No Secrets in the True Church

Joseph Smith’s religion gives us a temple full of secrets.

Jesus tells the Jewish Supreme Court, “I have said nothing in secret.” (John 18:20)

John's audience needs to know that Jesus said this, because they are already starting to butt heads with the early Gnostics, who claimed that they had secret words of Jesus that were not preserved in our canonical Gospels. The Gnostics were a secret club for those who were “in the know.” The Gnostics’ claim to have secret words of Jesus enabled them to construct a false picture of Jesus. Jesus denies he ever issued any such secret teachings.

Yes, there were times when Jesus told people to keep quiet about his healings, or his Transfiguration, or about the fact that he was the Messiah. But all of that classified information was declassified before the New Testament was finished. Jesus was merely carefully timing the release of sensitive information, to keep his Messianic identity from being misunderstood.

About the only secrets that remain are what the seven thunders said in Revelation 10:4 (probably (“How long until these things come to pass?”), and what the day and hour of Jesus’ return will be (Mark 13:32), which could be the same question. God provides us such information on a need-to-know basis. And none of us needs to know –in fact, knowing it would probably cut the nerve of urgency for us to spread the Gospel. Not even God Incarnate needed to know this information while he was on earth.

There is much that God does not tell us in the canonical Bible. But that does not mean that God is keeping secrets from us. Everything we truly needed to know, God has spelled out for us. That means that God thinks issues like exactly how to do sacraments or church government are matters where we are free to fill in the blanks and “let everyone be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Romans 14:5).

But doesn’t God withhold truths from us that we can’t live up to? Doesn’t God have truths or procedures that are so sacred, that only the most faithful can be trusted with them, for fear of profaning them? No. Actually, Satan is the one who always seeks to keep things hidden, while God always operates in full daylight. Indeed, as we see when the sorcerers at Ephesus expose and burn their magic textbooks (Acts 19:18-19), Satan’s power is broken when such secrets are revealed.

In God’s true Temple, everything that is said and done by the priests and the people is published for all to read in the Hebrew Bible. Nowhere in God’s true Temple do we find evidence for any confidential formulas, tokens, handshakes, oaths, or secret names, or penalties for revealing them.

The true Gospel is an open secret. No one fails to get into heaven because they failed to produce the proper tokens, signs, or passwords. You have either placed your faith in Christ alone to take away all of your sins and put you right with God forever, or you have placed your faith somewhere else. God says that he has blabbed what we need to know all over the place. (Romans 10:17)