I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from The Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity - the pure love of Christ - will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness.
- President Marion G. Romney

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

...these shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever...

We're going to revisit a bit of Monday's discussion today. Let's read Doctrine & Covenants 18:11-12, 19:16-17 & 20, 58:42, and 76:62-70.

I like the "whys" we are taught in 18:11-12 -- don't you sometimes just wonder why Jesus did what He did? Think about the "whys" in these verses and where you fit into them. Why did He suffer, die, and resurrect for you?

19:16-17 & 20 give another good "why," don't they? For me, this gives a glimpse of what charity really means. This is real love. In what ways does parenthood give us an opportunity to better understand this "why?"

Okay, remember our discussion yesterday about "a bright recollection of all our guilt?" Maybe I really was onto something there. Read 58:42 and think about how that will affect our time at the judgement bar. What do you think?

Finally, 76:62-70 -- here's the best motivation EVER to repent, right? I get the feeling from the passages we've studied this week that Christ wants us to realize that repentance -- receiving and accepting this incredible gift He's given us -- is a GREAT thing. A really super wonderful thing that's better than any present we ever opened on any Christmas morning ever. And it'll last a whole lot longer than the Barbie Corvette ever did.
What are your thoughts about these verses? What do they make you feel?

What can we possibly do to show our gratitude for this perfect gift? I wonder if this is perhaps a silly question -- I mean, duh, just use it, right? But let's get specific -- how can we really show we're thankful for Christ's Atonement?


Cheryl said...

I'm not sure what you mean by specifics as far as showing gratitude for the Atonement --I mean, it may be a "duh" moment to realize we need to just USE it, but I think using the Atonement in the way Christ wants us to is way harder than it looks. Way harder.

Our whole lives are natural versus spiritual --our entire mortal journey consists of this struggle between the two. Until the past few years, I never really understood what that could possibly entail. But now, continually faced with the ease of "giving up" (although it's a false ease), I can see this struggle even more deeply.

I often think about the Israelites and how they had the chance to get better just by looking at the staff. The Atonement (as we read in these scriptures you listed) is readily available and given to all of us, no matter our situation. We can choose to use it or ignore it, and we make this choice several times a day. I can choose to remember that Christ suffered Depression and Hopelessness, and try harder to repent, serve others, and focus on the positive, or I can give into the despair.
Of course, I'm not saying that any kind of mental illness is that easily solved, but in some cases, MINE is.

Ooh! And that's another beautiful thing we've been given --the ability to Choose. We can choose to use the Atonement, repent, serve, love, bettering ourselves, working through our trials, loving God through all of it --or, we can choose to give up. Either way, the beautiful part is that we even have the choice!

Anyway, those were just my thoughts. Sorry for the rambling. :)

Tricia said...

Something that I always go back to when reading passages about the atonement is how the Savior is constantly pleading with us to recognize it and to use it. I once learned in an institute class about the format of writing and speech used in the scriptures. We talked about how when something is repeated in the scriptures, it is not a mistake, but a constant reminder of what we need to do. Julie has pointed out at least a half dozen 'reminders' just in D&C. I was going through my conference ensign and found even more references. I wonder if we as members of the church were to recognize and use the atonement as set forth by the Savior, if those reminders could or would be less frequent?
My husband and I are currently reading Jesus the Christ together. It has been a wonderful experience to study such a marvelous work. This discussion has prompted me to re-read a chapter entitled "The Need of a Redeemer". Talmage speaks of free agency and how it is crucial to the test that we must all go through, to see if we will obey the commandments. He also speaks about how the Father knew what his children were going to face; good, evil, life, destruction, commandment being broken and even death. There was no other way that man could ever be brought back to the presence of the father without a sacrifice being made.
I bring all of this up because I think that too often in my own life, I only use the atonement to ask forgiveness of sins. But I have had great experiences where the atonement has helped heal. I'm sure we have all had great spiritual experiences where the Holy Ghost has helped us and we have been guided. We all know how incredible that feels.
I know I have gone off topic a little bit, but I hope that I can recognize the spirit more in my life. I know that the blessings of the atonement can be felt more often than I am feeling them now.

Julie said...

Cheryl, I love the natural vs. spiritual thoughts. So good. I see that even in my little ones. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Also, ditto the beauty of having a choice. One of the most beautiful gifts I've received.

Tricia, I always think of Helaman saying Remember, Remember when I read all these repetitive scriptures -- like you said, it's certainly no accident we are reminded of the Atonement and our part in it. I need to reread Jesus the Christ one of these days. I loved it as a missionary and still think of things I read there so long ago (at least it seems so long ago -- a lifetime!).
And you're never off topic here!

For my two cents, I like in 19:20 how He talks about compelling us to be humble (also in Alma 32:15). It is very clear in verse 20 that the memory of the Atonement is so crisp, so clear, so acute, so painful still that He is begging us to please use it ... please don't subject yourself to this. I feel like Section 19 is probably the most intimate communication we have recorded in the scriptures and like Tricia stated, it is no accident. He is painting this vivid picture because He wants us to realize not only what a precious gift He is giving us, but just how horrible it will be if we have to suffer it ourselves.

So, I believe the Lord will not remember our sins once we have repented of them (58:42). Question, though: should we ever really "forget" our sins? I have some doozies from my past that I want to remember. While I don't dwell on them or kick myself over them or plan to ever use them as a "what not to do" with my kids, I still want to remember the pain I felt and the sorrow I caused. I want to remember that because I want to never do them again. I think maybe the part we have to let go of (and I have with these) is the guilt.
What do you all think about forgetting vs. remembering our sins?

Finally, I love 76:69. "Oh it is wonderful that He should care for me enough to die for me." and "I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, Confused at the grace that so fully He proffers me."

Greg and Wendy said...

As I reread the verses in the order you gave them, Julie, it was so apparent that the Savior is literally begging us to repent, to use his wonderful gift so as not to suffer as He did! He paints a painful picture, but, oh, I can feel the love He has for us. In these verses he moves from imploring us to repent and choose His ways to making it clear that he will forgive us as we do, and then giving us this beautiful view of what awaits us if we will! We talked in my Sunday School class last week of the fact that we kept our first estate and how empowering that knowledge should be to us in our daily decision-making in this second estate! We are literally still in a "war" with Satan that has carried on since the pre-existence but we won that first battle! Let's take courage from that! The conflict was about agency and it still is! I wish I could always keep this Plan of Salvation perspective and apply it in my day to day decisions...but sadly, I too often speak or do and think later! Aw, repentence! And I love a scripture that is a favorite of Dad's and is rapidly becoming one of mine as it defines the Savior's character and overarching mercy...how it will be as we kneel at His feet in judgement. Christ says: (D&C 45:3-5) "Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him--Saying; Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; Wherefore, Father, SPARE THESE MY BRETHREN THAT BELIEVE ON MY NAME, that they might come unto me and have everlasting life." (CAPS added.
Isn't that a beautiful scripture? I love it so much!
And, Julie, I liked your comments about remembering but not feeling guilt over our past mistakes. I think that remembering without guilt tells us that we HAVE repented and have been forgiven, but keeps us in remembrance of our personal part in His suffering. That has certainly been my experience.

Cheryl said...

I agree with your mom, Julie about Not forgetting --but no longer feeling guilt. That's probably the key! Of course, regret takes longer to "get over" but I know I've come a point with some things I've done in my past that I'm actually grateful for what happened. Not that I sinned! But that I learned from the experience --or had the experience, you know? It's amazing what prayer, time, and maturity can do to help overcome regret and guilt.