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Authority, Ordinances, and Preparation (Dallin H. Oaks) Part 5

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
September 23, 2021 9:44 pm

Authority, Ordinances, and Preparation (Dallin H. Oaks) Part 5

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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September 23, 2021 9:44 pm

This week Bill and Eric take a closer look at an article published in the August 2021 Liahona magazine and authored by Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor of the First Presidency.

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The book Sharing the Good News with Mormons edited by Shawn McDowell and Mormonism Research Ministries Eric Johnson offers practical witnessing strategies by a number of Christian missionaries, scholars, and pastors. Sharing the Good News with Mormons is published by Harvest House and is available at your favorite online bookstore or order it directly from

If you're looking for practical strategies for getting the conversation started, be sure to check out Sharing the Good News with Mormons. Viewpoint on Mormonism, the program that examines the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from a Biblical perspective. Viewpoint on Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism Research Ministry. Since 1979, Mormonism Research Ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's Viewpoint on Mormonism. Hoping you're having a very pleasant Friday, welcome to this edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry, and with me today is Eric Johnson, my colleague at MRM. Today we wrap up our look at an article in the August 2021 edition of Liahona Magazine, an article written by Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an article titled Authority, Ordinances, and Preparation. As we've been going through this, it becomes very clear that there are certain things that Latter-day Saints must do if they hope to get the best their religion offers them, and that would of course be a place in the Celestial Kingdom.

This is where Latter-day Saints hope that they will be reunited with their family members, and Mormon males will become gods over their own world, as Heavenly Father is the god over this particular world. This article is meant to encourage members to get serious about preparing to meet the Lord, and today we're going to be looking at the last part of this article under that very heading. Now in this article, Eric, Dallin Oaks cites President Russell M. Nelson, and he does it more than once, but in this last section he cites Nelson, who once again is talking about this imminent return of Jesus Christ.

What does he say? President Nelson has taught, Worldwide, we are experiencing or learning of earthquakes, famines, typhoons, floods, pestilences, and armed conflicts, but not all these signs are threatening. A positive sign of the times is the prophesied gathering of Israel, which President Nelson has declared, is the most important thing taking place on earth today. But when a Latter-day Saint prophet talks about the gathering of Israel, he's not talking about the nation of Israel, he's talking about the LDS church. So when Oaks says a positive sign of the times is the prophesied gathering of Israel, which President Nelson has declared is the most important thing taking place on earth today, he's talking about those coming into the church. In fact, if you were to look at the reference that Oaks gives for this talk by Nelson, it happens to be a talk titled Hope of Israel.

It was given at a youth devotional on June 3rd, 2018. If you read that talk clearly, Nelson is referring to the elect as those God has chosen to become members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He's not talking about those elect that are going to come to faith in the finished work of Christ. It's those who are going to come into the LDS church.

So context is very important. What does Oaks go on to say next? As this gathering proceeds, we are establishing stakes, quote, And that's from Doctrine and Covenants, section 115, verse 6. We are also accelerating the building of temples where the faithful can gather in their own homelands to make the covenants that allow them to be eligible for eternal life.

And then he cites from D&C 84 and 131. That statement I found to be quite intriguing because he talks about the acceleration of building temples where the faithful can gather in their own homelands to make the covenants that allow them to be eligible for eternal life. Setting aside the fact that he's making it clear once again that covenant keeping is essential if a Latter-day Saint hopes to receive eternal life or exaltation. But when he says the reason for building temples is so the faithful can gather in their own homelands, in Utah alone, they are building a number of temples. Right now, there's numerous temples in the state of Utah, and many more are being constructed. Yeah, we have a total right now of 27 temples in Utah of the 168. So that is about 10% of all temples in the world are found in our state. Now, they are working on right now, under construction, or they are planning to have temples in 10 different places. Smithfield, Ephraim, Layton, Linden, Orem, St. George, was called Red Cliffs, and that will be the second temple in St. George. Saratoga Springs, Syracuse, Taylorsville, and what's called Deseret Peak, and that's in Tooele.

