Post Conference Thoughts and Impressions

It is the morning after the 189th Semi-annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There have been a couple of doctrines that have sunk deep into my being this morning. The most important being choice and agency.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong spoke about the choice to marry his wife.

Covenant marriage becomes supernal and eternal as we daily choose the happiness of our spouse and family above our own.

When I asked, “Heavenly Father should I marry Susan,” I felt peace. But it was when I learned to pray with real intent: “Heavenly Father, I love Susan and want to marry her. I promise I will be the best husband and father that I can be. When I acted and made my best decisions, it was then [that] the strongest spiritual confirmations came.”

The bulk of his talk was about “covenant belonging” but this tagent near the end about using agency to form covenant relationships was profoundly signficant.

In my patriarchal blessing there is a line “you can find a young lady of your choice…” this in discussing temple covenants and relationships.

Christ is the champion of agency and choice. Perhaps when I am studying in the scriptures and I cannot find anything that points me to Christ, a second line of strategy would be to ask, “What does this teach me about agency or choice?”

Action Item: There is a greater marriage narrative that needs to be written with this increased light and understanding.

Restored Unto Grace for Grace, According to Their Works

Helaman 12

The doctrine of change, the doctrine of repentance, brings about the purposes of God and reason for our existence.

Second morning, I am going back and reviewing the references at the beginning concerning prosperity:

10 Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.
11 God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.
12 Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work.

Psalm 62:10-12

Here is another one:

And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.

2 Chronicles 26:5

And one more:

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Psalm 1:1-3

And then a warning not to forget is found in the subsequent verse’s footnotes:

19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.
20 As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.

Deuteronomy 8:19-20

Oh How Great Is the Nothingness of the Children of Men

I read this explanation this morning in verse 7. Verse 6 leads up to it. And it really strikes me as profoundly significant that God, our Creator, would give man instructions, and man would think himself greater than God, ignore his instructions, and go in a different direction. In any other context, a thing created that didn’t fulfill the purpose of its creation would be considered of no value, meaningless, worthless. (Perhaps that is why so frequently we feel this way when we disobey God’s commands.)

But the bigger “Aha!” for me this morning is that if we don’t follow God’s instructions for our design, we are nothing! In any other context, a thing that does not act according to design would be wasted, thrown out, tossed aside as having no purpose, discarded.

Saved, Salvation

I have a problem with the word “salvation” this morning, and that is its association with the thought of a “passive redemption”, which clearly the authors of the scriptures don’t believe in or teach. But salvation is a privilege reserved unto God to grant unto those who exercise faith unto repentance.

the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord:

Psalm 37:39

The above is not a passive statement in as much as righteousness is not passive, but requires work to become righteous and to maintain righteousness. For the moment that the righteous man stops working to do good, then is he no longer righteous, but become idle and hence wicked.

Restored Grace for Grace

And may God grant, in his great fulness, that men might be brought unto repentance and good works, that they might be restored unto grace for grace, according to their works.

Verse 24

This verse of scripture left me puzzling for a few moments. There are a couple of key insights that are revealed in these verses. First, this verse acknowledges a fall. In other words, that our original habitation was one of glory where we dealt with God “in his great fulness” living “grace for grace”. The path that restores us back to our primeval state of grace, fullness, and glory is that of repentance AND good works. All this is a gift from God, and yet strangely, all this requires our very best efforts to achieve it. “Then is his grace sufficient for you!” (Moroni 10:32) And me!

Why is it so hard? Why is repentance and good works required? Because we’re bring a body in tow with our spirits. We left the presence of God as spirits. Our very purpose in mortality is to return back to God with our spirits clothed in tabernacles of flesh. According to the degree that our spirits could master these tabernacles of flesh, this is the glory to which we are restored, the fullness of which bring us back into the presence of God and His Son. These are not prizes or trophies to be won. NO! It is much more. These are purposes to be achieved, and preparations to be secured. For what? The next chapter has a far greater weight in Glory than could every be conceived in this mortal realm of things.

So in the meanwhile, we are left to limited confines of this mortal existence. Its purposes are to share what we have, and to acquire as much light and knowledge as we can afford to retain.

Helamán 12 (en español)

Los propósitos de Dios se logran cuando los hombres se arrepienten y hacen las buenas obras.

La Vida Sempiterna

¿Cuáles son las escritpuras que testifican o enseñan sobre la vida sempiterna?

No hay mucho que habla de que es la vida eterna. Doctrina y Covenios 132:19,20,24,55 explica con más detalles. Juan 17:3 es el otro lugar.

Condenación Sempiterna

¿Y de la condenación sempiterna? Tal vez lo estudiaré más adelante.

Ripening Again for Destruction

Helaman 11

I’ve been reading this passage of scripture for 3 days now. What have I been missing in my readings? The Lord and the proactive nature of the work of prophets.

