Posts Tagged change

Neither marry nor are given in marriage

I’m going to touch on another part of our temple worship that I hope will be changed. This one applies to the LDS marriage and sealing to spouse that is done specifically in the temple. At this time, the woman is asked if she will receive her perspective husband and if she will give herself to him. The man is asked only if he will receive. There have been various reasons given for this inequality by various sealers, working from their own understanding on it. (no, none of them immediately come to mind.)

To me, this inequality can be removed by following the direction given by the Savior for the state of marriage in the afterlife:

And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: (Luke 20:34-35, also in Mark 12:25)

Some have taken this to mean there will be no more marriage. LDS thought takes this to mean that only those that have been sealed together by God (or those given the power to seal), will remain together. I think we should not wait til the resurrection to get to this.

To marry is to take a woman and make her your wife, to give in marriage is to take your daughter and give her to another man as his wife. In neither is the will of the woman considered. She is simply the object of the transaction, to be given and taken as the men see fit. Our usage of giving and receiving (even though the woman now gives herself) is a remnant of this. A sealing for eternity should be about being together as a couple, not as master and property. Just because “this world” has started with women being objects does not mean we need to keep it that way. Rather than asking both in the couple if they give themselves and receive the other (doubling being made an object), we need to remove this part of the marriage and replace it with a simple “do you agree to be sealed to this person for time and all eternity?”

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We Hope All Things

I follow a fair number of blogs, both of the personal and group variety, in various levels of faithfulness to the Church. I stay away from those that are openly and continually critical of the Church, but not from those that have owners with opinions on how the Church should or could be different, so long as they are not openly hostile to either the Church or rational discussion about these things. I don’t know where I fall on the spectrum of these things, but I wanted to talk about the reason I enjoy reading these differing views. Some people seem to think that any talk about how the Church could be different is akin to apostasy, and that those dissatisfied with things as they are should just leave. Some do, but if people are willing to be true to their covenants, I don’t see why they should. Hope for change does not equate to apostasy.

The 13th Article Of Faith says, in part, “We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things.”

Hoping for more is part of who we are. The Church was founded on it. Some seem to believe that the Church has lost this; that we’ve gone into a holding pattern, reacting or barely moving over the years, being forced by societal pressures. I don’t think we have. I do think that movement has been made more difficult with the weight of history and the size and dispersion of the membership throughout the world, but we have far from stopped.

Do I know what changes the Church of the future might have? Nope. I know of things that I would like to see changed (see various previous posts to that effect), but I’m not the one in control. I don’t even think the leaders of the Church are in as much control as some think they are. I think they request direction almost constantly on what they should be doing, but much of their work is to build and maintain the Church as best they can, trying to direct people toward the Christ. Ultimately, it is His Church. I know He is working to guide all of us, no matter what position we have been given in the Church hierarchy or what we think is a minor calling, to bring ourselves, our families, our communities, our Church, and our world closer to Him. We may, as error-prone mortals, create bumps in the road for ourselves and others, but all of them – all of them – will be remedied and overcome by Him.

In the meantime, we hope, we try to help, and we continue to pray both that He will forgive our trespasses and that we will forgive the trespasses of others.

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Getting spiritual confirmation of callings

Today we got a new Bishopric.  My wife told me how she got a confirmation from the spirit of who our new Bishop would be this morning before Church started, well before it was announced, and it was interesting hearing the experiences of the Stake President in his learning who he should call to be Bishop, but I’ve not yet gotten confirmation myself.  I’m not sure if I will.  I don’t think it would be from a lack of listening, but for me, I think it is more that I don’t need to have confirmation.  No, I’m not saying that others “need” confirmation, or that others don’t have faith, this is just the way it has been for me.  Except when I was in the Bishopric (as a Clerk), it’s never been really important to me who has which calling, or if any person would be strong enough spiritually to handle the calling.  I figure whomever has been called has been called for a reason, and anything else is not my problem.

 

It’s funny, but the only thing I could think about when they announced the new Bishopric was wondering why women couldn’t be called.  Aside from women not having the Priesthood, which I don’t think is likely until after the Second Coming, I think it is because we live in a world where it is nigh impossible for non-related (and non-married) men and women to work as closely together as they would need to be in any Presidency, no matter what they were over.  I do so look forward to when we can get over all that, both as members of the Church and in the culture at large.

