By Alan on Apr 27 in Blog tagged being overwhelmed, counterfeit, Dallin H. Oaks, discouraged, distracted, done perfectly right now, down to hell, erase our mistakes, eternal consequence, exhaustion, leadeth them away, let go of guilt trips, must bargain, not good, not run faster than we have strength, out of control, peace, perfect, Perfection, real spirituality, Satan, seek perfecto, tears, the Atonement, the Lord, unrighteous, what we truly want, wisdom, without being a perfectionist | 1 Comment
Seeking Perfection Without Being A Perfectionist
In our eternal pursuit of perfection, we must be wary of the adversary’s counterfeit.
We are all familiar with the New Testament scripture “Be ye therefore perfect” (Matt. 5:48). The pursuit of perfection is holy, and those who center their lives on this pursuit are blessed. But, as with every good and holy thing, Satan is on hand to sabotage our efforts. Because becoming perfect through Christ is a powerful and important doctrine, Satan . . . comes up with a counterfeit. The counterfeit is often set up to look very much like the real thing, but it differs in important ways. . . . Perfectionism is a counterfeit of real spirituality and is easily confused. 1
Satan’s counterfeit promotes the belief that everything must be done perfectly right now. Such an expectation runs counter to the whole purpose of God’s eternal plan—which purpose is for us to gain experiences, to learn from them, and to grow. God’s counsel to the early Saints was to “continue in patience until ye are perfected” (D&C 67:13). Satan’s deceptive and cunning approach is to convince us that if we want God’s approval, we must do more than we know how or are prepared to do. That naturally sets the stage for developing feelings of being overwhelmed and discouraged—by ourselves and often by those around us. In this and other areas, Satan’s strategy does not require that we commit great sins. He just needs to keep us distracted from things of eternal consequence.
Quoting Marion G. Romney, Elder Dallin H. Oaks (BS ’54) noted that “Satan is a skillful imitator” and added that he “uses every possible device to accomplish his purpose to degrade and enslave every soul.”2 Satan is adept at robbing us of our courage, confusing us, making us believe that we are not good or capable enough, that our lives are out of control. In contrast to God’s counsel, he wants us to be pushed beyond our strength, to be weary in well doing. He wants us to believe that we must bargain with the Lord for His blessings and that we may not be helped or guided unless we continue in a driven frenzy.
Satan is a wretched soul, and he wants us to be as unhappy as he is. And, if he succeeds, if we give in to what he wants instead of what we truly want, we can miss some of life’s most valuable learning experiences and be diverted from our journey back home. The result, as Nephi said, is that “the devil cheateth their souls and leadeth them away carefully down to hell” (2 Ne. 28:21) as he seeks “the misery of all mankind” (2 Ne. 2:18).
“Peace be unto thy soul” (D&C 121:7) is an important message for us to remember. We are living in a day of harsh competition and unreasonably high expectations coming from many directions. Inherent in the message of peace is one of wisdom to not run faster than we have strength (see D&C 10:4). It is good to have plans, goals, and high expectations for ourselves. But when we experience tears, exhaustion, and feelings of depression, it may mean that we are self-imposing unrighteous expectations.
As we come to accept that perfection is a developmental process, something we learn “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” (2 Ne. 28:30), we can let go of guilt trips and over-complication of our lives. We can better understand the truly wondrous gift of the Atonement, which as Elder Bruce C. Hafen (BA ’66) has said, is not just to erase our mistakes, but to provide a way for us “to learn from our mistakes without being condemned by them.”3
By Janet S. Scharman
1. “There Is Hope and Help: Dealing with Depression” (presentation, BYU Women’s Conference, Provo, April 30, 2010).
2. “Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall,” in Brigham Young University 1991–92 Speeches (Provo: BYU, 1992), pp. 107–8.
3. “A Disciple’s Journey,” in Brigham Young University 2007–08 Speeches(Provo: BYU, 2008), p. 300.
This essay is adapted from an October 2010 address by Janet S. Scharman,BYU vice president of student life. The full text is included in Virtue and the Abundant Life: Talks from the BYU Religious Education and Wheatley Institution Symposium (Deseret Book).
By Alan on Mar 13 in Blog tagged a Savior, a spirit body, born into a physical body, charity, death, develop godlike qualities, disappointment, endurance, fulness of joy, gain experience, God, Grand Council, Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, like father like son, like Heavenly Father, like mother like daughter, obeying His word, of our Heavenly Father, pain and sorrow, passed our tests, patience, prove ourselves, receive immortal bodies, relationship to God, Ruler and Creator, sickness, sons and daughters of God, spirit children, the Atonement, The Family, The Plan, the purpose of progression, the scriptures, we are children | Comments Off
We Are Children of Our Heavenly Father
• What do the scriptures teach us about our relationship to God?
