Author Archive

“Have You Been Saved?” by Dallin H. Oaks

Jul 18, 2013
12 min read

By Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, May 1998

What do we say when someone asks us, “Have you been saved?” This question, so common in the conversation of some Christians, can be puzzling to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because it is not our usual way of speaking. We tend to speak of “saved” or “salvation” as a future event rather than something that has already been realized.

Good Christian people sometimes attach different meanings to some key gospel terms like saved or salvation. If we answer according to what our questioner probably means in asking if we have been “saved,” our answer must be “yes.” If we answer according to the various meanings we attach to the terms saved or salvation, our answer will be either “yes” or “yes, but with conditions.”

I.

As I understand what is meant by the good Christians who speak in these terms, we are “saved” when we sincerely declare or confess that we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. This meaning relies on words the Apostle Paul taught the Christians of his day:

“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:9–10).

To Latter-day Saints, the words saved and salvation in this teaching signify a present covenant relationship with Jesus Christ in which we are assured salvation from the consequences of sin if we are obedient. Every sincere Latter-day Saint is “saved” according to this meaning. We have been converted to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, we have experienced Read Full Post

What Does “Saved by Grace After All We Can Do” Mean?

Jul 18, 2013
14 min read

I’d like to thank my good friend Mike King for being the catalyst that inspired this article. The Bible verses are all from the New American Standard Version just for kicks, thanks, Andrew T. 

jesus-and-john-the-baptist

There’s a verse in the Book of Mormon that I have seen get plenty of criticism from some who think that the verse teaches some kind of “works-based salvation” that diminishes the role of Christ’s grace.

On the other hand, however, I’ve seen Latter-day Saints misunderstand this verse as well. Read the following verse and ponder what you think it is getting at:

“For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23)

At first glance, it might seem like this verse is saying that our efforts actually make up a portion of our salvation. That us “doing things” makes up the first part of our salvation and that Jesus Christ’s atonement kicks in to cover whatever is left over. That is just one way that it can be interpreted, but there’s a glaring problem with that interpretation Read Full Post

Thoughts on the Five Core Sacramental Symbols

Jul 12, 2013
2 min read

There are at least five core elements that are used in the ordinance of the sacrament. Back on June 16th of this year I took down some ideas in my notebook concerning them so here they are. I will also be placing any number that I think is numerically significant next to the title.

1. Altar or Table (4, 1, 2)

  • Used for sacrifices and offerings and for sacred ordinances of the gospel (LDS BD). A place where heaven and earth are bridged via covenants.
  • Altar: Zabach (Hebrew) – “to slaughter an animal”.
  • The life of the animal is represented by its blood. (Leviticus 17:11)
  • Altars are temples in their most simple form, and the covenants made at them can vary.
  • We place things on the altar to be completely consumed, we do not expect to see them again. It is expected that all ungodliness is treated this way.Read Full Post

oneClimbs Turns 3 Years old!

Jul 8, 2013
0 min read

happy-bday-oc

July is the month that oneClimbs was born into the world wide web!

The first ever post was a video about sugar (yeah, how random). The first ever real “article” that was put together was called “Cut a Covenant“. It’s been a crazy 3 years with 0ver 200 posts on a wide variety of subjects with an emphasis of temples, symbolism, gospel principles and the atonement. Study and research done since the launch of oneClimbs led to the creation of ldsSymbols.com, an online resource for exploring symbols within a Latter-day Saint doctrinal context.

This site was created to help my organize my thoughts, assist in my personal study and to share the things that I have found with anyone who is interested. Your comments, feedback and additional insights have helped my in my personal study and pursuit of truth and I hope that someone out there has been equally blessed.

Goliath, Laban and the New World Order

Jul 7, 2013
8 min read

What do Goliath, Laban and global, latter-day secret combinations often referred to as the “New World Order” all have in common?

Their stories all end the same way and the scriptures show us exactly how.

