Monday, November 9, 2009

God Never Commands Killing

I know, I know. A very controversial topic. =)

My whole relationship with God was tranformed when I learned this truth. I hope that by sharing it with you it will strengthen your relationship with him, too. This can only be learned through the Spirit. I offer only pointers that can help you on your journey of discovery.

God never commands his children to murder eachother. Now, I am not saying there aren't times when it isn't reasonable or justified. What I am saying is that the Eternal Father does not command it.

I believe that all the stories of "God commanded killings" are either to be understood symbolicly and/or stories of people who are not One with God.

I'd like to start by looking at the story of Nephi and Laban. This story is actually one of the least offensive because we are dealing with a man who reportedly is wicked and tried to kill Nephi and his brothers. The reason I want to start with this story is because I believe we have strong evidence that it was not commanded by God.

The account is in 1 Nephi 3-4.

We have Lehi tell his sons to go and get the brass plates from Laban back in Jerusalem. The brothers return and draw lots. Laman goes and asks Laban for the plates. Laban calls him a thief and tells his gaurds to kill him. Laman gets away and returns to his brothers.
Next, the brothers all go to their estate and get everything worth money to attempt to purchase the plates. Laban is greedy and takes their stuff and orders his gaurds to kill them. Again, the brothers escape and hide.

Nephi decides to go back to Jerusalem alone. He records that he believes the Lord will help him obey this command (to get the plates). He compares Laban to the Egyptians.

1 Nephi 4:6 And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.
7 Nevertheless I went forth, and as I came near unto the house of Laban I beheld a man, and he had fallen to the earth before me, for he was
drunken with wine.
8 And when I came to him I found that it was Laban.
9 And I beheld his
sword, and I drew it forth from the sheath thereof; and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and I saw that the blade thereof was of the most precious steel.
10 And it came to pass that I was
constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him.
11 And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the
Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea, and I also knew that he had sought to take away mine own life; yea, and he would not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord; and he also had taken away our property.
12 And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands;
13 Behold the Lord
slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.
14 And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that:
Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise.
15 Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the
law of Moses, save they should have the law.
16 And I also knew that the
law was engraven upon the plates of brass.
17 And again, I knew that the Lord had delivered Laban into my hands for this cause—that I might obtain the records according to his commandments.
18 Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own
19 And after I had smitten off his head with his own sword, I took the garments of Laban and put them upon mine own body; yea, even every whit; and I did gird on his armor about my loins.

There are a few oddities in this account. First, Nephi picks up and admires Laban's sword. Laban is passed out and now unarmed. Laban is not a threat.
The "still small voice" tells Nephi he should kill Laban. Nephi hesitates and then goes through the justification process in his mind. One of the reasons he uses is that his people need the law/commandments or they will dwindle in unbelief. Nephi is breaking 3 commandments to secure the plates. So how important are the commandments? It appears that following anything the Spirit says trumps them. That makes this an unreasonable justification.

The other problem with this idea is that God could easily have Nephi write the law himself. We believe in revelation and inspiration, so this can easily be remedied.

He also can't know that his people will dwindle in unbelief or not. And, as history would have it, his people DO dwindle in unbelief even with the brass plates!

Nephi chops off Laban's head using the sword then he removes Laban's clothing and puts it on. The clothing would be drenched in blood. Ew!

There is absolutely no reason to believe that Nephi couldn't have stripped Laban and gotten the plates without killing him. Many will argue that Laban would have sent his men after Nephi and his people. Since we know that Nephi and his brothers were successful in getting away 2 other times this is not a valid arguement. It is also not valid if we believe that God can do anything.

I was reading another blog yesterday and it was pointed out that Nephi uses nearly the same wording and same reasoning for killing Laban as was used to put Jesus to death! Yikes! That seems a bit odd. Is Laban to be understood as a Christ symbol? Compare to verse 13 above.

John 11:49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,
50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should
die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;

Now, there are many scholars who have studied ancient culture and found parallels. I think that is neat, however it shows a cultural bias and does not make a case for a "God commanded" murder. Here is a paper by John W. Welch on the legal perspective of this slaying.

The problem for me is that they all use the 613 laws of Moses as their guide. We're told that many of these laws were given to the children of Isreal because of the hardness of their hearts (see Matt. 19:8).

We also have no evidence that the Nephite people used all the 613 laws of Moses. In fact, one could make a case that they didn't follow all of them. For sure, they didn't follow the ones that governed polygamy.

What do we know? We do know that they were governed by the 10 commandments. We also are told of another law given to Nephi in the Doctrine and Covenants.

