Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Greatest verse in Scripture

A person could ask, "which solitary verse of Scripture contains the greatest message?" There are a lot of verses in the running. And I'm sure not everyone would agree with me. But in my opinion I believe the answer is Mosiah 3:19.

"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."

This verse gives several important messages. Firstly it tells us that even though as a natural man we will sin and would be cut off forever, we can listen to the Holy Spirit, and put off the natural man. In other words we are not doomed to sin, as so many would try to claim. What a wonderful message. I can actually live a righteous life! I can put off sin, and never sin again. To a person such as myself, who was brought up a Protestant doomed to sin, this is just so wonderful. It fills my heart with joy. I can live a clean life, in harmony with eternal laws of love and life.

It tells me that I can be guided as to what is good and bad by the Holy Spirit. Again this message is just so amazing to me. I can have communication with the heavens. I need not remain in ignorance, as I had come to believe from my heritage. And I can be completely informed of what to do, and what not to do.

Not only don't I have to sin anymore but it tells my that my past sins can be removed by Jesus Christ, so that I need not wear them anymore. I can become a Saint (Greek equivalent to Hebrew word used relative to the sacrific - without spot or blemish - a pure person).

It states that we can become as a child in a spiritual way. We not only needn't sin, but we can, in fact, become sanctified people, full of all the most wonderful virtues in all eternity. How many people have I heard try to tell me I can't be perfect (let alone sanctified), or not in this life?

I used to hear people go on about how great King Benjamin's address was and couldn't see it at the time. My opinion has done a reverse on that one. And this verse sums it all up, IMO.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The President of the Church will Never Lead the Church Astray - What Does that Mean?????

After the first Manifeso at the back of the Doctrine and Covenants, we have quotes from 3 talks by Wilford Woodruff. This is one of those quotes.

"The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty." (Sixty-first Semiannual General Conference of the Church, Monday, October 6, 1890, Salt Lake City, Utah. Reported in Deseret Evening News, October 11, 1890, p. 2.)

This was stated because of the great opposition he faced from church members and leaders due to his declaration opposing the present practice of plural marriage.

The problem was that such a declaration opposes practicing the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Question was made as to his authority to discourage the practice of eternally unchangeable laws.

He goes on to explain why he felt to do so in the next 2 quotes given.

So his statement should be kept in context.

Today there are those that choose to believe that this is a reason to feel that nothing the President of the church says can be wrong. However that statement not only says that the President of the church would be removed out of his place but that ANYONE attempting to lead people astray, from the words of God, would.

To be moved out of their place they must have some "place" to be moved out of. It is posing church positions. So are we to believe that all bishops, stake presidents, high councilmen, elder's quarum presidents, relief society presidents, scout leaders, class secretaries, ward mission leaders, home teachers, visiting teachers etc are infallible in their offices: That every word they say is the mind and will of God?

Because that's what you would have to believe to use Wilford Woodruff's statement as used by some, concerning opinions expressed by the president of the church.

Note also that he states that it would have to be a deliberate attempt to lead astray, on behalf of the leader - "...If I were to attempt that...any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray..."

I think we have to use a bit of sense in our understanding of his intention. He is posing that such a major change, as he was presenting, wouldn't be allowed by God if it were wrong. To make more out of it not only is ridiculous (as demonstrated 3 paragraphs above) but doesn't fit in the context, nor with other statements of church presidents to the contrary.

Additionally such thinking leaves members open to anti-material where they demonstrate the differences of ideas expressed by church presidents and other GAs. We need to move beyond such ideas, as we learn in the gospel.

I'm not proposing that the President of the church isn't directed by God, at times God chooses, to make certain changes etc. What I'm saying is that he isn't under constant revelation when speaking.

The idea that we should look to another man, in some position, to tell us what God has to say, is essential for new members, those with mental retardation problems, children under 8, those who have recently reactivated, people suffering altzeimers disease, those coming to church only for social reasons and those having serious troubles seeing the point in obeying God (such as Israel at the time of Moses).

For any others there are 2 men that actually ARE infallible. One we call "Heavenly Father." And the other we call "Jesus Christ." Fortunately both are very much available for comment. You don't need to book an appointment to see them. You can just ask at any time.

Along with them we have the Holy Ghost, who is quite happy to reside inside you ALL the time. He can guide you in anything. He also is infallible.

That sounds a much better idea to me. The other is just being spiritually lazy, in my opinion.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Judging Others - Obviously we Need to

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged." Matt 7:1

This sounds simple enough. But does this interpretation make sense? We actually want to be judged, or how do we go to be with God? We also want to be judged correctly by others. We like receiving credit where credit is due, for starters.

So obviously this would be better interpreted to say that we shouldn't judge with a condemning heart, so that we won't be judged by a condemning heart.

Amidst this it could also be looked at to say that if we judge others with a condemning and unforgiving heart, that we will judge and condemn ourselves by the same standard: We won't really accept in our hearts that Christ's atonement can cleanse a person who has made errors (which includes ourselves).

As Christ stated _

"...Forgive, and it shall be forgiven you" Luke 6:37 or "Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors." Matt 6:12

We will notice that others have done evil to us or others. Recognising that others have done evil isn't a bad thing. How can we avoid doing evil ourselves if we don't know recognise evil? But Christ is saying to forgive.

Christ warns, "but beware of men..." (Matt 10:16) [Some women may echo that]. But in all seriousness, he is saying to be wary of people in our dealings with them. This requires judgement.

We also have to find a marriage partner. While revelation as to whom to marry is advised, there is still a need for us to understand the person and whether they are suitable - judgement. The same applies if we have children. How can we help them to learn and in their squabbles if we don't judge them?

And what of bishops and stake presidents etc in dealing with confessions or accusations of serious offences.

So how do we judge righteous judgement?

Isaiah says in regard to Christ _

"...he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears." Isa 11:3

We have the tendency to judge people by their actions and words. Yet he is saying this isn't fair judgement. This then requires us to learn to judge by the intent of their heart and the perception in their mind. It is impossible to judge such a way without either an ability to see inside others or to use the Holy Ghost or both.

Moroni states the following _

"For look, my brethren, it is given to you to judge, that you may know good from evil... so, I show to you the way to judge; for every thing which invites to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forward by the power and gift of Christ; so you may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God." Mor 7:15-16

So Moroni is telling us how to judge. He's gone on in verse 17 to declare that those who subject themselves to the devil can be determined by the criteria of judgement he has set forth. Obviously, therefore, he hasn't regarded Christ's statement as posing that we don't judge people.

Either way I wish to stress again that the Holy Ghost is best used in any judgement we make. And if our judgement is made with a view to helping others move on from mistakes, we will accept our mistakes with the same attitude.