Goliath

The Philistine champion, Goliath of Gath, fell to a shepherd boy named David who stood in front of him and prophesied:

“This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee;” 1 Samuel 17:46

Moments later the prophecy was fulfilled when David dropped Goliath with a single blow to the head with a stone and then:

“…David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith.” 1 Samuel 17:51

Goliath, a nine foot “giant” whose presence caused every Israelite soldier to tremble lay there in the dirt, beheaded by his own sword.

Laban

The sons of Lehi who were charged with securing plates of brass that contained the holy scriptures which were intended to instruct countless millions over 1000 years in a new land.  Laban, also a military man of sorts was a Goliath-like threat that stood between them and this sacred record. After threatening to murder Lehi’s sons twice and violently robbing them of their wealth, Read Full Post

An Experience With Homemade Sacrament Bread by Sandra Clark Jergensen

Jul 7, 2013
4 min read

By Sandra Clark Jergensen, originally posted under the title “Bread” at Segullah.org.

bread

Last Sunday, as I was sliding into a pew in time for sacrament meeting, one of the ward leaders motioned me over. Did I have any bread at home? Well, do they say ya’ll in Texas? Of course I did, I always do. There was no bread for the sacrament, and could I run home and get some? I did. I rushed home, grabbed the loaf in the cupboard and got back to the church with my bread. That loaf was one of my prized recipes, a 100% whole wheat loaf made with wheat that I ground and buttermilk I cultured myself. And because I don’t have a grinder, I am currently using my blender and sieve; it takes a little extra time, but how else am I to use the small silo of wheat in my house? It is good bread. And good bread is worth it to me. And oh, I do so love good bread. The crackly crust and chewy crumb of a perfect loaf is heaven to me.

I can’t extend that same love to all bread. It may seem sacrilege that even think of it, but the often cheap, plastic-sleeved bread typically brought in each week for the sacrament at church is hard for me to swallow. The token to remember Christ is most often chemically preserved, bleached and bromated bread, and a bit of a distraction for me. I have to choose to stop thinking about it—is that bad? I know what D&C 27:2 says, but I still feel that when it is something that has substance in my life, shouldn’t the bread that symbolized it have some as well? Should the bread we use for the sacrament matter; or am I overthinking this one?

Back to that Sabbath morning. I got back to church Read Full Post

“Let Them Govern Themselves” by Boyd K. Packer

Jul 3, 2013
9 min read

I’m a fan of Boyd K. Packer. Behind that gravely-sounding voice is a fascinating mind that has provided some powerful insights and refreshing commentary on the latter-day work and Church. Currently, I’m serving as an elders quorum president in my ward and one of the biggest challenges I have been facing is how to bless the lives of families without burdening them with well-intentioned programs and what not.

I’m not a fan of programs and meetings. Although I believe that they can be necessary at times, I also believe that we create monsters that do the opposite of help. I see a similarity between how a country drifts into tyranny because of a bunch of well-intentioned politicians who try to solve every problem with new programs and tons of money and well-intentioned church leaders who dream up bloated programs that burden families and almost never work.

So I really appreciated this rather frank and sensible talk from Elder Packer that was given at a Regional Representatives Seminar Friday, March 30, 1990 (original source). What I did was pull out some of the highlights that I found most interesting and included them below. If you serve in any leadership capacity in the church, this address is an important read, so here it is…Read Full Post

How to Get Focused and Clear Brain Fog: Meditation

Jul 3, 2013
1 min read

Man, I’m on a video kick right now. I’ve been coming across some pretty intriguing things in the last few days. I’m starting to like this guy, Emil Ihsan-Alexander Torabi and this particular video that addresses simple, practical approaches to meditation is very well done. Meditation is something that few people that I know do and something that I typically only use periodically because of the difficulty I find in staying focused.

I’m going to try some of the things that Emil recommends and feel free to post your own experiences and insights in the comments below.

The things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity — thou must commune with God. How much more dignified and noble are the thoughts of God, than the vain imaginations of the human heart! (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith [1938], p.137)

Steps to meditation, or stilling the soul:

  1. Be consistent
  2. Don’t worry about doing it right
  3. Dont fight your thoughts, as they arise, observe them and let them be and pass
  4. Make it a habit or routine; set time aside
  5. Stick with it – be mercifiul to yourself when you fail, start again

Physical position:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position
  2. Begin to relax
  3. Close your eyes
  4. Focus on your breathing, become aware of tense spots in your body and release the tension
  5. After you are done, give thanks.

