23.9.17

Christ simultaneously sees our Eternal end as He sees us in our sin!


God can't look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.  Yet, Christ is eternally and infinitely forgiving and compassionate.

Watch/Listen to Elder Dale Gunnar Renlund's April 2017 talk, Our Good Shepard, where he cites the example of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables comparison of the bishop of Digne to Christ and asks, "All the same, should the scabs of the sheep cause the shepherd to recoil?"

The narrator (Hugo) provides a definitive answer: NO!

"The Savior’s mortal ministry was indeed characterized by love, compassion, and empathy.  He did not disdainfully walk the dusty roads of Galilee and Judea, flinching at the sight of sinners.  He did not dodge them in abject horror.  No, He ate with them.  He helped and blessed, lifted and edified, and replaced fear and despair with hope and joy.  Like the true shepherd He is, He seeks us and finds us to offer relief and hope.  Understanding His compassion and love helps us exercise faith in Him—to repent and be healed."

Christ views sin in us as a condition that needs His treatment, care, and compassion!

"... our genuine conversion brings 'meekness, and lowliness of heart,' which invites 'the Holy Ghost [and fills us with] perfect love,' an 'unfeigned love' for others."

We need to go to those who need help--rest-homes, care-centers, homeless-shelters, soup-kitchens...  We need to be willing seek-out missionary opportunities as directed by the Spirit--also need to remember that we're not full-time missionaries or general authorities...  Get and Be out-of-our-comfort-zone!!!  Till it becomes your comfort zone...

"Understanding His compassion and love helps us exercise faith in Him—to repent and be healed...  Our role is also to help and bless, lift and edify, and replace fear and despair with hope and joy."

We can motivate people to change by our compassion and mercy, just as the Savior did!

"The Savior’s compassion, love, and mercy draw us toward Him... [And] through His Atonement, we are no longer satisfied with our sinful state.

As we understand His role, through doing as He has done, we become more like Him and naturally do more of His work, which helps us become more like Him.  ...  The fastest way to become like our Savior is to do His work--as we do His work, we will repent more and understand Him & our Heavenly Father more... 

Christ told the phrases that implied that the woman taken in-the-very-act-of-adultry, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

The woman was left alone (as those who had planned to kill her left, their consciences having been pricked) and "she was motivated to change because of His compassion and mercy."

We get further insight by the Joseph Smith translation of the bible of what happened then:

"And the woman glorified God from that hour, and believed on his name.” JST John 8:11

"God is clear about what is right and acceptable to Him and what is wrong and sinful. This is not because He desires to have mindless, obedient followers. No, our Heavenly Father desires that His children knowingly and willingly choose to become like Him and qualify for the kind of life He enjoys."

"Our role is also to help and bless, lift and edify, and replace fear and despair with hope and joy."

JPS

12.8.17

Eternal plan & covenant


The Eternal Plam of Happiness has a built-in covenant:

God's covenant -- God, our Eternal Father in Heaven, the God of the whole, entire, universe (as in, any part in the whole, wide, universe that you can imagine or think of or draw or wonder about [except imaginary parts of the universe or parts that are not real and true--but, He is your God and created your brain]) has promised or covenanted with us that He will give us everything that He possesses when we (you and I and she and he) keep our end of the covenant.

Our covenant -- We promise to obey His laws, rules, and by following the example of His perfect Son!

Seem a little too-heavy?  That's it...  All we have to do is follow His Son, which includes being baptized, repenting of our sins (both sins of commission and omission), making every other covenant (after baptism--the gateway to the Celestial Kingdom) required, and endure to the end.

The beauty is that once we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, he will "teach us all things that we should do" (2 Nephi 32:5).  Just as the words of Christ will tell you all things that you should do (2 Nephi 32:3).

Not hard at all.  C. Terry Warner used to tell his classes (and possibly wrote it in his book, Bonds that make Us Free, that this life is hard, but not hard to bare!).

JPS

4.8.17

Why is suffering the preferred payment for Justice?