D&C 98:23 Now, I speak unto you concerning your families—if men will smite you, or your families, once, and ye bear it patiently and revile not against them, neither seek revenge, ye shall be rewarded;
24 But if ye bear it not patiently, it shall be accounted unto you as being
meted out as a just measure unto you.
25 And again, if your enemy shall smite you the second time, and you revile not against your enemy, and bear it patiently, your reward shall be an
26 And again, if he shall smite you the third time, and ye bear it
patiently, your reward shall be doubled unto you four-fold;
27 And these three
testimonies shall stand against your enemy if he repent not, and shall not be blotted out.
28 And now, verily I say unto you, if that enemy shall escape my vengeance, that he be not brought into judgment before me, then ye shall see to it that ye
warn him in my name, that he come no more upon you, neither upon your family, even your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.
29 And then, if he shall come upon you or your children, or your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation, I have delivered thine
enemy into thine hands;
30 And then if thou wilt spare him, thou shalt be rewarded for thy
righteousness; and also thy children and thy children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.
31 Nevertheless, thine enemy is in thine hands; and if thou rewardest him according to his works thou art justified; if he has sought thy life, and thy life is endangered by him, thine enemy is in thine hands and thou art justified.
32 Behold, this is the law I gave unto my servant Nephi, and thy
fathers, Joseph, and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, and all mine ancient prophets and apostles.

God revealed this law that was given to Nephi through Joseph Smith. What does this law tell us about how to deal with our enemies? You must bear him coming upon you 3 times, forgiving him each time. Then, you must warn him in the name of Jesus Christ to leave you and your family alone. IF he comes upon you a FOURTH time, you may do what you wish. Killing is justified, but sparing him will be rewarded for righteousness.

1 Nephi 3:13 We have our first encounter with Laban. He tries to have Laman killed.

1 Nephi 3:25 We have our second attempt to get the plates-this time by purchasing them. Laban tries to have them killed.

1 Nephi 4 we have Nephi going alone to retrieve the plates. He does not warn Laban, since Laban is passed out. He kills Laban and uses deception to steal the plates.

Nephi did not follow this law as outlined in D&C 98. Laban only "came upon" Nephi and his brothers TWO times. Plus, there was no warning given.

The scriptures also give us a warning and a lesson regarding the whisperings of the Spirit.

Ether 4:11 But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good.
12 And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for
good cometh of none save it be of me. I am the same that leadeth men to all good; he that will not believe my words will not believe me—that I am; and he that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me. For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world.

2 Nephi 15:20 Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

There is nothing good about the shedding of blood. Any soldier will tell you that even justified killing has long lasting psychological consequences.

The sad part of the tale is that this was only the beginning of a culture of war and bloodshed. We are told that the very sword that beheaded Laban was then used as a model for the weapons of war the Nephites made to kill their Lamanite brothers (2 Nephi 5:14). The culture of violence continues throughout the rest of the BoM ending in the anihilation of the people.

That's all I've got on the Laban slaying. I may do a part two focused on some of the genocide of the Old Testament at another time.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Disturbing Thought about the Salvation of Little Children

I have been introduced to a disturbing new (to me) idea being held by at least a few LDS members, including leadership who come from well known Mormon stock.

It is the idea that children who die before they reach accountability WILL need to have baptism at some point during the Millennium. Either proxy or in their resurrected state.

Wow. I feel pretty strongly about this. I had no idea anyone in the church felt this way. I always took it for granted that we believe unaccountable people and children who die before 8 years old will be saved in the Celestial Kingdom without baptism.

I think the main contention of those who hold this belief is this:
1) ALL ordinances are required to be saved and there can be no exceptions.

People who believe this, I'm sure, also believe that these unaccountable people will have to become married or sealed in heaven, too. This is a seperate issue, but something that adds to the confusion over what is required for the Celestial Kingdom.

We all can read what the scriptures tell us are required for our salvation and eternal life. The doctrine is found in 3 Nephi 11.

The scriptures teach us that little children are alive in Christ and have no need of baptism. They are redeemed from the Fall since the foundation of the Earth. The Atonement fully covers them. What a glorious and wonderful truth!

Moroni 8 is one of the most clear chapters on this doctrine. It is entirely dedicated to the topic of the salvation of little children and unaccountable people. It has some harsh words for those who do not believe that little children are saved without baptism.

Moroni 8:8 Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.

Little children are WHOLE. They are not living under the curse of Adam, they are not capable of sin.

Moroni 8:10 Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.

11 And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins.

12 But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism!

Adults who repent, are baptized and become as their little children will be saved WITH their little children. Little children are alive in Christ and always have been. God is unchangeable, impartial and is not a respector of persons.

Moroni 8:14 Behold I say unto you, that he that supposeth that little children need baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; for he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell.

15 For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God saveth one child because of baptism, and the other must perish because he hath no baptism.

