Saturday, March 5, 2011

As Simple as That

For this week's post, I quote Joseph Fielding Smith in an address entitled "The Plan of Salvation" given in November 1971. It is many times difficult to explain our faith to others because there is so much we want to tell them and because our message has become so familiar to us that we speak as in tongues, utilizing jargon that is very much "Mormon." In this address, President Smith states clearly and plainly our beliefs relative to the Bible and to the origin of our church. Perhaps this will aid in condensing the message of the restoration to a more conversational explanation:

"Let us make this very plain. We do not look back to the Bible alone for our knowledge of the Lord and his laws. We do not claim priesthood or power or authority from heaven because these were possessed by the ancient saints. Our roots are not buried in the rubble of past ages.

It is true that we believe the Bible, more literally and fully and completely, I am sure, than others do. We accept it as the word of God, and strive to live in harmony with its teachings. We have all the knowledge that the world has about the dealings of the Lord with people in former times.

But the gospel which we have received has come to us by revelation, by the opening of the heavens, by the ministering of angels, in modern times. This dispensation began in the spring of 1820 with the appearance of the Father and the Son to Joseph Smith, my great-uncle, the prophet chosen and prepared by the Lord to usher in his great latter-day work."

Thereafter Moroni came and delivered the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated “by the gift and power of God.” It is a new witness for Christ, and an additional proof of the Bible. Then various angels came down from the courts of glory and conferred again upon mortal men the same priesthood, the same powers, the same keys possessed by those of old.

In due course the Prophet received—line upon line and precept upon precept—those revelations which set forth what men must believe and do to gain salvation. Then, pursuant to divine command and following a long night of darkness and universal apostasy, the true Church of Jesus Christ was organized again on earth on the sixth day of April 1830.

This church administers the gospel and makes salvation available to all who will believe and obey those eternal laws which Deity has ordained to prepare men for life in his presence.

May I restate for the Saints and announce for the benefit of all what is involved in gaining salvation. Our third Article of Faith states: “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel...

Now I thank the Lord for his goodness and mercy and grace in revealing anew to us in this day the terms and conditions upon which salvation may be won. I thank him for the restoration of the priesthood and power which enable us to perform the ordinances of salvation so they will be binding on earth and sealed everlastingly in the heavens."

What more can I say? I testify that these things are true. Not only do they make sense to my logical mind but more importantly, the Holy Ghost has borne witness of its truth and has left an eternal mark on my soul--a mark that cannot be denied nor deconstructed.