Sunday, July 17, 2016

Not Much Else to Say

I'm going to pretend this is my last blog post.

Wish to have peace of conscience?

D&C 1:32 Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven[.]

Wish to have confidence before God, and your prayers answered?

1 John 3
 21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

 22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

Seek out the commandments in the scriptures, and for understanding through mighty prayer and, above all, acting on the Lord's requests rather than simply reading them.  Rather than substituting your own judgement for the Lord's commandments by appealing to "what works," instead obey the commandments of the Lord with exactness.  Remember - he doesn't receive what he hasn't appointed.  His ways are not our ways, neither are his thoughts our thoughts.  What we think "works" doesn't serve the same purpose as what the Lord has commanded.  Substituting their own judgements for the Lord's commandments is how men go, and lead, astray.

The Lord said that if any man loves him he will keep the Lord's commandments, and that if he doesn't keep the Lord's commandments, he doesn't love the Lord.  Through diligence and exactness in keeping the Lord's commandments we can become Zion, the pure in heart, of one heart and one mind.  And if we are to be one, there can be nothing withheld between us.  Loving our neighbor as ourselves means that if we would do a thing for ourselves, we had ought to do it also for our neighbor.

If you lack love, and desire it, call upon God with all the energy of heart to be filled with his love.  Pursue this prayer whilst keeping the commandments until he answers you.

And, lastly, who's worth listening to?  I look for three things: are they teaching the commandments?  Are they keeping them?  Are they contentious / combative?

Alma 13:1, 6
1 And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people [-] And thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest[...]

Mosiah 23:14 And also trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments.

3 Nephi 11:29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

Always err on the side of mercy.  The same standards we judge others by shall be applied to us.

We have the commandments before us in the Bible (most importantly, the Sermon on the Mount / Plain) and in the Book of Mormon (Sermon at Bountiful).  It is through keeping these commandments exactly as they were delivered by the Lord to his people that we may become priests unto God, having association with angels.  Isaiah 58 is also of note, containing more commandments and promised blessings.  The Lord, after all, changes not, and his law has always been the same.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 ¶Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

That's all there ever was to it.  And his commandments may be summed up: all things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them, for this is the law and the prophets.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Lay Not Up Treasures Upon Earth

3 Nephi 12:42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away.

This does not mean "give to the poor." This means "give to him that asketh thee," or, as rendered in Luke 6:30, "give to every man that asketh of thee." It does not mean to give only the deserving, it does not mean to give to just some, it does not mean to give to most, but instead it means to give to all who ask.

This, on the other hand, means give to the poor.

3 Nephi 13
1 Verily, verily, I say that I would that ye should do alms unto the poor; but take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father who is in heaven.

2 Therefore, when ye shall do your alms do not sound a trumpet before you, as will hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.

3 But when thou doest alms let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth;

4 That thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father who seeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly.

So both are commanded: giving to all who ask, as well as giving to beggars, who may not ask you directly, let's say, but might be holding up a sign or something.

The reason why people do not keep the first commandment, to give to every man that asks, is because they have their security, their trust, in their substance, and not in God. These have received their comforter.

The reason why people do not keep the second commandment, to do alms unto the poor, is the same, and also coupled with a judgement against the beggar in his petition, which judgement is performed that they may withhold their substance and appear justified (for example, "He has made poor life choices to bring him to his current state, such as indulging in drink or drugs or other investments I disapprove of, or shall sin with my substance by so indulging, so I should withhold lest I injure him through giving him what he asks for. It's for his own good!"). As Benjamin says, those who perform this judgement have no interest in the kingdom of God, and if they do not repent shall perish forever with their substance.

But to those who hear his words, Christ says this.

3 Nephi 13
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal;

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.

21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Treasures upon earth are precisely those things that can be corrupted or stolen. Anything made out of the substance of this world qualifies. Even digits in a bank account.

Why does laying up treasures for oneself upon earth break the law of God?

By definition when you lay up treasures for yourself upon earth, you are withholding your treasures from others, therefore you do not love, and are not loving, others as yourself.

No retirement funds, no savings bonds, no Roth IRAs, no 401Ks, no nothing. Our confidence, trust, and faith must be in God, and not in the perishable substance of this world, neither in men, or we shall perish with them.

I have written a short explanatory essay on the concept of private property on my secondary blog, where I treat things that I find interesting. Be warned: as those who know me in real life may attest, I deploy vulgar language to make my points, and I am not a fan of modern political ideologies. If you can tolerate four-letter words and vulgar references to bodily functions, then read on: Private Property.

I love that man better who swears [curses, uses vulgarity] a stream as long as my arm yet deals justice to his neighbors and mercifully deals his substance to the poor, than the long, smooth-faced hypocrite. - Joseph Smith, TPJS p. 303