God is not only our Ruler and Creator; He is also our Heavenly Father. All men and women are literally the sons and daughters of God. “Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal [physical] body”.
Every person who was ever born on earth is our spirit brother or sister. Because we are the spirit children of God, we have inherited the potential to develop His divine qualities. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can become like our Heavenly Father and receive a fulness of joy.
We Developed Personalities and Talents
While We Lived in Heaven
The scriptures teach us that the prophets prepared themselves to become leaders on earth while they were still spirits in heaven (see Alma 13:1–3). Before they were born into mortal bodies, God foreordained (chose) them to be leaders on earth. Jesus, Adam, and Abraham were some of these leaders. (See Abraham 3:22–23.)
We were not all alike in heaven. We know, for example, that we were sons and daughters of heavenly parents—males and females (see “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,”). We possessed different talents and abilities, and we were called to do different things on earth.
A veil covers our memories of our premortal life, but our Father in Heaven knows who we are and what we did before we came here. He has chosen the time and place for each of us to be born so we can learn the lessons we personally need and do the most good with our individual talents and personalities.
Our Heavenly Father Presented a Plan for Us
to Become Like Him
• How does earth life help prepare us to become like our Heavenly Father?
Our Heavenly Father knew we could not progress beyond a certain point unless we left Him for a time. He wanted us to develop the godlike qualities that He has. To do this, we needed to leave our premortal home to be tested and to gain experience. Our spirits needed to be clothed with physical bodies. We would need to leave our physical bodies at death and reunite with them in the Resurrection. Then we would receive immortal bodies like that of our Heavenly Father. If we passed our tests, we would receive the fulness of joy that our Heavenly Father has received. (See D&C 93:30–34.)
Our Heavenly Father called a Grand Council to present His plan for our progression. We learned that if we followed His plan, we would become like Him. We would be resurrected; we would have all power in heaven and on earth; we would become heavenly parents and have spirit children just as He does (see D&C 132:19–20).
We learned that He would provide an earth for us where we would prove ourselves (see Abraham 3:24–26). A veil would cover our memories, and we would forget our heavenly home. This would be necessary so we could exercise our agency to choose good or evil without being influenced by the memory of living with our Heavenly Father. Thus we could obey Him because of our faith in Him, not because of our knowledge or memory of Him. He would help us recognize the truth when we heard it again on earth (see John 18:37).
At the Grand Council we also learned the purpose for our progression: to have a fulness of joy. However, we also learned that some would be deceived, choose other paths, and lose their way. We learned that all of us would have trials in our lives: sickness, disappointment, pain, sorrow, and death. But we understood that these would be given to us for our experience and our good (see D&C 122:7). If we allowed them to, these trials would purify us rather than defeat us. They would teach us to have endurance, patience, and charity.
At this council we also learned that because of our weakness, all of us except little children would sin (see D&C 29:46–47). We learned that a Savior would be provided for us so we could overcome our sins and overcome death with resurrection. We learned that if we placed our faith in Him, obeying His word and following His example, we would be exalted and become like our Heavenly Father. We would receive a fulness of joy.
• Hebrews 12:9 (God is the Father of our spirits)
• Job 38:4–7 (premortal life implied)
• Jeremiah 1:5 (vision of premortal life)
• D&C 29:31–38 (vision of premortal life)
• Moses 3:4–7 (spiritual and temporal creations)
• D&C 76:23–24 (begotten sons and daughters)
Strengthening The Family – Spiritually
By Alan on Mar 31 in Blog tagged Adam, baptism, Garden of Eden, Jesus Christ, original sin, Plan of Salvation, the Atonement | 3 Comments
Members of the Church believe that “original sin” as commonly understood in many branches of western Christianity was not a doctrine taught by the Bible, Jesus, or the apostles.
There is a form of “original sin” in LDS theology, but it is a matter that has been resolved through the atonement of Christ:
And our father Adam spake unto the Lord, and said: Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water? And the Lord said unto Adam: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden. Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world. (Moses 6:53-54, emphasis added.)
Thus, LDS theology explicitly rejects the idea that Adam’s “original sin” results in a condemnation of the entire human race. Efforts to insist that all of humanity is thereby tainted, all desires are corrupted, or all infants are damned without baptism are untrue. Because of temptation and the instinctive desires of physical bodies, human beings wrestle with the desire to sin (Matthew 26:41; Mosiah 3:19), but Adam’s actions in the Garden of Eden have no bearing on this.
As Wilford Woodruff taught:
What is called the original sin was atoned for through the death of Christ irrespective of any action on the part of man; also man’s individual sin was atoned for by the same sacrifice, but on condition of his obedience to the Gospel plan of salvation when proclaimed in his hearing.”
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