Monday, January 17, 2011

Minor heresies: Part 1.

I have a word or two to say on keeping the Sabbath Day Holy.  I will say them as they have been said before because - although it has been clearly delineated not only by God the Father, his Son, and their prophets both ancient and modern - I have heard minor heresy's taught in my own ward.

Minor.  I know they are minor.  And still, in the weeks since the lesson, I have heard women from my ward rattled with guilt and doubtings of their self worth because there is at least one practice that they were told from our RS pulpit that they cannot engage in on the Sabbath day. 

So, minor or not as doctrinal principals may go, I'm still going to quote a prophet on the subject:

"President Kimball taught how we might observe the Sabbath:
“The Sabbath is a day on which to take inventory—to analyze our weaknesses, to confess our sins to our associates and our Lord. It is a day on which to fast in ‘sackcloth and ashes.’ It is a day on which to read good books, a day to contemplate and ponder, … a day to study the scriptures and to prepare sermons, a day to nap and rest and relax, a day to visit the sick, a day to preach the gospel, a day to proselyte, a day to visit quietly with the family and get acquainted with our children, a day for proper courting, a day to do good, a day to drink at the fountain of knowledge and of instruction, a day to seek forgiveness of our sins, a day for the enrichment of our spirit and our soul, a day to restore us to our spiritual stature, a day to partake of the emblems of his sacrifice and atonement, a day to contemplate the glories of the gospel and of the eternal realms, a day to climb high on the upward path toward our Heavenly Father” (Teachings, 216)." - emphasis added.
* view entire WONDERFUL talk here

I highlighted the above section not because it is the MOST important thing to do on the Sabbath, nor can I make the argument that on every Sabbath a nap is the best use of our time.  I highlighted it because it is part of the council of one of our prophets that if we need a nap, if we need to rest: the Sabbath is a day given to us by God to do it.  It is a day of REST.  The God of the Universe rested on the seventh day, and decided it was a good idea to teach His children the same practice of self-care.  

I understand if some have been wronged by others taking a nap on the Sabbath, but that is not license to teach that naps are wrong, lazy, forbidden, lax, idle or sinful.  Especially when President Kimball made it clear that it's okay; even a good idea to actually rest on the day of rest. 

Obviously, this has bothered me for weeks.  It bothered me very much at the time, as well, but I am not called to be the RS teacher, so it was in no way my place to attempt setting-records-straight.  But this here:  this is MY blog.  And here I will make it plain that - to me - even minor heresies will not be tolerated.  Especially those that interfere directly with "Men are that they might have joy."  He didn't say, "Men are that they might be consumed with guilt." 

Speaking of which, I will quote my father in law:  "Guilt is a useless emotion."
I argued that point with him for quite a while, saying that if we didn't feel guilt we wouldn't want to change.  Well, that's not quite right.  By definition: "•Guilt is a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realises or believes--accurately or not--that they have violated a moral standard, and bear sole responsibility for that violation. It is closely related to the concept of remorse." 

But a person can function forever in guilt and never have desire to change.  In fact, I have been present to feeling SO guilty of a perceived or actual offense against person or deity that one feels they cannot change: that God wouldn't want them now anyway. 

Well, here is the doctrine on that topic:
"In order to be forgiven, we must first acknowledge within ourselves that we have sinned. If we are striving to live the gospel, such an acknowledgment will lead to “godly sorrow,” which “worketh repentance to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Godly sorrow does not come because of the natural consequences of sin or because of a fear of punishment; rather, it comes from the knowledge that we have, through our actions, displeased our Heavenly Father and our Savior. When we experience godly sorrow, we have a sincere desire for change and a willingness to submit to every requirement for forgiveness."  view entire entry from here

Did they saw we should wash ourselves in the salt scrub of guilt: rubbing it in until we are raw and bleeding?  No. I believe the term carefully chosen was "godly sorrow."

I know that "the wicked taketh the truth to be hard."  Doesn't that mean that the righteous would take the truth to be soft?  When our hearts or minds rebel against something that is portrayed as a truth we owe it to ourselves, our religion and our God to first assess our 'stats' (as it were) and then, if we find nothing truly out of order to search it out in the scriptures of our faith and find out whether we are hearing hard truth, or whether we are hearing a half-truth mingled with the philosophies of men. 

"If ye cannot understand, it is because ye ask not, neither do ye knock."  2 Ne. 32:4

In this vein: I have never heard God say "Ask and I shall shut you out of all knowledge because you can't handle the truth."  As I recall, it goes more like this: “ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”scripture here

Russell M. Nelson taught:
"Every Latter-day Saint may merit personal revelation. The invitation to ask, seek, and knock for divine direction exists because God lives and Jesus is the living Christ. It exists because this is His living Church. ... Revelation from God is always compatible with His eternal law. It never contradicts His doctrine. It is facilitated by proper reverence for Deity. To access information from heaven, one must first have a firm faith and a deep desire. One needs to “ask with a sincere heart [and] real intent, having faith in [Jesus] Christ." “Real intent” means that one really intends to follow the divine direction given.  The next requirement is to study the matter diligently. This concept was taught to leaders of this restored Church when they were first learning how to gain personal revelation. The Lord instructed them, “I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” just read the whole talk here!

I am not perfect. And I strive to progress beyond my current knowledge, current understanding and current level of compassion/love.  It is true that I do not know what other people do in their own homes or hearts.  I suppose it is quite prideful to assume that these other people are simply eating up the air-filled half-doctrines and then wondering why they aren't spiritually filled, and that I in my passion for truth have any responsibility to set the record straight.  I do not mean to offend.  If my assumption that some are in need of enlightenment offends: then I apologize.  But to those who are relieved to hear that they are not going to hell or will have the Spirit of the Lord completely cut off for napping on Sunday: have a good rest.  :)

Debunking of further minor heresies is sure to follow.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Word Machine

I finally beat my old highest score on the game that resides on my sidebar.

My last best round was 28, with a score in 59,000.

This morning:  made it to round 29 with a score of 73,237.

That felt nice......