Monday, August 15, 2011

Gestures


I got to thinking today about gestures.  A football clip caught my attention.  So much can be communicated by a gesture.  Some gestures are universal, like a smile.  Some are so recognizable to a culture no words are needed at all to communicate the message.  Like the above touchdown gesture.  Most anyone in the United States will recognize it.  Even from a distance. 

If you know what a particular gesture means or refers to, you can communicate large amounts of information in a short period of time.  Often from a distance.  For Latter Day Saints, gestures and symbols are an important and profound part of our faith.  They mean something.  But you have to know what it's referring to or it will be just a picture, or some gesture, or some random image that doesn't have any particular meaning.

But to the initiated, the gesture or symbol gives a sermon. God uses gestures.
Here are some examples of Christ, Prophets, and True messengers using or receiving sometimes little recognized gestures that open up the mind with careful thought.  

3 Nephi 28:12
3 Nephi 11:9
Alma 13:21

Alma 19:41
1 Timothy 2:8
Acts 6:6
Alma 31:36
Mathew 10:14
Deuteronomy 26:8

The ordinances of the Gospel contain many gestures as well.  Baptism, Washing, Anointing, Clothing, receiving sacred knowledge, sealing.  All of these involve gestures.  Some of them require us to learn about the culture from which the gestures or rituals originate in order to understand the message communicated.  All of them require faith in Jesus Christ to lay hold on the reality behind the gesture.  Without Him it's all empty and hollow.  The action in and of itself looses it's power when we fail to realize the message, or He who is the power behind it.  In the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest (D&C 84:20).

The touchdown gesture is meaningless to someone who has never heard of football.  They won't know how many points it represents, the work required to achieve it, and what is going to immediately follow (the extra point/two point conversion attempt).....   In this way you can communicate something openly without actually disclosing the meaning.  But those prepared will know exactly what is happening, what it means, and what comes next.  It can be hidden in plain sight.

The Gospel utilizes this kind of communication a lot.  Those who are interested will do what it takes to realize the realty of the symbol or gesture, but those who don't will be amused at best by strange actions and symbols. The Gospel has so much to it, has so many levels, I don't think it could ever be boring.  Things tend to be boring when you don't know what's going on.  This post today was about understanding what's going on in the Gospel so as to not be bored.  There's too much fun and excitement to ever be bored by the Gospel.

Sometimes we need to learn about other cultures, even the culture of Heaven to understand God's gestures.  They are right in front of our nose, if we stop to look, ponder, pray and learn.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Psamls 27:4, and "The House of the Lord"



"One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple." (See also Psalm 64:4)

I taught Elder's Quorum today and these were some thoughts that I found enjoyable and worth thinking about. The topic was Families can be Eternal.
I started with two fill in the blank questions.
1. No family becomes an eternal family without _______________
2. No one becomes part of an eternal family without _____________

We listed things to fill in the blank that made the statement a true statement. They included things like ordinances, covenants, repentance, faith, love, etc. I added one that was "difficulties". Any family that becomes eternal will get difficulties, in fact everyone gets them.

The one fill in the blank that no one really mentioned was "Coming to Christ". So we focused on that, and how to go about doing that. For because of Him, the hopes and dreams and purpose of the Gospel is possible. And how the inevitable difficulties we put as the first fill-in-the-blank can lead us to fulfill the second fill-in-the-blank which was to fully Come to Christ.
As the discussion went on we talked about the inscription above the entrance to all Latter-Day Saint temples. "Holiness to the Lord, The House of the Lord".

The word “house” we typically use to refer to the place where we park our cars, sleep, and eat dinner. But in the context of our faith, the temple, ordinances, Christ, and the scriptures, the word has a bit of a different meaning. It can mean many things, but this is the one I focused on. In previous times, the word house referred to a family line. For example “The house of Windsor, or as everyone knows "The House of Israel”. This isn’t referring solely to a physical structure. It’s a family. So the Temple reminds us what family we are invited to belong to. The “House” of the Lord. The Lords family.

We have the grand and great privilege of making covenants and learning of the "House" of the Lord in the Temple. There we can be initiated into His family through ordinance, ceremony and covenant. Our relationship to Him can change. We are invited to have a new and more intimate relationship with Him. Hopefully these are good and exciting elements to the Gospel.

In Mosiah Chapter 5, King Benjamin is teaching his people they have a wonderful spiritual experience, and we learn in the scriptures they were spiritually born of God. They become sons and daughters of Christ. Spiritually they became something new. A son or daughter of Christ as the scripture says. This gives insight into the inscription above the Temple entrance.

This is our privilege as Latter Day Saints, this and so much more.

D&C 88:119: " Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;" A "house" of people doing these things sounds like a divine family. A person's own "temple" would include these kinds of things as well (1 Corinthians 3:16). Of course the House of the Lord is also a sacred place. The Lord's words have many meanings that can surprise us.

"One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Come unto Christ, not just Come unto Church (Elder Scott and Elder Nelson)

Came across some clear and direct teachings from Elder Richard Scott, and Elder Nelson from a priesthood meeting at the Layton Northridge Stake back in 1992.  The words rang so true, and were so relevant to our day I wanted to post them so they would be more available.  It's not really new, just a timely message i guess. I liked that the setting was more personal, and Elder Scott and Nelson were able to teach and discuss with the people present, as opposed to just reading a talk like they have to do at General Conference.  I love when the leaders are able to meet with and teach in smaller settings where it's not just them speaking to an audience but rather with them.  

Elder Scott talked about "Coming to Ch" and how there is a problem in the church of teaching each other to come unto Church when we should have been teaching to "Come unto Christ".  He taught the real purpose of the Church is to bring people to Christ.  To lead and teach others how to establish a direct link to Christ and to live the fullness of the Gospel. He explained how we establish that direct link to Christ is by direct communication with Him through personal Revelation, the rock upon which our own personal salvation is built. He talked about the role of the priesthood leader is not to put yourself between Christ and his children, but instead to work alongside but from higher ground while not putting themselves in between so as to block the path (see pic below).  He also explained to not put the church in the place of Christ.











He asked those present where they thought most of the church would be on a the following diagram below.   













After some responses this was the conclusion and the resulting drawing.    


Elder Nelson talked about the many many problems facing priesthood leaders.  Financial difficulties, divorce, abuse, pornography, teen pregnancy, immorality, dishonesty...etc.   He said all of these problems are not problems, but are symptoms of one problem:  "Lack of conversation to Christ".  He said if everyone were to come to Christ how these symptoms would disappear in their lives and bishops and priesthood leaders would not have to deal with so many of those supposed problems. He said that if the Priesthood leaders would go into the homes of the members and teach them how to come unto Christ that all of these problems would disappear for all those who would come unto Christ. Or at least they would be greatly minimized, as people would either become Self reliant through their relationship with Christ and those symptoms would not be so real or obvious in their lives.  

Elder Nelson pointed out that our natural solution to these symptoms is to run people through programs and meetings and to organize more and more meetings to discuss the problems of the people. He said the real solution is to get out of the meetings and go help the people achieve personal conversion to Christ, and to understand the principles of Faith and the Pure Love of Christ.

He went on to talk about the wickedness of our society.  He taught a major concern was mothers working outside the home to provide for luxuries that had become needs.  He recognized those mothers who need to work by necessity, and mostly directed his comments towards the teaching about mothers working outside the home in ways that are contrary to inspired counsel.

Simple yet profound truths.  Hope you have enjoyed them as much as I have.