"For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light..."
September 29, 2007

Choose ye…

…every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow-creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other. (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pg. 87)

Good AND evil

…the right direction leads not only to peace but to knowledge. When a man is getting better he understands more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is alright. This is common sense, really. You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping. You can see mistakes in arithmetic when your mind is working properly: while you are making them you cannot see them. You can understand the nature of drunkenness when you are sober, not when you are drunk. Good people know about both good and evil: bad people dj not know about either. (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pg. 88)

September 14, 2007

What’s In a Name?

Anciently, when one made a covenant, one received a new name. In Isaiah 43:1 God states not only “I have redeemed thee” but also “I have called thee by a new name.” This association between covenants and new names exists today, even in temporal matters. When a professional athlete signs a contract with a new team, he takes on the name of that team. When a person receives all the appropriate medical training, he takes the Hippocratic oath (a kind of covenant) and takes on the new name of doctor. Most commonly, when a man and a woman marry, the bride traditionally takes on the name of her husband. When we enter into Christ’s church by covenant, we receive the name of Christ. “In ancient times, a name was more than an identifying label. Your name was your essence, what you were all about, your identity rather than just your identification” (Harold S. Kushner as cited by Dallin H. Oaks, His Holy Name, pg. 46). Thus, to take on Christ’s name is both a privilege and an obligation. It requires us to also take on his identity, his way of being, and his mission of saving souls. The only way to accomplish this formidable task is through the covenant itself. With this covenant comes the gift of the Holy Ghost, which purifies our nature, reshapes our hearts, and fills us with the desire to live higher and holier lives. Gradually everyone that is called by his name is created, or recreated, for his glory (Isaiah 43:7). This is the whole essence of our covenants. They have been given by a loving God to strengthen our commitment and to keep us on track. They are to lift and to bless, to ennoble and to purify, and ultimately to help us become what he is and receive all that he has. Such is our privilege as a covenant people. (Amy Blake Hardison, Being a Covenant People, Covenants, Prophecies and Hymns of the Old Testament, pg. 31-32)

September 12, 2007

Meaningful Experience

What did Adam and Eve know after they returned to God’s presence that they hadn’t known when they were originally with him in the Garden?  What can we know after our own return to God that we didn’t know in our premortal life? The scriptures explain that God expected and desired that Adam and Eve’s children would have the same kind of mortal experiences as their first parents had, which suggests that the redemption of Adam and Eve was not just a convenient way to erase the effect of an unfortunate error.  Rather, it was an intentional element in a course of instruction designed by God himself for their preparation, if they freely chose to accept it.  Without that course of instruction, they would not have developed the capacity to live a meaningful celestial life.  So it is with our experience as their children: Mortality is not mere estrangement from God — it is the crucible through which the possibility of truly meaningful life becomes real.  (Bruce C. Hafen, The Broken Heart, pg. 39)

September 9, 2007

Christ Alone

How the Atonement was wrought, we do not know. No mortal watched as evil turned away and hid in shame before the light of that pure being. (Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, May 1988, pg. 69)

Deeper

Despite this remarkable truth about the Book of Mormon [containing the most profound theological treatment of the Atonement], we Latter-day Saints are, for the most part, only superficially acquainted with our own doctrines of grace, mercy, justice, and the Atonement….each of us needs to take the Atonement more fully into the deep parts of our consciousness…. (Bruce C. Hafen, The Broken Heart, pg. 3, 5)

Balm

….emphasizing God’s mercy may lead some to believe they are entitled to divine divine protection against all of life’s natural adversities. There is already enough theological difficulty for those who believe that their activity in the Church should somehow protect them from tragedy and sorrow. Our understanding of the Atonement is hardly a shield against sorrow; rather, it is a rich source of strength to deal productively with the disappointments and heartbreaks that form the deliberate fabric of mortal life. The gospel was given to us to heal our pain, not to prevent it. (Bruce C. Hafen, The Broken Heart, pg. 5)