Saturday, August 15, 2015

Postive ? Negative ?

(Or vice versa?)

In this age of positive mental attitude, affirmation, validation, and personal “awesomeness”1 (strangely? coupled with a deteriorating state of world affairs), I wonder if we should reconsider what is positive and what is negative.

Is it a positive thing:
▪ to affirm mistaken / dysfunctional perceptions, beliefs, opinions, feelings, choices?
▪ to promote self-will, self-determination, self-promotion, self-glory, etc. vis-à-vis God?
▪ to encourage competition; profit-seeking; worldly power, gain, and success?
▪ to preach the “law of attraction”2 and the “prosperity gospel”?
▪ to à la carte God’s attributes and serve Him up only as a God of love and forgiveness?3
▪ etcetera?
Is it a negative thing:
▪ to call it as it is, was, and will be (from a scriptural perspective)?
▪ to question powers and authorities?
▪ to blow the whistle?
▪ to sound the trump of justice and judgment?
▪ to cry repentance?
▪ to consider inconvenient, unpleasant truths?
▪ to expose crimes and misdemeanors of a “favored” people, organization, group, or nation?
▪ to consider we are nothing vis-à-vis God?4
▪ etcetera?
If criticism results (or could result) in a course correction, should it be viewed as negative? (And who doesn’t often view criticism as negative?)

If affirmation and PMA result in stubborn adherence to self-will, is it really positive?

I ask this because holy words (from both God and His prophets) seem full of “negatives.” Try an experiment: open at random the Holy Scriptures. In page upon page, one will find the likes of:
And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them. Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods. (Old Testament | Deuteronomy 31:16-18)

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. (Old Testament | Isaiah 64:6-7)

I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; (Old Testament | Isaiah 65:2)

… when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not. (Old Testament | Isaiah 65:12)

Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men. And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD. (Old Testament | Jeremiah 9:2-3)

Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not. (Old Testament | Jeremiah 11:8)

And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. (Old Testament | Ezekiel 33:31)

If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (New Testament | John 15:19)

Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. (New Testament | Acts 7:51-53)

Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (New Testament | 1 Corinthians 6:8-10)

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. (New Testament | Ephesians 4:17-19)

NOW the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; (New Testament | 1 Timothy 4:1-2)

O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 9:28)

… they sell themselves for naught; for, for the reward of their pride and their foolishness they shall reap destruction; for because they yield unto the devil and choose works of darkness rather than light, therefore they must go down to hell. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 26:10)

Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us. And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God. Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 28:7-9)

And there was nothing save it was exceeding harshness, preaching and prophesying of wars, and contentions, and destructions, and continually reminding them of death, and the duration of eternity, and the judgments and the power of God, and all these things—stirring them up continually to keep them in the fear of the Lord. I say there was nothing short of these things, and exceedingly great plainness of speech, would keep them from going down speedily to destruction. (Book of Mormon | Enos 1:23)

And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him. O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world! Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom's paths! (Book of Mormon | Helaman 12:3-5)

And for these many generations, ever since the day that I created them, have they gone astray, and have denied me, and have sought their own counsels in the dark; and in their own abominations have they devised murder, and have not kept the commandments, which I gave unto their father, Adam. Wherefore, they have foresworn themselves, and, by their oaths, they have brought upon themselves death; and a hell I have prepared for them, if they repent not; (Pearl of Great Price | Moses 6:28-29)

For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant; They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 1:15-16)
What are the purposes of all these “negatives”? To awaken us “to a sense of [our] awful situation”? so we can repent? so we can change course? so we can be confronted with truth?
O, all ye old men, and also ye young men, and you little children who can understand my words, for I have spoken plainly unto you that ye might understand, I pray that ye should awake to a remembrance of the awful situation of those that have fallen into transgression. (Book of Mormon | Mosiah 2:40)

Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up. (Book of Mormon | Ether 8:24)
We seem so déjà vu Noah’s day:
But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (New Testament | Matthew 24:37-39; see also footnote 5 below.)
Perhaps, in place of positive and negative, a better determinative could be:
12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.
13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.
14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.
15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.
19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ. (Book of Mormon | Moroni 7:12-19)
2. Law of Attraction (LoA): see ; The LoA and the prosperity gospel seem composed mainly of hopes and prayers for “my will,” “my wants,” “my dreams” contrary to this advice:“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (New Testament | 1 John 2:15-17).
3. ;
4. New Testament | 1 Corinthians 13:2 ~ And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. (see also Book of Mormon | Moroni 7:44, 46)
Pearl of Great Price | Moses 1:10 ~ And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.
New Testament | Galatians 6:3 ~ For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
Book of Mormon | Alma 26:12 ~ Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.
Book of Mormon | Mosiah 2:21 ~ I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
Book of Mormon | Mosiah 4:2 ~ And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.
Book of Mormon | Helaman 12:7 ~ O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth.
Old Testament | Isaiah 40:17-18 ~ All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity. ¶ To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?
Old Testament | Isaiah 41:13-14 ~ For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
Old Testament | Daniel 4:35 ~ And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
New Testament | John 5:30 ~ I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
New Testament | John 15:5 ~ I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
New Testament | 1 Corinthians 9:16 ~ For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
New Testament | 2 Corinthians 12:11 ~ I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.
5. Pearl of Great Price | Moses 8:20-21 ~ And it came to pass that Noah called upon the children of men that they should repent; but they hearkened not unto his words; And also, after that they had heard him, they came up before him, saying: Behold, we are the sons of God; have we not taken unto ourselves the daughters of men? And are we not eating and drinking, and marrying and giving in marriage? And our wives bear unto us children, and the same are mighty men, which are like unto men of old, men of great renown. And they hearkened not unto the words of Noah.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Course Correction ?

(Essence of a brief talk given by this blogger, 9 August 2015)

Let’s consider God’s economy vs. the economy of Babylon—because since the days of Cain, the world (and frequently God’s chosen ones) have repeatedly become so immersed in the opposite of God’s economy—so enticed and captivated by the economies of Babylon, that like Isaiah warned, “Seeing we may not see, and hearing we may not hear” what is really happening.

What is really happening is the increasing numbers of poor and needy in the world in these days of incredible advancements? BUT WHY? Why, when there is so much opportunity; so much prosperity, so much wealth in so many places?

We frequently hear politicians and others lay the blame squarely to the poor—even using such harsh words as lazy, shiftless, losers, moochers on the system.

But if that is really true why do Jesus and His prophets have such compassion for the poor and needy? Probably there is no group in all scripture that Jesus empathized with more than the poor and needy.

Why such empathy? Perhaps for at least two reasons. First, He understood the way of the world. He told Moses:
For the poor shall never cease out of the land: (Old Testament | Deuteronomy 15:11). 
And then throughout scripture, He explained.
The ancients of this people, and the princes thereof have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in their houses. They beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor  (Old Testament | Isaiah 3:14-15, as summarized).

They decree unrighteous decrees, and write grievousness which they have prescribed; to turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! (Old Testament | Isaiah 10:1-2, as summarized; see also Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 20:2).

They speak villany, and practise hypocrisy to make empty the soul of the hungry, and cause the drink of the thirsty to fail. They devise wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right  (Old Testament | Isaiah 32:6-7, as summarized).

Old Testament Jeremiah accused the king of building his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; of using his neighbour's service without wages, and giving him not for his work; and that his eyes and heart were for covetousness, and for oppression, and for violence…. (Old Testament | Jeremiah 22:13-17, as summarized).

[The wicked] swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, … falsifying the balances by deceit? That they may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; … (Old Testament | Amos 8:4-6, as summarized).

They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up  (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 28:13).
Dozens more scriptures detail the human consequences of oppression, fraud, robbery, violence, persecution, and so much more.

Of course, God knew that not all the poor were without fault, but when one compares the scriptural warnings to the poor with those to the rich, there is no comparison—God’s expressions of compassion and His promises everywhere in scripture are weighted heavily in favor of the poor and needy. He knew and saw in His society how long and hard many of the poor worked—the laboring poor—a reality of every age. And perhaps He understood their plight more than we have considered.

