Thursday, March 16, 2017

Doctrine of Christ Conference vs Religion

Nobody reading my blog will be unaware of the Doctrine of Christ Conference being held this weekend, March 18-19, in St. George, Utah. My posting here, therefore, is superfluous. I am going and, of course, you are invited to come with me.

All the information you need is here.

Why this conference?

For me, it is, primarily, an opportunity to fellowship and worship with like-minded (and like-hearted) individuals who have come to understand several truths. (These people are, in fact, now my "church".) The truths they embrace, for the most part, include the following:

Religious organizations can't "save" us. They can have a powerful effect on us. They can guide, support and discipline us. (And, thus, preserve us from a host of evils in countless ways.) 

But no religion, by itself, has power over life and death, the cosmos, etc. Such knowledge and power we ascribe only to God. Religion -- any religion -- isn't God. No book is God. No prophet is God. Only God is God. 

And only God has power to raise us from the dead. 

Those who attend this conference recognize that Jesus Christ, the Son of God -- or the only perfect manifestation of God the Father in the flesh in this world -- is, in fact, God to us. By His merits, following His Father's footsteps, Jesus, the Creator of all created things in this world, has fulfilled His foreordained mission and become our Savior, our Lord, our King and, by adoption, our Eternal Father. 

I don't look to anyone else but Jesus Christ for my salvation and perfection. Because He lives (having gained power over death and hell), I expect to receive from Him (and Him alone) the power of eternal lives: to rise once again in mortality (or in physical form) to live and move and have being. I expect to be with Him again, someday -- for I have followed Him thus far -- and I wish to receive from Him that promise that our association will continue forever.

Those who attend this conference understand that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. More importantly, they believe the words of another today who claims to know Him personally: that Jesus said "I am the way, the record of the truth, and the means for eternal lives, worlds without end: no man comes to the Throne of the Father without me. If you follow me, you will come to the Father’s Throne through me and will thereafter be like him forever." (Testimony of St. John the Beloved)

I believe this.

In this world I want to interact with Jesus in the tabernacle of my spirit (in my "quickened" flesh) to be instructed, directed and inspired by Him: to serve Him, obey Him, follow Him and do His bidding. (Principally that involves serving others.) I do not expect to see or find Him, however, in the desert at this conference. (Though Jesus said His advent to the world would be universally recognized -- and not some "hidden" or "secret" affair -- that would not preclude Him from meeting with us this weekend, if He so chose to do.)

Nevertheless, I lack sufficient faith that Jesus intends to interact with me now. I am filled with self-doubts and disbelief. I am weighed down and dismayed by my own personal circumstances, judging myself to be unfit. I hardly know what to do with myself now.

Like Laman and Lemuel, I am inclined to exclaim: "The Lord maketh no such thing known unto" me! (See 1 Nephi 15:9.) More than one (inspired) person has indicated to me that, when this happens, when communication with heaven is placed on "hold", it's because we've stopped listening. We don't want to hear what heaven has to say.

I confess, hearkening to God lately hasn't been all that pleasant! I'm sure Abinadi wasn't "tickled pink" by the flames (in any pleasant sense) after he obeyed God's command to preach to king Noah and his court about repentance and faith in Christ. Following God has brought me enormous grief of late! (But that's what I asked for: an experience that would bring me closer to Christ.)

I acknowledge this grief, but I also recall that every lasting joy I have ever experienced has likewise come from knowing, serving and obeying Him. 

Perhaps if someone like Joseph Smith took me by the hand, as it were, and said to me: "Come! Let us go up and meet the Lord together!" I would be inspired. (That's what Joseph did with each of the Three Witnesses, introducing them to the heavenly keeper of the golden plates.) I have interacted with Jesus (by the power of His Holy Spirit) in the past. I therefore have full confidence (and recollection) that He is real and divine (though I have not handled Him in the flesh). A lot of water has passed "under the bridge" since then and I have "gone back to fishing," as it were, in many ways. (That's where "religion" helps keep us on the "straight and narrow", as it were...even when that "straight and narrow" is heading in the wrong direction! Most religions, if not all, are now heading in the wrong direction. Thus practicing any "religion" can be damning.)

The Denver Snuffer-produced, Testimony of St. John the Beloved "going back to fishing" account of Peter and his brethren (correlating with KJV John 21) portrays not "backpedaling" but something else entirely: Peter and his brethren are ushered into the presence of God and partake of heavenly things. Subsequent translators of John's record no doubt misunderstood these things, having never experienced them for themselves, and therefore altered the record to make it something more "palatable". As in the game of "telephone", this account has become what we have today, something quaint and charming and instructive -- worthy of any General Conference talk -- but infinitely less than what the record once suggested.

At this conference, I hope to mingle with and hear from those who have seen and spoken with Christ themselves. I hope to be reinvigorated with hope in Him once again. (That is the major purpose of Christian fellowship: to strengthen believers and to convict the unbelieving and disbelieving by the bearing of pure testimony.) 

The goal of the Christian priest ought not be merely to preach of Christ -- thus interjecting himself between us and Deity -- but rather to inspire us to come unto Christ ourselves. (Then to get himself out of the way!) 

Those I know of who claim to have met and currently interact with Christ do just that: they seek not to be followed, but urge all to come unto and follow Christ. THIS IS ONE MARK OF A TRUE MESSENGER. Those who build up churches to themselves, called after their own names, or who cannot testify of meeting, knowing and being saved by Christ personally (or of otherwise experiencing the powers of heaven) are universally witting or unwitting frauds. Except in the most indigent of circumstances, a minister for Christ ought to receive his "wages" from Christ and not from those he ministers to. (Those "wages" will be paid in the form of "treasures in heaven".)

That's about it. This conference will be a weekend of renewal and reflection for me, a chance to "meet and greet" with many, to form new friendships and to rekindle old ones. I hope to strengthen and be strengthened by my brothers and sisters in Christ. I may even bring a change of clothing. (In case I feel the urge to be re-baptized!)

It's a conference for those who wish to come unto Christ, to receive the doctrine of Christ, which is, namely, to believe Christ; to repent of all sin; to be baptized by water and His Spirit; to be cleansed and tutored by Him; to walk in a newness of life leading to eternal life (or lives, as the case may be). 

If I persist in following Jesus Christ, I have faith that He will "awaken" me not just to the possibilities of this life or to an understanding of who I am and who He is, but to receive the promise from Him, steadfast and unmoveable, that He will raise me up again at the Last Day, to live with Him, worlds without end, eventually to receive of His fulness and His glory, even as He received of His Father. 

I want to be with, be like and be even as Christ is. Huge shoes to fill, I know! Who can fill them? 

Only God.

I cannot be Christ in this life. (That's not my calling.) But I can be as Christ. I can be one who keeps the Father's commandments, who seeks to do his Father's will, who begins to call upon God to do His work and to be His hand. That's my goal. 

We must not lose sight of that. Anything less is mere religion. And religions don't "save" anyone.

No much anyway.

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