Where as ldssdc.info is no longer available, I’m reposting this to keep the information available.
The Standard of Truth Part 1
What is Truth…and what does it have to do with wholesome family and social nudity?
By Michael S. Ai, Southern California
In the beginning God said: “Let there be light.”
What is light?
All throughout the scriptures we’re taught about light. Through diligent study we learn that “light is life” and “darkness is death.”
In D&C 50:23, 24, we read:
“And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness. That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”
In John 1:5-7, we read:
“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
So, again, what is light?
According the D&C 84:45, we read:
“For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”
Light, then, is Truth.
If we replace the word “light” with “truth” in the scriptures above, we create statements like, “…God is truth; and he that receiveth truth, and continueth in God, receiveth more truth; and that truth growth brighter and brighter until the perfect day”; and “…if we walk in the truth, as he is in the truth, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
That brings us to this question: What is Truth?
D&C 93:24, 25 gives us the answer:
“And truth is knowledge of things as they are, as they were, and as they are to come; And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of the wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.”
So, Truth is “the way things really are.” Further, “whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of the wicked one…” Therefore, error is the spirit of the wicked one.
Accordingly, Truth is light, and error is darkness.
The critical thing to understand is that because Truth is “the way things really are,” Truth never changes: It is the same regardless of time, culture, circumstance, opinion, belief, convenience, understanding, or desire.
Consider these words in Morm 9:9:
“For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?”
If John refers to “God” as “light” and “light equals truth,” could we not replace “God” with “Truth” in the above verse to make it read, “For do we not read that Truth is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in Truth there is no variableness neither shadow of changing”?
Further, would not Truth have to be unchangeable for us to be able to put our confidence in it?
Consequently, if any true exception can be found for a concept, that concept cannot be Truth. Additionally, anything that changes based on time, culture, circumstance, etc., is likewise not Truth.
Therefore, in order for anything to be true, it must meet The Standard of Truth. In other words, it can never change. It must be the same yesterday, today, and forever. It can never change regardless of time, culture, circumstance, desire, belief, etc. It must be true for all people and not just some people.
With this Standard of Truth, we can measure the Truth of any concept.
So, while our understanding of Truth is constantly changing, Truth Itself is never changing. It’s “what is” past, present, and future and through all generations of time.
Therefore, the foundation of God is Truth. All that God does is based in Truth.
In fact, God became God because He centered Himself in Truth, as did Christ. Christ showed us the way to become Gods.
He declared in John 8:12:
“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
He also declared in John 14:6:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.”
Christ represents “The Way” back to the fullness of the Father; and that Way is the way of Truth.
Thus, Truth becomes the Standard of God, for anything that is “more or less than this the spirit of the wicked one.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded on the Standard of Truth. Carefully consider these statements by early church prophets:
“I will trade all the errors in the world for one truth.” — Brigham Young
“If any man has truth that we have not, we say, ‘Let us have it.’ I am willing to exchange all the errors and false notions I have for one truth, and should consider that I have made a good bargain. We are not afraid of light and truth. Our religion embraces every truth in heaven, earth or hell; it embraces all truth…” — Wilford Woodruff
“We are after the truth. We commenced searching for it, and we are constantly in search of it, and so fast as we find any true principle revealed by man, by God, or by holy angels, we embrace it and make it part of our religious creed.” — John Taylor
Now, carefully consider the following verses in D&C 93:
V36, 37, 39
“The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. Light and truth forsake that evil one…And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.”
If we are to receive the fullness of God to become Gods ourselves, to “commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father and Jesus Christ,” then we must make Truth our standard as well.
Consider these words by John A. Widtsoe:
“Truth becomes priceless only to those whose strong desire and earnest effort have given the right to claim it…The search for truth must become the most vital issue of human life.”
If we allow ourselves to accept error in any of its many variations, then we begin to lose light, and we move ourselves away from the Father, not towards Him.
In v39 above, we learn that we lose light in two ways:
- Through disobedience
- Because of the traditions of [our] fathers
Let’s first look at “disobedience.”
In D&C 84:44-47, we read:
“For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God. For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ. And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit. And every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father.”
In its deepest meaning “obedience” means to receive and follow the direction given by the Spirit within us. That direction is truth and light.
Rejecting it by ignoring it becomes “disobedience.”
Accordingly, we lose light when we reject the Spirit.
This is why, when we pray for understanding, we must pray with sincerity and “real intent,” which means that we will accept and live whatever God reveals to us.
If we truly desire to receive the fullness of the Father, we must erase that line that says: “I will go only this far and no more.”
Many members of the Church have turned away because they weren’t willing to accept what God revealed.
Where do you stand? What’s your commitment to understanding and living Truth?
Can you say as the Prophet John Taylor said:
“If there is any truth in heaven, earth, or hell, I want to embrace it, I care not what shape it comes to me, who brings it, or who believes in it, whether it is popular or unpopular. Truth, eternal truth, I wish to float in and enjoy”?
