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Sunday, December 2, 2018

President Nelsons charge to take our vitamin pills and the theorem of our faith.

by RB Mac

Have you ever wondered how President Nelson, a Prophet of God, warns you in essence that the proverbial defecation is about to hit the rotary oscillator (the crap is about the hit the fan)?  He says it like this:  "There's much more to come…Wait until next year, eat your vitamin pills, get your rest”.
Change is a big deal especially in theology, where most religions including ours, are known more for not changing then they are for any type of change at all.  Few things are more consistent in the world than religion. But guess what, that is not how our religion was setup.  The theorem of our faith is very, very different.

It sounds a little cold to describe part of one’s faith as a theorem, but that’s really the way it is.  Every faith in the world has a logic to it.  The fun part is that in the world of religion, is each church gets to make up its own logic.  Its very own cause and effect, its own axiom set if you will.  I am not just talking about a logic that religions use to deduce rules that govern behavior.  But a rule of logic (theorem) by which their very beliefs are derived. 

This is a lesson I learned in a theology class, we were required to take in high school. As much as I love seminary, it is not in any stretch, a serious class of theology!  Take your imagination into one of my memories.  You show up to school and the first lecture you get, is on how so many religions in the world don’t get along.  He tells us about the hate of the Crusaders, the eternal battle between Islam and Judaism, Southern Baptist and Mormons, and so on and so on… illustrating that fact that nothing in the history of this world, is full of more animosity and war then religion.

The teacher then sits on top of his large desk, in the front of the room and utters the following words “We expect you young people to be able to bring the harmony of logic to every situation in this life and you will start by bringing the most emotional subject in the history of this world into logic and order.  Because if you can do it there, you can do it anywhere”.  For the next year I learned a lesson that has paid many dividends in my life, that the study of theology is really the study of philosophy within the bounds (rules) of logic a specific religion has chosen to be governed by.  That even something as seemingly complex as religion, has a simple straight forward core.

If you want to flatter the most adherent believers in a religion, make them smile, have them look you in the eyes and say, “Yes that’s true!”… Tell them that their religion is so solid it is based on logic.  They will get all of the warm fuzzes they desire and their minds eye will flash with images of their religion being the one true religion that has found a way to bring together the world of science and logic with the Universe of God in Heaven.  Next, if you want to make most adherent believes in a religion, any religion mad, really mad, make a point of telling them that the logic their religion is based on is totally made up, subjective and full of so many holes of varying size that it makes a sieve look water tight.   

Different religions have different logic.  The fun part is that once you know a certain religions foundational theorem, “logic”, they become easy to understand, easy to argue with (the Greek meaning of the word argue, thank you very much).  You also learn that in every religion there is a fallacy in their logic, a belief that does not fit, a doctrine that it does not explain. That is every religion except for a true one.  If a religion is to be true, then the theorem by which their beliefs are derived from must be perfect. Their theorem must bear the weight of any test.  

So why am I bringing this up?

Because President Nelson, our Prophet, knows this probably better than several of the church’s Presidents that have come before him.  He knows the power of the theorem of our faith.  And what is even greater is that, he is totally, and completely 100% unapologetic about it!

Nothing is off limits to him.  There is no faith of our fathers that he feels can’t be changed.  He has no reverence for administrative rules that the general church membership has mistaken as doctrine. He seams to detest customs that somehow evolve into unofficial law and there is no revelation he is afraid to put forth to override principles we have had for almost 200 years…. In short, this Prophet is one of the few leaders of an established religion in history, that is absolutely not afraid of progress and change!

We just heard the Prophet say to take our vitamins, that we have not seen anything yet.  To get ready because the changes are coming… I think we need to make a good old fashion Pioneer Trek to GNC and stock up, I mean a year of food storage level stock up! And don’t skimp, get the good stuff, because this guy really understands the theorem of our faith, he understands the power of change.

But here’s a question for the members of the faith, do we understand our own theorem? 
Think about this for a minute: what is our theorem? What is the rule of logic that governs how we establish what is doctrine and what principles we abide by? It’s really important because this is also the rule (doctrine) that gives the Prophet the power to change everything… EVERYTHING.

Look at what he has changed so far, Scouting, gone. Duty To God, gone. Young Woman’s Recognition Award, gone. Three-hour church block, gone. Doctrine that all temple ordinances have to be performed by Melchizedek Priesthood, gone. High Priest groups, gone. Even the way doctrine is taught to its members has been changed.

What do we call this?  Well according to President Nelson, we call it a warm up. 
There is a real power in change.  For all of us Sci-Fi geeks out there, Frank Herbert’s book series Dune has the best line on the subject “Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens…The sleeper must awaken”.  And boy are we waking up and I think this is exactly what we need. 

In the modern world, the church was becoming more and more behind the times and even less and less relevant. I am not talking about our doctrine, but the way the church interfaced with people’s lives.   We are supposed to be a peculiar people in, but not of the world.  But this modern world is rocketing forward and we are starting to live in the realm of thin oxygen, the boundary of outer space.  
I really can’t understate this power of and need for change! Not to mention the power of the Prophet to bring it about…. The Prophet could walk to the podium in General Conference and if the Lord told him to announce that we are no longer going to be using the Doctrine and Covenants as part of our standard works…. I’m not kidding he could do this and the best part is that it fits perfectly in the theorem of our faith.   We as a faith are setup from our very foundation to evolve and progress and our new Prophet really understands this!

Well, here it is the theorem or better said rule of faith for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints:

“We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”
 -9th article of faith.

In short, we believe what God says when he says it. We don’t quantify or qualify what he says by comparing contemporary revelations to historical ones, we don’t believe in putting limitations on what God can say/reveal such as “the Lord will never remove the Doctrine and Covenants from the standard works” or “the Lord will never give women the priesthood”.  The sole litmus test as to whether a revelation is from God, is the spirit of God. There is nothing that is off the table, nothing the Lord cannot do, say or update in his own church. President Nelson made this clear when he pointed out that the restoration of the church is not done, that there is still more to come. That takes us from “restored church” past-tense. To a state in process of “being restored”. That means that the Lord is still revealing (also known as teaching) things to us. Knowledge added Line upon line… precept upon precepts = expanding knowledge or simpler said, change and progression.  

The greatest thing about our rule of logic is that it is the Lords logic not ours. Omnipresence and omnipotence are his eternal attributes, not our mortal ones. He is the one with the eternal perspective of which our theorem is based. We (if we are smart) don’t need claim to understand all aspects of logic from an intellect such as the Lords, we just claim the opportunity to believe it, obey it and make covenants to display our commitment to it; thereby becoming members of the Kingdom of Heaven. Remember our theorem we believe what God says when he says it.

This can be allot to take in, so I guess its time to sum this up and let it sit for a while … but first lets summarize what the Prophet was really saying when he talked about us taking our vitamins and being ready for the big stuff.  What he was saying was not do you have faith in what we have now. What he was saying was in essences, “make sure you have the personal strength of faith to believe and support what is coming next”.

 And the big question is do we? Do I have the level of faith that if the Lord should say something like women will now be ordained to the Priesthood, that I believe him and support it? I am not saying that I think that is going to happen, but I am asking if each of us has the kind of faith to embrace that level of change, because I do think that is the level of change that is coming.

On second thought you might want to add some probiotics to that vitamin regiment because real change and the hardcore growth that comes with it is heading our way. Make no mistake about it and it’s going to hurt because change always does, especially if you’re not ready for it.

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