|More Truth and Light ....||C. George Mesley|
As the Pilgrims assembled in Holland to leave for the new world, America, their
leader, John Robinson, addressed them. Facing the deep present need of his
people and the vast unknown that lay ahead of them, he uttered the prophetic
lines that are caught up in the refrain of a beautiful hymn we have often sung.
Said Robinson, "I am very confident the Lord hath yet more truth and light
to break forth from his word." Every member of our church shares in that
conviction, and it is our testimony that God has brought and is bringing to men,
more light and truth in these latter days.
By the very fact of its existence, every outstanding religious movement claims that it has some truth to share with all mankind. Each of the denominations within the Christian faith places particular emphasis on certain great truths, and many claim that they have a particular and distinctive contribution to make to man's growing understanding about God. We are no exception to this rule. We feel that while we hold many truths in common with all Christian people, we do have light and truth to share with them. In humility and yet with a sense of a God-given commission, we are engaged in the business of sharing these truths revealed to us.
Among the most significant and yet startling of these truths is our profound belief in an open canon of Scripture. With our Christian friends "We believe" most sincerely "that in the Bible is contained the word of God." But "We believe that the canon of Scripture is not full, but that God by his Spirit will continue to reveal his word to man until the end of time." To some, this belief that the Bible is not the only word of God, and that the process of the revelation of God's will to men is a continuous one, resulting in a continuously growing Scripture, may appear as an untenable doctrine, running counter to the convictions of Christian believers. To others it appeals as a doctrine full of promise and challenge.
Recently I discussed our ideas of continuing revelation with a great contemporary architect. He was enthralled with the possibilities that such a belief contained for the uplift, welfare, and direction of mankind. His keen and busy pencil endeavored to epitomize this belief in architectural form, and he was eager to explore the endless possibilities of such a belief and experience in the lives of men. This tract will endeavor to explore with you the basis of our convictions in the continuation of revelation, and present some of the resultant Scriptures that have been received. These other Scriptures which in no way replace the Bible in our respect and affection, serve to supplement and sustain the word of God in the Old and New Testaments. These other Scriptures bear to us additional witness of the great truths of the Bible, including those that proclaim the divinity of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
It is an amazing thing how false ideas can fasten themselves in the minds of men and cling there, unquestioned through the centuries. We find this happening as much in the realm of the exact sciences as in the social sciences, in medicine as much as in history, in geophysics as well as in religion.
Men have always wanted to explore the nature of the universe in which they live, but bound by the limitations of their equipment and ideas, men have further limited themselves by their unquestioned acceptance of error.
Aristotle, a great thinker, gathered up the conclusions of his age and reasoned that the world was flat and that it was the center of the universe. His brilliant pupils accepted his conclusions without question, and soon men everywhere were chanting an untruth, "The world is flat! It's flat! It's fiat!" Keen minds of science and great minds of religion joined in the chorus of erroneous opinion, while the average man blindly accepted their direction, "The world is flat!"
For over eight hundred years this false teaching prevailed without question. Then came men, like Galileo, the founder of the experimental school of physics, who dared raise questions about this theory. When Copernicus announced his conclusions that the earth rotated daily on its aids and that the planets revolved around the sun, not around the earth, he was reviled for his presumption. Leaders of religion joined with men of science to suppress this new heresy about the universe. Without wanting to explore for truth, these men persecuted the man of science who had dared to question their eight hundred years of easy acceptance of Aristotle's false conclusions.
Today, if I were to proclaim that the world is flat, every school child would laugh at me for my foolishness. Our modem telescopes are constantly expanding the knowledge of our universe, until its space and magnificence leave us entranced in wonder at the majesty of God, its creator.
THE SCRIPTURES WERE NOT CLOSED
As in the realm of science, so in the realm of religion; through the centuries false ideas have a tendency to cling like veils and to blind men to larger and more expanding truths. The oft-repeated statement that "the Bible is the only word of God" illustrates this fact. Great scholars recognize that the Bible itself is a progressive unfolding of truth, where nothing is told all at once, or once for all. How can they explain why a great unchangeable God, whose purposes are one eternal round, should begin this progressive revelation of himself with Adam and end it with John? If the marvelous story of humanity in relation to God, the constantly challenging and progressive unfoldment of truth, goes on for many, many centuries and suddenly ceases-why? Does man know all he needs to know about God? Has God revealed all of himself to man? Has he no truth to share through his prophets in A.D. 1960 as he shared it with men in 1960 B.C.? Why should the Father of all mankind be so concerned with the welfare of men in Old Testament times and not be equally as concerned today? As we begin to answer these questions, we discover how a false statement, almost universally accepted by Christian people, has closed men's minds to the continuity of God's revealments to them.
