17 February 2022

A Decision to Deviate from the "Agenda of God"

In the beginning, Adam and Eve were given a commandment to "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it" (Genesis 1:28). This is a key part of the "Agenda of God", where men and women couple through marriage and seal themselves together through covenant with God to bring children into mortality and raise them up to follow Christ toward the life that God leads, or exaltation. We may use different words to describe it these days, but this is the same plan that God introduced to our first parents many millennia ago.

There are some married couples of men and women that, despite their best efforts, cannot have children. As this is through no fault of their own, God doesn't hold them culpable for that part of his first commandment to Adam and Eve - they still came together as instructed and sealed themselves together through covenant. There are also people who cannot find a righteous opposite-sexed mate, but keep God's commandments in every other way.  Exaltation can still be theirs through aligning themselves with Christ and certainly by encouraging those around them to marry through temple covenants and to have their own families centered on exaltation.

Beyond these, a growing number of people eschew God's purposes for them and follow other paths. A common way to do this is to attach oneself to a sexual or gender deviancy through LGBT+ lifestyles. These paths propagate behavior and thought which are thoroughly incompatible with the "Agenda of God" - no marriages through covenant, children not taught to authentically follow Christ, no interest in exaltation. Yet such deviants insist that their practices and pseudo-doctrines should be given the same respect and honor as those who work to align with Christ, his commandments, and purposes, even within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

So, how do those who espouse lifestyles that deviate from the "Agenda of God" fit in the Church? Honestly, there isn't a "fit" in an organization devoted to eventual exaltation. If a person chooses not to align themselves to Christ by encouraging all to be sealed through covenant, man with woman, there isn't anything the Church of Jesus Christ can do to support or be encouraging of such deviance from Christ beyond inviting that person to keep attending and encouraging changes through repentance to make exaltation their goal. The Church cannot provide a soapbox from which gospel deviants preach something counter to the will of God for his children.

Reality dictates that deviation from the Agenda of God cannot bring joy. No matter the shrill demands of deviants to change institutions into comfortable spaces and capricious conformity to such demands in public spaces, the joy will not come. Joy is tied to obedience to divine laws and cannot be had by any other means, chemical, psychological, or ideological. No amount of sophistry can generate joy - "Wickedness never was happiness." (Alma 41:10)

Leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ made the "Agenda of God" clear in their 1995 proclamation to the world entitled "The Family". Those opposed to these tenets and who choose to defy the path commanded by Christ should find their visits to Church meetings to be somewhat uncomfortable, but always with an invitation to align themselves better with the path toward God and exaltation through repentance and baptism.  A person who deviates can choose the higher way! 

14 February 2022

To Those Who Don't Want It: Visitors Welcome!

Here is a wonderful discourse on "Visitors Welcome" directly from Jesus Christ himself.

3 Nephi 18:28-32

28 And now behold, this is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it;

29 For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him.

30 Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out from among you, but ye shall minister unto him and shall pray for him unto the Father, in my name; and if it so be that he repenteth and is baptized in my name, then shall ye receive him, and shall minister unto him of my flesh and blood.

31 But if he repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people, for behold I know my sheep, and they are numbered.

32 Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.

Every meetinghouse of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a phrase right under the name:  Visitors welcome. This is a manifestation of a charge from Christ to never throw anyone out of Church gatherings. No matter what a person has done or whatever they believe, all people are encouraged to attend public meetings of Latter-day Saints. Now, that doesn't mean that people can take over meetings to espouse their own ideas or use such gatherings to make demands on the Church to be more accomodating of their choices; it just means that no one will be bared from coming and listening. Church meetings are not places to air one's greivences with church authorities or policies or doctrine - there are many other venues to vent such things.  Church meetings are meant to give Latter-day Saints a setting to better learn and understand the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed through Joseph Smith.  Everyone is free to come, but our adherance to the "Agenda of God", the path to exaltation, will be the subject matter being discussed.

The Church of Jesus Christ is designed to facilitate personal development toward exaltation, which again is to align people with Christ and to become like God, as Christ will do. If a person comes to meetings at Latter-day Saint meetinghouses and they aren't interested in the "Agenda of God", it would not be surprising to feel a bit left out or even uncomfortable. Being out of alignment with Christ or at cross-purposes with him will invariably be discomforting.

Everyone is welcome to come and see what happens in public meetings of the Church. If someone doesn't like it, they don't have to come back but they are always, always welcome. 

10 February 2022

Framing Things in the "Agenda of God"

Some want to know why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints behaves in the way it does and why it accepts some behaviors and not others. In the strange climate of belief that Christ covers all behavior in his never-ending shroud of love, it can be hard to see why a church that considers itself the only organization actually created and led by Christ acts in certain ways.

Actually, I think the actions of the Church of Jesus Christ can be readily understood and perhaps even predicted by an understanding of the "Agenda of God", which goes something like this: 

  • to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ as restored through Joseph Smith; 
  • to provide authoritative ordinances; 
  • to administer God's covenants; and 
  • to preach obedience and righteousness that lead people to exaltation.

The goal of Christ and his Church is exaltation, the life that God enjoys. The conditions of exaltation are readily known: entering and keeping the temple covenant sealing together of a man and a woman, alongside righteous living. Anything that detracts from the goal of exaltation is condemned and a change of heart and behavior toward exaltation (which is repentence) is enthroned.

God's agenda can be encapsulated like this, from Moses 1:39

39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

When anyone is quick to question why Christ and his Church function as they do, I think it is useful to remember the individual exaltation ("eternal life" from the scripture above) that Christ is charged by his Father to make possible for us and toward which Christ commands us. To expect the Church to bend to cultural or societal demands that are counter to the "Agenda of God" is to expect Christ to abandon his mission and God to ignore his goal.

In coming articles, I will place some controversial topics against the Agenda of God and comment on what I expect will be Christ's likely attitude toward them.