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Oct 24, 2015

Pillar 3

Right now, because of Adam and Eve, and the continuation of God's plan, we are mortal. God had us forget our life with Him before, so we could grow, little by little, and develop Faith.  The question is now... how do we make it back to our Heavenly Parents and become Immortal? Many people's biggest questions encompass... how do I have a family in this confused world? Without a Savior, the human race would be stuck in mortality, doomed to be restricted by sin, sickness and sorrowful dispositions. Forever "fallen".

It strikes the deepest part of my soul with sadness to think of what it would be like to not live with my earthy family, and be able to return to my Heavenly Father and Mothers' opened arms... The honest question is... after death, what happens next? Earth life is just a pin-prick in eternity, yet our decisions to "Come unto Christ", or to keep choosing Christ like when we were spirits before determine our happiness. The more and more I discover about God, the more I really want to live with Him someday, and I want to live there with the people I love the most. We can be together, forever wrapped in the arms of eternal peace. Jesus Christ makes the journey possible because of His sinless submission to the will of our Heavenly Father. Christ lovingly beckons to us...

"I am the way, the truth, and the Life."

Jesus was the First Born of our Heavenly Father who answered the need. He was born in humble circumstances, long waited for by the ages of the world. God was his Father, and Mary his mortal mother. He lived a perfect life for us to emulate, and then suffered for our sins and afflictions in Gethsemane. He then was crucified, died and was buried for three days. He did what we could not do for ourselves. Then after being laid in a tomb, he came back to life, a Resurrected being. His body and spirit were reunited into an Immortal state, he was the first of the Resurrected. Repentance through His Atonement is the only way by which we can obtain that Family life that exists after death.

“Our Heavenly Father’s plan contains the ultimate expressions of true love. All that we hold dear, even our families, our friends, our joy, our knowledge, our testimonies, would vanish were it not for our Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Among the most cherished thoughts and writings in this world is the divine statement of truth: ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’” —President Thomas S. Monson

Jesus Christ can bring us incredible happiness and peace now! ...Not just after death. I can't even begin to describe how much peace applying his example has brought into our family life, and into so many others family lives.  Many of us spend so much time searching for that completing element in our lives, that thing that will bring us peace. Peace and happiness in this life, and Life in the existence to come is found in the Savior. He has establieshed His church which now exists on the earth, as it did in the Savior's time. He is preparing the earth for His coming.

You can hear about other people obtaining peace through the healing power of the Atonement here. Those things that destroy lives and families can be overcome through Him. I know. I am one of many. Miracles have not ceased.

The Love that can be brought into our homes and lives  is the most expansive, loving, incredible, bonding... impossible to describe phenomenon. We all can keep coming to Him, whether we feel we are new to this or are continuing in His path.

WRAP.... WANT His peace, READ His words, ACT on your convictions, PRAY for answers. (Moroni 10: 3-5)

Whether you reach out to "wrap" your arms around Jesus or not, He stands ever ready with his arms stretched out to receive us. Then as you move forward, prepare to be "wrapped" in the arms of His love. 


Oct 16, 2015

Pillar Two

I just find it so appropriate that we get to talk about the Fall now! I am looking outside of my window and just soaking in the sight of our red maple...
Think of the advent of the fall of Adam and Eve in this way... The spirit children of God were ready to take the next step, and God sent the Gardener (Jesus Christ), tilled the ground(Created the earth), and prepared the space for which we as His spirit children would have the best growth experience. In order for us to get to this place called earth, a seed had to fall from the tree. Perhaps, like the little helicopter seeds from our vibrant Maple in the front yard. From a tiny Maple seed can come hundreds of thousand of strong living trees, and the experience of life. Adam and Eve were the brave first seeds of the human family on the earth. They took the plunge.

A quick recap of the FALL:

God created the earth and its Heaven in 6 days time. He then created every form of life that exists on it, with the final addition of Adam and Eve. They were then commanded to have dominion over the earth and to multiply and replenish it... Essentially, figure out how to create a family.

God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and were commanded to eat of every tree, except for the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. They were warned if they ate it, they would die. Satan entered the Garden and tempted Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit. She ate, and then presented the fruit to Adam, who also partook. Then God came to them after they had partaken of the fruit, their transgression was acknowledged, and the consequences that followed began their mortality. Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden into the world in which we live now to begin the human family, experiencing sorrow, and toil, and children.  They "Fell" from the presence of God.

The prophet Lehi explained how essential the fall was to the population of our spirits into the mortal family experience:"22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden... And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
 23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin." (2 Nephi 2:22-23)
In the same moment though, we on the earth have already sinned. Its part of our natural “fallen” disposition as mortals. We should not go looking for sin to get wisdom. We already have plenty of hardship and sin to gain the necessary experience of mortality! What great perspective the fall gives to life's challenges and difficulties... To be grateful for them, embrace them, because they are part of our learning experience! I would say, by far the best and hardest thing I have ever done has been cultivating a family anyway. Isn't it interesting that in a mortal setting the things that are the most work, also can bring us the most lasting happiness. Alot like gardening... :)

But, now that we are mortal... how do we return to our Heavenly Family, and grow into our royal heritage? That is where Jesus Christ comes in... Next week. Pillar 3. 