They're increasing it by 60% in the next six years. We're going to have all these temples. Where we sit right now, we could be at more than a dozen temples in an hour. How many temples does Utah need that maybe the temples could be open longer, maybe have extended hours, so that maybe you could build temples in places where there are no temples today? But yet the excuse, or the argument, I should say, that Dallin Oaks raises for the acceleration of building temples is so that the faithful can gather in their own homelands. Imagine all the temples that are being focused on the state of Utah when they're really not all that necessary, because as you mentioned, they could merely make them open for longer hours and accommodate a number of people who wish to go to them. But what do you say about the person who lives in a country who doesn't have the means to travel as we do here in the state of Utah? Where are they going to go to perform these covenants and to be eligible for eternal life? Because they put a building in Tooele, or they put a building in Linden right off of the I-15, or another building in Taylorsville right off of the I-215. And if they really believe that the Lord is coming soon, shouldn't the money building those temples be used to put them in a country where you would think would be more needed? Now the church bill can do whatever it wants with its money, but I think the key point here is in their own homelands.

Think about the price, though. Okay, so you're building these ten new temples in Utah. Right now, construction prices are at an all-time high. These temples are not made cheaply. They use the very best materials.

They use marble, they use the best wood, etc. How much are each of these temples that are being built right now in Utah costing the church? Again, they can do what they want with their money, but it just seems like resources that perhaps could have been used in the countries where maybe there are only 20,000 people in a country that has Latter-day Saints. But I'm looking at the temple in Ephraim, for instance.

There's a total of 30,000 people in St. Pete County. They already have a temple in Manti, and just a few miles away, they're going to build one in Ephraim. Why do you need two temples in St. Pete County with 30,000 people? And those two temples are only going to be, at most, about ten miles from each other. Certainly, someone in Utah can go ten miles to go to a temple.

Why do they need one in their backyard if they happen to live in Ephraim? Then he goes on to cite Alma 34-32, and I found this interesting because this is the second time Alma 34 comes up. At the bottom of the left-hand column on page 9, Oakes writes, As the Book of Mormon teaches, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God. And of course, in order to prepare, you need to go to a temple.

That's absolutely essential. Now that's Alma 34-32 in parentheses. And let me just finish the rest of that verse. Yea, behold, the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. And the passage goes on, very clearly teaching that the work has to be done in this life.

But isn't that what Russell Nelson said that was cited earlier in the article? Page 8, at the bottom of the right-hand side, it says, Our prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, has taught this life is the time to prepare for salvation and exaltation. In God's eternal plan, salvation is an individual matter. Exaltation is a family matter.

And that goes back to what I said earlier this week. If your desire in the next life is to be with your family, you could be very disappointed if your family has not made the proper preparation. Because even though one Latter-day Saint might feel that they qualify, and they're doing everything that they're supposed to be doing in order to get into the celestial kingdom. In other words, as I mentioned yesterday, they're keeping celestial law. If you have a spouse that is not, or a child that is not, that spouse, that child, will not be there with you throughout eternity. Because they did not keep celestial law.

They did not make the proper preparation for that kingdom. When Nelson is quoted as citing this life is the time to prepare for salvation and exaltation, certainly that's a reference to Alma 34. So twice we are told the importance of Alma 34. And I think you're absolutely correct, Eric. We need to read Alma 34 in its proper context. We've talked about it so many times, I'm sure we're probably boring some of our regular listeners. But Alma 34 is essential when talking to Latter-day Saints.

Why? Because so many of them think that if they're not doing everything they're supposed to do, they can make up for lost time after they die. Not if Alma 34 is correct. There is no chance that's going to happen, because if you persist in procrastinating your repentance, and that's how it's described, if you procrastinate the day of your repentance, even until death, it doesn't say you have an opportunity to make up for lost time. What does it say? It says, Behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his, therefore the spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you, and this is the final state of the wicked. The final state of the wicked.

Dallin Oaks ends his article with this question. He says, What if the day of his coming were tomorrow? If we knew that we would meet the Lord tomorrow, through our death or through his coming, what would we do today? What confessions would we make? What practices would we discontinue? What forgiveness would we extend? What ordinances would we seek? What additional things would we do to fulfill our covenants?

If we could do those things then, why not now? If our lamps of preparation are drawn down, let us start immediately to replenish them. I would say for the most part, many of those questions could apply to us as Christians. Of course, I'm sure many times pastors have said from behind their pulpit, If we really believe the Lord is coming tomorrow, what would we do today?

How would we prepare today? Now, the problem is, every single one of these things that he asks about is used in Mormonism to prepare you for your justification. In Mormonism, they mix up justification and sanctification, and Oakes does a good job of doing that at the end of this article, because every one of those things that he suggests that a Mormon should be doing are all works that they must perform. So when a Latter-day Saint tells you that they don't believe they're saved by works, you might point them to this article, Authority, Ordinances, and Preparation, by Dallin H. Oakes. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-20 01:15:41 / 2023-08-20 01:21:01 / 5

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