Saturday, October 22, 2011

All You Need is Love

While refrencing a piece pusblished by Jonathan Sacks in his latest General Conference address, President Monson quoted the famous Beatle refrain "All you need is love." President Monson stood in agreement with Rabbi Sacks that this cultural ideology eventually led to the near-destruction of the public's morality. I however have recently thought about this idea in fairly different terms, and I feel that the concept of "all you need is love" is an essential gospel truth and an eternal commandment of utmost importance.

For a brief portion of the Savior's earthly ministry, the holy and learned of the ancient  Jewish church often sought to trap the Savior in His words by asking tricky questions that would require potentially condemnable answers. Jesus was never fooled, and being the master teacher confounded these men by teaching powerful and undeniable gospel truths. Here is the text of one such encounter from Matthew 22:
34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.
35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
I testify that all we truly need is love. As the Savior taught, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15). In this sense we're abandoning the world's (and John Lennon's) meaning of the word love. Love to God means obedience. If we love Heavenly Father we will do as He has commanded. If we love Jesus Christ, we will utitilze and apply His sacrifice in our life. And if we love not only Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ but also our fellow man, then we will treat everyone in a Christlike manner showing love to all by being kind and compassionate, charitable and helpful. Everything the Father and Son have ever asked of us hinges upon our love for God and man.


As the great prophet Moroni taught, charity is the "pure love of Christ." We know that the Savior has a perfect love for every man, woman and child. His love is absolute, unconditional and entirely unadulterated. We are commanded to have this same love for everyone as well. In his discourse on this love, Moroni continues:
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all...
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God...
We should all follow Moroni's counsel and pray to Heavenly Father to be filled with this love so that we are fully committed to keeping all of His commandments. It is apparent that to gain favor in God's eyes and to keep us on the gospel path, truly, "all you need is love."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Heaven's Gift Card

Being away from my family and living on a limited budget, my family occasionally sends me things to make life a little easier and more enjoyable. One favorite that they have sent to me is a McDonald's Gift Card! Getting that beautiful card loaded with some "Arch Dollars" is a joy akin to my Packers winning the Super Bowl, or a snowy Christmas morning spending time with my amazing family, enabling me to enjoy a savory Big Mac or some delicious french fries without having to pay for it.

Many of you have been thoughtful in "gifting" a gift card of one sort or another to friends or family. You paid the price for them to enjoy a meal or other purchase. How nice is that? You're giving someone you love something completely free of charge! So how bad would you feel if you pay the price for this gift card, and the recipient never uses it? You may feel hurt, or disrespected, or like this person didn't really value or care for what you had to offer them.

This is in essence what the Savior has done for each of us. He has literally paid the price of our sins. He has given this gift card with simple steps to redeem or use it. All we have to do is have faith, repent, be baptized and follow the guidance of the Spirit as we endure to the end. Jesus Christ has given us salvation pre-loaded onto a gift card. He sacrificed body and spirit so that none of us would ever have to!

Christ taking on the pains of the world in Gethsemane.

Christ dying for our sins on the cross.

Christ's ressurection overvoming physical death.

How do you think the Savior of mankind feels when we turn our backs on, or do not use this gift that He has given to us? We can show our love, gratitude and appreciation for Jesus Christ and His sacrifice by redeeming this every day in our lives.  However, if I choose to eat at McDonalds and not use a gift card, I must pay for it myself out of my own pocket.
For the believing Christians of the world, the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the central, and single most important event in human history. It is deep and complex, and at times impossibly difficult to understand. Many analogies have been provided over the years so that we can better understand and apply the miraculous gift of the Atonement for man. I proffered yet another, that hopefully will allow someone to better understand the nature of the Atonement and it's application in our lives.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I Will Shew Thee My Faith By My Works

With the great deal of recent news concerning the LDS Church and it's members, our doctrines and beliefs have been subject to scrutiny and condemnation by other professed Christians. A recurring theme has been the idea that Mormons are not Christians; this because of our lack of belief in a Trinitarian Godhead and our supposed lack of reliance on the Savior's mercy and grace.

"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." John 15:19

While I am not aiming for the love and acceptance of the world, I do not want these false claims deterring others from discovering the truth. Instead of adding my voice to the many that have declared that "Mormons are indeed Christians!" I've decided that following the scriptural counsel given in James 2:18 is the most honest and sincere path towards acceptance. "I will shew thee my faith by my works."

I believe a Christian is one who believes in and follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. Regarding my beliefs of the Son of God, I believe that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior and Redeemer. I believe that he has paid the price for my sins. I believe that his name is the only name given under heaven whereby man can achieve salvation. I believe that it will only be through walking with Him hand in hand that I will be able to return to live in Heaven.

However, words will not satisfy those who claim we are not Christians, so I will demonstrate that I am a Christian in the way I live my life. I will show all my faith by my works. I am a disciple, a follower of Jesus Christ. I will live his teachings as best as I can by showing love to God, and love to all mankind through my actions. And hopefully, my works will prove my faith in Jesus Christ.