Saturday, January 29, 2011

Birth symbolism

A few thoughts about being born again. This is more a journal entry.

The word rebirth relates the idea to a physical birth.  Something each of us has experienced.  Water, blood, and Spirit are the elements of a birth, and a spiritual rebirth.

Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, a Master of Israel, didn't understand being born again. He had to seek out Jesus during the night alone to ask Him about it. (John 3:1-9). If he was a leader of the Jews and didn't understand it, it makes you wonder what he was teaching the people?  Can you teach what you do not know? He wondered how to enter back into a mothers womb and be born again. Christ replied that he needed to be born of water, and of the Spirit and later asked how this master in Israel did not know these things. Being a leader, and holding a high title did not automatically guarantee his understanding of the topic, nor guarantee he had experienced the teaching personally.

Speaking of the experiences of those in the scriptures.  If we live how they lived, believe as they believed, have the faith they had, why then would we experience any less? Why would we be limited to dummbed down versions of the experiences? With time wouldn't we be privileged to the same promises?  What for them was a meaningful event sometimes gets redefined for us readers until it is no longer even something you can recognize, but is instead more of some vague imperceptible process that everyone can relate to.  It's ok if we realize we are living below what God has offered.  The mistake is not realizing it, and then redefining the words and experiences of scripture to fit our lack of experiences.  

Elder Bednar has described being born again with an analogy involving the process a cucumber undergoes to become a pickle (conference 2007).  Elder Bednar and Elder McConkie have both also stated that events in the book of Mormon and bible involving peoples spiritual experiences and rebirth are not typical and do not typically occur all at once.  That may be the general experience of mainstream church members, however that does not mean that is the only way to view the subject.  Scripture authors say "many" are having the same experiences the authors were having, in other words, it's not necessarily atypical from a scriptural point of view. (Either 12:19, Alma 36:26).  Again if we live how they lived, should we not be able to have the same kinds of experiences?  Sure, the words of scriptures had to be condensed and experiences retold in short fashion since they had to etch it onto metal plates; but should not the experiences be the same ones available to a latter day audience?

Christ described being born again using the idea of a birth.  As I ponder on that teaching I've noticed there is a reason it's called "born again".  It resembles a birth.  It's an unmistakable moment. It's not labor, it's not pregnancy, it's just when a baby goes from the Garden of Eden of the womb, into mortality.  The dictionary defines birth as "the act or instance of being born". Something important has occurred, a fetus leaves the womb, breathes air for the first time and becomes a newborn baby. We mark the time and date and they are remembered.  There is joy, relief, and the newborn will soon receive a name and a blessing and hopefully lots of love. The newborn has passed from one state into another, and it's names goes from "fetus" to "baby". It's typically a time of joy.

In Mosiah 5:7-9,12 it talks about a large group of people of various ages gathered around the temple who were born again. They, like a baby were to receive a new name, and experience newness of life. There are many similarities to a birth. The physical birth involves water of the womb, the blood of the mother, and the spirit of the individual. The other involves ordinances, the water of baptism, the Holy Spirit, and the blood of Christ (Moses 6:60). Both births share the common elements. The two types of birth I think can shed light if we look at them as symbolic.    

The experience in Mosiah 5 above doesn't say this event was the completion of the peoples journey, it makes sense that such a thing wouldn't happen all at once. The words of the scripture do clearly communicate something mighty had happened that day.  Going back to the physical birth analogy, it seems to me pregnancy is a process, the fetus developing is a process, labor is a process, the child growing up is a process, learning and gaining wisdom is a process. But birth is defined as the act or instance of being born, it's a moment in time when something important happens. It's not the end, there is much more to come, growth, maturity, and progressing by degrees over time, but is not being born a memorable moment? One that is joyous, meaningful, with newness of life for child and newness for parent?  Would it not make sense that this physical truth would parallel the spiritual truth?  There is at minimum a milestone that can be recognized.

When I read church history and the testimonies of early Saints I notice "typical" in the early days of the church is not the same as "typical" now. To me that is worth some thought and personal reflection.  The work of God didn't change....

Spiritual rebirth is what God says it is, not what man tells you it should look like, and is like, and what's typical.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Distractions

I'm amazed at the amount of distractions there are constantly beckoning to us. All shapes, sizes, colors, and types. It doesn't matter which one distracts as long as it successfully distracts from what truly matters. Deep down we all have some sense of what matters the most. But it's so easy to become distracted.

