October 24, 2012

After all you can do

We learn in The Book of Mormon that “… it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Ne. 25:23.)
For those who do not understand this statement and feel that I am belittling the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I offer you the following explanation.

Lets say you are aspiring to be a college student. You have no money, and your job outlook is dim at best. How do you pay for college? I will focus on scholarship. There are people out there who believe in education enough to pay for it. in order to get a scholarship you need to fill out an application. You need to show in your application that you qualify for the scholarship. Good grades, good activity, and a clean record  are three qualifications that may appear on a scholarship qualification. Now you receive your scholarship and attend school. You get your degree and you graduate.
This is how the saving grace of Christ works. There are qualifications. There is proof of this throughout the bible. You may have heard of these qualifications. They are better known as commandments. John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments".
Notice that you did not pay for one bit of your college experience. You did not graduate on your own. You either went to college or you did not. You couldn't attend just one semester and a scholarship pay the rest. You had no money for that.
Without Christ we cannot make it to heaven. We can't even make it an inch closer to heaven than we are now. We either make it to heaven or we do not. We either qualify for Christs saving grace, or we do not. With this being the case. it is 100% by Christs grace that we made it to heaven. The difference between Christ and a scholarship donor is that Christ has an unlimited amount of money available to everyone! all they must to do is qualify for it.
Well what about those who already messed up. What about those who already have a bad record. That person can have a clean record through repentance. This is how it is available to all men, because no matter where in life you are, there is always a path for you to qualify. You cannot completely disqualify yourself unless you never try to improve or choose not to improve. Then its your own fault. Its not a problem with Christs saving grace.

I would like to talk about what this means about how this can impact our faith. I will give us two scenarios. First scenario, A loved one is sick, you want them to get better, you can look into the best medical science we have, or sit and do nothing and hope god will protect. Second scenario, you worry about the protection of your family, life is dangerous and you are trying to figure out if you should worry and do something, or sit and trust god will handle all the dangers in live.

     The atonement of Jesus Christ covers practically everything. This includes our physical needs. From what we just learned, the grace through the atonement has requirements. Just because something is physical doesn't mean we can ignore the fact that “… it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Ne. 25:23.). Some people don't trust some medical procedures. That is alright as long as we have thoughtfully and prayerfully considered it and are following their answers from God. He will lead us in "all we can do". But we still need to do something. Search for what can help. Weigh the pro's and con's prayerfully, and thoughtfully, during your decisions process. God has his hand in medical science, we should search for those truths. When we have found what we can do to treat the sickness, then we should discuss it with the lord again, and do it.  Some might say, "well what happens when you choose to do something and its not the right choice?" If you went through the process prayerfully it does not matter. We can trust our prayerful consideration and go forth with faith and not with fear.

     The same goes for our family. We cannot sit idly by and hope and pray that our family will be protected without doing something to protect our family in the first place. We cannot be sit idly by by and rely on prayer alone, unless prayer is our only option. In these rare cases, prayer is sufficient enough. Our families are important to us and to God. God cannot interfere with the choices of others or he will rid us of our agency. There are bad people who make bad choices that will affect our family. We need to watch for these. God knows these bad choices and he knows how to avoid them. As we prayerfully consider how to protect our family, we will be lead to situations where we can avoid the ill effects of others bad choices.

This can apply to any, absolutely any, problem we have in life. Just remember to prayerfully consider every choice you make. When these principles are applied there is no need for fear. We can all confidently walk forward with 100% faith in God.

October 19, 2012

Religious Freedom

     I understand that the topic of religious freedom is not one of the 'basics' like faith in Christ and repentance. Religious Freedom, however, needs to be focused on more in today's society.Many people feel they understand freedom of religion and sound sympathetic, while at the same time they destroy it. They call this freedom FROM religion. We need to do what we can to understand and support true religious freedom.
     Lets look first at freedom of speech. Its the freedom to express your ideas in public to anyone, for anyone to hear. Many ideas expressed may come off offensive to others. This is the exact reason why free speech was put into law. To protect the speech from those who would silence it just because they were offended. This was for a good reason, without freedom of speech a government could effectively silence the ideas it doesn't want people to know or hear about by force. So this brings up the question, can a religious individual have the same freedom of speech as anyone else?
     I know this question sounds absurd. Of course they should, we are all individuals and all are protected under freedom of speech. There are those who do not share this same idea.
     Many people feel they are entitled to a "freedom from religion". They call it constitutional, the founding fathers meant for it to be this way. This is very true, but not their interpretation. Freedom of religion has given religion a freedom from the government. The government is not to be run by any church. This is what America had to escape from. We escaped from the church of England. It ran the government itself. Everyone had to worship the way they were told to worship.
   This is the key point "Everyone had to worship the way they were told to worship". Freedom of speech was limited because of this.
    Today, many feel that in order to stop this from ever happening again we need a freedom from religion that keeps others religious views and ideas away and out of public. If there is every anything religious that shows up in politics or government it is to be quenched and suppressed. Basically, religion is being told how to be religious. Freedom of speech is limited because of this. Religion never has been able to force others to be religious in America. A republican or a democrat can have free speech to tell everyone why they need to be on board with their parties platform, but it is constitutionally wrong for a religion to tell someone else why they should be on board with their religions views. This is all upside down and backwards.
     Religion does not and can not force. They can speak forcefully, but there is not legal ramifications that can be taken against you for not following what you hear. By freedom of speech they can tell people to have their beliefs with whatever strength of words they wish. Just as it is with anyone who has a theological idea protected by freedom of speech. But again, whether the person follows it or not is up to them, there are no legal actions taken for not participating in religion. There should be no legal actions taken for not participating in religion. But just because you are offended that someone disagrees with your views is no reason to call it an infringement on your rights. Freedom of being able to hear only what you want to hear, is not freedom of speech. Its the other way around. Religion should have the same rights to freedom of speech as anyone else. Whether you are in a public forum, or any other public place. No matter who you are. Just because you are in politics, does not mean that individual must denounce all of their religious views. They are free to believe what they may. And we are all free to choose what we choose. We are all free to be offended. We are all free to speak religiously