Replies to Thomas

Tag: light

The Living Christ: A Poem

His life surpassed all—His atoned;
By Sacrifice our souls are owned;
Mid mortals—as He too was tried—
None other’s strength mankind shall bide.

Moses wrote: Immortal power,
John composed: His mortal hour;
In testament old: Jehovah;
In testament new: Messiah.

He went and did good, as The Light—
Opened minds and Healed broken sight—
But the proud could not distinguish,
Darkness sought Him to extinguish.

He walked each road in Palestine,
That He the lost thereby might find
,
Then on The Way toward Heav’n direct,
The sons of God from sin correct.

His death required He saw afar,
His Bread and Wine—a sure memoir;
The justices called Him “outlaw,”
Rejecting Him though without flaw.

A Gift to each life on the earth—
A gift—the Life who had no worth!
To all, through grace, Life Immortal;
To some, by works, Life Eternal.

He first loved us, and so atoned—
He came, saw, wept, and for us groaned—
Who formed the ground where Bethle’m stood,
And rent the earth ‘neath Calvary’s wood.

Perfect Son, Only Begotten;
Father’s will not once forgotten,
Whose will decreed: “Clothe Him in flesh;
“Redeem all man, Author afresh.”

His work did not end at death’s jeer;
To Mary first He did appear;
Then with Eleven, He broke bread,
Saying, “Fear not; for you I bled.”

Other sheep did see His glory,
Charging them to write His story.
Translated through boundless Grace,
By he who saw Christ face to face:

Who said, “His eyes are as a fire;
“Like snow, His hair and white attire;
“His Countenance above the Sun;
“Voice as water—beloved Son.

“By Him, and through Him, and of Him,
“Worlds to God ascribe patronym;”
We too, then, with thanks to God’s Word,
Have mem’ry Eternal bestirred.

“He lives! He lives!” The prophet said,
“He lives, our Savior though once dead!”
No greater message could He give—
We—with Heav’nly Parents—may live.

His priesthood and His church again,
Are found among the race of men;
Built upon a sure foundation,
Of Christ, Apostles, a holy nation.

This woman He deigned through labor,
To bear His Zion of favor;
That when He comes to earth—to His—
Some shall be like Him, as He is.

He then will rule, as king of kings;
Every knee bows, every tongue sings;
He’ll hold in hand the Book of Life,
Judgement’s Word, a double-edged knife.

Awaiting His day here I write—
Denying wrong, defending Right—
That His way is strait and narrow;
No unclean bone shall hold marrow.

Hence enter by the gate, He asks,
Feast on His word—fulfill His tasks;
And as the Light of the whole world—
His mercy comes in wings unfurled.

I, His leastwise disciple, say,
That His life is the only way;
I have tried His works to the end,
A faithful prize: called by Him “friend.”

His life surpassed all—His atoned;
By sacrifice my soul is owned;
Mid mortals—as He too was tried—
None other’s strength my life shall bide.

God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.

5c858999106bac8ce9ad066274fd84fe

“The Doubting of Thomas” Carl Bloch

Click the link below to download a PDF copy of this poem:
The Living Christ – A Poem

Scripture citations in order of line number and stanza breaks:

1. Rom 5:11;
2. Eph 1:10-14;
3. Alma 7:11;
4. 2 Chr 32:7-8;

5. Gen 1:1;
6. John 1:1;
7. 3 Nephi 15:1-5;
8. John 1:41;

9. Acts 10:37-38;
10. Mosiah 3:5;
11. John 1:5, 1 Jn 2:16;
12. Luke 22:2;

13. 1 Jn 2:5-6;
14. John 9:35;
15. John 14:6;
16. John 1:12;

17. John 13:1;
18. Luke 22:12-20;
19. Matt 27:24;
20. Heb 4:14-15;

21. John 3:17;
22. 1 Nephi 19:9;
23. Eph 2:8;
24. Rom 2:5-7;

25. 1 Jn 4:19;
26. Matt 26:39;
27. John 1:10;
28. Matt 27:50-51;

29. 1 Jn 4:9-10;
30. John 6:38;
31. 3 Nephi 1:14;
32. Heb 5:8-9;

33. 1 Cor 15:3-8;
34. Mark 16:9-11;
35. Mark 16:14;
36. D&C 45:3-5;

