16 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing these quotes. They are a fascinating look into what leaders of the church were concerned about 50-60 years ago. There seemed to be a great deal of anxiety about higher education and its effects on religious belief around the time of WWII. Of course, this coincided with fears about communism and secular movements around the world.
    I for one am grateful that we have moved passed this insecurity. I am thankful that the Lord’s prophets and apostles adopt a slightly more informed and nuanced view today.

  2. TT,

    They were still prophets, and their words are as true today as they were then. President Eyring’s words on “the only true Church” were spoken in April. As were Elder Holland’s. (From my One True Church post).

    A belief that we don’t have the same kind of worldly influences and even more secular movements that stand in complete defiance to the gospel of Jesus Christ in the world today, is naive. The world is getting worse, not better. It will continue to spiral downward until the Savior comes.

  3. 20 For behold, at that day [last days] shall he [the devil] rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.
    21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
    22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.
    23 Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.
    24 Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!
    25 Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well! (2 Nephi 28:20–25)

  4. Hi Bryce,

    I really love reading these quotations! It thrills me to see that all of these men can testify to the exclusiveness of the church without necessarily repeating each other verbatim. They have set the clearest possible example for us, that we are to find and employ the best possible expressions for each situation in which we attempt to articulate the central elements of our faith.

    Mogs

  5. Just for the record, I never said we need to repeat the Brethren verbatim, but, yes, they have set the example for us. Pay particularly close attention to President Stephen L. Richards comments:

    At this point I wish to submit a caution to teachers, particularly those within our Church. I deem it to be regrettable that academic practice not infrequently seems to dictate terminology and types of expression and explanation which often confuse more than they clarify and expound. There are those who apparently regard it as a mark of scholarly attainment to be able to mystify others. I don’t. I look upon clear explanations as the expressions of clear thinking and a high order of intelligence. In religious teaching I believe in calling principles, concepts, and practices by the name by which they are generally known. God and the devil, holiness and sin, faith and apostasy are better understood and have more significance when designated by their right names than when disguised and camouflaged in terminology that not even all the professors can understand.

  6. Hi Bryce,

    Love the quotation from President Richards! Couldn’t agree more! I NEVER let students use technical vocabulary without some attempt at understanding. One of the words they struggle a lot with is “truth.” They tend to cite various authors on truth without analyzing what those authors are actually saying about truth. But “I agree with Professor X” does not an argument, or an analysis make, no?

    So I concur, it’s important to define the words we use. For example, I think the best way to get at the question of whether or not “the true church” might be adequately or profitably expressed as “the authentic church” in some contexts probably rides on the overlap between “true” and “authentic” in those contexts. Although church leaders seem to have used the former expression more often than the latter this does not mean, as you correctly note, that we must invariably use the former when we talk about our exclusiveness.

    Mogs

  7. I disagree Mogget. And your sarcasm is showing.

    If not one of the Brethren has ever used the term “authentic” as an adjectival modifier to describe the Church, in place of “the true church,” then I believe it heresy to use it. Period. Doing so is just mystifying the point. “The true church” is the expression that is generally known and used. Are we holding to the iron rod, or wandering into mists of darkness?

  8. This is a sidenote, but an honest question: Where do you generate your quotes? I haven’t kept up on the LDS software market since Infobase 10 years ago. What are you using and do you like it? Thanks.

  9. Bryce,
    If I may, I think I can clear up some of your confusion about the criticisms offered here. The question is not, and never has been, whether or not the church is “true.” That has been conceded by all. The only question is what does “truth” mean, a point that your post promises but does not deliver. As the Richardson quote indicates, there is a technical vocabulary in different fields. Each field has one, such as science, law, medicine, etc. The standards by which “truth” is understood in each of these disciplines is different. The same is said of philosophy and literature. For instance, to say that a poem speaks the truth about love, or fear, or paranoia is not the same as saying that gravity, or evolution, or global warming are scientifically true. So, the question is in what sense the church is true, or with respect to what, and the attempts by some here to use synonyms of truth to express the need to define truth is in no way an attempt to argue that the church is not in fact true.

  10. TT,

    If you do not think that the prophets have defined what truth means here, in direct quotations I have listed at length, then you are truly blind. In the gospel, we understand truth by the standards of the gospel, only, and not by anything the world might present. President Benson said, “The gospel encompasses all truth.” The Church is true in every sense of the word.

  11. Cynthia

    Bryce, calling TT “blind” because he doesn’t read or interpret quotes like you do is quite chilling to honest inquiry. I understand that you are an apologist, but please, keep the sanctimoniousness out of the responses.

    The “true” church expression, I believe, began to be seriously expounded when the early church spread to the 4 winds after the death of Joseph Smith. Brigham and the Saints who followed him stated almost continually that theirs was the “true” church (meaning, the church that claimed the mantle of Joseph)….as opposed to those who stayed with other apostles in Illinois or Texas or Michigan.

  12. TT said:

    “The only question is what does ‘truth’ mean, a point that your post promises but does not deliver.”

    How much more do the prophets and apostles of the Church have to say for TT to understand what “truth” means? Saying that the Brethren have not expounded quite clearly what “truth” means in these many statements is being quite blind, and I’m not going to be shy in saying it. It’s not that TT didn’t read or interpret the quotes like I did; it doesn’t look like he read them at all.

  13. Cynthia

    I believe the prophets and apostles have also said that we do NOT have all truth at the present time, that more will be revealed–and certainly that is a fact. The human species, I believe, is not capable at this point of comprehending the smallest bit of the absolute truth that the Lord has. We might get glimpses and small flashes of insight but “truth” is what is, and was, and is to be.

    I do believe that the Lord, in his mercy, has given us the commandments because we are so in the dark. His prophets, when speaking as prophets, guide us as to behavior that will assist us in our earthly pilgrimage. The words of the Lord are the “iron rod” we are to hold to. We are in a fallen and dark world where human intention and problems infect all sorts of communication–and no one is totally above it.

    So whenever a human being says anything–even good things–we are told to go to the Lord himself and ask for guidance. Agreed? I don’t think the Lord is monolithic or He wouldn’t have asked us to do that.

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