I've heard many many differing views of various topics, and doctrines in the Gospel. Those who have left the church often have a variety of views of the temple. Some loose faith because of it. I too have found challenges and confronted things that were not solvable easily. Some competing arguments can be very distracting from faith. It's balanced, and we get to choose in favor of faith or in favor of something else. With a glimpse of the underlying purpose and intent however, all the rest seems just a big fat distraction. If someone can present a point of view to discount an ordinance, or make it look like it's just trying to control, or trigger negative feelings it can easily distract from the true underlying intent that is divine.

While thinking about this I came across a neuroscience blog that had some interesting things to say about distractions.

"Some people use distractibility and impaired sustained attention interchangeably, but they are different. Some people have quite strong abilities at being able to sustain attention, but they may also be exquisitely sensitive to distraction.

In this study, we get a chance to see why distractions make it hard to learn. The areas of the brain (prefrontal) that are necessary to resist distractions are exactly the same areas that are needed keeping information in mind. It looks like a direct competition.



Other interesting details - we are more sensitive to distraction at the limits of our memory (the more challenging the task) and when the distracting sounds are fluctuating, rather than constant like a hum." (http://eideneurolearningblog.blogspot.com. Drs. Fernette and Brock Eide)

Magicians use the tool of distraction to hide the truth. That seems to hold true in many many areas of life. The adversary is said to be the "great deceiver". I think to deceive and to distract are closely linked.  The adversary will first and foremost distract us from coming to Christ.  If he can distract from that with personalities, awe of leaders, non central Gospel topics, ideas, emotions, and cultural testimonies......  than he has deceived us.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Higher ways


A few thoughts I had today.

In the Law of Moses the accepted way was "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" (3 Nephi 12:38). Christ came and took it beyond that, saying that we should turn the other cheek, and that even being angry with a brother is dangerous (3 Nephi 12:22). Turns the matter from outward to more of things inward, things of the heart. From a law written on stone, to a law written in our hearts. But it doesn't end there. Living God's revealed laws leads somewhere. This dawned on me while attending the Temple today. We go upward as we choose to.

Sometimes I wonder how I miss things when they've been there all along. The requirements, the ordinances, the directions are right in front of our noses, awaiting each of us to live them when we are ready. The scriptures are full of directions as is the temple ceremony. And Christ has assured us His grace is sufficient if we cooperate with Him (Ether 12:27) (2 Corinthians 12:9). What Good news.

One principle that is so very simple that stood out is how unkind feelings can restrain the Spirit of the Lord (D&C 63:32) (D&C 121:37). We all have experienced unkind feelings. The Gospel invites us when we are ready to forgive the person or persons involved. And to speak goodness or truth instead of evil. To let go of the unkind feelings and be free of them. Forgive, reconcile, speak to them, or whatever the case may be, we can find charity again. Letting go of unkind feelings so the Spirit of God can be unrestrained in our lives, in our prayers, and in our worship. How simple. How liberating. Something everyone can do pretty much any day of their choosing. In essence it goes right back to one of the two great commandments, to love our neighbor. When confronting what seems impossible we can turn to the Lord who found the charity to forgive all (Luke 23:34). The master teacher can surly teach a willing student. I don't think He is limited by the imperfection of the follower.

I've heard it before but am seeing for my self that it really is all right there, awaiting us to choose when we are ready. The directions are all there and they lead heavenward. Sometimes a lot of focus on striving almost makes me loose focus. The ordinances of the Gospel seem to point to the idea that with God's help we can actually succeed in this journey.  Seeing the temple ordinances and ceremonies as God's word to us personally, allows our mind to go further.  Thus the ordinances build faith, because they can be viewed as God's word to us.  Step by step, the directions are there.  We also each get to choose our own speed.   

"Beautifully simple, and simply beautiful". -Russell M. Nelson, "Prepare for the Blessings of the Temple", Ensign, Oct. 2010, 40–51.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Bible thought


Heard something today that encouraged me. From a radio bible study in San Diego California. It talked about the ingredients of a cake. Separately they taste awful, but when you mix them all together the final product can be a whole different story. The analogy went on to talk about the sweetness of God's word, the sweetness of answers to prayer and moments of insight and joy. With that however comes sacrifice. Or times when things are bitter, very difficult and just plain sour. But when you mix them together, it can create something wonderful. The idea was a call to view both the sweet, and the sour from a broader perspective and see what God is cooking up. (Sweet and Sour just so happens to be one of my favorite Chinese dishes as well. That's why the pic for this post is what it is. :) Without the sometimes tremendous disappointment, and bitter pain of life, we cannot know the sweet taste of success. Through Christ, we are offered sweetness above all else.

