Friday, April 10, 2020

Anonymous witness

This got shared with me today:
To anyone who cares to listen:

You lived in a world that, you were told, was prosperous, full of advanced technology, and progressing steadily forward to an ever-brighter future. You were told that science would lead you to the truth, that man's technology would solve all problems, that your government would care for you, protect you, and provide for you. Yet, in a few weeks, that world has disappeared, replaced by one in which humans are afraid to come into contact with each other, where that prosperous economy has almost instantly stopped providing sufficient means for its participants to provide for themselves, where parents struggle with the strange new burden of caring for their own children without a state-sponsored surrogate. That same state continually spouts reassurances that this will all be over soon, and we'll be on our way to a bright recovery, while at the same time ever extending their forecast of the current panic. Thousands sit idle while their governments promise handouts, promise medical care, promise resources for child care -- while even during decades of prosperity and unparalleled technological advancement those very governments have proven themselves unable to live within their available budgets, unable to provide reliable medical care to their "heroes" and murdering those whom they claim to treasure most, and unable to care for children in a way that prepares those children to live responsibly in society.

Can you not now see that you've been acting on false information? Can you not see that the usual sources of information are patently unreliable? How could it make any logical sense to trust these would-be protectors now, when the system we've built under their guidance has proven itself so obviously unstable? How many times do you need to walk home from another break-down before you stop driving the same unreliable car? How many times do you have to yell at your children in an unsuccessful attempt to get them to behave, before you realize yelling isn't working? How many times do you need to burn your hand in the fire before you realize you shouldn't put it there? How many times do you need to fail before taking action to find a better way?

And yet you maintain your trust in these state-sponsored liars. Even while you fashionably criticize them for their obvious tradition of spewing false information, you quote their latest statistics in the same breath. You discuss their latest advice, and follow their latest edicts while snitching on your neighbors who don't act as you do.

Some of you have trusted your churches. How many of them showed you how to weather this difficulty? How many of them taught you to live within your means, to avoid debt, to teach your children at home? Or did they instead tell you to give them your money even if you didn't have enough to feed your family, and to burden yourself and your children with activities and programs within the church, ever increasing your dependence on their organization while preventing you from learning how to operate within your family? How many of them offer the same reassurance that they'll care for you and provide for you in times of need, when even in decades of plenty they've let their own people starve?

How many times have your prophets, priests, and kings been caught in lies, and you still listen to them? Can you not now believe there may be a better way?

What if there actually were a God? What if that God actually loved you, and wanted to see you through this storm, and any other storm, in peace? Your state has told you, "You don't need to take care of yourself, or protect yourself. Our sciences and our power will be enough for you!" What if that was a lie? your church has told you, "You don't need to learn to approach God yourself; we'll do all that for you!" What if was also a lie? Those churches have accused you, saying, "God can do whatever he wants. If you're suffering, it must be your fault. You must be doing something wrong." What if that accusation were a lie?

Those sources will also tell you that my one voice can be disregarded. "That guy's crazy," they'll say, or perhaps you'll say it for them because they've taught you so well to disregard inconvenient evidence. "He's just one guy. Ignore him," they'll way. Perhaps this crisis hasn't yet persuaded you to reconsider that advice. Nonetheless, I offer my own voice, small and anonymous, that whatever has shifted in your world, God remains steady. His offer does not guarantee the particular variety peace and comfort your world has taught you to covet. The world's definitions of peace and comfort are, themselves, still more lies. The peace God offers is steady and unwavering, even when all hell breaks out in the world.

God is no genie, who offers you wishes and safety in the blink of an eye. He offers you wisdom, and understanding of the natural laws of the universe within which he operates, that you may take the proper actions so that the consequences which flow naturally from them will bring you your righteous desires. God cannot magically bring peace to a world whose inhabitants will not behave peaceably. God cannot magically bring wisdom to a world whose people refuse it. God will not allow his children to fight each other and hurt each other any longer than is absolutely necessary to teach them obedience, and to give them every possible opportunity to learn.

Seek him, in person, and he will inspire you, and teach you, and come to you. Quit ignoring the evidence he offers of his love and care. Quit dismissing his influence. Quit responding to the lies of the world around you. Seek truth; you will know it when you find it because it will bring you reliable results.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

"...[F]or there can no man be saved except his garments are washed white; yea, his garments must be purified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it hath been spoken by our fathers which should come to redeem his people from sins."

The Lord has a job for all his children.  He has a work that he is accomplishing and the way he accomplishes his work is largely through his children.  If you are a seeker of Christ you fit into that category (many, many others do too, but I am addressing the former).  

If we are to understand what the Lord is doing right now in heaven and earth we must understand God.  If we are to understand God we must have a clear understanding of our standing and relationship with him.  If we are to be his vessels upon this earth we must have a clear and correct knowledge of what he needs us to be in order to work through us.  

Thankfully he has laid out exactly what he needs from us several times in the scriptures.  In the quote above he reminds us that we must have our "garments" purified through the blood of the Savior.  The scripture goes on to explain how we do that.  It is so much more than reading and being able to talk about what the Savoir said.  The purification comes through personifying the Lord's teaching, showing what the Savior taught through your daily actions and way of thinking and being.

"...[F]or there can no man be saved except his garments are washed white; yea, his garments must be purified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it hath been spoken by our fathers which should come to redeem his people from sins. 

