Posts Tagged 'Freedom of Religion'

The Eleventh Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

We believe in the personal freedom of religion. We believe in being able to worship God how ever we feel is right in our life with the same privileges as anyone else may have. In Alma 21:22 we read, “And he also declared unto them that they might have the liberty of worshiping the Lord their God according to their desires, in whatsoever place they were in, if it were in the land which was under the reign of king Lamoni.” As long as the god-given rights of one are not stopping another from worshipping, there should be no interference from anyone else. In Doctrine and Covenants 134:4, a further explanation is given. “We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.”

We do not believe in any type of force when it comes to how one chooses to worship. Lately there has been a lot of public attempts to stop allowing people to worship freely. Even going so far as not allowing people to say Merry Christmas and such, when it is an outward expression of their beliefs. The way of the world, is to take away the freedoms of worship, so that those who choose not to worship do not have to see that anyone else does worship. This takes away the privileges of those who choose to worship. In effect, these decisions in the public sphere are causing the devout to be forced into hiding their own methods of worshipping God. There is so much good to be found in so many of the religions today, and this comes from a desire to worship God. There is a great need for religious tolerance in our world today. We believe that we are all spiritual sons and daughters of God, and as such, it is our privilege to worship, believe in, communicate with, and praise Him, how we see fit.

I am so grateful to live in a country where religious freedom has been established for so long. I know that there are places in the world where this freedom is not realized by many. I look forward to the day when the oppressions of unrighteous leaders will no longer exist and all people will have the ability to worship God freely.

D&C Section 134

In August of 1985, the saints held a general assembly of the church to discuss the Doctrine and Covenants and its contents. This section is described as a “declaration of belief regarding governments and laws” and it was accepted by a unanimous vote of the saints. It was given a preamble as well which said, “That our belief with regard to earthly governments and laws in general may not be misinterpreted nor misunderstood, we have thought proper to present, at the close of this volume, our opinion concerning the same” (History of the Church, 2:247). It is not direct revelation from the Lord, but as I understand it, there is nothing in this declaration that is against the gospel principles and it is fully in line with what we should believe as saints of God. As active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), saints have a duty to be aware and active in their communities as is possible. I have been fortunate to live in the United States, where we have many freedoms and liberties because of our government. I am very grateful for this.

The saints had been wrongly accused of many things in these first years of the restoration of the gospel. Among these false accusations, was one that said they were unsupportive of law and order. This declaration showed the world what the saints believed and how they expected government to work. This section begins:

1 We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.
2 We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.
3 We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people if a republic, or the will of the sovereign.
4 We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.

I whole-heartedly believe that government is part of the plan of God. I believe that when Christ comes again, our government will be His government, which is perfectly righteous. I don’t think that any government that is instituted today, is the perfect government, because they are all man-made, but I know that some are better than others because of influences of the spirit on good people. Government helps us to establish and maintain the laws, so that we all can live in safety and peace, therefore it is necessary that we have some type of government. These verses declare that no peaceful government can exist unless the people are free to choose for themselves, have a right to property, and are able to protect life. When these things are taken away, the people become placed in some kind of bondage to another, which is never according to the plan of God.

In my study I found a quote by David O. McKay when he who eventually became President of the church. He said, “That government is best which has as its aim the administration of justice, social well-being and the promotion of prosperity among its members” (in Conference Report, April. 1930, p. 80). I like this quote because it is not social well-being or the promotion of prosperity, but it is “and” or both. The best government will seek to help its people in need and encourage prosperity. A nation can have both of these things, if done correctly, and we see evidence of this time and time again in the Book of Mormon. One example is of the Nephites, not long after Christ had visited them. In 4 Nephi 1 we read,

2 And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.
3 And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.
. . . 7 And the Lord did prosper them exceedingly in the land; yea, insomuch that they did build cities again where there had been cities burned.
. . . 18 And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings; yea, even they were blessed and prospered until an hundred and ten years had passed away; and the first generation from Christ had passed away, and there was no contention in all the land.
. . . 23 And now I, Mormon, would that ye should know that the people had multiplied, insomuch that they were spread upon all the face of the land, and that they had become exceedingly rich, because of their prosperity in Christ.

