What is the Role of the Church Regarding Truth and Correct Principles?
The Church and Truth
Besides the individual duty we have to seek and declare truth, and the responsibility that parents have to teach their children, Churches have a responsibility to be an outlet of truth and light; to help preserve the agency of man and counter the false propaganda being promoted in the world via government, the news media, schools, etc.
Satan and the evil people of the world seek to destroy man’s freedom and agency. Unfortunately their successes in this effort have caused many truths to become obscure and unpopular to the point that there are many people that “call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). Agency is limited if the truth doesn’t have a place in society. Only with the knowledge of the truth can you expand and increase your agency.
During the fake pandemic many churches closed their doors for months. This is likely to have devastating spiritual ramifications. It is the churches that should be among the primary dissenting voices to the tyrannical decrees of government. At minimum, the churches should be involved in teaching their members correct principles so that they will know how to discern good from evil when they encounter it in the world.
The role of religion and spirituality is not just about saving ordinances and the afterlife, it’s also about the path of truth, morality, and correct principles.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)
The prophet Joseph Smith, declared that “Mormonism is truth”:
“Mormonism is truth, and every man who embraced it felt himself at liberty to embrace every truth. Consequently the shackles of superstition, bigotry, ignorance, and priestcraft fall at once from his neck, and his eyes are opened to see the truth…” (Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, Feb. 1840, 1:53, 55–56)
Brigham Young further declared that “If you can find a truth … we claim it” and “There is no truth but what belongs to the Gospel”:
“I want to say to my friends that we believe in all good. If you can find a truth in heaven, earth or hell, it belongs to our doctrine. We believe it; it is ours; we claim it.” (Brigham Young, DBY, 2)
“‘Mormonism,’ so-called, embraces every principle pertaining to life and salvation, for time and eternity. No matter who has it. If the infidel has got truth it belongs to ‘Mormonism.’ The truth and sound doctrine possessed by the sectarian world, and they have a great deal, all belong to this Church. As for their morality, many of them are, morally, just as good as we are. All that is good, lovely, and praiseworthy belongs to this Church and Kingdom. ‘Mormonism’ includes all truth. There is no truth but what belongs to the Gospel.” (Brigham Young, DBY, 3)
The point is the Gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses all truth, and it is obedience to correct principles that allows a person to progress in this life; to gain further light and knowledge; and be a disciple of the son of God. Religion exists to help people identify that path, while the world is attempting to obscure it.
Ezra Taft Benson spoke of the importance of the Church being united based on correct principles:
“There are some who would have us believe that the final test of the rightness of a course is whether everyone is united on it. But the church does not seek unity, simply for unity’s sake. The unity for which the Lord prayed and which President McKay speaks is the only unity which God honors – that is, ‘unity in righteousness,’ unity in principle.
“We cannot compromise good and evil in an attempt to have peace and unity in the Church, any more than the Lord could have compromised with Satan in order to avoid the War in Heaven.”
(Ezra Taft Benson, Our Immediate Responsibility)
John Taylor also declared that we, as a Church, should be united in correct principles and be on the right side of defending human liberty and human rights:
“And while other men are seeking to trample the Constitution under foot, we will try to maintain it. We have prophecies something like this somewhere; that the time would come when this nation would do as they are now doing — that is, they would trample under foot the constitution and institutions of the nation, and the Elders of this Church would rally around the standard and maintain those principles which were introduced for the freedom and protection of men. We expect to do that, and to maintain all correct principle. I will tell you what you will see by and by. You will see trouble, trouble, trouble enough in these United States… But let us be on the side of human liberty and human rights, and the protection of all correct principles and laws and government, and maintain every principle that is upright and virtuous and honorable, and let the world take the balance if they want, we don’t want it. We will cleave to the truth, God being our helper, and try to introduce principles whereby the will of God will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And we will obey every institution of man for the Lord’s sake so far as we can without violating our consciences and doing things that are wrong and improper.” (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 26:156-57)
There are obstacles placed in the way of all sincere truth seekers. Even churches may be found to be an obstacle by promoting false propaganda or teaching things that are not true. It is important to learn how to identify correct principles on all subjects and to follow the Spirit in all that we do.
