Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Savior and the Scriptures

"And in them [the scriptures] shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my rock and my salvation" (1 Ne. 13:36).

"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation..." (Helaman 5:12).

"Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life. Behold, I have given unto you the commandments; therefore keep my commandments. And this is the law and the prophets, for they truly testified of me" (3 Ne. 15:10).

Every scripture testifies of Jesus Christ in truth and holiness. Since salvation comes in and through Him, we must take every opportunity we can to get to know Him. One of the best ways is to read what He said and caused to be written, every single day.

The Lord is our Savior. A testimony grows--it is different from factual or memorized knowledge. It must be nurtured and cared for, through prayer, study, and service.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Jesus Christ is the best friend anyone could ever have. You can't always count on him to do what you want, but you can always count on him to do what you need.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

It Shouldn't Make Sense!

Sometimes we run into commandments or historical events that don't make sense in light of our gospel knowledge. We think, why would God ever have allowed polygamy? Commanded the Israelites to massacre another group of people? Allowed animal sacrifice? Told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac?

Today I was doing math preparation for the GRE test, and I ran into a similar problem. Skip this paragraph if you're not into math. It simply bothered me that the Addition Rule in probability worked the same way for both independent events and mutually exclusive events. P(E and F) is 0 for mutually exclusive events, but not for independent events. So, if E and F both have a probability of .25, the probability of at least one happening is actually HIGHER if they are mutually exclusive. (It's .5 for mutually exclusive and .4375 for independent events.) This bothered me until I realized that mutually exclusive events have a cap on their sum possibility. If E and F are mutually exclusive, than P(E) + P(F) is less than or equal to 1. This is not true if E and F are independent events.

In other words, there were extenuating circumstances. There was another law, another rule, another principle, at play, that I couldn't understand at first. It took me several minutes of thought to realize why it could make sense.

The same thing happens sometimes with the gospel of Jesus Christ. God will do or say something that we think is morally wrong, self-contradictory, and confusing. But there is always, always an explanation. There is always a reason. There may be another law at work that we don't understand. There may be another principle that we haven't been told about.

The best scriptural example is when Nephi explains why God told the Israelites to utterly destroy a few other cultures in the Old Testament. Nephi told his brethren, "Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; he that is righteous is favored of God. But behold, this people had rejected every word of God, and they were ripe in iniquity; and the fulness of the wrath of God was upon them; and the Lord did curse the land against them, and bless it unto our fathers; yea, he did curse it against them unto their destruction, and he did bless it unto our fathers unto their obtaining power over it" (1 Ne. 17:35). In other words, God only commanded the Israelites to destroy peoples who were totally evil. I think of Molech-worship in particular, in which parents sacrificed their infants to an idol in an open flame.

Another scriptural example is when the Spirit told Nephi to kill Laban--which, at first, seems to contradict the Ten Commandments. But under the law of Moses, God had a stipulation that seems to be written especially for Nephi (Ex 21:12-13). There was another law at work that specified Nephi's innocence--and God provided a place to which Nephi could flee, as promised.

Conclusion: Whatever God commands is right--if it's really from God. According to the writings of Joseph Smith, our best certainty is in the majority of the Twelve and the records of the Church. As we grow in obedience, sincerity, faith, and love, we will be better able to determine good from evil, or, in other words, we will be more able to distinguish between that which testifies of Christ and that which does not.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Political Debate Quote

I wanted to quote a brilliant rant on Facebook that I thought needed to be preserved a little bit better. Here it is:

"I disagree with Obama on some things and I disagreed with Bush on a lot of things. I don't think agreeing with one party or another is necessarily an intelligent thing to do. Seeing as most extremists are equally unreasonable, in this case, left or right wing.

"That's not why I wanted to comment though. My understanding of the constitution is that we have the freedom of speech. Most people believe that means they can say whatever they want whenever they want however they want. That wasn't its original purpose though. It's original purpose was to allow exactly what Monie just did: to question our leaders... Though I will admit that my opinion is not the same as Monie's. But that doesn't mean that she's being untruthful or ignorant. It means that when she looked at the facts, she came to a different conclusion than I did. And there really isn't anything wrong with that...

"I do want to say one thing in general though. This Republican vs. Democrat dichotomy is leading into a corrupt way of doing government. Each party in it's own way wants to take away rights, and completely disregard the constitution and we NEED to recognize that. Look at policies that already exist. We cannot just keep electing people because our party told us to... which by the way is exactly what happens because we the "people" have no say in who the nominees are. We need to stop backing this nonsense and start thinking about each individual topic instead of letting a corrupt group of people tell you what you think.

"I know that's harsh. But neither of your arguments actually said anything useful. It honestly sounded like two gangs fighting over nothing. Our government should mean more than that. We should be fighting the issues, not the parties. We should be discussing whether or not government health care is good or bad. We should be discussing something that never gets discussed anymore: does the government even have the right to do anything it's been doing anymore? Should the federal government have the right to define marriage at all? Should the federal government own more than 50% of any given state's land? Should the federal government have any say in issues like abortions and insurance? Discuss the issues. Because honestly, we are beginning to become a nation of people who whine about our government, but at the same time, expect them to take on our responsibilities. And ranting about a person doesn't change it. Like Xane said, Obama and Bush do have a lot in common. The scariest in my opinion is the obvious act of ignoring the debt and hoping it goes away.

"And if you guys are so scared the government is corrupt and you look to the president for accusation, then you're looking in the wrong place. You should be looking at the Supreme Court. The place we have the least power over, has more power than than the president or Congress. That's a little scary to me.

"I'm sorry that sounded so mean, but I firmly believe that once we reduce the power of the political parties and the government and, yes, embrace the power of God, only then can we honestly be free."
--Nikki D.