It is not normal for the Lord to intervene in the external affairs of man, but here is a prophet of God is proactively soliciting a more humane or compassionate response to the situation of the people. Instead of perishing by the sword, Nephi pleads that there will be a famine in the land. The Lord grants Nephi’s request.

After three years of pestilence, then the people began to remember the Lord and the words of the prophet Nephi. Personal application is this: I forget the Lord when I forget the words that have been revealed to me personally through revelation. I am seeing the need to review, to remember what I already have learned.

Must I be chastened of the Lord, before I will remember Him? How can I better remember the Lord?

By verse 18, a proper order of things had been restored to the land. Nephi is rightly acknowledged as a prophet of God among the people. Nephi has, in fact, petitioned God for an end to the famine which he called upon the land.

It is interesting to note that Nephi called down a famine upon the land in just one verse of scripture. To end the famine that he had called down from God, Nephi plead with the Lord for seven verses, hashing out with the Lord the details of their circumstances. It is almost as if Nephi is petitioning the Lord for forgiveness on behalf of his people.

What follows next is most instructive. Two years of peace and prosperity follow. The church is established throughout all the land. But then, the people’s point of departure from safety was when there began to be “a few contentions concerning the points of doctrine which had been laid down by the prophets.” (vs. 22)

Nephi and Lehi “having many revelations daily” were able to put to an end the strife within the Church in that same season. Revelation was required to be able to do so.

But what follows is the real and sad account of the general state of man, waxing strong in inquity, pride, and wickedness. “And thus they were ripening again for destruction.”

Helamán 11 (en español)

Uno sea tentado a preguntar la sinceridad del arrepentimiento del pueblo que sea compelido a arrepentirse. Y como el resto del capítulo demuestra, entre unos dos o tres años más, se les olvidó de nuevo el Señor su Dios.

(Really, I have been grappling with this set (chapter) of scriptures for a week or so now. I am observing how in regards to long term conversion, it was not really helpful it was to give Nephi power to work great wonders and miracles. That didn’t produce the same staying power as did the missionary efforts of Ammon and his brethren among the Lamanites many years earlier. I actually think that is the point of these chapters. The Lord is trying to illustrate that though He can work shortcuts and give His prophets power to do great wonders and miracles, but they do not produce the needed long term growth that must sustain the children of God in order to become like Him.

Am I missing something else here? What about Nephi’s conversion? It is also fairly notable that admidst such gross wickedness, God was willing to give unto Nephi sealing power. Nephi’s personal life becomes a testament that 1) even among great darkness, one can live a consecrated life and progress spiritually, and 2) God will deliver the righteous even if by miraculous means when needed. )


Mighty in Word and Deed

Helaman 10

I don’t know why this chapter always resonates so deeply with me. Nephi is given the sealing power, power to loose and bind in heaven and on earth.

The Lord declares unto Nephi that he can be trusted with all the words which the Lord gives unto him.

Helaman 10

El Sacrificio significa apartar algo a un propósito sagrado. El significado actual es diferente: –es el de renunciar a algo o sufrir la pérdida de lo mundano por el Señor y Su reino.– Me parece más el primer sentido, porque ser apartado o santificado tiene un sentido mayor. No perdimos cuando nos sacrificamos algo, aún que en lo inicial así se parece. (véase versículo 4)

La razón por lo cual el Espíritu del Señor resuena dentro de mí tan fuerte en estos versículos: Hay claves de poder en versículo 5.

La diligencia en atender a la obra del Señor fue uno de las razones por lo cual Dios bendijo a Nefi, –porque has hecho esto tan infatigablemente–

The Wickedness and Abominations Which Are Among You

Helaman 9

In very dynamic fashion, Nephi demonstrates that prophets are fully aware ” of the wickedness and abominations which are among you. ” Suddenly my respect and appreciation to God for calling prophets in our day has increased. That their guidance and council keeps us safe from those influences that would destroy us is true. You cannot wrest with the worlds or guidance of a prophet of God and come out on safe ground.

The opposing judges in these verses again demonstrate their unorganized attacks against Nephi. Their claims are across the board from trying to condemn, to bribery with money and promises to free him if he will devulge the murderer. They simply refuse to believe that God would reveal it unto him.

Heláman 9

Hay niveles de rectitud. No sea que fácilmente nos puede medirlas, pero la realidad es que hay tiempos en nuestros vidas cuando somos más fieles que otros. También, hay algunos que son malos, y deben ser buenos. Hay blanco y negro, pero satanás nos haría creer que solo hay gris.

Mission Statement, Experience with Wayward Children

Alma 42:15-22

¿Qué es el amor? el mundo no entiende que es el amor. Y por alguna razon, hay un industria que se dedica a la mentira de amor, que en verdad es [lust]. A mi hija que no ha comprendido el amor verdadero, y que ha [compromised] su virtud,

(This morning a clash between the divine and my own personal experiences.  A culmination of truth in action and here are my thoughts at the moment.)

