We’re Still Listening

I’m a believer in the Restoration. I do not subscribe to a conservative story that Joseph Smith Jr. restored an ancient church, but I’m a believer that many blessings, customs, and ordinances of the past were “restored.”

joseph-smith-first-visionI often find myself in dialogue with other believers of the Restoration; I listen intently to what they believe is the most significant blessing of the restoration. (Please feel free to share below what you believe is the most significant blessing) I enjoy the dialogue because to me the Restoration is a journey not an event. The principles of the Restoration are the same, but our understanding of those principles is ever changing.

Following the death of the apostles, there was a movement to canonize the apostolic writings. Many of the writings out there were not apostolic in origin, but drew upon the inspiration of their ministry. For centuries, debate and discussion took place on what should be considered scripture and what shouldn’t.  By the end of the 16th Century, most Christian communities had canonized their scriptures and closed their canons.

Essentially, the Christian world had found their scripture and believed that no further dialogue was needed.

The Restoration changed this thinking. The early church adopted the concept that God has revealed in the past and he has more to reveal. The coming forth of the Book of Mormon was significant. Not just because of the witness that it bore, but because it helped prepare the early saints for the coming of additional scripture.

I have found it to be a delight that the spirit of the Restoration is alive in Community of Christ. God continues to speak to us just as he did in Moses’ time, Christ’s time, and Joseph Smith’s time. Community of Christ has been blessed with the revelation that has been given. Over the last 180+ years the church has seen: Women ordained to the priesthood, two temples built, an open communion policy, an opening of the priesthood and sacrament of marriage to our gay brothers and sisters (this has only been accepted in some counties) and so many other blessings which have resulted from our continual dialogue with God.

President Grant McMurray in Section 161:1b counseled the church to “Be faithful to the spirit of the Restoration, mindful that it is a spirit of adventure, openness, and searching…”

I’m happy to testify that the Community of Christ is continuing to live the spirit of the Restoration. I believe that the biggest blessing from the Restoration is the opening up of the heavens and the continuing dialogue between us and our God. May we all continue to be faithful to the Restoration’s spirit!

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8 comments on “We’re Still Listening

  1. David Donoghue says:

    Andrew, great blog! My answer to your question, “the most significant blessing of the restoration”, is pretty much the gist of your blog…continuing revelation. Having an open canon, a truly open canon, is a tremendous blessing.

  2. David Donoghue says:

    As you are yourself a recent convert from the LDS church, I have a question for you. Of the more recent revelations (say Section 160 onwards), which one verse or passage resonates with you the most, and why?

  3. Andrew Webber says:

    David,

    Thanks for the reply and kind words. To answer your question I cannot limit it to one. The words of counsel that has came from Grant and Steve have moved me beyond words, but there are three that speak strongest to me.

    One is D&C 161:1B
    b. Claim your unique and sacred place within the circle of those who call upon the name of Jesus Christ. Be faithful to the spirit of the Restoration, mindful that it is a spirit of adventure, openness, and searching. Walk proudly and with a quickened step. Be a joyful people. Laugh and play and sing, embodying the hope and freedom of the gospel.

    I love this because it’s a call to action and it reminds us of our incredible story.

    Two is D&C 163:10B

    b. Do not turn away in pride, fear, or guilt from the One who seeks only the best for you and your loved ones. Come before your Eternal Creator with open minds and hearts and discover the blessings of the gospel anew. Be vulnerable to divine grace.

    This speaks to me because I know what it’s like to turn away to be fearful and be filled with pride. I have found the gospel renewed in our community.

    Finally, D&C 164:5

    5 It is imperative to understand that when you are truly baptized into Christ you become part of a new creation. By taking on the life and mind of Christ, you increasingly view yourselves and others from a changed perspective. Former ways of defining people by economic status, social class, sex, gender, or ethnicity no longer are primary. Through the gospel of Christ a new community of tolerance, reconciliation, unity in diversity, and love is being born as a visible sign of the coming reign of God.

    It’s Gallatians a step further. It’s also a call to Unity.

    • David Donoghue says:

      3 passages? Cheater! :) I agree, there are so many that it is hard to pick one. Those three are great choices.

      • i am moved by those verses as well. i hope those who speak on sunday mornings in their congregations will take the opportunity to expound on these messages from our Creator.

  4. mark gibson says:

    I’m also happy to testify that the LDS Church lives the spirit of the restoration. I converted 14 years ago from the RLDS and am grateful to my Heavenly Father that we were led to it. Now we have 2 sons in the mission field at once and our home has been blessed for the effort put forth by them.

    The Church continues to grow in its restoration principles. I’ve noticed changes that have taken place in the short time I’ve been a member.

  5. Joseph M says:

    The most interesting thing I’ve read recently is this Book by an Evangelical turned Catholic on what he thinks Mormon theology can contribute to general Christianity. He focuses a lot on the material nature of spirit in JSjr’s thought
    http://www.amazon.com/Mormon-Christianity-Christians-Latter-day-Saints/dp/0199316813

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