Saturday, July 25, 2009

Why I blog

My next blog, the one coming after this one, is once again spurred through someone else which is why I wanted to write this one first. I want to be sure and explain that I feel my blogs are more for me then for other people. In Kindra's words (I got in a little trouble not giving her credit for the whole 'Sunday Night dinner discussion' reference that was her idea) this is really killing three birds with one stone: studying the scriptures, keeping at least a journal of somekind, and keeping in touch with family (three things I kind of suck at). So in other words I write these things down for me, but the fact that I know other people are going to read this and comment on it provides the motivation for me to do it, if that makes sense.

It is kind of like stumbling across a topic that interests you, doing some research and writing a talk about it that you could give in church, for example, except that you don't technically have an assignment to give a talk in church, yet. This is something that we used to do on the mission, writing talks on a subject rather than just studying the subject. This is a great way to approach the study of any topic, religious or not. For me if it wasn't in blog form, as it wasn't on my mission, it would just end up in an outline and never be really fully developed. Puting it out in cyberspace helps provide me that 'push' (decent movie but also not fully developed) that I need in order really put something together that makes sense. I need that or else most things end up like the state of our baseboards in our house, I have all of the materials and have done a lot of work but the old ones are still in the living room and there aren't any in the kitchen or bedrooms, but boy does the pantry look good...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lingering from Kris Kave

The only reason I started this blog is because all of my comments on other people's blogs grew a little too large so making my own blog became a better avenue. I may or may not ever actually just blog my own original content that isn't spurred from someone else's blog. We'll just have to see.

To read the post that spurred this blog go here.

First off Kris, I just want to say thank you for posting your blog even though you mentioned it was a topic that you do not like to write or talk about. I can tell from the comments so far that others feel the same way. It kind of reminds of all of the ‘discussions’ we would have as a family during and after Sunday dinner. I admit I wasn’t sure how to comment on this one (I initially read it before anyone else made any comments and I know you enjoy comments). I have to give credit to the other commenters because theirs is what sent me into deeper thought that has been very enlightening. If you would so indulge me I would like to share what came to my mind and also where this blog has taken me, it has been a bit of an adventure.

I first thought about a ward mission leader I had on my mission named Bro. Smith (name changed for privacy). I came to love Bro. Smith because of some of the struggles that I was going through at the time and some that I saw him go through as well. Bro. Smith was a convert to the church of a few years but different from most. I am not sure why, I believe that it had to do with his military career but all he would ever say about it was ‘Special Ops’ and that was the end of the discussion, but he needed to get First Presidency permission to get baptized. Not only did he need First Presidency permission but he was actually denied permission for about 3 years. He was active the whole time and even taught Sunday School before he was even a member (His story is very compelling and if you would like to hear more I would love to tell you more sometime). Bro. Smith died very suddenly while I was still in the area and was able to attend his funeral, many missionaries received permission to attend as well. While talking with many of his friends one clearly said that repentance is like ‘undoing shackles that have been weighing us down’ but most of us throw the shackles over our shoulder and keep on down the path of life. Bro. Smith on the other hand undid the shackles, dropped them on the ground, and walked on with no further hindrance. In a sense, he did not let them ‘linger’. I never forgot that.

That was what first came to my mind, next I turned to the scriptures and flipped open to one of my favorite books Enos. I think that Enos was either repenting for the first time or dwelling on some ‘lingerers’ when he sought forgiveness. As he prayed in that forest he received this answer from Enos 1:5-6: “And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed. And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.” I think that the holes in the board can be taken away just as Enos guilt was swept away. I then turned to the account of Alma the Younger. You all know the story of what a hellion Alma was and the trouble he caused. The scriptures almost come to the point of calling him a servant of Satan though not actually quite that far. Then the Angel comes and he is ‘struck down’. When he comes around he says this in Mosiah 27:29:
“My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God.” I got that sense from some of the words that you used Kris, Alma continues “My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more.”

He later recounted this experience to his son and in that account explained even more in Alma 36:18-19:
“…O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death. And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.”

This is where I turn to the other comments that have been left. I do think that we can have memories of our sins to help us keep from committing them again but I believe that they can be, just as Alma did in recounting them with his son, but I also feel that these memories can eventually cause us no more pain or guilt. I do believe that it is within the realm of the Infinite Atonement to cause us to completely forget them as well, if there is no need for us to use them as teaching principles. Any pain that our sins can bring to us or even the memory can most definitely be replaced with profound joy. Alma had some great experiences with that as well but I will let you go and read those in Alma 36: 24-26.

In regards to the holes in the board being the impression left on the others affected by our sins I do not have any direct scriptural references because those are mostly written from the perspective of the sinner and not from the perspective of any victims left in their wake. I do know though that the Atonement applies to them just as much as the sinner. Their memory of the sins can be swept away through the Atonement. I think that this actually needs to happen in order for them to truly forgive those that trespassed them.

I imagine that there were many who held grudges towards Alma for the damage he caused in seeking to destroy the church. I can see parents whose children, wives whose husbands and vice versa who fell away from the truth because of Alma’s enticing. We do not know much of those accounts but we do know that he went on to become head of the church and did all he could to make recompense for his actions. I would be willing to bet that many of those people wronged were able to forgive him and remember his sins no more.

I am not totally sure why but Mom has been on my mind while thinking about all of this. I know that Mom is not quite the same as she was before some ways good and other well, just different. But one thing that Mom is now is Super Spiritual in an almost child-like way. Normally I would say the cause is that Mom is really more child-like after her brain surgery except that, I am not sure if Dad shared this with everyone, but he said while reading a book with Mom, before the surgery, that it was her greatest desire to live a more Christ-like life. And pretty much now, Mom is an example to all of us of desiring to serve, reading the scriptures, daily prayer, attending the temple, listening to conference talks pretty much all of the time, and has much renewed/stronger love for her children and desires nothing more than their happiness. While that may be annoying to some, and tend to get a little ‘old’ at times, I think it is quite inspiring and Kindra and I have been trying to do better, in part, because of her example. As difficult as the surgery was for Mom, I am thinking that she has been greatly blessed with this new ‘fire’ of righteousness.

I guess the reason why I have been thinking of her is that it is almost as if Mom has no memory of the past except for the good things. She is truly focused on the now and the eternal. And this is just one way I think we can look to her as an example.