Move Forward with Faith

“Chapter 25: Move Forward with Faith,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Gordon B. Hinckley (2016)

During 2017, LDS members will be studying the latest manual published by their church, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Gordon B. Hinckley. We will evaluate this book regularly, chapter by chapter, by showing interesting quotes and providing an Evangelical Christian take on this manual. The quotes from Hinckley are in bold, with my comments following. If you would like to see the church manual online, go here. Latter-day Saints study this material on the second and third Sundays of each month (thus, chapters 1-2 are January, chapter 3-4 are February, etc.)

Note: With the exception of the manuals dedicated to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, every other “Teachings of Presidents of the Church” contains 24 chapters (2 chapters per month). This one has 25 chapters, one that I am guessing will be scheduled for the 5th Sunday of the month (Dec. 31). This is the last in the manual series. For 2018, the LDS Church has announced that the congregations will be studying a variety of general conference addresses given at the previous conference.

Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley

Faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ can become the wellspring of purposeful living.

If there is any one thing that you and I need, to help us find success and fulfillment in this world, it is faith—that dynamic, powerful, marvelous element by which, as Paul declared, the very worlds were framed (see Hebrews 11:3). I refer not to some ethereal concept but to a practical, pragmatic, working faith—the kind of faith that moves us to get on our knees and plead with the Lord for guidance, and then, having a measure of divine confidence, get on our feet and go to work to help bring the desired results to pass. Such faith is an asset beyond compare. Such faith is, when all is said and done, our only genuine and lasting hope.

… Faith can become the very wellspring of purposeful living. There is no more compelling motivation to worthwhile endeavor than the knowledge that we are children of God, that God expects us to do something with our lives, and that He will give us help when help is sought. …

… When I discuss faith, I do not mean it in an abstract sense. I mean it as a living, vital force that comes with recognition of God as our Father and Jesus Christ as our Savior. …

… Faith in a Divine Being, in the Almighty, is the great moving power that can change our lives.

According to Hebrews 1:1-3, it says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” Verse 6 adds, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

The whole passage is about those men and women of faith who had many good works to back up what their faith. It wasn’t about empty words. This list is incredible, actually. The deeds of these Old Testament saints came as a result of their faith, but there is no doubt that it was their faith that saved.

Christians believe in faith. So do Mormons. The question must be asked, “Faith in what?” Christians have faith that:

  • There is a God that has always been God
  • Jesus—the Logos—became flesh and dwelt among us, dying on the cross (the Atonement) and rising bodily from the dead
  • The Bible is God’s Word for all humanity
  • Salvation comes by grace through faith and is not a result of what the Christian was able to do through good works
  • Heaven and hell exist as the final states

We cannot empirically prove these points. They must be taken on faith. But we have evidence that leads us to the conclusion these things are true. It is a reasonable faith. It’s not blind or unreasonable.

On the other hand, Mormons also have to have faith that:

  • There is a God (Elohim or Heavenly Father) who has a body of flesh and bones and was once a human living in his human world
  • Jesus is a god (but not “God”) who paid for sins mainly at Gethsemane (Atonement) who then died on the cross and rose bodily from the dead
  • The Bible is God’s Word for all humanity (as far as it is translated correctly), though there are other scriptures (Standard Works) that are considered to be more authoritative
  • Salvation (exaltation) comes through a lifetime of good works and is given to those who are obedient
  • Three kingdoms of glory exist where everyone will go, while Satan and the demons go to Outer Darkness–but, realistically, there is no eternal hell

You can see the differences. They are enough to make a difference. Somebody has got to be wrong. The Christian has biblical revelation to say what he or she believes is true. The Mormon has “latter-day revelation” to support the ideas of Mormonism, though the Bible is contrary to the essential teachings of Mormonism.

For more on this, see  10 reasons why Mormonism should not be considered the same as Christianity Another article to consider is Facts, Feelings, Faith

The gospel is good news. It is a message of triumph. It is a cause to be embraced with enthusiasm. …

Indeed, the Gospel does mean Good News. But is Mormonism Good News? I maintain it is not. I encourage you to read this article if you would like more information on what I am talking about. What is so amazing about the Mormon version of Grace?

It has been my pleasure to have reviewed these manuals since 2012. The LDS Church is now going to have the local leaders choose General Conference messages to study during the second and third Sundays. Using this format, look for a new series to begin in 2018.

To read other reviews of the Gordon B. Hinckley manual, click here.