Total Blasphemy

April 17, 2012

In my exit packet given to me by the mission president he included a talk  by a general authority about how nothing comes for free in this life and we must work hard if we wish to inherit the celestial glory. I cant find my exit packet or else I would reference the talk directly. This isnt a talk that he includes for every missionary, It was placed in mine because of my blasphemous preaching and teaching the idea that we attribute nothing of ourselves separate of gods grace. I still remember my friend telling me in his exit interview that the mission president exclaimed to him that my ideas were “Blasphemy!  and totally heretical views for a latter day saint to hold!”. I was sent home. no exit interview just a phone call telling me i’m out. Im not bitter about the whole situation, I only bring this up because the ideas in this post are what were my undoing.

I have been back from my mission for about two months now. To be honest I was glad to leave the mission field, and i received personal conformation that Ihad done the lords work. The last two months have been pretty good to me, and I feel that i have been blessed by the lord with an abundance of happiness. By Babylons standards  I have been a “lazy freeloader” for the past two months. Being jobless and living on futon probably wouldn’t be my mission presidents definition of success. But I have found such joy in my experiences lately that i cant see why we force ourselves to live the way we do. Constantly building and bettering ourselves in pursuit of some sort of lofty goal which more often than not is centered around competition, attempting to be better than our neighbor. While those who arent caught up in the competition are confused into thinking that they have to play the game in order to be happy. It probably sounds like im talking about money, and in a sense I am, but that’s not the only place this anti competition way of life can apply.

Rockwaterman put it well when he said  the following in a recent post

“Buying into this idea that “I’ll do this for God, then He’ll do this for me” can be devastating for people when they get hit with the double whammies of life.  If you live long enough you may learn that even though you do everything you’re supposed to do, God can make no guarantees.  Jobs are still lost, illness intrudes, careers evaporate, divorces occur, fortunes disappear, children go astray. Sometimes our children even die.  When we’ve done everything we knew we were supposed to do, yet life becomes one disaster after another, we wonder why God let us down.  Why did he fail to hold up his end of the bargain?”

Rarely do we ask ourselves “What bargain?”

We were raised in Babylon, and wether we like it or not it plays a huge roll in placing manacles on our brain to cajole us into thinking we need to do this or that in order to get something in return. Gotta work to get paid. Sadly this same thought process is applied to our religious devotions.  Seeing blessings as currency will keep god just about as close an an employer. For me that’s not very close. We can work our butts off our whole lives just trying to keep our noses clean, being at every meeting, wearing the nice suit and combing our hair just right; but ultimately the standard that the lord holds us to is one that will never gratify our own pride.

Our standards become a problem when they cause us to feel as though we have held up our end of the bargain, as if we have been the catalyst to our salvation. This puts us ourselves up as a god for ourselves rather than Christ being our salvation. I remember sitting in a priesthood meeting and hearing a missionary recount a story of how before he left on his mission he was in deep financial trouble and how he prayed to the lord and informed the lord that he had payed his tithing, and then proceeded to ask for monetary blessings.  His testimony was that he received his blessings, so that meant that god always held up his end of the bargin. Now 8 months later im strongly compelled to ask what bargin? where in the scriptures does the lord say if you give the church ten percent of your earnings, you will be blessed with more money?

 Malachi 3:10 does say

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if Iwill not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

I don’t read any sort of bargain out of this, its not a specific deal that the lord is making with you. comparing it to an investment makes me want to hurl. the lord says he will pour out huge blessings on you if you pay your tithing. thats all he says. Its a deal. but not the kind of deal we think of. Its kind of like when you buy those mystery bags of candy on Halloween, except for the fact that whatever god puts in the bag of blessings is always the best thing for you at the time.  The lord doesn’t have to give you anything at all in this situation, maybe the blessing that you have not room enough to receive is loosing your job to help you to learn some lesson or another.

It takes a truly wicked man to come up with the idea that heaven can be purchased by our supposedly good deeds. But yet that has become the center point of the religious exercises of most Latter Day Saints, the idea that if we just do certain things and attend certain meetings, we will be righteous. Many are led by this philosophy to exlaim in thier hearts,”o righteous man that I am, I’m good enough to hold a temple recommend! I have earned it!”

While the prophets Paul and Nephi are led to exclaim.

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 7:24-25

and

“O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorrowethbecause of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted. My God hath been my support” 2 Nephi 4: 17-20

Paul and Nephi both Exclaim their filth, and looks for a deliverer, a savior someone to lighten the load, they find that in Jesus our god and our support.  The problem comes when we exclaim our filth but then look to ourselves at the savior, as if we could fix what we did. unless there have been some advances in time travel that I don’t know of then that is literally impossible! You have sinned and you need a savior! there really is no way around it you will never earn heaven because you ruined it from the get go. Traveling back in time is impossible so there must be an atonement made.  And only when you can be led to exclaim your own folly and worthlessness will the lord be able to raise you up, until then your pride will hold you in the abyss of your ego.

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