14 August 2022

"...the same shall be saved at the last day."

A young man spoke to us at a conference today, mentioning the best answers to questions are ones that expand beyond the original query.  For instance, the question "should I get married?" gets answered and beyond in the response "Young men should prepare to be good husbands and fathers."  You see the expansion? Beyond marriage, you should look forward to doing a good job for your wife and kids!

I just read an example of this from the Lord.  The disciple leaders of the Church in the Book of Mormon pray for the Savior to help them with a problem.  Christ himself comes and they ask him how the Church should be called and how there was some contention over this.  Here was his response.

3 Nephi 27

4 And the Lord said unto them: Verily, verily, I say unto you, why is it that the people should murmur and dispute because of this thing?

5 Have they not read the scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day;

6 And whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day.

There is a bit of chastisement, which previous scriptures tell us is quite common from the Lord, and then he goes beyond what they asked for: Christ focuses on the requirements of salvation.  Verse 6 says that we need to take upon us his name, which is what is done at authoritative baptism, and then to endure as a busy disciple of Christ throughout our lives. These are the core elements of salvation and the Church, in its name and purpose, is the structure through which Christ provides authoritative baptisms and training and support toward good discipleship.

The name of Christ's church may seem a small matter to some, but Jesus made it obvious that it is important, not just as a name, but as a vehicle for accomplishing the Savior's purposes.  You might very well find other places where Christ and his prophets and apostles go beyond answering our seemingly simple questions to teach us larger principles and expand our understanding.

12 July 2022

"...unto you that fear my name..."

 This is yet another stab at resetting people's expectations of Jesus Christ.

When Christ came to the people in America, he commanded that some scripture be put into their records that had been written by prophets in the "old world". I have been reading through parts of the book of Malachi previously and I am still working through this.  I am also noticing a pattern.

It is the "fear of the Lord".

A lot of modern Christians don't equate Jesus with fear, but they should.  It is far too easy to think that Christ will simply forgive bad behavior purely out of a sense of love, of which I have seen no evidence in my scripture study. Information in Malachi chapters 3 and 4 is clear about Christ's punishments for the wicked (and he has an expansive view of who is wicked) and that our basic attitude toward the coming Christ should be fear. I don't know about you, but I am worried about my status in relation to the Messiah - how he sees me. Although a few people may follow Christ out of a sense of love, it seems many more are like me and do good and follow Jesus' example because we want to avoid the consequences of not doing so!

3 Nephi 25 or Malachi 4

1 For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

2 But unto you that fear my name, shall the Son of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves in the stall.

3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of Hosts.

I love the Lord and I am very grateful for his mercies and kindness toward me and mine. However, I don't insist that his love justify my sins nor do I put my hope in such an idea that I have not seen Jesus utter. I am very much in fear of what Christ will do to the wicked, as quoted above, and I don't want to be counted as one of them!  Fear and respect his name, as stated in these scriptures, and enjoy his healing.

29 June 2022

"Return unto me and I will return unto you,..."

I might get the reputation of highlighting the hard Christ, the one who promises punishments for disobedience.  I do this because of the constant stream of platitudes from many, many popular sources that "God loves you the way you are" and the rejection of commandments and essential ordinances and repentance in favor of a supposed Christ's overarching desire to put aside everything he ever said and taught in favor of being oh-so-loving to everyone. If I were your only source for information on the Messiah, you might see him as a pretty hard taskmaster - I just feel this deep need to provide the better-documented (in scripture) counterpoint!

Here is a wonderful snippet to help you know that you don't have to be in the "hard" Savior's "doghouse" forever: 

3 Nephi 24 and Malachi 3

7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts. But ye say: Wherein shall we return?

This again is Christ Himself quoting Malachi because it was important for his followers in America to have this information.  That means that it must be of supreme importance to the Lord and to our allegiance to him.

If you don't feel as if Christ is a part of your life or you don't feel that you are having the spiritual experiences that he promised to send you through the Holy Ghost, it is because you have distanced yourself from him ("gone away from mine ordinances and have not kept them"). The way to resolve this lack of spiritual feeling and guidance is to "Return to me (Jesus)".  In the following verses, Jesus quotes the searing accusation that people rob God by not paying the commanded tithing as an example of how one can "return".  I choose to leave that concept aside for now, as I want to appeal to the folks that want the sweet and kindly Christ that can be found in a "properly interpreted" Bible (wink, wink).

Christ is always willing to get closer to us, but better proximity is always on the condition of repentance or change. It may be true that "God loves you the way you are", but it seems that his better presence and closer attention to your needs may be based on our striving to be a bit better than "the way you are".

I'm just restating the words of Christ himself - I hope that is not too "un-loving" for you dear readers!