So the second reason for Christ’s deep compassion/empathy for the poor and the needy, I pose in the form of a question: Could Jesus, during His life have been one of the poor and the needy because of robbery, violence, injustice, corruption and so forth? Could He have endured (at various times) everything the poor and needy endure? Why did He say?
Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head (New Testament | Matthew 8:20; Luke 9:58).
Why did Alma say:
And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; … that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities  (Book of Mormon | Alma 7:11-12).
Abinadi said:
[He] suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people  (Book of Mormon | Mosiah 15:5).
The Apostle Paul wrote:
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich  (New Testament | 2 Corinthians 8:9).
And why, after describing a litany of tribulations to Joseph Smith in Doctrine and Covenants 122, did Jesus say:
The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he? (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 122:8).
Of this, Elder Tad R. Callister, in his book, The Infinite Atonement, wrote:
… the Lord was saying, “Joseph, no matter what the world throws at you; no matter what you suffer, no matter what temptations you face—I faced it all and more.”
   The Savior’s plunge into humanity was not a toe-dipping experience. It was a total immersion. He did not experience some pains and not others. His life was not a random sampling, a spot audit; it was a total confrontation with and internalization of every human experience, every human plight, every human trial. … For this descent he would fully bare his human breast. There would be no godly powers exercised that would shield him from one scintilla of human pain. Paul knew this: “For verily he [the Savior}] took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren” (Hebrews 2:16-17) [p. 96]. …
   There is no mortal condition, however gruesome or ugly or hopeless it may seem, that has escaped his grasp or his suffering. No one will be able to say, “But you don’t understand my particular plight.” The scriptures are emphatic on this point—“he comprehended all things” because “he descended below all things” (D&C 88:6, see also D&C 122:8) [p. 104].
Is that why Isaiah called Him “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3)?

If the adversary targeted the nigh-perfect Job with such great afflictions, reducing him to a state of poverty and need, what can we imagine he tried to do to the perfect Redeemer of the world? After Satan’s failure at the wilderness temptation, do we imagine he left the Savior alone or did he use the Babylonian system of 30 A.D., amongst other things, to try and destroy the Plan of Salvation? He failed, but Satan’s work of destruction continues for each of us individually and one of his prime tools is the economic systems of Babylon—the obsessive pursuit of power and gain (warned about so frequently in the Book of Mormon) and the injuries and pain that flow therefrom.

In ancient days, the Lord sought to minimize the disparities and inequalities of the Babylonian economic systems by the forgiving or release of debt every seven years, and the return of heritage lands in every Jubilee year. But for the inbetween times, God said:
For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land. (Old Testament | Deuteronomy 15:11)
... thou shalt not harden thine heart, … Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: (Deuteronomy 15:7, 10).
The same advice that King Benjamin taught in Book of Mormon, Mosiah 4 (plus the counsel not to judge the reasons for another’s poverty and need).2

So what is God’s economy? When we study scripture, we encounter at least four fundamental aspects: GIFTS, GIVING, FORGIVING, and GRATITUDE.

The scriptures are full of this gift economy: good gifts that build and bless with cautions about evil gifts that blind and corrupt.1 But the gifts of God are good and endless:
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (New Testament | James 1:17)
Here is a small sampling of God’s gifts:
▪ gift of Creation and its abundance
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. Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 104:17-18).
▪ gift of Agency
▪ gift of Life and breath (everything we achieve deriving from gifts of God):
I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants. (Book of Mormon | Mosiah 2:21)
▪ gift of the Atonement
▪ gift of Grace
▪ gift of the Holy Ghost
▪ gifts of the Spirit
▪ manna and water in the wilderness
▪ the culture of “gleaning” in the fields as Ruth did, as the Savior and his disciples often did.
▪ the prayer “give us this day our daily bread”
▪ gifts of consecration
▪ the Fast and Fast Offerings
But why do we fast? Why not just make an offering? Perhaps God wants us to feel a little of what millions feel everyday of their lives. Hunger. Thirst. Weakness. Dependence on Him. Compassion. Gratitude.

And perhaps our fast and fast offerings fulfill Isaiah’s description of the fast that God desires—a fast to help undo the causes of poverty:
Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness [of Babylon], to undo the heavy burdens [of Babylon], and to let the oppressed go free [out of Babylon], and that ye break every yoke [of Babylon]? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? (Isaiah 58:6-7).
Maybe God wants our hands to open wider, not just in fast offerings to the Church (not just in the “I gave at the Church Office mentality”), but on the very personal involvement of our individual lives and actions.

