These quotes have been sitting in my notebook for a while and a recent conversation with a friend brought them back to my attention. What I find remarkable is how nicely they fit together and convey this idea that all people on earth have been given a portion of God’s light and truth. The Qur’an and Joseph quotes talk about a reconciliation in the afterlife when more will be revealed as to how this all works. Personally, I find these teachings bring great peace of mind and understanding when pondered. I have found tremendous insights from other faith traditions around the world that have brought me closer to God and my fellow man. Read Full Post
A few days ago I heard someone at church talk about agency as a “gift” but that got me thinking if it really was or not. Perhaps you are thinking, “Well, of course it’s a gift, doesn’t everything good come from God?” That’s one way of looking at it but let me share a quote from Frédéric Bastiat that slipped into my mind at that moment that got me thinking about it differently.
As a friend of mine once remarked, this negative concept of law is so true that the statement, the purpose of the law is to cause justice to reign, is not a rigorously accurate statement. It ought to be stated that the purpose of the law is to prevent injustice from reigning. In fact, it is injustice, instead of justice, that has an existence of its own. Justice is achieved only when injustice is absent. (Bastiat, The Law)
I’m going to change that up a little and substitute God for the word law, agency for justice and captivity for injustice and we’ll see how it reads.Read Full Post
I love this quote from Joseph Smith on how mankind will be judged. The truths expressed are so clear and plain, you cannot help but stand in awe at the incredible balance of justice and mercy God extends to each of us.
“But while one portion of the human race is judging and condemning the other without mercy, the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard; He views them as His offspring, and without any of those contracted feelings that influence the children of men, causes “His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” He holds the reins of judgment in His hands; He is a wise Lawgiver, and will judge all men, not according to the narrow, contracted notions of men, but, “according to the deeds done in the body whether they be good or evil,” or whether these deeds were done in England, America, Spain, Turkey, or India. He will judge them, “not according to what they have not, but according to what they have,” those who have lived without law, will be judged without law, and those who have a law, will be judged by that law. We need not doubt the wisdom and intelligence of the Great Jehovah; He will award judgment or mercy to all nations according to their several deserts, their means of obtaining intelligence, the laws by which they are governed, the facilities afforded them of obtaining correct information, and His inscrutable designs in relation to the human family; and when the designs of God shall be made manifest, and the curtain of futurity be withdrawn, we shall all of us eventually have to confess that the Judge of all the earth has done right.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 218)
Joseph’s doctrine suggests that God isn’t just involved in the lives of “his people” but that everyone, no matter what religion or culture, is experiencing a life that is purposeful and accountable. While it is true that having access to the blessings of the restoration is something to be grateful for, it should not cultivate an attitude of elitism in anyone’s heart.
Rather, we should each be grateful for what we have as well as what others have as well. It isn’t that we have all the truth and everyone else is wrong. We have all been given portions of truth to serve specific purposes on this earth and it is only gathering all things into one that each of us can truly be blessed in a manner that is universally beneficial.
Brigham Young once taught:
It is our duty and calling, as ministers of the same salvation and Gospel, to gather every item of truth and reject every error. Whether a truth be found with professed infidels, or with the Universalists, or the Church of Rome, or the Methodists, the Church of England, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Quakers, the Shakers, or any other of the various and numerous different sects and parties, all of whom have more or less truth, it is the business of the Elders of this Church (Jesus, their Elder Brother, being at their head) to gather up all the truths in the world pertaining to life and salvation, to the Gospel we preach, … to the sciences, and to philosophy, wherever it may be found in every nation, kindred, tongue, and people and bring it to Zion (DBY,248).
Perhaps instead of saying to our neighbors, “Hey, I have some missionaries you need to listen to,” we could begin the conversation by asking, “Will you share with me what you believe?” and go from there. I’ve been blessed many times in my life by inviting others from various religious traditions to express to me some of their most sacred beliefs. When there is truth being expressed, the Spirit will attend, no matter who is speaking.
We cannot gather up all the truths in the world, if we don’t take the time to listen to others. You just might find that inviting others to share first, builds fertile ground for an even exchange of cherished beliefs.
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
Meet “Peter” the Lego Friends character who also happens to be the object of the latest source of contention in the Reed household.
I’m going to try my best to accurately capture a discussion that just transpired minutes before writing this article involving myself, my seven year old and five year old. For the sake of privacy, I will refer to the 7 year old as “Mary” and the 5 year old as “Tina” (I let them pick the names).
There was a conflict over a toy that belonged to Mary, the toy was “Peter” as pictured above. Tina had come along and picked up the toy while Mary had momentarily been distracted and small riot ensued as Mary realized that her toy had been seized without her permission. It just so happens that I had spent the afternoon pondering the principles of justice and mercy, so I declined my initial instinct to barge into the room and fulfill Bill Cosby’s uncomfortably familiar observation that “Parents are not interested in justice — they want QUIET!”
I decided to be interested in justice…and mercy and take this unique time on a Sabbath-day afternoon to try and teach about both.
I gathered them both together and told them thatRead Full Post