Later on it talked about some of the sour events to come as prophesied of in the book of Revelation. Wars, hunger, turmoil, plagues, destruction. But there is also the sweetness of the day when God returns with the Saints and rest and peace fill the earth during the millennium.

One thing I found very interesting was what was talked about during the time prior to the Second Coming, when the Antichrist comes to deceive. People will swoon and become huge supporters, He'll have fans all over the world, a savior, a redeemer almost. One who will seem to unite and bring peace both economic and political. One thing people in general are not going to call him is The Antichrist. Ha....makes sense, but it was funny to hear it said like that. He's not going to go around calling himself Antichrist. He will likely have many names and what name people use will likely be a result of their perspective. Scritptures call him AntiChrist, but lots will call him something else.

Anyway "anti" usually means against, or opposing. This particular study identified something I thought was insightful. It said "anti" can also mean "replacement for". The Antichrist will seemingly replace the True Christ. Interesting to think about what may "replace" Christ in daily life as well as long term earth history and prophesied future.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Success


Someone asked a great question in church today. They asked how we would define success.

From what I read in scripture Satan's plan of salvation seemed very "success" or outcome driven. By some definitions of success that plan may have seemed like the more "successful" one. I don't know that true success can be defined that way. I think true success is much more internal. Without agency it seems to me there would be no freedom. There are other kinds of "success" I suppose. Making such and such amount of money per year, getting this promotion, getting that car, getting this degree, or grades, or prizes of all shapes sorts and sizes. Some of those may be successes. Most would say failure is the opposite of success.

It caught me while thinking about the last few minutes of the Lord's life how in the hour of greatest defeat, was the hour of triumph. Eternal success. By giving His life, He conquered death. Victory and defeat came together. The triumph opened the door for all of us to be free. I wonder if true success is freedom. Freedom from sin, and bondage, freedom to live and come to the Light. Whether or not we accept and comply with the Lord, the success and power of the atonement endures. We are free to choose and I think that has a lot to do with success. (2 Nephi 10:23)

I wonder how the Lord defines success.

How we define true success I think reveals our priorities. I put a picture of the pyramids up because I found them interesting in regards to success.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Literally following the prophet


I come across really interesting websites sometimes. One I came across recently is an entire site totally devoted to following the current president of the LDS church. Literally following His actions. "The aim of the website is better access to the current President of the Church." I have to wonder about that aim, and what hitting that target will or will not produce.  How can we hit the mark if we aren't even aiming at it?  I have no doubt about the good intentions behind the site, such a focus and obsession with the current leaders is a cultural trend and focus nowadays.  But no leader has ever asked this.  It smells of idolatry.  It's got the wrong focus. The prophet has become an object of adoration and that by getting closer to him and where he eats, somehow that gets you "in" with God?

Reminds me of the primary song "Follow the Prophet". Some seem to want to take that counsel a bit literally. I see many posts on this website ranging from how President Monson gave a hug to someone outside a hotel, to the airplane he uses to travel, his attendance at a Jazz basketball game, or even him having dinner at Dee's.  I'm not making this up.  It's www.followtheprophet.net.

I suppose I could add my own "sighting". As I was backing out of my parking stall in the church office parking lot two days ago the security guard motioned to wait for a second, as I turned to the side to see why I saw President Monson on the little golf cart go whizzing by the back of my car.  I didn't give it much further thought.  Wow "sightings" of General Authorities and the President are not going to get anyone brownie points.  God promises us a member of the Godhead, the Holy Ghost to be our constant companion. Hopefully we don't instead prefer the privilege of knowing the location, personality, and eating habits of men called to lead.

These are the scriptures cited to support the premise of the website. (D&C 21:5) "For his (Joseph Smith) word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith." And (D&C 1:38) "What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

The first part of the verse speaks of Joseph Smith.  This website has taken the liberty of applying what was specifically about Joseph and extended it to cover every president of the Church since Joseph.  God was speaking of Joseph, not a office in the Church.

That last part of the verse also seems clear enough. God's word is the same regardless of a servant speaking the words or God's own mouth. What matters is still Gods word, and whose voice it speaks through doesn't diminish it's importance or change the origin. I think the last part of that scripture is commonly read to mean something else. It's read to mean that God and the servant are pretty much the same.  Whereas I think the sameness had reference to God and His word, the idea of God being the same yesterday, today, and forever is mentioned a few times in scripture. Not so much that God and earthly servants are the same.  Therefore I personally think this scripture refers to that idea, not that we should presume we can praise and honor the servant because of His calling. That could lead to a testimony of a man, but we are called to have the testimony of Jesus.

