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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Achieving Zion

This applies to ALL who read this. I have expressed in a previous post what Zion is (to me). I, also, expressed a small way to attain Zion. I would like to expound further on what WE need to do to obtain this "utopia." Principles recorded in the scriptures tell us on how we need to live to be truly happy. For example
Christ taught, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." (Matt 5: 37-38) It may be hard for us to be so kind, but when we live this way, we grow to love others. This principle is also taught in Buddhism to find true happiness. Gandhi once stated, "I like your Christ." (He also said a few more things with that which I will get to later.) Great ways to live have been taught by Christ from the beginning of the world (and before that). The scriptures are full of them. We, as Latter-day Saints, like to call these traits, "Christ-like attributes" others may call them "godly attributes."
As there are good traits and blessings recorded in scripture, there are also the traits which lead to sorrow and guilt recorded "For," as Lehi noted, "it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things" (2 Nephi 2:11). Which means, there are traits which we must avoid if we are to experience joy (or traits we must attain if we desire to be miserable) recorded in the scriptures. In my personal studies, I am focusing on identifying these traits. Whilst in my studies, I came across one of them in The Book of Mormon. For a quick background of this, Judges began to rule instead of kings. The leader of the Church of God was also the Chief Judge. Previous to this scripture, the Church was growing, rapidly, because they were doing what they were supposed to do. They were following Christ's example. Then I saw this in Alma 4:

"6 And it came to pass in the eighth year of the reign of the judges, that the people of the church began to wax proud, because of their exceeding riches, and their fine silks, and their fine-twined linen, and because of their many flocks and herds, and their gold and their silver, and all manner of precious things, which they had obtained by their industry; and in all these things were they lifted up in the pride of their eyes, for they began to wear very costly apparel.
"Now this was the cause of much affliction to Alma, yea, and to many of the people whom Alma had consecrated to be teachers, and priests, and elders over the church; yea, many of them were sorely grieved for the wickedness which they saw had begun to be among their people.
"For they saw and beheld with great sorrow that the people of the church began to be lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and to set their hearts upon riches and upon the vain things of the world, that they began to be scornful, one towards another, and they began to persecute those that did not believe according to their own will and pleasure.
"9 And thus, in this eighth year of the reign of the judges, there began to be great contentions among the people of the church; yea, there were envyings, and strife, and malice, and persecutions, and pride, even to exceed the pride of those who did not belong to the church of God." (underline and emphasis added)

The important things we must see is that it says, "the people of the church" not "the church." This is important to note. The true church of God does not endorse those traits, but the people in the church are fallible do so. Thus, we see the people who are beginning to grow in the pride of their own eyes. Next, we read the consequences:

 "10 And thus ended the eighth year of the reign of the judges; and the wickedness of the church was a great  stumbling-block to those who did not belong to the church; and thus the church began to fail in its progress."
 11 And it came to pass in the commencement of the ninth year, Alma saw the wickedness of the church, and he saw also that the example of the church began to lead those who were unbelievers on from one piece of iniquity to another, thus bringing on the destruction of the people."

Now, we see that the growth of the Church was hindered, and the example began to lead the unbelievers to iniquity. I mentioned a part of a quote from Gandhi earlier. I wish to put the rest into it. 

"I hate Christians--I like your Christ--You Christians are so unlike your Christ."


This ought to be taken in by all who read this quote. Why would he say something like that? If we look to Alma 4: 9- 11 we see that happening today. Many "Christians" are persecuting those who aren't rather than trying to understand them. There are many misunderstandings. People, who aren't Latter-day Saints, have misunderstandings of those who are. I have run into it a ton, especially while serving the people in southern United States. It hurts, and I don't enjoy it. I, however, do my absolute best not to do it. "Do unto others as you'd have done to you." or, in other words do as Christ taught "Love thy neighbor as thyself." (Leviticus 19: 18; see also Matthew 19: 19) This includes people of other faiths. There are many great people in other Christian faiths who are Christ-like, but the majority give the world the same impression Gandhi had. One of the reasons I love being associated with this Church is I am distinguished from other Christians. This does not mean we are exempt from the sin of pride. It also means the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is prone to the hindering of its progress. The only way this hindering can occur is the pride of the people in the church. Elder Edward Dube shared,

"President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, once attended an ox pulling contest, where he drew out an analogy. He said of the experience: 'A wooden sledge was weighted with cement blocks: ten thousand pounds [4,535 kg]—five tons. … The object was for the oxen to move the sledge three feet [91 cm]. … I noticed a well-matched pair of very large, brindled, blue-gray animals … [the] big blue oxen of seasons past.' In speaking about the result of the contest, he said: 'Teams were eliminated one by one. … The big blue oxen didn’t even place! A small, nondescript pair of animals, not very well matched for size, moved the sledge all three times.' He was then given an explanation to the surprising outcome: 'The big blues were larger and stronger and better matched for size than the other team. But the little oxen had better teamwork and coordination. They hit the yoke together. Both animals jerked forward at exactly the same time and the force moved the load. As we look ahead and believe, we need this same teamwork in hastening the work of salvation as we invite others to come unto Christ. In our individual capacities, we need to follow the counsel of President Dieter F. Uchtdorf to “stand close together and lift where we stand” (“Lift Where You Stand,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 56). We can tap our full potential, just as was observed by Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve: “As I travel throughout the Church I marvel at all the positive things that are occurring. Yet I never feel that we, as a people, are living up to our real potential. My sense is that we do not always work together, that we are still too much interested in aspirations for personal honors and success, and show too little interest in the common goal of building the kingdom of God” (“United in Building the Kingdom of God,” Ensign, May 1987, 35)." (emphasis added, Look Ahead and Believe)

It was as much as a warning as it was an invitation to "forget ourselves and get to work." This is an excellent example of Christ-like attributes ALL Christians should have, and an example we all ought to follow to truly achieve Zion.


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