The atmosphere changed and we were cordially given a tour, including an excavation revealing recently discovered murals which dated to Roman days. Christ dominates that testament page by page. He is referred to in 3, verses, more than half of the 6, verses in the book. It is one thing to say that we are not their kind of Christian.
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It is another entirely to characterize us as not being Christian at all. There are doctrinal beliefs that will continue to be misunderstood and disturb our critics. A few of them are these:. The doctrine of the Godhead. We are the literal spirit children of God, and thus have the possibility to eventually become as He is. One need not have answers to all those questions to receive the witness of the Spirit, join the Church, and remain faithful therein. There is a knowledge that transcends rational explanations, sacred knowledge that leads to conversion.
While we can provide answers, they will not be satisfactory, however, to those who do not accept continuing revelation. To argue or debate over sacred things usually generates much more heat than light. There is what I call the principle of prerequisites. That principle operates in school. Without the basic prerequisite course in chemistry, we will have a hard time understanding advanced chemistry, if we ever do. Not that we are not intelligent enough to understand, but a proper foundation simply has not been laid. Theirs is by far the easier way.
We spend our lives learning the things of God. Those difficult questions one by one become testimonies. A caution to those who willfully misrepresent us: They may do well to consider what Gamaliel said to his fellow Pharisees after they had arrested the Apostles:.
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And so, the problem is theirs, not ours. We know whom we worship and what we worship and in whose name. They may say we believe because we were brought up that way from our youth.
While true of many of us, it is not true of most. Two-thirds of us are converts who come by the waters of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. Each one in the Church, born in or converted, must acquire an individual testimony. While we must act peaceably, we need not submit to unfair accusations and unjustified opposition.
This does not feel good. What we are doing is not right. While we take the gospel of Christ to all people, we do not oppose other churches. If you meet someone who challenges our right to the title Christian, do not confront them. Teach them peaceably. The marvelous thing is that the Lord can manage the Church without a professional clergy. Some of us puzzle over why, of all things, we are said to be un-Christian. But that is our lot. The prophets have told us that opposition goes with the territory. It was ever thus. It is not an easy church to belong to.
The gospel requires dedication and sacrifice. It is not an easy church to administer. With the patterns of the priesthood as they are, men and women are called from every walk of life to teach and to lead and to serve. We have members with every level of gospel knowledge, leadership ability, talents, and testimony.
We learn to be patient with one another. Where freely the truth you may take. So, with the encouragement of the Spirit, we do the best we can and go peaceably on. Some years ago I was invited to speak to a group of faculty and students at Harvard University.
I, of course, hoped that the gospel message would be accepted and that our meeting would end in a harmony of views. As I prayed that this might result, there came to me a strong impression that this petition would not be granted.
"peaceable" in American English
I determined that, however preposterous the talk about angels and golden plates and restoration might be to my audience, I would teach the truth with quiet confidence, for I have a testimony of the truth. If some must come from the meeting unsettled and disturbed, it would not be me. Let them be disturbed, if they would. It was as the Spirit foretold. Some in the group shook their heads in amazement that anyone could believe such things.
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But I was at peace. I had taught the truth, and they could accept it or reject it as they pleased. As I grow older in age and experience, I grow ever less concerned over whether others agree with us. I grow ever more concerned that they understand us. If they do understand, they have their agency and can accept or reject the gospel as they please.
It is not an easy thing for us to defend the position that bothers so many others. But, brethren and sisters, never be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Never apologize for the sacred doctrines of the gospel. Never feel inadequate and unsettled because you cannot explain them to the satisfaction of all who might enquire of you.
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Do not be ill at ease or uncomfortable because you can give little more than your conviction. Be assured that, if you will explain what you know and testify of what you feel, you may plant a seed that will grow and blossom into a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He lives. He is our Redeemer and is our Savior. He presides over this Church. If you know how to be silent and to suffer, you shall without doubt see the help of the Lord. He Himself knows the time and the manner of your deliverance; and therefore it is your part to resign yourself into His hands. It belongs to God to help us and deliver us from all trouble.
Many a time it is of much advantage towards keeping us in greater humility that others know and rebuke our faults. When a man humbles himself for his faults then he readily pacifies others, and easily satisfies those who are angry with him. God protects the humble man and delivers him; the humble He loves and consoles; to the humble He inclines Himself; on the humble He bestows abundant grace; and, after he has been brought low, He raises him up to glory.
To the humble man He reveals His secrets, and sweetly draws and invites him to Himself. The humble man, though he suffers shame, remains in great peace; for he relies upon God and not upon the world. Never think that you have made any progress, unless you esteem yourself inferior to all. First keep yourself in peace, and then shall you be able to bring others to peace.
The peaceable man does more good than one that is very learned. The passionate man turns even good to evil, and readily believes evil. But the good peaceable man turns all things to good. He that is in perfect peace suspects no man. But he that is discontented and troubled is agitated by various suspicions; he neither has rest himself, nor suffers others to rest. Many a time he says what he ought no to say, and leaves undone what it were better for him to do. He considers what others ought to do, and neglects what he is bound to do himself.
Therefore, be zealous first of all regarding yourself, and then may you justly exercise zeal towards your neighbour also. You know well how to excuse and gloss over your own deeds, but you are not willing to accept the excuse of others. It were more just for you to accuse yourself and excuse your brother. If you wish to be borne with, bear also with others. A Christian Pilgrim.