…without telling them about the book
How to Discuss Truth Without Imparting Fact
A lecture given by William Sadler Jr. to the Seventy November 17, 1949
(This document taken from Marian Rowley’s notes)
A valuable device. Include figures of speech. Can present truth when it is inadvisable to reveal fact.
Example: Great White Throne. Before papers: “Long since an appeal was taken to the Great White Throne, but no ruling is as yet forthcoming.” This meant God to each person present. After papers came, it meant Ancients of Days. Truth, not fact. Even in light of present knowledge, the term is true, meaning sovereignty. They avoided giving confusing facts.
Another example: Servitals becoming graduate guides. Central Shining and Luminous Persons, in Paper 24 or 25. Refused to explain though specific questions were asked whether it was Father, Son, or Spirit, or any combination. We interpret it that way, but it is our interpretation. The first example has been clarified. The second has not.
Symbols are wonderful method of dealing with truth without becoming stuck in the flypaper of unrevealed facts. Long ago a midwayer said it was extremely hard to answer our questions because we knew so little. We sustain the same relationship in talking with a non-Forumite.
We should be intelligent enough to learn great lessons in teaching by a careful study of the manner in which we ourselves have been taught by a faculty of master teachers. In presenting cosmology, the story of the universe, the authors of the papers do not seem to be troubled by telescoping facts. Put God at the top and phenomena at the bottom. In the absence of information concerning intermediate points, the authors don’t hesitate to refer the phenomena to God.
In the first and second editions of the papers, gravity was called an attribute of the Father, because Paradise was dealt with only as a place. Later, when they portrayed Paradise as having functions, they shifted gravity from the Father to Paradise. Keep your telescoped line straight, not bulging. At no time did our book say the Eternal Son was the center of gravity. God was.
Never worry about a Christian’s confusion concerning Jesus and the Eternal Son. Represents a distortion in fact, but not of truth – because the Son could have done no more for us than Jesus did. You are dealing with equivalents of divinity from our perspective.
Two kinds of minds. One insists on Jesus as second person of Deity. Don’t disturb that concept. Our job is to help. Will have to be cautious. Second type of mind will be relieved to know that God has many sons.
Jonah and the whale – Gadiah’s question. Jesus evaded that question as to fact and extracted the one and only truth that is in it – God’s love for the heathen. Study His answer.
Avoid bringing in new facts which may only becloud the truth which you have to offer, and which may frighten your listeners.
Bill’s question one night: “Why don’t we get replies to this series of questions?” Answer: “Too complicated. These papers are written primarily to save men’s souls, secondarily to illuminate their minds.”
Look first at man’s soul, not his mind. If you approach him intellectually, you may be tripped by intellectual pride. You know so much more than he. We’re not here to enlighten men, we’re to love them. Jesus didn’t tell the apostles to go out and repeat to men the things he had told them, but to love them as he had loved them. Hold back your facts lest they trip you.
Atonement – Bill was asked about it before a fundamentalist congregation, steeped in John 3. He answered: “No man approaches the Father save through the Son.” Statement is correct. Will not have to retract it later. The audience put its own interpretation on it.
(When Charlie Rawson gets questions on the atonement, he attempts to switch the discussion to the cross. Explains that the atonement was Paul’s attempt to describe the meaning of the cross.)
Virgin Birth – “I’m not sure that any human being or human mind is wise enough to try to figure out how God accomplishes his ends. It seems presumptuous. It may have happened one way or another.” Not important how it happened, but that it happened.
Bill’s discussion with Jew about Jesus’ divinity. “You explain to me how you were born and I’ll explain how Jesus was born.” Sperm and ovum. Why does sperm penetrate – not go the other way? Why don’t all sperms penetrate? Why do cells divide – amoebas don’t? The Jew conceded he didn’t know how the process operated as it does. Accepted the process, but didn’t know why these things happened. Swallowed the camel, strained at the gnat. Can’t explain life, so you don’t have to explain how Jesus got here.
With Catholics, comment favorably on the purgatory concept. Avoid known problems. Bill’s discussion of secularism with priest – in complete agreement.
Simon Zelotes and the fire worshipper. Jesus saved the situation.
Don’t substitute information for love and truth.
Question: How can you convince someone of the love in the universe? Answer: You can’t convince them. You have to love them. Plant seeds, and it’s the Spirit of Truth that does the convincing. We are just seed sowers.
Essential error. In aprocrypha there is evidence that the authors used great tenderness in approaching the concept of multiple Sons of God. Wiling to wait years for that concept to grow. No chick may be hatched without the shell, and after the chick is born the shell is of no use. If you break the shell prematurely, you will kill the chick. If you warm it with affection, the chick will peck its way out and the shell will be discarded.
Ganid reprimanded Jesus because he didn’t help someone. “The young man wasn’t willing to be helped.” Two things possible.
– If he could live with us and if by our lives we could intrigue him to ask for help, we could help him.
– If he lives long enough, adversity will make him ask for help.”
Don’t be over-eager. If someone shoves steak I your mouth, you gag. You may like steak, and it may be the best, but you’re not eating it, it’s being forced on you.
When people are too proud and don’t want to be helped, ask them to help you. Remember Jesus and the young man in the hills. Jesus said he was lost and asked the way.
Much more important that you tell people God loves them than that Paradise is the governor of the Universe of Universes. Talk about fundamental principles.
Jesus taught three things about the Father: God is Father, God is love, and God is spirit. You understand two-thirds – Father and love, at least on human levels. Don’t know what spirit is, except that it’s nothing like us. But that isn’t important because we don’t expect to understand everything about God. Beware of any teaching that is inconsistent with these fundamentals. You’ve got to start by assuming something. Assume Jesus knew what he was talking about when he made these statements.
That’s North. You can figure out the other directions from that.
Deal with principles, not so much with details. Give your friend the big concept. Tell him about God. Don’t worry if he doesn’t know about the mansion worlds.
Don’t be dogmatic. Have more than one sermon. Have more than one way of telling your story.
Discussion of religion with a fundamentalist in a cafeteria. Bill spent time in cementing-up the cracks in his religion. Didn’t dynamite the dam.
Discussion with two teachers. Bill started with Jesus’ three statements about God. Agreed on those. Then God is infinite, powerful, and wise, (that knocks out the atonement). We are at Alpha and God is at Omega. Materially, we are dead sure about Alpha. Can be spiritually sure about Omega. If you really have faith in God, you can be sure of that. Then you can speculate on what’s in between. Beta would be mansion worlds, modified Catholic purgatory, etc. Also discussed freewill and man’s evolutionary processes. Didn’t discuss Jesus or the Trinity.