We all know that our Bible did not always exist 'as one great book. The different books (we might call them chapters in a continuing story) were scattered through Asia Minor. To meet and answer the various heresies that arose in the church of Jesus Christ, the early church fathers began the task of collecting and evaluating the many sacred manuscripts extant. Some could not be found and are lost to man. Some were placed in the Apocrypha. Those books that were accepted as valid constitute our Old Testament. Later, in the same way the gospels, epistles, and other writings that grew out of the work and witness of Christ were gathered. Unfortunately some of these could not be found. All we-have of them is the reference to them in accepted Scripture. Other writings that some claimed as valid were rejected as fictitious. Those of doubtful authority were placed in the Apocrypha, while the remaining books, accepted as genuine, constitute our New Testament.
With the assembling of these books, gospels, and letters in the Book of Books, the early church of Jesus Christ had a standard by which to judge heresy. They officially accepted the revelations of God to man that had been received up to the time of this compilation. The canon of Scripture thus far received and accepted became the Bible. The Bible was the word of God as received and treasured by man from creation to the fourth century. But soon the chant of restricting ideas began, "Ile Bible is the word of God, the Bible is the word of God." Then less thoughtful persons began to say, "The Bible is the only word of God-the only word," and that chant has kept ringing down through the centuries until our day. For 1,200 years men have accepted a statement
that has no validity in fact. The Bible is not the only word of God.
NOT "ADDING" TO THE SCRIPTURE
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God would suddenly cease to reveal his will and truth to mankind. In the nature of God such a course would not be reasonable. Logic does not support writing "Finis" to this splendid record of God's revelations. Nowhere in the Bible does it proclaim that the book of Revelation would be the last of the Scripture. While the closing verses of the book of Revelation proclaim that man shall not add to or take away from the words of this book, it does not say that. God shall not add to the revelation of himself to man. Revelation 22:18,19, states: "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book; and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life." Inasmuch as these words-often quoted to support ideas that "Finis" was written to the great story of the Bible itself -- were written about the book of Revelation itself, and were there long, long before the Bible was compiled, they cannot refer to the Bible as a whole. Some scholars claim that the book of Revelation was written prior to some of the gospels, so this restriction of additions to this book cannot apply to these epistles now in our Bibles.
Similar statements are made in Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32, and in other Old Testament books, but no one would conclude that all the Bible chapters written since Deuteronomy were invalid. The statement is clear. Man should not add to the Book of Books, but who shall presume to restrict the unchangeable God in bringing to man his light and truth, his Scripture?
Inasmuch as there is no valid reason why man should write the words "Finis" or "The End" to the scriptural record of God's relationship to mankind, it is our belief and our experience today that God has not done so. He is on record declaring himself to be unchangeable, as loving all mankind, those of Caesar's day no more than those of our day, and as desirous of revealing himself today as he was in any age of man's experience. Man alone, with his free agency and erroneous ideas, can refuse such revelation, and when his mind is closed to the recipiency of the word of God, then God's word is not received.
THE TEST OF NEW REVELATION
We believe that the Bible is the word of God -- not the end of that word. 'We limit not the truth of God to our poor reach of mind."
If the new Scriptures of such a belief do not measure up to the great Scriptures of all ages, are not in harmony with the nature and purposes of God, and do not minister to the needs of man' today, then is our belief in this doctrine vain. As we present some of the Scriptures of ancient and modem America, the reader can check them against these three tests.
OUR OPEN CANON OF SCRIPTURE
That prophetic announcement made to the Pilgrims on the occasion of their embarkation to America leads us into a presentation of the witness of this church for an open canon of Scripture through which God continues to reveal his will to mankind today. We present for your consideration Scriptures of ancient America wherein are recorded great truths that substantiate and enhance the great truths of the Bible. These Scriptures are a record of God's dealings with the ancient civilization of pre-Columbian America. The extensive ruins of these people are found mainly in Central America. Like the Bible, the record of the kindly intervention of God on behalf of these ancient people is a book of books, the inspired writing of some skillful historians, prophets, and religious leaders of that day.
