Discussion 1 – The Plan of our Heavenly Father
The six principles investigators learn about in this lesson are:
The plan of our Heavenly Father
The divine sonship of Jesus Christ
How the plan has been revealed
The Prophet Joseph Smith:
The Book of Mormon-Another Testament of Jesus Christ
The Holy Ghost- A witness to the truth
During the discussion investigators are told about God’s plan for us to bring us happiness, called the plan of salvation. Jesus was sent to fulfill this plan. During the discussion investigators are told-
“The central figure in the plan of salvation is Jesus Christ.”
I’m going to pause right here and ask, okay, Jesus is the central figure in your plan of salvation, so where do your temples fit into that?
When Mormons talk about salvation in their church meetings, and Conferences they often talk a lot about ‘the work of salvation’, meaning performing temple works for the dead. From the beginning of Mormonism, they have been concerned with baptizing those who have passed on. Without the Church, according to Mormon beliefs there would be no salvation.
Bruce R. McConkie stated:
“If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” (Mormon Doctrine, 1979, p. 670)
The discussion then turns to God’s pattern and how He reveals things to those who follow Him. He does this by ‘choosing witnesses’, called prophets.
“God gives these prophets authority to ct (sp) for him. He commands them to teach others. They share their witness about Christ in two ways. First, they teach people directly. Second, they write their testimonies and the truths of the gospel in sacred books called scripture.”
Joseph Smith is introduced as another man God has chosen to be His prophet. The ‘First Vision’ is discussed. Throughout this part, the Missionaries are encouraged to express their feelings toward Joseph Smith and testify of the truth of the First Vision.
Investigators are then asked about their feelings toward Smith, as they have been with the other topics discussions in this lesson.
We know through God’s word, in Hebrews 1 that He did speak to His people through prophets, and those prophets always pointed toward Jesus Christ. After Jesus came He now speaks to us through His Son.
Scripture also tells us that God speaks to us through His word.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
The Book of Mormon is the topic discussed. investigators are taught that Joseph Smith brought forth this book, and it’s Another Testament of Jesus Christ. They are then asked to make a commitment to read certain passages from it, and to also make a commitment to read the whole book.
The bible is the final authority, it has all the instruction, and console we could ever need. Proverbs 30:6 warns those who would bring forth other scripture, or add to God’s word.
“Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
Investigators are told:
“The Holy Ghost will help you know that Joseph Smith was called by God to be a witness of Christ. Once you know these things, you can know that the other things we have been discussing are true.”
Investigators are encouraged to ‘read, pray and ponder’. They’re asked to read Moroni 10:3-5, and ask God “with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ” if the things the Missionaries told them were truth.
The answer the investigator is supposed to get is yes, in conformation that all the things the missionaries spoke of were true, but what if they get a different answer?
What if the missionaries come back the next day, and the investigator tells them God told them everything they said was nonsense? Well, I can assure you they will then be (promptly) told they weren’t told the truth because they didn’t pray with a sincere enough heart, or didn’t truly want to know if everything was true.
Mormons determine the truth of things based on their feelings, and their ‘spiritual’ experiences, not on biblical truth. The outcome for a prayer about the Book of Mormon, or Joseph Smith has already been determined by the Church. If they didn’t get the answer they should’ve gotten, it’s something they did wrong.
It’s all about feelings to them. I’ve never thought about it than much until now, but I believe that it’s these discussions that get new church members to rely solely on their feelings and not on biblical truth.