Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Importance of Faith vs Ordinances --

It’s interesting to contemplate the discussion of salvation in the Book of Mormon. You have these multiple consistent expositions of faith that are precursors to LDS temple work. Consider the people of Ammonihah, burned for their beliefs. Consider Nephi, Abinadi, Enos, and Jacob, their faith and their testimonies.

Here are some of my favorite selections from the Book of Mormon on salvation:

2 Ne 9 deserves to be read in its entirety, as it's a wonderful sermon.

Many verses in this point to the orthodox Christian trinity, original sin, and concepts of hell, but for my purposes the meat is here: 2 Ne 9:21 - 26.  I think this states pretty unambiguously that salvation comes through faith, repentance, baptism, and enduring to the end.  All because of the power of the atonement.

Here's another great one: 2 Ne 25:23-30

And how could we not mention the story of Enos? This is a story that warms the evangelical Christians heart.  He wrestles with his faith before God in prayer and receives a remission of his sins because of his faith.  Consider the elegant simplicity of this statement from God:  "wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole."

Compare that with a more modern alternative:  "wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.  After, of course, you abstain from coffee, alcohol, tobacco, and tea, sustain the apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators, sustain all your other leaders, attend all your church meetings, magnify any and all responsibilities your leaders assign you, get a temple recommend from your bishop, and travel to the nearest temple to receive all the necessary priesthood ordinances".

Consider also the ancient original apostles of Jesus Christ in Israel, martyred for their faith. Consider Peter, Paul, James, their faith and their testimonies.

Consider all the wonderful examples of faith we have considered, from both the New Testament and Book of Mormon, locked outside the door of heaven until a 12 year-old is baptized for them by proxy and a distracted temple recommend holder sits through an endowment session for them, and a gang of temple workers does their sealings. Even Paul, despite his great faith, is locked outside the doors of eternal life without proxy ordinances done by teenagers and distracted adults.

What does that say about the importance of priesthood authority relative to the importance of faith? It essentially says that depth in faith is not that important relative to priesthood authority, considering that the faith of an eight year-old to be baptized and the worthiness of a 12 year-old to go through temple ordinances and the attention of a gang of temple workers doing mass sealings trumps the level of faith of those for whom the work will be done.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Just found your site. I am going to take some time and read through it.

You sound like a very sensitive, sincere fellow.

I just hope that eventually things turn out GOOD for you -- even if this doesn't happen until after you leave mortality (but hopefully before that!). But beyond this 'hope' I feel that it just *has* to. God can't be the type of entity that is going to condemn a good, sincere person because he uses the reasoning capacities of his brain.

Peace, brother.