Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tribulation Before Redemption

It is an unofficial LDS Tradition that the end-of-the-year lessons in our various Sunday School manuals and curriculum focus on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the signs of the times, and the Millennium. 

A thought I had on this is why tribulation must preceed redemption. Why did God have to curse Egypt before leading Israel out?  I think one reason is because, God wanted Israel to leave Egypt and the World behind and not just inherit it and continue the same corrupt traditions, beliefs and practices.  

The various curses in the plagues served to weaken Israel's faith in the World, and strengthen Israel's faith in God.  We all live in the World and are likely all guilty of much worldliness and materialism in one way or another.  I suspect that the Tribulation period in the last days will serve a similar function to reveal the weakness and unreliability of the World and unveil the eternal constancy of God and His gospel and Kingdom. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Peaceful Christmas Stable

I imagine that Joseph may have felt somewhat frustrated with himself not being able to secure a comfortable room for Mary in one of the inn's in Bethlehem.  (or living area in the upper areas of a house).  Joseph must have been earnestly praying to find a warm and safe place for his wife to labor and give birth to the Savior.  But in the end, the lowly stable and manger proved to be the perfect spot that allowed a peaceful and quiet location for the Savior Jesus Christ to be born, for the nativity star to shine down upon, and for the shepherds to reverently visit and worship. 

As we approach this Christmas season and all the seemingly endless Christmas parties, and gift buying; the Lord invites us to seek the peace and quiet of the humble stable as opposed to the ruckus of the noisy inn. He invites us to try and avoid the worldly stress, clutter and noise of the overly-commercialized holiday and instead reverently reflect, ponder, and pray about the true meaning of Christmas and quietly look to serve others.

I am the proud father of 6 children. The youngest is only 6 months old.  Like Mary did to the infant Jesus, we swaddle our young babies while they sleep.  Young infants can't control their arms and will routinely startle and wake and otherwise disturb themselves.  God is our Heavenly Father and we are in comparison to Him, spiritual infants, who have not yet learned to master and control our bodies.  Like tightly swaddling an infant, mankind requires strict commandments lest our infantile reflexes and natural appetites similarly startle and disturb our peace, safety and development.

Agency, Atonement, and Parenting

Jesus Christ respects the agency of all mankind. That is why Christ came to save us from our sins and not in our sins. Christ wants His followers to be agents to act and not just be acted upon.  There is no true faith in Jesus Christ without repentance and the continual, life-long process of sanctification (Sancts = Saints).

What is agency?  Agency is not just "doing whatever you want".  If we had no knowledge of God, if we had no prophets and no scriptures, we would have no choices. We are not free unless we are enticed by both sides.  That is why Lehi in the Book of Mormon desired to bring the Brass Plates with him to America. Without the commandments of God, all we could do is be ruled by our appetites and fears.  Since the fall of Adam our default setting is the natural man and social Darwinism (eat or be eaten/survival of the fittest/be enslaved and not realize it).

Without a knowledge and the influence of God we would have no alternative, we would have no hope, we would have no choice. (Discussed in the movie "the Matrix" on why the "Oracle" was created). Commandments give us choice.  Commandment make us free.  That is why the first thing God did for Israel after freeing them from Egypt was give them commandments to establish and preserve their freedom.  

A great Scout leader empowers (EDGE Method) Boy Scouts to be self-reliant and learn outdoor and life skills for themselves and not be pathologically dependent on their leaders.  These principles are also the basis of the "Come Follow Me" curriculum. 

Great parents likewise respect the agency of their childen.  Some parents take their children's weaknesses personally. Some parents worry too much how their children's mistakes will make them look to the world.  Consequently, self-absorbed parents become emotionally unavailable when dealing with their children's adversity, mistakes, weaknesses, and struggles.  On the other hand,  "helicopter-parents" go to the other extreme by making all the important decisions for their children fearing lest they make any mistakes.  These parents can only deal with their children's successes so they 1. overly criticize failures, 2. ignore failures 3. or prevent failures by micromanaging. 

Neither parenting extreme respects our children's agency to learn to repent, improve, progress and become self-reliant.  Our children should feel like they can come to us with their struggles, mistakes and weaknesses and we will  receive them, love them, and accept them.  Our children should feel that we will help them as Christ does to overcome those weaknesses and struggles. Christ doesn't just accept us without wanting to empower us to be better, repent, improve and progress.

Agency is not "doing whatever we want". Agency is being empowered to choose the right through a knowledge of God and His commandments and a hope in the Atonement of Christ. Only because of God and Christ can we be hungry but choose to fast, be offended and angry but choose to forgive, and be fearful but step courageously forward.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Chinese Cloning Facility

As I have explained in previous posts, part of the reasoning behind same-gender marriage is to roll out advanced genetic and cloning technologies.  Notice how this Yahoo article reporting on the Chinese cloning facility discusses the ability to have children that are 100% mom or dad.  This kind of technology will disrupt Hardy-Weinburg genetic equilibrium producing greater phenotypic diversity, but less genotypic diversity.

It is the right of every child to be raised and nurtured by both a mother and a father, but on a more fundamental level, every human deserves a genetic inheritance from both a male and female. This is what sets marriage apart from a civil union. This is really the only thing that sets civil union and marriage apart from one another.

These sorts of genetic manipulations and abominations were the sin of the anti-diluvians. Science tells us that humans mixed with Neandertal.  The Bible hints that humans mistakenly thought they could enslave the hybrid offspring.  Had God not sent the flood, humans would have been exterminated and become extinct.

If we begin accepting and implementing this genetic and cloning  technologies in the production of so-called "designer babies", we will be genetically weakening and enslaving our posterity; worlds without end.  If we allow our national sovereignty to be stripped away by international treaties and governance we could see the day when this technology becomes mandatory.