Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Share what you "know"

It is hard to strike a balance in this world. It seems that we, as humans, are much more likely to take an extreme position on any issue, and that the truth tends to be somewhere in the middle.

Preaching is no exception. There are those who share too much, and those who don't share enough.

I've been asked why I share what I do.

The Lord said:

24 Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do. Behold ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed.

25 And ye see that I have commanded that none of you should go away, but rather have commanded that ye should come unto me, that ye might feel and see; even so shall ye do unto the world; and whosoever breaketh this commandment suffereth himself to be led into temptation. (3 Nephi 18)

There are many laws governing what to share and when. Here are some:

What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. (Matthew 10:27)

Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—(Mosiah 18:19)

...teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. (Ezekiel 44:23)

When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. (Ezekiel 3:18)

Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor. (D&C 88:1)

I would MUCH prefer if someone else was already sharing the things that I share. If that were the case, I would regain a lot of time, a lot of sleep, make more money, and avoid a lot of attention, almost all of which is negative. I only ever share those things that I believe that have not been shared (for example, what you will find in "The Glory of God is Intelligence") or things that have not been shared in as effective a way as I think I can present them. My books "Seek Ye This Jesus" and "Teaching for Doctrines" are examples of this. To get to what is concentrated in those books, you would have to read two or more dozen books and filter out all the garbage, and no one I know is willing to invest the time to do that. 

My goal in everything spiritual that I do is to make faith more accessible, so that people can grow closer to Christ than they otherwise could. How I do that is by working out my own salvation, by learning more about God and implementing what I learn in my own life.

I'm not sure the Lord has ever revealed anything to me that I wasn't seeking for my own personal growth. Yet, he has made it very clear on multiple occasions that one reason he shares what he does is so that I will share it with others. There have been multiple times when I told him I didn't want to share something, because I knew it would cause strife/persecution, and he said if I didn't share it he would stop revealing things to me.

When it comes to deciding what to share, for me the question is really how to share things. I don't really choose not to share things, but I often choose to wait until I understand more on something, or until I understand a better way of explaining it. I have hundreds of blog posts in draft, several books partially written, and hundreds of slides made that I have not released, and may never release. I only release things when I sincerely believe they will help someone in some way. Often, the trigger event is seeing a question or comment from someone else. I inquire of the Lord, and he tells me things that round out what I had previously written/prayed about/thought about/studied about, and I finish the material and publish it.

Should you share things? Or do you share too much already?

On the one hand, God told Oliver Cowdery:

Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men. (D&C 11:21)

It is very good to conduct a periodic assessment of what you have already obtained from God and what you yet lack.

But if you look, you may find that you do indeed already possess a great deal of God's word, particularly on subjects that may seem elementary to you, but are the burning questions of some other person.

God taught Abraham that whenever there are two people, one has more light than another. There is a 1 in 7 billion chance that you have less light than anyone on this earth, but there is also a 1 in 7 billion chance that you have more light than anyone on this earth. It is more likely that you are somewhere in the middle. Even if you are average, you have more light than about 3.5 billion people. What are you doing to share what God has given you?

I think a good rule of thumb in governing what you should share is whether you are ready:

1) To be criticized. Criticism can be hard to bear, but it is also usually good. If you are right, criticism gives you an opportunity to patiently persuade others. If you are wrong, criticism gets you to a better place.

2) To change your mind. There are good odds that someone out there knows more than you on this topic. Are you open to expanding and/or changing your position? If not, maybe it is better for you to keep it to yourself.

If you are ready to do these two things, I highly encourage you to share more than you currently do. One thing I want to draw your attention to is Reddit. I am amazed at how many sincere people ask religious questions on Reddit. I've looked at the Mormon boards, and they are pretty sad. But I see a lot of faithful people seeking for questions on the Christianity board, and the laborers are few. You will find that you already possess answers to many of these questions.

Here is what I encourage you to do: Set a time that you will hit the internet every week. Google gospel questions, such as "why do good things happen to bad people," or "what is the purpose of life," or whatever you feel inspired to search for. Look for message boards. Pray, study, and write out a well constructed response. Save your response to your computer, and post it on the board. Every once in a while, google the same question again, reread your previous answer, revise if needed to reflect further learning, and post again.

In doing this, you may help some brother or sister draw closer to Christ than they could have if it weren't for your intervention. Because you are willing to share what he teaches you, God will teach you more.

You may find several sources to be helpful in your construction of rational arguments in favor of what God has taught you. First, of course, is scripture. Second, you may find the material of others helpful. Here, however, I want to caution you.

In order to teach by the spirit, you must teach from your spirit, or the spirit of God within you. Simply reciting what someone else has said may help, but it is far, far better to teach things according to your own understanding. If you are using others writings properly, you will chop them up, test them, and filter them. When properly processed, your light will expand and grow, and stand on its own (meaning as a direct link between you and God with no middleman). If I had one wish, it would be that no one would ever quote me. I love nothing more than to hear someone say something and know that the ancestor of that thought was something I said. What is even better is if they don't even realize that their position was first my position.

I openly invite you to spiritually plagiarize from me. If I make a good point, absorb it and make it your point, then delete the original file. If I make a point that your light has already superseded, than I congratulate you on your progress, and beg you to help me lift my vision to where yours already rests.

Go share what you know!