So, Don, a direct answer to your questions:
When people who have stewardship over us give us counsel, direction, advice, extending of callings, revelation, prophecy, new programs/doctrine/scripture, commandments, etc. we must always ask Heavenly Father to help us know that it is true.
However, the principle of D&C 58:26 also suggests we must also sustain our leaders through our ACTIONS.
This is how I feel comfortable going about the process: first, praying to Heavenly Father to help me know that what I am about to do is true, good, of God, etc.
second, do what I am counseled to do.
Note that I never included where I need the answer to my prayer to be. It could be before, it could be while I’m praying, maybe right after, maybe weeks later. But actively sustaining my priesthood holders DOES mean actively following their counsel, WHILE ALSO actively asking my Heavenly Father to help me know it’s right.
Note also that I specifically did not say to ask Heavenly Father why in the heck I’m doing something that I don’t understand, but instead to gain faith of it’s truthfulness. He will answer in his way.
Sometimes, though, I am not “a wise servant”, and my mortality requires LOTS AND LOTS of prayer before doing whatever it is. These are times when I will pray more fervently, and trust more closely in my feelings, praying not just for faith in the principle, but faith in my faith.
I think that often you do not gain a testimony of a principle until you actually DO it. So, instead of being unwise, I think we should try our hardest to continually ask Heavenly Father for help while actively doing our best to sustain counsel from His prophets on earth by obeying their counsel.]]>
It wasn’t until talking about it with my brother that I realized I had been wrong in my approach towards this subject. I had always tried to rationalize the doctrine on my own, however my brother described his experience (just for context, realize that I had never previously described my frustration about understanding this doctrine. Polygamy happened to come up, and he volunteered his testimony without knowing my feelings about it) – of praying for a testimony of the doctrine of polygamy. He described receiving a strong testimony that it is a true principle, and of God when practiced correctly.
I agree with lots of people who have posted comments, so I’m afraid I’m not offering much “new” here, but I want to restate the idea in my own words: I believe that when we receive counsel from leaders (anywhere – seminary, General Conference, the temple endowment, sacrament meeting, personal interviews, etc.) we should not try to rationalize the counsel, but rather humble ourselves and pray with faith to know if the counsel is true.
Yes, we should ask questions – but to whom? Certainly not another mortal. We should ask our Heavenly Father; he knows us and our needs.
I am convinced that oftentimes we can receive revelation that includes a rational explanation for doing something. A personal example: dressing modestly. I’ve always felt like it was a good idea, because I feel more comfortable with the way men look at me, because of the way I act differently, etc. however, more important than searching for a rational reason for following counsel from prophets and leaders is gaining a personal testimony of the truth of their counsel. I think this means that there WON’T always be a rational explanation behind every principle. This is the time for using faith; not faith in our prophets, but faith in Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father’s perfect understanding and love for us. This makes sense to me; I don’t go to the GA’s when I have issues with the lace on my G’s or sustaining Priesthood in Priesthood meetings only. I go to Heavenly Father, and he answers my prayers with feelings of comfort and assurance that what I am doing is right, even though I don’t understand why.
It should be noted that Heavenly Father answers prayers in his own way, in his own time, and that he does this out of the deepest, most perfect love for us, his children. So the answer doesn’t come right away; that means I need to continue praying, and obeying.
I think there will be times that we must seek for personal revelation about a specific matter, like spending time with your non-member mother on mother’s day, or whether or not it actually is right for you to take the calling that has been extended to you. Or what about the decision of when to get married? I certainly would have to get on my knees and ask Heavenly Father if it’s right if a Prophet told me who I am supposed to marry!
I know this is a long comment, so I hope you’ll read. I just want to say that although I don’t understand everything about the temple, I do understand the feelings I have inside the temple, and I know it’s very good. If you get on your knees and sincerely, humbly ask Heavenly Father to help you gain faith that it is good, He will answer your prayers, and you will know that it’s good, too. I specifically worded this as an if-then statement, and not a for-all-of-you-who-struggle statement, because it’s something that EVERYONE should do. Continually, faithfully, fervently. Isn’t that the definition of religion?]]>
I guess this is where we differ. I see imperfect people trying to navigate through a perfect church. And frankly, I would much rather rely on Men and Women who have been ordained and set apart by the Priesthood of God to lead and guide us, rather than my own personal knee-jerk reactions because I might not immediately agree with what has been taught. I mean, if we didn’t need them (i.e. Prophets), why would God be so adament about giving them to us for our benefit, and then command us to obey?
But thank you for giving me something to ponder. You’ve only strengthened my resolve to follow their counsel.]]>
It’s not a matter for me to call fellow Mormons to repentance (I am imperfect and in need of redemption as much as the rest of us). Like Luther, I have no desire to start a new church but to reform the one I’m in. So I just point out obviuos needed reforms.
My thesis is orthodoxy dooms us to apostasy because in any organization mistakes are inevitable and under orthodoxy those errors become entrenched with no corrective reform mechanisms to get the church back on track. I think DavidH hit the nail on the head.
How do you think we got to the sorry state where for most LDS it is on the LofC and the WofW that hangs all the law and all the prophets? Just because someone is called of the Lord doesn’t mean they can’t fail in the calling. In sustaining our leaders, we’re supposed to help them succeed in their callings. If we remain silent when things are as screwed up as they are, our sustaining support is meaningless.]]>
Are you saying that the Holy Ghost has told you to call the Mormon people to repentance? Or that their (and your) religion is unfounded and corrupt?
I mean this sincerely. I hold no malice towards you.
P.S. AH! I always wondered what the EM stood for.]]>
I have faith in Jesus that he will be there for me at the judgment and the judgment will pass over me. So it’s not that I want to believe, I am a believer, hence my handle, EM (Evangelical Mormon). But as far as his servants always speaking for Him, I have to rely on decades of experience that those servants sometimes are speaking for themselves, not Jesus. I’ll add there’s a reason Jesus warned us about false prophets. Blind obedience has never been part of the Gospel of JC. Think of me as an LDS Martin Luther nailing needed reforms on the temple door.]]>
Of course, if you don’t believe in Modern Revelation, than this scripture is moot. So here’s another one.
And then there’s this.
But Steve, I’m confused. It’s as if you truly want to believe, but you just can’t bring yourself to. Or perhaps it’s the other way around?]]>
Doubt is healthy? Didn’t Jesus often command us not to doubt, only believe.]]>