I'm not sure how the belief that a little child who dies before accountablility will need some future baptism is any different than what is admonished against here. If you believe baptism is required of the unaccountable people and children you are denying the mercy of of Christ and are without faith, hope and charity. Yikes!

Moroni 8:17 And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation.

Little children are alive in Christ and are partakers of salvation. This is the Good News!

Moroni 8:19 Little children cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are all alive in him because of his mercy.

20 And he that saith that little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption.

21 Wo unto such, for they are in danger of death, hell, and an endless torment. I speak it boldly; God hath commanded me. Listen unto them and give heed, or they stand against you at the judgment-seat of Christ.

We deny the pure mercy of Christ when we say that those who die before accountability will need some future baptism. They do not need baptism at all. Those who believe such are in danger of death and hell.

Moroni 8:22 For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing—

23 But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works.

Redemption will come to all those who have no law given. Little children are redeemed, without law, and under the mercy of Christ.

Mosiah 3:16 And even if it were possible that little children could sin they could not be saved; but I say unto you they are blessed; for behold, as in Adam, or by nature, they fall, even so the blood of Christ atoneth for their sins.

21 And behold, when that time cometh, none shall be found blameless before God, except it be little children, only through repentance and faith on the name of the Lord God Omnipotent.

The blood of Christ has atoned for the little children. You cannot get a higher blessing than that. Little children will be found blameless before God. If they are blameless (which they are) they will receive Celestial Glory.

D&C 29:46 But behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten;

D&C 74:7 But little children are holy, being sanctified through the atonement of Jesus Christ; and this is what the scriptures mean.

Mosiah 15:25 And little children also have eternal life.

Little children are redeemed, sanctified by the atonement, and they do have eternal life. Mosiah 15 lays out who will take part in the first resurrection. Those who are brought forth in the first resurrection have eternal life. Little children are among those people.

Joseph Smith spoke of the salvation of little children quite a bit while in Nauvoo. When speaking of the resurrection of the dead he said the following:

"Children will be enthroned in the presence of God and the Lamb with bodies of the same stature that they had on earth, having been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; they will there enjoy the fulness of the light, glory and intelligence, which is prepared in the celestial kingdom." [History of the Church, V4, Pg. 555-6]

"'Will mothers have their children in eternity?' Yes! Yes! Mothers you shall have your children; for they shall have eternal life, for their debt is paid. There is no damnation awaiting them for they are in the spirit." [History of the Church, V6, Pg. 316]

I know that this is true. I know that little children are alive in Christ. I know that they are exempt from the law of baptism because they are not under the law. They are redeemed with the atonement from the foundation of the world. Our God is mighty to save!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Not long ago I began to question the necessity of Christ's death on the cross. I didn't believe that a loving Father would require that for the redemption of his children. In other words, couldn't redemption come a different way.

Now, I have come to a new understanding that seems reasonable and loving.

I no longer believe that God the Father sent another to die for us. I believe God died for us. This feels right to me in several ways. First, a father would gladly give his life for his child. Second, there is plenty of scriptural evidence to support the idea that Jehovah is our Eternal Father and condescended to be our Savior. Third, it is hard to understand why God would make one of his other (innocent) children to die to save the rest. I'm not going to say I fully comprehend the Godhead or how this all works, but I know that through accepting the Atonement we become children of Christ. So, however you slice it, we are (or become) his sons and daughters.

I have been given a small glimpse into the beauty of birth and rebirth. I've discovered it doesn't have to be logical or something we can reason out in our minds. But I do believe it is perfectly merciful and loving.


Our sacred mortal birth is through water, blood and spirit. It is messy. It is painful. Our mother sacrifices herself to give us this gift. Our mothers work and glory is bringing to pass our mortal life and nurturing us in all ways.


Our second or spiritual birth is also through water, spirit and blood. It is messy and painful. Our Father sacrificed himself to give us this gift. Our Father's work and glory is to bring to pass the eternal life and immortality of all mankind. He offers us living water that we might never thirst again.


Why blood? I don't know that I fully comprehend the symbolism. It is ironic to me that we are "cleansed" through the blood of Christ.
But I do know that my babies were born in blood and water and yet pure as driven snow.

Moses 6:59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;

I also think it is amazingly perfect that we are born of mother and of Father. They both bleed for us. They both nourish us. They both give us a gift we cannot give ourselves.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Jesus Points out Two Ways

Luke 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

There are some amazing lessons in this parable. I am not going to write too much about it because I don't want to detract from the simplicity and beauty of these scriptures.

I think the concept of working for our "exaltation" is a dangerous one.

One of these men was seeking to be justified by the law. The other was justified by the mercy of the Lord. Jesus called the sinner justified for his confession and humility. The man who obeyed the law did not go home justified.

