Should You Give Joseph Smith a Break?

15 October

neil-l-andersenGeneral Conference, ‘Faith Is Not by Chance, but by Choice,’ October 2015

LDS apostle, Neil Andersen gave a speech at the General Conference last week hammering home the importance of how their faith in ‘things not seen’ must override any negative thoughts, or facts, plaguing their minds.

Faith can be a hard thing to come by for some folks, and for others not so much. The one thing faith shouldn’t be is blind.

Having faith requires belief in something tangible, whether seen or unseen. The old analogy of a chair being able to hold your weight when you sit in it has always been a good standby as an example of different types of faith. You know it’ll hold your weight, so you trust. The unseen type of faith isn’t always so easy, but the determining factor is always the same, and that is, what are you putting your faith in?

Mr. Anderson gave several points on how to utilize faith and grow it in life, and with that in mind let’s take a look at what he said –

Point #1

‘Addressing honest questions is an important part of building faith, and we use both our intellect and our feelings. The Lord said, “I will tell you in your mind and in your heart.”13 Not all answers will come immediately, but most questions can be resolved through sincere study and seeking answers from God. Using our mind without our heart will not bring spiritual answers.’

Using our minds to build faith is always a good thing! Consider the Bereans who looked at scripture to determine if what they heard was true – Acts 17:11. Using feelings is never a good idea because God told us the heart is wicked – Jeremiah 17:9.

Point #2

‘“The things of God knoweth no man, but [through] the Spirit of God.”14 And to help us, Jesus promised us “another Comforter” and called Him “even the Spirit of truth.”15

That sounds all well and good, but there’s two problems with what he said.

1.Mormons don’t believe the Holy Spirit resides inside the hearts of men – D&C 130:22-23.

2.Dieter Uchtdorf spoke at this same conference and told people to be sure not to let the torch (Light of Christ) burn out before they finish the race.

Why should we trust our feelings if there’s a chance we could burn out?

Point #3

‘Faith never demands an answer to every question but seeks the assurance and courage to move forward, sometimes acknowledging, “I don’t know everything, but I do know enough to continue on the path of discipleship.”16

Immersing oneself in persistent doubt, fueled by answers from the faithless and the unfaithful, weakens one’s faith in Jesus Christ and the Restoration.17…’

He’s right, we don’t need an answer to every question, however, not reading history books and the like, is even worse.

Point #4

‘For example, questions concerning the Prophet Joseph Smith are not new. They have been hurled by his critics since this work began. To those of faith who, looking through the colored glasses of the 21st century, honestly question events or statements of the Prophet Joseph from nearly 200 years ago, may I share some friendly advice: For now, give Brother Joseph a break!’

Question:

Why don’t they afford God the same? Their prophet had a serious problem with faith, and ended up building an entirely new religion upon his lack of faith.

Point #5

‘In a future day, you will have 100 times more information than from all of today’s search engines combined, and it will come from our all-knowing Father in Heaven. 19 Consider the totality of Joseph’s life—born in poverty and given little formal education, he translated the Book of Mormon in less than 90 days. 20 Tens of thousands of honest, devoted men and women embraced the cause of the Restoration. At age 38, Joseph sealed his witness with his blood. I testify that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Settle this in your mind, and move forward!’

It sounds like the Church might be tiring of hearing that people found out ol’ Joe was a fraud. We may, or may not, find out more info about Joseph Smith, but from the looks of it now, we have enough to prove he wasn’t what he claimed to be!

And honestly, the old Mormon standby of ‘we’ll find out when we get there’ is silly. Of course you’ll find out when you die, and unfortunately for the majority of Mormons, it’ll be too late! Besides all that, what does Smith’s boyhood have to do with anything? His behavior would be worthy of scrutiny, with our without money.

Point #6

‘Gifts That Enlarge Our Faith

Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon give us the beautiful assurance that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God… … …The guidance of the First Presidency and the Twelve help protect our faith…as you continue to make good choices, trust in God, and follow His Son, the Lord sends increased light and knowledge, and your faith becomes settled and unwavering….’ – Neil Andersen

You’ll note what they did and didn’t reference there. While they mentioned the Bible, what they didn’t say is how they don’t believe it’s translated correctly. Instead, they highlighted the belief that to stay safe members need to build their faith on the leaders of the Church, not solely on Him who brings salvation; Christ Jesus.

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