THIS BLOG ATTEMPTS TO SHOW HOW SCIENCE IS CATCHING UP WITH REVEALED RELIGION

THIS BLOG IS AN ATTEMPT TO PUT ALL THE COOL STUFF THAT I BUMP INTO ABOUT THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST AND EVENTS THAT LEAD UP TO IT INTO ONE LOCATION.
THE CONTENTS WILL BE FROM AN LDS PERSPECTIVE. IF YOU DISAGREE WITH ANYTHING IN HERE, I DO NOT PARTICULARLY CARE TO ARGUE, UNLESS YOU CAN ADD TO THIS BODY OF WORK. I HAVE AN OPEN MIND, THAT IS WHY I READ STUFF FROM ALL DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES AND SEEK LEARNING FROM THE BEST BOOKS. I JUST AM NOT HERE TO ARGUE ABOUT IT - BUT TO PUT IT OUT THERE WHERE OTHERS CAN PERUSE/PURSUE IT. I TAKE PARTICULAR INTEREST IN HONEST SEEKERS OF TRUTH AND BELIEVE THAT SCIENCE IS REVEALED RELIGION'S BEST ALLY. YOU WILL SEE ALOT OF TOPICS IN THIS BLOG THAT SHOW SCIENCE BACKING - AND SLOWLY CATCHING UP WITH - REVEALED RELIGION.
ENJOY!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

FUNERAL TALK - THE PLAN OF SALVATION

OCTOBER 2008 TRAVIS HOLT FUNERAL TALK

“THE PLAN OF SALVATION”



I am grateful for the opportunity to speak today at this memorial service for Travis Holt.

This is a difficult time for Travis’ family and loved ones and my goal is to hopefully provide some comfort and direction for those that are left behind and who may be experiencing some questions about why.

Speaking on the subject of death, Joseph Smith said “All men know that they must die. And it is important that we should understand….. our departure hence …..
It is but reasonable to suppose that God would reveal something in reference to the matter, and it is a subject we ought to study more than any other. We ought to study it ….because the world is ignorant in reference to their true condition and relation (to death). If we have any claim on our Heavenly Father for anything, it is for knowledge on this important subject.” Joseph Smith (History of the Church, Vol VI, p.50).

In talking about the Plan of Salvation, I will draw a little from a talk given by one of the Twelve Apostles, L. Tom Perry that was originally delivered during a General Conference of the Church in October 2006.
Many people wonder, “Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going?” Our Eternal Father did not send us to earth on an aimless, meaningless journey. He provided for us a plan to follow. God is the author of that plan
“God is the Father of our spirits. We are literally His children, and He loves us. We lived as spirit children of our Father in Heaven before we were born on this earth. We were not, however, like our Heavenly Father, nor could we ever become like Him and enjoy all the blessings that He enjoys without the experience of living in mortality with a physical body.
MOST CORPORATIONS HAVE A MISSION STATEMENT – SOMETHING THAT DEFINES WHAT THEY ARE ABOUT. GOD HAS ONE AS WELL – ARE YOU AT LEAST SOMEHWAT CURIOUS WHAT IT IS?
IN MOSES 1:39 WE READ, “FOR THIS IS MY WORK AND MY GLORY, TO BRING TO PASS THE IMMORTALITY AND ETERNAL LIFE OF MAN”.
SO THE MISSION STATEMENT IS TWO FOLD BUT IT POINTS TO THE SAME EXACT END GOAL, THAT GOD WANTS TO HELP US TO THE SAME STATE THAT HE IS – A PERFECTED GLORIFIED BEING BY PROVIDING A PLAN WHERE WE CAN HAVE A PERFECTED RESURRECTED BODY THAT IS CAPABLE OF BEING IN HIS PRESENCE, (FREE FROM THE EFFECTS OF SIN), FOR “NO UNCLEAN THING CAN DWELL IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD.”
HAVE YOU THOUGHT LATELY WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO BE DIRECTLY IN GOD’S PRESENCE? I PICTURE IT FREQUENTLY – HIS MAJESTY, HIS POWER, THE FREEDOM FROM THE LOW AND BASE THINGS OF THIS WORLD. SOME DAYS IT SEEMS COMPLETELY POSSIBLE AND OTHER DAYS I SHRINK FROM THE THOUGHT, DUE TO MY PERSONAL FOIBLES AND SHORTCOMINGS.
THROUGH THE ATONEMENT OF JESUS CHRIST, ALL OF GOD’S CHILDREN THAT HAVE LIVED ON THIS EARTH. WILL RECEIVE A PERFECTED RESURRECTED BODY THAT WILL BE BROUGHT BEFORE GOD TO BE JUDGED, SO THE ATONEMENT WILL OVERCOME PHYSICAL DEATH. THROUGH SIN THAT WE COMMIT WHILE ON THIS EARTH, WE BECOME UNCLEAN AND CANNOT FULLY ENDURE GOD’S PRESENCE. WITHOUT REPENTANCE AND BEING WASHED CLEAN FROM OUR SINS, WE WOULD BE QUITE MISERABLE IN GOD’S PRESENCE. GOD DOES NOT DISTANCE HIMSELF FROM US, WE THROUGH OUR ACTS OF DISOBEDIENCE, DISTANCE OURSELVES FROM GOD.
IT THEN BECOMES EXPEDIENT THAT WHILE WE ARE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY, THAT WE SEEK OUT GOD’S WILL FOR US AND DO IT.

