Today we’re looking at a speech Russell Ballard gave (September 13, 2015) to members of the Church in southern Utah. Using Galatians 1:6-9, Mr. Ballard reminded fellow members of the dangers when they don’t follow God’s anointed ones (prophets, apostles).
Because the speech is quite lengthy we’re just looking at a few key elements here. Here’s the link to read it in full.To the Saints in the Utah South Area
“To the Saints in the Utah South Area…Paul warned the Saints in his own day of the spiritual dangers they faced…
I raise my warning voice, as Paul did, that there are those “that trouble you”—people that “pervert the gospel of Christ.” I would be shirking my duty if I did not raise my voice to warn you of the challenges we face today.
I remind you of Jesus’ prophecy regarding the last days in which we now live: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” We are saddened when we witness some of the “very elect” deceived as Jesus warned.”
Boy, if that’s not calling the kettle black…good grief!
“The Lord outlined simple, personal habits that keep us rooted, grounded, and connected to Him. Such habits, when done with full purpose of heart, real intent, and without hypocrisy and deception, allow us to be unwavering disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Here comes the insertion of the Steven Covey system…
“These essential habits include the things that seem to easily slip away in the rush of our very busy lives..
…They include sincere daily prayer; faithful fasting; regular study and pondering of the scriptures and the words of the living prophets; making the Sabbath day a delight; partaking of the sacrament with humility and always remembering the Savior; worshipping in the temple as often as possible; and, finally, reaching out to the needy, poor, and lonely—both those close by and across the world.”
We counted nine ‘essentials’ to be rooted to Jesus. Most of them ‘sound biblical’, except for the part of ‘pondering the words of the living prophets’ and ‘worshiping in the temple’…where in the Bible are those commandments???
The apostle went on to explain four things that happens to those who stop doing the essential things…
“…they cut themselves from the “well of living water” and allow Satan to muddle their thinking. Sin and guilt cloud the mind—leading them to deny past inspiration and revelation and causing a “de-conversion” from the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Honestly, really? I’m of the opinion that once you’re saved, you’re secure in His kingdom. If the HS is residing inside of you, why would He allow you to slip through His hands?
“…individuals who don’t stay focused on the simple doctrine and gospel of Christ will eventually listen to false teachers and self-declared prophets and adopt worldly philosophies. These alternative voices include:
The allure of prideful wealth
Recreation and entertainment that can take away from the goodness of the gospel
Not observing the Sabbath day
Viewing podcasts and Internet sites that raise questions and doubt without being intellectually honest and that do not adequately and honestly present the Lord’s perspective…”
Emphasis above is mine to point out how ironic it is the Church is warning people about these things, when in fact, they’re the ‘alternative voices’ and ‘self-declared prophets’!
Furthermore, what’s wrong with looking at all the data available? If there’s nothing to hide, there’s nothing to fear, right?
“Let me make sure that you are hearing my epistle and that you understand this important point. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions or investigating our history, doctrine, and practices. The Restoration began when Joseph Smith sought answers to his sincere questions.
…The Church is dedicated to transparency and has donated precious resources to provide new insights and offer even more context to the story of the Restoration through the Joseph Smith Papers website and the “Gospel Topics” essays on LDS.org.”
That sounds all well and good, but why not try telling the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – all the time?
They’ve ‘released’ some resources to provide new insights…
The Bible already released its insights and has nothing further to release!
Lastly, Mr. Ballard made one other comment in closing that makes us wonder if he’s read the end of the Bible!
“May God bless you, my beloved brothers and sisters to join the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other Church leaders as we fight the battle preparing for that day when the Savior and Redeemer of the world will come once again…”
The battle is the Lord’s and He already won! Why must a true believer fight a battle that’s in the Lord’s hands?