Monday, April 27, 2015

Path of True Discipleship

These words are exciting, sobering and inspiring. They are the words of Christ. But how many of us marvel that -- for most, if not all, of our lives -- we have associated with an organization which claims to be the Lord's "only true church", yet we have neither been taught, nor have we learned, these things?

  • Who among us has been reminded, repeatedly, that it is better to lose one's possessions -- either by theft, lawsuit, or request -- than to contend over them? How many of us have seen this teaching put into practice by those who would be our teachers?
  • Who among us has been taught that we can, and ought, to be perfect, even as our Lord and Savior is perfect, even in this life? How many of us have seen this teaching put into practice by those who would be our teachers?
  • Who among us has been taught not to judge, not to condemn, but to forgive all men their trespasses? How many of us have seen this teaching put into practice by those who would be our teachers?
  • Who among us has been taught to lend and expect nothing in return? No interest. Not even a return of the principle! How many of us have seen this teaching put into practice by those who would be our teachers?
  • Who among us has been taught that if we are physically or personally attacked, we should not resist, but "turn the other cheek" and willingly receive more of the same, rather than revile again? How many of us have seen this teaching put into practice by those who would be our teachers?
  • How often have we been reminded in our meetings that true prophets are not held in high esteem by those of their own country, kin and household? How many of those called "true prophets" among us are held in low esteem and are evil spoken of by their own household, kin and countrymen?
  • Who among us has been taught that the rich among us "have their consolation" and thereby can hardly enter into heaven? How many of us have seen this teaching put into practice by those who would be our teachers?
  • Who among us has been taught not to judge, but to give regardless, if we are capable and have wherewith to give, to all who ask? How many of us have seen this teaching put into practice by those who would be our teachers?
  • Who among us has been taught of the essential requirement of praying for charity -- and receiving it from heaven -- of loving even as Jesus loves? How many of us have seen this teaching put into practice by those who would be our teachers?
  • Who has taught us the Golden Rule and invited us to follow it with all diligence and exactness? How many of us have seen this teaching put into practice by those who would be our teachers?
  • How could all these teachings -- the principle teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ -- go untaught and seldom be regarded or referred to in His "only true church"?

Well ought we to wail and mourn, to howl and repent! For many of us (like me) have wasted away our days and months and years contending over trivialities and inconsequential matters while the weightier matter of becoming even as He is, by following Him and doing even as He does, has been almost utterly neglected and rationalized away.

Thank you, Log, for serving us in this way.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The eternal ligature of love

Log recently provided some essential reading at Latter-day Commentary. His instruction may not help you "get ahead" in this world. But it may help you get to heaven!

It might also help you save your children.

Parents usually want "what's best" for their children. Many parents do everything they can to keep their children "safe". They supervise them. They warn them. They limit their choices. They even compel them to do the right thing.

Do you see a problem here?

No power or influence -- no lasting power or influence, anyway -- can or ought to be maintained except by persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, love unfeigned, kindness and pure knowledge. These are the ties that bind! These are the ligatures that bring a prodigal son (or daughter) back from the brink! Back to his (or her) father and mother!

A "wayward" child may go astray no matter what you do. But the only thing that will bring someone back for good is if they see the wisdom of your instruction, if they have confidence in the truthfulness and efficacy of what you've taught them, if they know you truly love them.

Nothing else matters.

Compulsion inspires only resentment and contempt in the heart of the one so compelled. It robs the one being compelled of agency, limits their accountability, infantilizes their development and sets them up for destruction.

Indeed, damnation.

It is better to let a child fail -- by making poor choices in little things -- and to let adults fail -- even in big things! -- than to take away another's agency to act for themselves and to render that person morally, intellectually and spiritually inert.

Virtue is its own reward. But happiness does not just happen by being virtuous.

Wickedness certainly never was happiness, but being forgiven for having been wicked, after having repented, is happiness indeed!

The one infused with overwhelming gratitude for having been forgiven much is happier still than the one for whom little, or nothing, is forgiven.

When we rob our children of the chance to make mistakes, even big mistakes, and then be forgiven, we rob them of eternal joy and happiness.

First teach correct principles. Then let them govern themselves. Rinse and repeat.

Even if they disbelieve you. Even if they disobey you. Even if they waste away their entire temporal existence and inheritance which you have so unselfishly and lovingly bequeathed to them!

In the end, if you love them, if you want what's best for them, you will let them go and let them do as they desire.

Then, if you are always there for them, looking out for them, waiting patiently, even longingly, even long-sufferingly -- not "enabling" with permissive indulgence and support, not encouraging to continue in sin, certainly not condemning and distancing and disowning -- but beckoning "home" again, "waiting in the wings" as it were with a robe and a ring and a fatted calf and a party, to help "restore" that which was lost by trial and error and mistake, even as a loving father awaits the return of his prodigal son, then you may, indeed, with them find everlasting joy.

For then -- and only then! -- will righteousness be cemented and become eternal with the eternal ligature of love.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Should a Christian go to a gay "wedding"?

The short answer to the title question is "No."

