Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Gospel is "Harsh" only to the Faithless

A reader’s comment on our post, “As For Our House, The Miracle of Forgiveness Stays":

My five children each served missions, and each one of their mission presidents actually banned the use of this book in their mission. It created more problems than it solved in young men and women. I believe there is a reason it is no longer published by the church. Even Spencer Kimball expressed concerns with its judgmental tone and had regrets about it.

Many years ago, I heard Edward Kimball, the biographer son of Spencer Kimball, speak, regarding how his father, Spencer, wished he would not have been so condemning in The Miracle of Forgiveness, and wishes he could have incorporated more "grace and forgiveness" into his words--that he could have achieved more with soft words rather than harsh words.

Edward also shared the sentiment that the book "is a much distributed book--mostly by people who think somebody else needs it."

SoL response:

We don't know about these rogue, anti-Christ mission presidents who, if they exist, seem to care more about their mission statistics than the welfare of immortal souls. But we do know there is no proof that Pres. Kimball ever said what his son is saying he said. Apparently Edward Kimball has much to gain by recharacterizing his dead father's beliefs and life work. Spencer lived to be old. If he wanted to make revisions in his famous book, if it meant so much to him, he had plenty of time to do it until the day he died. He could even have put down any revisions he wanted done in writing. But no. He didn't. What Edward is doing is called revisionism. It's happening all over the place regarding dead people and scripture and documents and literature, all in order accommodate modern, wildly popular worldviews. We need to remember that this world is the devil’s kingdom.This is his territory. This sort of thing is exactly what he wants to have happen in order to draw people away from God and goodness and redemption through Christ.

All we have to give you is our belief in Christ. We love the gospel. We love this book. We need the truths it contains, which are totally in line with scripture. Try reading this book. What is harsh about it? The book's message is that there is such a thing as sin, that we are all sinners, and that we must repent through the miracle of Christ's Atonement or we'll end up unhappy. It concerns reality and is true. But many people do not want to choose the Lord's way. The idea of sin is out of fashion. They choose comfort and convenience and worldly philosophies instead. They water down and dismiss the first principles of the gospel. This is a sign of the times. It's all in the scriptures. Remember how Laman and Lemuel said Nephi's words were too hard? They thought God's commandments were too harsh, too. But what was hard was their own hearts. They wouldn't humble down and repent.

Study the Book of Mormon anti-Christs. They all put down faith in a Redeemer and say there is no need for repentance. People don't like to repent. They'd much rather to cling to their pride and sins and make up excuses for them. That's just human nature.

Why do we need a Savior to redeem us if we need not recognize or repent of our sins? This life is a test. The Lord never said it would be easy. He said he came with a sword. He said following him was going to cost us a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Faith costs. It sometimes hurts more than anything.  

These days many people are deciding for themselves and others that the plain and precious truths of the gospel are “too harsh,” when what the gospel contains is a great and glorious chance to fit ourselves for God’s presence and to inherit all the riches of eternity. This is the greatest of all the gifts of God. All we have to do is qualify ourselves for it by applying the first principles: faith, baptism, repentance, and the Holy Ghost who will tell us the truth of all things, even the harsh truths. It all depends on one's willingness to accept the plan and apply it to oneself. It all depends on what we want. 

Cutting yourself off from the grace of Jesus Christ is a conscious choice, a conscious decision, that affects every aspect of the soul, now and forever, to borrow from Flannery O'Connor.

Our Christmas message? It's simple. Soften your heart toward God. Love Him most. Confess your sins out of that love. Come to Christ. Repent continually. Ask for correction. Believe that you need him and that he can save you. Put your whole foundation on him. If you do this you'll become a new creature. You will begin to understand and develop godly traits such as humility and selflessness. You'll find peace in this life and become fit for the presence of God. And this will happen, not in some unknown future, but presently.

That's the gospel in a nutshell. It's the greatest story ever told and the purest love there is. That's the gospel and it hasn't changed. It's the people who have changed. It's the people who have lost faith.                   

1 comment:

Robert Starling said...

This is an amazing article that hits the nail on the head. Bravo!
It takes guts in today's world to call it like it is.