Ok, so we have mankind--all of Heavenly Father's children born to this Earth--lost and damned.  What do we need?  To be brought back into His presence and be resurrected.  How can that happen?  Jehovah volunteered to suffer the Atonement and pay the debt to Justice and grant us all a resurrected body, just as He now has one (and can resurrect us all, as He now has that Priesthood Key and knowledge and power...).  Sure, ok; I get it--the only Eternal currency that the intelligences of the Universe accept is suffering--but why?  Is it the pain?  Is it the cosmic juices used-up to recover from that?  Is it like the universal endorphin rush (like cutting)?

I think my question now has moved from "Why was that suffering necessary?" to "Why does the payment come in the form of suffering?"  "Is suffering necessary to progress?"

If I bring it back to earthly experiences, I am left with examples like the breaking down of muscle--in order to make a muscle grow, you must first break-down the muscle to allow it to rebuild itself bigger and stronger than before.

From what I can gather, "After you workout (where you are essentially breaking-down your muscles), your body repairs or replaces damaged muscle fibers (myofibrilsthrough a cellular process where it fuses muscle fibers together to form new muscle protein strands or create muscle hypertrophy (growth)..."  These new muscle strands increase in thickness and number, thus, leaving you with more muscles! (So how do you actually add muscle to your muscle cells? This is where Satellite cells come in and act like stem cells for your muscles. When activated, they help to add more nuclei to the muscle cells and therefore contribute directly to the growth of myofibrils (muscle cells)...  stress is a major component involved in the growth of a muscle.

Now, let's turn back to our spirits.  If our spiritual muscles are what makes us able to be more perfect in following Jesus Christ's example, then we must "break them down" by exercise and causing our muscles to be "stressed" so that we can recover and the spiritual muscles will be bigger.

So, why is the stress or the break-down of spiritual muscle (and I am equating suffering with that break-down) necessary for Justice?  Just because of Mercy?  No!  My suffering can in no way be used to cause the intelligences or Justice to do anything for me, but Christ can through the enabling power of His atonement!  

But, why does and how can Christ's suffering have any sway?  Just because of the injustice and the pity owed him.  That guilt that we feel, may be part of the suffering too (because Christ felt no guilt, being completely free from sin, we may need the guilt as part of our suffering).

Think of Matthew 26:39, which says:

And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

It may be that the only payment that is acceptable to pay back for sin is that: suffering!

JPS

31.7.17

Hard to do or hard concept to understand?


... "whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."  As a school counselor, I had to study and learn and use Maslov's Hierarchy of Needs as I thought of and counseled others.  Here is an abbreviated list:

• Physiological needs (air, water, food, shelter, clothing)
• Safety (personal security, financial security, health)
• Love/Belonging (social belonging, family, intimate relations, mentors, colleagues)
• Esteem (respect from others, respect for yourself)
• Self-Actualization (desire to accomplish all that one can to be all one can be!)

Maslow thought that these needs were all inter-related and dependent on each of the other steps.  What I have noticed and seen, not only in the counseling I've done, but also as I have had relationships and seen the lives of others, is that when one of those needs is completely or almost completely lacking (i.e. if somebody has no food or water or air), he or she is incapacitated to some degree while attempts are made to fulfill that need.

While it is true that some or all of you is incapacitated, on some level, a person continues to function (also, in some degree) until death.  Nor is it true that simply because one or two or even all but the life-sustaining-needs are ignored or not fulfilled, that you (one) is (are) kept from offering or fulfilling those needs for others (i.e. a dying mother rescues their child or gives away their last nourishment to their child).

These examples are understandable and even expected, whereas Jesus Christ's injunction and commandment applies to everyone in every and any circumstance: "whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."  He asks us to satisfy (or more, if we can) one or all of the needs, just as we roam the Earth seeking to satisfy or fulfill our own needs (physiological needs [air, water, food, shelter, clothing]), etc. and these can be the most simple to accomplish, because of money...

JPS

13.2.17

A Trump from the Mouths of Babes


My daughter, our daughter, Samantha (Sami is how she addresses herself) finally got ahold of a toy recorder that she walks around the house blasting and which my wife will secretly dispose of if that continues for much longer, and she calls it, "a trumpet" (which it isn't).  She loves to go to the temple and touch the side of the temple.  She loves to admire the glowing golden angel Moroni who blows a trumpet to the East.

