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.


  1. Wow Vaughn, well said. I must say that you have opened an even deeper train of thought for me. This brought to my memory the lesson we just had a little while ago in RS on forgiveness and we talked about some of the horrendous things that happened to Joseph Smith and the forgiveness that he gave. I made a comment about how if we as "victims" who have somehow been wronged do not apply the atonement in our lives and truly seek it's healing power then it is like we are spitting in the face of Christ and telling him that his suffering and sacrifice were not enough. Alma 7:12 reads, "and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels will be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." He suffered not only for the sinner but the "victim" as well so that he would know how to help us heal from our infirmities. He wants peace for everyone, not just the sinner but those who have been wronged as well, if we will just put our faith in the healing power of the atonement. So I must say that now I am back to agreeing with Dad that the parable of the nails and the board is incorrect if we apply the atonement to it's full capacity then there should be no scars for either party. I also love what you said about mom. I think we could all use a little of that fire within us, getting back to basics, a shift in our priorities to help us remember the things that are truly important. I love our mother! She was one of the most spiritual people I knew prior to her surgery and now it's like she really wants everyone to know and understand the urgency of living the gospel. I love our family and I love our Savior!

  2. Upon the cross the Savior said " forgive them Father, for they know not what they do." The Savior forgave not only all of us for our sins and made it possible for us to repent, but He specifically forgave those who had crucified Him. Yet despite this forgiveness His hands, side, and feet carry the scars of the acts committed against Him. I personally find this interesting... anyway, great first post for your blog Vaughn! Way to join the club!

  3. I think the Savior carries the scars so that WE will remember the atonement and as has been discussed sometimes we do retain memories of certain things maybe to help us not make the same mistakes again. But I do believe the Savior would want us to move forward not looking back and not allowing our mistakes to hamper our futures. Satan wants us to wallow in our misery not Christ.

  4. I love that we can still have our "Sunday night discussion" (Some might call it a debate) even though we live far away. I really like what you said Vaughn and I appreciate you sheding light on the subject. I personally realized that some memories of past mistakes are probably for teaching purposes or for the purpose of being able to be empathetic to other people and their mistakes that they make.

  5. Very well said and thought out, I love to hear your insight, it is like a Sunday night discussion, except you weren't interrupted once.

    However, I have to disagree with you on something BIG. Mom talks to me about the past almost everytime I am with her. This is why I have been so distraught with many things lately. Our mom doesn't think she was a good enough Mom. She is plagued by guilt of things she did or did not do. She questions me constantly am I upset over this or do you think she/he is still uspet about that?

    The only obvious answer is no. It kills me and quite frankly REALLY bothers me that ONE OF THE BEST PEOPLE I know whom I think is the best example of Christ, not only thinks she is not good enough {I can handle that part} but she is full of regret. I tell her she is not applying the Atonement.

    Dad tells me Nephi, who we all know was amazing was also plagued by this at times, just like Mom, and she really relates to him. I just feel and I know it is wrong, so you don't need to go on and on about it, but I feel that so much of the association with guilt and the church is wrong. It really bothers me that Mom struggles with guilt. This is just my personal opinion, but I think it often gets out of balance I know we need some guilt, but I do not want my kids growing up thinking that people who smoke or have tatoos are bad people. This is all in the same category to me.

    So go ahead jump down my throat, can me an apostate {because that's what I've been called this past week}, or better yet call me to repentance.

  6. Tara, first of all, I don't think that feeling guilty about past sins has anything to do with thinking people who smoke or have tattoos are bad, I don't think there is any correlation there. If anyone in the church thinks these things they are wrong, dead wrong.

    I'm not sure exactly why mom is struggling so much with guilt. She told me the other day that she feels bad that she was so worldly and I had to tell her that she was one of the most spiritual people I had ever known. It is necessary for us to experience some measure of remorse (guilt) in order for us to fully repent otherwise we are living with an eat, drink and be merry attitude. The Catholic church revolves around guilt that is why they wear the cross so that they will never forget what their sins did to Christ. As members of the church I believe we posess a much greater attitude of hope, peace, happiness. Perhaps there should be more guilt in the church and those people who are not living the gospel as they should (the ones who want everyone to think they are righteous but are not) would be driven to repent and therefore live more Christlike lives.

    I think a lot of what mom is going through is that she is feeling this urgency (Godly sorrow) to live righteously and make sure that she makes it to the celestial kingdon and she very desperately wants this for all of her children (and lets face it she has been closer to the other side than any of us) and she is looking at her children and thinking that it must be things she did or didn't do that caused this.

    As for Nephi, I think it is very human to experience these feelings and therefore he is very relatable to anyone who has suffered guilt or depression because lets face it life is hard. But these difficult things are what cause us to turn to our Savior in prayer, therefore humbling us and changing our hearts. We must be humble otherwise we become too puffed up in ourselves (full of pride) and that is when we start thinking we don't need God anymore, start sinning, and then falling away... I think you are judging the gospel by the people in the church collectively and not just judging the gospel based solely on its teachings. I remember when you went back to church with your nose ring and you thought everyone was going to look down on you but that isn't what happened. There are good people out there, living the gospel as it was meant to be lived. There are also bad members of the church who are full of pride and think they are the greatest but these are the people who will be in the great and spacious building pointing their fingers down on the righteous but that doesn't mean that we should leave the church because of them we need to keep holding the rod and plowing forward living Christlike lives.

    Tara, I love you!!! I hope you know that! You are a great example to me of thoughtfulness and true friendship. A better friend I've never known.

  7. oI don't know if I can post a comment, so here goes. Yes I do feel a great urgency. I struggle a great deal with the balance we need in our lives. I probably come on quite strong please forgive me. Kris thank you for your blog and the discussion it has spurred. I will be ever grateful for that. One thing is right I am trying my darnedest to be righteous. It is a constant and ongoing effort.(better word than struggle.)I feel badly that Tara has misunderstood my ranting. I love you all. MOM

  8. I have another blog coming soon. Still in research mode. I am starting to like this a lot...

  9. Okay, I have had this thought for several months... what is the difference betweeen looking at what people outside of the church are doing wrong and what people inside the church are doing wrong? I am getting a little tired of hearing the cliches about how bad some mormons are or how we may be shocked by how many of us aren't in the Celestial Kingdom. Does it matter who we judge? I understand your perspective but remember, God is no respecter of persons, but we all have to live up to what we have been given. And must accept the gospel of Jesus Christ.