Here are some thoughts from the Saturday afternoon session
Every year as the financial report is given, I am reminded that for the first 100+ years of the church, the financial reports included detailed statements regarding the financial state of the organization. Then, I believe, it was in the early 50’s that stopped abruptly without any explanation. So why was it OK to provide detailed financial records then it was not Ok?
As Elder Cantwell noted, the report is based on Section 120, which reads:
“1 VERILY, thus saith the Lord, the time is now come, that it shall be disposed of by a council, composed of the First Presidency of my Church, and of the bishop and his council, and by my high council; and by mine own voice unto them, saith the Lord. Even so. Amen.”
The first presidency, presiding bishopric, and the council of the twelve is to determine the financial direction of the church, but this is also supposed to be by the voice of the Lord. I would dearly love to see the revelations associated with the Lord’s voice regarding the financial actions of His church.
When the church announces some big project, the statement is usually accompanied with the statement that no sacred funds were used for the project. Assuming that this means the funding was derived from the investments by the church not from tithing and donations, I must ask: How did the church originally acquire the assets which generated the funding? Many of the original investments appear to be the properties which were in the United Order. When that activity collapsed, the many enterprises from ZCMI, to banks to sugar beet farms were simply rolled into the wallet of the church. I would submit that those activities that generated funds were sacred then. Why not now? The idea that the church can bankroll everything from security to legal retainers to massive reconstruction of the downtown SLC area without the use of funds that are considered sacred is beyond me. I would suggest that a true perspective would be that ALL money held by the church is sacred. I would also submit that the church financial activities should not be hidden behind a veil of secrecy. It seems antithetical that a church claiming to be the church of Jesus Christ would be so embroiled in the art of mammon.
Elder Packer quoted from the 27th chapter of 3rd Nephi in reference to the Church of Christ as follows:
“4 And the Lord said unto them: Verily, verily, I say unto you, why is it that the people should murmur and dispute because of this thing?
5 Have they not read the scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day;
6 And whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day.
7 Therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name; and ye shall call upon the Father in my name that he will bless the church for my sake.
8 And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses’ name then it be Moses’ church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel.”
The question that the above scripture leaves us with is what is the gospel necessary to validate the church? What is the gospel of Christ? Later in the chapter, Christ defines His gospel. But first, let’s look at the rest of the criteria the Lord gives for an organization to carry His name. Again from chapter 27:
“9 Verily I say unto you, that ye are built upon my gospel; therefore ye shall call whatsoever things ye do call, in my name; therefore if ye call upon the Father, for the church, if it be in my name the Father will hear you;
10 And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it.
11 But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return.
12 For their works do follow them, for it is because of their works that they are hewn down; therefore remember the things that I have told you.”
Here are the conditions I would suggest are needed for Christ to accept the church:
The church must be called the church of Christ
It must adhere to the gospel of Christ
The works of the Father will be shown in the church
Two key questions: Does the church operate according to the gospel of Christ? Does it ‘show forth’ the works of God?
I would submit that we should accept the definition of the gospel of Christ, as found in the 27th chapter of Third Nephi. I would further submit that the gospel as taught by the church is significantly different from the treatment of this verse. Joseph Fielding Smith, for example, defined the gospel as all the true knowledge and wisdom ever received by man. We have many books that purport to contain gospel principles from the Word of Wisdom to the church service activities. What is the correct definition of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
If this is the Lord’s church, the works of the Father should be demonstrated. As I noted in my comments from the first session, the twelve disciples performed many miracles as a demonstration of the veracity of the Church. What about today?
Elder Packer admonished us who carry some burden, to forget it. Let it alone. Wouldn’t this same guidance be appropriate when considering the likes of the September 6?
Russel M Nelson
We do not need to let our fears displace our faith. Fear is the opposite of faith. Just as Peter discovered as he tried to walk on water.
We must keep all the commandments of God – what are those commandments? How do we know which commandments are of God and which are of man?
Priesthood holds the key to all the spiritual blessing of the church – but only if there is no unrighteous dominion.
Cecil O Samuelson
Quoted from his sermon: “A mighty change of heart often occurs gradually rather than instantaneously or globally.”
Can we find in the scriptures where the specific event associated with this ‘mighty change of heart’ occurred? The key examples are Alma the younger, Enos, and the people of King Benjamin. None of those could be considered examples of a gradual process. The might change of heart is achieved by the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost – an event just as real and tangible as the associated baptism of water.
Dallin H. Oaks
Importance of desire
Desires -> priorities -> choices ->actions-> changing, achieving , becoming
Enos get what he wanted because of his desire, faith, and labors. And I would add that Enos is an example for all of us who desire to receive a remission of our sins through the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.
M. Russell Ballard
So busy looking for large nuggets that you are missing filing your pouch with these flecks which brought great wealth
According to Elder Ballard, the principle that encompasses the entirety of the gospel – is love.
Great commandment of the law – love God, second love they neighbor.
Love found in simple acts of kindness and service.
While the concept that love is central to the actions of true followers of Christ, I would again submit that redefining the gospel as love God and love your neighbor does not reconcile with the scriptures.