Wednesday, January 13, 2016

November 16, 2015 My year mark, my soap box, and my train ride.

I would like to say a few words concerning the new policy the Church has put out.  First, I want to remind everyone that there is no change made in the Church of Jesus Christ without going to the man whose church this is.  Jesus Christ.  Always remember that.  These are my thoughts concerning the change. Baptism is not a small thing.  In order for someone to be baptized as a member of the Church and as a disciple of Jesus Christ, they make big promises.  

First, they promise that they will take the name of Christ upon them, which means they will stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places.  That in and of itself if huge, because we all fall short in this life.  Christ didn't, but we must try our very best to be like Him.  

Second, we promise that we will always remember him.  To remember what He did for us.  If we could even comprehend the smallest, most minuscule, microscopic morsel of the pain he experienced, we would probably go insane.  He experienced so much that it caused "God, the greatest of all, to bleed from every pore".  We can't even begin to comprehend what it must feel like to feel every stubbed toe and every paper cut, all the way to every man, woman, or child that has and ever will live on this earth that was brutally miss treated, tortured, and killed.  He felt every broken heart, every disappointment, every sorrow, every fever and sickness, everything.  And all this that "He might succor His people according to their infirmities."  He chose to do this, He wasn't forced or manipulated.  He chose.  Because He loves each and every single person from beginning of time to the end of time.  If He would do that for all, why would He say "Ope!  Sorry, the missionaries knocked on your door and you slammed it, so you are damned to everlasting torment.  See ya!"  He wouldn't.  Just because someone doesn't have a full understanding now, doesn't mean that they won't get the chance in the future.  I'll come back to that in a sec.  

Third, we promise to keep the commandments, including the Ten commandments, all the way to keeping our bodies clean and pure as Temples of the Holy Spirit which is in us.

Now, establishing the promises we make, how would it be (and this does happen) if a missionary came to someone, taught them the Gospel, knew they couldn't keep the promises made at baptism, and baptized them anyways?  These people, these children of God, would have literally been signed up for failure.  That is why we have the baptismal interview questions.  They are not to weed out the sinners.  They are to keep them safe.  We are all sinners.  I don't care if you lied yesterday, or if you killed someone.  No unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God.  Period.  Lying makes you unclean.  Killing makes you unclean.  What's the difference?  Nothing, because Jesus Christ took that upon Himself.  Elder Oaks taught "The repenting sinner must suffer for his sins, but his suffering has a different purpose than punishment or payment.  It's purpose is change."  So, what is the difference between a murderer and liar?  The murder has the guilt of taking a life.  It is a grievous sin, because it cannot be undone.  A lie can be corrected.  A life cannot be returned.  It takes time to fully repent of a serious sin like murder.  Why?  Because it is serious.  But remember what Elder Oaks said.  A repenting murders repentance process (the literal meaning of "repent" in Hebrew is change) is going to take longer than a liars repentance process.  Why?  Because they need to change, and it will be harder to change for a repenting murderer than a liar.  Jesus Christ made it possible for us to change.  Without him, we couldn't change because we wouldn't have the enabling power of His Amazing Grace.

As members of the church, too often we get caught up in "if you had the chance to be baptized by proper authority here, than you missed you chance."  Is that how God works?  Nope.  Judgement is not up to us.  We cannot know everything, but we can still try.  This change in the handbook was not to condemn or to push out, but to protect.  They will always be welcome and loved by the true followers of Christ.  Those who die before they have the opportunity to be baptized and participate in the other saving ordinances will get the chance in the next life.  This is a way to protect those who don't fully understand why they are doing what they are doing.  Always remember that God is just.  If He wasn't, we could not have faith in Him.  He loves all of us and wants every single one of us to return to Him again but He will not force that on us because that would not make us truly happy.  He gave us the gift of agency before we came to this life, and He will not take that away.  That is Satan's plan.  God's plan is for our exaltation.  God loves you, and He loves everyone else here, no matter who they are or what they do.  I cannot say this enough because it is so important to remember always.  He doesn't care who you have been or who you are now, just who you choose to become.  The Gospel, or "good news"  is just that.  We can be changed and perfected.  We can become great.  And we will become great as we love one another and serve out fellow men in all that we do.  

Well, I am now out of time.  All I've got to report is I rode the train for the first time in my life!!

Love you all!!

Elder CarterV

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