Abortion destroys freedom

Some people say that making abortion illegal would limit freedom, and that the mother should be given a choice in the matter. While we are all able to make our own choices in mortality, people who choose to have abortions should understand that in making that one choice themselves, they are destroying any choices that the unborn child would ever make. Essentially, they are taking away the freedom and choices of an entire lifetime by choosing to selfishly make one choice for themselves. Just some food for thought…

“Lay Hold upon Every Good Thing”

In the April, 2006 Ensign, Elder Merrill J. Bateman wrote an article entitled, “Becoming a Disciple of Christ”. In it, he explains what it means to “lay hold upon every good thing”. I found it comforting since I tend to be one who tries to do everything all the time.

“To ‘lay hold upon every good thing,’… involves faith, repentance, participation in sacred covenants, companionship of the Holy Spirit, and enduring to the end. It does not mean laying hold on every good thing all at once. The principle is ‘line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little’ (2 Nephi 28:30). Also, the command to serve God ‘with all your heart, might, mind and strength’ (D&B 4:2) should leave one exhausted at the end of life, not midway through the journey. The Lord expects us to pace ourselves, to ‘run and not be weary, and … walk and not faint’ (D&C 89:20).”

Elder Bateman seems to be encouraging a steady consistent commitment to the gospel, rather than bursts of high-powered activity, followed by a lack of interest. An important point for all of us to remember.

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.

Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration (movie review)

Last week my wife and I went to see the new Joseph Smith movie which has replaced “Testaments” at the Legacy Theater in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. First off, you should know that I am not a big movie goer. I think my wife and I only saw one movie in the theater in all of 2005. We haven’t seen the latest Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or Star Wars movies. Call us weird, but it’s just not our thing. We do still enjoy a good classic now and then, or a musical. So my review should not be taken very seriously. 🙂

Anyway, I enjoyed the Joseph Smith movie. It was more or less snippets and scenes from the life of Joseph Smith – a very broad biography. In only 68 minutes you can’t go into a lot of detail, so they didn’t. But you get a glimpse of Joseph Smith’s personality, the trials and persecution he went through, and what others thought about him, good and bad.

There seemed to be a very large focus on his trials. I came away thinking, “Wow, he sure suffered a lot!” It showed lots of angelic visitations, and had some good one-liners to answer some questions that might be in the minds of non-Mormons as they watch it. For those who are wondering, the First Vision scene did show the satanic attack (although it didn’t explain why it happened), and there was no mention of polygamy.

One of my favorite scenes was when Joseph was out whacking a rug in the yard, and an Irish saint came to him and said something like, “Joseph, pardon me, but I don’t think a man of your great status should be engaged in such menial chores.”
Joseph replied with a smile, “How long have you been married?”
“Three years.”
“That long? May I offer you some advice?”
“The Lord intends a marriage to last a lot longer than three years. In fact, he intends it to last forever. Now, if a wife doesn’t want her husband in this life, why would she want him in the next? You give that some thought.”

That was paraphrasing, of course, but it was a pretty humerous scene.
Anyway, for those who have seen the movie, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. And for those who haven’t…umm…go see it, I guess!

What will we know in the Spirit World?

I was thinking recently about the Spirit World, and how much we will know when we get there. Will a full knowledge of our pre-earth life be restored at that time? What will non-believers think when they realize that death wasn’t the end? Will it be easy to see that Christ’s church is leading the Spirit world or will there be just as much confusion as there is here?

A well-known scripture shed a little light on this for me today.
D&C 130:18:

Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.

Of course we won’t have the full knowledge of our pre-earth life restored unto us in the Spirit World. That will not come until the Resurrection. Our time in the Spirit world is still part of the test of “mortality”. That makes sense because many people accept the gospel in the Spirit world and we can still change and repent there (although we’re told it’s much more difficult to repent there than here – see Alma 34:33-35). The judgment will not have happened yet either, which means the test is certainly not over.

Recall Notice

My Grandma just sent this to me through e-mail. I’m sure it’s an old one, but still fun:

The Maker of all human beings is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to the serious defect in the primary and central component of the heart. This is due to a willful malfunction, in the original prototype units code, named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units. This defect has been technically termed, “Sub-sequential Internal Non-morality,” or more commonly known as SIN, as it is primarily expressed. Some other symptoms:

[a] Loss of direction
[b] Foul vocal emissions
[c] Amnesia of origin
[d] Lack of peace and joy
[e] Selfish or violent behavior
[f] Depression or confusion in the mental component
[g] Fearfulness
[h] Idolatry
[i] Rebellion

The Manufacturer, Who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is providing factory authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this SIN defect. The Repair Technician, Jesus, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. There is no additional fee required. The toll free number to call for repair in all areas is: P-R-A-Y-E-R. Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE procedure. Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician, Jesus, into the heart component. No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Jesus will replace it with:

[a] Love
[b] Joy
[c] Peace
[d] Patience
[e] Kindness
[f] Goodness
[g] Faithfulness
[h] Gentleness
[i] Self-control

Please see the operating manual, HOLY BIBLE, for further details on the use of these fixes. As an added upgrade, the Manufacturer has made available, to all repaired units, a facility enabling direct monitoring and assistance from a resident Maintenance Technician, The Holy Ghost. Repaired units need only make Him welcome and He will take up permanent residence on the premises!

WARNING: Continuing to operate the human being unit without correction voids the Manufacturer’s warranty, exposing the unit to dangers and problems too numerous to list and will result in the human unit being permanently impounded. For free emergency service, call on JESUS.

DANGER: The human being units not responding to this recall action will have to be scrapped in the furnace. The SIN defect will not be permitted to enter Heaven so as to prevent contamination of that facility. Thank you for your attention.

— Author Unknown

Pre-mortal Life Doctrine Taught in 2nd Century

A 2nd century Alexandrian Scholar named Origen (185-253 A.D.) was one of the last Christian writers to teach about the pre-mortal existence of man. His writings of it are close to the truth, but with slight variation. He taught that we all lived with Father in Heaven in purity, and that we all made choices, and the devil rebelled against God and was thrust out. We all fell from our pure state except Christ. The most wicked became devils, the more righteous became angels, and the rest of us were sent to earth with a physical body as a punishment. But God so loved us, that he sent His son down to this earth to give us a second chance. Interesting idea, eh? It’s amazing how easily truths can be distorted over time if there’s not revelation and a living prophet to teach correct doctrine.

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?).