Sweet Fruit, Bitter Fruit

After my previous musing, I thought I might share some more in depth thoughts on the subject…

…it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter. (2 Nephi 2:15)

So which was sweet and which was bitter. Surely our first thought must lead us to believe that the fruit of the tree of life was sweet, but not so (despite the opinions I’ve read on other blogs and sites). It was the forbidden fruit (the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil) that was sweet.

The fruit of the one which was “bitter” was the tree of life, and the forbidden fruit was the one which was “sweet to the taste” Harold B. Lee CR April 56 page 109.

Harold B. Lee also stated:

Now that is the way it ofttimes sounds, that the things that are forbidden are the things which are the most desirable, and the things that are right for us are sometimes pretty bitter pills for us to swallow, as we say. (Teachings of Harold B. Lee pg. 13-14)

It makes sense to me that the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was sweet to the taste. It is a desireable thing to have knowledge of good and evil. Recognizing the sweetness of the fruit of this tree may have meant that yes, they possibly did partake of the fruit of the tree of life. God say they could surely eat of any tree in the garden except for the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

… it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet. (D&C 29:39)

So this begs the question, was the tree of life that Lehi partook of in his dream the same tree of life in the garden of eden? The surroundings sound much different and there was no cheribum and flaming sword guarding it. This one I don’t know. It may have been “just a parable.” It does represent the tree of life in the interpretation given by Nephi.

And just maybe the fruit of the tree of life is “most precious and most desirable above all other fruits” now, but was not at the time. Have any of us eaten fruit that tasted bitter, but would have been more sweet if we’d just given it a bit more time to ripen?

Waging War

As I was reading Numbers chapter 31 this morning, I was thinking about the first two verses where it was the Lord who commanded them to “Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites.”

I tried to picture this in our day. Would God ever command a people to go to war today? Certainly the Lord has made it clear that there are instances where war may be justified.

Now we all know there is a war going on today. President Bush has declared war on terrorists. Would God have us as a nation avenge ourselves of the deaths that occurred on September 11th, 2001? Would God not have us seek out and destroy those whose desire is to destroy us as a nation? Images of Captain Moroni come to mind. Images of the Lamanites seeking out the Gandianton robbers come to mind.

What are your thoughts?

Apostles and Disciples

Have you ever noticed that while Jesus called 12 apostles in the Old World, the twelve he called in the New World were not “called” “Apostles”. They were called “disciples”.

1 Ne 12: 8-9:
8 And the angel spake unto me saying: Behold the twelve disciples of the Lamb, who are chosen to minister unto thy seed.
9 And he said unto me: Thou rememberest the twelve apostles of the Lamb? Behold they are they who shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel; wherefore, the twelve ministers of thy seed shall be judged of them; for ye are of the house of Israel.

Why is that? The word “apostle” means “one sent forth” (BD Apostle). The apostles in the Old World were sent forth to the world (or the surrounding countries anyway) to preach the gospel to those who hadn’t heard it. But the disciples in the Americas were not sent to preach or minister outside of the few thousand people that were preserved after the earthquakes and destructions surrounding Christ’s death. Perhaps that is why the title “Disciple” is given to them rather than “Apostle”. I just found that interesting.

The Bands of Death and the Chains of Hell

In Alma chapter 5, Alma gives one of his most famous sermons on having a “mighty change of heart” and receiving His image in our countenances.

He also mentions in that sermon, the “Bands of Death” and the “Chains of Hell”. What do these phrases mean, and what could they symbolize? I’d like to share my thoughts on the subject.

The Bands of Death

The bands of death represent the physical death we will experience. I picture a thick rubber band in my mind, although I’m sure Alma had a different image. The point is, the band is breakable, and has been broken. Who broke it and what does it mean? Christ broke the bands of death when he was resurrected. Because the bands are broken, death is now overcome. All of us will one day rise again after our physical death and receive a resurrected body. This is a free gift to all regardless of what we do in this life. That is why the band is broken, not simply stretched or loosed. The effects are permament.

The Chains of Hell

The chains of hell, on the other hand are not as breakable. In fact, in this analogy, they are never broken at all – only loosed. These chains refer to the bondage of our sin, and the effects of the atonement. Unlike the universal gift of resurrection given regardless of our performance, the atonement is only effectual to those who have faith and repent of their sins. In this way, the chains can be loosed and we can become free of our sins, but the chains are still there to grasp us again if we fall once more into sin. (Or I suppose you could also think of loosing the chains, and stepping out of their grasp, but if you fall into sin again, you’ll get re-lassoed.) It is all up to us whether we want to sin and be in chains, or repent and have them loosed. I suppose we can consider ourselves free from them completely after the Judgment (officially broken?).

Modern Day Morianton

I was reading in Ether 10:11-12 this morning and I just couldn’t help but think of President Clinton. I was in South Africa on my mission during the whole Lewinsky escapade. It was an embarrassment to America. But I know a lot of Americans loved Clinton because our economy was so good at the time. I remember watching President Hinckley on Larry King Live state that Clinton was a very talented man, but he has some morality issues he needed to work out. Do we have modern day Morianton?

11 And he did do justice unto the people, but not unto himself because of his many whoredoms; wherefore he was cut off from the presence of the Lord.
12 And it came to pass that Morianton built up many cities, and the people became exceedingly rich under his reign, both in buildings, and in gold and silver, and in raising grain, and in flocks, and herds, and such things which had been restored unto them.

Killing those who don’t support freedom

This post may get a little political, but I’ve recently been reading in the book of Alma, chapter 62 (and other places), where dissenters of a “democratic” society who were in support of overthrowing the government and establishing a king, were about to cause the cause the downfall of the whole community. These “king-men”, as they were called were given a choice: support freedom, or be put to death. Many still chose death and fought to have a king even though it had proved destructive in the past. Pride and hopes for power are often what drove these men to support a king. They wanted to rule.

My question: What is the difference between killing one who doesn’t support freedom, and killing one who doesn’t support a dictator? Then what about killing someone who doesn’t believe as you do?

Maybe the difference is in the motive?
If your reason for killing is so you can have power and fame, that’s probably not a good reason.
If your reason for killing is so your civilization won’t be overthrown by wars and dissentions, then perhaps it’s a bit more justified.

Maybe it’s simply a matter of being based on truth?
Freedom IS God’s way. It’s the only way that really works. Although isn’t killing someone for their beliefs in a way taking away that freedom? I suppose that depends on the law.

Any other thoughts?