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Showing posts from July, 2018

Easy obedience and hard obedience

The covenant of baptism is not only a promise to obey the commandments of God as you currently understand them, but also a promise to obey anything that God commands you in the future. Reconciling yourself to what you already know is, in the scheme of things, the easy part. Most people are still getting to the point where they can do that, but that is the easy part in the scheme of things. Earnestly committing to what is yet unknown to you requires measurably more trust in God. Jesus once had this exchange regarding two of the apostles: 21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. 22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. 23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized

Some questions and some answers

Q: When is it good to charge ahead in spite of uncertainty, and when it is good to be slow to change? What is the ideal balance between being quick to observe and being careful? A: As with all things, this issue tends to be oversimplified and insights can be had by injecting another dimension of consideration. That is, by chopping it into smaller bits. First, on the question of the relationship between velocity and mistakes. Change comes as a function of velocity. Radical advancements require radical risk. Slowness doesn't reduce the proportion of wrong choices, it just reduces the quantity of choices. Second, on the question of right vs. wrong choices. We are judged according to the light that we receive. Because the light we receive is a function of 1) our obedience to what has already been given to us and 2) our diligence in seeking more (which includes searching out what is generally available e.g. in books but unknown to us), we can minimize the proportion of errors we co

Is one person better than another?

Recently, I saw this comment on Facebook: "You cannot be one of the few, truly humble followers of Christ if you think you are, especially in the meaning of 'few,' because a truly humble follower of Christ will not think he is any better than anyone else." This is a very common line of thinking. It seems that modern sensibilities are offended by the idea that one person could be better than another. It seems to trip some wire, causing the person to flee in haste from any line of thinking that involves this thought. Should it? What do we mean by better? Do we mean value as a person? Every soul is precious in the sight of God, because every soul has within it infinite potential. Since God sees our potential as clearly as he sees our actual progress, he values each person equally, no matter how well or poorly they are measuring up to their potential. Is there, then, a difference in his perspective towards and interactions with some individuals compared to othe

The contradiction of charity: living the second great commandment

The kingdom of God is within you. It is there, waiting to be activated through your adoption of the behavior that does so. If one desires to have heaven within themselves, they must act at all times as if they were in heaven. This does not mean obedience to a static laundry list of commandments, though perfect, honest, earnest obedience to God as far as you understand him is required. This--incidentally--is the fulfillment of the first great commandment, to love God with all you heart, might, mind, and strength. The second great commandment is to love your fellow man as yourself. There are at least two ways to gain insight into the meaning of this second commandment. The first is to treat everyone as you would like to be treated. This means, for example, that if you see a hungry man, you will imagine how you would feel if you were hungry, and then spend your resources as you would in that case. A perhaps more insightful interpretation is to recognize and embrace the contradiction of

Polygamy: Almost always a bad idea, but not always

Polygamy is a divisive issue. Some people believe it is required to go to heaven, others believe it will take you straight to hell. I once wrote this post on the topic, which covers many relevant scriptures. At this point in my life, I feel it is necessary to write out my current understanding of this topic. My own journey with the idea of polygamy began as a young Latter-day Saint, when I came across the stories of Joseph Smith practicing polygamy. The question of whether he did or didn't is its own divisive issue, and not important for our purposes here. Nevertheless, being a believing Latter-day Saint, I was faced with the narrative that he did, and it bothered me. At that time, like most people, I felt the idea of polygamy was reprehensible. Because I believed in the scriptures, I believed that the best way to resolve my angst on the issue was to ask God about it. Instead of resting in my own ideas on the topic, I suspended my preconceived notions and sought God out to instr


This morning I could not begin my morning routine because I have been overcome with sorrow as I reflect upon the evil nature of mankind. There is so much light and truth accessible to us. Due to technology, I believe that we have greater access to light and truth than any other generation. What are you doing with it? One way we have greater access is through greater access to people. Light and truth work a lot like nutrients in the soil. There is a good deal available on the surface, but there is even more available deep in the ground. While most of us, as tender plants, have to make due with what we can access in the shallow dirt, God has blessed us with tall trees whose deep roots pull up the otherwise unreachable nutrients and make them accessible on the surface through dropping leaves. These people, who possess more light and truth than most, are rare but can provide access to light and truth that would take most people many lifetimes to acquire. How do you access these people an