Time

  1. 5 minutes is perfect to begin
  2. Consistensy and not length is what is important
  3. You will learn by experience the rest, follow your instincts

Symbols, Images, Types, Metaphors, Similes, Parables, Motifs, Archetypes and more!

Jul 1, 2013
1 min read

2012-11-24 15.32.37-1

Perhaps most of us throw around the word “symbolism” without understanding the various nuances of the subject.

I created ldsSymbols.com with reference to the word “symbols’ because that is what most people understand. Alonzo Gaskill’s book “The Lost Language of Symbolism” defines symbols, images, types, metaphors, similes, parables, motifs and archetypes. He also mentions other categories such as analogies, comparisons, emblems, figures, hallmarks, insignias, models, seals, signs and tokens.

Here is a list of definitions from the book along with the page number for reference:

  1. Symbol: Something that represents another thing (p. 11).
  2. Image: A word or action that names a concrete thing (p. 11).
  3. Type: A symbol that looks forward to an antitype for future fulfillment (p. 11).
  4. Metaphor: An implied comparison (p. 13).
  5. Similes: Compare one thing to another by using the formula like or as (p. 13).
  6. Parable: Brief stories that employ familiar situations, events, characteristics, or elements in order to teach important spiritual truths (p. 14).
  7. Motif: A recurring theme or a “structurally unified verbal whole” (p. 14).
  8. Archetype: An image or pattern that recurs…the universal elements of human experience (p. 15).

The next set of definitions are from various sources online:

  1. Analogy: A comparison between two things, typically on the basis of their structure and for the purpose of explanation or clarification. Google Definition
  2. Comparison: an examination of two or more items to establish similarities and dissimilarities. Merriam Webster
  3. Emblem: A heraldic device or symbolic object as a distinctive badge of a nation, organization, or family. Google Definition
  4. Figure: A person, animal, or object that symbolizes something. A pictorial or sculptural representation, especially of the human body. The Free Dictionary
  5. Hallmark: Any mark or symbol of genuineness or high quality. Your Dictionary
  6. Insignia: A symbol or token of personal power, status or office, or of an official body of government or jurisdiction. Wikipedia
  7. Model: A three-dimensional representation of a person or thing or of a proposed structure, typically on a smaller scale than the original. Google Definition
  8. Seal: An embossed emblem, figure, symbol, word, letter, etc., used as attestation or evidence of authenticity. Dictionary.com
  9. Sign: A token; something by which another thing is shown or represented; any visible thing, any motion, appearance or event which indicates the existence or approach of something else. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
  10. Token: A sign; something intended to represent or indicate another thing or an event. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

Why Change is So Hard

Jun 28, 2013
1 min read

I came across this short video over at LeadingLDS.com that attributes a lack of desire for change to exhaustion rather than laziness in some cases. The guy makes a fairly reasonable argument, but I’m not quite sure that laziness and exhaustion are really that different. Perhaps if we address what is similar about the two and figure out how to overcome the root problem, we will find solutions that work for us.

Laziness and Exhaustion vs. Vision and Remembrance

Although this second video is titled “How to Overcome Laziness in 4 Steps”, I am curious if the same principles apply to exhaustion. I don’t know that I am convinced that laziness is really that different from exhaustion, the point is that you are just simply not motivated. Feeling a lack of motivation isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we are mortal beings, we get tired and are prone to habitual behavior.

Still, we are told to put off the natural man and this is one of the key purposes of this life but how do we do this? I found the simple advice in the video below to be insightful and right in line with what we could find in scripture, especially the part about vision.

We read in Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” so maybe vision is the key and remembering that vision in times of weakness is the lock that together with the key, opens the door to self-mastery.

