and the Book of Mormon? Hmmmmm. From what I see in the communities is that you are all so illiterate with the bible and the Hebrew and greek translations and the mystery of the bible ... the deep things of the bible. I have come to know Jesus through the bible, not through the Book of Mormon and since reading the CES letter, I have left the Mormon thinking that we are such a special class of people. hogwash ... God loves all his children ... not just this teeny tiny segment of Denver worshippers! If you began obeying the first commandments and ordinances of the bible you would know your God ... And seriously Adrian, you really believe that Moroni was truck by lightening because of Denver? That makes me laugh out loud ... you are not well versed in the fact that these statutes get hit all the time from lightning storms ... come on you guys ... get educated ... read the CES letter and if any of you dare to defend Joseph after reading the CES letter then I seriously would like to read a rebuttal.

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    1. Randy,

      How is the "movement" of those listening to Denver and being exed any different than the "movement" of those who follow Jeremy Runnells and resign their membership? Have you seen his website, cesletter.com? It is full of "reviews," testimonials and Jeremy's face all over the site. Oh, did I fail to mention that he asks People to "pay it forward" with donations? ($10-$1,000 monthly options). And didn't Mr. Runnells sneak a video camera into his church court then post it for the world to see, highlighting his dramatic exit out the door? A badge by a different color is still a badge.

      Adrian's point is that if one believes the Book of Mormon, then it clearly warns of how the Bible has been corrupted and used as a tool to bind men into captivity. If you don't believe it, then God bless you. It appears you have found the truth you need in the Bible. Many people find it there, or in the Koran or the Bhagavad Gita.

      But all this periphery talk is just a distraction so that we will argue about whatever and ignore what is being presented. The Book of Mormon IS telling us something, and it's not devotional text of how to be a nice person; it's not a history or anthropology of a culture or geography; it's not a means of proving the Bible or the Campbellite sect is right.

      The Book of Mormon is asking something of us. Clearing our heads of the false traditions, (whether it's through Denver Snuffer or Jeremy Runnells) is a good start. But if there is a chance that we can assist in helping another people, why do we argue over such trivial things? Let's get over it, roll up our sleeves, and start working side by side.

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  4. Thanks Adrian. I like the interaction of asking questions. He does answer!
    It seems though that Joseph's intercourse with the great whore (the bible) did produce fruit. If it weren't for his belief in the text from James, we wouldn't have the many truths that we received from Joseph. Many of Joseph's sermons were based on scriptures found in the bible. There are great truths to be found in the bible. And most importantly, more questions that can bring us to the One that can answer.

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    1. Excellent points, Rick. I should clarify that I chose my words carefully in this post. If the Bible is our primary or exclusive source of truth, we will miss many important parts of the gospel and the covenants we need. If the Bible alone were sufficient, there would have been no need for the Book of Mormon, or the restoration.

      Certainly, even after what it's been through, there is yet much truth in the Bible, and as you know I use and teach from the Bible. My primary purpose in what I wrote here is to point out that the Bible alone is insufficient to produce fruit. And I'm referring to the Jacob 5 kind of fruit, not merely to some good being produced.

      Thank you for giving me the chance to clarify. Love you, Brother!

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  5. The feeling is mutual! Thanks for the teaching.

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  6. Why does the Bible produce "fruit?" Let's ask Ezekiel:

    And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them? Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols; that I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.

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  7. Thanks for this, Adrian. What you’ve presented here is clear and vital. It invites us to approach the scriptures as more than just another item on our piety checklist with which to congratulate ourselves. When I taught Gospel Doctrine for several years I came to realize that starting with myself, the majority of the class was functionally illiterate in the scriptures. I felt motivated to dig deeply enough let the scriptures talk to me, and invariably they did, sometimes with delightfully unexpected results. For instance I remember feeling empowered by D&C 10:67-69 to teach it line-by-line in two different lessons. That was living dangerously.

    Instead of using the scriptures to invigorate us to additional personal study with our Urim and Thummims, the correlated manual was forever attempting to wrap each lesson in a comforter of warm fuzzies in which concepts, stories and motivation were resolved by the close of each class time. Over time I evolved from closely following the correlated lesson manual to eliminating all quotes from general authorities, consciously ignoring the manual’s proof texting and actively searching for insights from any other source, starting with the scriptures themselves. Ideas and scripture chains from some of your blog posts greatly enriched several of my lessons. Thank you.

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  8. Adrian, this wa fantastic. Absolutely spot-on. Thank you for taking the time and effort. God bless you and your family.
    I love how you articulated the concept of repentance. It's truly as simple and yet profound as you spelled it out to be. I wish it were taught like that in our correlated manuals.
    But alas, it's taught with faulty, flimsy visual aids and shaming inferences...when all it boils down to is what you said, a conscious course correction.
    I love the Book of Mormon with all my heart and know that it is gift to us from God. We ignore its message at our own peril - collectively as a nation and as a church. Thanks again for pointing out the reasons why and how we too can make a course correction. The very salient points you made in this post definitely pushed (not just nudged, but pushed) me to go back and dig deeper into the Book of Mormon.
    Much Appreciation!
    ~A. Nelson

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  9. Thanks Adrian, for continuing to share your insights with all of us. Your example has helped me want to delve deeper into the scriptures and has certainly helped increase in my understanding. I have forwarded it on to my older kids because I think it can help them in their study.

