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.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

God and a world of darkness

I am going to start with a bold, blunt, and ridiculous claim. But stay with me, and I think you will find yourself well served.

Take the latest big budget movie you enjoyed.

My claim is that it is evil.

I will chose one myself. I will take "Thor: The Dark world" as my example. I choose such a relatively innocent movie on purpose. It is a movie that makes no attempt to seduce the viewer. Its profanity is quite tame for our day.  It does not teach that immorality is acceptable. It lacks even sexual innuendo. But I will stand by my claim : It is an evil movie.

What do I mean?

Well, ask yourself, what sort of people put it together? They are people who live a life that is so immoral it is almost as if they were beasts. They engage in immorality without a second thought. They cannot stay married for two years, and sometimes not even for two months. They live with an unmarried partner as if it were nothing, and then on to another one.

That comes through in the movie. They don't openly preach it, but it comes through in subtle ways about the way they understand the world.

Remember the teaching in the scripture:

D&C 132:12 I am the Lord thy God; and I give unto you this commandment—that no man shall come unto the Father but by me or by my word, which is my law, saith the Lord.
 13 And everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me or by my word, saith the Lord, shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God.
 14 For whatsoever things remain are by me; and whatsoever things are not by me shall be shaken and destroyed.

Now, as much as I enjoyed "Thor: the Dark World" or as much as you enjoyed whatever movie you had in mind, do you think it will survive what is described in these verses? When everything that is not of Christ is necessarily shaken and destroyed, will that big hit movie you or I enjoyed still remain standing? Would it survive that test?

Why must everything that is not by Christ be shaken and destroyed? Because he is the source of all light and truth.

The movie in question may not be evil in the sense that it is so bad we shouldn't watch it. But in the ultimate sense of good and evil, it is not better than those that created it. A bitter fountain cannot produce sweet water. The things we learn from it, though some are subtle, are not the light and truth that comes from God. In the end, it will be, like all things that are not of Christ and of his word, shaken and destroyed. He stands offering light and he stands in opposition to everything that is not. Thus everything that is not of him, or that will not repent and become of him, must eventually be destroyed.

Let me say again, that I am not saying it is evil in the sense that it is not OK as entertainment.

But how many movies would I have to watch to understand and become the sort of person who can built Zion? Whether I watch one or a million makes no difference. Whether they are feel good movies or movies that we think have "a good message" makes no difference. I can watch however many I choose and I will not learn how to be the sort of person that lives in Zion from them.

A bitter fountain cannot produce sweet water and it doesn't matter how much I consume, more will not help. They cannot inspire the deep lessons of heaven in me. Then cannot bring me to God. They cannot transfigure a man and given him the knowledge of eternal life. Fundamentally, they represent the other team.

Take Joseph Smith. What was the spark that ignited the restoration? It was a scripture. It was a single sentence "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

How many preachers could Joseph Smith have sought knowledge from and not gained that light? Whether he sought wisdom from 1 or 10,000 made no difference. None of them could give him the key he needed to unlock the heavens. None of them had it in themselves. Even if they read him that verse they would have taught him the wrong lesson from it. He could go to his parents as well, but could they give him the insight that would transform the world? No. They could not do it.

No. It required a stroke of truth from heaven. It took something higher than what any man then living could offer him.

So what is our state now? We find that our primary teachers, which is our media, are the darkest of human beings. How much of what they produce will we need to watch to gain those truths that can transform us into a Zion society? There is no amount that will do it. They are darkness and cannot lead us to light.

I asked my children whether I could lead them to a Zion society, seeing that I am not yet prepared to live in Zion myself. They wisely knew that the answer was "No."

So what has God done for us in our darkened state to help us?

The answer is found in the story of Joseph Smith's first vision. God has given us the scriptures. He has given us things that are by him and that will not be shaken and destroyed. He has given us truth that can lead us to something higher than anyone around us can.

Read again the scripture

D&C 84: 53 And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now.
 54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—
 55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
 56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
 57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—
 58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.
 59 For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay.

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