Sunday, December 31, 2006

Atonement and Judgement - Who Really Demands Justice?

The point of the atonement is to make us clean so that we may re-enter the presence of God (3 Nephi 27:19). Sin has made us filthy. But what is this filth? Yes, we can say it is sin that we have committed, but where does this filth actually exist and why? And why do we need it removed to be in God's presence?

The scriptures tell us that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son (John 3:16). Why? To please himself? Did Christ really perform the atonement because Heavenly Father insisted for self indulgence? What kind of a God of love would that be?

I believe Mosiah 2:38 answers these questions. "Therefore if that man repenteth not, and remaineth and dieth an enemy to God, the demands of divine justice do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of his own guilt, which doth cause him to shrink from the presence of the Lord, and doth fill his breast with guilt, and pain and anguish, which is like an unquenchable fire, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever."

This demonstrates that it is us who demands justice: Our "immortal soul". It also is stating that it is our own sense of guilt that causes us to stay out of God's presence. In addition to this it is saying that it is us who send ourselves to hell.

So how does this fit in with statements about Jesus being the judge, and the saints being judges etc? I believe this refers to the idea that any person who has taught us any truth is our judge in the sense that their words stand to praise or condemn us. Depending on whether we listened or not. Christ provided the atonement that anyone can accept. If a person doesn't then that also stands as condemnation in that judgement of ourselves. His words stand to condemn or praise; depending on our acceptance also.

Heavenly Father arranged for a saviour to come into us and do the suffering on our behalf. But this requires us to open to him and to really repent. A truly repentant person doesn't go out doing the same thing again. Jesus was the chosen saviour. And he suffered for these sins in the garden.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Why Must real Faith be in things that are True?

Alma 32:21 "And now as I said concerning faith--faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true."

Many will pose the question of faith demonstrated by people, in things that aren't true. What of idol worshippers, for example? When I first thought on this I couldn't see Alma's point either. But further consideration brought me to a new understanding. An extremist in some religions will give his life for his God. He does this feeling he will be saved by his God, for his valiant effort and sacrifice. But is Alma correct that this isn't faith at all?

I believe he is right. When a person deliberately denies reality and sets focus in one direction, is that true faith? It is only when a person faces his deepest feelings of doubt and is satisfied, that true faith can exist. In other words "blind faith" isn't faith, but just intelligence washing. We come to have faith in God because we try his suggestion and find it works. We eventually come to see that he is a reliable source of correct ideas. But each idea requires us to use our faith in him to actually follow it. Once we follow it, and see it working our faith grows even further.

Monday, December 25, 2006

This post is not what it first appears, so please read it through

Are you one of those successful people making the big amount you wish? Are you entirely satisfied with your current life style and its rewards?

You can become one of the top 0.0000000000000000000000000000024 % of people. And its simple. You can apply the same principles that have made those few before you so successful. Is your yearly income less than 300,000? How would you like to learn a way to increase that by 10 times?
You are obviously skeptical. But this can be tried and proven. What's more is I'm going to give it to you completely free. That is right; this great income maker completely free.

Do you realise that many people aren't making any income at all? Year by year some are actually losing 100,000 points or more. Have you been content to sit in the pews and just increase by only 200,000 points, by merely listening to someone else receiving revelation? And saying he'll do it for me, I'll just listen to him?

The secret is simple - Revelation.

You can use this same skill and increase your spiritual points by 3,000,000 points PER ANNUM or MORE. By it Moses freed Israel, Noah preserved the human family, Alma saved the Nephite nation from destruction. And, yes, you heard me right, this amazing gift is completely free. No postage and handling fees either.

Become one of the rare people to actually USE it daily.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Excommunication - Do members really understand it?

Many who are excommunicated feel that the church has rejected them as a person. Sadly some members seem to take this stance to re-affirm that idea - treating those excommunicated as second-class citizens. How should members see excommunication? And How should those excommunicated see it? To this there is an outward aspect before the world, and an inward aspect to assist the excommunicated member.

The outward aspect _ It can be said that the church is here to represent Jesus Christ. It also represents the members (thus the name of the church). If someone seriously misrepresents both of these then the church may feel obligated, in reverence to Christ and other members, to demonstrate that the person doesn't represent them, until change is clearly demonstrated.

The Inward Aspect _ Excommunication generally comes because a member has committed a sin that requires special work on their part to feel right with God about afterward. With many sins we can feel good once we have repented and sought God's forgiveness. But some things we do make us feel so bad about ourselves that we need to do what could be termed as "penance", so that we can feel right again. This can be a long process. The church provides an opportunity to make this a more effective and quicker process. This is excommunication.

Also when a person commits such a sin the Holy Ghost withdraws from them for a time. It is no longer a constant companion, because the person has cut off communication by their act. They feel unable to stand in God's presence, so to speak, within themselves. There is a feeling of being dirty. But the Holy Ghost can come back as the person works toward change and clearing out that feeling. So when the stake president declares a person excommunicated he is really only declaring something that has already happened anyway. He has the authority to withdraw the priesthood, as that is an authority within his area of responsibility. He can restore this authority at some point after re-baptism.

