The Importance of Advocates - Jason K (By Common Consent)
The Big Questions
3 hours ago
(I) talk of Christ . . . and (I) write according to (my understanding), that (my) children (and friends) may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. (2 Nephi 25:26)
There were some kinds of challenges that President Kimball had that were very, very difficult and it came to a point of sometimes weighing church membership in the balance and he had to make the decision. And it was on the basis of his decision that the first presidency of the Church would act at the time, because this was when he was an apostle.
President Kimball under those circumstances would say that sometimes lives are so complex, conditions are so incredibly confused, guilt and responsibility are so diffused in so many ways that it is very, very difficult and it is not a clear cut issue of right and of wrong. And he said that frequently with some of these more difficult problems he would pray mightily unto the Lord and ask for His guidance and direction and sometimes would not receive a clear cut answer as to the direction that he should proceed and that when that would happen, he would stop and ask himself the question:
“What is the loving thing to do?”
And he said, "Some day I know that I will stand before the judgment bar of God, and some of the decisions I made will have been wrong. I will have erred. I will have made a mistake that maybe the decision should have been another way."
And the Savior will ask me:
“Why did you make that decision? That was not the correct decision.’"
And I will say with the integrity of my heart:
"Lord, I did that because at the time I wasn’t sure what was the direction that I should go and so I made what I thought was the loving decision.”
I am confident that God will look down upon me on those occasions and forgive me of my error."
"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." (verse 11)
When my wife and I got married, we agreed that I would make all the important decisions and she would make all the unimportant ones - since she already had made the most important decision in my life by agreeing to marry me.
28 years later, can you believe there hasn't been a single important decision since then?
The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.
"That's not how I interpret that scriptural passage, so you must be relying on the philosophies of men."
"Regardless of these natural responsibilities we inherit due strictly to biology and culture, the ideal marriage is one where such distinctions are erased - where each partner shares the other's responsibilities to some degree and acts as an equal partner with the other overall."
I remember when my youngest turned 8, and we began to talk about baptism. We asked him when he would like to be baptized (his birthday is in May), and he said:
“I think . . . . . . November.”
We were a little curious as to what significance that had, but when asked he replied with a cheery smile:
“I want to live a little first.”
"Lord, is it I?"
I have some communal responsibility for the messages I send through the actions I choose.
I alone am responsible, ultimately, for what I think and how I act - no matter what messages are being sent by others.
I don't object (when people say) that the garment is sacred and should be treated with respect, but so are we.
D&C 58: 26-28 - "For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; for the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.
Alma 37:37 - "Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good."
D&C 9: 7-8 - "Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind;"
I started thinking about it because the premise that this life is a continuation of the pre-mortal life and that the state we are born into is a result of our valiance and effort in the last life.
For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. (Doctrine & Covenants 58:26)
"Fine, we will give you an answer, since you won't shut up and stop asking - even though you shouldn't need to get instructions from us about this."
Girls should be guardians of virtue for boys.
A virtuous woman is trustworthy, treats her husband (if married) well, works with her hands, rises early, feeds her household, purchases land, plants food, becomes physically strong, serves the poor, makes clothing and other materials, sells merchandise, is strong (again) and honorable, speaks wisely and kindly, is active, is praised, fears the Lord, is blessed.
This is something I've been pondering as I'm making the transition from viewing myself as someone's son to someone's father. The greatest success of a parent is that their children go out and be successful on their own. That they become functional, independent, well-adjusted human beings. I think God wants us to be functional, independent, well-adjusted eternal beings.
I really like the concept that this life is a time for us to learn to choose right from wrong without constant intervention from God. And I like the idea that we are trying to become like God. What I'm going to say next probably would sound like heresy to many but I'll just say it. God is God because he chooses right because it is right. He doesn't act because of fear of punishment or duty or any other such human motivation. He just does right. I think that's why it is important we are here and cut off. We need to learn to do right without constant direct influence from God...and here's the possible heresy: I feel that ironically our goal is to learn to act entirely independent from God. The more we progress, the less we need him. We simply begin to choose right because it is right and not out of duty or fear or any other such motivation. We just do right. We just are. Just as God said "I AM".