I believe that we can have people who are prosperous and who are common (not rich and poor), without taking away any freedoms. I believe that we can persuade men to choose to give of their abundance to the poor, without forcing anyone and taking that choice away. When people choose to give to the poor, everyone prospers, but when people are forced by things being taken from them, no one does.

The saints declared that governments need workers who will handle the laws with equity and justice, and that these same people should be chosen by the will of the people. It is the duty of every righteous man or woman, to seek out good and just leaders and help them to lead their country in the right ways. As far as America goes, I don’t think that enough people realize that if the voice of the people who are trying to live righteous lives, would be heard louder, our leaders would also be influenced to lead righteously. We have the ability to persuade those who are in government positions, if we stand up for what we believe.

In verse 4, the point is that religion is not a man-made institution, but an eternal institution from our eternal creator. As latter-day saints, we believe in the free exercise of religion, not just of our own, but of all religions that do not stop others from their rightful freedoms. We believe that nothing of man should be allowed to interfere with the institution of religion, or stop men from being able to worship freely as they choose. I love the last line of this verse, “the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.” There are things that government is responsible for and should be, but forcing people to believe something or stopping them from freedom of thought and desires of the soul is completely wrong. I believe that all men should be allowed to worship freely, as long as how or what they worship does not stop anyone else from that same freedom.

5 We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience.
6 We believe that every man should be honored in his station, rulers and magistrates as such, being placed for the protection of the innocent and the punishment of the guilty; and that to the laws all men owe respect and deference, as without them peace and harmony would be supplanted by anarchy and terror; human laws being instituted for the express purpose of regulating our interests as individuals and nations, between man and man; and divine laws given of heaven, prescribing rules on spiritual concerns, for faith and worship, both to be answered by man to his Maker.
7 We believe that rulers, states, and governments have a right, and are bound to enact laws for the protection of all citizens in the free exercise of their religious belief; but we do not believe that they have a right in justice to deprive citizens of this privilege, or proscribe them in their opinions, so long as a regard and reverence are shown to the laws and such religious opinions do not justify sedition nor conspiracy.
8 We believe that the commission of crime should be punished according to the nature of the offense; that murder, treason, robbery, theft, and the breach of the general peace, in all respects, should be punished according to their criminality and their tendency to evil among men, by the laws of that government in which the offense is committed; and for the public peace and tranquility all men should step forward and use their ability in bringing offenders against good laws to punishment.

We have a duty to follow the laws of the land in which we live, but we must have the right to choose and think for ourselves. It is the responsibility of a government to have laws and to have consequences for those who choose not to follow the laws. As it says in the twelfth article of faith, latter-day saints believe in “obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law”. There have been times when the laws of certain lands have taken away the freedom to follow the laws of God, and in these times, I believe it becomes a matter of sincere prayer to God for his help to be able to live His law. Sometimes it takes making a stand for a belief, such as Daniel who continued to pray even though he was commanded by his ruler that he must not pray to God. He was still allowed to choose and suffered the consequences of the law, but God protected him for following His law. I hope that I do not have to experience that kind of contradiction between the laws of this land and the laws of God, but I know that it is a possibility as we draw closer to the second coming. God will bless us if we do our best to obey his laws and live righteously.

It can sometimes feel difficult to respect our leaders who make choices we do not like, but as saints we need to be better than this. We should respect the office which these individuals hold, even when we disagree with their individual policies or decisions. For example, our president should be respected as the leader of our country. He should not be attacked as a person, because this is not a Christ-like thing to do. We do not have to agree with his decisions to respect him as our leader. Likewise, we do not have to agree with the decision of every law that is made, but we should respect and sustain it as a law. If we disagree with a leader or a law, it is our duty to do what we can to change what we do not agree with, not to disrespect or disobey.

Everyone one of us has responsibilities over something in our lifetime. For some it is nations and for others it is a home. We are all held accountable for how we lead and how we act in that responsibility. I have hope in the belief that those leaders who are unjust and unkind, will be held accountable for that in the eternities, because I believe in the justice of God. But as much as I hope for that, I must remember that I need to be the best leader in my home, so that I do not hold the same fate for making bad choices as well.

