A Revealing Talk
Every six months the LDS Church holds a General Conference where their leaders give talks. These talks are highly regarded; at times, even being equated with scripture. Over the past several years, however, these talks, for the most part, have become quite vanilla rarely touching on many classic LDS teachings.
One man who has frequently bucked this trend is Boyd K. Packer, who is next in line to become the living prophet. In this spring’s General Conference he did it again in a talk entitled, “The Plan of Happiness”. He didn’t say anything new. But he did espouse classic Mormonism – something rarely seen today in a public venue.
For example he quotes from the book of Abraham which is found in the Pearl of Great Price, the least known of LDS Scriptures. That’s rare in itself. But he goes further by quoting verses that clearly state that Mormonism teaches a plurality of gods. “The Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them. And the Gods said: We will bless them. And the Gods said: We will cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Abraham 4:27-28).
Not only does he refer to the plurality of gods, he also mentions the teaching that they can become gods. “Through the righteous exercise of this power, we may come close to our Father in Heaven, and experience a fulness of joy, even godhood!”
The reason I am pointing this out is because more and more people, both Mormons and non-Mormons alike, are denying that Mormonism still teaches these things. But here is a very prominent leader, in a very prominent setting, talking about these things in a way that assumes everybody is aware of them and agrees with them. This is striking proof that the plurality of gods and that people can attain godhood are not dusty doctrines in the LDS Church.
Those are the things that initially caught my eye. But then there was this statement: “the end of all activity in the Church is to see that a man and a woman with their children are happy at home, sealed for eternity.” Although, at first glance, this is not as striking as the above quotes, it is actually more revealing. It illustrates that Mormonism, in spite of all its protestations to the contrary, is not Christ-centered! While paying lip service to Jesus it is truly a man-centered religion. Regardless of the topic, whether it be “the end of all activity” or repentance, or determining a person’s worthiness or final destination, or what have you – regardless of what is being discussed everything in Mormonism ends up focusing on man and his effort and rewards.
That is apparent in most of the talks given at General Conference. Yes, Jesus is mentioned. But what is emphasized is what people must do. Packer, for example, lays great stress on the command to be fruitful and multiply. The talk previous to his is all about the importance of fasting. The talk immediately following is all about being worthy fathers and husbands. On and on it goes.
Once again this illustrates the importance of sharing with Mormons what Christ did for them. We need to tell them how Jesus kept all the laws perfectly for them. They need to see that Jesus paid for all their sins without his telling them that they have to repay him. They need to hear over and over that they can’t contribute to their salvation and that any attempt to contribute to it is an affront to Jesus.
In a couple of weeks dozens of people will be sharing this message door to door in Provo. Please pray that the Lord richly blesses their witness!