The following is an early draft version of Lecture One from Lectures on Truth that is being developed. Lecture one is intended to identify what “truth is.” This should be very thought provoking and it will likely push back against the culture we have created.
In your journey to Christ, it is important to willfully choose to make the Lord, Jesus Christ, your prophet. In some cases you may have to dispose of your current belief system and rebuild it on a foundation of personal revelation from the Lord. In other cases, you have some basic knowledge but the Lord is offering to “add to” what you know. Either way, from Lecture One you should begin to see that truth is “personal” and relevant to your personal journey.
The following content was derived from personal revelation, the scriptures and even Area Training given by Elder David A. Bednar (2010-2013). As always, use your own discernment to the truth.
The Origin of Truth
1 Light is intelligent energy. Light is the source of Truth. Light existed before our God. Light is always correct and righteous.
2 Our God of light is one God that has authority to govern or have dominion over a portion of light. The absence of light is darkness and there is a God of darkness that allows others to have dominion over darkness. This perpetuates an eternal conflict between light and darkness. Our God of light is the creator of this earth and allows the God of Darkness and its followers to mingle and dwell among all of Their creations.
3 Our God of light is the source of all of our Truth. They cannot lie or They would cease to be God. In our God’s glory, perfect justice and mercy, omniscience, omnipotence and omnibenevolence light is independently shared with each spirit child to benefit their eternal progression.
The Nature of Truth Is Eternal
4 Truth is intelligence. It is so vast and incomprehensible to the mortal mind that it is Eternal. Truth is Eternal because it cannot be received completely while in mortality and seemingly has no end. Truth is Eternal because it cannot be completely received at one time but rather it is continuous in nature.
5 Eternal Truth…just ”is.” Eternal Truth is all-encompassing. Eternal Truth has no increase however, an individual’s capacity for Truth has increase.
6 Eternal Truth was, is and always will be–being past, present and future.
The Accessibility of Eternal Truth
7 Truth is universally available to all– “…He inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness [truth]; he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female” (2 Nephi 2:26).
8 Truth can be free. The Light of Christ, being a free gift, fills the immensity of space. It is the will of God. It is Their goodness shared with all and yet specific to individuals. God being omnipotent, the power of this light is possible through the power of God–the Holy Spirit.
9 Additional truth has a purchase price that is governed by law–including but not limited to an offering of a broken heart and contrite spirit, faith, desire, seeking, knocking, asking. These laws or states of being have purchasing power because they honor and acknowledge God as the source of all truth.
The Organizational Relationship of Eternal Truth
10 Eternal Truth encompasses Doctrine, Principles and Gifts. It requires the correct understanding of the relationship between them.
11 Doctrines are statements of truth (the “Why–what’s it all for anyway”). Doctrines could also be interpreted as the “big things that you want or desire from God.” God reveals Doctrine to orient or re-orient His children back to God.
11.1 Doctrines change people. “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior” (Elder Boyd K. Packer). “The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in… The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature” (President Ezra Taft Benson).
11.2 Doctrines reveal the nature of God. True Doctrine should characterize the God of light at a minimum as glorious, perfectly just and merciful, omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful) and omnibenevolent (all-loving).
11.3 The following are some examples of Doctrine. See also the Illustration–The Organizational Relationship of Truth (at the bottom of this post)—below. The illustration recognizes that there are some Doctrines that are currently unknown or not yet formally revealed to the world.
12 Principles are guidelines–things that guide our action and behavior (the “What”; derived from Doctrine).
12.1 Principles are qualities that need to be exercised to fulfill Doctrines. Each Doctrine has Principles that are directly or indirectly relevant to it. When relevant Principles are correctly applied and followed they can bring about the fulfillment of Doctrines.
12.2 The following are some examples of Principles. See also the Illustration–The Organizational Relationship of Truth (at the bottom of this post)–below.