    Sometimes I do struggle with asking questions because it is easy to rock back on previous understanding, thinking I already get it. I would caution everyone reading this to really try and check your "understanding" at the door when studying the scriptures. This is where it gets tricky. Pride can be a subtle thing. He cannot teach us if we are unwilling to consider an alternative meaning. Thanks for laying out so clearly how to study and learn from the Lord. I just pray to be more diligent myself in this endeavor to seek learning "from the best books" and gain "hidden treasures of knowledge." I pray we can all come to a personal knowledge of our Lord and His redemption.

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  10. Adrian:

    Normally, I love all of your posts and many of them ring true for me. But as convert, this one has hit a few "sore" spots with me.

    I'm not sorry for loving my bible. I study both in the Hebrew and the Greek and also then trace that back to it's Paleo-Hebrew meanings. It is in the Paleo-Hebrew I have found magnificent treasures.

    Our King James is royally screwed up in the English from that view point. I use it to trace back words into the Paleo Hebrew because those English words have been traced back before.

    But when I want to know the Hebrewic thought and interpretation of a verse without the hard work of tracing it all the way back to the Paleo-Hebrew, I use the Institute for Scriptures Research (ISR - The Scriptures) Version. They are out of South Africa.

    It lays out all the books in order as are currently in order in Isreal. It also has removed every word that has a pagan origin. I find it brings through the Hebrewic thought and understanding to both the Old Testament and the New Testament wonderfully. For me, it is very comforting.

    It was also the Paleo-Hebrew by studying it from the OT and the NT in the bible that led me to understand the 1830 version of the Book of Mormon is true. In that sense, it was study and scholarship (inspired and led by the Holy Spirit!) that led me to further knowledge and light.

    But the bible is the first thing that brought me to Christ and thus to my Savior and my King. It is the first thing that showed me GOD's OWN POWER THROUGH JESUS CHRIST. I stand on this.

    With the current trials I'm dealing with I'm finding myself rewashing myself in the truths I know in the bible, standing on God's Word (no matter how corrupt others believe it may be) because God does indeed watch over His Word to perform it. I find it right now, not necessarily the Book of Mormon, is providing me with Power of Jesus Christ, power of the Holy Spirit and the authority in Christ I've known and operated in previously, thus leading me through the trials I'm navigating through and will come out victoriously through.

    Do I know there is more to the story? Of course and this is exciting, but I can't believe the bible is so 'badly' corrupted that it cannot lead people to Christ to be saved. He is the Savior. He is the only way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Him. Not works. Not ordinances. Him.

    I cannot imagine anyone who loves me who died for me personally, who loves me unconditionally would somehow turn around and say "but wait, now that I've died for you, you have to keep doing stuff perfectly the exact way I describe for all your life and perform a checklist of duties if you actually want to be forever in my presence."

    Like Randy pointed out above, I know "His presence" now by the Spirit. Would he really allow me to have that experience here on Earth and yet yank it from me when I die because I didn't get sealed in the Temple? No, I have more confidence in Christ than that. I'm active LDS and "endowed" but because I think this way, I'm not popular in my ward. :)

    I know we are all learning. These are just my thoughts.

    And when you said, "Intercourse with a whore doesn't produce fruit," I could only think of my mother's half-sister who was born in France during WWII. My mother didn't find out about here existence for approximately 40 years or so because her half-sister was indeed the fruit of intercourse with a whore. True story.

    Other than that, I appreciate all your hard work on these posts and I still enjoy reading them.

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  11. This is a great reminder. I've done exactly what you're describing in this post (and the follow up), yet somehow I still get off track and start wandering in other methods of scriptural exegesis. I appreciate the reminder as I need to make this more habitual.

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  12. Thanks for this; it definitely helped me understand my own scripture study (something I've been working on for a while), and also acted as a second witness to some things I've learned before.

    Something that came to mind as I read this is how the Book of Mormon (the words of the tribe of Joseph) mirror the life events of Joseph of Egypt so well. At least, the events Nephi made sure to include in his own record, in which he only kept that which are "pleasing unto God." (1 Nephi 6: 4-5)

    "And it came to pass that my father, Lehi, also found upon the plates of brass a genealogy of his fathers; wherefore he knew that he was a descendant of Joseph; yea, even that Joseph who was the son of Jacob, who was sold into Egypt, and who was preserved by the hand of the Lord, that he might preserve his father, Jacob, and all his household from perishing with famine. And they were also led out of captivity and out of the land of Egypt, by that same God who had preserved them." -1 Nephi 5: 14-15.

    Similarly, the Book of Mormon was buried into obscurity, and there preserved by the hand of God, so that in God's own due time it could come forth out of obscurity and preserve all who were perishing due to spiritual famine. It also leads those who read it (if they'll not only say, but do that which it says-D&C 84:57) out of bondage and away from Babylon, by that same God who preserved the record and inspired the men who wrote it.

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