37. John 10:16;
38. 3 Nephi 23:4;
39. D&C 135:3;
40. JS-H 1:25;

41. D&C 110:3;
42. Rev 1:14;
43. Rev 1:16;
44. D&C 133:22;

45. D&C 76:24;
46. D&C 88:61;
47. 1 Jn 1:1-3;
48. D&C 38:7-8;

49. D&C 76:22;
50. Rev 1:18;
51. 1 Jn 3:11;
52. D&C 110:18-19;

53. D&C 84:17;
54. Rev 14:6-7;
55. Isa 28:16;
56. Eph 2:20;

57. Rev 12:2,5;
58. Isa 66:7-9;
59. Mal 3:16-18;
60. 1 Jn 3:2;

61. Rev 19:16;
62. Rom 14:11;
63. Alma 5:58;
64. D&C 12:2;

65. Matt 25:13;
66. Jude 1:3;
67. 2 Ne 9:41;
68. Alma 11:37;

69. Luke 13:24;
70. 2 Nephi 31:20;
71. Mosiah 16:9;
72. Mal 4:2;

73. Eph 3:8;
74. Alma 37:46;
75. 2 Ne 33:9;
76. D&C 93:45;

77. Jacob 4:11;
78 1 Cor 7:22-23;
79 D&C 93:11;
80. Moroni 10:32.

Advertisements

Poem: Mind as a Garden, Thoughts as the Rain

THY mind, O man, is as a garden;
thy thoughts are as the rain,
which nourish seedlings spread throughout,
for weed or flower’s reign.

It is not thou who art the planter,
of seed for grace or gloom,
but the chooser of the growing—
thy yearnings doth give bloom.

Without hands the seeds are sown in
fertile ground ensuring
their steady growth to quickly spread
influence and mooring.

The planters twain are light and dark,
life or sin their yielding;
each seed is set and safely waits
thy mind’s weather revealing.

The dark ones plead and grasp for thirst,
and grow so easily;
The light ones too shall rise and bloom,
but bid thee quietly.

God seeks to dwell in Eden’s lawn,
where thorn nor thistle grow;
“Repent!” he calls to natural minds,
“Uproot! Take spade and hoe!”

The master gardner bought the tools—
the price for change is paid!
“I for you will dig,” he says, “if
“from weeds thy rains are stayed.”

“The seeds of darkness I cannot stop,
“while life’s test you are in;
“Take care, therefore, to wet no more,
“the leastwise seed of sin.”

From birth to death the garden grows;
new seeds arise daily.
Thy rain of thoughts, then, is the crux,
’twill swell thy destiny:

Lush green and fruits to please the Lord,
and walk in cool of day;
or briars, thorns, and noxious weeds,
dim glory: like moon grey.

rain_in_the_garden_by_darkosikman

Five-hundred Miles Per Hour at Thirty-thousand Feet

Dear Joseph,

I want to return to the subject of information missing from scripture. Even including The Book of Mormon, there’s still a big chunk of really important stuff missing, confused, contradicted, and inaccurate. I understand humans are responsible for the current state of scripture, and we’re supposed to have free-will and all, but you’d think God would draw the line at messing with the one and only means we have of knowing what He wants out of us. Unrestricted freewill itself strikes me as a foolish notion anyway. That’s just bad parenting! I don’t let my kids do whatever they want, consequences be damned and the kids too. There’s a degree of responsibility God seems to be neglecting here.

—Thomas

P.S.

One of the things I’ve learned since my last missive is that in the 1970’s a manuscript dating back to around 400 AD was found, which was itself a translation of another manuscript from 200 AD. In 2006 National Geographic did a cover story on it. I’m guessing it was because the translation had just been finished, but I don’t know; it seems like a long time to wait around for that. Anyway, the writing is what would have been the Gospel of Judas IF the powers that be (or were) had decided to include it. So now I’m very interested in tracking a copy of this down to see what is has to say.


Dear Thomas,

“…Humans are responsible for the current state of scripture….”

I’m glad we seem to share the belief that the word of God, or scripture, as we have received it is subject to the failings of mortal men. I know many who profess that the Bible is word for word exactly what God spoke. My questions then are, to whom? And for what purpose? I’m not asking to destroy faith, of course, but to bring up realistic questions concerning the origin of scripture. With that said, you’re exactly right that there are holes and contradictions, etc., that make the scriptures imperfect. Though the Book of Mormon stands out for claiming to contain the whole of the Gospel of Christ (and it does), you’re also right in saying that there is other information that is just not there—questions that are not answered.

“[Scriptures are] the one and only means we have of knowing what He wants out of us.”