So something I've been pondering is that ultimately is it our destiny to outgrow the need for God? Not outgrow him in the sense that we are more powerful or never want to see him again but that we become completely independent of him. This idea actually makes me love my God more. The gift of eternal self-determination seems much greater than the gift of eternal subservience. I would be grateful to my parents for my life if I was expected to serve them my whole life. But I'm infinitely more grateful that they raised me and sent me out in the world to experience it and now to raise my own family.
I have trouble putting these thoughts in words. But this makes sense that just as I have left my father's house and gone into the world as an independent adult, I hope my new son will someday leave and lead a happy life. For me it follows that my eternal father would want this same thing. Not want me to come back to his house and sing praises to him forever. I don't want my son to worship me, I want him to be grateful for the way I will raise him and then to go on and raise his own family.
That's why the idea of eternal progression is so amazing to me and so much better than any other concept of heaven I've ever read about.
Many years ago as I was entering my crisis stage, I decided I needed to go to the temple to help sort things out. Though I was living in Salt Lake City, I went to the Manti temple, because I wanted a much lower key place than Salt Lake could provide. As I was going through an endowment session, I was particularly troubled with the signs and tokens. In the midst of this, I felt a very specific voice telling me:
"Don't knock it. I don't understand it, either. But someday you will be glad you didn't reject it".
I was fully aware of the illogic, the paradox, and implausibility of that message. Nevertheless, the anxiety and frustration I was feeling about it simply went away.
Some several months later I went inactive, and didn't attend Church for 17 years, but when I did, I was glad that I could without carrying any negative feelings about the signs and tokens. I still don't pretend to understand them, but it's no big deal. And it has allowed me to have some very warm, comfortable feelings about my temple experiences. The biggest message I have gotten from the temple is a sense of peace, purity and power that I have felt there.
Since no particular group has a monopoly on all that is wise, beautiful and just, everyone can learn from everyone else. Our experiences have gaps that need to be bridged, and our perspectives have blind spots that need to be filled. We find meaning in human connection when we climb out of ourselves and discover the dignity of others, even if we disagree. And no one should have to give up their identities.
"Then you should have made sure I knew that before now."
"You answered according to the dictates of your conscience all your life. No harm; no foul. That's what I kept saying the Atonement is all about, right?"
It came like a flood over me the other day, and I don't have adequate words to express it. The idea is centered around Matthew 10:39:
He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
Think about our efforts to complete our "checklist" and gain for ourselves eternal life as our efforts to find our life.
Ponder the question, "What is Christ's sake?" How could we "lose" our life (or desire for our personal reward) for this purpose that Jesus was promoting?
My major concept around this idea is that when we get caught up in the idea of a literal, physical (not exclusively mortal) reward we become largely self-centered and lose the "greater than ourselves" focus. It's like finally staking our claim on a cottage in the ideal community where our efforts to obtain our prize came at the expense of that ideal community as a whole. What we are effectively left with is a nice little cottage in the middle of a ghost town. It is only when we honestly don't care about earning a reward that we can focus with effectiveness on the important task at hand of Christ's purpose.
Is our desire to "earn" an eternal life in effect putting our reward or "life" ahead of Christ's purpose?
I don't believe there is any simple answer that can encompass the whole purpose of Christ; it is about our opportunity to continually gain ground in becoming more Godly, more loving, more selfless -- yet "selfless" is a complex topic in itself. Sometimes an action that looks self-serving can in fact be for the greater good of others. Self-sufficiency for example reduces the burden on others to provide for the poor. However, I do believe that when we focus on charity (the great commandment) and becoming more selfless in general, we find our way toward righteousness and becoming more Godly.
Where it all comes together for me is in the thought that the essence of selflessness has nothing to do with physical/material stuff. Selflessness is a spiritual ideal. Physical paths lead to physical rewards; spiritual paths lead to spiritual rewards. Of course, as mortals we exist in a physical world, so physical actions will play a part in everything we do. The key question is what are we seeking. If we are looking for some tangible reward at the end of our path we may be "finding" our life in the way where it is ultimately lost. If we can rise above the primary desire for personal gain (even eternal life), maybe we can make some progress toward divine love.
After all isn't love the ultimate reward? Love isn't something that we can gain by seeking it, divorced from everything else. The only way to gain more love is first to share it.
"I told you if you asked me you'd be getting me - and that I probably couldn't do what you thought would be ideal. I'm a caretaker doing the best I can given my circumstances; if that's not enough, release me. There won't be any hard feelings on my part."