Archive for the ‘God’ Tag

A Conversation That Could Be Happening Now

Reading: Alma 30

Today I read the story of Korihor, and was amazed and how similar the tenets of Korihor’s preaching are to what is taught today. Korihor was raised in the church of his time yet taught that there was no God. In the latter part of the chapter Alma refutes each of Korhior’s tenets. The following sums up the argument:

Korihor’s Point: There is no God and there is no Christ.

Alma’s Counterpoint: I know there is a God and I know there is a Christ through my personal testimony, and by looking around me at the world God has created. You have no evidence that there is no God.

Korihor’s Point: The Nephites are in bondage to the teachings of the church.

Alma’s Counterpoint: The people are free to believe whatever they wish, nothing is forced on them. This is why you are able to preach what you are preaching!

Korihor’s Point: You are teaching the people false things so that you can get their money to support you.

Alma’s Counterpoint: I (as leader of the church at the time) have labored my whole life to support myself, even though I have taken a great deal of time away from my own work to travel and preach for the church. You know this, and so does everybody else.

Korihor’s Point: If God is real, show me a sign.

Alma’s Counterpoint: God has given many signs, and they are written of in the scriptures, yet you do not believe any of them.

Korihor’s Point: If God is real, show me a sign.

Alma’s Counterpoint: If God is going to show you a sign, he is not going to afflict anyone else just to make you believe, it is going to be a sign on you. This isn’t something you want to do, trust me.

Korihor’s Point: Show me a sign.

Alma’s Counterpoint: You are struck dumb in the name of God.

Korihor’s Point: ! (In writing): I knew that there was a God but the devil came and told me to say these things and I said them because they were pleasing to hear.

It seems to me that many people today insist that the church is out to enslave its members in order to get rich off of them, yet it is plain to see that no one is getting rich from tithing money. Many people insist that believing in God is silly, yet they have no real evidence that God does not exist, just their own beliefs. Many people insist that if God is real he should show himself, yet God has showed himself many times and it has not made a difference because they will just dismiss it as a trick or a natural occurrence. Unlike Korihor, though, many have been taught these things from a young age and truly believe them because they don’t know anything else.

Today I am going to watch for Korihor-like beliefs as I go through my day and watch for the consequences that come from such beliefs.

What other similarities can you see between Korihor’s preaching, and things people believe today? Why do people so readily believe such things?

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In the Presence of God

Reading: 2 Nephi 2:10

One thing that is implicit in many doctrines is that one day we will be judged according to how we have lived our lives on Earth.  However, we don’t often talk about what that judgement will be like.  In 2 Nephi 2:10 we learn one thing about what that judgement will be.  It says:

And because of the intercession for all, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him.

This states that when we are judged we will be in the presence of God to be judged by him, personally.  It also says this is possible through the Atonement.

This knowledge is both frightening and comforting.  One the one hand, it is kind of scary to think of all of my sins and imperfections being laid bear before God while I am in his presence.  On the other hand, it does seem better than an impersonal judgement made from far away.  It does give me a little bit more motivation to work on repenting and improving myself.

This week we have had a lot going on in the evenings, so I’ve been staying up late and as a result my evening prayer and scripture study have suffered.  Tonight, even though it is Friday and I’ll probably be up late again, I’m going to make sure I put my full effort into my evening prayer and scripture study.

What do you think it will be like to be in the presence of God again?

God is Never Changing

Reading: 2 Nephi 2:3, D&C 20:17, Moroni 8:18, Mormon 9:19

“The Spirit is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” This small phrase is the focus of my whole post.

God never changes.  This is a valuable piece of information, because if God were to change then we could not have faith in his love and guardianship over us.  After all, if you think God could just go and change his mind about this whole earth thing, you would have no reason to follow him. In D&C 20:17 it says:

By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them

This also means that the core principles of the gospel never change.  The practices of the church change all the time, because it is the job of the church to run in a way that will best benefit its people, who are changing all the time.  But, the principles of the gospel such as faith, repentance, justice, and mercy will never change.

I am changing all the time, and with me changes my knowledge and application of God’s teachings.  God, however, doesn’t change and as such provides a rock hard foundation for my growth.  It is reassuring to know that although I am very imperfect and often get things wrong, God will always be right and will always be ready to lead me to a better way if I am willing to follow.

Today as I read my scriptures I am going to look for instances where a knowledge of God’s unchanging nature is important, either to the people in the story I am reading, or in my own understanding of that story.

What does it mean to you to know that God never changes?  Would you have a different attitude about some things if you believed otherwise?

A Constant Witness of God

Reading: 1 Nephi Chapter 1, Lectures on Faith Section 3:2-5

As part of my reading of the general conference adresses I made the commitment to make more effort at reading the Book of Mormon.  So, today I am going to start a review of the Book of Mormon.  I may not write about it every day, because it is a little more time consuming to read and write about a chapter of scripture than it is a talk that is geared to only a single topic.  But, I’m willing to try and see how it goes.

When I took a class on the Book of Mormon in college I had a teacher who emphasized to us that the Book of Mormon is “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.”  The reason this is important can be found in the Lectures on Faith, a document from early in the church that was used to instruct priesthood leaders and was printed with the Doctrine and Covenants for some time.  It was removed because the document is not a direct revelation from God, but rather a compilation of knowledge, so they felt it did not fit.  However, it is a great instruction on faith.  Anyway, the quote I am referring to is:

Let us here observe, that three things are necessary, in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation.

First, The idea that he actually exists.

Secondly, A correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes.

Thirdly, An actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing, is according to his will.

The idea here is that in order for us to have sufficient faith in God, we must have a correct idea of what he is like.  So, by testifying constantly about what God and the Savior are like, the Book of Mormon is fulfilling a vital role in our individual salvation.

Because of this being hammered into my head in my Book of Mormon class I often find myself picking out charateristics of God as I read the Book of Mormon.  And, that is what I kept coming back to today.

In the first chapter alone we learn the following things about the character of God:

  • God is good and favors those who follow him (verse 1)
  • God hears and answers prayers (verse 6)
  • God has a body (verse 8)
  • The Savior also has a body and is separate from God (verse 9)
  • God is all powerful (verse 14)
  • God is good and merciful (verse 14)
  • God will save those who come to him (verse 14)
  • God shares knowledge (verse 18)
  • “The tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chose, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.” (verse 20)

When I think of God as being merciful, loving, and powerful, my faith is stronger.  I feel safer and I am easier to trust in God.  When I get false ideas of God stuck into my head (usually without really realizing it), like that he must be angry with me, or that he doesn’t care about me, then I have a much harder time with faith.

Today I am going to try and look at the picture of the Savior on our wall throughout the day and think about what we know about Him through the scriptures.

What characteristics of God help you trust him better?