Waiting

June 27, 2011

Much of my life, and I’m convincede the lives of others, has been spent waiting and looking forward to things. I waited to get my drivers license. I looked forward to the summer break. I waited to get off work so that I could hang out. I waited for the cross country race the coming weekend. I waited for my mission call, and then endured the MTC experience. I’ve gone through a phase of struggling to stay on mission and just waiting every week for p-day. All with the hopes that I can endure a whole 2 years and go home.
But then what? Satan’s “real world” would tell me to wait through 4 years of “education” so that I can look forward to a wonderful job opportunity. So that I can wait  for a paycheck every week; so that I can wait till my kids are old enough to leave the house, and I can then retire… Once retired then what? Well more waiting… but when does it stop when does the waiting end.
Many assume the waiting for better things will end when we die and are “assigned a kingdom”.  Then we can stop waiting because now were stuck in one of the 3 circles on the diagram… “Gee hopefully I’m good enough for the celestial one”.  This, “hopefully I can be good enough” mentality can cause for a really stressful waiting period
As we wait we ask god “what do you expect of us in order to be worthy?  Or good enough for such a kingdom? “The lord responds by simply telling us we have fallen and we wont be worthy but to be humble enough to accept his direct guidance, and we accept the atonement he will do the works through us.  But the ones waiting reply “well god you can’t really mean it’s that simple we want to make ourselves better”. So in reply the lord gives us exactly what we have asked for with a checklist of things that we do in order to make ourselves righteous.  In the days of the children of Israel god gave them 614 laws to follow. Of course the laws pointed to something and were deeply symbolic because they come from god. But unfortunatly the people added their own laws onto the list as well, as they the rejected the actual list that god had given. And we have seen practically the exact same thing happen today, we have rejected the meaningful laws while adding our own rules of worship. Rules that point to nothing but our own pride. “If ye teach the law of Moses why do ye not keep it? Why do ye set your hearts upon riches?” (Mosiah 12: 29) We are required to wear costly apparel but have rejected or ignored large portions of the D&C (the modern law of moses)
Maby its just me but i see a pattern here, the more written laws and comandments of men a people reicieve the more selfrightiousness and pride they embraceIf.
The law is interesting because the same Lord through the apostle Paul later states “By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight” (Rom 3:20) well then why would he give the law? Whats the point? The point is that by focusing on our own merits we miss the point. “For god hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they could not understand….god hath done it that they may stumble.” (Jacob 4:14) The law is there so that we will realize that we cannot do it on your own.
God does not wish for us to be down here just waiting, and worrying about eternity, and whether or not we are going to be “worthy” for eternity when it comes at some point in the future. Granted this life is a time for men to “prepare to meet god” (Alma 34:32) but given the scriptures cited above and many other things I could cite, I think it’s easy to say that focusing on obedience with  exactness is missing the point. Especially when we’re striving to obey mans rules rather than gods laws.  I feel a different form of preparation is in order…
Alma in Alma 5:27-28 gives us a big hint as to what sort of preparation is needed, “Behold I say unto you are you stripped of pride? I say unto you if you are not your are not prepared to meet god.”  (Alma 5:28) verse 27 also gives us some great insight he starts by asking if we are blameless before god? And then proceeds to tell us what makes us blameless, and the only qualification is humility. Humble enough to allow Christ’s atonement to take away our unworthiness.
Our worthiness struggle is a problem because it removes our humility and replaces it with pride. “I am going to pay tithing so that I can get the blessings, because if I do the works I deserve the blessings” I could say that over the pulpit and none would cry foul. This kind of statement is common among us if not openly than definitely in our minds. We act like the only reason for the gospel is for god to give us what we deserve for our good works. “obedience with exactness+hard work+ faith=miracles”  is the mission equation. Obedience is reduced to being a means to an end.
There has become an unwritten checklist for members (it’s written for missionaries) when obedience is the only focus. It’s a checklist of dead silly works done without hear but just to check it off to relieve the burden of unworthiness from the mind. But what we are not seeing is that the burden is not to be taken upon us. It is taken upon Christ. Our merits can never relieve that burden. Only Christ merits.
“He hath forgiven us…and taken the guilt from our hearts, through the merits of his son.” (Alma 24:10)  Jesus Christ’s works are what take away our guilt. Not our works, our works are prideful. Christ works are humble.
Yeah we are saved “after all we can do” (alma 25:23) but all we can really do is stop thinking that we can do so much for our salvation and accept what Christ did do for our salvation. Being “saved” as some Christians put it is a real experience, we scoff at it because we don’t understand the scriptures the way they are. Mosiah 5:2 talks about a people who were changed and they no longer had a desire to do evil.  It’s the baptism of fire, the mighty change of heart it’s how we really accept the merits of Christ his perspective is given to the person and this is how we are saved by the grace of Christ, and by our works. Christ’s works become our works when we actually take his name upon us. In a discussion with one of my companions about how to live without a desire to do evil, my companion kept repeating the commonly held doctrine that “changing is a process” and “it’s not going to happen all at once”.  I disagreed but I didn’t know how to show him that it is an all at once thing. Looking back now I should have said “yes you are right changing ourselves is a really long process that will not happen all at once; but allowing Christ to change us does happen all at once. He can do it for us much better than we can do it for ourselves.”
Moroni 6:6-7 mentions what church members should really focus on after baptism “relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith” is the conclusion. Of course in V. 7 it says that the iniquities are cast out but when someone has truly relied upon the merits of Christ they are purified and desire no more to do evil (mosiah5:2) When one really becomes like christ and has “the will of the Son … swallowed up in the will of the Father.” (Mosiah 15:7)
We need to quit looking waiting for eternity and notice “we are in eternity and out of it we can never get” (BY JD 2:8) “for the kingdom of heaven is AT HAND, at our feet, here for the accepting . But what does man do? He wants to buy it with his ‘worthiness’, grab it for his greediness, use it for his vanity” (Max Scousen)
“Come unto the lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him” (Mormon 9:27). How many of us can say we have been truly humble enough to fear the lord. Fear to the point of trembling. Not many of us I think. Were to ‘worthy’ to have to worry about our salvation. Obedience to commandments is important but only through Christ can we be truly obedient. Through our own efforts we will always be found unworthy.
The only reason I bring up my somewhat controversial views on these matters is that I know its true. “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16) . And all this that you might understand that all flesh is in his hands so “be still and know that [he is] god” (D&C 101:16) once you get that far you will start to really see how heavenly this earth really is.  Eternal things real things are not obtained as a result of achievement they are gifts of god (Moroni 7). Anything eternal exists right now, the kingdom of heaven is here for us to find joy in we are just too busy ‘’knowing” better to see it. I find the joys of eternity surrounding me daily and it fills my sould with joy. Eternal life is to be found today, tomorrow and forever. Not earned. But until you really realize what Christ had done and truly accept it, you will still be in the lone and dreary world WAITING….

