Notes for my writing

This blog is made up of notes on the gospel as found in the only true and living church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This includes notes that are either excerpts from or ideas for books I either have in draft or may yet write.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Choosing the fear of men over the fear of God


Last night in our scriptures we read the following verse

Matthew 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

We see this choice being made all around us these days. I am surprised at the sheer volume of cases I have run into where someone either states that they won't stand up for truth on moral matters, or actually opposes truth on moral matters because they would offend some relative or friend who is involved in one or another immoral practice - these days homosexuality and its ilk are the particular battleground this has been taking place on.

But Christ's doctrine on the matter is:

Matthew 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Other stories I have run into that are, on the surface, sadder, involve someone telling about standing firm that immorality is serious sin, and finding themselves ostracized by a family member, or even their family at large for doing so.

These days it seems like it is very common to face a choice. It seems practically everybody is choosing sides. Will they avoid offending someone? Will they stand up and be counted? Will they stand with Jesus Christ about right and wrong. Will they be more concerned about pleasing men, or about pleasing God?

Its not a new choice, but it has taken a new form. Sadly many are choosing the fear of men over the fear of God. As is often the case, they disguise their choice to themselves and others as a virtue saying they are just being non-judgmental, and even calling anyone who insists on calling good good, and on calling evil evil a hater.

But name calling is also nothing new.

3 Nephi 11:11 And blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake;

And while being ostracized within ones family may be the cost of standing for truth now, it is apparently a price that is going to get higher. The last days do not promise to be days of ease for those who will simply insist that right is right, and wrong is wrong, and that truth is an unchanging and eternal thing. Joseph Smith said:

"I saw men hunting the lives of their own sons, and brother murdering brother, women killing their own daughters, and daughters seeking the lives of their mothers. I saw armies arrayed against armies. I saw blood, desolation, fires. The Son of man has said that the mother shall be against the daughters, and the daughter against the mother. These things are at our doors. They will follow the Saints of God from city to city. Satan will rage, and the spirit of the devil is now enraged. I know not how soon these things will take place; but with a view of them, shall I cry peace? No; I will lift up my voice and testify of them. How long you will have good crops, and the famine be kept off, I do not know; when the fig tree leaves, know then that the summer is nigh at hand." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith page 161)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Very short note - the non-judgemental bar

Its funny how often my daughters seem to be told that God isn't judgemental, or that he doesn't judge us. Apparently, everyone will one day have to face the non-judgemental bar.

Short note: Why do many choose destruction? Because of the commandments

I think it is interesting in the JST of Matt 7 that Christ says that there are many that travel in the broad road that leads to destruction BECAUSE strait is the gait and narrow the way that leads to life and that is the reason there are few that find it. That is quite insightful. It is because of those pesky commandments and commitments that people don't want the full gospel.

We enjoy more grace for obeying more, not for disobeying more

Many people think of grace as something that is given to us because we don't fully submit our will to the will of the Father. But the opposite is true. In D&C 93 it teaches that the Savior grew from grace to grace, and that we must do the same. Just as with Christ himself, more grace is manifest in our lives as we submit our will more fully to the will of the Father, and not the other way around. That is because grace is not a mechanism by which we get blessing for disobedience. Instead Grace is the merciful and loving gifts from a tender God given on condition of obedience.According to D&C 93 it was the sinless Savior who grew into the fullness of grace, and the more we obey, the more his grace is manifest in our lives. Not the other way round.

God did not gain his power through the atonement

I am surprised at gospel statements made over and over again with no thought given to what they actually mean. For instance, it is now in vogue to say that it is because of the atonement of Christ that God can heal us when we are sick, and can free us from our trials and infirmities.
No it isn't. Yes, the atonement is the single most important act of eternity. Yes, without it all mankind will be doomed to a neverending torment. Yes, it conquered death and hell.
But we believe in a God who is a being of power. We believe in a God who is in and through all things, and who holds all the elements in subjection to him. We believe in a God who will speak, and the elements will obey him, who can dry up the rivers at his word, who can make the sea into sand for a man to walk across, who can stop the earth in the heavens, can blacken the sun and the stars, can shake and rend the earth and the cause the heavens to be wrapped together as a scroll and the world to be destroyed by fire.
We believed in a God who created the heavens and the earth.
The atonement was crucial, but God had power in and of himself to heal or destroy, had power greater than armies or nations independent of the atonement. Yes the atonement plays a crucial role. No, that isn't how God gained power to heal the lame, the sick, the blind or the maimed. The God who created heaven and earth can cure a cold, or cancer, or death. He can throw off our trials, and take us out of the power of our enemies. He can do that simply because he is God. He has always had that power, and he always will.
We believe in Christ the Son of God. But because of that we also believe him when he said "My Father is greater than I".

Neal A Maxwell grandson story

A quote I really like from a Neal A Maxwell conference talk:
It’s interesting, too, how we create, cumulatively, expectations in the lives of our grandchildren even when we are not aware of it. Some years ago, when our grandson Robbie was about five, we dropped by to see his family in Orem. He was asleep upstairs, and his mother called, “Robbie, Grandpa Neal is here!” A tired little voice floated downstairs saying, “Shall I bring my scriptures?”

Sunday, May 24, 2015

God watches over his little ones


The world we live in is a curious place. The realities of it are often the opposite of what they appear. For instance, the widow, the orphan, the little child appear to be helpless. But those who mistreat them will not escape swift rebuke. And those who will care for them cannot escape the Lord's rewards. He soon pours out the fruits of their labors doubly on their own heads. The Lord watches out for his little ones, his helpless ones. He also watches over his daughters, and takes vengeance on those who mistreat them.

The world is upside down from its appearances. The weak and tender are seen and watched over by their God, While the mighty and strong who trust in the arm of flesh are left to their own wisdom, and often fall by the wayside, and suffer the pains of his rebuke.