THE AMERICAN SCRIPTURES
This American Scripture points to God as the universal Father of all mankind. It indicates that he is not partial. It reveals his concern for his children in all parts of the world and presents the story of "the personal ministry of Jesus Christ" to them shortly after his resurrected appearances in Palestine. Christ's mission to the world is presented with clarity, and the testimony of his divinity is strong.
Our faith in God and in Jesus Christ his Son is enhanced by the reading of these Scriptures of ancient America, and their high moral and ethical emphasis bears the stamp of divinity. We present the testimony that the Scriptures come in harmony with the nature and purposes of God and minister to the searching needs of men today. I am proud to bring to you some great truths from the revelation to ancient America as preserved in the Book of Mormon.
THE TRUTH ON MARRIAGE
Because of the prevailing modem connotation of the word "Mormon," I first want to read to you what the Book of Mormon says about marriage. Quoting from the Book of Jacob (2:33,36), "Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. ... Wherefore, my
brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none."
"They [the Lamanites] have not forgotten the commandments of the Lord, which was given unto our fathers, that they should have, save it were one wife; and concubines they should have none; ... this commandment they observe to keep; wherefore ... the Lord God will not destroy them, but will be merciful unto them; and one day they shall become a blessed people." -- Jacob 2:55, 56.
No Scripture could be clearer, and though polygamy is erroneously associated with the Book of Mormon teachings, this record is explicit through all its 777 pages: "There shall not any man among you have save it be one wife."
TRUTH CONCERNING CHRIST
Having cleared that point, may I present the witness of these American Scriptures for Jesus Christ the Son of God who came to this continent after his resurrection. Prophet after prophet testifies of him in words like these:
"Nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is." -- Moroni 10:6
"He [the Christ] doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life, that he may draw all men unto him." -- II Nephi 11:96.
"Men drink damnation to their own souls, except they humble themselves, and become as little children, and believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent." -- Mosiah 1:118.
"There is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness." -- Alma 18:11,12.
In this book the atonement of Christ reaches out to cover with justice and equity the needs of all men.
"The atonement satisfieth the demands of his [God's] justice upon all those who have not the law given to them." -- II Nephi 6:54.
"Where there is no law given there is no punishment; and where there is no punishment, there is no condemnation; and where there is no condemnation, the mercies of the Holy One of Israel have claim upon them, because of the atonement." -- II Nephi 6:51-53.
"But wo unto him that has the law given; yea, that has all the commandments of God, ... and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation; for awful is his state." -- II Nephi 6:56.
"God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead: and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God ... to be judged according to their works." -- Alma 19:105,106.
The entire story of the atonement as set forth in. the Book of Mormon, instead of indicating the wrath of God, breathes forth the spirit of love and mercy. Its purpose is to "restore the infinite way of life" rather than to appease the wrath of God-not to reconcile God to man, but man to God.
The agency of men is preserved in these records and presented in these words:
"The spirit of Christ is given to every man, that they may know good from evil wherefore I shew unto you the way to judge; for everything that inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ." -- Moroni 7:14.
"Whosoever will come, may come, and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come, the same is not compelled to come; but in the last day it shall be restored unto him according to his deeds." -- Alma 19:109,110.
Good and evil are contrasted as follows:
"All things which are good, cometh of God; and that which is evil, cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually." -- Moroni 7:10.
"After this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no not one; neither doth his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him." -- Moroni 7:16.
'Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Wo unto the wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight." -- II Nephi 8:90,91.
Listen to this inspired counsel on prayer:
"For if ye would hearken unto the spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray: for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray." -- II Nephi 14:11.
"But behold I say unto you, that ye must pray always, and not faint: that ye must not perform anything unto the Lord, save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul." -- II Nephi 14:12.
"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long suffering; having faith on the Lord." -- Alma 10:28.
Young men are always receiving advice, and Shiblon, the son of Alma, the great prophet of this ancient continent, was no exception. Hear the patriarch's counsel:
"My son, ... inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God, ye shall prosper in the land; and ye ought to know also, that inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God, ye shall be cut off from his presence." -- Alma 17:29,30.
"Learn wisdom in thy youth; learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God." -- Alma 17:68.
I would that ye would be diligent and temperate in all things. See that ye are not lifted up unto pride: yea, see that ye do not boast in your own wisdom, nor of your much strength; use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love." -- Alma 18:13-15.
Hear in these words the outreach of God for the needy and those conscious of color or race:
I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants." -- Mosiah 2:43.
