Saturday, September 24, 2011

Truth is truth

"Most of the problems that are most vexingare things government can't fix. They have to be fixed at a different level. That's the urgency of our message. I'd rather have ten commandments than ten thousand federal regulations. Unless we rebuild marriages and families, then we really are just straightening deck chairs on the Titanic." Neal A. Maxwell.
This is a quote that I read a few weeks ago that really put into perspective the importance of the family. Elder Maxwell was not only a very intelligent man, but he was an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. He had witnessed for himself the deterioration of the family. The idea of families being based on the teachings of the Gospel is an eternal principle that strengthens not only the home and community but the governments of the world. With this in mind I really enjoyed the simple comment that Kay, a member of our class made on Friday about the family. She said that the more she studies research on the family and marriage the more it is confirmed to her that the gospel is true. "The family is central to the Creators plan for the eternal destiny of his children." Perhaps all of the research that is out there does not agree with the The Proclamation to the World, but I believe that as time passes that the simple truths that are revealed in that document will be supported by research. Kay made the comparison to the Word of Wisdom saying that at the time the law was given to the saints they had no idea that smoking and alcohol were so harmful to the body. There was even a time when some in the medical profession believed that smoking was good for the body. But through many years of research and study we now know the effects of these harmful substances. I believe the same will happen regarding issues of cohabitation, same sex marriage, and same sex couples adopting children. The truths on families by authorized men of God. It may take longer for the world to agree, but eventually true/pure research will coincide with eternal revealed truths.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Become what?

What do you want to become this semester? This is the question that was posed to us by Brother Williams yesterday. He asked us to write down our response/desire. I didn't write anything down. I didn't have anything to write down. I thought about it, and came up blank with what I want to become specifically this semester. Today I have been thinking about it off and on, and still have not come up with what exactly I want to change or improve about myself over the next few months. Along with this I have thought about what is most important to me in my life? A quick answer is that the gospel and my personal testimony are very important to me, but do I act and think in a way that portrays that it is the most important? I guess all of this introspection has caused me to want to come up with a pure desire, and not just a cliche goal that others want to hear or expect. Elder Dallin H. Oaks in his talk The Challenge to Become he says that "it is not enough for anyone to just go through the motions" in reference to us as individuals living the gospel of Jesus Christ. If just going through the motions of living is not enough to 'become', writing down a hollow goal because one is asked to is hardly worthwhile. Perhaps I am wrong in this assertion though. Maybe just the act of writing down a thought is action enough to start us down a path of thought, doing, and becoming. I guess my ultimate point is that for me a goal of becoming needs to be something thought out, with deep meaning laced with commitment.
In order to remain steadfast in achieving our ultimate goals we have to be able to measure our progress. The finish line of becoming like the Savior can seem so distant that the more we learn of him the farther we stand behind the starting line. This is why my favorite part of Elder Oaks' talk was that of how we can measure our progress in becoming what our Heavenly Father would have us become. The first one he mentions is that if we are losing the desire to do evil, we are progressing to this heavenly goal. How do we lose the desire to do evil. Well it says that when Christ came to the earth that he "cast out devils, or the evils spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men." There were many times Christ literally cast devils out of the bodies of individuals, but the casting devils out of the hearts of the children of men would seem to imply that evil desires are expelled through the Savior. To change our desires we must have faith in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.
The second way to measure progress in becoming is that we "have the mind of Christ." Elder Oaks expounds more on this saying that we will see the world the way our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ see it. We will hear His voice instead of the voice of the world, and we will do things His way and not in the ways of the world. It is interesting that the changes take place in both the mind and in the heart. We should be striving to have a pure and holy perspective in our minds and in our hearts, and if we do we know we are on the right track to becoming what our loving Heavenly Father wants us to become. I know He loves me, and I know His perspective is the best perspective. Far better than anything the world can conjure up.
So with all that being said the question still remains. What do I want to become this semester?