Monday, April 19, 2010
A student of the Lord
Our obligation is to conform our opinions to the Lord's instruction. That requires us to be careful about how we listen, how hard our hearts are, how much we want to let in, and how loyal we choose to be to traditions. It is rare for any man to be an eager student of the Lord's. The scriptures give us only isolated examples. Abraham was one of them. He WANTED to receive and obey commandments. (Abr. 1: 2.)
Resistance to truth prevents us from obtaining it. The Lord will not force us to understand Him or His ways. Instead He invites us to come and learn from Him. Joseph Smith made this remarkable statement:
"We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment: he must have been instructed in the government and laws of that kingdom by proper degrees, until his mind is capable in some measure of comprehending the propriety, justice, equality, and consistency of the same." (TPJS p. 51.)
Closing your mind to the Lord's agenda before He has had an opportunity to fully instruct you is damnation. Damnation merely means the end of progress. So when we fail to progress in our understanding, we voluntarily damn ourselves.
The Lord's system, however, involves gentleness, meekness and love unfeigned. It requires patience and pure knowledge. (D&C 121: 40-42.) Before we can elevate anyone else's understanding we have to stand on higher ground. To lead a soul to salvation, as Joseph put it, required the following:
"Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity—thou must commune with God." (TPJS p. 137.)
Given this requirement for a man to be able to lead another soul to salvation, it would seem that few are really qualified.
Choose your teachers carefully. Accept any truth you are offered and you will be offered more. Reject a truth given to you and you close down the opportunities given to you for learning.
Someone asked the question a bit ago: "Humility = light?" and I haven't responded till now. The answer is humility allows someone to be taught. We are all ignorant, but not all are willing to let in new understanding. We must be taught about the things we do not yet know for us to be saved. Without humility we cannot be taught, and therefore we cannot gain light. Humility is so fundamental a requirement for gaining further light and truth that without it we cannot grow. The two are so intimately linked together they form a near equivalency.