"If ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart [not] of your substance if ye have, to those who stand in need; . . . your prayer is vain and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith." -- Alma 16: 223,224.
"And he [Christ] inviteth them all to come unto him, and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen, and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile." -- II Nephi 11:113-115.
Space does not permit me to bring to you all the inspired teachings from these Scriptures of ancient America on faith and repentance, nor to reveal the tender concern of the Master for little children, who through the atonement are alive in Christ and without sin until the years of accountability are reached. Plain are the teachings of the book on the covenant of baptism and the power of a good life. With deep affirmation the prophets preach their profound convictions about the immortality of man, the resurrection, and eternal judgment. Their words, like' the simple statements of fact that were characteristic of the Master in his New Testament witness, sank deep into the hearts of their hearers.
The functions of the Spirit are referred to in many statements, and the words of Christ are extolled.
"Feast upon the words of Christ; for behold the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do." -- II Nephi 14:4.
To all its readers the Book of Mormon holds out a test and a promise:
"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 and with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost; and by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things." -- Moroni 10:4,5.
Yes, the inspired words, "God hath yet more light and truth to break forth from his word," have a fulfillment in the power and beauty of the new witness for Christ and his way of life, as recorded in the Book of Mormon.
GREAT TRUTHS FROM MODERN REVELATION
Saccus, a philosopher Of A.D. 192, Once said, "It makes no difference what you believe; it's the way you live that counts." This dangerous half-truth has come down through the centuries, blinding the minds of men who should have known that the way you live is the rightful fruit of the way you believe. Ever since the fourth century men have said, "A bible -- we have a Bible -- the Bible is the only word of God." Few stopped to ask pointed questions, "Why? has God changed? Has he revealed all truth to men? Is he a living God?" By this erroneous belief, Christian people drew a veil over their thinking. Their eyes were not open; their minds were closed to the fact that "God hath yet more light and truth to break forth from his word."
Whenever the voice of God has been silent, it has been because man's faith in him dwindled, and thus they have shut up the heavens against themselves. When Jesus came, the Hebrews had a closed canon of Scripture. No word of God had been received by them for several centuries. They were content with the messages of the law and prophets already received, and more concerned were they about the traditions of the elders than about the living truth from heaven.
The Scripture of the Book of Mormon which we have presented bears evidence of the fact that God spoke to the people of ancient America. Today's Scriptures will bear their own evidence of the fact that God speaks today. It is our experience and testimony that he does speak and that "holy men of God" speak as they are "moved by the Holy Ghost" (II Peter 1:21). The records of God's affectionate outreach to men today and of the revelation of himself to the church of Jesus Christ are preserved in the Scriptures which we call Doctrine and Covenants. Like the Scripture of ancient America, these revelations to modem America in no way supplant the Holy Bible in our esteem, use, and affection. They do add their testimony to the divinity of Jesus Christ and to the ongoing worldwide purposes of our heavenly Father.
A MODERN PSALM
For a modem psalm of beauty, revealing the unchangeability of God, we bring you this Scripture in a responsive reading:
L -- Hear, 0 ye heavens, and give ear, 0 earth, and rejoice ye inhabitants
thereof, for the Lord is God,
A TESTIMONY OF CHRIST
Hear now the testimony of the prophet of the Restoration Movement concerning Jesus Christ, a testimony wherein the vision was shared by a fellow servant:
"By the power of the Spirit our eyes were opened; and our understandings were enlightened, so as to see and understand the things of God; even those things which were from the beginning before the world was, which were ordained of the Father, through his only begotten Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, even from the beginning, of whom we bear record, and the record which we bear is the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the Son, whom we saw and with whom we conversed in the heavenly vision. ... While we meditated upon these things, the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings, and they were opened, and the glory of the Lord shone round about; and we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fullness; and saw the holy angels, and they who are sanctified before his throne, worshiping God and the Lamb, who worship him for ever and ever. And, now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him, that he lives; for we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father; that by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created; and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God." -- Doctrine and Covenants 76:3.
"And this is the gospel, the glad tidings which the voice out of the heavens bore record unto us, that he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness; that through him all might be saved, whom the Father had put into his power, and made by him; who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands, except those sons of perdition, who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him; wherefore he saves all except them. ... And to God and the Lamb be glory, and honor, and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." -- Doctrine and Covenants 76:4,8.
