There are many who profess to be religious and speak of themselves as
Christians, and, according to one such, "as accepting the scriptures
only as sources of inspiration and moral truth," and then ask in their
smugness: "Do the revelations of God give us a handrail to the kingdom
of God, as the Lord's messenger told Lehi, or merely a compass?"
Unfortunately, some are among us who claim to be Church members but are
somewhat like the scoffers in Lehi's vision—standing aloof and seemingly
inclined to hold in derision the faithful who choose to accept Church
authorities as God's special witnesses of the gospel and His agents in
directing the affairs of the Church.
There are those in the Church who speak of themselves as liberals who,
as one of our former presidents has said, "read by the lamp of their own
conceit." (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine [Deseret Book Co., 1939], p.
373.) One time I asked one of our Church educational leaders how he
would define a liberal in the Church. He answered in one sentence: "A
liberal in the Church is merely one who does not have a ."
The late Dr. John A. Widtsoe of the Council of the Twelve, an eminent
educator, make a statement relative to this word liberal as it applied
to those in the Church. This is what he said:
The self-called liberal [in the Church] is usually one who has broken
with the fundamental principles or guiding philosophy of the group to
which he belongs. . . . He claims membership in an organization but does
not believe in its basic concepts; and sets out to reform it by changing
its foundations. . . .
It is folly to speak of a liberal religion, if that religion claims that
it rests upon unchanging truth.
And then Dr. Widtsoe concludes his statement with this:
It is well to beware of people who go about proclaiming that they are or
their churches are liberal. The probabilities are that the structure of
their faith is built on sand and will not withstand the storms of truth.
("Evidences and Reconciliations," Improvement Era 44:609.)
(Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye in Holy Places [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book
Co., 1974], 351.)
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