There is nothing wrong with punishment that is deserving for the crimes committed. Suffering for crimes is like the suffering for our sins that is an eternal principle. As a mother, it can be difficult at times to figure out what punishment is appropriate for the wrongs that are done in my home, but I know that there would be absolute craziness and a lack of respect for any rules if there were not any consequences. As saints, it is our duty to own up to our own mistakes, to take the appropriate consequences as they come and to repent fully for them. We do not consider ourselves above any laws. We are bound to uphold them as citizens of our countries. If we are striving to be honest citizens, then we will not do anything to stop another from proper punishment, and we will not cover up any crimes. We can and should still show love for anyone who has done something wrong, while allowing the consequences to be put into action. Punishment is in place for the benefit of all men and women.

9 We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.
10 We believe that all religious societies have a right to deal with their members for disorderly conduct, according to the rules and regulations of such societies; provided that such dealings be for fellowship and good standing; but we do not believe that any religious society has authority to try men on the right of property or life, to take from them this world’s goods, or to put them in jeopardy of either life or limb, or to inflict any physical punishment upon them. They can only excommunicate them from their society, and withdraw from them their fellowship.

There is wisdom in keeping the laws and rules of the land in the control of those who lead the land, and separately keeping the laws and rules of any religion in the control of those who lead that religious group. Although, I have a desire for all men to believe as I do and to worship as I do, that does not mean that the leaders of a church should have control over a land. We cannot learn and grow if we are not given the choice to worship freely. I am happy when there are good, religious individuals as leaders in the government, because a righteous influence for good is ideal. But the church should leave the control of government to those who have been chosen to lead it. Likewise, any government should allow the churches to lead their own churches, as long as there is nothing that they do contrary to the laws of the land.

11 We believe that men should appeal to the civil law for redress of all wrongs and grievances, where personal abuse is inflicted or the right of property or character infringed, where such laws exist as will protect the same; but we believe that all men are justified in defending themselves, their friends, and property, and the government, from the unlawful assaults and encroachments of all persons in times of exigency, where immediate appeal cannot be made to the laws, and relief afforded.
12 We believe it just to preach the gospel to the nations of the earth, and warn the righteous to save themselves from the corruption of the world; but we do not believe it right to interfere with bond-servants, neither preach the gospel to, nor baptize them contrary to the will and wish of their masters, nor to meddle with or influence them in the least to cause them to be dissatisfied with their situations in this life, thereby jeopardizing the lives of men; such interference we believe to be unlawful and unjust, and dangerous to the peace of every government allowing human beings to be held in servitude.

Any person has the god-given right to defend themselves, their loved ones, and their own property. There are appropriate ways to deal with any abuse or attack that comes against us, and we should be wise in doing what is appropriate. Likewise, governments should have a responsibility to provide help in the appropriate situations. If, however, a government chooses not to help or is unable to help, when assistance is fully deserved, there is a right to our own defense against attacks.

As saints, we are believers in taking the gospel to the world. However, it is a gospel of peace and if preaching the gospel would put the peace or safety of others in jeopardy, it is not the right time for it. We do not believe that people should not be allowed to hear the gospel, but we will respect the laws of the lands. If we live righteously, and if as a church we are being strengthened and fortified, the Lord will open doors for the gospel in places where it has not been allowed before. I believe this is true.

I am so grateful for the safety that comes from having a government in place. I am glad that I live in a country that allows as much freedom as I have. I believe in laws and consequences and I know that we will be blessed by God for being good citizens where ever we live. I believe in freedom, and I am especially grateful to live where I can choose to worship freely and in a time when I do not need to fear for my life because of it. I am very grateful for the saints, who believed as I do now, and who endured through so many trials so that I could live the life of freedom that I have now.

Mosiah, Chapter 27

The relationship among unity, equality, and peace

If the Lord came to my home tomorrow, I would be honored more than anything.  I think I would clean the house from top to bottom, have our best clothes picked out for my family, have my daughter brush up on some primary songs, and so on.  I think on top of it all, I would take a personal inventory to see if I am truly doing what I should be, today.  Having just taken the sacrament yesterday, I don’t feel like I have anything major that would make me feel ashamed, but I know we are always in need of improvement.

“And the Lord did visit them and prosper them, and they became a large and wealthy people (v. 7).”  The Nephites had this opportunity.