WARNING OF DISASTER
In 1831, speaking of the days in which we now live, the Lord God Almighty gave this apocalyptical warning and revealed clearly the causes of the world disaster in which we find ourselves today:
"Wherefore the voice of the Lord is unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may hear; prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh; and the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth; and the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people; for they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant; they seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall." -- Doctrine and Covenants 1:3.
Here is gathered up in telling phrases, pregnant with meaning, the essence of all apostasy:
They have strayed from his ordinances
They have broken the everlasting covenant
They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness
But every man walketh in his own way after the image of his own God.
This church shares many ennobling truths with all Christian believers and has great light to share with all. Sfncere and devoted men and women serve God in all faiths. They serve God in this church and earnestly seek to do the Master's will. Hear what the modern Scriptures have to say to such workers for Christ everywhere:
"0 ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day; therefore, if ye have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work, for, behold, the field is white already to harvest, and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perish not, but bringeth salvation to his soul; and faith, hope, charity, and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualifies him for the work." -- Doctrine and Covenants 4:1.
"Keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion: seek not for riches but for wisdom; and, behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich. ... Say nothing but repentance unto this generation: keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed." -- Doctrine and Covenants 6:3,4
"Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap: therefore, if ye sow good, ye shall also reap good for your reward: Therefore fear not, little flock, do good, let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my Rock, they can not prevail. . . . Perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you; look unto me in every thought, doubt not, fear not: behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful; keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Amen.' -- Doctrine and Covenants 6:15,16.
COUNSEL AND TESTIMONY
Listen to the counsel of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ in these inspired words from the Scriptures of modem America:
"And now, verily, verily I say unto thee, Put thy trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good; yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit." -- Doctrine and Covenants 10:6.
"Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the life and the light of the world. I am the same who came unto my own, and my own received me not; but verily, verily I say unto you, that as many as receive me, them will I give power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on my name." -- Doctrine and Covenants 10:12.
"Behold, I speak unto you, and also to all those who have desires to bring forth and establish this work; and no one can assist in this work, except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things whatsoever shall be intrusted to his care. Behold, I am the light and the life of the world, that speak these words; therefore, give heed with your might, and then you are called. Amen." -- Doctrine and Covenants 1:4,5.
Hearing these beautiful words of modem revelation, each passage bearing the stamp of its own divinity, we unhesitatingly affirm that God is, that Christ lives, that through his Holy Spirit he speaks today.
GREAT TRUTHS FROM THE SCRIPTURES OF TODAY
God has revealed himself to men during the various ages of history since the beginning of man's record of time. For over four thousand years we have the record of his dealings with his chosen people in ancient
Palestine. They enjoyed the experiences spoken of by Amos when he said (3:7), "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."
For many decades the record of the movement of the Spirit of God in the life of the church of Jesus Christ was preserved. Holy men of God did indeed speak as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost. What was said through these. divine spokesmen', the prophets and apostles that God had set in the church, was treasured for us in the New Testament record. Christ promised revelation from God to those who would do his will, and did not limit the promise to his own time. Speaking to his disciples, the Master said, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come" (John 16:13).
From ancient America came the record of God's dealings with the people of these two vast continents. For over a thousand years inspired prophets and leaders in this land bore record of the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual and of the church. God's love reached out to them and, Christ visited them.
Revelation from God bears its own hallmark of power and enlightenment. Gathered up in a few significant words are the great truths of the ages eternal in their power to guide men in the ways of a more abundant life. While man multiplies words without wisdom, God speaks in clear ' sure tones of authority. The more you explore what he has to say, the more living truth that saying reveals. Eternity is written into the Spirit-indited messages of all Scripture whether ancient or modem.
GOD, INFINITE, ETERNAL, UNCHANGEABLE
From our record of these experiences of revelation preserved in the Doctrine and Covenants, we present some Scripture that has this clear ring of divinity:
"Behold, I say unto you, Keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion . . . and assist to bring forth my work according to my 'commandments and you shall be blessed.' -- Doctrine and Covenants 10:3,4.
"We know that there is a God in heaven who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God the framer of heaven and earth and all things which are in them.' -- Doctrine and Covenants 17:4.
"The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God, can not be frustrated neither can they come to naught. ... neither doth he vary from that which he hath said; therefore his paths are straight and his course is one eternal round." -- Doctrine and Covenants 2:1.
"Seek not for riches but for wisdom. ... Behold he that hath eternal life is rich." -- Doctrine and Covenants 6:3.
