Two Narratives - Book of Mormon Isaiah

Two Narratives

Because as yet there has occurred no real Mormon (LDS) embrace of the words of Isaiah—neither of his endtime prophecy, of which his historical prophecies are an allegory, nor of his theology that is embedded in his literary devices—perhaps that could account for some of the disconnect developing between two Mormon narratives: (1) the recapitulation of talks and teachings coming from the pulpit; and (2) the pure Word of God as it appears in the scriptures.

Could this be contributing to the exodus from the church by members who no longer feel fed by its teachings, but also to a reawakening to scriptural truths and their powerful impact on the human spirit? Why could these two narratives not perfectly align?

Two thoughts, I believe, should be kept in mind. First is the power of God’s Word to build testimony, to empower a person to comprehend the scriptural forest and the trees at a single focused glance. Second, as a man can’t be saved faster than he gains knowledge, he must learn God’s Word for himself, not secondhand.

So comprehensive and poignant are the words of Isaiah, in fact, that Jesus repeatedly emphasizes the need to “search” them and expressly makes it a commandment. For that reason, without a person’s keeping this commandment—as even with the literary tools I provide it takes two years to assimilate Isaiah’s message—he would gain little idea of that marvelous prophetic message or of the methodology that uncovers it. He might instead be tempted to brush all off as radical and controversial, though it was his own failure to keep Jesus’ commandment that elicited such an adverse response.

While I want to make absolutely clear that my intention is to alienate no one but rather to lead readers to the truth that is in the scriptures, I also realize that some will doubtless take offense and respond accordingly. It isn’t that the “scriptures narrative” is in opposition to the “pulpit narrative,” only that the latter tends to become its own entity while the former is apt to see both within a holistic perspective. The pulpit narrative may thus similarly create its own political correctness while the scriptures narrative can hardly do so.

Those who embrace both frames of reference, therefore, find it difficult, even intolerable, to operate under the same auspices as those who come from one frame of reference alone, leading to a sense of loss and isolation within their own ecclesiastical collective—the “body of Christ.”

The more this drift happens away from the scriptures to relying on human counsels, props, and expressions, the more repressive this regression becomes to searchers of the scriptures and the more alienating it is to those who go untaught and unchallenged to search them—at the same time seeming more than ever to motivate and empower the non-searchers to reinforce their own narrative. Thus is lost the efficacy of God’s Word to transform lives and to replicate the mighty acts men of God performed in his name.

The power of comprehension God extends to those who diligently search the words of Isaiah, for example, is known only to those who do so. Resembling conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ in its power to transform and infuse joy, all scriptures now appear circumscribed within the great whole that Isaiah reveals. This goes to show how much more God’s Word is telling us than we have heretofore perceived.

(From Introduction to Endtime Prophecy: A Judeo-Mormon Analysis, 4–6.)

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