I support the church the leaders and the scriptures. I support them and their callings.  My point in this post is to point out there is a problem when people take that scripture as a suggestion to honor or celebritize the speaker, or rely on them as if they were God.  Following them almost as one would a movie star with paparazzi.  

Elder Bednar recently taught that the purpose of Apostles and Prophets are to testify of Christ. Fixating on the servants doesn't sound like the right kind of "following".  We are taught in scripture to follow the Lord, not his servants.  And certainly not follow them around town, to restaurants, and sporting events.  

Where we look determines were we go. Christ has said "Look unto me in every thought". That's the right aim.  There exists no scriptural teaching that says following the current President of the Church around town and watching his every move brings you closer to Christ.  That is not how to gain access to God.  No leader, and no scripture that I know of has ever taught to do such a thing.  

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Condemnation and the Mirror

There's a scripture found in D&C 84:49-57. The verse I'm referring to says "Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion even all. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written."

This isn't often spoken of. I mean who wants to hear that they are under condemnation? Who wants to look in that mirror and see if it may be true? Yet there it is, the entire church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is told that it is under condemnation. Leaders as recent as President Benson have reiterated the message. As of yet, I am not aware of any declaration or revelation from the leaders indicating that the condemnation regarding the church has been lifted. Sobering.

Many members of the church are quick to quote another scripture in D&C section 1, stating that the church they belong to is the only true church, and they often share testimony of this. Yet less than a year after section 1, the Lord had another message, which is the one about our vanity and unbelief bringing us under condemnation. Anyone ever heard a testimony of that?  It's much less popular, much more disconcerting, much more difficult to handle and certainly calculated to do the opposite of heightening our pride. But we tend to not like those kinds of messages, ones that debunk our greatness..... we want to hear that everything is wonderful, that everything is right on course... that we are so wonderful compared to everyone else that we hardly need more counsel than every 6 months. It's so subtle and persuasive to hear of never ending success and be assured it will continue. It's comforting to hear that being Mormon is plenty good.

I think modern language is pretty funny, you don't need to go further than your bathroom to find language involving vanity. A bathroom counter top/sink with mirror is called a "vanity", and then there are "double vanities" for the double mirror and double sink. It really is not helpful to the state of our soul if our possessions double our vanity, especially those we see ourselves in. Yet not all mirrors double a persons vanity, often a mirror can reflect much better things. Coming to Christ will alter what one see's in the mirror.

I say better the condemnation you're aware of, than the one your not.

Romans 8:1 Says "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." This makes a lot of sense when reading the verses preceding the one quoted above about the church being under condemnation. It speaks of people being under the bondage of sin, and wickedness, who wouldn't be be if they came to Christ. Romans says to walk after the Spirit, not the vanity of the flesh.

The way out from under condemnation is to come to Christ. And that's done on an individual level. The Lord right after making us aware of the condemnation shows us specific steps to get out. They include the Book of Mormon, the commandments, doing what He's said and not just "saying" or talking about it, not being vain, and replacing our "unbelief" with the truth which is in Christ. We are to be named His (Mosiah 26:18). Be reconciled to the Father through Christ (Jacob 4:11). No wonder we're supposed to remember the Book of Mormon. It gives countless stories of people coming to Christ, and coming out from under bondage of sin and it's condemnation. Many people have done it, unfortunately the book also contains examples of people who don't want to hear it or who presume to have have better things to do.

The Lord's insight often strikes me as wonderfully peculiar. He says to remember the Book of Mormon, so what do we do? We call ourselves Mormons. He says to not only "say" but to "do" as he teaches. So, we go and put cute "sayings" up on our walls. Haha, kinda funny now that I think about it. I mean no harm or ill feelings by those comments, I think it's good to have some humor about it all. As problematic as life is, and and prone to err as I certainly am.... faith tells me it's possible to get it right.

There are many many many voices in the world directly against faith. I'm prone to err just like anyone. Life is full of difficulty, not one patient comes into the clinic where I work without trouble, and often extreme difficulty, eventually all of us face death. With all that life presents to us, with all the voices against faith I write as one small, insignificant voice in favor of faith in Christ. If the Lord said how the condemnation is to be removed, and a person obeys, than it's the Lord who then is required by his own word to remove it. The mirror need not reflect vanity, unbelief, or sin. But instead something far greater.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Who do you live for


Kelsey and I both heard this same thought on the Radio Today. We were in separate cars going different places but heard the same message. It was on KLove. The full message is on their website. This is a paraphrase of what we liked.

