Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Defining the "mainstream"

The essential "mainstream" of the Church is defined by the current leadership and teachings. We follow the example of the brethren, the living oracles of God. There is no dearth of counsel on this subject.

An example, from an address by Elder Eyring:

Henry B. Eyring, "A Life Founded in Light and Truth," Ensign, Jul 2001, 6

Here is President Joseph F. Smith's description of the work it takes to build an imperishable foundation of truth:

"The men and the women who are honest before God, who humbly plod along, doing their duty, paying their tithing, and exercising that pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father, which is to visit the fatherless and the widows in their afflictions and to keep oneself unspotted from the world, and who help look after the poor, and who honor the holy Priesthood, who do not run into excesses, who are prayerful in their families, and who acknowledge the Lord in their hearts, they will build up a foundation that the gates of hell cannot prevail against; and if the floods come and the storms beat upon their house, it shall not fall, for it will be built upon the rock of eternal truth" (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 7-8).

President Smith made building on a foundation of truth sound like a long list of things to do. He seems to be describing work. I remember President Ezra Taft Benson saying with a smile about his service, "I love this work. And it is work."

Yet you will notice that the work is simple obedience. It is not complicated things; it is not fancy things or getting great spiritual manifestations. This is work within the abilities of the most humble and the least educated.

It sounds so simple to build upon a foundation of truth that you may wonder why everyone doesn’t succeed. For one thing, it takes great humility. It’s hard to repent, to admit you are wrong on faith alone, before the evidence of a feeling of being forgiven and light comes. But that is the way it has to be. First comes obedience and then come the confirming assurances, the revelation of truth, and the blessing of light.

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