“and in all these things were they lifted up in the pride of their eyes, for they began to wear very costly apparel.” alma 4: 6

the following are my random thoughts on the subject of acumulating wealth sorry the thoughts dont flow time for editing is limited

 Costly apparel is the ultimate deciding factor in the book of Mormon whenever a people are on their way to destruction. It makes me think of a scene from black sheep. In that movie there is a scene where Chris Farley gets his tie stuck in the trunk of a car, the car starts to drive away and he is stuck to the car he can’t get off and ends up being drug across a parking lot by his tie. It all starts with a tie. Costly apparel is the ultimate deciding factor in the book of Mormon whenever a people are on their way to destruction. The neck tie is the hardest one for me to wrap my head around, it is something that is totally unnecessary. It is only there to better our outward appearance, which  downgrades the appearance of others. I remember when I went with my mom to buy my mission clothes, when I saw 700 dollars on the cash register at mens warehouse I almost threw up.  How much more expensive does it need to get until we consider it costly apparel?

About three weeks ago I got a hold of Approaching Zion by Hugh Nibley. As I’ve been reading I’ve really enjoyed coming across things that support what I’ve told people countless of times but I just could not find the things to support what I was saying. Il never look at poverty in the same light. Were really a greedy lot of people its insanity to see how much stuff we justify having while we still say that we only have what is sufficient for our needs. The common reply whenever greed comes up amongst most LDS people is, “don’t get me wrong im not saying that all people who have a lot of money are bad people, I know plenty of really good people who are really well off”.  But the fact of the matter is that just because we judge them as good doesn’t justify seeking wealth just for the sake of accumulating it. 

A buddy of mine on mission observed:

 “it’s like a rich girl they are nice on the outside perfect hair clothes everything but talking to one and getting to know them wow they are ugly even with in the church like my ward back home man it’s messed up like that people come everyweek to church wearing costly apearal and the nicest watches and cars but go to church everyweek but come service project none of those people are there it seems the people with the modest dress are the ones that are on the right track “

Coming to Africa was a total culture shock for me, its really helped me learn how little we really need. When you look in the national geographic and see some poverty you just kind of toss it aside after a few short remarks about “those poor people”  “bless their heart”. When you see it it’s something that becomes more real. But still I am left to imagine how it would be to experience….

Babylonish garments

“Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken:And he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites: and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man; and Zabdi was taken: And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it. ………And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.”

-Joshua

 

In the old testament babylon is made op of the manufacture and production of goods basicly buisness. so i babylonish garments could easily equate to buisness attire. and if a white shirt and tie and a suit is not buisness  attire i dont know what is.

