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.

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