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You must unlearn what you have learned

For those who dont know, the title is a quote from the file “The Empire Strikes Back” when Yoda is trying to teach Luke Skywalker how to use the Force, a mystical telekenetic/telepathic power that exists in that universe. In it, Yoda is meaning that Luke will need to remove himself from the “truths” he had previously learned about how things work in order to learn the real Truth. This happens to us now, when we are learning new things that we have previously learned or gleaned as true are shown to not be true. Recently a particle has been found that travels faster than the speed of light. They’re still working on duplicating the findings, but its repercussions would be a change in an hundred years of past learning in physics that nothing can travel faster than light. People have known this “truth” their whole lives and will have to unlearn what they have derived from that to learn something new. In the more distant part, people knew the world was flat, and had to unlearn this to learn something new, that the world was round.

In LDS Theology, after we die we go to Paradise to wait until we are all ressurected and at some point later undergo a final judgement to determine our ultimate place. After we die, we’re going to be in a place quite unlike this one, where we will need to learn things that are completely different from how we think of them now.

For example, we could learn that the Priesthood is for both men and women. We could also learn that it is only for men, and the exact reasons for either. Powers that are completely beyond us now, such as casting out spirits, healing, tounges, could be as acceptable and definable as electricity. No matter what the realities in the afterlife, there are going to be a number of things we are going to have to unlearn. Its also not as simple as unlearning one thing to learn another, but also unlearning our own conceptions of what limitations some things have. In the scriptures, we are told of many things we would describe as impossible, such as moving mountains, raising the dead, casting out devils, walking on water, speaking in toungues, and healing the sick and maimed. I think part of the reason we dont see such miricales as often any more, especially not the more dramatic ones, is that we don’t really believe we can do those things any more. Even something as simple as the gift of tongues (which was fairly well accepted 200 years ago) has been reduced to the occasional help with understanding a study already in progress.

There will be so much to learn in the next life, but also quite a bit to unlearn. The question then will be – are you willing to let go of what you held as true? Could you accept a complete change in what you believe, when the truth becomes as concrete as electricity moving through a wire?

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Changing the hearts of the people

As I read through various articles and blogs on how various groups are biased or government it trying to take away peoples rights or how the world is going downhill fast, I’m reminded that there is a great need for us all to get back to basics. The first part of that is simple – learn more about your own beliefs, strengthen those beliefs, and (most importantly) live them.

The next part does not appear to be so simple – changing the hearts of the people. It may be frustrating to think that our leaders (political and spiritual) are a reflection of the people they lead, especially when you disagree with what they are doing, but you might have to deal with the fact that what you believe is in the minority. Ranting and raving about how unfair it is or how evil those leaders are will do no good. That’s a fast track to being marginalized and pushed aside (Fox News is an example).

In Christian teachings, we’ve been given a pattern for this (2 Timothy 2:24-26):

24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

In LDS scripture, we have additional insights (Doctrine & Covenants 121:41-43):

41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile
43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

If you want to change the world, work to change those around you. Teach, not tell. Dictating to others what they should believe makes you no better than those leaders you believe are dictating to you what you should believe. If you want to change the world, start by showing more love to those around you, especially those you disagree with. Faults are much more likely to change when they are pointed out by a friend rather than an enemy. If you want to change the world, start with being in the right place, then invite others to join you. Your example is far more compelling than any blog, article, or treatise.

The world cannot beimproved by having morelaws, edicts, press releases, or documentaries. It can only beimproved by changing the hearts of the people.

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Eternal Existence

One of the tenets of the LDS church rhymes with one of the laws of physics – nothing is created from nothing. Granted how that affects us religiously isn’t widely known, but it was one of the teachings of Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS Church.

Just as God organized the world from unorganized matter, He organized our spirits as his children from “intelligences”. We could not have had this progression on our own, hence all of us being the spirit children of God the Father (including Jesus and yes, Lucifer). We were given the choice on how we would progress next – attaining a physical body and learning and growing on this Earth – through one of two options. The plan put forward by Jesus gave us the choice of how we would live our lives, even though we might not return to the Father, and the plan put forward by Lucifer was that we would have no choice, but all would return to the Father. The conflict between these two plans resulted in those following Jesus continuing to grow and those following Lucifer stopped from their growth (aka damned).

So, we are now in this mortal life, hopefully learning and growing and striving to become more like our Father. As we decide to (or not to) progress here determines if we will be able to progress after this life, to become like God and start on the same cycle, becoming Fathers and Mothers to our own spirit children but remaining children to our Father.

What we were before we were intelligences and what God the Father will be after we have become Gods we don’t know. I think one of the reasons its not discussed often is that it really doesn’t matter to what we should be doing now. Our mortal experience relies in the simple questions – where did we come from, why are we here, where do we go from here.

In short, just as God has always been and always will be, we also have an eternal existence.

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