Thursday, April 21, 2016

All We Were Asked to Do

Let us consider a parable of sorts - or, really, an analogy.

Let us view this life as a field demonstration of, and, potentially, a class on, interpersonal conflict resolution.

The scriptures are the textbook for the class. The commandments of God are the homework problems. The law of God is the theory from which the commandments are derived. The overarching problem the law solves is how to create a perfect, expanding, stable society that endures forever and ever, worlds without end, featuring free persons. The law is the resolution to all interpersonal conflict.

If we have enrolled in the course by covenant to keep God's commandments, and are actually keeping all of them to the best of our understanding, then there will be a test. This test has specific answers which are given in the endowments. If we are not keeping the commandments, then the endowments don't really matter. If we never enroll in the class - if we just audit it or aren't even interested in it - and therefore never work the problems, and therefore never take the test, then what good do those answers do us? We would get no use out of them. Indeed, they would stand as a rebuke to any pretensions to knowledge of the ways of God.

Those who don't enroll in the class are still part of the demonstration.

Speaking generally, we enroll in the course by uncritically believing God and repenting. We turn from all our sins, meaning all the ways we abuse our fellow man by doing to them what we'd not want them to do to us, through confessing and making restitution if possible, and cry mightily to God to be forgiven and to receive the Holy Spirit, while walking according to the sayings of Jesus to the best of our understanding in every circumstance, praying always. That becomes our new lifestyle. And if we are sincere, the Father answers us with fire from heaven at the intercession of Jesus, who will pray with us and on our behalf to the Father, and we will be put under covenant to obey his commandments - howsoever that may be phrased to each individual. Baptism is supposed to be a public witness before heaven and earth that we have repented of all our sins and entered into this covenant of obedience, but the covenant can come afterward if we repent and cry mightily. From thence, we keep the commandments, both as written and as taught us directly by the Spirit, until the end. The test will arise as a matter of course.

All we were asked to do is keep his commandments - everything you wish others would do to you, do to others; resolve all conflicts in favor of the other; esteem every man as yourself; send out good even if you receive evil.

Give to everyone that asks. Lend to all comers without hoping to receive again. If anyone takes your stuff, don't ask for it back. Give alms, and don't report them on your taxes. Take the homeless into your home. Pick up the hitchhikers. Pay off debt-slaves' debts. Forgive all debts owed you. Pay your own debts. If anyone sues you for your stuff, let them win. Agree with your enemies when you are in conflict with them. Condemn none. Deal your own food to the hungry, and your own clothing to the underclad, with your own hands. Don't hoard money nor stuff, but exchange your treasures on earth for treasure in heaven by selling them and distributing the proceeds to the poor. Do good to your enemies, have mercy on them by letting them go even when you have power to destroy them after they have come upon you, and pray for them.

And so on. The interested, diligent, and self-motivated student will find all of these homework problems, and more, in the scriptures. Additional problems will be given directly by God. If we are sincere, the means will be given to us to do the homework problems, and we'll pass the test, gaining knowledge of the law - and see the problem it solves.

And we will see what we are being made into.