Oct 9, 2015

Pillar One

"Evidence is all around us that the family is becoming less important. Marriage rates are declining, the age of marriage is rising, and divorce rates are rising. Out-of-wedlock births are growing. Abortion is rising and becoming increasingly legal. We see lower birth rates. We see unequal relationships between men and women, and we see cultures that still practice abuse within family relationships. Many times a career gains importance over the family."- Julie B. Beck

And may I add, marriage itself has been redefined by our culture. I must stress that we do not hate those who have taken this route. I have taken a lot of thought about this social phenomenon lately, and If I didn't know what I know, I would probably agree with everyone else. 

But the fact is, I do know, and knowledge is power, and with power comes great responsibility. In my case, the responsibility to care for others enough to warn what all of the above changes are going to mean for the human race. 

So, lets begin with the first piece... It may seem a bit far fetched in the beginning, but I promise by the end it will make more sense. Just think of it in the... there is a God context.

Before we were born on the earth, you and I were spiritually created by our Heavenly Parents. We spent much time learning and growing under their watchful care. We were created in the image of God. (Moses 6:26-27, Genesis 1:26-27)

"Each of us is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and as such, each has a divine nature and destiny."

Then a big counsel was called, where all of God's spirit children attended. The meeting was about our growth and experience as His Children. There was a plan created to make us mortal, with bodies on an earth that would be created. We would live within families so we could gain experience, and then become like our Heavenly Father. In order to experience life as a mortal, we would need a Savior to enable us to come back to the immortal. This plan was called, the "Great Plan of Happiness." 

Painting by: Kevin M. Bullock
The condition was that in order to gain all of this knowledge, and experience, "We had to know the bitter to know the sweet" by experiencing earth life. Long story short, Satan was a spirit of light "called the Son of the Morning" and he stepped forward at this family counsel and wanted to be our Savior. His plan was to make it so everyone would come back to God and he would get the praise and glory. Jesus also came forward when God asked and offered to be our Savior. His plan was the same as God's plan, which was that we could choose to come home and God would receive the glory. The only way God's plan would work, would be if we as His children had CHOICE. So, Jesus, our eldest perfect spirit brother was chosen to be our "Way back" through the performance of the Atonement. This must have been a heck of a counsel, because 1/3 part of God's children were angry and followed Satan, instead of God! You and I are the other 2/3 that chose God's plan to receive physical bodies. The earth was created by Jesus Christ that we would live on... and the Adam and Eve story perpetuates from there... Satan and his followers now occupy our earth, trying to destroy God's plan and influencing us to choose the way of death, rather than life. Man they are deceptive, and tricky. For example... 

Why is this council event not widely accepted, even in most Christian churches? Why is the truth of our true potential for divinity denied? After all, Jesus Christ has already come to earth and established his church once? For heaven sake he was born here, and died, and was brought back to life. He established his Church. Wasn't that enough?

Many plain and precious truths were lost after Christ left... There must be a reason historians call it the dark ages. If you take our potential for divinity out, that changes a LOT. But once again, God does not force the human race. You can see man's interpretations of christian theology evolve through the advent of the Catholic church, and the branches of many other churches from there.  Many of the early Christian writings were similar to the Mormons, but things that were most plain and precious, like our true identity were lost. Priesthood power was also lost. This power is the authority by which God can act through man, and perpetuate family relationships forever.  Essentially, the true church with all the power of God behind it left the earth not long after Christ did. Distort pure truth, and the power goes with it. 

"At 211 degrees water is hot... but at 212 degrees, water boils". -Sam Parker and Mac Anderson, 212 The Extra Degree 

Any physicist knows and home cook I might add, how important that extra degree is. All other churches are hot, but pure truth brings together the big ingredients boiling at the right temperature.

Remember this is not a battle of churches, this is a battle against Satan and his followers. We Christians are together on this! Lets focus on the right enemy. The more truth we have, the more light we have to flesh Satan out of the dark corners of our lives. I promise that pure truth exists, and it is found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Now just like Noah, Moses, Enoch, and Abraham the truths, and powers that could really keep God's family going through the eternities had to be re-introduced to the Earth.  

The restoration of Jesus Christ's church began in 1820 in a grove of trees. Jesus Christ and God came and spoke with Joseph Smith in response to his heartfelt prayer of which Church to join. You can read the full account here.

This is Christ's Church restored to the earth. We have Apostles, Prophets, the Priesthood, Restored Keys, Miracles, Revelation and all the powers and systems in place and working that were in action when Christ was teaching on the earth. This is all put in in place to perpetuate families.  

Next week we will talk about the "Fall". 

Speaking of which, maybe step outside and take a walk, enjoy some vibrant smells and colors, and think these things over. Offer a little prayer, and ask God if he really is there, and if these beautiful things are real.