Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Law

During this marvelous spiritual journey I find myself on I have thought a lot about The Law part of the gospel.

The scriptures are full of references to laws. There are laws for different kingdoms, the Law of Moses, fulfilled laws, etc. Some of these laws are in opposition to each other!

As I've been striving to learn what law God wants me to live, I feel I have learned something very profound. So simple.

Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.


Now, before you comment that it isn't that simple and we have a billion other rules to follow, just stop and let this truth flow over you. Love. Love fulfills ALL the laws.

Now, you can go to and see the different definitions of the word "fulfilled." It means to complete, finish, to satisfy or to bring to realization. All that can be done by LOVING our neighbor as ourselves. This is such an amazing thing!

I used to think that by loving God and neighbor I would automatically live (works) all the other laws, rules and commandments. Now my understanding has shifted. It is the love of God and neighbor (and self) that FULFILLS all the law.

In this way, the laws that do not really come from our Father will naturally fall away. For example, we can easily see that how many steps we take on Sunday or what color shirt we wear to pass the Sacrament in doesn't matter to God.

Just to be completely heretical, I believe that according to scripture there are those who are NOT under the law. They are not bound to it and do not have to abide by it. Shocking, I know!

Galatians 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

And if you are not under the law, you are FREE. No longer a prisoner of sin.

But, how do we know if we are walking in the Spirit?

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

You will exhibit the fruits of the Spirit! The Light of Christ will shine for all to see. God will work through you.

Those who are not under the law are claimed by Mercy on the day of judgement. This is something that makes my heart sing, but makes many others cringe. Yes, I believe that there are scriptures to support this idea that those claimed by mercy will escape judgement of their own works. I don't pretend to fully comprehend this wonderful promise of God, but I do put my faith in it.

I don't think a person claimed by mercy will be judged by their own works because they will not be doing their own works!

Going back to the law for a minute:

Alma 42:17 Now, how could a man repent except he should sin? How could he sin if there was no law? How could there be a law save there was a punishment?

It is because there is a law that there is sin! If there was no law, there would be no sin. So, if one has fulfilled the law through love (charity) he can no longer sin. Why? Because he is not under the law.

Joseph Smith taught a sermon in 1843 about the priesthood and talked about how the Levitical priesthood was only able to administer cursings and the carnal commandments! I highly recommend reading the notes on this because it contains several amazing tidbits of information about the law and the priesthood.

I interpret what I read in that sermon to mean that the carnal commandments ARE a curse. However, I believe that they serve a purpose. They frustrate and humble us enough that we come unto Christ for release.

Our works can NEVER save us. We cannot earn our salvation.

The Toscano's say it perfectly in their book Strangers in Paradox:
"Jesus brought closure to salvation by law and initiated salvation by love."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why I don't believe in Polygamy

Okay, I just need to have this all in one place since it comes up a lot among "seekers." The churches history of polygamy is very troubling for many, many members. Here are my thoughts on the hot topic.

I have read many great blog articles on the topic. Now it's my turn.

I believe that polygamy is NOT required for “exaltation.” God the Father did not command it, and never has. This is the conclusion I came to after much study, pondering and prayer. This does not mean I stand in judgment of people who were/are sincere in their belief of it. Since many members feel that this issue may be given to us in the future I think it is crucial to know for ourselves if it is from God.

*Polygamy makes women second class citizens. Not to mention concubines! This is not in keeping with what I believe is the true nature of God.

*D&C 132 is in direct conflict to previous revelation. God commanded us to measure all revelation by what has previously been revealed. It fails this test.

*D&C 132 was introduced to the church in 1852. It was not put into the D&C until 1856.

*Joseph never publicly taught this “doctrine.” He is quoted as saying he felt he taught harder doctrine from the pulpit than in private. I also like to think he would have publicly taught it if it was God’s will. I am most bothered by the lying-have a hard time reconciling that.

*Polygamy was a “hot topic” in the early 1800’s on three different continents-England, Europe and US East Coast. Missionaries tracted in this area of the East Coast and even converted some (1830’s). Brigham is reported to have gone on a mission to this area *by himself* by the RLDS. Check out this article for more on that view.

*The D&C is FULL of warnings from God about adultery, whoring spirits, lust and coveting your neighbor’s wife. I have a hard time buying that He would suddenly find them righteous enough to do what he had to chastise them about! See D&C 63:14,16; 3:4; 19:25; 38:24,25; 101:6

*The second greatest commandment is “love thy neighbor.” How does one do that while taking his wife???