These articles may provide further insight:

VIDEO: The Mystery of Magenta

Jun 28, 2013
0 min read

Sometimes some of the greatest mysteries are right in front of our eyes every day. This morning I came across this YouTube Video called “The Mystery of Magenta” and was really interested in how this guy approached the subject of how the brain perceives color.

You’ll have to check it out and ponder the implications. I was blown away at how the color magenta is different from all the other colors and how it might be the answer to some things I have experienced. All I can say about it is that I think there is something to the color magenta and the veil; perhaps someone out there will know what I am talking about.

how-pixels-generate-colors

Listen to “This Week in Mormons”

Jun 27, 2013
0 min read

I checked my feeds today over at Feedly.com and posted in LeadingLDS was a Google Hangout interview with the guys over at “This Week in Mormons“. After listening, I decided to check out their site and a podcast and these guys are pretty hilarious. Geoff & Al have had This Week In Mormons up for about 3 years which is about the same time as oneClimbs has been up.

Besides the great logo which looks like a bishop’s office sign from a 1980’s era chapel, the show offers a laid-back perspective on the good, the bad and whatever hits the fan that week concerning Mormons in the news.

They’ve converted me so I guess I’m a listener now; check ’em out and let me know what you think.

this-week-in-mormons

 

The Gospel and Animals

Jun 27, 2013
12 min read

In an August 1972 article by Gerald E. Jones that I read recently, a powerful case was made for understanding the importance for respecting animal life. I believe that the principles expressed within this article provide valuable insight to the reasons why there are specific requirements about using the flesh of animals as food only under certain circumstances.

Boyd K. Packer has expressed that the Word of Wisdom is “only incidentally to keep us healthy” while the most important promise “is that you will have the key to revelation”. I feel that this article adds another piece to the puzzle. I don’t think we generally respect the stewardship that we have over creation and realize the profound respect that is owed to all life.

Now I don’t go around hugging trees and what not but I’ve had some incidents in my life Read Full Post

SPECIAL PROJECT: An Open Call for Anyone With Publishing Experience

Jun 24, 2013
0 min read

I need anyone experienced with book publishing, Deseret Book, etc. to assist me on a special project. The purpose of the project has to do with the Book of Mormon and sharing the Gospel. I don’t plan on any monetary return for being involved in this effort, nor do I have the ability to pay anyone for their contributions at the present time.

I’m freely giving my talents to see to the existence of a work that I believe could bless many lives and am putting the call out to see if anyone else is interested in assisting and being part of this project.

If you are interested just contact me here.

mystery-cover-2

Through the Veil: Pondering the Temple Experience Through Scripture

Jun 24, 2013
1 min read
cover

I’m excited to announce the official publication of a little temple-related project that I’ve been working on. It all began with this idea: “What would it look like if you reconstructed the temple experience purely from scripture alone?”

As I pondered this idea, I realized how valuable something like this could be for people preparing to receive their endowment the first time. It would essentially be a primer to study both before and after an individual’s temple experience. So much of the temple experience is right there in the scriptures anyway but many people don’t seem to realize it. For some, it takes years of study and searching to make certain connections that give context to the purpose of temple blessings.

The culmination of these thoughts has led to the production of a 14-page document that I have titled: “Through the Veil: Pondering the Temple Experience Through Scripture.” I have done my best to preserve the sacredness of the temple while providing a study tool (with wide margins for making notes) that can serve as a fantastic temple prep resource.

This document, which has existed for a year as just a list of scriptures, has apparently been helpful enough to certain individuals that I think making it available here at oneClimbs could bless the lives of many more people, even those that have attended the temple for years.

I offer this document freely to anyone to use or share however they see fit (no permission necessary).

Click here to Download the .pdf version of “Through the Veil 2.2”

Deutsch (German) “Durch den Schleier” (Translation by Sebastian B.)

Saved by Grace, Judged by Works?

Jun 17, 2013
6 min read

2013-02-20-romans-2-3-saving-sinners-grace-faith-works-2

I was thinking about the whole grace/faith/works debate that seems to endlessly rage between the faiths.