THE WAY THAT WE CAN BECOME CLEAN BEFORE GOD, SO THAT WE CAN FEEL COMFORTABLE IN HIS PRESENCE, IS TO ACCEPT THE ATONEMENT OF JESUS CHRIST, WHERE OUR SINS WERE PAID FOR ALREADY IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE AND ON THE CROSS. A SINLESS SACRIFICE GIVEN WILLINGLY BY ONE WHO WAS PERFECT AND WHO VOLUNTEERED TO BE OUR ADVOCATE TO THE FATHER AND TO PLEAD OUR CAUSE BEFORE THE FATHER.

ADVOCATE MEANS LAWYER. IMAGINE, IF YOU WILL, STANDING BEFORE A PERFECTLY JUST FATHER BEING JUDGED FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE IN THIS LIFE. GOD WANTS YOU TO BE WITH HIM AND YOU WANT DESPERATELY TO BE WITH HIM. BECAUSE OF YOUR FILTHY AND UNCLEAN STATE, YOU CANNOT BE WHERE HE IS UNLESS SOMETHING CAN BE DONE. THEN STEPS FORWARD THE GREAT MEDIATOR, JESUS CHRIST AND HE AGREES TO ACCEPT YOUR SIN, IF YOU BUT AGREE TO ACCEPT HIM AS YOUR SAVIOR AND AGREE TO FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE THE BEST YOU CAN.

JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF PROSCRIBED THE WAY FOR US TO ACCEPT HIS SACRIFICE FOR OUR SINS. TO BE BAPTIZED BY IMMERSION FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS. As he said in Matthew 3:3-5 “EXCEPT A MAN IS BORN OF WATER AND OF THE SPIRIT, HE CANNOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD.”. WE MUST ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST AS OUR PERSONAL SAVIOR AND THEN FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE OF SERVICE AND LOVE FOR OUR FELLOW MAN. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO BE WASHED CLEAN AND COME AGAIN INTO GOD’S PERFECT PRESENCE.

FOR THOSE BILLIONS WHO WERE NOT GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST AND ACCEPT HIS SACRIFICE WHILE ON THIS EARTH, THEY ARE NOT LOST – THERE IS HOPE.

THE LORD AFTER HIS CRUCIFIXION, SET UP THE WORK IN THE SPIRIT WORLD, WHERE THE SPIRITS OF ALL MEN GO AFTER THEY DIE, SO THAT ALL CHILDREN OF GOD WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ACCEPT THE GOSPEL AND EITHER ACCEPT IT OR REJECT IT THERE. I TAKE YOU BACK TO MATTHEW 3:3-5 WHERE IT SAYS THAT A PERSON MUST BE BAPTIZED TO ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. SO IF SOMEONE WHO HAS GONE ON WITHOUT THE OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR THE TRUE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, WHO ACCEPTS THE GOSPEL AS IT IS PREACHED IN THE WORLD OF SPIRITS, THEN MUST BE BAPTIZED BUT HOW IS THAT TO BE DONE SEEING THAT THEY HAVE NO BODY?? PAUL IN THE NEW TESTAMENT WAS CLARIFYING SOME POINTS ON THE DOCTRINE OF THE RESURRECTION WHEN HE SAID THE FOLLOWING THAT SHED SOME LIGHT ON THE SUBJECT:

“ELSE WHAT SHALL THEY DO WHICH ARE BAPTIZED FOR THE DEAD, IF THE DEAD RISE NOT AT ALL? WHY ARE THEY THEN BAPTIZED FOR THE DEAD.” 1 CORINTHIANS 15:29

