Ben Petersen and Shiloh Logan’s long friendship has coalesced around a deeply shared love of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. They’ve spent countless nights together with their families talking about the wonders of hope, love, and peace that come from the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In these podcasts, we are searching for moments to sit with the Divine. As we contemplate each week’s readings, we look for how we can understand and use the Sermon on the Mount and the atonement of Jesus Christ to more fully understand the greater narratives of the scriptures.
Episode 45: D&C 30-36
Shiloh and Ben discuss these revelations given to specific men in the first year of the Church’s existence in the latter-days. There are noticeable patterns in each revelation that we can use to understand a general sense and sentiment that these men were having at this time. Many of these men are called on missions to “the Lamanites” (the Native Americans in Missouri), to bring them the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and the message of the Book of Mormon. The Lord consistently says that “the field is white already to harvest,” thus showing that God had already been engaged in His own work–tilling, fertilizing, planting, irrigating, etc.–the fields long, long before these men were invited to join in the harvest. We are invited to join the Lord in His own work.
Episode 44: D&C 29
Ben and Shiloh explore the theme the millenarianism in the early church. Apocalyptic language and literature are highly symbolic and rarely, if ever, to be taken literally. Prior to the imagery of apocalypticism, the Lord gracious informs us that He is our “advocate with the Father” (D&C 29:5, emphasis added), thereby informing us their common intentions, goals, and purpose for our benefit. Jesus Christ will come in his “power and great glory,” and we pause to reflect again on Alma 9:24 that offers evidence to what that “glory” entails: grace, equity, truth, patience, mercy, long-suffering, and quick to hear the cries of his people. Are the images of destruction really as we have deemed? Or is there room for us to see God and His purposes differently (i.e., repent) in the last days? Maybe God is eventually as violent as we have always thought He is… But, then again… Maybe not.
Episode 43: D&C 27-28
Shiloh and Ben talk about the early days just after the Church was organized. There were many new nuances and things to consider in building the Church and moving it forward, and with each new experience there were new inquiries asked of God in how to deal with these things. It is of interest that God tells us that it is not important what we use for the sacrament, only so long as we “do it with an eye single to [His] glory — remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins” (D&C 27:2). However, then the Lord spends the next two verses talking about what kind of wine to use and not use for the sacrament. Could it be that there is something more to this story? Could there be another meaning that the Lord is communicating? Is there a comparison to be made here to Christ’s New Testament command to not put “new wine” into “old bottles”? The restored gospel of Christ is about bringing new experiences to an old world. How are we experiencing the restored gospel of peace in our own lives today?
Episode 42: D&C 23-26
Ben and Shiloh discuss multiple sections that were given soon after the organization of the Church in 1830. There is a strong emphasis that the Lord gives throughout the Doctrine and Covenants that this is His work and that He invites us to be involved in His work. There is another prevalent theme throughout the text of Joseph and his companions seeking assurance of their place and good standing before God, and the reassurance is always forthcoming. It is like that for all of us at many times in our own lives. We seek divine assurance that our path, our pain, and our joy are seen by the God that gave us life. There are many times that this assurance seems delayed or withheld, but God is always there — even and especially when we feel alone or abandoned. This is not always easy to reason or conceive how a loving God would allow us to feel alone when He is right there with us, but there is a certain beauty in our learning process. The Lord is always there supporting us through all things.
Episode 41: D&C 20 - 22
Shiloh and Ben talk about the “Articles and Covenants” of Section 20. The Church was finally established, and the first 6 members had joined. While many structural changes within D&C 20 remain today, there were many structural changes to the Church in the ensuing years. Between the years of 1830 – 1838, the name of the Church changed several times (at least 6). The final name (as it appears in D&C 115:4) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — was revealed by the Lord in April, 1838. President Nelson has recently stated that the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ is an ongoing endeavor, and there will yet be many changes. While “there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God” (D&C 20:17), He does speak to us in our “weakness, after the manner of [our] language” (D&C 1:24). Over time, our ideas also evolve, and we gain more light, knowledge, and truth as time progresses. Through D&C 20’s use of “justification,” “sanctification,” and “grace,” we are able to have a more comprehensive understanding of God’s eternal nature.
Episode 40: D&C 18-19
Ben and Shiloh talk about the revelations given to Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer in Section 18 and to Martin Harris in Section 19. The tones are very different in each of these sections, and it is of interest to pay attention to these shifts in how the Lord is speaking to them. Repentance is a primary theme of the Restoration. We tend to talk about repentance as a process of how to obtain divine forgiveness after committing sin, but is there more to it than that? Is God simply telling the world that it is sinful and that people need to obtain divine forgiveness? While this narrative is undoubtedly a part of that, there is a lot to repentance that we miss that limits us from seeing the joyous magnitude of the Restoration really was and still is. Repentance, in the LDS Bible Dictionary, is primarily defined as “a change of mind, a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world.” The message of repentance throughout the D&C and the Restoration narratives has far more to do with learning to see God, ourselves, and the world differently and with a fresh few and a change of mind than anything else. God is revealing Himself in new and wondrous ways, and He is inviting us to experience that new way of being with us.
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They speak my language
As an individual who is in the process of converting, by way of a wandering path through evangelicalism, charismatic, Messianic Judaism, and Anglicanism, the hosts of this podcast speak a spiritual and religious language I understand. The conversation is profound, compassionate, and concerned with asking tough questions in a way that gets past the “standard answers” without devaluing them. They ask the questions I ask, and their love for the gifts that liturgical Christianity brings to the table is helping give me a template for understanding how I, and my experiences, will fit into the church.
Brings Me Comfort and Peace
3 Nephi 9 & 10 have always been heart-wrenching and confusing and I have never known why until this podcast. Listening to this point of view was exhilarating and feels true. And as I have been pondering it and praying to understand, I wondered who’s referred to as a destroyer, but Satan. This possibility of Jesus Christ not being there until He is introduced by Heavenly Father and then proves He is really there to each person there, not an imitation, brings me a great measure of peace like I’ve never known reading those chapters. Thank you for presenting this possibility.