13 Gifts are the means–the means of receiving and applying God’s truth, glory, power or simply Their Holy Spirit. God is the giver of all Gifts. Gifts allow us to receive and righteously apply God’s truth and glory. Gifts are a spiritual bestowal of power or ability upon an individual to help that person spiritually progress to salvation and exaltation.
13.1 The following are examples of Gifts. See also the Illustration–The Organizational Relationship of Truth (at the bottom of this post)–below.
13.2 Gifts received are personal. Gifts are bestowed because of the love and mercy of God. Gifts are rooted in the omnibenevolence of God. Because salvation and exaltation are individual, God works with each person to bestow Gifts. The Gifts of the Spirit that lead to Christ are for our salvation, for without them we would perish. All the Gifts of the Spirit are given to help us to receive God’s glory.
13.3 Because God is perfectly just and merciful, Gifts that one will “receive” will be the sum of Gifts freely given as part of being born into mortality plus what additional Gifts that they have purchased by the law which that Gift is governed (conditions)–including but not limited to an offering of a broken heart and contrite spirit; faith; desire; seeking; knocking; asking; exercising/manifesting.
13.4 The Gifts that one receives are always correct. Like truth, receiving Gifts is dependent upon both the person’s will to apply relevant Principles (e.g. seeking, knocking, asking, receiving) and the omniscience and mercy of God. Because God is omniscient, God will allow a person to “receive” and use Gifts only that they are able to use and only the Gifts that are relevant for that person to fulfill their individual mission.
Mankind’s Application of Eternal Truth
14 Applications (policy, practices, procedures) define the rules and even the do’s and don’ts (the “How”) of truth. Application is mankind’s interpretation of Eternal Truth.
14.1 Revelation from the God (truth) is the only means whereby we can achieve correct Application.
14.2 Correct Application is Christ-centered and Spirit-led Application which is complete alignment of our personal will to God’s will.
14.3 Alignment of our personal will to God’s will is the only means whereby we can “fill the full measure of our creation” or what we “ought to become.”
14.4 The following are examples of Application:
15 Doctrine, Principles, Gifts, Application are all part of eternal spiritual development, but Doctrine is the most important.
15.1 Doctrines, Principles and Gifts never change. Applications however, change all the time.
15.2 Too much focus is placed on the Application. More time should spent studying and trying to understand the Doctrine, Principles and Gifts through the Spirit to ensure the correct Application is applied.
15.3 The lack of understanding of the correct relationship between Doctrine, Principles, Gifts and Application is one reason for the creation of fundamentalist groups. For example, polygamy is NOT Doctrine. Rather it is man’s Application of the what they believe is the Doctrine of “Eternal Family.”
15.4 The Gifts of God are, in effect, “grace.” Mankind’s works have no saving power. Mankind can do nothing except petition God for truth to save. The only righteous work of mankind is to exercise personal free will to repent because personal free will is the only thing that mankind truly owns. Exercising one’s personal free will is “faith.” However, this righteous work (repentance) by itself does not save just as faith alone does not save. It is the first step to be able to receive God’s saving truth (Doctrines, Principles, Gifts) just as faith is required throughout the entire process of receiving God’s truth (glory) until perfection (Second Comforter; Calling and Election made sure; D&C 39:18, 49:26; Alma 22:16; 3 Nephi 11:37). Even a person that is exercising righteous Principles (e.g. seeking, knocking, asking, receiving) cannot exercise those principles without the Gifts of God. For example, a person that repents (turns away from the world and covenants to keep the Lord’s personal commandments) cannot receive truth (personal commandments) unless it is through the Gift of Revelation. The Gift of Revelation, like all other Gifts is made possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. So we see that in every case, God’s Gifts are required to receive truth in order to be saved. So we also see that we are saved by the “grace” of God.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
15.5 Doctrines, Principles and Gifts originated with and belong to God. Mankind can ONLY subscribe to or receive Doctrines, Principles or Gifts. Thus, the corruption of God’s truth occurs with mankind’s awareness of God’s truth (ignorance), understanding of God’s truth (in part or full) and Application of God’s truth (Christ-centered or not).