"If you don't live for the Lord you'll end up living for something or someone else. You may not have thought of it that way but essentially that's what ends up happening.

If your life is centered on:
  • Your partner or spouse, you'll end up becoming dependent, maybe at times jealous and controlling. The other's problems will be overwhelming for because your life is centered on them and what they do or don't do.
  • Your children, you may try and live your life through them. You end up totally devastated when they don't do what you want or when things don't turn out the way you thought they would or should.
  • Work and career, you end up becoming driven and a workaholic, empty when retirement comes. If the career goes badly, you may become depressed or perpetually unsatisfied.
  • Money and possessions, you end up eaten by jealousy about money and may do unethical things to maintain lifestyle equal to things portrayed in the media or equal to others around you.
  • Yourself, pleasure, gratification and comfort, you end up finding yourself addicted to something and selfish.
  • Relationships and approval, you end up constantly overly hurt by criticism and losing friends. You will fear confronting others.
  • A noble cause (global warming), you end up dividing the world into good and bad, us and them, which can demonize your opponents. Without them, you have no purpose.
  • Religion and morality, if you are living up to your standards you end up proud and self-righteous. If you are not, your guilt will be devastating.
None of those things can atone for your sins." It all comes down to what or whom you love most. Pretty simple. Christ said the first and great commandment was to Love God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Who we live for has a lot to do with the first and great commandment.

"If you live your life for God, and you make mistakes, God will lead, guide, and forgive you." The only way to be totally fulfilled and satisfied is to live for God. This is how Christ exemplified and showed this principle in action. 3 Nephi 27:13 "Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me." Christ did the will of His Father. He lived to do His will.

Many addictions behaviors and sins are attempts to fill an inner void. Because we cannot stand the God-shaped hole inside us and we try stuffing it full of all sorts of things, or causes but only God can fill it.

Tay and Kels

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In God, I mean Greed, We Trust


We watched the new movie Wall Street last night. During one scene the camera panned in close on a dollar bill. It showed the phrase we are all familiar with on US currency "In God We Trust".

It struck me as ironic that we would place such a phrase on pieces of paper we use as a means of exchange with each other. The paper isn't valuable, and what's backing the value has changed quite a bit, and the value of the dollar can fluctuates more than the weather in Utah. Yet the slogan proclaims "In God We Trust". I find that very ironic. I wonder just to what degree Money has become America's God. You can buy pretty much anything with money. That God is trusted, respected, honored, sought after, borrowed against, used to gain respect and status. It has the power to both build up and destroy. Facts of life show marriages that end in divorce almost always identify money as a major contributing factor. Can't truly blame paper and coins, in essence it's our decisions that matter.

Christ says in 3rd Nephi 21: "And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds; And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers; Thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands; And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities."

Witchcrafts? Soothsayers? Who are they? The fortune tellers that advertise late at night on TV? Surely the scriptures are referring to things each of us are familiar with. If it were important enough for Christ to mention, it probably has wider application that what we think of at first glance.

Here is what the dictionary says:
Soothsaying–noun
1. The practice or art of foretelling events
2. A prediction or prophecy

I can only wonder how that applies to current economic practices, major upper level decisions that are made, Wall Street, how that applies to housing markets, interest rates, business in general, the weather forecasts. Maybe even religion? The definition of Soothsaying is very interesting. Fortunes are gained and lost daily based on predicting events, and the likelihood of them. Selling fear can make good money. But all those forecasters are smart and brilliant and trustworthy right? After all they study the stuff right? Other scriptures refer to this downfall: "Trusting in the arm of the flesh". (2 Nephi 28:31) If the scripture prophecy is correct, then trusting in the wrong source is something we should all think about. Ignorance isn't long term bliss.

I have found Christ's words are SO incredibly applicable to our lives it's crazy.

"In God we trust"? Really? Or do we trust in the economic forecasts, the housing market forecasts, the analysts, the predictions, the market trends and value of "money". I'm not saying don't learn and become aware of the facts. Not saying that at all. Being informed is wise, without correct data it's hard to make good decisions.

