Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Blog for the Sabbath: Calculated to Exalt

President Lorenzo Snow
Which came first...the chicken or the faith? I ask this tongue in cheek. Today's third hour lesson comes from Teachings of the Prophets: Lorenzo Snow: Learning by Faith. I'm assuming this means that a type of learning, secular or otherwise, comes by faith, that is, using faith to learn. Or is it learning about those matters that are strictly spiritual? To the saints President Snow explains:
"In this system of religion that you and I have received there is something grand and glorious...The whole idea of Mormonism is improvement—mentally, physically, morally and spiritually. No half-way education suffices for the Latter-day Saint."
On the books, yes. Those are the rules of the road. Gather as much knowledge as one can.
"It is profitable to live long upon the earth and to gain the experience and knowledge incident thereto: for the Lord has told us that whatever intelligence we attain to in this life will rise with us in the resurrection, and the more knowledge and intelligence a person gains in this life the greater advantage he will have in the world to come [see D&C 130:18–19]."

I like Star Wars. How will this help me out spiritually? Well...I approach the movies with more than the googly-eyed gawking I gave it in 1983 when I was eighteen and watching Return of the Jedi. In 1995 during my collegiate days I embraced a more humanities-based philosophy to the world with the teachings of Joseph Campbell. He used the journey of Luke Skywalker as a modern template of the common theme he saw running throughout human literature and art: The Heroes Journey. Since then I see the journey of the classic heroes journey embedded in our lives, across all cultures throughout human history. With this I now better understand, in a gospel perspective, and appreciate more why we're here on Earth and how we ALL collectively rise or fall in the pattern of this journey. I'm more tolerant of other cultures and faiths because I see that we all share the same pattern of pursuits for happiness and to understand the meaning to life.
"There are some who do not learn, and who do not improve as fast as they might, because their eyes and their hearts are not upon God; they do not reflect, neither do they have that knowledge which they might have; they miss a good deal which they might receive. We have got to obtain knowledge before we obtain permanent happiness; we have got to be wide awake in the things of God."
I am completely down with stimulating the mind, embracing intellectual pursuits. I this moment, tearing these thoughts out of my head and mashing them into some sort of coherent but meaningful message is exciting. I'm up for the challenge. But to what end am I chasing? Helping others, a godly pursuit, or am I just typing to hear myself think?
"Though we may now neglect to improve our time, to brighten up our intellectual faculties, we shall be obliged to improve them sometime. We have got so much ground to walk over, and if we fail to travel to-day, we shall have so much more to travel to-morrow."
There's a thought. You can take this notion of intellectual travel and apply it not just to the brain but to our bodies, locomotion wise, as we must be engaged physically in the world. What you don't cover in any regard one day means those pursuits simply pile up and wait for our efforts the next day. We have to get somewhere, right, so let's get busy...
"…We think, perhaps, that it is not necessary to exert ourselves to find out what God requires at our hands; or in other words, to search out the principles which God has revealed, upon which we can receive very important blessings. There are revealed, plainly and clearly, principles which are calculated to exalt the Latter-day Saints and preserve them from much trouble and vexation, yet, through lack of perseverance on our part to learn and conform to them, we fail to receive the blessings that are connected with obedience to them."
Seattle Temple
Calculated to exalt... I can't help thinking on the temple, wherein my wife and I attended yesterday. Everything within those sacred walls  is for our exaltation, and it profits us none if we do not strive to comprehend the instruction given to us. Doing something and never comprehending reflects a failure on our part. We don't want any instruction to wash over us and not soak in. Even Adam, who gave sacrifice on an altar, not knowing why, did so obediently but prayed and meditated to know why. When he was told that it was a similitude of the sacrifice Christ would perform, Adam gave this instruction to his children. We are commanded by the Lord to do the same in D&C 93: 

The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. Light and truth forsake that evil one. ...I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.

How do we gain the ability to grasp meaning of the ordinances in the temple? With the same habits that enabled us to walk inside the temple: we studied at church during repeated attendance at sacrament, Sunday school and priesthood/ Relief Society meetings and lived a life worthy to labor inside. Our goal is to enter the temple and to obtain the ordinances therein. These ordinances are the most sacred of instruction but they can only be appreciated by returning for more knowledge. Still, this pursuit of knowledge is only academic if we fail to go for godly pursuits: redeeming the dead, teaching our children to prepare for the temple, bearing our testimonies to our home/visiting families of its soul saving importance. To grasp spiritual knowledge we must be in tune with the Holy Ghost to receive that gospel knowledge. Therein the temple is our ultimate pursuit as Latter-Day Saints. Doing so takes tremendous effort; it requires endurance.

Enduring to the end is about perseverance. Making scripture study, prayer, and church attendance a daily regiment in our lives, takes perseverance. And so, this means hacking away at our ignorance until the pursuit of knowledge is as common a routine in our lives as taking a breath of air. Whatever we embrace in life must ultimately aid us in our pursuit of temple attendance. No distractions, please.

1 comment:

  1. I love this piece Robert... the truth of its lines captivated me... after all, if we fail to travel today, we will have so much journey to make tomorrow... thanks for sharing this...