To most Christians, humanity is consigned to deal with what scanty direction the scriptures provide. But unique among Christians, Mormons believe in modern revelation, that each person has a right and a responsibility to seek after the revelations of God for his or herself, and we believe that God will answer each person’s honest seeking.

The Book of Mormon describes what state that the heart of such an one ought to be like in order to receive revelation. Not surprisingly it’s not just wanting it or waiting for something to hit you in the head. It requires humility, belief, and a true heart—a willingness to live up to what you receive—among other things. Through personal revelation, and revelation for the world through the prophet and the apostles, the holes in our understanding of God can be filled. This might sound idealistic—that God may speak to man in our day—but it’s true! You’re hearing it from someone who knows His voice.

“Unrestricted freewill itself strikes me as a foolish notion anyway…. There’s a degree of responsibility God seems to be neglecting here.”

Why does God allow us to do anything we want, let alone tamper with His revealed word so that generations of people are walking in darkness? Why does he grant us freewill and free agency? It is because He loves us and honors our value, which value He esteems as equal with His. (You read that right: equal!) He is giving us the absolute choice to have what He has but never through force. The principles of revelation outlined in the above paragraph means that we can access Him directly. His answer will most likely not be a pillar of light we see with our eyes, but one we feel with our hearts. His answer may take the form of placing others in our path so that we have contact with the truth (hint, hint). Perhaps if you have recently even prayed in your heart to know more about God and His will for you, I have been prompted by His Holy Spirit to speak thusly with you. Whatever the form—even silence—He listens and knows how to answer us in the best way possible. (And remember, we who measure time with wristwatches don’t know anything more about good timing than He who uses galactic clocks and planetary cycles.)

But if scripture has left many in the dark for generations of time, why would God allow His children to wade without light for so long? I think it is partially an action of mercy on His part. “What? Denying people the word of God as mercy? What kind of blasphemy is this?” My favorite kind: truth. Or in other words, blasphemy against false doctrine (I thought that the former sounded cool though).

First of all, remember how I said that the lowest station a soul can reach in the final judgement is still way better than our current one (the telestial kingdom)? Well there’s that. But also, we believe that mankind will be judged according to the light they received in this life. If some middle-of-nowhere, yak-herding child dies without ever hearing the word of God, is he damned? If so, that’s what I call bad parenting, reprimanding a child for doing something he didn’t know was wrong.

I heard a story once of a mother who severely scolded her boy for going past the corner of the block one day, and in the midst of the boy’s sobs and anguish he said, “Mom, what’s a corner?” God, our perfect Father, will never be guilty of such a cold action. If we see Him this way in scripture, we are missing an important element of the true story, and so the emphasis is on our need to seek out revelation to learn who the whole truth of who He is and what He is like. He will not punish the African child who knew no law, but He will give the child a glorious resurrection and eternal life in the Kingdom of God. The same is true for all who possess any degree of truth: if you have been told that lying is bad but fighting is good, your sins will be composed of the lies you told and not the fights you started (this would be a brilliant place to bring up the doctrine of the Light of Christ, by the way).

So when generations have wandered without the whole truth of God, they are in some ways being shown mercy in that they will not be held responsible for the greater light they may otherwise have sinned against. Those who have the greater light revealed to them, accept and understand it, and then reject it have a fate much worse than those who never knew it. That is why the unpardonable sin is called “the sin against the Holy Ghost” and not “the sin against Dave” (where ‘Dave’ is someone that everyone knows).

If knowing something can potentially be worse than not knowing, why would God teach us anything at all? Isn’t that bad parenting if He is to judge us accordingly? No, because to become as He is and enjoy the life He enjoys requires us to be clean and keep certain laws no matter the light received. Just as an airplane has safety protocols and operating instructions specific to its proper usage and prior to its enjoyment that are more thorough than those of an automobile, even so entering the highest degree of glory in the celestial kingdom requires a specific knowledge and lifestyle prior to entering and inheriting it.

So back to the yak-herding child who dies without the law, he will be held guiltless before God at the last day and counted worthy to enter the Celestial kingdom IF he chooses to observe the “safety protocols and operating instructions.” Again, no compulsion, for if he would be happier not knowing those things, then he will not be forced to know them, BUT he will never know the thrill of flying at 500 MPH at 30,000 FT next to driving a nice sports car. Likewise, though we will be judged by the light we receive or didn’t receive in this life, the truest happiness—the happiness that our Heavenly Father knows—can only come to us if we obey Him, and we will all have this choice.

—Joseph