Be sure to check out my new blog “The Second Coming of Christ” for an in depth look at prophecies related to the Second Coming and discussions about getting spiritually and physically prepared.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Does God Show Favorites?

I hear people bear testimony and thank God all the time for blessing that they received, but these blessing came at the expense of other not being blessed. Does God really show favorites like this? With some of the “blessing” that we ask for, we are in competition with other of God’s children. How does God decide who to bless, or does he even get involved at all? Here is an example of what I mean. Suppose you and several of your co-workers are all eligible for a certain promotion at work. It means more money, better hours, and the ever popular office with a window. This is something that you desire so you ask Heavenly Father for it. The twist is that all the eligible co-workers also ask Heavenly Father for this blessing as well. So how does Heavenly Father decide? Does he go by whose the most righteous? Who “needs” it the most? (assuming that any of them “need” it at all) Or maybe he doesn’t get involved at all? If he is going to get involved, how is he going to ensure that the person he wants to bless gets the promotion? What if the boss is not in tune with Heavenly Father?
So what do you think?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What is the Purpose of Life?

This seems like a strange post to post here, but my mind can’t seem to grasp this one so I am looking for input. At first it seems like a simple question, What is the Purpose of Life?

There are a lot of answers that I have heard on this Topic:

1. “Adam fell that man might be, and men are that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi 2:25)

2. “And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents.” (2 Nephi 2:21)

3. “... therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us which is after the resurrection of the dead. (Alma 12:24)

I feel these scriptures summaries all the general answers. We are here to have joy, repent while in the flesh, and prepare to meet God. All good so far.

Well, now let us look at a generic persons life. Let’s say they work 40 hrs a week, fulfills callings at church, temple recommend, overall a good person. I believe most LDS people will fall into this category. It just seems that there is a big gap between the Purpose of Life and the generic person. I believe I fall into the category of generic person qualities listed above, but I am still left wondering what is the Purpose of Life? Isn’t there anything more to this life than this?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Suffering for Sin

Let me preface this post with saying that I believe the atonement was necessary. The why and how is what I don’t yet understand. What punishment did Christ suffer for me? I don’t mean to belittle the atonement or what Christ did for me. Nor am I trying to say that there isn’t a punishment for sin. I believe what Christ did was magnificent and essential. That is what Heavenly Father has told me. I just want to understand what he did. So what is the punishment for sin that Christ suffered for me? In the “What is the punishment for sin” post, here are some of the punishments that were put forward.

1. The punishment for sin is the natural consequence of the sin. For example, if you steal, you get put in jail; have to pay a fine, etc. This doesn’t seem to be the punishment that caused Christ to suffer for me. If it were, then I wouldn’t have to go to jail, pay the fine, etc. He would do that for me and suffer in my place as long as I repent. This just isn’t how it works. This must not be the punishment for sin that Christ suffered for me. I will still suffer the natural consequences.

2. The punishment for sin is not being exalted (not making it to heaven, celestial kingdom, however you want to say it). This doesn’t seem to be the punishment that caused Christ to suffer for me. If it were, then he would be the one that is not exalted and suffering not being with the Father instead of me. But he is exalted, and is with the Father, so he can’t suffer that punishment for me. This must not be the punishment for sin that Christ suffered for me. I will still be the one to suffer this punishment.

3. The punishment for sin is sorrow for committing the sin (guilt, bad feelings, whatever you want to call it). This doesn’t seem to be the punishment that caused Christ to suffer for me. If it were, then I wouldn’t have to experience those feelings. But since sorrow for sin is a part of repentance, that is something that I must experience. It would seem like an awful waste for Christ to have to suffer all that sorrow for sin for no reason because I also need to feel (and have felt) that too. This seems to be the one most open to discussion. I can see the argument that says, “yeah, you feel sorrow through the repentance process, but then after the repentance process you can be free from the sorrow, and it is that continued sorrow after repenting that Christ suffered. That way you don’t have to suffer that sorrow the rest of your life.” That sounds great but logically doesn’t make a lot of sense (Why would you still feel sorrow after Heavenly Father forgives you regardless of whether Christ suffered your sorrows or not). But the big reason I don’t buy that argument is that it makes the atonement a nice thing, but not necessary for exaltation. It saves me from a lot of sorrowing for sin, which is a nice thing, but the absence of sorrow is not a necessity for exaltation. Most of us suffer sorrow from many other things besides sin (trials, tribulations, etc). This must not be the punishment for sin that Christ suffered for me. I will still suffer from sorrow.

So what say you? What is the punishment that caused Christ to suffer? And how was that punishment going to keep us from progressing toward exaltation, thereby making the suffering Christ did for us essential?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Trivial Pursuit?

I've always been taught that I should involve God in everything I do. To quote from the New Era, "The Lord wants us to pray about whatever concerns us. Nothing is unimportant or trivial if it is a concern in our lives." Is it true?

As I was getting ready for church today, I decided that I wanted to wear a certain sweater. I had a problem though. I have only one tie that matches this sweater and I couldn't find it anywhere. Now I've been taught all my life that if I've lost something I should pray and Heavenly Father will help me find it. In fact I've probably heard hundreds of stories during my Mormon existence testifying of experiences like this, from primary to sacrament meetings. I've done it myself. I've prayed about lost items and they have subsequently been found. So I'm getting ready to ask Heavenly Father to help me find my tie, when for no reason a thought popped into my head. I thought about all the people who were probably praying at that very moment, many of them that needed Heavenly Fathers help much more than I did. About 16 thousand children die every day from starvation. That's one child every five seconds. In the five minutes or so that Heavenly Father might have helped me find my tie, 60 children would die because they were hungry.
I felt pretty selfish and stupid. What a trivial thing. A tie. Children are starving and I'm worried about a tie. I just couldn't justify asking Heavenly Father to help me find my tie. I told Heavenly Father to help his children, I didn't need that tie.
I wore a different outfit.
Should I have prayed about my tie? Was I showing a lack of faith? I mean, He is all powerful. I'm sure he can help more than one person at the same time. What do you think?