Sami blows the trumpet (in any direction) a bunch of times and shouts-out, "THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!!"

From the mouths of babes we hear pure testimony given: "THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!!"

JPS

Causing Him further Grief


"We developed an intense desire to stop causing him further grief'" - Elder Dale G. Renlund said in his April 2016 talk, "That I Might Draw All Men unto Me".

There are no "neutral moves" in life...  you are either moving away from God or towards Him!  We are only causing him or adding to His and our Heavenly Father's joy.  By so, adding to Christ's joy, we are also not "causing Him further grief".

I remember having a serious conversation when I was in my teens, where my mom came to tears as she was explaining to me this same exact concept: not only when I did something "wrong" was I likely to get "in trouble" with my mom or dad or bishop, but, more importantly, when I sinned, I was adding to Jesus Christ's pain and suffering in Gethsemane.

Since God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, and Christ suffered the consequences of every sin that you or I or anyone ever does (that isn't repented of....  mind you, that is a very important caveat!), when I sinned knowingly (and didn't repent of it), I was adding to the pain and sorrow and even the spilled blood that Christ freely spilt in the Garden of Gethsemene for every one of our Heavenly Father's children.

I will remember that chat and my mom's tears forever!

I will not "cause Him further grief"!

JPS

1.12.16

Light the World! #LightTheWorld


https://www.mormon.org/
#LightTheWorld 

Church Launches 'Light the World' Christmas Initiative


A global effort to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and encourage people to serve others during the Christmas season is being launched by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The “Light the World” Christmas initiative will reach worldwide audiences from Friday, November 25, 2016, through January 1, 2017.


The initiative focuses on celebrating and sharing the light of Jesus Christ, the “light of the world” (John 8:12).
“As we follow the example of the Savior and live as He lived and as He taught, that light will burn within us and will light the way for others,” said President Thomas S. Monsonin a general conference address in October 2015.
“It's the Christmas season,” said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “We have lights — all kinds of lights on our houses, on our trees, on our dining tables. So if we link those wonderful traditions with the source of truth, even Christ as the source of light, it just made great sense to all of us that that would be the theme that we would employ this year.”
Sharable online content is available at mormon.org beginning November 25, including a video that invites the public to perform acts of service following Christ’s example during the Christmas season. The service effort will kick off Thursday, December 1, with a Worldwide Day of Service.
Elder Bednar explained, “The whole purpose of this initiative is to celebrate and share the Light of Christ. What we hope people will do is not simply think about the Savior during this Christmas season, or even just learn more about Him. What we hope is that they will come to know Him by doing what He did.” 
A playable/downloadable version of the main video is also available on the Church’s Gospel Library app. In addition, 25 short videos offering daily ideas for service can be shared on social media during the initiative.
Elder Bednar said the Church is not trying to overwhelm people with ideas for service during the Christmas season. “These are very simple things that the Savior has provided the example. And we, in a very appropriate, simple way during this Christmas season, can do the same things that He did. He healed the blind. We can help the blind to see. We might, for example, read a story to someone in a nursing home who cannot see. Doesn't take a lot of time, but a small, simple act of service that exemplifies the Light of Christ.”
The shareable content is being posted on the social media pages of mormon.org such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. Those on social media are encouraged to share their experiences by using the hashtag #LIGHTtheWORLD.
The website, available in English, Spanish and Portuguese, features a downloadable advent calendar, “In 25 Ways. Over 25 Days.” A web landing page is provided for 26 other languages. The calendar provides daily ideas for planning service opportunities in December leading up to Christmas Day.
In addition, the initiative is offered via internet sites, displays in English-speaking Church visitors’ centers worldwide and the Mexico City Visitors’ Center, member and missionary tools and outdoor advertising, including billboards in New York City’s Times Square; Salt Lake City; Los Angeles; Johannesburg, South Africa; Philippines; and Mexico.  
The video was produced in 33 languages. It will be available in AlbanianArmenian, Cebuano, ChineseCroatianCzech, Danish, Dutch, EnglishFijian, Finnish, FrenchGermanGreekHungarianIndonesianItalianJapaneseKoreanLatvianMongolianNorwegianPolishPortugueseRomanianRussianSamoanSpanishSwedishTagalogThaiTongan and Ukrainian.
The Church’s Missionary Department has been sponsoring Christmas and Easter initiatives for the past several years to reach broader audiences with the Church’s message that Jesus Christ was born, lived, died and was resurrected to save all mankind.
Last December, the “A Savior Is Born”Christmas initiative reached millions of people around the world. The video had more than 50 million views. Millions were also reached last spring with the “Follow Him” Easter initiative. 