16 The gospel (good news, message) of Jesus Christ is truth. The gospel of Jesus Christ “points to” Doctrines, Principles and Gifts. Institutional Truth (that of a church or religious institution) is “influenced by” Doctrines, Principles and Gifts but Institutional Truth is “operated by” Applications (policy, practices, procedures).
16.1 Because Doctrines, Principles and Gifts belong to God, religious institutions can only “subscribe to” certain Doctrines, Principles and Gifts. The LDS Church, for example, is depicted in the illustration (at the bottom of this post) as its own religious institution. It consists of organized and regulated Applications (policy, practices, procedures). These Applications are “guided by” Gifts and relevant Principles that are derived from revealed Doctrine in the latter days. Other religious institutions or denominations have different policies, practices, or procedures because they subscribe to different Doctrines or claim revelation from God of different Doctrines. Religious institutions or denominations may have common Doctrines and even subscribe to common Principles but remain distinct from one another because they are not 100% aligned in Doctrine.
16.2 It is more appropriate to say that “the Doctrines are true” rather than to say that “a church (or a religious institution) is true.” For a person to say that “a church is true” is to say that he/she believes the church’s policies, practices or procedures properly and correctly point its members to correct Doctrines, Principles and Gifts of God. For a church to be true it would have to point its members to Jesus Christ because the church knows it cannot offer personal salvation and exaltation–only the Savior, Himself, can offer and bestow them.
16.3 Receiving the Gifts of God to exercise righteous Principles and fulfill Doctrines using relevant Principles is what saves–offering personal salvation and exaltation. A church, any church, does not save but rather it offers Applications and can only point its members to God so that God can offer personal salvation and exaltation. A church or institution cannot receive revelation for an individual. A church or institution receives revelation for itself (its affairs and operations). Individuals receive revelation for themselves. In a visual description of the relationship between a church and an individual member, the two would stand beside one another–not hierarchical. Likewise, church leaders would be beside an individual (as an equal) pointing them to God–also not hierarchical since God is no respecter of persons. Thus, one example of the fruits of a church or institution’s Application would be “Does this point that member to an independent relationship between the member and God or will this increase a member’s dependence on the church?”.
16.4 New Doctrine has not been introduced by the LDS Church since the conclusion of the Doctrine and Covenants. Revelation from God claimed by the LDS Church since that time has primarily been focused on how church leaders administrate the affairs and operations of the church which is Application (policy, practices, procedures), not Doctrine. That means that even the Family: A Proclamation to the World, the priesthood authority made available to other races and other significant events in more recent church history are also not Doctrine, rather they are simply changes in Application. The LDS church operates and administrates church affairs (Application) through a global and local leadership structure, administrative councils, ecclesiastical training, official church handbooks, letters from the First Presidency, and so on.
16.5 So far, when the LDS church leadership (First Presidency & Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) cite new “revelation” they have been referring to instances of changes in Application (policy, practices, procedures) that require the unanimous consent of church leadership. For example, the following changes, reorganizations, programs or emphasis within the LDS Church have been made over the last few years:
- “Come Follow Me” for youth
- Sabbath (Focus on diligent observance of the Sabbath, Special emphasis on the ordinance of the Sacrament)
- “Teaching in the Savior’s Way”
- “Come Follow Me” for Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society and other auxiliaries
- “Ministering” replacing Home & Visiting Teaching Program
- Reorganization of Melchizedek priesthood quorums
Again, these are not changes in Doctrine, Principles or Gifts. Rather these are simply changes in Application (policy, practices, procedures). They borrow from the exact same Doctrine, Principles and Gifts but modifications are made to accommodate for what the church believes are the changing needs of its members.
