Sunday, April 28, 2019

Open Book Test

A conversation with an extended family member reminded me of some thoughts I wanted to write down.

From the Book of Abraham
And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.
This pre-earth setting says: "We" will make an earth whereon "these" may dwell.  So two groups.  One group is doing one thing and another group is undergoing something different.  Fast forward to earth life.  We've all forgotten everything.  Who belongs to which group?  We don't know.  But once here the test is underway for everyone: "To see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them".   "To see".  People are watching.  Hoping for success and pained for failure.

I don't know of anyone who could pass the test of doing all things whatsoever God commands and yet not do the things God commands. Common sense right? So from what I can tell, no one is exempt.  Even Christ himself obeyed the Father in all things and we know for sure which pre-earth group He was in.

Can't say you are faithful to science while completely ignoring and violating the scientific methods.   Therefore also hard to hold a claim being a follower of Christ while ignoring or going contrary to Christ's teachings.  Unless of course you assume you are following Christ by holding membership in a Church and or following men with religious titles.

I never enjoyed tests much in school.  I'd forget things or be nervous and be frustrated that the test didn't always reflect my knowledge of the subject.  But open book tests?  Those I liked.  Because assuming I studied, I knew where to find things and in the event I needed to look something up in order to answer a question it was no big deal.

So for our earth life part of that test is choosing between truth and error and on who and what we are faithful to.  One of the standards we know is very relevant to this test are the scriptures.  The test is an open book test because of the scriptures. That's the good news.  What if we use the scripture to see what the tests and an answers are since the authors saw us, they spoke to us in God's name, and many of them have passed the test.  So that's a critical source to look to for an accurate view and understanding.  And they attempted to persuade to follow Christ.

Some of the options of who to trust or what to follow appear easier, are convenient and don't require all that much effort.  Some are assuring because of the number of people involved. Whereas some options seem hard or are hard on the soul and require change.  Do we do what God commands?  Or do we do the bidding of some other master?  It's a tough question as we're all tempted and given diverse options to choose from, some more enticing than others.  Some more religiously mainstream than others.  Truth can be scary for sure, but I'd rather a scary truth than a falsely comforting lie.

The alternatives are many and frequent and pressing. I can't choose for you, and you can't choose for me.  But there's no getting out of this test. And God gets to be the judge.  Part of passing the test is applying a standard of judgement towards others than you yourself can pass.  Jesus gave us that test question answer in the scriptures.  And that question is one of the big ones. If we can get that question right things start looking a lot more hopeful.  The scriptures have both the questions, and the answers.  They involve things like mercy, forgiveness, charity.  Things no church can copyright or "own".

Here's an example of some answers from Alma:
Therefore, whosoever repenteth, and hardeneth not his heart, he shall have claim on mercy through mine Only Begotten Son, unto a remission of his sins; and these shall enter into my rest.
I believe choosing and figuring out what to choose is really good exercise for the soul.  It gets easier to get up off the spiritual couch when you've bothered to do some exercise and engage.  But hard when spiritually lazy and stagnant.  The lazy way is to just let a preacher or pastor or president be responsible and go along with whatever they are doing.  Or let whatever distractions are passing in front of you keep you preoccupied or disinterested.       

It's possible to idolize any number of things.  As long as it displaces Christ then there's a problem.  Someone can idolize just about anything.  People, ancestors, books, science, the bible, leaders. themselves, celebrities, guru's, nature.  But I think all the different options, some of them more enticing than others is part of a God organized dichotomy.  It's there on purpose.  It has to be there.  I believe it's by design so we would be able to prove who we trust and who we are loyal to.  When I write I hope to persuade in favor of Christ and choosing Him. Loyalty to Him is different than loyalty to ancestors or even a Church.

Who are you loyal to?

Life is an open book test.  We only need to realize the test is under way to be able to pass it.  
(T&C 159:18)

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