What is love? The world doesn’t understand it. There is an industry that seem bent on the perpetuation of the lie that obscures love, and replaces it with lust.

My own daughter has for a season been carried away by the power of this lie, confusing lust for love, compromising all that was sacred, and putting herself on a course of eternal consequences. I’ve wrestled this morning with the idea that one doesn’t know what sin is who doesn’t know the law. Then also how that has been additionally compromised with the challenges of mental disorder/anxiety.

But it doesn’t stop with my daugher, because my oldest son is also caught in the same social trap, being made prey to all those enticements that waste away youth and steer one in the wrong direction.

Here is the issue on a much larger scale however: There is an industry that has hijacked our culture, and is destroying family value. And this is where my fight lies. Why are they capitalizing on a lie? Because it is so pervasively believed.

This is an extremely important social issue, because of what is happening to family, and how generations are being affected by it, and it is in part a result of our entertainments.

Your mission is to define for yourself those principles that are true. To secure all the blessings of the such principles to ensure a stable home environment, and then to reach out as far as your grasp will take you to change the world for the better.

Rebelled Against Your Holy God

Helaman 8

Contentions arise among the people concerning the validity of Nephi’s statements. Nephi responds by appealing to Moses for support.

…and also the words which were spoken by this man, Moses, who had such great power given unto him, yea, the words which he hath spoken concerning the coming of the Messiah.

Verse 13

The Flawed Logic of the Wicked

In the responses of the men who were judges to Nephi’s word, I see several errors:

First, they are afraid to take action themselves, so they use words to try and accomplish their objectives by trying to compel others to take action. It’s the weaselly-ness of that type of behavior that is repulsive.

Then, in their claims of stability they are prideful and presumptuous, assuming that the way things are, they cannot change.

Furthermore, the railing accusation that these men had against Nephi was that he could not have power to know of their sins and iniquities. The claim to knowledge from God that ended the last chapter drove these men to anger and to make false assertions of power within themselves (vs. 6).

This is the following day. I have struggled to focus this morning in my studies. There is a great truth contained in these verse, even a powerful witness of Christ, which Nephi uses the names of several prophets, some of which are unknown to the modern world, except that they appear here in the Book of Mormon: Zenos, Zenock, and Eziah are the three mentioned here that are unknown. Nephi groups their testimonies with that of Isaiah and Jeremiah.

And behold, he is God, and he is with them, and he did manifest himself unto them, that they were redeemed by him; and they gave unto him glory, because of that which is to come.

Verse 23

Finally, in verse 25, there is a summary of Nephi’s accusations against the wicked. Instead of seeking for truth and those treasures which are incorruptible, instead of developing a relationship with God, they were “heaping up for yourselves wrath against the day of judgment.” Whose wrath? God’s wrath. Where there needed to be a relationship with Him, confidence with God, if we do not receive of his kindness then are we to receive of his wrath.

Helamán 8

Dios da poder a los hombres, si los hombres buscan a Él para su fuerza.

Ye Have Great Need to Marvel

Helaman 7

Earlier in chapter 6, it was noted that Nephi and Lehi, and also many Lamanites, went into the land northward to preach the word of God. Here at the beginning of chapter 7, it is noted that these efforts were utterly rejected.

The wicked went unpunished because of their money. What made them wicked though probably had to do with the acquisition of money in the first place, or rather how they chose to accumulate wealth or the greed that lead to a surplus of wealth.

At the end of this chapter, Nephi is clear to explain that the things whereof that he accused the Nephites of were not of his own interpretation, but rather had been revealed to him of God, or that his knowledge of their wickedness was from God.

These things are true because the Lord God has made them known unto me…

verse 29

I share with Nephi a witness of the source of my knowledge. It is from God.

Helamán 7

Al iniciar mi estudio en español, empece con esta asunción: todo lo que Nefi dice al pueblo es verídico. Así concluyo Nefi el capítulo diciendo que estas cosas son verdaderas porque el Señor Dios lo había revelado a él.

Hablando al pueblo, el pueblo se maravilla por causa de los llantos de Nefi en su torre del jardín. Pero Nefi dice que deben maravillar a causa de la rapidez en el cual había apartado del camino de Dios. Deben maravillar que el diablo había logrado tanta éxito en tan poco tiempo. (versículos 15-16)

Porque he aquí, así dice el Señor: No manifestaré mi fuerza a los inicuos, a uno más que al otro, salvo a los que se arrepientan de sus pecados y escuchen mis palabras.

Versículo 23

Esto me hace considerar que hay una fuerza en el Señor que los inicuos no comprenden. Esta fuerza es la fe.