17 Culture or Cultural Truth is the net effect of Application over a period of time. Correct Application, being Christ-centered and Spirit-led (the alignment of our personal will to God’s will), can develop a Christ-centered and Spirit-led Culture.
17.1 The following are examples of Christ-centered and Spirit-led Culture:
- Open Worship & Praises. Acknowledging that God is Glorious, Omniscient (all-knowing), Omnipotent (all-powerful), Omnibenevolent (all-loving), and perfectly Just & Merciful. Acknowledging God as the source of all good things even when God is working through other people.
- Facilitated Church Discussions. “Facilitating” an open Sunday School discussion instead of a traditional “teacher-led” experience. Acknowledging that spirit-led facilitated discussions bless both the individuals doing the sharing of truth and the group simultaneously.
- Spirit-Led Ministering. Proactively “Ministering” out of love and charity. When speaking prophetically, it should benefit the body of Christ as we have been counseled to “appoint among yourselves a teacher, and let not all be spokesmen at once; but let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken that all may be edified of all, and that every man may have an equal privilege” (D&C 88:122). Every member of every ward may have the privilege of speaking prophetically at any given time.
- Facilitated Learning in the Home. Fathers, Mothers and adults helping to facilitate learning and discussions in the home among all family members. Parents not dependent upon the church for teaching their children–accepting their role as the primary resource of teaching and learning in the lives of their children.
- Christ Servitude & Discipleship. Petitioning the Lord for day-to-day or hour-to-hour guidance to do His will to accomplish His work (Moses 1:39). Serving out of love instead of duty.
- Personal Discernment. Consistently discerning among the voices of light, darkness and my own spirit voice.
- Feasting on the Word of God. Not scripture reading to fulfill a personal or group goal but studying the scriptures with the purpose of receiving knowledge, truth, direction and wisdom as it relates to one’s own unique journey to Christ.
- Lifting Not Judging. Knowing God is no respecter of persons and that He invites all to come to Him. Each person’s journey is customized for the soul of that person. Praying for others because of our differences not putting oneself above another because of our differences. Learning from others because of our different experiences.
- Fasting. Eliminating the things of the world from our lives. It is depending on a spiritual life that is sustained by God.
- Teaching & Seeking for Repentance & Sanctification. Turning away from the world or returning to the path that leads to the Lord and eternal life with an eye single to the glory of God. Teaching others to improve their gifts (skills) of personal revelation and discernment.
- Christ-Like Leadership. Like the Savior, as leaders or influencers in the church, direct and point others to the Savior and the Father for personal revelation, salvation, redemption and exaltation. As a leaders with a stewardship, instead of assuming you are to be “the light” to others, encourage and teach others how to receive personal revelation and discernment.
- Teaching & Seeking for Gifts of the Spirit. For example, seeking the gift of prophecy–The “arm-of-flesh” may speak prophetically and on behalf of God. Speaking God’s words with His permission comes through the gift of prophecy (Moroni 10:13). Office in the church, keys, calling or assignment alone does not guarantee or assure they are always speaking prophetically. One must have permission of God, by asking and seeking for His Spirit to declare it, in order to speak on His behalf—After all, it is His truth. “If ye receive not the Spirit, ye shall not teach” (D&C 42:14). One can obtain the gift of prophecy by seeking after it and developing this gift just as any other gift.
- Teaching & Seeking for One’s Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost. Not content with having started the path to exaltation with a baptism of water, a person intentionally seeks for this blessing from the Lord, seeks for the bestowal of the gift of the Holy Ghost and seeks to become a son or daughter of the Lord.
- Teaching & Seeking for Second Comforter and Calling and Election Made Sure. Realizing that the temple and its ceremonies are symbols pointing us to rend the veil while in mortality, be received into the presence of the Savior, become a witness of the marks of His atonement, and be personally taught by Him (2 Nephi 32:6).
