The recent buzz
Click Here "Safety for the Soul" from Elder Holland
Click Here "Cleansing the Inner Vessel" From Elder Packer.
Apparently there is a buzz around the recent general conference address by Elder Packer. The interesting thing is Elder Packer's message has not changed since he entered his Apostolic calling, nor has the message from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I don't get all the hullabaloo. The IRONIC thing is he is being criticized but he also is the one that speaks to the concept of 'blind obedience' how 'blind obedience' leads to surrendering one's agency (freedom to choose) and the associated and attached precious accountability to another person's stewardship (leaders, parents, peers, etc) -- you know the whole my friend asked me to or made me do it philosophy.
I find it eerily interesting that a recent address from Elder Holland (see link above) addressed how even the 'elect' shall have 'their hearts fail them'. Further, this Sunday (10/10/10) in Sunday School many active LDS will study the upcoming lesson 37 [Isaiah 22; 24–26; 28–30 ]. So many things colliding together. These last days seem to be getting spent faster and faster.
There is an allegory in the Book of Mormon that is referred to as Lehi's Dream. In this dream there is reference to the people that make the journey to their ultimate destination which is a tree that holds fruit. Those that are able to make it through the journey [Book of Mormon; 1st Nephi Chapter 8 and 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15).
Click Here for 1 Ne 8:25, 28.
In this direct reference it states:
"25 And after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed.
• • •
28 And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost."
When one studies these various things together and begins to understand the connections, it is perceivable for logic to alert a person to understand this relates directly to the buzz around Elder Packer's address. Further, it goes to strengthen one's faith concerning prophetic fore-tellings.
I understand that this may tend to be a sensitive issue to many when we begin to discuss marriage. In fact, I believe the discussion has nothing to do with the emotional tenets that are being attached to the political rhetoric that is circling this issue. Humans from near the beginning of time have had choices presented to them. If one follows the discussion from the viewpoint that Adam and Eve were the first of the human family, and then according to evidences in the Bible (arguable based on the translated text one uses as reference) that they were presented with the first major choice:
1)[Pearl of Great Price - Moses 2:28]
And I, God, blessed them, and said unto them: Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.AND/OR
2)[Pearl of Great Price - Moses 3:17]
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
The concept of choice against a rule was born. The person or being that created the standard was God the Father and the agents that had to choose [Adam and Eve] determined the plan. The order of marriage and other covenants between man and Deity had commenced. In 1995, the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and its Apostles released the
LDS.org - Family Chapter Detail - The Family:A Proclamation to the World to re-iterate these agreements and covenants concerning marriage and the accountabilities attached to those who enter into these contracts and covenants whether legally or lawfully.
OK. Now to my thoughts about the buzz that was stirred by Elder Packer's comments. As an Apostle, he is clearly reminded and re-iterating doctrine as it is prescribed. Further he is doing so under the tenets of the calling which he holds as he is speaking to the world audience and the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He isn't asking one to choose or define their choice, he is simply stating the fact and reminding the world family of the measuring stick.
Yes it is true that we are agents that may freely choose as we will. It is also true that this is a gift bestowed upon us as we come from Heaven's presence to earth through the travails of our Mothers during birth as we enter this world through the womb and encase our spiritual being in the clay of flesh. This freedom is still ours.
For those that are Latter Day Saints, we have further determined by the ordinances that we have performed in our behalf:
The Gift of the Holy Ghost by the Laying on of Hands
the level of our faith and further or belief and trust in these things. Joseph Smith, the young prophet was asked what our faith believed in and what it represented for our faith. These came to be known as the "Thirteen Articles of Faith" Articles of Faith.
I digress. Ultimately I want to center on choice. The affects of choice, and the attached consequences that are attached to those choices. I do not believe that Elder Packer means harm to anyone in the human family. Rather, as an Apostle he is warning those that are drifting from the measurement and the reality of God's standard. Sure, one may choose to be married according to his standard and definition. Another may choose not to. And, another may choose to enter into earthly alliances or contracts with another person of the same gender. When measured back against the standard that the Apostle represents, his warning voice is to remind those that drift from God's way are at risk of losing the attached agreements and rewards, BLESSINGS, associated to that choice. He is also indicating that those blessings are no longer required from God if the standard is not met or upheld. Each mentioned ordinance has a covenant and associated rewards and blessings attached, should the person executing and accepting to enter into that covenant relationship decides not to maintain their choice and drift from that decision.
