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.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Why we do the things we do

What is our motivation to not sin?

For some it is the fear of punishment. The problem with this motivation is that it is not always immediate or even evident. There are two kinds of punishment that we fear.

1. Fear that sometime after this life is over we will be punished. Here is the problem. Fear of a punishment that we don't understand, can't comprehend, and that will happen at some point in the distant future (assuming we have enough faith to believe it will happen) is just not a good enough motivation to get us not to sin.

2. Fear that we will be punished in this life. Something "bad" will happen to us. The problem with this is, number one, it's not consistent. Let me relate this to something we are all familiar with. Speeding. Whether speeding is a sin is a discussion for another time. I'd like to think of it in terms of a completely temporal law for now. If you break this law then there is a penalty...we'll sort of. Why do so many people speed? I think it's because a person may speed once, twice, three times, etc. and not see any negative consequences for the action, so they continue to do it. It's like that with us and sin as well. Perhaps we commit a sin once, twice, three times, and we don't notice any real consequences. Our lives are just as good as before we sinned. So what is to stop us?
The second problem with using fear of punishment in this life as a motivation not to sin is that even if we didn't sin and were perfect, bad things would still happen to us. Look at Christ. He never sinned, and he still had bad things happen to him. If bad things are going to happen anyway, I don't think that using that as a motivation not to sin is going to work very well.

Fear of punishment doesn't seem to be a good motivator to not sin. What about reward?

If we don't sin then we can go to heaven. In LDS terms, be exalted. What does that mean? Well to some people, heaven is fishing every day on a secluded pristine lake, to others it might be relaxing on a beach listening to the waves roll in. You may envision heaven some other way, but the reality is, the ultimate goal is to become a God (D&C 132:20) So here is the problem with that as I see it. Most of our sins pretty much boil down to selfishness. Both sins of commission and sins of omission. We do A, B, and C because we want to and we don't do D, E, and F because we don't want to. So why in the world would we want a life (being a God) where we have to be selfless and think about others 24/7. If that seemed like a great reward and what we truly wanted, we would just do it now. Why wait for a life like that if that's what we truly wanted? We could just have it right now. See, most of us don't want to think of others 24/7 so that doesn't seem like much of a reward. Certainly not enough to motivate us not to sin.

So if fear of punishment is not enough and the hope of reward is not enough, what is our motivation not to sin?

Friday, May 16, 2008

What's the deal with Satan?

So I've been reading Milton's Paradise Lost. It's got me thinking about the LDS view of Satan. Several questions have come to mind, so I thought I'd just throw them out there and see what people think.
1. We've had discussion on this blog about how involved God is in our lives. How involved do you think Satan is?
2. What is Satan's ultimate goal?
3. How much of the plan of salvation does he know?
4. Most of the LDS views make him out to seem pretty dumb. How smart is he?
5. How powerful is he?
6. Can Satan still be forgiven and redeemed at some point?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Future Hall of Famers

In the NBA (as well as with other sports) sometimes players come into the league and before they’ve even played a game they are touted as future Hall of Famers. I remember this being the case with LeBron James. When this happens, what the sports community assumes is, that if the player continues on the course he has established in his pre-NBA career, he will make the Hall of Fame. Eternal Glory will be his. Is it guaranteed? Not exactly. Injuries could cut his career short. Perhaps he could get into trouble off the court that could cut his career short or keep him from the Hall of Fame. But, we assume that barring any of these types of things, the player will be in the Hall of Fame. So why play? What is the purpose of their basketball life? What becomes the responsibility of a player like this?
I think it becomes the responsibility of players like this to make the players around him better.
To raise them up and make his team better and lead them to a championship. Individual glory will already be theirs (Hall of Fame) but a championship gives glory to all. At the same time that a player lifts his teams as a whole to a championship, he adds to his own glory as well. He can also help other players attain individual glory by making them better. So what is all this talk about basketball. I’d like to draw an analogy between members of the church and future Hall of Famers. I think members of the church come to earth as future Hall of Famers. Think about it. Of all the billions of people that come to the earth, only relatively few are born into or become part of the covenant people. Why? People must end up here in this blessed situation because of the course they started on in their pre-earth life. Just like the NBA player that arrived at future Hall of Fame status because of the course he started in his pre-NBA life. Like LeBron James entering the NBA, members of the church come to earth with all the abilities to receive eternal glory. Now I think far too many are letting “injuries” and “off the court problems” get in the way of their making it to eternal glory, but that is another discussion. Let’s assume for this discussion that we stay on the course that we started and don’t digress. What then is the purpose of life? Why “play”? Here is the key. It’s about others people! Members of the church have an extraordinary responsibility for others. It’s not about us. We have been set on a course. Born into a good family, baptism, Holy Ghost, Priesthood, mission, married in the temple, raise a family. This is the course that many LDS members were set on. If they don’t let “off the court” problems interfere then they’re on a course toward eternal glory. In another post the question was brought up, then what is the purpose of life for these individuals? It is this. Like Lebron James, it is the responsibility of future Hall of Famers to raise others up. It's about other people. It's not about individual glory. It's about glory for all. I recently saw an interview with Magic Johnson. He made an interesting statement. He said he couldn't remember what years he had won the MVP award. But he could definitely remember the years his team won the championship. It's not about individual glory. It's about glory for all. That's how we raise our altitude. That's how we get to the next level. It's about other people.