Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Mechanics (And Pitfalls) Of Learning "Line-Upon-Line"

I came across this talk from Elder Henry B. Eyring explaining a little about the mechanics of learning line-upon-line, precept upon precept that I had never heard before.  It helped me to understand a little better about how I can receive the next "line", and what to do if I get stuck.

"A Life Founded In Light And Truth", Elder Henry B. Eyring, BYU Devotional, 15 Aug 2000.
Obedience to commandments is the way we build a foundation of truth. Here is the way that works, in words so simple that a child could understand: The truth of most worth is to know God our Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and Their plan for us to have eternal life with Them in families. When God communicates that priceless truth to us, He does it by the Spirit of Truth. We have to ask for it in prayer. Then He sends us a small part of that truth by the Spirit. It comes to our hearts and minds. It feels good, like the light from the sun shining through the clouds on a dark day. He sends truth line upon line, like the lines on the page of a book. Each time a line of truth comes to us, we get to choose what we will do about it. If we try hard to do what that truth requires of us, God will send more light and more truth. It will go on, line after line, as long as we choose to obey the truth. That is why the Savior said that the man who obeyed His commandments built on a rock so solid that no storm or flood could hurt his house.
Did you catch that part that not a lot of people seem to understand?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The "Four Quadrants of Obedience" (i.e. Spirit and/or Letter of Law)

I found this while looking for more understanding of the spirit vs. letter of the law. President of BYU Idaho, Kim B. Clark, gave a devotional in 2006 about obeying the BYU Idaho Honor Code which segwayed nicely into showing the relationship between the letter and the spirit of the law and the path of true discipleship.

He introduces what he calls an "Honor Code Map" that lays out four different classifications of obedience. He explains how we can fall into each of the four based on which combination of the spirit / letter of the law we follow.

Click below for the video and highlights of the criteria of each of the four quadrants and how we can get on the path of discipleship that the Lord Jesus Christ has set.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Is Charity (or Any Other Virtue) Really Worth The Fight?

I think with the battles for self-control and developing Christ-like attributes, it can be easy to forget what we are up against.

Sun Tzu wrote something that I think applies very well in these struggles of self that roughly translated goes like this:
"So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself."
Who exactly are our enemies?  I think we can all agree that the first is the Adversary, and the second is given to us in Mosiah 3:19: "For the natural man is an enemy to God".

C.S. Lewis I think put it in a slightly different way in the preface to Screwtape Letters when he warned that it is equally dangerous to display either too much or too little interest in the Devil.  I think this can also apply to the dangers of having too much or too little interest in (i.e. "understanding of") the natural man.

Recently, I ran across a few resources online that expanded my understanding of the natural man, and gave me a little better idea of what we're up against in our quest to become like Christ.

Monday, June 10, 2013

"For The Default Man Is An Enemy To God..."

"[I]n the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship--be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles--is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Gratitude and Anti-Gratitude

I've been doing some more thinking today, and I think I've figured out a little more about the effect doubt/disbelief has on gratitude.

A few years back, I got my Amateur Radio Operator license.  One of the things that I learned about and have experienced in communicating over the air waves is the effect of interference and noise on the radio signal.  Noise is just something you have to learn how to deal with - there are many different types of sources from many different locations, and some days no matter how you may try to avoid it you just have to live with it.
Sometimes you can locate the source of the noise, sometimes you can find a location that isn't as effected by the noise, and when all else fails, crank the transmit power knob up to 11 and just wipe it out with excessive wattage.

I think doubt and disbelief are like noise and interference. They can block out and scramble the messages of the "still small voice", and are the opposite of the peace and stillness that we are seeking.  Like radio noise, there are some things that we can do to minimize the effect of the extraneous signals.  I think the most popular and most overused method is to overpower the noise with a stronger signal.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mechanics of Gratitude

I've been thinking about gratitude a lot lately, specifically the "mechanics" of gratitude.

Elder Kevin Pearson gave a Gen Conf talk in April 2009 that went into the "mechanics" of faith that I think can be applied to gratitude:
"Faith and fear cannot coexist. One gives way to the other. The simple fact is we all need to constantly build faith and overcome sources of destructive disbelief. The Savior’s teaching comparing faith to a grain of mustard seed recognizes this reality (see Matthew 13:31–32). Consider it this way: our net usable faith is what we have left to exercise after we subtract our sources of doubt and disbelief. You might ask yourself this question: 'Is my own net faith positive or negative?' If your faith exceeds your doubt and disbelief, the answer is likely positive. If you allow doubt and disbelief to control you, the answer might be negative."
I think we can do something with gratitude to understand the factors that affect and limit our gratitude. I think it can be expressed in terms of an equation, like Elder Pearson laid out.