There is only one issue in the Bloggernacle and all other things are only appendages to it.

Jeff Spector Bloggernacle, christ, christianity, church, Culture, doctrine, faith, Jesus, LDS, Mormon, Mormons, prophets, restoration, testimony, theology 22 Comments

“The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other christthings which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”  Joseph Smith —DHC 3:28-30

If Joseph Smith is, correct in his assertion that the fundamental principles of the Church are the testimonies and knowledge concerning Jesus Christ, His Life, His Mission, His Teachings, His Example and His Atonement and that ALL other things are only appendages, then it seems clear on what we should focus ourselves and our families — The Savior Jesus Christ.

Those testimonies are found in the scriptures, in the words of our modern day prophets and apostles, in the answers to our prayers and in the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

But, especially in the Bloggernacle, Jesus Christ and His Atonement seem to be the last thing anyone wants to discuss and consider.  We are much more interested in the appendages.

Appendages are important.

On our physical bodies, they play an important role.  Most of us wouldn’t want to live without them.  But, we can live without them and many do.

How neglectful have we become about the fundamental principles of our religion (never mind being LDS, how about just being a Christian?), that some, being so focused on the appendages, have lost the fundamental principles.  Or they have stopped hearing the testimonies of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ.

So, is/was Joseph correct about the fundamental principles of our religion?  Or have the appendages, at least as far as the Bloggernacle is concerned,  overwhelmed the message of the Restoration and of Jesus?

Comments

comments

Comments 22

  1. Yeah, but Jesus was all “feed the poor” and “love your neighbor”. Shouldn’t we focus our time and money on making sure gays don’t get married or that women raped by their fathers still give birth?

  2. BewareTheChicken, I hope you realize that even though you spend a great deal of time writing on homosexuality, even though the church was involved in Prop. 8, overall it spends very little time focusing on it. I thinking it is all to common for people to think the church revolves around the one issue they are focused on instead of looking at the overall picture.

  3. @Jeff
    Thanks for a great reminder of the most important parts of religion. I actually think the church as a whole is a bit light on worshiping the Savior. It has gotten better in recent years, but even so we’re pretty busy discussing tithing, prayer, obedience, fasting, prop 8, obedience, Joseph Smith, Church history, obedience, prophets, etc. I, for one, would welcome more discussion about the Savior and His teachings, and a whole lot less discussion about the other stuff.

  4. Well, like any conversation, there are moments of deep profundity, and moments of pure silliness and I think there is room for both.

    I can say that from my own personal experience, the Bloggernacle has been absolutely invaluable to me over the last six months or so. There have been so many posts and comments that have deepened my understanding, uplifted my heart, and caused me to draw nearer to Christ. It has been edifying and strengthening.

    At the same time, I enjoy reading the odd silly thread, and seeing people rejoice in each other’s company. We are mortal, and do require recreation and refreshment at times, and sometimes, it is more of a ward party here than a sacrament meeting.

    Also, I think it is important to remember that each blog has its own unique flavor. Some are more theological, some are more academic, some are more historical, some are more how-to guides for those of us in the trenches. I value that diversity, because whatever help I am in need of, I can usually find something of benefit somewhere.

    So, to answer your questions, Jeff, I absolutely agree with Joseph Smith about the centrality of Jesus Christ. He is the single, essential figure. He is the the only way back to our Father in Heaven, and He is the only source of our salvation. He is the gospel, and everything else is subordinate to Him.

    Secondly, is there a good balance between the sacred and the profane on the Bloggernacle? I think that it varies over time. Sometimes it is better, sometimes it is worse. (Wishy washy, I know.)

    You raise some really important ideas in your post, Jeff. It is very well worth being reminded of the central importance of the Savior, and keeping Him in our minds as we comment and post, whether we are discussing His life and teachings, or working out the logistic details of some of the appendages. Thank you for your thoughts!

  5. #6–“At NewCoolThang.com it seems like we spend at least half our time on the Atonement.”–How you do that (half our time) I have no idea, but more power to you.

    #5-“it is all to common for people to think the church revolves around the one issue they are focused on instead of looking at the overall picture.” That is certainly me.

    I don’t feel a need to go to church on the internet. I find the internet a place to discuss the issues that have caused me concern for years, yet have gone largely unaddressed because there is no place to have an full discussion (i.e. many participants, many different ideas) without fear(?) of any personal ramifications. I love the different perspectives on the “alternate” issues. I think I landed here because of the variations of opinions found.

    Reading the other day, I saw where the church is researching a blog of its own. I don’t see how this is possible. The church would have to increase tithing to 11% to fully staff that website with censors.