If we can’t honestly say this, we become disobedient because we’re willing to accept error.
Consider these words in D&C 93:31, 32:
“Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light. And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation.”
Now, let’s look at “the traditions of our fathers.”
“Tradition” is defined as “the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, esp. by word of mouth or by practice.”
How can we lose light through “the traditions of [our] fathers”?
Simple: If those traditions are based in error, we lose light, as it’s the only way we can lose light.
That brings us to this question: Why would [our] fathers pass down “statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc.” if they were based in error?
Again, the answer is simple: They didn’t know.
They didn’t know because the source of the “beliefs, legends, customs, etc.” is our “fathers,” and who has more credibility than our own fathers? Almost no one.
Therefore, they believed what they were taught and taught it to their children, who believed what they were taught and taught it their children, and on and on.
No one questioned the “beliefs, legends, customs, etc.” because they trusted the source.
However, if these “traditions” are based in error, then they lead us away from the light and toward darkness.
This is why D&C 93:39 is followed by this statement in v40:
“But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.”
Now, consider the Prophet Joseph’s statement about traditions:
“There has been great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation. It has been like splitting hemlock knots with a corn-dodger [a piece of corn bread] for a wedge, and a pumpkin for a beetle [a wooden mallet]. Even the Saints are slow to understand. I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions: they cannot stand the fire at all.”
To what unexamined traditions do you cling?
Can we afford to accept anything that we’ve been taught as Truth without examining it?
In fact, if we do so, we’re ignoring this statement in D&C 46:7:
“But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others are of devils.”
First, we’re commanded in ALL things to ask of God.
Second, we’re instructed to do what the Spirit testifies to us to do.
Third, we’re instructed to do these things so we won’t be deceived, because some commandments are of men and some are of devils.
What’s the difference between a “commandment of men” and a “commandment of devils”?
It seems to me that a “commandment of devils” is purposefully designed to deceive and lead astray, whereas a “commandment of men” is simply an error with no purpose of deceiving.
Would not “the traditions of [our] fathers” be considered “commandments of men” because they are unintentional errors?
So, we’re commanded to ask God in all things—including the traditions of [our] fathers—that we may not be deceived, that we may understand the Truth.
Again, we cannot allow ourselves to leave any teaching, any concept, or any doctrine that we’ve been taught—whether by the Church, by our parents, by anyone—unexamined, for if we do, we run the risk of accepting error and putting ourselves in opposition to God.
That brings us to this question: Is the concept of wholesome family and social nudity in error?
If you answered, “yes,” I would then ask you this question: On what do you base your answer?
If you begin citing things like, modesty, sacredness of the body, temple covenants, etc., then I would ask this question: Do all of your arguments meet the Standard of Truth?
I would follow that question with this one: Is it possible that the current prevailing beliefs (both in and out of the Church) about modesty, sacredness of the body, etc., are based on the “traditions of [our] fathers”?
How thoroughly have you examined these concepts? How diligently have you pondered them? How sincerely have you prayed about them?
In coming posts I will examine each of these arguments, and more, to see how well they meet the Standard of Truth.
As I end this post, I caution you: If you are currently believing that wholesome family and social nudity is wrong (read: in error) and if you choose to go on this journey of exploration with me, beware: The day will come when you will be have to stare this issue square in the face and you will have to make a decision, a decision that has eternal ramifications.
This decision is what to think about your body. Your body is the vehicle of experience throughout your existence. How you think about your body and how you treat your body will determine how far you can progress. Why?
Because if we have misconceptions and false beliefs about our bodies, we’ll never be able to reach an understanding of who we really are; and without that understanding, we’ll never be able to comprehend God, for as Joseph declared, as quoted in Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith:
“If a man learns nothing more than to eat, drink and sleep, and does not comprehend any of the designs of God, the beast comprehends the same things. It eats, drinks, sleeps, and knows nothing more about God; yet it knows as much as we, unless we are able to comprehend by the inspiration of Almighty God. If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves.”
The consequence of not knowing God is that we’ll be locked out of the presence of God forever, as we are now, until we can come to that understanding, for eternal life is gained through possessing the knowledge of God, or in other words, comprehending God.
Now, Alan, Kathy, and many, many other devout LDS members had the courage to honestly, sincerely, humbly, and diligently seek to understand the Truth regarding wholesome family and social nudity rather than just accepting the traditions of our fathers regarding this issue.
In fact, let me test your commitment to Truth—and to God—right now:
If God Himself were to come down and tell you directly that wholesome family and social nudity is a good, true, and wonderful principle, would you accept and live it?
If the answer is “no,” then I suggest that you leave this site now and never come back. I would also suggest that you seriously consider the covenant you made at baptism and what it really means.
On the other hand, if your answer is, “yes,” then I believe you’re prepared to continue on this journey.