We do not hate humanity, nor do we not love those that decide not to participate in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as we believe that it should. Neither do we openly condemn those that enter into covenants and then drift from their choices. IT should be clear that this occurs with the person or the agent that makes those choices. At times, there are authorized servants (prophets under the direction of God and Jesus Christ and others as designated by the prophet and God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost) that are required to measure a person against the standards associated to various covenants. These ambassadors then carefully decide how to provide an individual the directions required to get back as closely to the standard and also under the direction of the Holy Ghost to determine a path to resolution and hopefully a path that will ultimately allow the Atonement of Jesus Christ to erase the person's deviation from the standard so that the full measure of blessings and rewards associated to a covenant may be again available to this person.
It is not to say that an Apostle or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is out of touch with the world, because in fact they are and that is the absolute point of why God has placed these designated servants to those who wish to return to His presence to have assistance in returning to heaven and qualify to return to God's presence.
I was glad to hear this message from Elder Packer. I was further impressed that the Spirit touched this man enough to bring these things forward.
All this aside, if two individuals seek to form a contract in the eyes of the world, so let it be. It is their choice. I do not have to accept this choice as appropriate in the eyes of covenant relationships with Deity, nor do they have to accept my viewpoint either. However, we each have the right to voice our viewpoints and standards. It is now up to civil authorities and governments (note ones that are not Theocracies) to determine and distinguish the standards by which humans on this earth and in t he lands they live should accept. These are typically governed by the constitutions and legislative requirements unique to those lands and cultures. Whether or not it is determined that two same-sex individuals may enter into this or that contract does not change the fact or notion that marriage as defined by God is between man and woman and is ordained of God. All other associated rights are then determined by the world and man. To this end I hope that people will quit intermixing things. I am all for the separation of church and state as long as the state will stay out of my church. America is on the road and has a collision course set for the same outcomes as our predecessors and that is rapidly escalating and those of the world are either oblivious or very coherent of this happening.
Elder Packer has simply stated the standard and how to measure yourself against the standard. It is now up to those who hear this to determine the choice they will make and at the point of that choice, accept the consequences attached. If one is a Latter Day Saint I do hope that their hearts will not fail them, and as they petition heaven to understand the truth of all things, that the impressions of the Holy Ghost are openly available to them and they are not deceived. I ma so grateful to have the belief that this is also available to me and my family. We have embraced the opportunity and are greatly to Elder packer for challenging us to exercise our testimonies concerning these matters. I am very aware that I have friends and associates that will not believe the same as me and my family. We are further grateful that they have that right. We also hope that they will afford us the same compassion when we disagree and not try to force us into political correctness where my choice is force-able removed from me to someone else that dictates what my choice is.
I am not sure that I have bound my thoughts together well and will review this over time. I just wanted to write something to my thoughts concerning this and share it with those closest to me.
Thanks to all who read and comment, and again I hope you understand that our rights to express our thoughts and feelings are wonderful tings and what makes humanity so interestingly diverse. I do however measure myself against standards that may be different than yours and I may or may not understand your standards and you may or may not understand mine. Though an open discourse of those beliefs and standards has never been well achieved by humans which is disturbing but it is reality. I wish you well in your journey while on earth and hope you discover and arrive at your end objective. As for me and my house we hope to return to God's presence as resurrected beings through adherence to the laws and ordinances prescribed by the Son of God Jesus Christ through using the Gift of the holy Ghost and other tools (Scriptures, Prophets).
One last thing....In my life the discussion about my beliefs and another goes generally something like this....I offer them the opportunity to share what they believe, and then they share with me what they think I believe and then not offer me much of a voice to explain my beliefs by me. Because of this, many I feel and know do not understand why I believe what I believe, nor why it may be true. I do not believe what I believe what I do because someone told me to (you can ask my parents about my outstanding youth and adolescence). Rather I believe it because after being involved in many things and discovering the Book Of Mormon, I challenged God as it describes in the Book Of Mormon :
[Book Of Mormon; Moroni 10:3-5]
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your chearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a c\sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may aknow the truth of all things.
I had this revealed to me in many different ways. I invite people to do the same, but be aware that this happened to me which means it will and can happen to you to if you are sincere in your pursuits. It hasn't been easy, but everything and evry blessing that I have received personally and those things my family has received has been worth every challenge, heart ache, trial, challenge, etc that has come along our path.
Good luck, and hopefully those members struggling with Elder Packer's recent address will come out stronger in their faith and determination to qualify for all blessings attached to the ordinances and covenants they have entered into. If they do not, may they be civil, and find the peace they seek however that may be determined by them and their choices.