Saturday, October 30, 2010

You Say It Best When You Say Nothing At All

Do you ever wonder what to do or say when someone you know, whether bosom friend or barely-met acquaintance, is going through a terrible life-changing event?

There is no one good answer, but to be guided by the Spirit.

However, I know that the times I've been helped the most are the times when I've been just been listened to, hugged, and then simply told, "I'm so sorry." No one expects you, as a friend, to make it all better. But acknowledging the pain, being willing to "mourn with those who mourn," to help weather the pain even for a brief moment, is one of the most powerful things any human can do. It lets a person know they're not alone. And that's what most feel in times like this, even when it's not true.

It doesn't matter how a person got to their point of pain, whether their circumstances were preventable or not, what matters is that they hurt. Don't let anyone hurt alone. Put aside whatever personal beliefs about their situation or self-consciousness you might have, and just be with them.

That is what the baptismal covenant means, when we become members of His church. That's exactly what Christ would do, if He were here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Exaltation Isn't Graded on a Curve

Which is a great thing to keep in mind.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An Enemy to God

There is a lot of talk and buzz about Elder Packer's talk. I'm not really going to address the thrust of all that, but there is one related aspect which I would like to address.

There is a claim that teachings such as those in Elder Packer's talk cause innocent children to kill themselves, that by teaching that certain behaviors are sinful, we teach that people are disgusting and enemies to God, and therefore they kill themselves. (Specifically according to many people's interpretation in this case, homosexuality, but I don't wish to address that specific. I want to re-broaden the principle to ALL sin, whatever you might consider to be sin. I believe that's really what Elder Packer's talk was about, and that homosexuality is only one example.)

As I first heard these claims, the scripture came to my mind, "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord . . ."

Sin . . . all sin . . . makes us enemies to God. When we teach a person that their behavior makes them an enemy to God, we bring their attention to their behavior and give them a choice "to act according to their wills and pleasures, whether to do evil or to do good . . . ." In other words, we elevate their behavior from simple animal reasoning and reactions to conscious choice. We take ourselves out of the dust and reach for the divine within ourselves to act rather than to just be acted upon by our environment, by our genetics. We are no longer helpless victims of circumstance, but true children of the Most High God.

Teaching the commandments of God does not drive people to kill themselves, or leave the church, or turn into Church-active automatons. When we give commandments as God gives them, in an environment of charity and love, we make ourselves more than our physical, scientific bodies. We then have the chance to umkehren . . . turn around . . . repent. God created us to act, not to be acted upon. To Elder Packer's amended rhetorical question, "Why would Heavenly Father do this to anyone?" The answer is He would not. He would never create a person incapable of action, unable to fight against that which takes them away from Him, and then turn and hold them accountable. Some may have fewer opportunities for action than others (such as babies, the mentally damaged or others) but where there are fewer opportunities to act, there is less accountability.

So the answer is not to back down from the morality taught by God, whether it be homosexuality, anger management, or obsession with worldly possessions. It is to make certain that morality is taught in a framework of love.

And I think the Church does a great job of teaching that we make ourselves into enemies of God, and we likewise have the power to no longer be His enemy. Hopefully more people will get the knack of it before more children feel so unloved they choose to take their own lives.

Popular Posts