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Monday, September 22, 2014

The Priceless Gem

As a missionary, I experience people approaching us to argue against us. This approach is in-courteous and, unfortunately, not uncommon. Even more rude, is when they schedule an appointment and invite us into their home with people there ready to argue or "Bible Bash." In one such instance in which I was involved, we were told, "Mormons are really smart. They have a great scriptural knowledge, and they have to know their doctrine really well, *nervous swallow* because you are competing against truth..." The person expressing these thoughts made mention of her disapproval of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the added book we have. Having addressed this issue directly in previous posts, I do not desire to "fulfill the third law, and push against this opposition." During our exchange with her, the statement, "you are arguing against truth," rung in my ears. Not because I'm questioning anything I know, but because people far too many people fail to ask, "what is truth?"

"Oh say, what is truth? 'Tis the fairest gem
That the riches of worlds can produce,
And priceless the value of truth will be when
The proud monarch's costliest diadem
Is counted but dross and refuse."


Due to large advancements in technology and human thought, science has been able to measure laws and forces of the universe, by which all things are governed. These scientific laws we observe in the United Sates are the same in China, despite the differences in social law. The scientific laws on Earth are the same on Mars despite the obvious differences in population. The scientific laws in this solar system are the same in the galaxy, and throughout the entirety of the universe. Thus, We can safely conclude those laws are true, and can be established as truth. Truth is the same here, there, and everywhere. Truth is the same yesterday, today, and forever. As the Lord, Himself, stated, "truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come..." (D&C 93: 24) With this understanding, it is safe to assume the Lord knows ALL truth, comprehends ALL truth, and is the source of ALL truth. As Jesus Christ prayed, "that they might KNOW thee." He wants us to be able to know ALL truth, and comprehend ALL truth. Therefore, He gives it to us, "precept upon precept...line upon line; here a little, and there a little." (Isaiah 28: 10)



"Yes, say, what is truth? 'Tis the brightest prize
To which mortals or Gods can aspire.
Go search in the depths where it glittering lies,
Or ascend in pursuit to the loftiest skies:
'Tis an aim for the noblest desire."


In my many encounters with members of other faiths in the south, one of my favorite was a minister who shared with us a personal "manifesto" concerning this topic: truth. In it, he affirmed, "what is irrational is false." Which is accurate to say, because, as Paul wrote "God is not the author of confusion" (1 Corinthians 14: 33) After his statement, however, he expressed, "Just because something is rational does not mean it is necessarily true..." Christ said, "strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life." (Matthew 7: 14) Oftentimes, people hear this scripture and understand strait as straight. When I think of a straight line, I think of a continuous extent with no depth on a graph. To create a line on a graph we must begin with a point. This point is a witness of the location and direction of the greater line because the line must go through it. When I say draw a line through this point, there can be an infinite amount of straight lines going through it. But there could only be one which is right. This phenomena can be observed today. We can see so many Christian religions which claim they have the truth. They look at one witness, The Bible, and get totally different meanings from what it says. Some read and say infant baptisms are necessary, while other read and reject such practice. Some read and see repentance as simply confessing, while others see it as change. Some read and see they can have other scripture outside of the Bible, while others reject that thought and see it as blaspheme. These are but a few examples, and we can continue naming off many more. They all can be rational, but only one is true. When I fathom this concept, it brings further perspective in what Christ meant when he said, "wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat... Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7: 13, 22-23)



"The sceptre may fall from the despot's grasp
When with winds of stern justice he copes.
But the pillar of truth will endure to the last,
And its firm-rooted bulwarks outstand the rude blast
And the wreck of the fell tyrant's hopes."


When competing rational claims are made we should, as this minister expressed, "look for other factors to help us distinguish true from false among rational beliefs." In His guidance to lead us to truth, God has given a divine pattern by which truth is established, "in the mouth of two or three witnesses..." (Matthew 18: 16) Whereas when establishing and drawing a line, I must identify another true point. Then, out of the infinite possibilities, I have found the one true answer. Similarly, there must exist another witness of Jesus Christ with which doctrine must agree to act as this second point to correct man's interpretations, and establish sound doctrine "that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ..." (Ephesians 4: 14-15). I have testified, currently testify, and will testify the second true point to mark the straight and narrow line to God is the Book of Mormon. I know it truly is the fairest gem, the brightest prize even "the pearl of great price," as Christ has described, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen



"Then say, what is truth? 'Tis the last and the first,
For the limits of time it steps o'er.
Tho the heavens depart and the earth's fountains burst,
Truth, the sum of existence, will weather the worst,
Eternal, unchanged, evermore."
("Oh Say, What Is Truth?" By John Jaques, LDS Hymn 272; Composed by
Ellen Knowles Melling)

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