In fulfillment of Matthew 25, will He be able to say to us individually as we stand before the pleading bar of God:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. ... Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me  (New Testament | Matthew 25:35-40).
Let us make greater effort to see the poor and needy through the eyes and words of Jesus. Let us re-read and apply King Benjamin’s advice in Book of Mormon, Mosiah 4;[2] and let us seek, within our ability and God’s inspiration, to live as best we can within God’s economy of gifts, giving, forgiving, and gratitude.

1. Book of Mormon | Moroni 10:30 ~ And again I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.
2. Book of Mormon | Mosiah 4:16-27 ~ 16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.
22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.
23 I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.
24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.
25 And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.
26 And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.
27 And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

God’s Will ?

Why do God and His servants repeatedly say:
The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one (Old Testament | Psalms 14:2-3; 53:2-3);

… we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one (New Testament | Romans 3:9-12);

I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? (New Testament | 1 Corinthians 6:5);

For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made (Book of Mormon | Alma 34:9);

They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 1:16);

Wherefore, I will that all men shall repent, for all are under sin, except those which I have reserved unto myself, holy men that ye know not of  (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 49:8);

And the anger of God kindleth against the inhabitants of the earth; and none doeth good, for all have gone out of the way  (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 82:6);

And the whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 84:49);

Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 112:23)?
So how should we understand this universal accusation of ALL being under sin? Is it because God’s Plan1 for this earth and for every individual soul was “good,” (like unto His creation), but because of the flesh,2 “The Three Temptations,”3 and the way we exercise our agency,4 every one of us falls short of “The Good Plan” for our life? Every one of us misses the mark.

So with everyone (except Christ) straying from the “good” plan of our life (in varying degrees), what becomes of God’s will? What is His will:
▪ when our life plan is off-track?
▪ when we sin, transgress; make mistakes; offend goodness, truth, etc.?
▪ when we are injured by another’s actions, choices, or words?
▪ when nothing seems to work out?
▪ when life hurts unbearably?
▪ when the powers that be perpetuate inequality and injustice?
▪ when the wicked (seem to) prosper?
▪ when Heaven seems as brass?
▪ when we don’t understand?
▪ and so forth.
Perhaps God’s overarching will, when all seems to have gone awry, is and has always been, that whatever our sins, injuries, failings, or circumstances, that:
▪ We believe in Him and His Plan of Redemption.5
▪ We repent.6
▪ We forgive.7
▪ We love.8
▪ We listen and obey.9
All these are within our choice and capacity (even in our weakness) if we seek His grace, strength, and promises:
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (New Testament | Revelation 7:17; see also Revelation 21:4)
1. The Plan: ;
2. The Flesh:
3. The Three Temptations:
4. Agency:

