Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Knowing God, REALLY knowing him!

Moses Ch 1does the most damage to Satan and his goals. Besides showing us what a tantrum thrower he is, he tries to discredit that we are sons and daughters of God.  He addressed Moses by saying “son of man, worship me”.  Son of man is not even in caps. 

Today most people on the earth do not know that they are children of God and most refuse to believe in a God and if they believe in a God he is without body, parts and passions, perhaps just an idea, a higher power of sorts that can’t be explained or described, let alone prayed to. 

As latter-day Saints we know who he is and how he works.  Elder Hales, an apostle of the Lord give us the admonition to gain a testimony of God and his Son (Oct 2009)   in General Conference. Then He specifically tells us about them.  Here are a few items Elder Hale mentions  about the father and the son: 

He starts off by telling us that: We know he lives because we believe the testimonies of His ancient and living prophets, and we have felt God’s Spirit confirm that the testimonies of these prophets are true. (2 witnesses) 

  • ·         From their testimonies, recorded in holy scripture, we know that “[God] created man, male and female, after his own image and in his own likeness.”3 Some people may be surprised to learn that we look like God. One prominent religious scholar has even taught that imagining God in the form of man is creating a graven image and is idolatrous and blasphemous.4 But God Himself said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”5
  • ·         From the New Testament we know that Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, have a physical presence. They stand in one place at one time, as the New Testament disciple Stephen testified: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”7
  • ·         We also know that the Father and the Son have voices. As recorded in Genesis and the book of Moses, Adam and Eve “heard the voice of the Lord God, as they were walking in the garden, in the cool of the day.”8
  • ·         We know that the Father and the Son have faces, that They stand, and that They converse. The prophet Enoch declared, “I saw the Lord; and he stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another.”9
  • ·         We know that God and His Son have bodies, in form and parts like ours. From the book of Ether in the Book of Mormon, we read, “And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood.”10 Later the Lord revealed Himself, saying, “Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and … I [will] appear unto my people in the flesh.”11
  • ·         We know that the Father and the Son have feelings for us. The book of Moses records, “And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept.”

    • And we know that God and His Son, Jesus Christ, are immortal, glorified, and perfected beings. Of the Savior Jesus Christ, the Prophet Joseph Smith recounts, “His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters.”13     No testimony is more significant to us in our time than the witness of Joseph Smith. 

These qualities and attributes to us are common sense, we hear them, think about them and know them, but in the outside world they are unknown and thought as blasphemous.
Elder Hale sets the record straight – right from the scriptures he says this: I testify that the way to know the truth about God is through the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost, the third member of the Godhead, is a personage of spirit. His work is to “testify of [God]”19 and to “teach [us] all things.”20JS said the following: If men do not understand the character of God, they do not understand themselves.  TPJS p. 343
These qualities and attributes to us are common sense, we hear them, think about them and know them, but in the outside world they are unknown and often thought as blasphemous.

I’m going to guess that most of us, if not all of us here today know and understand this list.  If we do then we can take it a step further.

JS said the following: If men do not understand the character of God, they do not understand themselves.  TPJS p. 343

I’m going to enquire after God: for I want you all to know him and be familiar with him. TPJS p. 245

Paul explains in Ephesians Ch 4: 
11 and he agave some, bapostles; and some, cprophets; and some, devangelists; and some, epastors and fteachers;
12 For the aperfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the bedifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the aunity of the faith, and of the bknowledge of the Son of God,

All the things the prophets tell us is to help us get to know God. 

Paul, Joseph Smith and Elder Hales want us to know God and his Son. (3 witnesses) Why is knowing them so important?  I believe D&C 76 tells us why? 

While there are many lists in that revelation that qualify or disqualify us for each kingdom the word “testimony” is present in all 3 of the lists.  

The Telestial Kingdom: v74  They received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh.
The Terestial Kingdom: v79. They were not valiant in the testimony of Jesus.
The Celestial Kingdom: v51 They are they who received the atestimony of Jesus,
The difference between the Cel and Ter kingdom is how valiant we will be to our testimony of God the Father, his Son Jesus Christ and their gospel.  

In Rev 12: 11, John The revelator tells us the weapons used in the war in Heaven.  There are three:  1. Blood of the Lamb, 2. “the word of their testimony”3. They loved not their lives unto death.  Our testimonies is what helped win the war!  Brothers and sisters, the war goes on and so must our testimonies!

Elder Hale give us a pattern to receive a testimony:  1. Desire to know  2. Ponder on the things of heaven- let the evidences of God touch your hearts 3.  Once our hearts are softened, we can then Search the Scriptures.  4. Ask if the things we have learned are true. 

Out of these 4 steps I can only help with number 3: study the scriptures. At the Utah State Institute I learned a way to study the scriptures that changed me for forever and strengthened my faith in the Godhead. The only part I can explain now is that I circled every time it mentioned any name of the 3 members of the Godhead, even the he’s, him’s, thy, etc.  

 As a side note:  Scholars have told us that the savior is mentioned 3471 times in The Book of Mormon, a book with 6580 verses, that is every other verse.  No wonder that book has the potential to get us nearer to God than any other book.   Also, Some form of “come unto Christ” can be found 43 times.  I then, used a specific color, for me teal, for their qualities and attributes.  It started off with the qualities and attributes as found in lecture 3 and 4 of Lectures on Faith.  

1. God before the world was create
2. Merciful and Gracious
3. Changes not 
4. Truth- cannot lie 
5. No respecter of persons 
6. Love 
7. Knowledge- he knows all 
8. Faith or Power 
9. Justice
10. Judgement 
11. Mercy 
12. Truth

As I did this over the years, I started to see more than just these words, I even saw whole paragraphs!  

It’s interesting to note that Laman and Lemuel in The Book of Mormon, didn’t understand anything their father or brother were telling them or why they left Jerusalem because they “KNEW” not the dealings of God.  See another great conference talk about those 2 men given in 1999, by Neil A. Maxwell. 

In Oct 2006 Elder Bednar gave 2 invitations in his talk “And Nothing Shall Offend Them.”  His first was to learn about and apply the Savior’s teachings about interactions and episodes that can be construed as offensive.  This could be another way to know him.

Here are some helps in our study: In the Topical Guide, the word  Jesus Christ takes up 18 pages of entries.  The entry God has 12 pages.  I encourage you to look at them and maybe you’ll learn something from just the list itself. 

Elder Hales finishes his talk with this: 
1.      Gaining this knowledge is ultimately the quest of all of God’s children.
2.      Your personal knowledge of God is not only the greatest Gift you will ever give, but it will bring you the greatest joy you will ever have.   ( I Love this!)
3.      He then testifies as a special witness of Christ, that God lives and that HE KNOWS!

 A song from Sheri Call about the Names of Jesus Christ: 



Marcy said...

Wasn't this a powerful talk? I love your thoughts on how we can really get to know God and Jesus Christ. It really is a continual ongoing lifelong process.

Anonymous said...

Great talk