I personally believe the founders of our country and government trusted in God. But taking a step back for just a moment reveals how as a country and general population we have come to say we trust in God with our lips, we write it on our money, but is the statement true or false? Each person has to answer that question for themselves. Each person that uses money should answer that question. If "In God We trust" were written in our hearts, there would be no need to write in on our false God of money. President Obama last year declared on TV "We are no longer a Christen Nation". "In God We Trust" has become "In God We Trusted". Or maybe even "In Greed We Trust" like the movie Wall Street identified.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Scripture Reading


For so long I used to read the scriptures to finish. To finish a paragraph, chapter, book etc. While I did read it a few times, and did finish it, I didn't see or understand the message hidden within.

I think with regard to scriptures its much more effective to read it not to finish, but to change. The root of the word repentance has to do with change, which I think is a effective way to read the scriptures. The word of God is said to be powerful, sharper than a two edged sword. The word can change us help us to repent if we read it to change instead of just finish.  Getting through the book of Mormon is very different than the book of Mormon getting through us.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sincerity

You ever known someone who was totally sincere, yet also incorrect at the same time? I'm referring to a religious context with the post. Being sincere and speaking the truth don't necessarily go together. I think speaking the truth does have with it sincerity. But sincerity can also come without truth. I mean we're all human, all of us at some point are faced with elements of deception, or misunderstandings, or plain old convinced we are right when in reality we are not.  We cam be sincerely wrong.

This idea I think sheds light on how someone is easily misled. Sincerity and good intentions are not always a secure or trustworthy measuring stick. This idea has made me more aware that persuasion should not be solely based on someones reputation, title, or how sincere they are. But on different criteria. You may be totally misinformed and totally believe that the sun rises in the west and so your sincere about your position.....but that doesn't mean you are correct. The emperor in reality may in fact have no clothes on despite the sincerity of those who sold him his "clothes".

This post is a result of looking at my own life, leaders, and times I've been sincere and looking back I was incorrect about something. I have since looked closer at self deception and developed more accurate criteria to discern what I take in, as well as what comes out of my own mouth and mind. Someone's sincerity is not always synonymous with them speaking the truth.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Universal Creation Song


Hugh Nibley would probably explain the synchronicity by telling about the universality of the creation song:
The word for poetry, poiema, means “creation  of the world.”  The business of the Muses at the temple was to sing the creation song with the morning stars. Naturally, because they were dramatizing the story of the creation, too, the hymn was sung to music (some scholars derive the first writing from musical notation). The singing was performed in a sacred circle or chorus, so that poetry, music and dance go together. (Lucian’s famous essay on the ancient dance, among the earliest accounts, takes it back to the round dance in the temple, like the prayer circle that Jesus used to hold with the apostles and their wives — Jesus standing at the altar in the arms of Adam, and the apostles’ wives standing in the circle with them. Some have referred to this as a dance; it is definitely a chorus.). So poetry, music, and dance go out to the world from the temple — called by the Greeks the Mouseion, the shrine of the Muses.
The creation hymn was part of the great dramatic presentation that took place yearly at the temple; it dealt with the fall and redemption of man2


Along with this topic, here is the rest of the very interesting article. 

The Universal Creation Song

The Sabbath Day



I remember many a Sunday night in College at BYU my roommates friends and I would always seem to get hungry around 10-11 pm. Sundays were a relaxing day, most of us didn't do homework and so we all spent time together Sunday nights. In an effort to keep the Sabbath Day holy we would all sit and wait until the clock said 12:00 thus technically making it Monday and then we would all drive down to the fast food places and get a meal. Judging from the lines in the drive through at Wendy's and Arby's at this particular hour we weren't the only people that had this idea occur to them.

In Elder's Quorum last week we talked about how our understanding of the Sabbath has grown, deepened, or developed since we first heard what the Sabbath was. I've noticed some quite dramatic changes in my understanding. Some very very surprising. I've found without some significant personal revelation I will have misunderstood all of Gods commandments. Without it, I'm pretty sure I'll be off in my understanding, sometimes in critical ways. Feeling restricted or burdened with regard to one of God's commandments is my tip off that I don't understand it. When I've actually understood a commandment I usually am at a loss for words at how loving and intelligent God is.

My friend Denver said one time "The truth will scratch your eyes out, then scratch them back in again."

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tolerance

One of my favorite quotes by Elder Packer was what he said about tolerance during a devotional he gave up at Weber State Institute in 2009.

I'm paraphrasing from his talk. I don't have a written copy but the idea was simple and I remember it well. 

He said: Be careful of the word tolerance, there are those who will expect it, but will not offer it in return.