Sunday, June 29, 2008

God's Great Gifts

I set about this evening to write a post about the folly of the "Prosperity Gospel" that is preached in some chapels across the country. I was so bothered by the false God that is set up by those preachers and how they set people up for disappointment.

As I was looking for the articles I'd read on the subject of Dollar, Osteen, and Warren (three prominent preachers of the prosperity gospel) I got bored of the subject.

I started looking for an unrelated story that I remembered hearing at a recent BYU devotional. I couldn't find the story, but as I was browsing through the BYU Speeches site, I found two articles that really touched my heart. They turn out to be the positive version of the message I wanted to share in this post, rather than the negative cast I had started with.

First, I read Ardeth G. Kapp's talk from Women's Conference 2004. The title phrase, "Pray Not for Light Burdens but for Strong Backs," immediately evoked strong emotions for me. I've been pondering recently about the plight of so many poor people in the world, including those here in my own community.

Why does life have to be so hard for them?

Sister Kapp quotes Elder Maxwell,
We can say: “I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things” (1 Nephi 11:17.)

There have been and will be times in each of our lives when such faith must be the bottom line: We don’t know what is happening to us or around us, but we know that God loves us, and knowing that, for the moment, is enough. [Not My Will, But Thine (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988), 119]
After reading Sister Kapp's beautiful talk, I read a talk from Elder Featherstone (given before I was born.) His sermons have always touched me when I've read them in a reverent mood. He shared the story of a stuttering boy who overcame his obstacle, of a woman who overcame great trials and then lost and regained her faith in God, and of his own very difficult boyhood where he dealt with poverty and a difficult father.
What I am saying is that if the Lord will take a scroungy little kid like that, who had to wear nurses' shoes to church and had to go and beg for groceries, and if he will make him a high councilor or a stake president or the second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, can you believe what he would do for you? Many of you are covenant children. Your parents were married in the temple, and so you are born in the covenant. The rest of you are going to this great institution, BYU, where the greatest learning process in the world can take place. God bless each one of you that you'll feel your sense of worth, that you'll understand who you really are. You are a royal generation. You have a great deal to offer. I don't care what the handicaps are that you think are so severe; you can overcome them. God bless each one of you, I pray from the depths of my soul as I ask a blessing upon you, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
The final conclusion for me? God does want us to prosper. He does want wonderful things for us. He won't always give them to us immediately (the pitfall of the proponents of the prosperity gospel), but he will give them; and the rewards will be greater than we can presently comprehend. God is great. I invite you to share my journey by reading the two talks I've linked above when you have a quiet moment.


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  • Absolutely wonderful post. I simply like your wordings. You are poetic!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/30/2008 2:44 AM  

  • See http://www.justinpeters.org and watch "demo." I think you will appreciate it. Justin spoke at my church on this and comes highly recommended by my pastor, Dr. John MacArthur.

    By Blogger Caron, at 6/30/2008 2:18 PM  

  • Thanks Mr. Thoughtskoto!

    Caron, that was an interesting video. I found what Brother Peters had to say about the prosperity gospel to be very interesting. I am nervous about the concept of a preacher devoting so much of his ministry to deconstructing other people's religion, but he seems to have some solid arguments.

    By Blogger Bradley Ross, at 7/04/2008 4:58 PM  

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