We also have this beautiful account of the woman, a sinner, who washed the Savior's feet with her tears.

Luke 7:36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.
37 And, behold, a
woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and
anointed them with the ointment.
39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred
pence, and the other fifty.
42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly
forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are
forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are
49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that
forgiveth sins also?
50 And he said to the woman, Thy
faith hath saved thee; go in peace.




These are the keys to salvation. It is by faith that we are made whole. Faith in what? The Atonement of Jesus Christ. If we rely upon the merits of he who is mighty to save.

2 Nephi 31:19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

Alma 22:14 And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king.

Moroni 6:4 And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.

I hope we all will feel the love of our Savior and learn to rely on him. If you want to listen to one of my favorite Christian worship songs on youtube click here. It is called "Mighty to Save" by Hillsong United.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Love Books!!!

I am so excited! I was going through my parents library and found the box set of the History of the Church. Woohoo! So I have been reading through it for the past week.
Today I looked closer and found they have another box set which contains the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1-3, the Discourses of Brigham Young and a few other books (that we all have in triplicate). I also discovered they have the Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet, by George Q. Cannon.

I just got my own copy of Joseph Smith's "New Translation" of the Bible a couple days ago. It has been great to reference. Especially since I am taking the Old Testament Institute class at church. Today at class I noticed another person using this book.

I am anxiously awaiting my copy of the brand new book The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text by Royal Skousen. I ordered my copy from Amazon for $23 and after adding some tape I qualified for FREE shipping. I had earned $10 in gift cards and so I only paid $15 and change! Yay!!!

I'm not sure if being this excited about books makes me a nerd or not. Either way, I wish I could find more time to read!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pure Love of Christ

Charity is pretty much my favorite gospel topic right now. That and mercy. I love it! I want to talk about it all the time and read about it and learn more about how to have it.

Charity is so important that Joseph Smith talked about it in every Relief Society meeting he spoke at. He was urging the saints towards charity.

1 Cor. 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
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.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, • • •
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

Moroni 7: 44 If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.
45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

Col. 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

1 Tim. 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

D&C 88:125 And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.

“It is one evidence that men are unacquainted with the principles of godliness to behold the contraction of affectionate feelings and lack of charity in the world. The power and glory of godliness is spread out on a broad principle to throw out the mantle of [b]charity[/b]. God does not look on sin with allowance, but when men have sinned, there must be allowance made for them. … The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs. …" Joseph Smith

I am especially struck by the verse in 1 Peter. Do you believe we could cover the multitude of sins if we have fervent charity among us? Is it possible for us to love our family, friends and neighbors so much that we want to lift them up and put their sins behind us?

We are nothing without charity. We can do great things, but without charity it does nothing for us. We cannot be saved in the kingdom of God without it. Charity never fails even when other things fail. Have you noticed the connection between charity and the Atonement?

I love the images of "cleave to charity" and "clothe yourself in charity" and the "mantle of charity." It makes me feel like it is something to fill or encompass my entire being. Cleave to charity like you cleave to your beloved spouse. It is the bond of perfectness and peace!

When we see someone perishing, how does our heart tell us to treat them? Do we desire to inflict further harm and pain or do we desire to "put them on our shoulders" and relieve their burden? Charity suffers long and is kind. How do we suffer long? How might this relate to the suffering of Christ? Is this how we "take up his cross" and follow him?

Charity is the most glorious gift we can give or receive. It is a power can change the world.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Counfounding of False Doctrines

2 Nephi 3:12 Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.

I have to wonder how and when this is going to happen. The Book of Mormon has not yet fulfilled this prophecy. False doctrine has not been confounded and contentions still exist. Peace has yet to be established.

Father in Heaven will not take away our agency and force us to believe. So, I ponder, how can this scripture come to pass.

In my mind, I can only come up with the idea that everyone trancends their current belief systems to a higher, unified one. It would have to go beyond religous institution.

I'm also left thinking it would need to be very, very simple and open. Like the gospel of love and the doctrine outlined by Jesus Christ.

3 Nephi 11:28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And
there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall
there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there
have hitherto been.
29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.
31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.
32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto
me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father
commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.
33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. 35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.
37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine,
the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.

What a beautiful, simple doctrine Christ outlines.

The only real obstacle I see is that so small a percentage of the world is Christian (or Judea-Christian). I wonder how on earth "every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ." Now, I'm not saying it won't happen, just that it stretched the imagination beyond the breaking point.

Could it be that we just do not understand this prophecy? Could we be taking it too literally? Could it be that all religions, cultures and people have enough truth and pointers towards Christ, the Eternal God?
If they use different words, symbols and rituals to arrive at the same eternal truths-would that still fulfill the prophecy?