27 November 2020

This Nation Will Never Fail

 I date myself all the time, more and more as time passes.

On October 26, 1974 (yes, I was 7 years old), then Prophet Harold B. Lee spoke at the Hart Auditorium (I watched "Star Wars" at that auditorium 12 years later as a college student) on the Ricks College campus (now BYU-I).  I bring this up because of all the talk that the United States may cease to exist and break into any number of countries based on party or ideology.  President Lee said this many years ago.

Men may fail in this country. Earthquakes may come; seas may heave themselves beyond their bounds; there may be great drought and disaster and hardships, but this nation, founded as it was on a foundation of principle laid down by men whom God raised up, will never fail

I got this from the Deseret News 1974 Church Almanac that I have in my front room. Times were hard forty-five years ago, and it is no better in 2020. However, we can hear the words of prophets of God.  It heartens me that our nation is going survive these days, as it has survived so many others. A prophet has said it and I, for one, will take it to the bank!

10 November 2020

"Enough and to Spare"

In a media-saturated world that is slanted heavily toward anti-God ideologies, I have always found it useful to get news and perspective from a variety of sources. It is getting tougher to find some balance when anything other than absolute submission to socialistic ideals is being touted as near-treason to Neo-socialistic sensibilities.

Take for example a story from one of my favorite sources: Mercopress, a media provider in the South Atlantic where I can follow stories about the Falkland Islands and South America. I had never heard of Earth Overshoot Day before, but apparently this group marks the day when the world has used up all of a years renewable resources and then selfishly pillages resources that can never be renewed.

However, God presents a more hopeful scenario:

Doctrine & Covenents 104:17 
For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.
Much of the environmentalist movement and its precursors in darwinism and eugenics are based on the idea of scarcity. The theory says that there are not enough resources and there are too many people.  The "Green New Deal" is heavily steeped in this sort of thinking combined with its close cousin of climate change fear-mongering. Many groups, often ignorantly, follow the war-drum-beats of elitists who desire some utopian gardenplace village with themselves awash in comfortable and easy plenty and with everyone else (including you) simply gone.

Fortunately, God has provided all that we need and more than sufficient for all the spirits that were promised their earthly mortal lives. Oppositionally, modern concepts of scarcity and "noble sacrifices" eschewing marriage and family are completely against the purposes, power, and preparations of God and deny his promise to all of his children. People that act on these concepts do an evil of very deep order: convincing themselves and others to fight against God and the abundance he provides by denying the unborn his promises of life.

Based on God's words above, much of the fervor of an environmental argument is just swept away. God doesn't want us to be wasteful or to deny the needs of life to others, but we are not running out of anything necessary and we are definately not destroying the Earth (big tough place). We can certainly destroy each other with things like war and pollution and murder, but that is a different and completely human matter that doesn't involve any shortcomings from Earth or God. Those pesky Ten Commandments are mostly about being grateful to God and sharing the plenty that God provides without hurting others - those are the things that are far more important to everyone's earthly experience.

Don't get distracted by lies meant to turn you away from God and deny life to others. Marry! Have children! Raise them upon the truths of God - there is "enough and to spare"!

08 November 2020

Jesus' Two Great Commandments

I fear some people misinterpret the Two Great Commandments that Jesus gave as a response to an interesting query. There is a temptation to overlay recent concepts of love on these two commandments and essentially reinterpret them in ways perhaps at variance with what was originally intended by the Lord.

Matthew 22:36-40

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

The last verse says that the key to understanding everything else that has been revealed lies in the first two commandments.

The first commandment indicates an active and all-encompassing reverence for God, which I interpret as obedience-in-action to his commandments. As God doesn't force you to obey, the desire to keep his commandments must ultimately come from a place of total devotion (or love) rather than just the fickleness of fear and the avoidance of punishment. I say total devotion because the use of "with all thy..." a few times here - it seems you need that total commitment to gain the trenscendent goal of exaltation that God offers.

I fear that some combine the two great commandments together as if they both contain some unifying and singular definition of love. There are two commandments because two seperate things are being taught.

The second great commandment sounds much like the "golden rule" to me, as this from Matthew 7:12 - 

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Note the repetition of "the law and the prophets". This shows that The Golden Rule is directly related to the Two Great Commandments. It doesn't make sense that it relates to our relationship with God as we can never return to God anything remotely close to what he has done for us. Therefore, it must be a reference to the second commandment, which works very well.  Treating your neighbor as you would like to be treated seems to be the manifestation of the love Jesus demands of us toward our fellow man.

I think a significant group of people read more into these than is healthy. God does not demand much of us through commandments (no matter the Jewish tradition of 600+ of them) and everyone can live their lives obediently, exempting those who lack accountability. However, in order to live these commandments throughout a long life, a dedication to God and his purposes are ultimately necessary, as the First Commandment indicates. 

Modern love has embraced the feminine and soft ministrations of mothers as the ultimate expression of love, to the excluding of nearly every other sort. Many people project this sort of love on God and Christ in a motherly and demanded protection from pain and suffering and (frankly) incovenience. I conjecture that many reject a traditional God because they don't understand his purposes and therefore totally discount the manifestations of his love through a well-provisioned Earth, a clear plan to Godly living, and a redemptive Atonement through Christ. Today, the work of fathers and men to provide and open opportunities and motivate, much in the vein of our God-father, is universally disparaged and many demand the acceptance of only totally emasculated boy-children. Many people, worshipping their "inner child"(ishness) and an undemanding Earth-goddess-mother to the exculsion of much else, prefer a soft and comforting blanket of "mommy-love" as opposed to the challenging opportunity of exaltation which the masculine God offers and which constitutes his love for us.

I love my mom. I love my wife and her mothering of both me and our children. However, I'm just as grateful for the different love and example of my father, who most certainly does not mother. Beyond that, I am even more grateful for my Heavenly Father, who gave each of us loving mothers for the bulk of our lives, but is the great example of that "push-you-along", rarely satisfied, and more fatherly love.

God is the ultimate example of a good father: setting expectations that his children can attain and challenging them to rise to those expectations. It is a masculine love, not tending to softness and too often overlooking curable faults. God's love is more a command to rise to our divine heritage and become more like Christ. This is sometimes described as "tough" love where transcendence to exaltation is the goal that is set before us. God loves us enough to put us on the upward path, make that way clear for us, and give us the resolve that we need to succeed. What an amazing Father!

The next time you read and think about the Two Great Commandments, I hope you consider different manifestations of love that could also fit into Christ's commandments to us.