FOR ALL THOSE THAT ARE NOT GIVEN A CLEAR OPPORTUNITY TO ACT ON THE CLEAR MANDATE TO BE BAPTIZED WHILE IN THIS LIFE, THAT ESSENTIAL ORDINANCE CAN BE PERFORMED BY AUTHORITY OF THE PRIESTHOOD ON BEHALF OF THOSE WHO HAVE DEPARTED THIS LIFE WITHOUT THE VITAL ORDINANCE PERFORMED. THOSE WHO HAVE DEPARTED THIS LIFE WITHOUT BAPTISM WILL THEN HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO EITHER ACCEPT OR REJECT THE WORK PERFORMED FOR THEM VICARIOUSLY. JUST AS JESUS CHRIST VICARIOUSLY PAID FOR OUR SINS, WE CAN VICARIOUSLY ASSIST IN PERFORMING THIS ORDINANCE ON BEHALF OF ALL OF GOD’S CHILDREN. THERE IS LITTLE MORE IMPORTANT CHARITABLE WORK THAT WE CAN PERFORM ON THIS EARTH FOR OUR FELLOW BROTHERS AND SISTERS.

THE JEWS, HAVE SOME VERY UNUSUAL WORDS IN LITERALLY THE LAST TWO VERSES OF THEIR ACCEPTED SCRIPTURE, THE OLD TESTAMENT. IT IS BECAUSE OF THESE LAST TWO VERSES THAT THEY HAVE A SPECIAL CHAIR IN THEIR SYNAGOGUES FOR AN HONORED GUEST. WHO IS THAT GUEST? IF YOUR GUESS IS JESUS CHRIST, YOU ARE CLOSE BUT NOT ON THE MONEY.

JUST AS WE EAGERLY AWAIT THE RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST, OUR MESSIAH, THE JEWS ALSO EAGERLY AWAIT THE RETURN OF THEIR MESSIAH, OR MESSIACH, AS HE IS CALLED. THE PERSON THEY EXPECT TO COME BEFORE THEIR MESSIAH IS ELIJAH, AND THEN THE MESSIAH WILL COME. LETS READ THESE LAST TWO VERSES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.

MALACHI 4:5-6 “BEHOLD, I WILL SEND YOU ELIJAH…….

AS LATTER DAY SAINTS, WITH THE FULLNESS OF THE GOSPEL, WE KNOW THAT ELIJAH HAS ALREADY RETURNED IN APRIL 1836 TO RESTORE THE KNOWLEDGE OF WORK FOR THE DEAD SO THAT ALL OF GOD’S CHILDREN FROM ADAM DOWN TO THE LAST INHABITANT OF THIS EARTH WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO RECEIVE THESE ESSENTIAL ORDINANCES.

ALL OF GOD’S CHILDREN – NOT JUST SOME ARBITRARILY CHOSEN. ALL OF THEM.

AND THIS IS THE PART THIS FILLS MY HEART WITH JOY KNOWING THAT GOD LOVES ALL OF HIS CHILDREN IN SUCH A WAY THAT ALL MAY OBTAIN HIS PRESENCE. NOT JUST A SELECT OR ELECT FEW – BUT ALL OF GOD’S CHILDREN WHO CARE ENOUGH TO STRIVE FOR THAT PRIVILEGE.

WHAT A BLESSING!!

MOST OF THE REST OF THE CHRISTIAN WORLD WALLOWS IN THE TRAGIC BELIEF THAT GOD HAS ARBITRARILY DAMNED SOME OF HIS CHILDREN TO HELL AND CONSIGNED SOME OF THEM TO HEAVEN BY VIRTUE OF WHEN AND WHERE THEY WERE BORN – AS IF THERE WERE SOME KIND OF COSMIC LOTTERY DETERMINING OUR INDIVIDUAL DESTINY. THE GOD I KNOW IS PERFECT AND DOES NOT ALLOW SIN WITH THE LEAST DEGREE OF ALLOWANCE. THE GOD I KNOW ALSO LOVES ALL OF HIS CREATIONS WITH A LOVE THAT I SCARCELY EVEN BEGIN TO COMPREHEND. WITH THAT LOVE, HE GAVE JESUS CHRIST, HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON TO SAVE US FROM OUR FALLEN AND SINFUL STATE. NOT JUST THOSE WHO HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF HEARING HIS WORD, BUT ALL MANKIND. THAT IS THE GOD THAT I WANT TO RETURN TO LIVE WITH..

