Plan of Salvation

Jul 12, 2013
2 min read
 

Thoughts on the Five Core Sacramental Symbols

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
11 Comments
Jun 24, 2013
1 min read
 

Through the Veil: Pondering the Temple Experience Through Scripture

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 2.1”

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

4 Comments
Jun 17, 2013
6 min read
 

Saved by Grace, Judged by Works?

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

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Jun 15, 2013
7 min read
 

Understanding the Justice and Mercy of the Degrees of Glory

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

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Jun 7, 2013
0 min read
 

Earthly Father, Heavenly Father

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.

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May 16, 2013
2 min read
 

God’s Plan is Only Messy From Our Perspective

I don’t know who wrote the following story but I remembered hearing it a long time ago and it has always been a powerful metaphor for helping me through rough times. I was thinking about it the other day when I used it to illustrate a point to a group of people and decided to look up the original, or at least whatever I could find that was closest to the original (apparently the author is unknown).

My mom used to cross-stitch so I know exactly what the kid in the story is talking about when he sees the tangled mess; amazing what perspective and trust can do.

embroidery

The Story:

When I was a little boy, my mother used to embroider a great deal. I would sit at her knee and look up from the floor and ask what she was doing. She informed me that she was embroidering. I told her that it looked like a mess from where I was. As from the underside I watched her work within the boundaries of the little round hoop that she held in her hand, I complained to her that it sure looked messy from where I sat. She would smile at me, look down and gently say, “My son, you go about your playing for a while, and when I am finished with my embroidering, I will put you on my knee and let you see it from my side.”

I would wonder why she was using some dark threads along with the bright ones and why they seemed so jumbled from my view. A few minutes would pass and then I would hear Mother’s voice say, “Son, come and sit on my knee.”

This I did only to be surprised and thrilled to see a beautiful flower or a sunset. I could not believe it, because from underneath it looked so messy.

Then Mother would say to me, “My son, from underneath it did look messy and jumbled, but you did not realize that there was a pre-drawn plan on the top. It was a design. I was only following it. Now look at it from my side and you will see what I was doing.”

Many times through the years I have looked up to my Heavenly Father and said, “Father, what are You doing?” He has answered, “I am embroidering your life.” I say, “But it looks like a mess to me. It seems so jumbled. The threads seem so dark. Why can’t they all be bright?”

The Father seems to tell me, “My child, you go about your business of doing My business, and one day I will bring you to Heaven and put you on My knee and you will see the plan from My side.”

Author Unknown

rose

2 Comments
Mar 6, 2013
4 min read
 

The Scale of the Universe 2

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 9.45.21 AM

Well, I guess this is “brother-in-law” day today at oneClimbs! I owe this post to Brad who emailed this to me a few hours ago, and I also posted The Enchiridion by Epictetus from my other brother-in-law.

I’ve seen the older version of this “Scale of the Universe” presentation and the new one is even better. I think it is awesome because it illustrates just how large or small we are depending on what perspective you are coming from.Read Full Post

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Jan 20, 2013
17 min read
 

His Grace Is Sufficient

brad-wilcoxBrad Wilcox was serving as a member of the Sunday School General Board of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as a BYU associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education in the David O. McKay School of Education when this devotional address was given on 12 July 2011.

I am grateful to be here with my wife, Debi, and my two youngest children—who are currently attending BYU—and several other family members who have come to be with us.

It is an honor to be invited to speak to you today. Several years ago I received an invitation to speak at Women’s Conference. When I told my wife, she asked, “What have they asked you to speak on?”

I was so excited that I got my words mixed up and said, “They want me to speak about changing strengths into weaknesses.”

She thought for a minute and said, “Well, they’ve got the right man for the job!”

She’s correct about that. I could give a whale of a talk on that subject, but I think today I had better go back to the original topic and speak about changing weaknesses into strengths and about how the grace of Jesus Christ is sufficient (see Ether 12:27, D&C 17:8, 2 Corinthians 12:9)—sufficient to cover us, sufficient to transform us, and sufficient to help us as long as that transformation process takes.Read Full Post

2 Comments
Sep 20, 2012
2 min read
 

Churches, Terms, Covenants and Joy

Churches

In the battle of churches, everyone is promoting their church as the gate that stands between you and your salvation. Other say that you don’t need a church, you can just go to God himself. There are many other ideologies as well, so what is true and how can you know it?

