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.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Is the book "The Miracle of Forgiveness" discouraging?

I am surprised at the ignorance we find among us. We are as a people who are asleep.

One example I hear repeatedly is about President Kimball's book "The miracle of forgiveness". I hear members ignorantly say things like "the effect of that book was to just make people feel discouraged" or "that book just make people feel guilty and depressed" or that it made people feel like they couldn't succeed, or like giving up.

First off, let us be perfectly plain. It wasn't the discussions on honesty, or gambling, or keeping the Sabbath day, that people are complaining about. It was his discussion of chastity.

Nobody thinks to themselves "I just can't tell the truth, I'm going to give up" or "I just can't keep the Sabbath day holy, I guess I'm going to hell anyway, and I can't change that".

But people sometimes DO say things like that about moral issues IF they have been indulging in some level of immorality.

And therein lies the meat of the issue.

If people generally feel discouraged by "The miracle of forgiveness" it is because people have generally misbehaved here or there on the most critical issues of mortality: the issue of chastity. Chastity is THE law of a body. It is the defining trait of Christianity. It stands as the guardian at the gate to family joy, as if it were one of the cherubim that guards the way to the tree of life.

After the sexual revolution, and even before that, we have had those among us who have encouraged compromise with immorality as being of no matter. Those who criticize President Kimball's book do so in this same spirit. They disagree with him over the serious nature of toying with issues of morality. They have liked to compromise, and so they do not find his words about necking, petting, masturbation, pornography, fornication, or homosexuality pleasing to their ears.

But there is more to it than just disagreement with the message because of a guilty conscience. The nub of the matter is that sin gives the adversary a measure of power over people. And the adversary will try with all the strength and guile he can to separate people from that which can bring them out from under his influence. The adversary tries desperately hard to use any influence he has to oppose that which will separate us from him.

If the message of repentance is stated with great clarity, then devil is desperate to separate us from it, and will use many means of doing so. Christ himself talked about that in his parable of the sower and the seeds. Some seeds fell by the way side, others were choked by weeds, others fell on stony ground, ... the adversary will try any means he can to turn people away from a message of pure truth. For pure truth about repentance, one of his tactics is to inspire discouragement and depression.

And here is the most salient point of all. The way out of that depression and discouragement is to press forward through it just like you would through any other method the adversary throws at you. You hold to the rod, and press forward through the mists of darkness. No other method works. If we instead soften the message to avoid causing discouragement, everything goes wrong. People do more things they shouldn't and the adversary has more influence in their lives, not less.

That is the critical nub: We can either press forward holding firmly to the message of repentance which eventually brings us out of darkness into greater and greater light, or we can alter and soften the message so it is more pleasing and remain under the sway of the adversary, believing that critical matters don't really matter so much, that a little disobedience on the most serious matters of life is normal, and propagating such spiritual darkness to our posterity and fellow members. The latter method is not without its horrible costs both in terms of our happiness and in the souls who will be overcome and lost because of it.

But if we stick to the right message and see it through then in time those who will abide it are freed from the influence of the adversary, and they find that the Lord has greater power, in time to free them from discouragement and depression and replace it with joy, delight, and pure happiness that they didn't know or believe was possible in mortality. It will be those who soften it who will continue to struggle with the wiles of the adversary, and it will be those who stand unflinchingly by it and strive to live by it who will find themselves coming out from under his sway and rejoicing more and more in the power of God in their lives and the unspeakable joy of the things of his spirit.



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