Ezra Taft Benson explained the importance of avoiding deception:
“Six of the original Twelve Apostles selected by Joseph Smith were excommunicated. The Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon left the Church. Three of Joseph Smith’s Counselors fell – one even helped plot his death.
“A natural question that might arise would be, that if the Lord knew in advance that these men would fall, as he undoubtedly did, why did he have his Prophet call them to such high office? The answer is; to fill the Lord’s purposes. For even the Master followed the will the will of the Father by selecting Judas.
“President George Q. Cannon suggests an explanation, too, when he states: ‘Perhaps it is His own design that faults and weaknesses should appear in high places in order that His Saints may learn to trust in Him and not in any man or men.’
“And this would parallel Lehi’s warning; put not your ‘trust in the arm of flesh’ (2 Nephi 4:34.)
“It is from within the Church that the greatest hindrance comes. And so, it seems, it has been. Now the question arises, will we stick with the kingdom and can we avoid being deceived? Certainly this is an important question, for the Lord has said that in the last days the devil will ‘rage in the hearts of … men,’ (2 Nephi 28:20) and if it were possible he shall ‘deceive the very elect.’ (See Joseph Smith 1:5-37.)
(Ezra Taft Benson, Be Not Deceived, General Conference, October, 1963)
Marion G. Romney, in LDS General Conference, spoke concerning the importance of truth and discernment:
“You see, at the time [satan] was cast out of heaven, his objective was (and still is) ‘to deceive and to blind men and to lead them captive at his will.’ This he effectively does to as many as will not hearken unto the voice of God. His main attack is still on free agency. When he can get men to yield their agency, he has them well on the way to captivity.
“We who hold the priesthood must beware concerning ourselves, that we do not fall into the traps he lays to rob us of our freedom. We must be careful that we are not led to accept or support in any way any organization, cause or measure which, in its remotest effect, would jeopardize free agency, whether it be in politics, government, religion, employment, education, or any other field. It is not enough for us to be sincere in what we support. We must be right!”
(Marion G. Romney, Beware Concerning Yourselves, General Conference, October 1960)
Brigham Young also spoke wise words concerning the importance of truth and recognizing right vs. wrong:
“You may know whether you are led right or wrong, as well as you know the way home; for every principle God has revealed carries its own convictions of its truth to the human mind, …
“What a pity it would be if we were led by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire of themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path that the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually.”
(Brigham Young, JD 9, 149-150.)
While individuals and families should not disregard their responsibility to educate themselves on correct principles and to seek out truth, any good religion also shares that same duty to its members. And while this article quotes statements from leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it should be noted that correct principles are universal and apply to all good religions.
Ezra Taft Benson warned:
“Unfortunately some men who do not honor their stewardships may have an adverse effect on many people. Often the greater the man’s responsibility the more good or evil he can accomplish. The Lord usually gives a man a long enough rope and sufficient time to determine whether that man wants to pull himself into the presence of God or drop off somewhere below.
“There are some regrettable things being said and done by some people in the Church today. As President Clark so well warned, “The ravening wolves are amongst us, from our own membership and they, more than any others, are clothed in sheep’s clothing because they wear the habiliments of the priesthood… We should be careful of them.”
“Sometimes from behind the pulpit, in our classrooms, in our Council meetings and in our church publications we hear, read or witness things that do not square with the truth. This is especially true where freedom is involved. Now do not let this serve as an excuse for your own wrong-doing. The Lord is letting the wheat and the tares mature before he fully purges the Church. He is also testing you to see if you will be misled. The devil is trying to deceive the very elect.”
“The gospel and its preaching can prosper only in an atmosphere of freedom. And now in this critical period, when many pulpits are being turned into pipelines of collectivist propaganda – preaching the social gospel and denying basic principles of salvation – is the time for action.”
(Ezra Taft Benson. Our Immediate Responsibility. BYU University. October 25, 1966.)
Let us awake! and arise from the dust, shake off the deceptions and strong delusion of the world; seek after truth and light, and bring darkness to light.