Terms

I can only speak from my own experience on this and I’ll leave others to speak from theirs. One way I look at the message that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers is in the context of “terms”. By “terms” I mean a state of agreement, a concord, a mutual relationship between man and God. The purpose of the church is to expound the terms of certain conditions pertaining to this life and the hereafter.

Covenants and Joy

“Men are that they might have joy” (2 Ne. 2:25) taught the prophet Lehi, and God desires us to have this joy now and forever. However, I think it is self-evident that outside of God’s covenants, people find great joy because joy can be found whenever true principles are lived. The birth of a child, the achievement of goals or learning something new can fill us with a lasting joy.

So how it this joy found through covenants? Do covenants imply a course of action or a pathway through life? How is joy obtained through this particular path?

Perhaps the only way to know is to walk the path ourselves.

What if we have walked the path but we find ourselves depressed, frustrated, laden with guilt, worried, fearful, angry and overcome with life around us? Where is the joy that God has promised us? What does God mean by “joy”?

In the verse “Men are that they might have joy”, maybe the word “might” can teach us something. Might can mean “may or may not” but it can also mean “strength or power”. What strength or power is being conveyed and where does this strength originate? Joy seems to be a conditional principle, but then again, so are covenants.

If we find ourselves joyless, perhaps we should examine why that is and what we are basing our joy in. Maybe the path to joy requires us to become something different by making it through and rising above things that are the antithesis of joy. Maybe a complete joy as promised by God through his covenants can only be known this way. Maybe the way is personalized to each of us and our own situations.

Consider Jesus Christ; was he joyful there, hanging from a cross, freshly beaten and abused, bleeding, with metal spikes driven through his hands, wrists and feet? What does that say about him? What does that say about us? What does that say about joy?

2 Comments
Sep 20, 2012
1 min read
 

Ever knowing but never changed?

I’d like to expound a little on some thoughts that were expressed in an email exchange with a friend of mine this morning (Thanks, Chris!).

Attend any LDS sacrament meeting on the first Sunday of the month and I can almost guarantee that you will hear the phrase, “I know the church is true”. I’m pretty sure that this is an expression derived from Doctrine and Covenants Section 1 verse 30:

And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually—

I’m not doubting that some believe, have strong convictions or even “know” that “the church is true”, but what does that mean? Does simply knowing something change you? If so, how does knowledge change you?

Consider the common knowledge that exercise is important, yet how many people are overweight?

How does ‘knowing that the church is true’ change your life? What do you do with that knowledge? Do you repent? Do you expel anger and hatred from your life? Do you allow the love of Christ to fill and change you? Have you found redemption in Jesus Christ? Has he come to you? Do you know him?

2 Comments
Sep 16, 2012
3 min read
 

Is there a God and can he be known?

Some are so sure that God exists while others are so sure that he doesn’t and then there is a vast spectrum of those in-between. Over thousands of years, where has all of the debating got us?

If God does not exist is there a purpose to the existence of the universe? Does purpose necessitate a God? Is purpose necessary? The elements we observe in the universe behave with predictable results along discernable laws and mathematics. Do these laws constitute order? Can order come from chaos? Is the universe really chaotic? Can the universe be “chaotic” when order is observed almost all throughout it?

If God exists, then he is hidden from us. If God desires to be hidden, can man reveal him? If God desires to be foundRead Full Post

2 Comments
Aug 26, 2012
7 min read
 

Justice and Mercy: A Unique Teaching Moment With my Kids

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

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Aug 19, 2012
25 min read
 

Salvation: Where does one begin?

I have felt lost at various points in my life; for different reasons and in different ways. I would like to focus specifically on the question of “Where does one begin?” in the context of finding the point in which one begins to return to God and in what manner it is done.

When I began, my path was full of detours, looking beyond the mark and simply being confused in mists of darkness. If I had understood the scriptures properly I might have found what I was looking for earlier on, but fortunately, we have a very patient and intensely wise Father in Heaven who never gives up on us.

So here we go then; I hope the information provided here can be of help to others that are searching as I was.Read Full Post

1 Comment
Aug 8, 2012
2 min read
 

Receiving Knowledge From God

These insightful words from Brigham Young are interesting to ponder in light of the responsibility that comes with receiving revelation:

There is one principle that I wish the people would understand and lay to heart. Just as fast as you will prove before your God that you are worthy to receive the mysteries, if you please to call them so, of the kingdom of heaven–that you are full of confidence in God–that you will never betray a thing that God tells you–that you will never reveal to your neighbour that which ought not to be revealed, as quick as you prepare to be entrusted with the things of God, there is an eternity of them to bestow upon you. Instead of pleading with the Lord to bestow more upon you, plead with yourselves to have confidence in yourselves, to have integrity in yourselves, and know when to speak and what to speak, what to reveal, and how to carry yourselves and walk before the Lord. And just as fast as you prove to Him that you will preserve everything secret that ought to be–that you will deal out to your neighbours all which you ought, and no more, and learn how to dispense your knowledge to your families, friends, neighbours, and brethren, the Lord will bestow upon you, and give to you, and bestow upon you, until finally he will say to you, “You shall never fall; your salvation is sealed unto you; you are sealed up unto eternal life and salvation, through your integrity.”

