May 16th, 2007

Time Sanctifies Everything

photo credit: thread

In a recent “On Faith” column, Susan Jacoby stated that “time sanctifies everything.”

What does she mean by this? Explaining her point, she writes:

Why is it any less reasonable to believe that the angel Moroni appeared with some golden tablets in New York State in the 19th century than it is to believe that God handed down stone tablets with the Ten Commandments from the heights of Mt. Sinai thousands of years ago? We tend to doubt the sanity of people who claim to have seen God or his messengers yesterday, whereas we revere beliefs based on claims that other people saw and spoke to God many millennia ago. Time sanctifies everything.

Time sanctifies everything. People are much more likely to believe in miracles that occurred millenia than those that occur in our day.

In his interview for the PBS documentary “The Mormons”, Elder Holland echoed this sentiment:

In the end, when you push Mormonism, when you push the greater circle of Christianity, Judaism, other religions, … it always comes to faith. It will forever come to faith, or it isn’t religion in any way that I understand religion. So much that we deal with, so much that we count on, so much that we hope for, so much that we pray about is beyond our reach. It is not sensory; it’s not scientific; it’s not rational. I think nobody’s more engaged in reason and science and culture and history than we are. … We’re engaged in that. Nevertheless, … everybody has a leap of faith.

Why is the appearance of angels in the Old Testament less satisfying or more threatening than the appearance of an angel in upstate New York in the early part of the 19th century or today? The miracles of the Old Testament should not have been startling to people in the time of the New Testament, and New Testament miracles should not be foreign to us today.

It’s much easier to believe or conceive the traditions of 4,000 years ago — a lot easier than 40 years ago, let alone four weeks ago. It’s just easier to have that distance. (Jeffrey R. Holland, PBS interview, emphasis added)

Indeed, that “distance” provides a level of intellectual comfort for many who feel that God has ceased talking to His children. These people find it easy to accept a God who communicated through divine intervention in centuries long past, but treat the thought of such an occurrence in our day as laughable and naïve.

It is an easy thing to believe in the dead prophets. Many people do. For some mysterious reason there is an aura of credibility about them. It is not so with the prophet who lives among us, who must meet life’s everyday challenges. But it is a great thing to believe in the living prophets. Our salvation is contingent upon our belief in a living prophet and adherence to his word. He alone has the right to revelation for the whole Church. His words, above those of any other man, ought to be esteemed and considered by the Church as well as by the world. One day this truth will be understood. (A. Theodore Tuttle, via Quoty)

For the faithless, time sanctifies the reality of miracles and the existence of an intervening, caring God. Sadly, such a time-shifted sanctification of actual events is an escapist attempt at doubting modern revelation and revealed truth.

2 Responses to “Time Sanctifies Everything”

  1. fontor
    May 17, 2007 at 3:19 am #

    Awfully quiet here at the Ron Paul Fan Club.


  1. LDS News Watch » Kudos to Indystar readers - June 7, 2007

    […] The article opens, “Using the dictionary definition…one can only surmise that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is delusional.” It goes on to belittle Mitt Romney for his religious views, calling his candidacy less legitimate because of his extraordinary beliefs. He must have missed that all religions have a bit of the extraordinary. […]

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