17.2 Ineffective and even fruitless Culture is one that is not Christ-centered and not spirit-led. It is one where “the means” and “the end” are not properly aligned. It lacks the proper perspective. An example of ineffective Culture is when a church leader points a person to “the church (or institution)” and its policies, procedures, practices or programs as the means of salvation. This includes believing a fruitless Cultural Truth that a person’s church membership, status, leadership position or even a church practice “checklist” has power to save. The church and its different applications may, in situations, be “a means” to “an end” so long as that end is the Savior, Jesus Christ. But it may also be a distraction from a divine relationship with the Savior. Ineffective and even fruitless Culture can be the difference between being converted to the Church (its leaders and programs) versus being converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ versus being converted personally to the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
18 Traditions are repeated Applications (practices, procedures, policies) that pass from one person/family/group/institution to another and even from one generation to another. Traditions are derived from Culture. Correct Application and Culture (Christ-centered and Spirit-led; the alignment of our personal will to God’s will) can lead to Christ-centered and Spirit-led Traditions. Traditions can be institutional, group, family or personal.
18.1 Ineffective and even fruitless Traditions lack purpose, meaning and are not Christ-centered and are not spirit-led. They would be ineffective and even fruitless because only Jesus Christ is capable of changing one’s heart, offering sanctification and bestowing Gifts. Ineffective and fruitless Traditions are where “the means” and “the end” are not properly aligned. It is absent of the proper purpose. An example of ineffective Tradition is when a an institution, group or person points a person to a practice as a means of salvation. The practice may, in situations, be “a means” to “an end” so long as that end is the Savior, Jesus Christ, but it may also be a distraction from a divine relationship with the Savior. It can be the difference between believing the Tradition has power to save versus the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, having the power to save.
19 Just as Truth is the absence of darkness, Light illuminates our personal reality. Our personal reality is Personal Truth.
20 Personal Truth is the portion of Eternal Truth that one has actually chosen to “receive” or embrace. Personal Truth is always incomplete. Personal Truth is the sum of one’s current spiritual intelligence or the current sum intelligence of one’s own spirit. A person’s own intelligence is the sum of free or unconditional Eternal Truth received through the Light of Christ plus what additional Eternal Truth that has been purchased by the law which that new truth is governed (conditions)–including but not limited to an offering of a broken heart and contrite spirit; faith; desire; seeking; knocking; asking.
21 Personal Truth is dependent upon both the free will of the individual and the mercy of God. Because God is perfectly just and merciful, God will not force Eternal Truth upon a person. Personal Truth is what a person willfully chooses to receive and apply (Application) from among different aspects of their personal environment. In the illustration example (at the bottom of this post), a person’s Personal Truth is comprised of Social & Entertainment, Professional, Health, Spiritual, and a specific religious institution (The LDS Church).
22 Per ILLUSTRATION: The Organizational Relationship of Eternal Truth (at the bottom of this post), a person can receive additional Doctrines and Principles through Gifts. Theoretically, you can draw a channel (path) from the center (one’s Personal Truth) outward crossing through relevant Gifts and then passing through relevant Principles until you arrive at a Doctrine. Also, a person’s Personal Truth (sphere) would increase in size as Gifts are received from God, thereby enabling that person to receive more Eternal Truth.
23 Personal Truth is relative. It is based on a personal relationship with God. Personal Truth is always unique to the individual and not the same as anyone else’s. Because salvation and exaltation are individual, God works with each person to grow their intelligence. God desires to grow our personal intelligence because God is omnibenevolent (all-loving). God is always willing to offer experiences and pure intelligence to prepare context for the next Eternal Truth that one desires and is “willing” to “receive” by purchase.
24 Personal Truth is always correct because it is equal to the person’s purchasing power. Because God is perfectly just and merciful, God would not allow a person to “receive” (comprehend) more Eternal Truth than they are able. Because God is omniscient, God allows a person to “receive” only what is relevant for a person to fulfill their individual mission.
Illustration: The Organizational Relationship of Truth
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