First and foremost, we must recognize our dependence on the Savior.  No matter what our sins have been and what our weaknesses continue to be He is there, able, and willing to cover them all.  It is so important to know that as we give up our hearts and desires and take upon ourselves his heart and desires we will naturally turn from sin and seek to correct our weaknesses as much as we are able.  We will never seek to harm another, including ourselves, because we understand better how much that hurts the Lord when we allow those thoughts and actions.  In all those ways the Lord comes into us and takes a home inside of us to purify all that we cannot make holy ourselves.

And now I ask of you, my brethren, how will any of you feel, if ye shall stand before the bar of God, having your garments stained with blood, and all manner of filthiness? Behold, what will these things testify against you? Behold, will they not testify that ye are murderers, yea, and also that ye are guilty of all manner of wickedness?"

In this statement, "will they not testify that ye are murderers, yea, and also that ye are guilty of all manner of wickedness," it may be easy to brush off since it is likely that none of us have murdered anyone.  However, the Lord makes clear in the scriptures that teaching a person a way of life, thinking, or belief that is contrary to God and creates a space that divides man from him has aided in that persons spiritual death.  They will be held accountable for that, unless they repent.  Similarly we like to look at the words "all manner of wickedness" and dismiss any association we may have with that accusation.  However, the struggles that are being discussed directly after this is the wickedness being referred to above. 

Behold, my brethren, do ye suppose that such an one can have a place to sit down in the Kingdom of God, with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and also all the holy prophets, whose garments are cleansed, and are spotless, pure and white? I say unto you, nay, except ye make our creator a liar from the beginning, or suppose that he is a liar from the beginning; or also, ye cannot suppose that such an one can have a place in the kingdom of heaven, but they shall be cast out, for they are the children of the kingdom of the Devil. 

A warning that we do not allow ourselves the deception of putting off our errors as something else or thinking somehow we will not get the consequence that everyone else must get.

And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now? Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white, through the blood of Christ, which will come to redeem his people from their sins? 

The change of heart means that you are no longer seeking the desires of your heart, all the things that make you happy and feed your sense of accomplishment.  Instead you seek to know the Lord's heart, what you can do that give him what he wants, his greatest wants and desires.  The Lord loves you and will allow you to do all manner of good things and bless you in them, but that is not the same as seeking what will give the Lord his greatest desire, or what will be of greatest benefit to him, or what will give him the greatest outcome.  

Sing the song of redeeming love is not an idea it is how you live, think, feel.  It comes form the center of who you are.  It is not forced, it cannot be coerced.  It is freely given.  It is a rare thing and frequently misunderstood and misinterpreted.  People who learn to embody this characteristic are a threat to the devil, who rules by the opposite, and will slander, mock, and persecute these people severely trying to get others to misunderstand and believe false ideas of those who truly worship the Lord.

Keeping yourselves blameless refers to the constant need of every mortal to return to God every moment of everyday, focusing on the Lord's will (your change of heart) and living always from love (sing the song of redeeming love).  You will know that you are filled with weakness because of your mortal state, but you also know that when you focus on the Lord and doing exactly what he says for the blessing of his children he fills you with his love and perfection and therefore are blamless in his eyes (which is all that matters).

Doing that will keep you sufficiently humble and if you covenant/commit yourself to obeying God in everything he says and join him in his work your garments have been cleansed and made white because the greatest thing you can do is join the Lord in the salvation of his children.  

To achieve these wonderful steps there is a process.  It is the same for everyone.  They are the keys the devil uses to keep people away from the Savior, however, it also makes it easy to know where to focus because it never changes.  We are all similar 

Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not, ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold, ye must prepare quickly, for the Kingdom of Heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life. Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy

Envy encourages competition.  Competition requires you to put another down in order to place yourself or another over the first person.  The Lord doesn't ever want any person put down.  He desires all people to receive the blessings he is able to give.  If there is ever envy or a desire for competition it is rooted in a sense of pride or wanting to be important or "more" important (see the competition or comparison there).  There is NO room for pride or competition of any kind in heaven.  It must be rooted out and we must be willing to be shown where it has taken root in us.

I say unto you, that such an one is not prepared, and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come: for such an one is not found guiltless. And again I say unto you, is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions? Wo unto such an one, for he is not prepared, and the time is at hand that he must repent, or he cannot be saved; yea, even wo unto all ye workers of iniquity; repent, repent, for the Lord hath spoken it. 

To heap persecutions is to cause difficulty for another in their path or journey.  Some unknowingly pray for others journeys to be made more difficult because they disagree with that persons choices.  That Lord desires we seek for the same thing he seeks.  He seeks to know and be known by all people.  Praying just for that and allowing the Lord to decide the best way to accomplish that is pleasing.  In that we can avoid creating a path or a "lesson" for another person that might not be in their best eternal interest and therefore also not working towards the Lord's greatest work.  It would therefore be working AGAINST the Lord's work and disliked very much by him.  Who are we to think we know enough about the Lord's work to know exactly what others should be doing?  Leave that in the expert's hands.

Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men; for the arms of mercy is extended toward them, and he saith, Repent, and I will receive you"

He has a perfect path for you and all.  Leave it open.  Seek him constantly.  Be willing to change in his ways.  Know that there is a constant that he is so you will always know how to look and test if i is him speaking or not.  Let him guide you in every way.  Seek diligently to find your pride and envying in a desire to root it out and open a space for the love of God to enter and purify.  He is the Kind he will redeem you.  Seek the love and salvation of yourself and all those around you. Repentance is love toward God.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.