Why should a Christian politely decline to attend a homosexual wedding? For exactly the same reason a Christian baker should politely decline to bake a cake for a gay wedding. It sends a message of affirmation for something God has plainly condemned.

A wedding is a celebration. Guests are there to rejoice with and congratulate the couple. Their presence represents approval.

Approving of homosexual "marriage" in any way, shape or form is one thing no sincerely devoted follower of Christ can do. This is simply because a homosexual "marriage" is based on a sex act the Bible uniformly condemns from beginning to end as immoral, unnatural and unhealthy.

The rest is worth reading.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Immortality and Eternal Life

Isn't it true that those who are blessedly destined (doomed?) to a telestial existence -- or to the state of existence we now enjoy -- receive this opportunity by simply looking unto Christ, believing in Him and being baptized

That's the "ticket" to “salvation”, is it not: the opportunity to continue in (or return to) this mortal endeavor, to experience physical existence, worlds without end?

To be "saved" -- or to have the chance to live again and "never die" -- only requires following God, the Creator, and the Son of God (or physical manifestation of God in this life) by looking unto Him who is the brazen serpent lifted up. The key to endless lives is to look unto Christ.

There are many who will not look. Like those in Moses' day who hardened their hearts, there are those, even today, who will not look unto Christ nor submit to His most basic requirement to continue to live: believe and be “born again” — be “baptized” in water, blood and spirit. It's a simple formula really. Follow it and you get to "re-matriculate" as often as you wish (until the end). This is "salvation" from death, in the physical sense. But no doubt each time you “matriculate”, you start from the beginning, growing as you do “from grace to grace”, until you are “received”.

This process is real and on-going, but very dangerous, for he who comes here and gets “lost”, committing sins and leading others astray, for him it would have been better to be drowned in the depths of sea rather than to commit such sin. For he once knew better…and condescended…and then lost it all. 

Does this not explain why the devil and his angels are incorporeal? They will not follow the Son. They do not have faith in Him. Consequently they cannot repent. They cannot be “baptized” unto repentance, neither in flesh nor blood nor spirit. Thus they cannot be saved. Worlds without end, because the spirit that hardens their hearts against Him persists with them still.

What of those who, given the chance, do not follow and obey Him here? Are they not also “doomed” to “hell”, until they learn the error of their ways, being “damned” until they “bow the knee” and “confess with their tongues” that Jesus is the Christ, the One who has power (or intelligence) to beget life and worlds? Once they exercise such faith, then follows for them an invitation to experience a telestial existence — where all murderers, adulterers and the unrepentant go — that they might “work out their salvation with fear and trembling”. (Do we not yet see who we really are? Or who we have been?)

That’s the promise.

Those who receive Jesus and repent here are promised greater “glory”, even a terrestrial existence (as they “climb”). But they, too, can be deceived, and fall short.

Why would anyone come to this world, or to a world such as this one, to suffer and mourn? Because intelligence is gained in no other way. Mastery. Self-control. Compassion. Charity.

Why would the disembodied — or those who dwell in glory — willingly come to a “hell” such as this? 

Because they need to!

What if they don’t come? 

Then they are damned (stopped in their progress and perfection). They would, in fact, become as “angels in heaven” who have “set up too many stakes” to reach the perfection of God. They would “rest on their laurels” and be content in their realm of existence, with their powers and glories, mights and dominions. It is condescension to come here…and few who have climbed so far are willing to make the sacrifice again and take the risk of falling — and, perchance, lose all that they have gained.

But he who will “save” his life (after the manner of the Son, and obtain the highest degree of existence) shall “lose” it, while he who “loses” his life for Christ’s sake shall “find” it.

We fall when we sin. And we sin by nature of being born into this world, gaining experience. By grace we are granted opportunity to reconcile our imperfection with God through the atonement of Christ (who is perfect), being made “perfect” again in and through Him. This is the power of the Son unto all those who will receive it. If we believe, are baptized, and continue to receive grace for grace, until the perfect day, enduring to the end, we will become one with God.

What is grace? Surely it is the dropping of rain on both the wicked and the righteous. It is also being lifted from the pit without any effort on the part of the one so rescued. We are commanded to show such grace, even seventy times seven, forgiving all who trespass against us.

But is grace not also the dropping of a ladder into the pit so that the soul otherwise doomed might escape? Cannot the “rescued” be required to climb the ladder by faith? Is not the provenance of the ladder grace itself, sufficient? Otherwise, would not God be unjust, saving some while condemning others? (Are we not all sinners? Then we must all repent.) Is it not justice with God that all who would be saved must receive grace by climbing up the ladder that has been provided?

Again, let us be reminded, what is “required” to be “saved”? From physical death, it is merely to believe and be baptized with water, blood and spirit. It requires exercising faith in Him

But to be saved from spiritual death — to become one with God and no longer be separated from Him — requires coming unto Christ, receiving Him, becoming inseverably attached to Him, be “sealed” to Him, while endeavoring to become like Him, taking up one’s cross and following Him.

It requires knowing Him and, ultimately, His Father.