TESTIMONY.
We first heard about the plan of salvation before we were born, in what the scriptures call our first estate (see Abraham 3:26). What occurred in this first estate is dimly understood, but we do know that we lived there as spirits, children of our Heavenly Father, and we made certain steps of advancement to prepare for the opportunity of housing our eternal spirits in earthly bodies. We also know that our Father held a great council to explain the purpose of earth life. We had the opportunity of accepting or rejecting the plan of salvation. It was not forced upon us. The essence of the plan was that man would have an opportunity of working out his own salvation on earth, with God’s help. A leader was selected to teach us how to follow the plan and to redeem us from sin and death. As the Lord explained to Moses, “Behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever” (Moses 4:2).
Jesus Christ, our Elder Brother, became the leader in advocating the plan designed by the Father, and we accepted the plan and its conditions. With that choice we earned the right to come to earth and enter our second estate.
God created Adam and Eve in His own image, with bodies of flesh and bones, and placed them in the Garden of Eden. They were given the choice either to remain in the garden or to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and have the opportunity of experiencing mortality. They accepted the challenge, partook of the fruit, and thus became mortal and subject to physical death. Because of their choice, they would experience all of the trials and difficulties of mortality.
There are two purposes for life in mortality. The first is that we might gain experiences that we could not obtain in any other way. The second is to obtain tabernacles of flesh and bones. Both of these purposes are vital to the existence of man. We are now being tried and tested to see if we will do all the things the Lord has commanded us to do. These commandments are the principles and ordinances of the gospel, and they constitute the gospel of Jesus Christ. Every principle and ordinance has a bearing upon the whole purpose of our testing, which is to prepare us to return to our Heavenly Father and become more like Him. Elder Bruce R. McConkie has said this about following the straight and narrow path:
“What I think all of us need to do is to determine where we stand in every field of mortal endeavor. Then, based on the general overall concepts that are clear and plain, we make a determination on how we will live in this field or in that field in order to pass the probationary estate in order to succeed in the test of mortality. If we make the right choices, we’ll go on to eternal reward, and if we do not, then we’ll get some lower and lesser place in the kingdoms that are prepared.
“… Everyone in the Church who is on the straight and narrow path, who is striving and struggling and desiring to do what is right, though [he] is far from perfect in this life; if he passes out of this life while he’s on the straight and narrow, he’s going to go on to eternal reward in his Father’s kingdom” (The Probationary Test of Mortality, devotional address, Salt Lake Institute of Religion, Jan. 10, 1982, 8–9).
All of this is made possible by Jesus Christ. He is the centerpiece of the eternal plan of the Father, the Savior who was provided as a ransom for mankind. God sent His Beloved Son to overcome the Fall of Adam and Eve. He came to earth as our Savior and Redeemer. He overcame the obstacle of physical death for us by giving up His own life. When He died on the cross, His spirit became separated from His body. On the third day His spirit and His body were reunited eternally, never to be separated again.
Life on earth is of limited duration. There comes a time for all of us when the spirit and the body are separated in death. But because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we will all be resurrected, regardless of whether we have accomplished good or evil in this life. Immortality is the gift to every mortal child of our Father in Heaven. Death must be viewed as a portal to a new and better life. Through the glorious resurrection, body and spirit will be reunited. We will have a perfect, immortal body of flesh and bones that will never be subjected to pain or death. But the glory we attain to in the next life will depend on our performance in this life. Only through the gift of the Atonement and our obedience to the gospel can we return and live with God once again.
After the Resurrection of the Savior, His Apostles went forth to preach this glorious message to the nations of the earth. They traveled extensively as they taught of the mission of our Savior. A great movement of Christianity started to spread throughout many lands. But the Church gradually drifted into a general apostasy in which the succession of the priesthood was broken. The authority to officiate in spiritual ordinances ceased to exist on earth.
Gradually, inspired men started to bring forth a reformation. President Gordon B. Hinckley has described it as the dawn of a brighter day. He said:
“Somehow, in that long season of darkness, a candle was lighted. The age of Renaissance brought with it a flowering of learning, art, and science. There came a movement of bold and courageous men and women who looked heavenward in acknowledgment of God and His divine Son. We speak of it as the Reformation.
“And then, after many generations had walked the earth—so many of them in conflict, hatred, darkness, and evil—there arrived the great, new day of the Restoration. This glorious gospel was ushered in with the appearance of the Father and the Son to the boy Joseph. The dawn of the dispensation of the fulness of times rose upon the world. All of the good, the beautiful, the divine of all previous dispensations was restored in this most remarkable season” (“The Dawning of a Brighter Day,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2004, 82–83).
Following the glorious event of the First Vision, the sacred record of the Book of Mormon was delivered to the Prophet Joseph Smith. This brought a new witness of our Lord and Savior and His mission to the peoples of the earth.
Thus we see in the eternal plan of our Father that His love has no bounds. Every one of His children is included. All men have the same origin and equal possibility to fulfill their eternal destiny.
The Book of Mormon prophet Amulek, testifying that the words of Christ will bring us our salvation, said:
“And now, my brethren, I would that, after ye have received so many witnesses, seeing that the holy scriptures testify of these things, ye come forth and bring fruit unto repentance.
“Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.
“For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors” (Alma 34:30–32).

1 comment:

  1. GREAT REMARKS!!! Inspired, thoughtful, personal and doctrinal.

    Thanks for posting this.

    Scott

    ReplyDelete