Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sons of God, Saviors of Men

A gentleman left some comments on my Book of Mormon Inspection blog for Mosiah 5 & 6. I wanted to take more room to respond to his comments, so I thought I'd post it here.

His last comment said,
I have a friend who claims that Mormons are not Christian because we don't
believe in the true Christ. This stems from his belief in the Nature of God and the nature of man. I believe we are divine beings, literal spirit children of Heavenly Father. He claims that while we are Gods "creations," we are not children of God until after we accept Christ as our savior. Then we are saved, and we become his sons. He uses this scripture in John (John 1:12) as a reference for this. I see how you differentiate between children of God and sons of God. Is there any scholarly evidence to back up this interpretation, or is this one of the times that personal revelation is required to understand the scripture?

I did some searching to back up the notion that we can become sons of Gods ... like The Son of God; a different distinction from children of God.

Here is another scripture that sheds more light on this concept: D&C 103:9-10 "For they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men; And inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men."

Saviors of men ... was not Christ the Savior of men? And here in the D&C we find that to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth means to be saviors of men.

Here's another quote from a general authority of the Church. “In our preexistent state … we made a certain agreement with the Almighty. … We agreed … to be not only saviors for ourselves but measurably, saviors for the whole human family. We went into a partnership with the Lord. The working out of the plan became then not merely the Father’s work, and the Savior’s work, but also our work” (John A. Widtsoe, Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Oct. 1934, p. 189). (see Carlos E. Asay, “Salt of the Earth: Savor of Men and Saviors of Men,” Ensign, May 1980, 42)

Another quote from Joseph Smith, "If the Saints are not to reign, for what purpose are they crowned? In an exhortation of the Lord to a certain Church in Asia, which was built up in the days of the Apostles, unto whom He communicated His word on that occasion by His servant John, He says, "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." And again, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His Throne" (see Rev. 3). And again, it is written, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure" (1 John 3:2, 3). How is it that these old Apostles should say so much on the subject of the coming of Christ? He certainly had once come; but Paul says, To all who love His appearing, shall be given the crown: and John says, When He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. Can we mistake such language as this? Do we not offer violence to our own good judgment when we deny the second coming of the Messiah? When has He partaken of the fruit of the vine new with His ancient Apostles in His Father's kingdom, as He promised He would just before he was crucified? In Paul's epistle to the Philippians (3:20, 21) he says: "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself." We find another promise to individuals living in the church at Sardis who had not defiled their garments: "And they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before His angels." (see this site for an on-line version of Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith)

Like I said, we are all literally children of God. But to be reborn ... to become a true disciple of Christ means that we must do as Christ did. Search out all of Neal A. Maxwell's talks on discipleship and read those over and over again. You'll begin to get the notion of what it means to become a son of God like The Son of God. It takes the teaching of "I'm trying to be like Jesus" to a whole new level. And when you read Moroni 7:26 & 48 as well as 1 John 3:1-2 they take on a higher meaning.

I believe anyone who sincerely follows the path of discipleship can receive the second comforter and when he or she see Christ, he or she shall be like Him. I believe it can happen in this life or the next or at Judgement day. We each of different timelines according to the Lord, but I believe it can happen.

I hope I explained this notion better.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On Facial Hair

So during the Thanksgiving holiday, the topic of facial hair was brought up. Since I wear a beard ... goatee ... or whatever it is called, I have a hot opinion on the subject. Somewhere in my lifetime, I heard a quote from a general authority that essentially said if Jesus were to come to earth today, he would be clean shaven and would wear a business suit. To which my reply to that is "shave Jesus." Let's shave him in all our paintings or at least let's paint him clean shaven and in a business suit ... white shirt, tie and all and let that painting replace our Dell Parson (?) painting.

Here are some prevous discussions on this subject that have gone around the Mormon blogosphere the last few years:

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

"Come to Zion"

Sometimes talks seem generic to me. It seems that I've read this topic a thousand times and now I have to hear it again. When I get in that mindset, I tend to glaze over the content instead of trying to get something from it. Elder Christofferson's talk is one of those for me. But I paused while I read the talk and tried to ask myself what he was trying to say ... to rephrase what he said. I think I got something out of it.

In descibing how we can "establish Zion in our homes, branches, wards, and stakes" he offered three things we must do. We must be unified, become holy, and care for the poor.


After reading and thinking about what he said regarding unity, it seems to me that we have to attain a higher conciousness in our social relationships to establish and keep that unity. First of all, we must overcome our contentions with others ... in our marriages, families and church groups. I think a lot of times we have to swallow our pride and seek the guidance of the Spirit to understand the will of the Lord. We ought to follow the guidance of our bishops and leaders and be willing to accept their decisions. Sometimes we have to get things "out in the open" and talk through problems that cause contention. Through a spirit of love and understanding we can work through problems and "overcome jarrings, contentions, envyings, and strifes" (D&C 101:6)

But unity does not stop there. Even tougher is "getting on the same page" and staying there. This requires tremendous effort and persistent work ... especially in marriage. We have to not only do our part of the work, but we must understand our spouse's part and be willing to help him or her. Again, this requires truly understanding one another's needs and making an effort to fulfill those needs. His example of the Modovan saints illustrates this point.


His comments on holiness seem to speak at the individual level. Each of us is responsible for saying our own prayers, reading our own scriptures and purifying ourselves. This can only be done by the individual. I think a large part of this is giving one's will to the Lord. As we become holy individually, we become a holy people.

Caring for the Poor

As we have just celebrated Thanksgiving, I am reminded of the true story of Thanksgiving. William Bradford and the pilgrims made a compact that they would all work together on the land and then share in their fruits. But some were lazy and did not produce as much. Some took more than they produced. Those who did produce begrudged those who did not work. The system failed. Bradford started from scratch and divided the land among the survivors. They were to each own their lot of land and be responsible for that lot. Whatever they grew, they could keep. They could also sell their excess in a market. This new system worked and the pilgrims had abundance ... indeed they had so much, they shared with the native Indians.

“For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.

“Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment” (D&C 104:17–18; see also D&C 56:16–17).

The Church has a good system today. Everyone pays ten percent of their income and we all contribute fast offerings. The Chuch is able to do much because individual members are willing to provide for themselves and are still able to have abundance with which they can impart to the Church.

Additonal reading:
D. Todd Christofferson, “Come to Zion,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 37–40