Let every person be the friend of God, that whatever He reveals to you, you can wisely handle without asking Him whether you shall tell your wife of it or not…I say this that you may learn to reveal that which you ought, and to keep the rest to yourselves. By so doing you prove to God that you are His friends, and will keep His secrets.

The world may howl around you and plead for the secrets of the Lord which he has given you, but they will not get them. When the Lord has proved His children true to what He has given into their charge, and that they will do His bidding, He will tell such persons anything that they should know. A great many desire just enough of knowledge to damn them and it does damn a great many. (Journal of Discourses, Vol.4, Pg.371, underline added)

0 Comments
Jul 29, 2012
5 min read
 

The Test Has Begun

I can’t remember quite when I first read of the Heber C. Kimball’s “Test” prophecy but it has always intrigued me. The intrigue has grown to deep concern as I have pondered the deep implications of a future he saw, especially when I discovered that I am apparently living in the time of its fulfillment. Provided below are some quotes containing the words of this prophecy as well as evidence that the test has already commenced.

In  August 16, 1857, Heber C. Kimball stated:

There will also be a day when you will be brought to the test — when your very hearts and your inmost souls will melt within you because of the scenes that many of you will witness. Yes, you will be brought to that test, when you will feel as if every thing within you would dissolve. Then will be the time you will be tried whether you will stand the test or fall away. (Remarks by President Heber C. Kimball, Delivered in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, Sunday Morning, August 16, 1857. source)

In May of 1868 Heber C. Kimball said:Read Full Post

15 Comments
May 7, 2012
4 min read
 

Woman’s position in the eternal economy of the Creator

Here is an excerpt from a chapter written by LDS apostle James E. Talmage in October of 1914. Writing to a female audience, he focuses on the dynamics of gender and the relationships between men and women in this world and the next. There are many wonderful doctrinal tidbits in the following words. Enjoy!

The status of woman in the world is a subject of present-day discussion and an element of current social unrest; it is, however, by no means a new topic. The female sex is not infrequently referred to as the weaker of the two. As gauged by physical standards this classification may be essentially correct. And be it said to the discredit and shame of the stronger sex, man through the centuries gone has been prone to use his superior strength to the oppression of woman. She has suffered the greatest humiliation during periods of spiritual darkness, when the Gospel of Christ was forgotten.

Woman occupies a position all her own in the eternal economy of the Creator; and in that position she is as truly superior to man as is he to her in his appointed place. Woman shall yet come to her own, exercising her rights and her privileges as a sanctified investiture which none shall dare profane.

It is part of woman’s mission in this life to occupy a secondary position of authority in the activities of the world, both in the home and in the affairs of public concern. Of this condition, explanation and justification may be found in the fact that in every organization, however simple or complex, there must needs be a centralization of authority, in short, a head. The secular law recognizes the husband as the head of the household, and theoretically at least holds hi[m] accountable for his administration. That many men fail in their station, that some are weak and unfit, that in particular instances the wife may be the more capable and in divers ways the better of the pair, should not be considered as evidencing impropriety or unrighteousness in the established order as a general condition.

Woman should be regarded, not in the sense of privilege but of right, as the associate of man in the community of the home, and they two should form the governing head of the family institution, while to each separately pertain duties and functions which the other is less qualified to discharge. Weakness or inefficiency on the part of either in specified instances must not be taken to impugn the wisdom by which the organization of the home and of society has been planned.

In the restored Church of Jesus Christ, the Holy Priesthood is conferred, as an individual bestowal, upon men only, and this in accordance with Divine requirement. It is not given to woman to exercise the authority of the Priesthood independently; nevertheless, in the sacred endowments associated with the ordinances pertaining to the House of the Lord, woman shares with man the blessings of the Priesthood.

When the frailities [sic] and imperfections of mortality are left behind, in the glorified state of the blessed hereafter, husband and wife will administer in their respective stations, seeing and understanding alike, and co-operating to the full in the government of their family kingdom.

