Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Procrastinating the day of repentance

Some speculative thoughts on 2 Ne 28:8

And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.

One thought that I have heard presented in discussions of universalism / progression through kingdoms is 'why repent and try to progress now when I can do it later and eventually get there?'

After giving it some thought, I have come to the conclusion that my answer to that is 'why not do it now?' In order to progress we need to repent (or change, as repentance is a process of transformation, of becoming). Repentance is a choice and we can procrastinate that choice forever, if we really want to, and never be truly saved. (If tomorrow, why not next year, or next decade, etc.) If we don't do it now, then when will we do it? When will we choose to become disciples of Christ?

Here is the thing. Discipleship has a cost - it involves love and relationships, which cause vulnerability, pain, and alienation. We suffer when others hurt us, through cruelty or ignorance, or carelessness. We suffer when their choices cause them pain. We suffer when they feel the desire to repent and feel the pain they have caused others. Thus, the weeping God of Mormonism.

Relational suffering is integral to the human and Divine experience. We have children, knowing that they will hurt us, push us away, disappoint us, and reject us. Nevertheless, we take the risk that they will eventually seek unity instead of or despite these things.

Should a person's opportunity to repent and enter into a relationship with the Divine suddenly terminate between one beat of the heart and the next? I don't think that this is merciful or just. I don't see any reason why the opportunity should be removed - those who are willing to pay the price, who are willing to bear one another’s burdens, I think will always be welcome in the Kingdom.

At the end of the day, though, it remains a choice. The relationship is voluntary, and perhaps for some, it will remain unchosen. I am speculating here, but I believe that the Celestial Kingdom, as it were, will be rather more full than we perhaps might suppose.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What is expected of us?

Abraham 3:25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

This scripture has always seemed to me to be pretty demanding, but I realized something the other day -- nothing is said about how well we do the things we are commanded. Nothing at all is said about our success.

It would appear to me that the proof is that we *will* do them, that we are willing to obey, not in our ability to do it well.

1 Samuel 16:7 - For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.

That suddenly takes a huge burden of "works" off of our shoulders. I like this new understanding, as it makes my failures seem less devastating, and drives home the reality of the Atonement - that my sins of scarlet really can be as white as wool, if I am willing.

Monday, November 21, 2011


While reading a book yesterday, I was struck by this idea: the main character was told by another character to trust her, even though it would look like she was betraying him. It raised in my mind the question of faith - will you believe even when it appears you should not?

The main character was unable to fully trust the other one, and feelings of betrayal and alienation were the result, which led me to this idea: trust is a principle of unity. We must trust God and Goddess, and They must be able to trust us in order to be one. As we learn to trust in Them, we are learning how to be one with Them. Our progression and growth are intertwined with the ability to trust and be trusted. Perfect unity, perfect trust.

This is hard because trusting another, like loving another, leaves one vulnerable and learning to be vulnerable is very much in opposition to the natural man. Vulnerability is uncomfortable at best, downright terrifying at worst.

Food for thought, anyway.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Forgiveness is key.

Well, a beginning of sorts. Forgiveness seems to me to be one of the core elements of the gospel - here are some of the things I have learned about it so far.

God and Goddess's work and glory is to bring about the immortality and eternal life of humankind: to raise us up as joint heirs of Christ: that we become like Him, and one with Them.

That unity is only possible with perfect love, thus the two great commandments: love God, love each other. To break these commandments is to cause separation via withdrawal or alienation.

Repentance is the process of transformation that makes us more like Christ, that corrects what we are doing wrong, and that brings us closer to unity.

Forgiveness is the recognition of (potential) repentance: a refusal to forgive is a refusal to be one, a denial of another's repentance or even the possibility of their repentance. We cannot be one if we deny the other a place at the table. If we are not one, we are not Christ's people.

At the end, failing to forgive is a denial of the power of Christ unto the transforming of the human soul, it is standing at the door of His house telling others that they may not enter, rejecting them and saying that they may not be one with our Parents or our Savior.

God knows the intents of our hearts and is able to judge our repentance, our willingness to change. Some will fall short and be unable to forgive themselves (to stand in Their presence), or others (losing unity and thus falling out of Their presence). We cannot know or judge the hearts of others and so are commanded to forgive ALL.

When forgiveness is applied to the question of justice versus mercy, several things become clear. First, in order for justice to be needed, injury has to have been given. All of the injuries that we commit upon each other require justice, *unless* we forgive each other, relinquishing our claim to justice and showing mercy to our fellow beings. Thus mercy can be given without robbing justice and we may all sit down in our Parents' kingdom.

A coda: I still have much to learn of forgiveness, and expect that what I have written here will seem woefully incomplete in twenty years. For example, just today I was struck with a sense of 'looking upon the heart' - that perhaps I need to be more generous and forgiving of others' attempts to do good, since my own attempts are just as clumsy and awkward.