Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Most LDS Misunderstand Faith. How is Your Understanding of It?

     I don't believe that the tradition of faith for the Latter-day Saints is accurate to that which is taught in the scriptures. During my past two semesters at Brigham Young University - Idaho, I have taken accounting classes from Brother Packard, and he has a series of lectures on the gospel of Christ that he covers briefly before he begins instructing us on the principles of accounting. The first of which is a true understanding of faith. I am writing a series of posts for my Book of Mormon Class, publishing them on my blog. The chapters that I am covering today are chapters 52 through 63 in the book of Alma.  The people of Ammon's faith is real. Let me explain to you this faith.
     When Prophet Joseph Smith translated the Bible, he was directed by God to replace the word substance with the word assurance, saying "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for" in the scriptures. This faith can only be a gift from God through prayer because he alone can give it. No man can assure you that your actions qualify you for the grace of God. We need to obtain an assurance of the truthfulness of the Gospel in order to have faith. In the chapters covered for today's post, the stripling warriors are introduced to us, and I do not believe that the majority of the families of these Latter-days are not being led by parents teaching their children to have true faith. "They (the stripling sons of Helaman) were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all—they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted. Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him." (Alma 53:20-21) This faith that we are missing out on was taught in the land of Jershon's homes.
     I will now quote evidences of true faith. The Nephite nation's culture was largely based on the gospel of Christ, but this segment of the Book of Mormon text tells the fruit of the high class taking control of the government in war time.
"And it came to pass that we did wait in these difficult circumstances for the space of many months, even until we were about to perish for the want of food. But it came to pass that we did receive food, which was guarded to us by an army of two thousand men to our assistance; and this is all the assistance which we did receive, to defend ourselves and our country from falling into the hands of our enemies, yea, to contend with an enemy which was innumerable. And now the cause of these our embarrassments, or the cause why they did not send more strength unto us, we knew not; therefore we were grieved and also filled with fear, lest by any means the judgments of God should come upon our land, to our overthrow and utter destruction. Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people. Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him. And we did take courage with our small force which we had received, and were fixed with a determination to conquer our enemies, and to maintain our lands, and our possessions, and our wives, and our children, and the cause of our liberty."
     It was the assurances from God that gave them faith to optimistically face the enemy without discouraged individual among the company. Do you see how faith is powerful? A couple missionaries prayed at each corner of street seeking assurances from God that they are being led to someone, seeking the truth. When they identified the person, that individual was a little stubborn, but she openly said that she was seeking the truth with prayer, knowing that two people will approach her that day. My roommate was the missionary, and he was transferred before he knew what happened to her. I just finished having a conversation with him, and he told of his practice of real faith. He was prompted to travel around town seemingly with failure, but they were placed where he and his companion was approached by a guy, who was baptized. Another time he promised a family that they would find three investigators, if they prayed every hour of the day, and the promise came true for it was the word of God. It did require the missionaries to practice proper faith. One can't claim a promise like that without the work and guidance of the Holy Ghost. Don't we want this assurance that we are following the spirit? Let us keep the comforter as our constant companion, receiving the Holy Ghost continually.
     Moses is a great example of faith. How did he have the faith that the Red Sea will part? Moses knew that the sea would part before he even led the people of Israel to the Red Sea, for in the first Chapter of the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price verse 25; it says: "And calling upon the name of God, he beheld his glory again, for it was upon him; and he heard a voice, saying: Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God." Moses did not go to Pharaoh, making up his words on the spot. He has the word of God, assuring him of how he will approach Pharaoh. Moses did not do any miracle without God telling him what to say. You may say that Nephi had to follow "the spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do," but don't forget that an angel moments before Nephi's adventure in Jerusalem visited Nephi and his brothers, saying "the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands." Let us seek assurances before committing to an act in the name of God like King Mosiah. "And king Mosiah went and inquired of the Lord if he should let his sons go up among the Lamanites to preach the word. And the Lord said unto Mosiah: Let them go up, for many shall believe on their words, and they shall have eternal life; and I will deliver thy sons out of the hands of the Lamanites. And it came to pass that Mosiah granted that they might go and do according to their request." (Mosiah 28:6-8)
     I have given many examples of true faith. I use to say that faith is your boldness to keep the commandments, but my definition is not God's; therefore, I should forsake it. Let us implement the practice of obtaining faith by prayer described in the introduction of the Book of Mormon.
   "We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.)
     Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah."
When we do this, we can know that we are on the right path. We can know who to look for for guidance. Who is the source of truth? God gives the true interpretation of the scripture and his words through his prophets.

     I eluded before that parents are not preparing children well enough. I hear many students say that they leave their homes to go on missions and college without true faith. Why are youth leaving their families without a firm foundation? Let us teach our children to pray for faith to obtain the assurances necessary for righteous living.

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