19.11.16

Satan's plan compared to World History Politics


This post will borrow much from Elder Dallin H. Oaks April 2016 talkOpposition in All Things as well as many websites that I will reference in the post for Worldwide political philosophies.

Elder Oaks encapsulates the fourth chapter of the Book of Moses and cites, "From the beginning, agency and opposition were central to the Father’s plan and to Satan’s rebellion against it. As the Lord revealed to Moses, in the council of heaven Satan 'sought to destroy the agency of man' (Moses 4:3). That destruction was inherent in the terms of Satan’s offer. He came before the Father and said, 'Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor' (Moses 4:1).  Thus, Satan proposed to carry out the Father’s plan in a way that would prevent the accomplishment of the Father’s purpose and give Satan His glory."

Not just that, but Satan's hatred for and against Jehovah (who was named Jesus when he was born into this life) absolutely and totally and completely tried to usurp Jesus the Christ's role in the plan or rather negated it...  There would be no reason for this planet to be atoned for and no place for mankind's healing or empathy for or especially no reason to have a Messiah!  Satan would annihilate a need or purpose for Christ and all that He stands for.


"Satan’s proposal would have ensured perfect equality: [here we start to remember the Communism of the former Soviet Union, no?] it would “redeem all mankind,” that not one soul would be lost. ("The contention in heaven was—Jesus said there would be certain souls that would not be saved; and the devil said he could save them all, and laid his plans before the grand council, who gave their vote in favor of Jesus Christ. So the devil rose up in rebellion against God, and was cast down, with all who put up their heads for him Book of Moses—Pearl of Great Price 4:1-4; Book of Abraham 3:23-28]." TPJS, 357)

There would be no agency or choice by anyone and, therefore, no need for opposition. There would be no test, no failure, and no success. There would be no growth to attain the purpose the Father desired for His children. The scriptures record that Satan’s opposition resulted in a “war in heaven” (Revelation 12:7), in which two-thirds of the children of God earned the right to experience mortal life by choosing the Father’s plan and rejecting Satan’s rebellion.
"Satan’s purpose was to gain for himself the Father’s honor and power" (see Isaiah 14:12–15Moses 4:1, 3). “Wherefore,” the Father said, “because that Satan rebelled against me, … I caused that he should be cast down” (Moses 4:3) with all the spirits who had exercised their agency to follow him (see Jude 1:6Revelation 12:8–9D&C 29:36–37). Cast down as unembodied spirits in mortality, Satan and his followers tempt and seek to deceive and captivate the children of God (see Moses 4:4). So it is that the evil one, who opposed and sought to destroy the Father’s plan, actually facilitated it, because it is opposition that enables choice and it is the opportunity of making the right choices that leads to the growth that is the purpose of the Father’s plan."

Satan is THE GREAT LIAR, the original liar, and President Barrack Obama says to a group of Argentinian students that: there was no great difference between communism and capitalism and that they should just 'choose from what works'.  “So often in the past there has been a division between left and right, between capitalists and communists or socialists, and especially in the Americas, that’s been a big debate,” Obama said.  “Those are interesting intellectual arguments (communism and capitalism...), but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works. You don’t have to worry about whether it really fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory. You should just decide what works,” he added.

Does communism ever work?  Didn't for the Soviet Union, and the USSR was America's and all American's greatest threat for 50 years!  It's not that the Russians didn't carry-out Karl Marx' theories well enough--they are flawed and corrupt!  Communism is corrupt!  It will never work.  It is a counterfeit to the Law of Consecration, and Satan is the founder of it (and any other philosophy that is anti-Christ).