*D&C 42 is the law of the church. It calls for strict monogamy. Vs.22 Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else. (emphasis mine)

*The Article on Marriage was accepted by the body of the saints by common consent in 1835. This made it binding. It was added to the 1835 edition of the D&C. It was not removed until 1876. It called for strict monogamy. Some say it was politically motivated and not written by JS, but he obviously approved it to be printed in the canon.

It read in part: "Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife; and one woman but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is as liberty to marry again. "

*Jacob 2:27…For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife…28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women…34…For ye have done these things which ye ought not to have done. 35…Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children.Verse 30 the righteous seed argument-I think it is a misinterpretation to say this can be done through polygamy. I believe this is done by removing the people from among the wicked. If you read fully in context this is a legitimate interpretation.

*When JS argued that “anything God commands is right” he did so in a secret letter to the daughter of Sidney Rigdon. He was trying to persuade her that polygamy was a correct principle. -Of course everything God commands is right-that is why I don’t believe polygamy or commanded killings come from God. The Light of Christ will tell us what is right. If it goes against that then it is safe to say it is not of God.

*There is no scriptural precedent for God sending an angel to kill someone for disobedience. For goodness sake, if He did, why not take out Hitler or some other murdering maniac??? I believe the angel with the sword is a Mormon legend.

*There is one source that says Joseph may have been in the process of trying to rid the church of polygamy and repent before his death. It is said that he wanted all guilty of polygamy to be tried and that he had the revelation burned

"After 1 a.m. Smith tells his secretary, William Clayton to burn or bury the minutes of the Council of Fifty, and Joseph and Hyrum Smith flee Nauvoo. Word of the prophet's departure causes near panic among his devoted followers. Accused of cowardly abandoning Nauvoo, Smith returns about 6 p.m. He tells Stephen Markham that this is contrary to a revelation and commandment he had received. Joseph and Emma Smith burn the original manuscript of the 1843 polygamy revelation, presumably on this evening. William Clayton preserves a copy, which is later canonized as Section 132 of the D&C.
SOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.548-550, Manuscript fragment of Nauvoo Legion History for June 1844, LDS archives." Found HERE

*There were more men than women in Utah according to census records. This debunks the “need” for polygamy based on male to female ratio.

*Fewer children are born to polygamist relationships than monogamist. Just look at BY (or the cenusus records). This debunks the "raising up seed" argument.

*”He who is exalted shall be abased; he who is abased shall be exalted.” This whole practice just seems like it was used to exalt ones self.

*Jesus said “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I really don’t see how polygamy is either.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Gift of Healing

I'm listening to the summer rain as it falls outside my window. The house has a rare quietness as the children are away with the hubbie. It's a perfect time to read!
I had to share this beautiful verse from A Gift of Healing: Selections from A Course In Miracles.

"We go beyond the veil of fear,
lighting each other's way.
The holiness that leads us
is within us, as is our home."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Paradox and the Tree

I am so fascinated by our mythology. Right now I am reading The Power of Myth (Joseph Campbell) and Strangers in Paradox (by Margaret & Paul Toscano).

Anyway, while reading in Strangers in Paradox something dawned on me.

While we believe that Adam and Eve brought death into the world by eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, we also believe that they brought LIFE into the world at the same time!

Now, I know we do teach this, but the paradox has never occured to me. It's amazing that through their AGENCY they were able to bring death AND life into the world. I think we are speaking of both spiritual and physical death/life.

Just eating from the Tree of Life could not accomplish this task.

We all acknowledge the paradox of the commands they were given in the garden. Why does God seem to give us opposing commands? So that we can choose which to follow. Perhaps this is not a choice between good and evil. Perhaps it is a choice of lesser truth and higher truth...or what we are ready for at that time.

Then follows the paradox of Adam and Eve being "punished." Adam must till the earth to earn his food. But what a blessing! Eve must pass through pain to bring forth life. What a blessing! Adam and Eve are two beings who must realize they are actually ONE. What an amazing journey of discovery that will be!
What a blessing to no longer remain a child and to grow into an adult. Leaving your Father and Mother to strike out and make it on your own. To discover how you are still connected to your Parents and they permeate everything in life. Maybe they aren't as far away as we think.

I have gone through several interpretations of the Garden story...and they all are probably true. There are layers and layers of truths that constantly amaze me. It'll take me a lifetime to scratch the surface.

One of the amazing things Joseph Campbell says in The Power of Myth is that our myths are supposed to aleviate our guilt about having to "kill to live." It has brought a whole new dimension to the gospel for me. Thinking of Christ and the sacrament in this context today was very enlightening.
Our myths, or the gospel, should be building us up not tearing us down. We have the power to choose which side of the paradox to partake.