Today we’re exploring a talk from the 2014 LDS General Conference, given by LDS apostle Dieter Uchtdorf.
The reason why I’m honing in on this particular talk is twofold. Melissa sent me a quote from what Mr. Uchtdorf said which caused me to follow the link she provided…simple stuff I know!
The other reason stems from my findings of his material after giving it a cursory glance. So my plan here is to look at some of the key things he said and as always, I have a few questions! Overall, I found the words of this man were nothing more than the same stuff, different day.
The first thing catching my attention was the name he gave to his talk;
“Receiving a Testimony…”
Just how does someone ‘receive a testimony’? I understand that when we listen to or read what someone has written, we receive their words into our heads, but how do you receive something that’s already yours?
Thoughts, opinions and analysis’ that cultivate from outside influences are by default, mine. I can receive someone else’s testimony, but I can’t receive something that belongs to me and herein lies the rub. The Church doesn’t want you to just receive their words or their point of view.
The Church wants you to absorb their teachings, their dogma and their point of view into your very being. Your personal testimony then becomes an exact image of what theirs has become instead of our lives being a reflection of who Jesus is. James warns us about this and compares men who aren’t steeped in His word as forgetful.
James 1:23-25; “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
Not surprisingly, even King Solomon warned of what happens to man by following another man and not God –
Proverbs 27:19; “As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.”
You see, the Church isn’t so much concerned about Jesus and what He wants for you, rather, it wants you to be known as a Mormon first and everything else second.
What Christian do you know that identifies him or herself as a Lutheran, Methodist or Baptist? I know of none. They express their belief system by simply stating ‘I’m a Christian’.
Mr. Uchtdorf went on to say;
“It Is Hard for Us to Believe What We Cannot See
Suppose you were able to travel back in time and have a conversation with people who lived a thousand or even a hundred years ago. Imagine trying to describe to them some of the modern technologies…
Some might believe us. Most would ridicule, oppose, or perhaps even seek to silence or harm us…They might condemn us for attempting to mislead others.
But of course, these people would be completely mistaken. They might be well-meaning and sincere. They might feel absolutely positive of their opinion. But they simply would not be able to see clearly because they had not yet received the more complete light of truth.”
My head is screaming ‘THIS GUY IS DESCRIBING JOSEPH SMITH!!!
Read on, it keeps getting worse –
“The Promise of Light
It seems to be a trait of humanity to assume that we are right even when we are wrong. And if that is the case, what hope is there for any of us? Are we destined to drift aimlessly on an ocean of conflicting information, stranded on a raft we have poorly pieced together from our own biases?
Is it possible to find truth?
The purpose of my remarks is to proclaim the joyful message that God Himself—the Lord of Hosts who knows all truth—has given His children the promise that they can know truth for themselves.”
That all sounds downright warm and fuzzy doesn’t it? I mean, who doesn’t want to hang out with these folks who seemingly believe in the same God you do? Yeah, don’t get too comfy with his remarks just yet.
What he failed to tell you is how he doesn’t believe what he just said. It’s a PR stunt to draw folks into the web of lies.
The Lord of Hosts in the Bible is indeed the Creator of the Universe who holds all things together with a word. The god of Mormonism has no such authority or power to implement these things.
History of the Church 6:311; “I want to reason more on the spirit of man; for I am dwelling on the body and spirit of man—…I might with boldness proclaim from the house-tops that God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself.” — Joseph Smith, Sunday, April 7, 1884
Now if God didn’t have the power to create mankind then how did he create the universe? Keep in mind this isn’t just some obscure comment we’ve pulled from the basements of Mormon theology. Oh no, this is a staple in everyday Mormon thought and practice. The Mormon god merely organized stuff to get us to where we are today.
TPJS, pg. 350; “Meaning of the Word Create – You ask the learned doctors why they say the world was made out of nothing; and they will answer, “Doesn’t the Bible say He created the world?” And they infer, from the word create, that it must have been made out of nothing. Now, the word create came from the word baurau which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship. fn Hence, we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos—chaotic matter, which is element, and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time he had. The pure principles of element are principles which can never be destroyed; they may be organized and re-organized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning, and can have no end.”
Mr. Uchtdorf went on to tell his audience that God is everlasting, alas, this isn’t true either in the world of Mormonism.
“Please consider the magnitude of this promise:
The Everlasting and Almighty God, the Creator of this vast universe, will speak to those who approach Him with a sincere heart and real intent.”
The Mormon god was a created being who lived on an earth much like this and became a god himself. Thus, we have the infamous Lorenzo Snow Couplet ‘As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be’.
The LDS apostle then went on to explain that God speaks to us through ‘dreams, visions, thoughts and feelings’ which was nothing more than a precursor of what you’ll hear in the remainder of his talk.
You’ll notice the lack of scripture to back up his claim and the exemption of scripture in defining how God speaks to us. Continuing on he said;
“He will speak in a way that is unmistakable and that transcends human experience. He will give them divine direction and answers for their personal lives.”
And what happens when you’re relying on your feelings and those feelings change? Does God’s message change as well?
