Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
I think Rev’s judgment on the idea is sound. It makes sense that those who keep their first estate earned the right to a test and a body and therefore earned the blessing of the resurrection (though we never actually “earn” anything, God always gives us more as Rev said, but you know what I mean). Joseph Smith hinted at this with the following statement: “When those have come into this world and received tabernacles, then died and again have risen and received glorified bodies, they will have an ascendancy over the spirits who have received no bodies, or kept not their first estate, like the devil. The punishment of the devil was that he should not have a habitation like men. The devil's retaliation is, he comes into this world, binds up men's bodies, and occupies them himself” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Six 1843–44, p.305)
Now for my other ideas regarding the universal blessing. First, all shall rise, yes, but not at the same time. As the Doctrine and Covenants teach, there will be various resurrections, depending on the righteousness of the person. There will be a resurrection of the just (D&C 76:64-65), and of the unjust (D&C 76:85). This section also mentions different types of resurrected bodies, verse 70 says that those who rise in the first resurrection will be they “whose bodies are celestial.” The section goes on to say that others will have terrestrial bodies (D&C 76:78).
I think the primary reason that everyone will resurrect is so that they can withstand the judgment of God. The scriptures indicate that we must have a resurrected body in order to stand in God’s presence. “And he suffereth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day” (2 Nephi 9:22); “ . . . He shall rise from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works” (Alma 33:22); “And he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead, whereby man must be raised to stand before his judgment-seat” (Mormon 7:6). Lehi also teaches, (and Jacob may have snagged his idea for 2 Ne. 9:22 from this), that “no flesh can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead . . . wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him” (2 Ne. 8,10).
It is my opinion that we need resurrected bodies to bear the presence of the Father, in order to receive our reward, or our punishment. The resurrection is a glorious gift for all, for it prevents people from becoming “angels to a devil,” but it will not be a happy day for those who did not live righteously and faithfully while here on the earth (2 Ne. 9:9). When Alma even considered the thought of being in the presence of God his soul was racked with “inexpressible horror” and he wished he could “be banished and become extinct both soul and body that [he] might not be brought to stand in the presence of [his] God, to be judged of [his] deeds” (Alma 36:14-15). This desire to become extinct may be the result for the resurrected unjust.
While there is reason to believe that we can see God in the flesh, as many scriptures describe (Moses 5:10, 2 Ne. 9:4, Job 19:26), I think all of those scriptures are describing our state after the resurrection, supporting my claim that we need a resurrected body to bear His presence. The scripture that best supports this idea comes from Moses, chapter 1, verse 11.
“But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him” (Moses 1:11).
I believe that any person that has ever had a vision of the Father saw Him through their spiritual eyes (which may be why we call Joseph Smith’s experience the “First Vision” instead of “First Encounter” or something . . . first encounter sounds way too science fictiony anyway). That is one of the reasons that all, including the wicked, need a resurrected body.
Happy, as always, to hear your thoughts.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
In light of the spring season, I thought I'd post about the Resurrection. I'll share my take on couple of issues and as always, would love to hear your thoughts. I want to ask about the difference in sacrament prayers, as well as why the Resurrection is a universal gift, or if it is a gift for everyone.
First, the difference in sacrament prayers.
Blessing on the Bread
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen. (D&C 20:77)
Blessing on the WaterO God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen. (D&C 20:79)
Why does the blessing on the bread contain two conditions for the ultimate blessing (to have his spirit with us) that the water does not have? I don't know the answer to that, but would love to hear your thoughts. I want to focus my comments on the word “always.” I believe it comes from the universality of the Resurrection. It is for all people, therefore the spirit of the Resurrection should always be with us, whereas the spirit of the Atonement may come and go as we sin and repent. When I scraped my hand the other day on the corner of a cupboard, it bled a little. Now, however, the wound is healing quickly. I think this is evidence of the power of the Resurrection. My bones have found their way back together after a break, the muscles around my hip have formed around the bone on their own after a dislocation. These miracles happen every day, and while there are anatomic explanations for why they happen, I believe it is the body’s obedience to the Redeemer. He did redeem the body, and the spirit of that Resurrection can always be with us. I think our bodies heal themselves, and that the word "always" is in the prayer on the bread, because of the absolute universality of the Resurrection.
Thoughts on this, or other aspects of the blessing on the bread? I'll post my other resurrection thought in a couple of days.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Sunday, November 30, 2008
It seems that whether we lift up the poor by our own free will, or whether it is mandated by the Church, or whether it is mandated by the government—it needs to happen. I hear people say that they would give more if they were taxed less. Perhaps, but that doesn’t seem to be our inclination as a collective group, at least in my personal experience. I’d rather my taxes go to the welfare system and help people by mandate, than me keep more and maybe give an additional $10 to fast offerings every month. I think our unity and our holiness (the other two pillars discussed by Elder Christofferson), are getting better and better as a church. It’s the third pillar, that of “caring for the poor” where I feel we are falling further and further behind. I saw it personally in my inner-city mission; perhaps that is why I feel so strongly on the subject.