Monday, February 14, 2011

...I Can Know Truth

This cartoon is a good example of what I'm NOT trying to do.

Last week a question was asked about authority and where one who interprets gets authority. As I am writing my thoughts on scriptures, I decided this question was central to my blog. As I am writing and interpreting, where is it I get my authority? This was my response:

'My friend Audry commented on my blog, "I love how through your posts you bear your testimony. You bear it in such a way that you are received with respect even if people's views might differ." This is an important foundational principle of our gospel. Yes, the church receives revelation from the prophet. Yet, the fact that personal interpretation is directed, not stifled, by that revelation leads one to see that a foundational principle of our speaker's authority is that we believe our knowledge comes from God. Whether it's quoting scripture and personally interpreting it, or quoting a prophet's personal interpretation of a scripture, the element of revelation makes our authority divine/divinity.'

Please understand, I am not trying to reinterpret the scriptures. I am using the revelation given to the church at large as a foundation by which I personalize that revelation. I just had to post something about this so no one comes along thinking I'm trying to rewrite the scriptures. Just personalize, and somewhat modernize the messages within the book.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

...God speaks to us today

Is that such a strange idea? I mean The God of the Old Testament spoke to the people, and he said that He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, so why would he stop communicating with humanity? Maybe it's because I grew up believing in current revelation, but I've never had trouble accepting that God can talk to us today.

When I read 3 Nephi 19 and 20 it is an account of Christ teaching and talking to the people of the Americas. I wondered when I read the two chapters, does He cater to who He is talking to? In other words, He used analogies which the people of that time would understand (farming analogies, etc.) and that led me to wonder if He were to talk to our society today, would He cater the speech to things we're familiar with?

As I have felt His gentle guidance in my life, prayed for help and answers to questions, I have always understood the answer, as He talks to me how I understand best. Sometimes it's thoughts/ideas and other times it's simply a feeling which honestly, words can't describe. So, though I can't give the specific dialogue, I would guess that Christ would speak in such a way that all would understand. His words are not catered to a group, but to the individual. His concern is not with mass quantity, but rather individual quality.

The importance of One

Monday, February 7, 2011 to search, ponder and pray

Search, ponder and pray are the things that I must do. The Spirit will guide, and deep inside I know the scriptures are true.

When Christ is with the Nephites, he gives them a commandment before he leaves. He tells them to:
"...go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father in my name, that me may understand and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again." 3 Nephi 17:3

I wondered how many times a day I think about what I read that morning during my scripture study. Was I scripture reading, or scripture studying? I believe when you study something, it's not a one-time event. It's something you keep in/on your mind, something which you search and ponder. As I have started this running commentary on my scripture reading, a scripture journal, if you will, I have found myself thinking much more about what I am/was reading. I believe writing down your thoughts on something you read changes how you read it. As we share thoughts and feelings, it's not only getting the good word out there, it's putting the good word in the minds and hearts of the believers. That's why this is so important. It is a chance to liberate the form and unbending interpretations. It is a chance to share personal accounts and thoughts showing not just that something is important, but why it is important.

Search, Ponder and Pray

I love to read the holy scriptures,

And every time I do,

I feel the spirit start

To grow within my heart

A testimony that they're true

Search, ponder and pray,
Are the things I must do
The Spirit will guide,

And deep inside,

I know the scriptures are true.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

...I have a responsibility

I am my brother's keeper.

When Cain cried to the Lord, "Am I my brother's keeper?" that "hands off" approach was frowned upon by the Lord. We have a responsibility to help, teach and support others. In 3 Nephi 15:22, Christ teaches the people in America, "...the Gentiles should be converted through their preaching." "Their" is referring to Christ's disciples...aka those who study, learn and believe in Christ. "Converted" in this context refers to believing in Christ and learning of Him.

I believe too often we keep our beliefs private, in fear that we will be mocked. We don't want to be our brother's keeper because we don't want to be pushy or seem "preachy." But honestly, I have found people are pretty accepting of differing beliefs. The beauty of America is our society is so different that it's not unusual to come across many beliefs. It does take courage to state belief, especially when that belief goes against the "norm" of society. But when others see that courage, they respect it and respect you and are willing to listen out of that respect. So share what you believe, share what you know.

Friday, February 4, 2011 to treat others

If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change.

Lately, life has been dramatic. I loathe drama, like a lot. So this morning, in my usual scripture study spot, I sat down and was ready for some guidance.
3 Nephi 14:1-5 -- highlights
  • "Judge not, that ye be not judged"
  • "With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged"
  • "Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"
  • "First cast the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother's eye."
The lesson I learned was short and sweet: before I critique someone's behavior, take a good hard look at mine and see if I did anything to cause the reaction I'm struggling with. Not the most pleasant lesson, but humility and self-evaluation never is that pleasant. I learned, change starts with self.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 to bear my burdens

Sometimes my burdens are too heavy to carry.

This morning I read 3 Nephi 11-12. As it accounts Christ's appearing to the people in America, I wondered, if I was long awaited by someone, what would I say when I arrived? Well, Christ taught, as He always did, about the way to eternal life. He taught baptism, obedience and repentance. But something caught my eye. I had circled the words, "keep my commandments" followed by "deny...take up your cross" (verses 20 and 30).

Christ gives the people the higher law, replaces "thou shalt not kill" with, "don't be angry with thy brother" etc., and after presenting the higher law, counsels the people to:

"...deny yourselves of these things wherein ye will take up your cross."

I have personal battles and burdens. I find myself repenting of the same things over and over, promising to not do it again, only to find myself on my knees the next night asking forgiveness for the same mistake. As I read that verse, the image of taking up my cross, coming from the Savior who literally carried His cross upon which He was crucified, struck me. I can't do it alone but Christ showed He could. Christ literally carried a cross. I have my sins which are heavy, but I'm not alone to carry them. If I turn my burden over to Him, then will my burdens be made light, not gone, but light as He shares the load and helps me through.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
-Jesus Christ

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

...I want to share what I've learned.

I have recently started a research blog, in which I discuss the ways the Book of Mormon can be available worldwide. Without getting into too much detail here (if you're interested, read my other blog), I will comment that one way I see this book being made available is through the internet, blogs particularly. So I have decided that after I read my scriptures, I will post my thoughts on what I have learned from reading that day. They probably won't be incredibly long and/or scholarly because that's not the point. I simply want to share my thoughts and feelings on what I know to be true. Read, comment, ask questions, for I believe the better questions we ask, the better answers we are given.