A small sampling of supporting scripture:
5. Believe / Trust:
New Testament | John 1:12 ~ But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 20:29 ~ And we know that all men must repent and believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and worship the Father in his name, and endure in faith on his name to the end, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.
Book of Mormon | Alma 22:13 ~ And Aaron did expound unto him the scriptures from the creation of Adam, laying the fall of man before him, and their carnal state and also the plan of redemption, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, through Christ, for all whosoever would believe on his name.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 29:43-45 ~ And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation—that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe; And they that believe not unto eternal damnation; for they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall, because they repent not; For they love darkness rather than light, and their deeds are evil, and they receive their wages of whom they list to obey.
Book of Mormon | Alma 12:32-34 ~ Therefore God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption, that they should not do evil, the penalty thereof being a second death, which was an everlasting death as to things pertaining unto righteousness; for on such the plan of redemption could have no power, for the works of justice could not be destroyed, according to the supreme goodness of God. But God did call on men, in the name of his Son, (this being the plan of redemption which was laid) saying: If ye will repent and harden not your hearts, then will I have mercy upon you, through mine Only Begotten Son; Therefore, whosoever repenteth, and hardeneth not his heart, he shall have claim on mercy through mine Only Begotten Son, unto a remission of his sins; and these shall enter into my rest.
Old Testament | Proverbs 3:5-6 ~ Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Book of Mormon | Mosiah 4:6 ~ I say unto you, if ye have come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, and his matchless power, and his wisdom, and his patience, and his long-suffering towards the children of men; and also, the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world, that thereby salvation might come to him that should put his trust in the Lord, and should be diligent in keeping his commandments, and continue in the faith even unto the end of his life, I mean the life of the mortal body—
6. Repent:
Old Testament | Ezekiel 14:6 ~ Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations. (Also 18:30)
New Testament | Matthew 4:17 ~ From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
New Testament | Acts 3:19 ~ Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 10:18 ~ For he is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.
Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 2:21 ~ And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men.
Book of Mormon | Mosiah 4:10 ~ And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.
Book of Mormon | Alma 5:51 ~ And also the Spirit saith unto me, yea, crieth unto me with a mighty voice, saying: Go forth and say unto this people—Repent, for except ye repent ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of heaven.
Book of Mormon | Alma 29:2 ~ Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.
Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 9:22 ~ Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.
Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 27:20 ~ Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 18:11-13 ~ For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance. And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 19:15-16 ~ Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not. For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 20:29 ~ And we know that all men must repent and believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and worship the Father in his name, and endure in faith on his name to the end, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 39:18 ~ And inasmuch as they do repent and receive the fulness of my gospel, and become sanctified, I will stay mine hand in judgment.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 133:16 ~ Hearken and hear, O ye inhabitants of the earth. Listen, ye elders of my church together, and hear the voice of the Lord; for he calleth upon all men, and he commandeth all men everywhere to repent.
Pearl of Great Price | Moses 6:23, 27-28 ~ And they [the sons of Adam] were preachers of righteousness, and spake and prophesied, and called upon all men, everywhere, to repent; … Repent, for thus saith the Lord: I am angry with this people, and my fierce anger is kindled against them; for their hearts have waxed hard, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes cannot see afar off; And for these many generations, ever since the day that I created them, have they gone astray, and have denied me, and have sought their own counsels in the dark; and in their own abominations have they devised murder, and have not kept the commandments, which I gave unto their father, Adam.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 1:32 ~ Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven;
7. Forgive:
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 64:10 ~ I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.
New Testament | Matthew 6:14-15 ~ For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Also New Testament | Mark 11:25-26, etc.)
New Testament | Luke 6:37 ~ Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
New Testament | Matthew 18:21-22 ~ Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 82:1 ~ VERILY, verily, I say unto you, my servants, that inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you.
8. Love:
New Testament | 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.
New Testament | 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 ~ And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
9. Listen and Obey:
Book of Mormon | Jacob 2:16 ~ O that he would rid you from this iniquity and abomination. And, O that ye would listen unto the word of his commands, and let not this pride of your hearts destroy your souls!
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 35:1-2 ~ LISTEN to the voice of the Lord your God, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, whose course is one eternal round, the same today as yesterday, and forever. I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on my name, that they may become the sons of God, even one in me as I am one in the Father, as the Father is one in me, that we may be one.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 39:1-6 ~ HEARKEN and listen to the voice of him who is from all eternity to all eternity, the Great I AM, even Jesus Christ— The light and the life of the world; a light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not; The same which came in the meridian of time unto mine own, and mine own received me not; But to as many as received me, gave I power to become my sons; and even so will I give unto as many as will receive me, power to become my sons. And verily, verily, I say unto you, he that receiveth my gospel receiveth me; and he that receiveth not my gospel receiveth not me. And this is my gospel—repentance and baptism by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 45:6-8 ~ Hearken, O ye people of my church, and ye elders listen together, and hear my voice while it is called today, and harden not your hearts; For verily I say unto you that I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the light and the life of the world—a light that shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not. I came unto mine own, and mine own received me not; but unto as many as received me gave I power to do many miracles, and to become the sons of God; and even unto them that believed on my name gave I power to obtain eternal life.
New Testament | John 14:15 ~ If ye love me, keep my commandments.
New Testament | 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 ~ For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 64:34 ~ Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.
Book of Mormon | Mosiah 4:10 ~ And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.
Book of Mormon | Mosiah 5:8 ~ And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.
Book of Mormon | Helaman 12:23 ~ Therefore, blessed are they who will repent and hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; for these are they that shall be saved.
Pearl of Great Price | Abraham 3:25 ~ And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 93:1-2 ~ VERILY, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am; And that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world;
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