Timeline of Life

It’s been a week of contemplation for me. You see two friends died this week, one young, one older, both from cancer, a thousand miles apart.  It was also the fourth anniversary of the death of a best friend. I have been thinking and pondering my life as I’ve thought about all of their lives.

I had this mental picture of life as a ongoing timeline.  We hop on when we are born, and others join us and leave as relationships wax and wane, and eventually you jump off the timeline when you pass away.   For my younger friend, we spent our time on the line in high school.  None of us know what life will bring or how we leave — of course she didn’t know that cancer would take her, when we were singing in choir and worrying about the problems of youth.  We don’t know that when we join the timeline of life.  That is the greatness of mortality though — we have people, opportunity, good, bad, all of it.  Isn’t life wonderful?

My thoughts also have turned to how I spend my time, and the things I worry about.  I see the madness we’re continually descending into as a society and I am tired of it.  It doesn’t matter what goes on in the news, or who is offended about what.  What matters is that we’re teaching our children the gospel, teaching them to keep the commandments, and preparing them to enter the temple.  Everything else will either work out, or not matter.  The night before I’d spent several hours at a City Council meeting listening to people quibbling over stupid, trivial things.  I didn’t want to be there, but I had to make a statement.  When I was done, I sat down and decided, I was going to remove myself from this local political issue.  I just can’t waste my time on stupid things that have no bearing on eternity.  I want to live my life better, and work on those things that matter most.

“And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:  But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” Acts 5: 38-39.

It was fitting that last night in our family Book of Mormon study we read Alma 32: 21, “And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.”

I asked my kids what do we hope for, what do we have faith in?  My 2 year old just shouted out, “Dee-zus! (Jesus!)”  Yes, we do.  We hope for Jesus and the resurrection he made possible for us, and all of the other promised blessing we have access to as we live the gospel, keep the commandments, and really deeply let our covenants surround us and protect us and remake us into what God wants us to be.

This is what I know, I hope for, and have faith in the resurrection, for my friends, and my self.  The Plan of Salvation is real, the gospel of Jesus Christ gives us hope in these things and helps us to make the right changes so that we work out to be with God.

All Lives Matter

DC 18.10 Worth of soulsOver the last few weeks I’ve sat on the sidelines watching the rhetoric escalate regarding the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Gardner at the hands of police. I just want to scream to everyone, “STOP IT!” It is Christmas, and the fighting back and forth is not helping anyone. That said, I’m not here to blame the men who died or the police – I don’t know enough about either situation to comment on blame, nor is this post about blame, or actually these very tragic situations.

Both of these situations, however, have prompted me to think a little deeper about life and the worth of the soul. In both cases protesters have chanted the phrase, “Black lives matter”, over and over again – to the point of being ridiculous.

The Lord has taught us, to “remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (see Doctrine & Covenants 18:10). Yes black lives do matter. But white, yellow, and red lives also matter. Every life matters to our Father in Heaven. And I have been particularly impressed with this thought as Christmas has approached.

All lives matter. All of them.

We know that all lives matter, because of the Plan of Salvation and the role that Jesus Christ played in that plan. The scriptures provide more insight into this. The book of Abraham tells us about the great council in heaven before the world was. We were there and the Lord knew us.

“Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good” (see Abraham 3: 22-23).

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Guest Post: The Church Got the Plan of Salvation Wrong

The following guest post comes from Tex Benson.

I have lived in the south-eastern United States my entire life including my mission which was in Houston Texas. God bless Texas. Currently I am in my fourth year of school studying Civil Engineering and Military Science (Army ROTC). At church I serve as the Stake Young Single Adult Representative, which I hate, and I teach Elders Quorum once a month(ish), which I love.

Ok, not the whole Church, just the Mission Department and the Church Education System. I wanted an edgy title.

I realized this while I was on my mission but wasn’t really sure how to address it and the reason I am ranting about it now is because I am ashamed of myself. Recently I attended a Young Single Adult fireside and honestly this one was quite good, however it hit on a pet peeve of mine. Towards the end the Bishop who was teaching asked for a volunteer to come up and draw the Plan of Salvation on the board with the rest of the group assisting them on what to put in. Before the young man drew the Pre-Earth Life I knew what would happen, but I let it go to see if someone said something. I had enough confidence in this bishop to think that if no one else pointed out the problem he would at the end. Sadly, my faith was in vain. The typical Sunday school Plan of Salvation was put on the board complete with Outer Darkness, the War in Heaven, and the Veil. The only time Christ was mentioned as part of the plan was when a woman said “put an A by the Earth for the Atonement”. Sadly she was shouted down by an argument about the Veil of Forgetfulness and her A was never drawn. I had a difficult decision to make, do I call out a Bishop and everyone else or do I stay silent? I chose to stay silent.

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