Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Be as Little Children

We have been told that if we become as a little child we will inherit the Kingdom of God. What a magnificent promise!

But, how is this accomplished?

I think we need to know what the traits of children are. This is the only way to emulate them.

After much reading and thinking about my own children I have come up with this list of qualities.

*Children under 8 will inherit the Celestial Kingdom---regardless of thier actions
*They will not be judged----works do not matter for them
*They are not tempted by Satan---they cannot sin
*They tend to love unconditionally
*They love and accept Jesus
*They do not feel guilt or shame---until they are taught to
*They do things without thought of consequences
*They have a joy in discovery
*They do not labor for their existance
*They are teachable
*They are very trusting, humble, meek, submissive
*They are without the law
*They are holy

Here are some of my favorite scriptures on little children:

Moroni 8:12 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!...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....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—

Mosiah 3:18 For behold he judgeth, and his judgment is just; and the infant perisheth not that dieth in his infancy; but men drink damnation to their own souls except they humble themselves and become as little children, and believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.

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; 47 Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me;

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

Matt. 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Is Satan Necessary to God's Plan?

In LDS theology it seems that Satan is seen as playing a vital role in God's great plan of salvation. Many people find this idea troubling.

As I have studied the idea of "opposition" and the plan of salvation I, too, have questioned how vital Satan is to that plan. There are two key reasons I have to wonder if he really is necessary.

*It appears to me that opposition exists with or without the influence of Satan
*If he is actually carrying out God's plan, why would he be punished for it?

Now, opposition is a big topic all by itself. I have studied it and discussed it with others and it is really an interesting topic.

First, I think we use the word "opposition" in two ways. 1) the act of opposing, resisting or combating. 2) the state of being opposite (ex. black and white are opposite).

Satan seems to fall under the first definition of opposition. When we think of good and evil we think of opposing forces. Two armies fighting against one another. I think I can argue that this is not necessary to God's plan of happiness.

The second type of opposition we talk about is very natural. In heaven, before we came to earth, it appears that we had agency. If this is true, we also had opposition. At least, our theology tells us that we can't have agency without oppostion. Right? Agency and opposites just seem to be a fact of the universe to me.

If one takes the creation story literally, God made sure this earth contained lots of opposition. He put two opposite trees in the Garden. One would bring everlasting life and the other death. Satan tells Eve that she must eat the fruit of knowledge of good and evil. He is also the one who tells her this is the only way to bring about God's plan (basically). Was Satan telling her the truth??? Why would God set them up like that? Isn't Satan the author of lies, fear, guilt and shame? Would a loving Father set up his children for death?

Alright, I'm getting distracted with too many questions. I hope the reader can fully understand my quandry.

It appears to me that opposition is part of the order of the universe. Opposites don't have to be bad. In fact, they are all true. Black is just as true as white. Is one bad and one good? I don't think so. Cold is the opposite of hot, and I prefer a mixture of the two. We also have pleasure versus pain. But are either one of them all good or all bad? No. They both can be physical, mental or spiritual states of being. There are people who are addicts of pleasure and those addicted to pain. I find it interesting that we want to label everything as good or evil. Why do we have that desire?

OK, the real thing that got me thinking about the necessity of ol' Scratch is this:

Little children are not tempted by him. They are out of his reach! Until when??? Until they are TAUGHT right from wrong! Could that be when they "partake of the forbidden fruit?"
Have we not been told to "be like little children" in order to inherit the Kingdom of God?

Also, Satan is to be bound for 1000 years during the Millenium. He will be bound by the righteousness of the people. But, opposition will still exist under definition #2. In fact, life may go on fairly similar to how it is now but the people will have NO DESIRE to sin.
If Satan was necessary for the Plan of Salvation, then how could he be bound for 1000 years while people are still being born? How does that effect The Plan in their lives? We learn that there will be no sorrow because there will be no death-people will get "twinkled" when they are old.

So, do we really need a Satan at all? Why don't we all just kick him out right now? Instead of fighting him, why don't we just reject him?

We all laugh at Satan for being so stupid and falling right into God's plan, however, he might be laughing at us for being so delusional.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Gift to Heal

Do you believe in the spiritual gift of healing?

I do. However, I believe that not many people ever tap into this amazing power.

There is one time in my life that I have witnessed a near instant healing after a priesthood blessing. My oldest child was a toddler and had an ear infection. He threw up the medicine and was feverish and feeling poorly. He was healed within an hour of the blessing and I didn't give him anymore of the medicine. I don't think he has ever had another ear infection, either.

I know people who have also experienced miracle healings from priesthood blessings. Some prevented surgery from being performed. Truly miracles do happen.

Now, for every story of instant healing there are dozens of cases where people were not healed. We like to make up lots of excuses for why a healing did not occur, but I believe all the excuses are just that. Excuses.

Let's see what the scriptures promise about healing. I believe these are referring to physical healing, not spiritual. Although, spiritual healings are even more important.
D&C 42:43 And whosoever among you are sick, and have not faith to be healed, but believe, shall be nourished with all tenderness, with herbs and mild food, and that not by the hand of an enemy. 44 And the elders of the church, two or more, shall be called, and shall pray for and lay their hands upon them in my name; and if they die they shall die unto me, and if they live they shall live unto me. 48 And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed. 49 He who hath faith to see shall see. 50 He who hath faith to hear shall hear. 51 The lame who hath faith to leap shall leap. 52 And they who have not faith to do these things, but believe in me, have power to become my sons; and inasmuch as they break not my laws thou shalt bear their infirmities.
Let's focus on this section first. It does acknowledge that sometimes people won't be healed. BUT, it also gives the reason. The reason given here is lack of faith! Yipes! That puts the burden on us, not God. It also says that if it is your time to die you will not be healed.

It also mentions that if you do not have faith to be healed, but believe and obey you will be able to bear your infirmities.
D&C 46:19 And again, to some it is given to have faith to be healed; 20 And to others it is given to have faith to heal.

D&C 35:8 For I am God, and mine arm is not shortened; and I will show miracles, signs, and wonders, unto all those who believe on my name. 9 And whoso shall ask it in my name in faith, they shall cast out devils; they shall heal the sick; they shall cause the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk.
Again, we see that those (ANYONE) who have faith and ask in the name of Jesus Christ will heal the sick.

I'm not going to add every scripture that repeats that some have the gift of healing-let it suffice that there are several witnesses to this gift.

When Jesus walked the earth he healed in many different ways. He used words, hands, actions and even elements of the physical world. The healing always took place by the same power.

What can we do to realize this great gift? If we believe the scriptures are true, the only thing preventing healings is FAITH.
Do we need to spend more time concentrating on healing?
Do we need to focus more energy and prayers towards the healing?
How can we cultivate our faith to make it strong enough to heal?

By way of disclaimer I should mention that I do believe this is currently a world where our bodies get sick and die. I don't think we should blame ourselves or others for this fact.
I just find the promises for healing outlined in the scriptures exciting!
D&C 63:51 Wherefore, children shall grow up until they become old; old men shall die; but they shall not sleep in the dust, but they shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye.
The scriptures even tell us of a time without sickness and death. Based on the other scriptures this very well could be through FAITH.

Oh, the possibilities!!!

Purpose of this Blog

The purpose of this blog is to explore spiritual and religous topics that interest me.