"For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light..."
February 3, 2008

Conversion

Being converted…and having a testimony are not necessarily the same thing…A testimony comes when the Holy Ghost gives the earnest seeker a witness of the truth.  A moving testimony vitalizes faith; that is, it induces repentance and obedience to the commandments.  Conversion, on the other hand, is the fruit of, or the reward for, repentance and obedience…Conversion is effected by divine forgiveness, which remits sins…Thus he is converted to a newness of life.  His spirit is healed.  (Marion G. Romney, in Conference report, October 1963, p. 24)

August 25, 2007

Behave yourself!

Fine feelings, new insights, greater interest in religion mean nothing unless they make our actual behavior better…. (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)

September 20, 2006

The Bitter Cup

Pastor/teacher John MacArthur, in writing of the “bitter cup” Jesus was called upon to imbibe, observed: “Never was so much sorrow emanating from the soul of one individual. We could never comprehend the depth of Christ’s agony because, frankly, we cannot perceive the wickedness of sin as He could. Nor can we appreciate the terrors of divine wrath the way He did.” Further, he asked: “What is the cup? It is not merely death. It is not the physical pain of the cross. It was not the scourging or the humiliation. It was not the horrible thirst, the torture of having nails driven through His body, or the disgrace of being spat upon or beaten, It was not even all of those things combined.” Rather, MacArthur adds, “what Christ dreaded most about the cross — the cup from which He asked to be delivered if possible — was the outpouring of divine wrath He would have to endure from His holy Father….In some mysterious way that our human minds could never fathom, God the Father would turn His face from Christ the Son, and Christ the Son, and Christ would bear the full brunt of the divine fury against sin….In other words, on the cross, God imputed our sin to Christ and then punished Him for it.” (Joyn MacArthur, The Murder of Jesus, h. 63-71) — Robert L. Millet, A Different Jesus?, p. 91

August 26, 2006

Inside Out

The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human behavior. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1985, p. 5

May 11, 2006

Don’t Look at Me…

“Does not one person need repentance more than another? Ezra and Baruch protested to God that while Israel had sinned, the Gentiles had acted much worse, and asked why they should be let off so much more easily. But God was not buying that argument. You can always find somebody who is worse than you are to make you feel virtuous. It’s a cheap shot: those awful terrorists, perverts, communists—they are the ones who need to repent! Yes, indeed they do, and for them repentance will be a full-time job, exactly as it is for all the rest of us.” — Hugh Nibley, “Great Are the Words of Isaiah,” CWHN 1:217

April 14, 2006

Individual Repentance

“Prophecy tells us that things are going to change and that there is nothing we can do to stop it. Certain things are going to happen. Must we therefore resign ourselves to our fate? Not at all. There is a vital rule that leaves the door wide open to effective individual repentance and escape. We have Professor Heisenberg to thank for that. He found that though you can predict with absolute certainty how masses of particles are going to act, you can never predict how any one particle is going to behave. That is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which used to be called the ‘free will of the atom.’ The single particle is unpredictable; only the mass is absolutely bound to behave according to the unimpeachable laws of physics. In the same way one can prophesy with absolute certainty what a nation of people or society is going to do: you can talk about aggregates and predict the behavior of the masses, but you can never deny any individual the freedom to repent and go the other way. ‘Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.’ The prophets and Professor Heisenberg show us the way out. You do not have to wait for the group to change. for the society to repent, nor do you have to change your ways to comply with theirs; the individual is free to ignore the multitude, and only he is free. Only an individual can repent. Repent is reflexive verb — you can’t repent someone else or force somebody else [to repent]; you just repent…” — Hugh Nibley, Approaching Zion, pp. 416-417

March 27, 2006

Why Does God Send Famine?

“What color was manna?  White.  It came from heaven; landed on the ground; melted when the sun came out.  Everybody had to have it for life. All nutrients needed for life.  What color is snow? White. Comes from heaven, lands on ground, melts when sun comes out. Need it for life. We all need it.  Who is the Water of life? Jesus.  Who is the Bread of Life (manna)? Jesus.  Notice when you reject Christ, what does he do?  He withholds one of his types, which is the water of life, and you get famine.  What happens to people in famine?  They repent.  When Nephi wanted the people to repent, God gave Nephi all power.  Nephi asked for famine.  Let’s pull one of the symbols of Christ and see what the people do. Short time later they repent.”

“Remember that all things point to Christ. They are in harmony, and when you are in harmony with all things in nature that typify Christ, then all is well, but if you are out of harmony and get wicked, then all things will be in COMMOTION (D&C 88) and their hearts will fail them, the earth reel to and fro, the sun does weird things, the stars fall, the moon does things it normally doesn’t do, because they are originally made to bear record of Christ.  When their testimony is rejected, they stop bearing testimony in all things, and all things go into commotion.  The system literally points to Christ.  He is in all things and through all things, and if all things stop bearing record, we will be sorry.  It will be as if the earth is turned upside down, shaken and burnt.  Is.24. The history of Israel will eventually become the history of the world.”  — Robert J. Norman

March 20, 2006

Understanding Evil

“Remember that, as I said, the right direction leads not only to peace but to knowledge. When a man is getting better he understands more and 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 bads man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right. 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 do not know about either.” — C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Only the good know how bad they are.

March 19, 2006

Only the Repentant Truly Understand the Scriptures

“There are several things that are helpful to understand to help reading … scripture. First, in order to understand and enjoy scripture is REPENTANCE. I don’t fully understand how the body and spirit are put together, nor do I understand the ecology of the universe which the Lord has created. I don’t know clearly the relationship between NOT keeping the commandments, and NOT enjoying spiritual things, but they are absolutely contrary to each other (See Alma 41:11 - man in the world, without God, is living contrary to the nature of happiness).”

When Ammon was coming back from his mission with his brethren, he made this statement found in Alma 26:21-22:

21 Now behold my brethren, what natural man is there that knoweth these things. Behold, I say unto you, that there is none that knoweth these thing, save it be the penitent.

“In other words, there is something about spiritual things where the spirit bears record, and if you are not repentant, you cannot know it. Even if you once knew it, you cannot know it now.”

22 Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringing forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed,; yea, and unto such it shall be give to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance.

“So, the only thing that can happen to an unrepentant person, in this context, is that they can know a lot about the Lord, and a lot about scripture; they can even be a scriptural scholar, but THEY CANNOT KNOW IT. YOU MUST BE REPENTANT. THERE IS NO ONE THAT TRULY UNDERSTANDS THE SCRIPTURES, SAVE IT BE THE PENITENT.” — Robert J. Norman