“…God wants you to find your way back to Him, and the Savior is the way.5 God wants you to learn of His Son, Jesus Christ, and experience the profound peace and joy that come from following the path of divine discipleship.”
How can we find our way back to him if we’ve not been with him yet? The Bible tells us we weren’t with God before we came here, but in LDS theology it’s just the opposite.
D&C 93:29; “Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.”
1 Corinthians 15:44-47; “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.”
Uchtdorf also posed a challenge to listeners which I thought was, well…just ridiculous…
“My dear friends, here is a fairly straightforward experiment, with a guarantee from God, found in a book of ancient scripture available to every man, woman, and child willing to put it to the test…”
Why does this man keep using the phrase ‘ancient scriptures’? By using such a phrase it makes it sound like it’s a distant document not known to the average person.
“First, you must search the word of God. That means reading the scriptures and studying the words of the ancient as well as modern prophets regarding the restored gospel of Jesus Christ—not with an intent to doubt or criticize but with a sincere desire to discover truth. Ponder upon the things you will feel, and prepare your minds to receive the truth.6 “Even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you … that ye can give place for [the word of God].”7”
Why would you study the ‘ancient scripture’ when it doesn’t contain a ‘restored gospel’?
Why would you ponder the things you feel when the Bible tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 the heart is wicked?
1 John 3:20 says that when your heart condemns you, believe it not because God is greater.
Proverbs 28:26 says that a man who trusts in his own heart is a fool.
Proverbs 3:5 says not to lean unto your own understanding.
Matthew 15:19 says Jesus told us from the heart comes evil thoughts.
Furthermore, Mormons don’t trust the Bible, so why is he telling them to read it?
“Second, you must consider, ponder, fearlessly strive to believe,8 and be grateful for how merciful the Lord has been to His children from the time of Adam to our day by providing prophets, seers, and revelators to lead His Church and help us find the way back to Him.”
Why do we have to force ourselves to be grateful? When a Christian believes in God, this comes as natural to them as breathing.
Where were the prophets in the days of Adam?
“Third, you must ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, to manifest the truth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unto you. Ask with a sincere heart and with real intent, having faith in Christ.9”
FYI – their reference for #9 will take you to Moroni 10:3-5. This is the burning in the bosom feeling the Church has cloaked itself in.
According to the Church, feelings are the real test. The historical, empirical truth of ‘ancient scriptures’ means nothing to them but ancient history. However, the new and improved system of Smith’s miracles render God’s word obsolete.
Moroni 10:3-5; “Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. 4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truthof it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. 5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”
As we’ve pointed out above, the Bible is adamant about man’s heart so why would we do this?
“There is also a fourth step, given to us by the Savior: “If any man will do [God’s] will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”10 In other words, when you are trying to verify the truth of gospel principles, you must first live them. Put gospel doctrine and Church teachings to the test in your own life. Do it with real intent and enduring faith in God.”
Why would you live out something before you know for certain that it’s true? Would you lie, steal or murder to find out if it’s wrong before you do it just to see what it feels like?
This is all subjective reasoning and has no place in our lives. If we don’t look at things objectively and more importantly, look to Him first, then all our actions are for naught.
“If you will do these things, you have a promise from God—who is bound by His word11—that He will manifest the truth to you by the power of the Holy. He will grant you greater light that will allow you to look through the darkness and witness unimaginably glorious vistas incomprehensible to mortal sight.”
Like I said in the beginning of this article, herein lies the rub…the testimony is the mantra of the Church and not your own. If your testimony sounds eerily similar to the person sitting next to you at Fast and Testimony meeting, there’s a problem.
Your opinion, experiences and view in life shouldn’t mimic the testimonies of other congregants.
Besides all that what did he mean by saying ‘that He will manifest the truth to you by the power of the Holy’?
Did he mean the Holy Spirit?
If so, that too is subjective.
“Some may say that the steps are too hard or that they are not worth the effort. But I suggest that this personal testimony of the gospel and the Church is the most important thing you can earn in this life. It will not only bless and guide you during this life, but it will also have a direct bearing on your life throughout eternity.”
Where in the Bible does it say we need a personal testimony of a church?
“There Is No Litmus Test
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a place for people with all kinds of testimonies. There are some members of the Church whose testimony is sure and burns brightly within them. Others are still striving to know for themselves.”
Translation: some don’t have a Mormon testimony yet and are found unqualified to receive a temple recommend.
“The Church is a home for all to come together, regardless of the depth or the height of our testimony. I know of no sign on the doors of our meetinghouses that says, “Your testimony must be this tall to enter.””
Their ward buildings may not have that sign over the doorway, but their temples sure do. And for the record, when someone becomes a Christian, the striving is over. You’re either Christian or you’re not. No ladder or pyramid system is found because it’s real simple as Jesus said in John 14:6 and Matthew 11:28 –
‘I am the way, the truth and the Life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me’
‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’
If you’re LDS I pray you give an intellectually honest evaluation of what’s presented here. Pick up your Bible, a dictionary and a history book to discover what really happened in historical Christianity and ask God to reveal the truth to you.
Know that we’re praying diligently and if you have questions or need/want prayer don’t hesitate to give us a call!
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor 1:18