Communism is a counterfeit to the Gospel plan, says, Marion G. Romney, an apostle and member of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ("Communism is Satan’s counterfeit for the gospel plan, and . . . it is an avowed enemy of the God of the land. (Marion G. Romney as quoted by Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, Oct. 1979; Ensign, Nov 1979, pgs. 43-47)" ) and President Ezra Taft Benson also said:

  1. Whenever the God of Heaven reveals His gospel to mankind, Satan, the archenemy to Christ, introduces a counterfeit. . . Communism introduced into the world a substitute for true religion, It is a counterfeit of the gospel plan . . . Today, we are in the battle for the bodies and souls of man. It is a battle between two opposing systems: freedom and slavery, Christ and AntiChrist... (Ezra Taft Benson, “A Witness and a Warning,” Ensign, Nov. 1979, 31).
Karl Marx, the original and revolutionary socialist, states are run in the interests of the ruling class but are nonetheless represented as being in favor of the common interest of all.[8]Socialism was designed by Marx to be an interim point to work toward the perfection (communism). Marx believed that Socialism was better than capitalism, and the next step upward for humankind on its way to the perfect society, which Marx believed was communism.  Obama's legacy would have been to turn the United States into a communist state, and Bernie Sanders deceived himself into thinking that his democratic socialism wouldn't be turned into communism.  Or maybe he knew it would!

JPS

16.10.16

Why rebel against God?


Jacob, the brother of Nephi and son of Lehi, in The Book of Mormon, wrote he and others wished that, "...we would to God that we could persuade all men not to rebel against God, to provoke him to anger, but that all men would believe in Christ, and view his death, and suffer his cross and bear the shame of the world; wherefore, I, Jacob, take it upon me to fulfil the commandment of my brother Nephi."

My question is, why should we rebel against God?  We've already accepted His Plan of Salvation , received our precious bodies, and know of Him and His goodness--why would we ever rebel against that Loving Parent?  Why would we ever choose to disobey that Perfect Father who loves us Perfectly and provides for us?  Maybe we are pissed because of the inequity in the world?  Maybe we think of that homeless person we avoided on the street or just wished we wouldn't run into, and we are mad at God for them?  It's just not fair that bad things happen to good people?  Even good people trying their best to serve God have bad things happen to them...

The real question, however, is: why do YOU do things that you know you shouldn't?

A better question, and one a trifle less judgmental is: why am I not experiencing the joy that this life was designed to be?  President Russell M. Nelson answered just that question in his General Conference talk in October of 2016 called, Joy and Spiritual Survival.  This life, offerers experiences For our Spiritual Development and Learning.

All I have to do is not rebel against God and live my life helping others.  Love God and my neighbor, right?

JPS

14.10.16

The Lost Sheep and Agency


Presidemt Dieter Friederich Uchtdorf proclaimed, in his talk in April 2016 talk, "He Will Place You on His Shoulders and Carry You Home", that God will force no man to heaven, in his discussion about how Christ's mercy will seek-out and rescue those (specifically talking about the one who is lost out of 100 sheep) who are but who will but ask for His help.  No payment is needed or even accepted; nothing due; no pre-requisite waited for.  All of this in direct and painful contrast to Lucifer's bold claim that "he would save ALL of God's children" if only God would grant him His honor (that the universe's intelligences would bow to his commands).

One who paid the debt to be able to save, with blood dripping from every poor as He chose to feel the pain, anguish, fear, worry, stress, sickness, and horror that anyone oils ever feel in this life, versus one  who makes empty promises that could literally never come to pass but who asks for all of the glory in return.  Yet, somehow, one third of the host of heaven were fooled or beguiled into choosing an eternity of living with and as this sad serpent indtead of inheriting a kingdom of gory with a resurrected and immortal body.  How?  And that's not even the saddest part--his lies are fooling so many people today to not follow their conscience and act on the truth that they know to be the right thing to do!

The joyful irony at the end of the day (or the end of this mortal life as well...), is that Christ did what Satan only purported to be able to do (but would not have been able to do in the slightest way)--Save those rare sons of perdition, there is no life so shattered it cannot be restored--everyone will be raised to a kingdom of glory because of Jesus Christ's atonement!

Dare to do right!  Dare to be true!  You have a work that no other can do!

JPS