How did they make this possible?  “And now it came to pass that the persecutions which were inflicted on the church by the unbelievers became so great that the church began to murmur, and complain to their leaders concerning the matter; and they did complain to Alma. And Alma laid the case before their king, Mosiah. And Mosiah consulted with his priests (v. 1).  And it came to pass that king Mosiah sent a proclamation throughout the land round about that there should not any unbeliever persecute any of those who belonged to the church of God (v. 2).  And there was a strict command throughout all the churches that there should be no persecutions among them, that there should be an equality among all men (v. 3); That they should let no pride nor haughtiness disturb their peace; that every man should esteem his neighbor as himself, laboring with their own hands for their support (v. 4).  Yea, and all their priests and teachers should labor with their own hands for their support, in all cases save it were in sickness, or in much want; and doing these things, they did abound in the grace of God (v. 5).”  They established freedom of religion, they established peace, they did not allow for anyone to think they were better than another and everyone did their own work, rather than take from what others did for them.

In D&C 38:27 we read, “Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.”  Then in D&C 70:14 we read, “Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld.”  This pattern of living is God’s design for us.  If we treat each other equally and with a love for all mankind, we can live together as God’s children and have the spirit with us as a whole.  This is why, they could have the Savior visit; because they were at peace, loved and respected one another, and could feel the spirit more abundantly as a people.

“And there began to be much peace again in the land; and the people began to be very numerous, and began to scatter abroad upon the face of the earth, yea, on the north and on the south, on the east and on the west, building large cities and villages in all quarters of the land (v. 6).”  This way of life, brings peace and prosperity to all.  We may not be able to affect the entire land, but we can bring this feeling to our homes and prepare them for the Savior’s coming.  Within our home, we need to establish the same things; peace, equality, love for everyone, good work ethics and provident living habits. If we can teach our families these things, they will prosper abroad as well, just as those Nephites did as they grew.

What was the mission of Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah?

And now it came to pass that the persecutions which were inflicted on the church by the unbelievers became so great that the church began to murmur, and complain to their leaders concerning the matter; and they did complain to Alma. And Alma laid the case before their king, Mosiah. And Mosiah aconsulted with his priests.
2 And it came to pass that king Mosiah sent a proclamation throughout the land round about that there should not any unbeliever apersecute any of those who belonged to the church of God.
3 And there was a strict command throughout all the churches that there should be no apersecutions among them, that there should be an bequality among all men;
4 That they should let no pride nor haughtiness disturb their apeace; that every man should besteem his cneighbor as himself, dlaboring with their own hands for their support.
5 Yea, and all their priests and teachers ashould blabor with their own hands for their support, in all cases save it were in sickness, or in much want; and doing these things, they did abound in the cgrace of God.

I hope they call me on a mission / When I have grown a foot or two. / I hope by then I will be ready / To teach and preach and work as missionaries do.

I hope that I can share the gospel / With those who want to know the truth. / I want to be a missionary / And serve and help the Lord while I am in my youth.

My husband served a mission for the church to Oklahoma/Texas, one of my brothers served a mission in England, and my youngest brother is now serving a mission in Japan.  I have been greatly blessed by these and the many others that our families and friends have served.  A missionary is blessed as they gain stronger testimonies of the gospel and Jesus Christ, they learn to truly love people, they learn how to take care of themselves, they learn what service is, and they can feel the spirit stronger as the devote their lives to serving God.  This knowledge and these feelings can continue to bless their lives after they have served.  Missions help the church because they help it to grow.  Missions help bring people to Christ.  Missions help people to become one in purpose and to love and serve one another.

“Now the sons of Mosiah were numbered among the unbelievers; and also one of the sons of Alma was numbered among them, he being called Alma, after his father; nevertheless, he became a very wicked and an idolatrous man. And he was a man of many words, and did speak much flattery to the people; therefore he led many of the people to do after the manner of his iniquities (v. 8 ).  And he became a great hinderment to the prosperity of the church of God; stealing away the hearts of the people; causing much dissension among the people; giving a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over them (v. 9).  And now it came to pass that while he was going about to destroy the church of God, for he did go about secretly with the sons of Mosiah seeking to destroy the church, and to lead astray the people of the Lord, contrary to the commandments of God, or even the king (v.. 10)—”  Alma and his friends were on a mission to destroy the church of God and lead the people astray.

