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SevenDeadlyHeresies

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Documents: Handouts: McConkie B R: “Seven Deadly Heresies” 10/25/01 Page 1 of 5The Seven Deadly HeresiesElder Bruce R. McConkieBYU, 1 June 1980I have sought and do now seek that guidance andenlightenment which comes from the Holy Spirit of God. Idesire to speak by the power of the Holy Ghost so that mywords will be true and wise and proper. When any of usspeak by the power of the Spirit, we say what the Lordwants said, or, better, what he would say if he were here inperson.I shall depart from my normal and usual pattern and readportions of my presentation because I want to statetemperately and accurately the doctrinal principles involvedand to say them in a way that will not leave room for doubtor for question. I shall speak on some matters that some mayconsider to be controversial, though they ought not to be.They are things on which we ought to be united, and to theextent we are all guided and enlightened from on high, wewill be. If we are so united—and there will be nodisagreement among those who believe and understand therevealed word—we will progress and advance and grow inthe things of the Spirit; we will prepare ourselves for a life ofpeace and happiness and joy here and now, and for aneventual eternal reward in the kingdom of our Father.There is a song or a saying or a proverb or a legend or atradition or something that speaks of seven deadly sins. Iknow nothing whatever about these and hope you do not.My subject is one about which some few of you,unfortunately, do know a little. It is “The Seven DeadlyHeresies”— not the great heresies of a lost and fallenChristendom but some that have crept in among us.Now I take a text. These words were written by Paul tocertain ancient saints. In principle they apply to us:I hear that there be divisions among you, and Ipartly believe it. For there must be also heresiesamong you, that they which are approved may bemade manifest among you. (1 Corinthians 11:18-19.)Now let me list some axioms [self-evident or universallyaccepted truths; established rules or laws] (I guess inacademic circles we call these caveats [warnings or cautions;qualifications or explanations]):• There is no salvation in believing a false doctrine.• Truth, diamond truth, truth unmixed with error, truthalone leads to salvation.• What we believe determines what we do.• No man can be saved in ignorance of God and his laws.• Man is saved no faster than he gains knowledge ofJesus Christ and the saving truths of his everlastinggospel.• Gospel doctrines belong to the Lord, not to men. Theyare his. He ordained them, he reveals them, and heexpects us to believe them.• The doctrines of salvation are not discovered in alaboratory or on a geological field trip or byaccompanying Darwin around the world. They comeby revelation and in no other way.• Our sole concern in seeking truth should be to learnand believe what the Lord knows and believes.Providentially he has set forth some of his views in theholy scriptures.• Our goal as mortals is to gain the mind of Christ, tobelieve what he believes, to think what he thinks, to saywhat he says, to do what he does, and to be as he is.• We are called upon to reject all heresies and cleave untoall truth. Only then can we progress according to thedivine plan. As the Lord has said:Whatever principle of intelligence we attain untoin this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.And if a person gains more knowledge andintelligence in this life through his diligence andobedience than another, he will have so much theadvantage in the world to come. (D&C 130:18-19.)Please note that knowledge is gained by obedience. It comesby obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. In theultimate and full sense it comes only by revelation from theHoly Ghost. There are some things a sinful man does notand cannot know. The Lord’s people are promised: “By thepower of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of allthings” (Moro 10:5). But if they do not seek the Spirit, if theydo not accept the revelations God has given, if they cannotdistinguish between the revealed word and the theories ofmen, they have no promise of gaining a fulness of truth bythe power of the Holy Ghost.Now may I suggest the list of heresies.Heresy one: There are those who say that God is progressingin knowledge and is learning new truths.This is false—utterly, totally, and completely. There is notone sliver of truth in it. It grows out of a wholly twisted andincorrect view of the King Follett Sermon and of what ismeant by eternal progression.God progresses in the sense that his kingdoms increase andhis dominions multiply—not in the sense that he learns newtruths and discovers new laws. God is not a student. He isnot a laboratory technician. He is not postulating newtheories on the basis of past experiences [induction—thescientific method]. He has indeed graduated to that state ofexaltation that consists of knowing all things and having allpower.The life that God lives is named eternal life. His name, one ofthem, is “Eternal,” using that word as a noun and not as anadjective, and he uses that name to identify the type of lifethat he lives. God’s life is eternal life, and eternal life is God’slife. They are one and the same. Eternal life is the reward weshall obtain if we believe and obey and walk uprightlybefore him. And eternal life consists of two things. It consistsof life in the family unit, and, also, of inheriting, receiving,and possessing the fulness of the glory of the Father. Anyonewho has each of these things is an inheritor and possessor ofthe greatest of all the gifts of God, which is eternal life. [D&C14:7.]Eternal progression consists of living the kind of life Godlives and of increasing in kingdoms and dominionseverlastingly. Why anyone should suppose that an infiniteand eternal being who has presided in our universe foralmost 2,555,000,000 years [see letter from W. W. Phelps, toWilliam Smith, Times and Seasons 5:757-758], who made thesidereal heavens, whose creations are more numerous thanthe particles of the earth, and who is aware of the fall ofevery sparrow—why anyone would suppose that such abeing has more to learn and new truths to discover in thelaboratories of eternity is totally beyond my comprehension.Documents: Handouts: McConkie B R: “Seven Deadly Heresies” 10/25/01 Page 2 of 5Will he one day learn something that will destroy the plan ofsalvation and turn man and the


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