Some may question, what of where a person has been found guilty by a church court and later been proven innocent? Fortunately I think these things aren't the usual. Unfortunately prejudice etc may blind the revelatory ability of those who may otherwise be inspired. D&C 121:34-40 warns that this sort of thing can occur with church leaders. And those excommunicated members that are in this circumstance may be concerned about their standing with God. As I mentioned before it is the sin itself that removes the Holy Ghost from you. If the sin didn't occur then you will still have him with you as much as before. Your standing with God will not have diminished one iota. It is him that you will stand before at the judgement, and he judges by the heart, not after the hearing of the ears or the seeing of the eyes (Isa 11:3). Continue to support his church and those appointed to positions, regardless of their faults. It is about you and God, not you and people.To members generally I would say to realise that 1. You most likely don't really know that the person committed the offence. And 2. Even if the person did, you have sinned often enough yourself, so don't be high and mighty.
For those in this position I would just reiterate that excommunication is a helping process not a condemnation. Welcome the opportunity it creates for you and use it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Romantic Dating Approaches - Are they safe, or creating problems

Some dating methods (of the romantic type) concern me. I wonder where the wisdom came from. I'd almost feel that Satan must have invented them. They work on deception and distancing from a person to obtain them. They can confuse men into thinking that whenever a woman says, "no", she means, "yes".
The logic of these methods is like suggesting that to create a good relationship with children parents are best to pretend they aren't interested in them. Parents should just act like they don't care and children will become more interested in their parents. Somehow that doesn't sound right to me.

My wife has, of recent years, died (she died young) and eventually I am thrown back into this nonsense again. This has caused me to more deeply analyse this mess. Particularly as some females have used this process on me. I have been given the "no" and afterwards informed by them that I should have realised this meant "yes". That sounds like a dangerous position for a man called "Look Who's STALKING 2". And a dangerous position for a woman who can find herself being raped while saying, "no".

Amidst all this, women claim more independance these days, yet insist the man make the first move (there are some rare exceptions to this). Yet a woman going to her bishop claiming that a male member is stalking her because he approached her a few times is taken seriously and a man can be branded very badly. Also women will then "warn" other women to avoid him. Because men aren't so inclined to speak out about their problems and women are, we hear an exceptionally large amount about abuse of women and the dangers of being one. I don't wish to detract from any of these issues in making this post. However, if women want men to understand them then they should be plain in their communications. If a women is interested in a guy she would have far better chance by merely demonstrating the fact. Some guys just aren't going to be interested. I realise that marriages occur in spite of this concept being used, but what is the failure rate of this process in comparison to marriage occurring in spite of it?

Then there is the "I've got a boyfriend" routine. This is supposed to make the guy more interested. My response to this has always been to leave females with boyfriends alone, as I wouldn't want someone coming along and taking mine. Also it suggests that a female has made up her mind and chosen. Respecting her right to make this choice, I accept her as out of bounds from then on.

But all this deception isn't a good start to a relationship either.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Evolution - Is it true? (A continuation from the last topic which "evolved" into a discussion of this subject, so I'd advise a view of comments there)

People are faced with a lot of claims that we evolved from apes, and that there has been an evolutionary creation over an enormous period of time. This would also propose a continued evolutionary process.
The claim of millions of years is brought into scriptural conflict by D&C 77:6 "... the hidden things of his economy concerning this earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence." This is proposing that the only period that the earth will spend in a temporal existence (where things live and die) is 7 thousand years. This is also expressed in D&C 77:12 " ...even so, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth, and complete the salvation of man..."
The millenium is also referred to as the time for the earth to rest (being a sabbath rest). The millenium is a thousand years. So if it is a sabbath rest then that also points to only 6 thousand years as coming before it.

The question also is one of whether evolution is a sound scientific principle as so many believe it to be?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Make up your mind - Jesus Christ or the teachings of man?

I'd like to begin by quoting my old missionary discussions.
Today man endeavours to explain truth through science, literature, philosophy and religion. ... Knowing the truth frees us from the consequences of following false information that can come to us from other people. Evil men deliberately teach false ideas as if they were the truth. On the other hand sincere individuals might lead us astray unintentionally. Regardless of the reason the Lord has continually reminded us to rely upon revelation for truth, and not on the ideas of men. End of quote.
The scriptures present (by my interpretation) some things that appear to be challenged by these 4 above methods at times. Do we just bend the scriptures to fit in with them, or make a proper challenge of the claims? If the claims are not proven sufficiently, why should I even begin to decide that I need to remould my beliefs? If we just drop our belief at the slightest sign of some apparent conflict, where is our faith? Is it the world that forms our belief mixed with scripture?
Firstly, the scriptures present to me that God had a plan for us to come to this earth. We accepted that plan. Plain, obvious sense tells me that he did not then take millions of years getting on with it. We may have been slow learning how to create things (those who were involved), but millions of years is ridiculous.
Next, any animals living on past worlds were resurrected and therefore any bones found here are from this creation. Again the scriptures (to me) present that when the animals were made they were brought to Adam to name. Thus Adam was coexistent with them, not millions of years after.
Jesus Christ clearly spoke against anger, not in its favour. I have never seen a person angry at someone who had happiness in their heart from it.
Jesus Christ also spoke equally plainly against lust. I also am yet to see a person with true joy yet lust in their eyes. The enormous increase in pornography has not decreased rape, as some "experts" claimed it would.
New parenting methods haven't decreased youth violence, as also claimed.
Divorces haven't produced all these contented women. Most sit around winging about their ex.
(these latter 2 statements are generalisations, as should be noted by the terms used).
Anything that I feel challenges the scriptures needs challenging itself. If irrefutable evidence exists to prove the worlds claim, THEN I will re-examine my view of a particular scripture. And not before.
So far none of these 4 methods above has presented anything that has held ground, where it appears to me to be in conflict with scripture.