I think that most people who want, try and succeed in leading people astray, do it because they cannot justify what they want to do or have done unless they have others to do it with them.  Each of us is born with an idea of what is right and wrong, but when we choose wrong, we want others to make us feel better for it.  “Misery loves company.”  When we stray from the path, it is hard to think that we can ever come back and feel comfortable with those who have stayed on it.  Those who lead others astray are being the most selfish people that was ever possible.  Because it is selfish to take away another’s happiness to make yourself feel better about what you do.

Do I need a conversion experience like Alma the Younger’s? “

Paul the Apostle: Paul, from the New Testament, persecuted the Church but was “converted to its truth after seeing a vision of Jesus Christ.”  He went by Saul, until the beginning of his mission to the Gentiles.  He became a great missionary  (see “Paul” in the Guide to the Scriptures).

Enos:  “A Nephite prophet and record keeper in the Book of Mormon who prayed for and received a remission of his sins through his faith in Christ (Enos 1: 1-8). The Lord covenanted with Enos to bring forth the Book of Mormon to the Lamanites (Enos 1: 15-17).” (see also “Enos” in the Guide to the Scriptures.)

Alma the Younger:  Persecuted the Church while young but was converted by an angel.  He became the first chief judge and later a prophet.  He was a great teacher of the Nephites (see “Alma, Son of Alma” in the Guide to the Scriptures).

“And as I said unto you, as they were going about rebelling against God, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto them; and he descended as it were in a cloud; and he spake as it were with a voice of thunder, which caused the earth to shake upon which they stood (v. 11);  And so great was their astonishment, that they fell to the earth, and understood not the words which he spake unto them (v. 12).  Nevertheless he cried again, saying: Alma, arise and stand forth, for why persecutest thou the church of God? For the Lord hath said: This is my church, and I will establish it; and nothing shall overthrow it, save it is the transgression of my people (v. 13).  And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith (v. 14).  And now behold, can ye dispute the power of God? For behold, doth not my voice shake the earth? And can ye not also behold me before you? And I am sent from God (v. 15).  Now I say unto thee: Go, and remember the captivity of thy fathers in the land of Helam, and in the land of Nephi; and remember how great things he has done for them; for they were in bondage, and he has delivered them. And now I say unto thee, Alma, go thy way, and seek to destroy the church no more, that their prayers may be answered, and this even if thou wilt of thyself be cast off (v. 16).”

The Lord sent an angel to deal with Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah, because they persecuted the people.  Those same people prayed with so much faith that the Lord saw it fit to stop these wicked men.  Alma and his friends saw an angel and heard him speak to them.

“And now it came to pass that these were the last words which the angel spake unto Alma, and he departed (v. 17).  And now Alma and those that were with him fell again to the earth, for great was their astonishment; for with their own eyes they had beheld an angel of the Lord; and his voice was as thunder, which shook the earth; and they knew that there was nothing save the power of God that could shake the earth and cause it to tremble as though it would part asunder (v. 18 ).  And now the astonishment of Alma was so great that he became dumb, that he could not open his mouth; yea, and he became weak, even that he could not move his hands; therefore he was taken by those that were with him, and carried helpless, even until he was laid before his father (v. 19).”  Alma was so astonished that he was struck dumb and could not move.

“And they rehearsed unto his father all that had happened unto them; and his father rejoiced, for he knew that it was the power of God (v. 20).  And he caused that a multitude should be gathered together that they might witness what the Lord had done for his son, and also for those that were with him (v. 21).”  Because Alma was a man of God, he knew what had happened and was glad that God had given his son this awesome experience.  He felt so strong about what had happened that he wanted others to see and know of it.

“And he caused that the priests should assemble themselves together; and they began to fast, and to pray to the Lord their God that he would open the mouth of Alma, that he might speak, and also that his limbs might receive their strength—that the eyes of the people might be opened to see and know of the goodness and glory of God (v. 22).  And it came to pass after they had fasted and prayed for the space of two days and two nights, the limbs of Alma received their strength, and he stood up and began to speak unto them, bidding them to be of good comfort (v. 23):”  The priests fasted and prayed for 2 days and 2 nights before Alma received his strength and was able to speak again.

“For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit (v. 24).”  Alma, the younger, had been converted by the spirit.