Speaking under the urgent pressure of the Spirit of God, the prophet instructs the people:
"Hearken ye to these words, behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Treasure these things up in your hearts, and let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds." -- Doctrine. and Covenants 43:8.
What wonderful counsel our Father gives to us in these words. We live in a world where the temporary and immediate tend to rule. Our wants and appetites are with us always. Indulgences of self to satisfy immediate needs color ill our decisions. Here is the voice of God, pleading for us to listen to the ages as against the moment, to make room in our lives for the enduring qualities of living, to let the thought of eternity influence all that we think, and say, and do, and are. "Let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds." Summing up his plan of redemption, the Lord God saith, "for this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality, and eternal life of man" (Doctrine and Covenants 22:23).
INTELLIGENCE AND TRUTH
If Joseph the prophet of the Restoration had given us but one inspired message and that message were Section 85 of the Doctrine and Covenants, he would rank as one of the greatest prophets in history. No inspired message has been more accurately authenticated by the discoveries and truth of science and by the nature of the message itself. From it I quote the counsel of God:
"Verily I say unto you, my friends, Call your solemn assembly, as I have commanded you; and as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning even by study, and also by faith." -- Doctrine and Covenants 85:36.
We learn immediately that God placed no premium on ignorance, superstition, or blind credulity in these messages to modem America. He says:
"Intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; not created or made, neither indeed can be. . . . The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth; and light and truth forsaketh that evil one." -- Doctrine and Covenants 90:5,6.
"Intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy, and claimeth her own: justice continueth its course, and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne, and governeth and executeth all things." -- Doctrine and Covenants 85: 10.
"He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him: and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things: and all things are by him, and of him; even God, for ever and ever." -- Doctrine and Covenants 85:10.
Again, God's counsel through his prophet of today was:
"Treasure up in your minds continually the words of life." -- Doctrine and Covenants 83:14.
How easy it is for us to fill our minds with all the escapades of Hollywood, to allow the National League series or the Rose Bowl game to crowd out Christ, to feast our eyes on the transient daily headlines and neglect to read the word of God; to keep up to date with the passing "Books of the Month" while we neglect the "Book of the Ages" -- the Bible. To such an age God says, "Treasure up in your minds continually the words of life."
Young people face many crossroad decisions in life. They hear many voices trying to persuade them to go this way or that. The glamorous lure of the cheap and easy things continually brings the temptations downward. Christ wants them to sample life on the higher levels and places before them temptations upward. As they choose their way of life, these words of wisdom are placed in the scales of decision by the Spirit of God:
"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good, yea to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously -- this is my Spirit."
Follow the upward leading of the intelligent Spirit of God. The way may not be easy, but the going will be joyous.
A GREAT PROMISE
The promise of the Holy Spirit which Christ made to his disciples of old is made again today. It is the enlightening experience of the church of Jesus Christ today.
"Wherefore I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you, my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise, which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John." -- Doctrine and Covenants 85:1.
"This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom; which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn, even Of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ, his Son; he that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth, which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made. As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made. As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made. And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand." -- Doctrine and Covenants 85:2.
"And the light which now shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God, to fill the immensity of space. The light which is in all things; which giveth life to all things; which is the law by which all things are governed; even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things." -- Doctrine and Covenants 85:3
THE REIGN OF LAW
Christ is thus placed at the heart of the universe and his Spirit is proclaimed as the motivating power of all creation. These prophetic writings were given over one hundred years ago, long, long before the great physicists and astronomers of our day proclaimed the matching truth of nuclear energy and the fact that they find all matter giving forth the same rays as does light. Science and modern revelation join to proclaim Christ as the source power of the universe.
"And again, verily I say unto you, that which is governed by law, is also preserved by law, and perfected and sanctified by the same. That which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, can not be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, or judgment: therefore, they must remain filthy still. All kingdoms have a law given: and there are many kingdoms; for there is no space in the which there is no kingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or lesser kingdom. And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also, and conditions." -- Doctrine and Covenants 85:8,9.
Space does not permit us to share with you all of the many beautiful and inspiring truths of the Scriptures of today. These Scriptures are not a closed book; they are a continuing experience in the grace and outreach of our heavenly Father toward a world that stands so much in need of his direction, and of the gospel of his dear Son. "God hath yet more light and truth to break forth from his word!' was the prophecy of the Pilgrim leader. It is the testimony of the many members of this church of Jesus Christ.