February 09, 2009

Quotes of General Church Authorities - Christ Keeping Nail Prints

My question is with regards to the resurrected body of the Savior. When he was resurrected, the prints of the nails were in his hands and in his feet. My question is why they were there. I remember hearing something from my mission president that because Christ willfully gave his life, He made the choice to be crucified, and because it was a personal choice, his resurected body would have the prints because He chose to let it happen. I am only interested in if there is a quote from one of the Brethren on this topic. Thanks.

This answer contains 2 parts. The first part considering the assumption of the question. The second part looking at an answer to the problem itself.

I appreciate the sincerity of your question. However it proposes that a concept should be accepted as fact if those in certain positions in the church believe it to be so: That they are always right by virtue of those positions. This proposes that God has some magic way to imbue all knowledge upon an individual at any time he chooses. (Solomon received wisdom by obedience, not magic - else we would have to believe God's proposed magic had problems, as Solomon went after false gods by the end). Either that or we would have to believe that God calls the most knowledgeable people to certain positions (who already have all the answers).

The Scriptures, current circumstances and church history don't support either of these ideas.

This refutes the Scripture that teaches in regard learning doctrine _

"For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little." Isa 28:10

God spoke to the boy Samuel when the President of the Priesthood ("The Prophet"), Eli, wasn't listening in regard his sons. He gave revelation to the prophetess Deborah because the President of the Priesthood wasn't listening. Lehi (the nobody) was spoken to by God, yet he was from Manasseh (through whom comes no priesthood). Jeremiah received revelation that the President of the Priesthood was not teaching. Jesus Christ was rejected and crucified at the request of the President of the Priesthood (who, incidentally, received revelation about him by virtue of his office Jn 11:51). The Apostle Judas betrayed Christ for money. Several Apostles in these latter days (as some propose that somehow things are now different) betrayed Joseph Smith. Some started their own churches. And the differences of opinions of some Presidents of the Priesthood, in these days, is well documented.

Differences of opinions of Presidents of the Priesthood and Apostles isn't new.

"For it has been declared to me of you, my brethren... that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you says, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptised in the name of Paul?" 1 Cor 1:11-13

In other words the teachings of these various Apostles and the President of the Priesthood (Cephas - Peter) were so different as to cause groups following the doctrines of each.

Harold B. Lee (when President of the Priesthood) made the following statement.

"If anyone, regardless of his position in the Church, were to advance a doctrine that is not substantiated by the standard Church works, meaning the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, you may know that his statement is merely his private opinion. The only one authorised to bring forth any new doctrine is the President of the Church, who, when he does, will declare it as revelation from God, and it will be so accepted by the Council of the Twelve and sustained by the body of the Church. And if any man speak a doctrine which contradicts what is in the standard Church works, you may know by that same token that it is false and you are not bound to accept it as truth." (The First Area General Conference for Germany, Austria, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and Spain of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held in Munich Germany, August 24-26, 1973, with Reports and Discourses, 69.)

The catch 22 of this statement of Harold B. Lee is that it can't be incorrect, as if it were that would make it correct of itself, as he was a prophet speaking in general conference.

This lays out that only the standard works are to be regarded as totally authoritative concepts. Any person can only present other ideas as his OPINION ONLY, "regardless of his position in the church." Only "the President of the Church" may present new doctrine, and then it MUST be sustained by all of the church, and then it will be placed within the standard works, and thus be Scripture also. Us sustaining him in his office DOESN'T mean we sustain all his opinions.

The special duty and office of an Apostle is to testify of the risen Christ.

The special duty and office of the President of the Priesthood (what we term "The Prophet") is to be there to receive any specific revelation, to the whole church, that God wishes to give in addition to that which he has already done. As we see evidence of in the 2 declarations given in the back of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Certainly it is part of their position to decide what must be taught as basic fundamentals. But these things must be laid out in Scripture also. They attempt to avoid including doctrinal opinions of their own as church doctrine.

The Scriptures set forth that it is your responsibility to obtain revelation from God in regard these questions. Reading the Scriptures definitely helps in our study. And this should be the main source of truth from man. Next would come hearing those things stated by GAs. Lastly would come the ideas of members where you are.

Some quote the following statement of Wilford Woodruff to support the idea that we can believe every word Presidents of the church teach _

"The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this church to lead you astray...." Manifesto 1:14

However Presidents of the church have taught different ideas on certain subjects. So, obviously, this statement shouldn't be taken to such an extreme. It must be remembered what he is speaking about in saying this. The occasion was that a concept of the gospel was being removed. Question arose as to his right to remove a gospel principle. He is defending this decision by stating that God wouldn't allow him to remove a gospel principle if it weren't the appropriate thing to do at the time.

This doesn't support the concept that all doctrinal ideas expressed by a President of the church are infallible. It only supports the concept it is written relative to (ie. that the President of the church won't add or remove principles contrary to the will of God).

Man is subject to error, regardless of his position in the church organisation. And that should never be forgotten. You MUST use the Spirit as your final source in these matters. The latter is continually emphasised in Scripture and by prophets and apostles in these latter-days.

"For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived--surely I say to you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day." D&C 45:57

Taking the Holy Spirit for your guide is imperative, not an optional extra.

The primary thing that you should achieve relative to knowledge is to walk and talk with the Father, and learn from him. To do this you must go through the Son. But along with these the Spirit is still required.

As to the concept that you have inquired about, I would first add my agreement to the opinion expressed by your mission president, that Christ is resurrected, and therefore needn't keep his holes. But he has chosen to keep them for us to identify him in further ways. Zech 13:6 and D&C 45:51-52 present that Christ will show these holes at his second coming. He proved who he was by showing them to the Nephites when he visited the Americas.

To further quote the Standard Works of the church in regard this issue _ I'm sure you would be familiar with Doubting Thomas: The Apostle who had to see Christ resurrected himself, to believe. Note what they say in regard him _

"The other disciples therefore said to him, We have seen the Lord. But he said to them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe." John 20:25

So it was important to Thomas that Christ still had this demonstration that he was indeed the crucified Christ. Therefore it isn't hard to accept that others would feel the same way: It is a sign of proof.

Having stated (hopefully clearly) the importance of using the Holy Ghost in regard any opinion you hear I would present the following quote by the Apostle Hugh B. Brown:

"All the people were invited to come forward and feel the prints of the nails in His hands and feet and the wounds of the sword in His side so that they would know that He was the promised Savior who had been slain for the world." (Gospel Library > Magazines > Friend > April 1972) [Thanks for this quote Michelle :-) ]


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