  6. I thank you for reminding me of that Joseph Smith quote, as it brings me perhaps a bit closer to resolving what I have taken to calling the Christianity Paradox. Namely, that Christianity points to Jesus, but seemingly to a Jesus of its own choosing.

    It’s curious that Joseph said, not that “the fundamental principles of our religion are those taught by Jesus”, but rather that “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ”. To me this traces right to the founding root of our religion the idea that our Christianity is founded on hearkening to the Apostles and Prophets rather than on hearkening to Jesus.

  7. Amen Jeff! And I agree also with jmb that often our church in practice is a bit light on this most important area.

    I’m going to re-work a talk I gave a while back about why I believe in Christ and maybe I’ll post it.

    @Tom Haws – Interesting, although imho there is no religion (despite the claims of the fundamentalist Christian types) that hearkens directly to Jesus. They may argue with me on that, but put two of them together and they’ll be arguing whose Jesus is the real thing.

  8. Tom Haws #11,

    “It’s curious that Joseph said, not that “the fundamental principles of our religion are those taught by Jesus”, but rather that “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ”.”

    Not really, the knowledge of Jesus comes primarily from the Scriptures, the Gospels, The Epistles and the Latter day scriptures. Since these documents are not histories, are they not Testimonies? I think that is the context of the quote.

    Holden #10,

    “I don’t feel a need to go to church on the Internet. …. I love the different perspectives on the “alternate” issues. I think I landed here because of the variations of opinions found.”

    I like your comment about not going to church on the Internet. I think that is true. And I, too enjoy the discussions. However, I also see the Bloggernacle as vehicle for feeding and enlarging the appendages and ignoring the main fundamental principles until the the fundamentals are lost.

  9. Pingback: Hindus and Mormons: What does it mean to reject creeds? « Irresistible (Dis)Grace

  10. Jeff Spector #13,

    True. It would have been nice if he had said something Joseph-Smith-esque like “those principles taught by Jesus Christ as testified in the Gospels.”

  11. Tom,

    When I was thinking about the post, I remembered the quote more along the lines that you stated. It was only after I re-read it that I found the “testimony” part.

  12. I think Tom’s point still raises a relevant issue. After all, it is easy to just dismiss a lot of the minutia that takes place on the bloggernacle as “missing the Mark”, yet the the qualifier is Jesus Christ appended to the Apostles and Prophets. Given the Prophet status of Joseph Smith, I am not sure his comment was intended to be limited to the authors of the standard works. If the fundamental issue is Jesus Christ, then as a Church and people we do too little teaching about him, his life, and works, as taught in the Scriptures. If the message is Jesus, as taught by the Prophets and the Apostles, then fundamental to that are the discussions of who are the true Prophets and Apostles. Most of what I observe in conversation on the bloggernacle is centered around this very question, was Joseph Smith a Prophet or not. In other words, that is the central question, as by virtue of the JS comment, understanding the Prophets is central to understanding The Savior. So I would argue that much of what takes place on the bloggernacle (not all) is tied directly to that fundamental question.

  13. Cowboy,

    Whether Joseph was a Prophet is absolutely a relevent issue for the B’nacle. As THE prophet of this dispensation, he is the focal point for additional revelation. The Prophets who follow basically add their testimont to his. But if we are going to scrintize Joseph with a fine tooth comb, it is just as legitimate to hold All Prophets and Apostles, living and dead to a similar standard.

  14. “it is just as legitimate to hold All Prophets and Apostles, living and dead to a similar standard” Bloggernacle = religious autopsy (???)

  15. Jeff–

    Important and timely post that says it like it is. I’ve been reading the Book of Mormon and writing my feelings about key verses in a notebook. The verses in 3rd Nephi about the Gentiles are worrisome. It may well be that we are living in the day when we are seeing the unfolding of there fulfillment. The following verses talk about the Gentiles sinning against “my gospel”, and rejecting the fulness. Then in verse 13 it refers to the Gentiles repenting and returning unto the Savior.

    For a long time I assumed this was referring to the Gentile nations as a whole, but I wonder if it means more. Could it mean the Gentile church of the last days, the Mormon church–us?

    Could the membership of the church at some point essentially reject the fulness of the gospel to the extent the Lord will bring the fulness from among us? It happened in the Book of Mormon church, and I wonder if it will happen to us, in the days before the coming of Christ.

    10 And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.

    13 But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.

    3 Nephi 16:10,13

    Note: As I was reading through 3rd Nephi I came across a post at the following link that discussed these issues and also had a recording of Robert Millet and others talking about these verses. For those interested it is worth checking out.

    Once there use Ctrl F to search for “Millet”. Within a few words of his name click highlighted “here” to access the link.

    http://2k12.net/

    Thanks again for your faithful contributions to the Bloggernacle.

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