24 June 2022

God's Definition of Special

It seems everyone wants to find something special about themselves; something that makes them stand out from the rest. But what happens when you are special in God's eyes but that marks you for something seemingly bad as opposed to something good?

As an Aaronide priest, which marks me and my sons as a literal male-line descendants of the biblical Aaron and leaders in the tribe of Levi, the Lord himself has singled us out in a way not too appealing:

Malachi 3 and 3 Nephi 24

2 But who may abide the day of his (the Lord's) coming, and who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap.

3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. 

4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.

There it is - the fate of my heritage: to be burned until pure and scrubbed until clean. The redemption of the Jews and Jerusalem must have pure and clean priests, of which I am one.  Doesn't that make a person feel special and loved, all warm and fuzzy inside?

I would say most people would rather avoid such a background, but it is inadvisable to hide from God. I didn't think much on these things in my youth as our family didn't really know our background, but now that we do, I get this need to rise to the station that my ancestry demands.

My life hasn't struck me as particularly hard, but there is a growing desire not to hang back from responsibility, not to avoid tasks that seem difficult, not to turn down opportunities that may force stretching and growth.  I am heartened by the regular blessings of the Lord that have helped me along the way and assured me that God is really there and mindful of me. That is a great reassurance that fire and soap will do its work and that I will end up pure and clean at some point in the future.

Be careful of the desire to be special - it isn't all wine and roses.

07 June 2022

Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident on GoodReads

The Arctic Incident  (Artemis Fowl, #2)The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer

Wonderful Archetype for the overriding love-service and responsibility of children to parents and the collection of powerful allies in mutual benefit toward individual goals - I will help you with your needs and you will help me with mine.

View all my reviews

02 May 2022

"The Priest" is my Pronoun

There is much ado about pronouns these days.  Some rather inconsequential countries have even written laws about who defines personal pronouns, what are proper pronouns, and the punishments inflicted if uninformed bystanders dare to use the wrong reference, even ignorantly. I think we will see that governments which behave in this way will all be cast as foolishly inconsequential going forward and be largely ignored. 

As GUS (Government of the United States) consumers will soon be denied food for non-compliance, I will be using the following pronoun to placate the howlers:  the priest.

I know.  You say that isn't a pronoun. Are you really injecting logic at this time in this environment?  "Zim" and "zey" weren't pronouns five years ago, but be prepared for the screaming if you don't acknowledge them as pronouns today.  I can be just as creative as any other rainbow-haired howler.  Besides, "the priest" fits in any given pronoun-ed sentence. Try it anywhere you would use a pronoun and it works and it's actually good grammar to boot.  That makes it a pronoun in any sense to which I am aware.

Better than giving ourselves our own names and pronouns, we should let those who know us well (our parents?) do it instead - an arcane concept. God gave me "the priest" designation as a descendant of the biblical Aaron and who am I to question the understanding of a deity concerning my heritage and responsibility?

Even better, this sort of a pronoun also speaks to a higher state to which I can aspire.  If one can attach themselves to such a term, would one not be riddled with guilt and shame, yet strive to meet the expectation? I should want to be a good priest, one that brings honor and praise from God. This is much better than a pronoun that simply implies existence or something as modernly banal as gender.

As a counterpoint to modern ignominy, I offer some reasonably modern words from God:
Doctrine and Covenants 88
35 That which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, nor judgment. Therefore, they must remain filthy still.
I added the emphasis to help us see that as we seek to alter God's commands and perhaps set up one's own set of commandments, promised blessings and a happy afterlife will not follow. I find the term "filthy" especially appropriate to our day.

To speak on the subject of pronouns and names a bit more, people should be far more worried about bringing honor to the name that their parents gave them. Whether it is some family first name or the last name they have.  Far too many seek to redefine themselves by changing their name, basically tearing themselves from their own family, familial love and honor.

If people are going to throw aside convention, family, and perhaps God, at least let them create pronouns and names toward a higher purpose rather than pointless navel-staring.

29 April 2022

Fred Reed is One of the Best Commentators of Our Times

I first discovered Fred about fifteen years ago.

I put links to some of his columns here because they are often blocked without some obfuscation.  He is not considerate of the howlers who scream at things that bother them, so social media typically blocks his writing, which is a terrible shame and recommends him most highly.  Fred is a real "straight shooter".

https://www.amren.com/commentary/2022/02/fred-reed-joe-biden-democracy/ - The Care and Feeding of Rabble: Democracy Its Own Self

https://www.unz.com/freed/blackness-fatigue-enough-is-too-much/ - This gives the best explanation of how "diversity" is at the root of most violence and wars.  Mixing strongly different people together is a bad societal idea. 

You can see Fred's recent columns here:  https://muckrack.com/fred-reed/articles