I look down at my tie from time to time and think “Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life” the emblem of my power and priesthoods weighs me down from time to time “yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.” the flaxen cord about my neck wispers in my ear, that its ok for me to have more than my neighbor, because im a deciple of jesus christ, but in my heart i know its wrong.
 
 Its not the tie thats  the problem its all the symbolism that goes along with the tie, its happened numerous times where ive been asked what im selling. ” you can buy anything in this world with money”  even respect. but that doesent make it right. its puting others at a lower level than me, all for the sake of having a good image. Ive even met some missionarries where wolves in sheeps clothing would fit them quite well. its the way of the world, focus on the outside the carnal and if that is made to look good then the inside must be good as well. Thats not the case though its like sour milk, the carton looks normal but the milk is terrible. the focus should be inward, ” For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”  a babylonish garment seems like a small but by small and simple means satan can decoy the mind. im not writing this to spur some sort of change in church polocy or anything like that only to voice my personal toughts

While reading the book of Mormon I was really struck by the words of Jacob in Jacob chapter 2 and how similar what he says is to the statements of Brigham Young to the early saints concerning the accumulation of riches.

“Wherefore, I must tell you the truth according to the plainness of the wordof God. For behold, as I inquired of the Lord, thus came the word unto me, saying: Jacob, get thou up into the temple on the morrow, and declare the word which I shall give thee unto this people.And now behold, my brethren, this is the word which I declare unto you, that many of you have begun to search for gold, and for silver, and for all manner of precious ores, in the which this land, which is a land of promise unto you and to your seed, doth abound most plentifully.And the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches; and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they.And now, my brethren, do ye suppose that God justifieth you in this thing? Behold, I say unto you, Nay. But he condemneth you, and if ye persist in these things his judgments must speedily come unto you.”

-Jacob

If you ask them if they are ready to build up the kingdom of God, their answer is prompt–“Why, to be sure we are, with our whole souls; but we want first to get so much gold, speculate and get rich, and then we can help the Church considerably. We will go to California and get gold, go and buy goods and get rich, trade with the emigrants, build a mill, make a farm, get a large herd of cattle, and then we can do a great deal for Israel.” When will you be ready to do it? “In a few years, brother Brigham, if you do not disturb us. We do not believe in the necessity of doing military duty, in giving over our surplus property for tithing; we never could see into it; but we want to go and get rich, to accumulate and amass wealth, by securing all the land adjoining us, and all we have a knowledge of.” If that is not the spirit of this people, then I do not know what the truth is concerning the matter.

– Brigham young

I feel like we are all too often being told about self sufficiency and saving  and what not that we become so independent, that it is unspeakable to depend on anything or anybody  but ourselves. I am going to save, I am going to work hard, I am going to be educated, I am going to get a job, I am going to provide for my family, I have to be worthy. Its true that the book of Mormon says that we are  saved by the grace of Christ after all we can do. But considering all the scriptures that state that man is nothing and we are found as unworthy servants  im forced to conclude that all we can do is really  a lot less than we make ourselves out to be able to do. Korihor quoted the doctrine of the day quite well when he said that every man faired in this life according to to the “management of the creature”. We deny the salvation and the grace of Christ when we deny the gifts of god, we tell god “ these blessings are not gifts, I earned them, I deserved them” and we thank god after the manner of the zoramites by telling ourselves we are better than the rest because we have made ourselves worthy of the blessings.

“God has announced that he has a plan to prepare for himself special people and to make his church “independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world” (D&C 78:14). We get as far as the word “independent” and, without reading another syllable farther, declare our resolution to get rich and thereby achieve the independence God wants us all to have.

But if God has a plan, why not let him tell us what it is, instead of cutting him off in the middle of a sentence the way Cain did when he saw that God’s plan would interfere with his own plans for getting rich (Moses 5:23-33)?”

Look at all those fancy clothes,
But these could keep us warm just like those.
And what about your soul? Is it cold?
Is it straight from the mold, and ready to be sold?

And cars and phones and diamond rings,
Bling, bling, those are only removable things.
And what about your mind? Does it shine?
Are there things that concern you, more than your time?

-Jack Johnson

“Thou shalt not kill…the good guys”.  Has become the doctrine of the day. “it’s ok as long as you’re not killing the good guys”.  Its ok to steal as long as you call it business. Pride is encouraged as long as your proud to be in the only true church.  Costly apparel? Well gosh it’s just a tie as long as the church is true and were following the prophet all is well in. 2 Nephi 28:25 comes to mind. “Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!” 

I remember before I saw the light my brother (link to his blog) trying to explain to me why he doesn’t ever wear a tie wear a tie. I just couldn’t fathom it, it made no sense to me. My arguments were the usual LDS arguments. But I remember he just said who’s example are we following? Jesus Christ? Or James Bond?