Then shall woman be recompensed in rich measure for all the injustice that womanhood has endured in mortality. Then shall woman reign by Divine right, a queen in the resplendent realm of her glorified state, even as exalted man shall stand, priest and king unto the Most High God.

Mortal eye cannot see nor mind comprehend the beauty, glory, and majesty of a righteous woman made perfect in the celestial kingdom of God. (from the Young Woman’s Journal 25 [October 1914]: 600-604, link)

I do realize what a touchy topic this is. Each gender has unique and sacred characteristics and when combined you get a marriage of those characteristics which form the foundation of an Eternal unit.

We speak so much of ‘equality’ which is defined as “uniformity” and while man and woman do govern equally in the family unit, I feel that ‘unity’ is a much better word because it is defined as “the state of being one”. I think it is important that each gender (particularly the men) in their respective stations remember the counsel of D&C 121 concerning unrighteous dominion. Either side through selfishness can throw out of balance the divine harmony that should exist between man and woman.

There is no compulsion in the economy of God, only persuasion, love and self-sacrifice. Think of Jesus washing the feet of his apostles; a perfect image of how a husband should preside in a family. Think of the dedication of the apostles to Jesus Christ and the love that was shared between them. The model of the church itself has much to teach us on how we should structure out own families.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” – Ephesians 5:25 (ESV)

2 Comments
Mar 18, 2012
4 min read
 

The Meaning of the LDS Temple and its Ordinances

In Denver Snuffer’s book, “Passing the Heavenly Gift”, he provides a great summary on the meaning of the temple and its ordinances.

The temple ordinances portray a walk back to God’s presence. Although the ceremonies are presented in symbols, they testify of, and invite the actual return to Him. The washings, intended to cleans us, are more than a physical ordinance. They testify to us about necessary individual purity and spiritual cleanliness. Anointing with olive oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Thorough the Holy Spirit we are sanctified. It is holy, and when we receive it we become holy through our association with it.

When we are clothed with a garment, it symbolizes the sacrifice of Christ, laying down His body to cover our sins with His atonement. These are powerful symbols of how intimately our individual redemption is connected to Him.

The endowment instructs us about creation, and our own journey through mortal life. We must consider ourselves as if we are respectively, Adam and Eve. When we do, we find an explanation of our mortal condition. It tells us we came from God’s presence, and now live in a fallen world. To regain God’s presence we need to obey, make sacrifices, follow Christ’s Gospel, observe the law of chastity and consecrate our lives to Him. As we do, we will receive sacred knowledge from His messengers. Such messengers are sent by Him.

Men will try and mislead us with false teachings that mingle the philosophies of men with scripture. But if we remain true and faithful to whatever light we receive from Him, He will always send more. Messengers will come from the presence of God, bringing His message. They will not offer themselves for worship, adoration or respect…

True messengers labor to have you come to know Christ. They want all to be redeemed from the fall.

The purpose of the temple is to guide you back to Him. It is not the real thing, but only a symbol pointing to the real thing. It is not enough to read what has been written in scripture or taught by true messengers. You must get an experience for yourself so you also know God.

The real thing is found when the veil parts and you gaze into heaven. (p. 466-467)

The idea that the temple “…is not the real thing, but only a symbolRead Full Post

0 Comments
Feb 27, 2012
11 min read
 

A Powerful Message From Baptist Pastor Paul Washer

Pastor Paul Washer in the excerpt below is speaking to a group of youth and trying to emphasize the importance of being a Christian, but not just in name, in deed as well. In the wild debate over faith and works where people tend to lurk along the extremes of one or the other, Pastor Washer does a good job of getting to the heart of the matter.

I think his words are equally applicable to Latter-day Saints or anyone professing to be a disciple of Christ. His words remind me of Moroni’s scathing judgement of Latter-day Saints in our day; and yes, my brothers and sisters, he’s talking about US.Read Full Post

0 Comments
Feb 26, 2012
10 min read
 

The Book of Mormon Really Teaches This?

Please consider the power of these teachings pulled straight from the text of the Book of Mormon:Read Full Post

0 Comments
Aug 22, 2011
0 min read
 

Temple Square Monument: The Law, Governments, Liberty, The Way

Until recently, I had NO idea that this was at Temple Square. It is amazing to me that there it is, right in front of the Salt Lake Temple and I’ve never seen it. It’s fantastic, and appropriate that such a monument dedicated to true freedom and liberty stands right in front of the Lord’s house.

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