Now we all technically believe in salvation by grace, or in other words, salvation is impossible without grace through the atonement of Jesus Christ. The disagreement seems mainly around how that grace is applied and what man’s role, if any, is in this process of salvation. All sides of the debate would probably agree that some kind of an acknowledgement of Christ’s atonement and grace on behalf of the individual is necessary in order to receive it, but at what point is one “saved”?

What frustrates me is how people on all sides of the debate seem to Read Full Post

Understanding the Justice and Mercy of the Degrees of Glory

Jun 15, 2013
7 min read

galaxy-glory

Today in church we had a lesson on the doctrine of the “three degrees of glory”. A comment seemed to indicate a feeling that inheriting a particular lower degree of glory as your eternal home with no chance of progression was unjust.

The comments began around a particular verse that describes the inhabitants of the telestial kingdom as  “…they who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus” (D&C 76:82). I think a misunderstanding of the word “received” is where the difficulty arises. A few assumed that received meant that the individuals never got a chance to accept Christ because they never had access to the gospel.

However, the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary shows the first definition of receive as: Read Full Post

Kids and the Temple

Jun 10, 2013
2 min read

2013-06-09 13.37.27

I posted this photo on Instagram yesterday and have been thinking about kids and the temple. According to Val Brinkerhoff in an interview with temple architect Keith Stepan, the Las Vegas and Portland Oregon temples were the first for over 100 years to restore the use of celestial symbolism  on the outside of the buildings. Since then, the level of detail and design on the outside of temples has seemed to increase dramatically.

Today, I have noticed that the symbolism is everywhere, from the fence to the gardens and fountains and it is a joy to explore and discover.

I have 3 young daughters between the ages of 2 and 7 who I often take on “Daddy-daughter dates” to the temple. The grounds are peaceful and beautiful and as we walk around, we look at the symbols on the temple and the plants and patterns that are all around us. We talk about what things might mean and study different doctrines and principles according to the child’s understanding.

Kids get symbols. They can learn them just like any language and they are really good at it.

In the picture that was drawn by my 7 year old (without any help), she created a temple that had the celestial bodies in the correct order: the moon at the bottom, the sun and then the stars up top. She also drew a fence that features a squared circle motif and what is interesting is that this is different from the Las Vegas temple. She either observed it elsewhere or realized the importance of weaving symbols into the fence design.

I found the temple flanked by two trees interesting because of the consistent patterns of the number 2 associated with trees that is used on many temples (possibly in connection with the two trees in the garden of Eden, man and woman can be symbolized by two trees as well).

The only thing that’s really off is the Moroni statue; if the temple is facing east in this drawing, then Moroni is facing north. Moroni is usually facing east and sometimes south east like on the Las Vegas and a few other temples.

I wanted to share this to point out the value in bringing anyone to the temple, whether they are children, teens or even people not of our faith. The grounds and building itself are filled with teachings, doctrine and principles that all can benefit from. It is a wonderful place, even on the outside, to meditate and receive revelation.

I’m grateful that such a place exists.

Earthly Father, Heavenly Father

Jun 7, 2013
0 min read

Awesome Mormon Messages video. I’m constantly impressed with the fantastic media put out by the church nowadays. I really enjoy these short videos with really powerful and touching messages and how they touch on very rich subjects in such abstract ways.

This one comparing earthly fathers to Heavenly Father does a great job at bringing perspective to our relationship with God.

I know the _______ is true.

Jun 4, 2013
5 min read

Fill in the blank.

Say it back to yourself.

What does it mean?

Traditions are things we repeat; sometimes they’re great, other times they aren’t. It seems to me that as Latter-day Saints, we have a settled into a tradition of using a phrase that has come to embody everything from a blazing witness of truth to an assuring affirmation of belief. On any given 1st Sunday of the month at an LDS Sacrament meeting, you might hear a dozen small children courageously march up to the stand and all say “I know the church is true” – whether they do or not.

We don’t intentionally train them to do this, it just seems to be something that gets passed on. They mimic adults and other kids because they like what they see and want to participate. Maybe because we are unsure of how to explain to children the difference between belief and knowledge, so we just cross our fingers and Read Full Post