It doesn’t take this kind of experience for one to be converted.  In fact, most people do not have any big moment or happening that converts them all at once.  I think most of us are slowly converted over time and because of many small spiritual experiences.  This is the way life works.  Some people have stronger testimonies than others.  This is why we work on it our entire lives.  To some is given the gift to be able to believe on the words of others, where some need to be strongly persuaded by the spirit.  We are all different and in different places in our lives, so people do not always have the same testimony of the same things.  As we strive to live in unity, as discussed earlier, we can get closer to that place where we are all one with the purpose of God and therefore have a full and complete testimony of the gospel and Jesus Christ.

What is a “new creature”?

The manual gives an example of sin and repentance.  “… driving [a] nail slightly into [a] board … is like committing sin. … pulling the nail out of the board is like repentance.  … the hole [that remains] reminds us of our sins so that we will never repeat it.”

“And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters (v. 25); And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God (v. 26).  I say unto you, unless this be the case, they must be cast off; and this I know, because I was like to be cast off (v. 27).”  When the nail is removed from the board, it is as close to it’s original state as it can be, just as repentance removes our sin and puts as back on track.  The mark that is left is the only thing that is different.  When we truly repent, we may remember what the sin did to us, so that we do not do it again, but our board is perfect again, it is new.  In this sense we are “new creatures”, not the same creatures changed.

Sorrowing sin vs. freeing forgiveness

Feelings that come with the recognition of sin: “… wading through much tribulation … everlasting burning (v. 28 )…”, “… gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity … darkest abyss … soul was cracked with eternal torment (v. 29)”.

Feelings that come with forgiveness: “… born of God (v. 28)”, “soul hath been redeemed … behold the marvelous light of God … soul is pained no more (v. 29)”, “… they may foresee that [the Redeemer] will come, and that he remembereth every creature of his creating, he will make himself manifest unto all (v. 30).”.

What we will do when the Savior comes: “Yea, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him. Yea, even at the last day, when all men shall stand to be judged of him, then shall they confess that he is God; then shall they confess, who live without God in the world, that the judgment of an everlasting punishment is just upon them; and they shall quake, and tremble, and shrink beneath the glance of his all-searching eye (v. 31).”

If we repent and are forgiven before Christ comes, we will not feel the guilt of our sins in his presence.  We will be among those who rejoice instead of those who are quaking, trembling, and shrinking in fear of the judgement.

How can you tell when someone has become a “new creature”?

“And now it came to pass that Alma began from this time forward to teach the people, and those who were with Alma at the time the angel appeared unto them, traveling round about through all the land, publishing to all the people the things which they had heard and seen, and preaching the word of God in much tribulation, being greatly persecuted by those who were unbelievers, being smitten by many of them (v. 32).  But notwithstanding all this, they did impart much consolation to the church, confirming their faith, and exhorting them with long-suffering and much travail to keep the commandments of God (v. 33).  And four of them were the sons of Mosiah; and their names were Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and Himni; these were the names of the sons of Mosiah (v. 34).  And they traveled throughout all the land of Zarahemla, and among all the people who were under the reign of king Mosiah, zealously striving to repair all the injuries which they had done to the church, confessing all their sins, and publishing all the things which they had seen, and explaining the prophecies and the scriptures to all who desired to hear them (v. 35).  And thus they were instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, to the knowledge of their Redeemer (v. 36).  And how blessed are they! For they did publish peace; they did publish good tidings of good; and they did declare unto the people that the Lord reigneth (v. 37).”

When they were converted they wanted everyone to know what they had experienced and they wanted to share their new found testimonies.  The stood strong in the face of adversity.  They made restitution for the things they had done to the church and it’s people.  And they taught the people to obey the commandments of God and about the gospel.  They showed they were new creatures, by truly changing their ways and giving their lives to God for His purposes.  Because of their conversion, they were blessed with forgiveness from God, and they brought the gospel to many people, which led to the conversion of thousands of souls even after they were no longer alive.  They were great missionaries and we can all be like them, if we will strive to be greater coverts to the gospel of Christ.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
Testimony

Testimony

I made an album with my dad in 2011. Check it out!

Testimony

NEW!!! Digital Downloads (mp3) available directly from the site.

Current Study

Currently I am studying the The Old Testament. I will be studying from the LDS - King James Version of the Bible (see link below). I am studying along with the book, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Old Testament by Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen.

Learn More:

The Book of Mormon

You can order a free copy of the Book of Mormon here:

Book of Mormon Request

Archives

Follow me on Facebook:

My Wonderful Husband and Artist


%d bloggers like this: