THE GREAT QUESTION OF LIFE!
THE GREAT QUESTION OF TELESTIAL LIFE
The greatest question that occupies our minds continuously and for which we search the whole world over to find a sensible reason for all that we are experiencing in this Telestial physical world as Eternal Spirit beings of Light.
Where can I go to find that Love which I am missing here, so I can possess it and feel good about my Self again?
The Answer is CHRIST Jesus!!! Our PRECIOUS Saviour, our Bridegroom and Redeemer, Our Lord Omnipotent, Father of heaven and Earth, Creator of ALL THINGS from the Beginning, His Name IS the ONLY Name whereby we might be saved, delivered and granted the Gift of Eternal Life, encircled in the Arms of His Love.
Here is God’s loving warning in our operator/owner manual (the Scriptures): TRUST NOT IN THE ARM OF FLESH!!! CURSED IS HE THAT TRUSTETH IN THE ARM OF FLESH!!!!
If we will do as Alma told his son Shiblon: For as much as ye shall put your trust in Christ, even so much ye shall be delivered out of ALL your trials, troubles, afflictions, temptations, lusts, envyings, Jealousy, egotistical Selfishness, fear, pride, negativity, Hate, grudges, fighting, blame, relationship problems, greed, sin and death and you SHALL BE LIFTED UP, comforted, gifted Eternal Life, Peace, Love, Joy WITH Him. So if we put one-Half our trust in Christ, then we may only expect Him to Deliver us one-half of the way.
What really is “the ATONEMENT”??? It is AT-ONE-ment – for that is what the New Covenant is that HE offered to us.
M. Catherine Thomas pointed out clearly:
“The word At-One-ment comes in the English when early translators were translating the scriptures: As they came across the word “RECONCILE” or other words about what God condescended to earth in the flesh to do, they made up a word in English – AT-ONE-MENT. In some places they used the word Reconcile, but others they used AT-ONE-MENT, to At-One something or somebodies, to bring estranged and alienated things into a state of AT-ONE-MENT, meshing with each others, reconciliation with each other, back into loving relationship, not torn asunder with fighting and division and competition and contention. He said: IF ye are NOT ONE, ye are not Mine. To BE Zion is to Be of ONE Heart and ONE MIND. Zion is not so much a Place as a condition of OUR HEART – being ONE with Him and each other.”
The New Covenant is especially clarified in the Hebrew word Kaphar: which means to forgive, to cover, to justify and cleanse, to have a CLOSE EMBRACE with. And the Arimaic (language spoken by Jesus) definition of Forgive is: To restore to the original state. The real image and meaning of AT-ONE-Ment is NOT His death and suffering and sacrifice and pain, but the INFINITE PERFECT LOVE that He showed for us to do that for us and to Re-Concile us or bring us Back into the original perfect state of AT-ONE-MENT by His Love. The image is being encircled in or by Someone – for example being encircled eternally in the Arms of His love – as Lehi said he was.
There are so many words for At-ONE-ment: Being in One, Oneness, Unity, United, Holy Order, gathering, Equal, cleaving, sealing, welding, linking, embracing, RECEIVING, - the Key word in Scripture, I am the True Light that is IN you, and you are IN Me. I am the Vine, Ye are the branches. We are ONE – otherwise, we could not even exist. (D&C 88) So then every time we read or hear or see the word: Atonement – we can change our perspective by knowing that the word means:
To be RE-conciled back in to One with Christ - back in the one complete perfect being in total harmony and love that we have always been since the beginning of Eternity. Here is the picture of Oneness: John 15: 1-5 “I (Christ) AM the VINE “(the whole plant of creation). “Ye are the branches” (On that ONE complete VINE). “Ye can do No thing without Me”(because if we are NOT part of the Vine, we can bear fruit or accomplish anything of eternal value. The idea that we are separated from Him, is an Illusion and is a magnanimous fallacy concocted by Pharisees to obtain control and steal your “Life” from you. I call it Separation Theology – and it has been perpetrated by “the Pride of the world”. On the other hand, we may come to realization that we have always been One with Him, and that he is ALWAYS with us, and we may BE “IN HIS PRESENCE RIGHT NOW, and as He said in John 17” “I am come that they may BE ONE, as I am One with thee, Father - that they may be One (again) IN us”.
Telestial Life is truly an interesting experience – Fighting, Trying to free ourselves from Fear and Guilt and Pain, extreme contrast between what people think and believe, Exalting our self, seeking for power and possessions and pleasure and position among men and praise of others and God, looking for “love” in all the wrong places.
Some think that Life is mostly pain and then you die.
We all search to find Life’s real purpose. WHAT IS IT???
Some think that Life is a test or final exam and that if you make a mistake, you flunk and go to heck and do not pass go and do not collect the $200.
Some think that Life is constant problems and challenges meant to defeat us and that we have to battle those who bring us those problems and challenges.
One big shock of being a bishop is discovering that everyone has problems bigger than your own. Everyone should have this opportunity, so we will stop complaining about our problems by seeing that everyone else’s are just as much or greater.
Some think that life is a Game we must win or a ladder we must climb to prove ourselves worthy to become the King and God of our own Dominion over others.
Some of us live in constant fear that we will make a mistake or something bad will happen or that we will not be good enough to get into Heaven.
Some of us are afraid our children will make a wrong choice so we hover over them like a helicopter only to discover that they rebel against that and choose to make all the mistakes we feared.
Some of us think that God has threatened to disown us if we are not good enough.
We all have a fairly long list in our minds that we use to constantly judge and compare ourselves with those around us. You know the list. Good or Evil, Right or Wrong, Member or Non, Rich or Poor, Beaut or Ugly, Light or Dark, Good Hair or Bad Hair, Important or “A Loser”, A Leader or a Peon WORKER BEE, Loved or NOT.
Elder Jeffrey Holland called it the “Worlds scale of measuring” where we think that if someone else has more blessings or money or higher position in the synagogue, Then they are MORE loved by God. I call it “The Tree of Competition”. And the higher up in that Tree we get, the more BLESSED we are, and more successful in Life. It is the tree of envy and jealousy and Pride and Ladder Climbing – just like everyone does in the CORPORATE WORLD. We are imprisoned in Corporate thinking. We even think of God in a Corporate setting as the “great CEO” – Chief Executive Officer of the Universe. And we think of Christ as our brother, a man like us, who came down to the lower floor to teach us a few good things and take a whipping for us. What a shallow view of God and Christ and ourselves to subscribe to that false view.
On that tree we judge each other and contend and compare and we climb a ladder to “BE BETTER”. Better than Who?
Some of us think that if we live the 613 laws perfectly or rules that govern that Tree by the heads of the Corporation, then I will become perfect just like Jesus and then I can win and have all power and possess all things, and then I will be happy and succeed and pass the TEST.
And if I don’t get myself on the Right Side of the List of Judgment, then God will not pay me what I have earned and He will never give me what I want – or think I deserve.
And many of us think that those who don’t believe as I do are my enemy.
And many of us think that if I fight my enemy and the EVIL that I judge in others, that I am automatically considered by God to be on the GOOD Side, the RIGHT Side, I am IN the inner sanctum – the ONLY True Club – the Highest Glory - TO ME. I WIN!!!
Lehi and Nephi talked about this tree (or perspective) – in a vision they had concerning it – and another Tree (Perspective). And we learn about this Tree EVERY Time we go to the temple, but somehow it does not register with us that we are living on this tree and this Tree has become our PURPOSE IN LIFE.
Some of the things that occur for me when living on this Tree is:
1. Everything in life is about ME winning and succeeding and competing to Beat others,
2. To get power and possessions and to get the highest position in life and to earn the Praise of others and to EARN God’s love and REWARDS. It’s all about ME.
3. I am in a rush to become the greatest and most important ONE. I become SELFISH and Self Centered. I must not only survive this Test of Life, but win all the Rewards and blessings and GET “Power” and dominion over others.
4. I believe I am separate from God and that God gets angry at me when I don’t Do everything just RIGHT. I MUST Be right. I live in fear that I will fail. I blame others when things don’t go my way. I seek to EXALT myself above others. Life is stressful and I live in fear that I will not make it, and ego pride when I do right. My relationships are severely damaged by my need to BE RIGHT. I attempt to convince others by threats and fear that they also will not climb the ladder fast enough and achieve Eternal life and exaltation by sheer self will and personal strength. I pity those who are weak, but too bad for them. I am going to Conquer – even if it kills me and even if I have to sever loving relationships because of my need to WIN and be on the Right Side.
I have lived this way for 50 years – banging my head against that wall of AMBITION AND “WINNING AND ACHIEVING AND MAKING MY SELF RIGHTEOUS and trying UN-successfully to Perfect and exalt myself – because in the tradition of my fathers that is what I was taught. And I have failed miserably, and I have told Him that. And I have asked Him, that since the path laid out before me does not work, is there not an better WAY? And He said by the Spirit: My son, I thought you would never ask! He said to me as he did when He chastised the Pharisees and Lawyers:
Search the Scriptures, for in them, you “think” you have eternal life. But they are they that testify of Me, but you will NOT Come unto Me that you may (actually Re-Ceive) Eternal Life.
NOW- here is the paradox we find in scripture. God has said to become as Little children and exalt NOT yourselves (D&C 112). Our sinfulness in seeking to do this is what separates us from God. I will elaborate.
Our Saviour came to save us from this foolish ladder climbing and power seeking and rushing to become something great and important - as He said:
“Come unto Me, all ye that labor so much and are heavy laden (with all we have to do to exalt ourselves, and I Will give you Rest – for My Burden is LIGHT.”
And: “God so loved the world that He gave His ONLY begotten Son. He sent NOT His Son into the world to Condemn and Judge the world, but that His children might be saved” from their self-ishness and self-centeredness and self-righteousness. So why are we trying to become His ONLY begotten Son?
He asked us to forget about ourselves and Seek His glory, not our own, and to waste and wear out our lives bringing to LIGHT the hidden things of darkness.
He asked us to COME UNTO CHRIST, and love God with all our hearts, and turn back to Him (Repent) and deny ourselves of our UN Godliness (which is”) and sacrifice a broken heart (give it to Him), and then BY HIS GRACE He promised to PERFECT me and make me clean every whit and sanctify me of my Natural Man self.
THIS IS THE GREAT COVENANT HE MADE WITH US as shown by MORONI in the last words of the Book of Mormon (Moroni 10:32-33)
He made a covenant with me to do that for me and to suffer so I would not have to, and take upon Him all my foolishness and all my weakness and that HE would make me strong and REDEEM me by HIS Righteousness. NOT mine.
He told me through Paul, the great apostle of Christ, that my Salvation is ONLY by His Grace, so that NO man could boast (of doing it themselves). He said that “If righteousness were by the Law, then Christ is dead in vain.
He told us through James, that “where Envy, Jealousy, and SELFISH AMBITION EXIST, THERE IS DISORDER and EVERY EVIL THING” James 3:15
He told me through the Prophet Joseph that “The Righteousness of man IS Sin”.
When we seek to make ourselves Righteous by our own strength and our many “good works”, because of our ambition to be great and important in the eyes of men AND God, rather than RECEIVE His Righteousness, we are found wallowing in the Abyss of EGO self, which we will find always results in Sin, Hell, Pain and Sorrow, and Suffering and Torment. We reject His offering to save, perfect, and change us. And many of us think we are here to become just like Him – WHY???
SO that we can “do our own work”, and do not need His help? OR that I can become my own Christ – or worse, so that I can become my own God? Check out what He says about that in D&C 1: 15-16 – that is Idol Worship, and the Breaking of our New and Everlasting Covenant with Him.
He tells us that the way we break our New and Everlasting covenant with Him (that we made with Him in the existence before this one) is by seeking our own righteousness and by seeking to become mour own God. Please study D&C 1:15-16.
15 For ye have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;
16 Ye seek not the Lord to establish His righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own SELF AS God, whose image is…. an idol.
He said in D&C 45 about what He would say about me at the great judgment bar:
3. Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him—
(Saying WHAT????) 4. 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;
5. Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on My Name, that they may Come unto Me and have everlasting life.
6. Hearken, O ye people of my church, listen together, and hear my voice today, and harden not your hearts;
7. For I say unto you that I AM the beginning and the end, the light and the life of the world—a light that shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
8. I came unto mine own, and mine own received me not; but unto as many as received me gave I power to be the sons & Daughters of God; and even unto them that believe on My Name gave I power to RECEIVE eternal life.
Did you notice that He did not talk about all the great things that we do to “earn” salvation and Eternal Life??? That is because we cannot earn those Greatest Gifts of God, but ONLY can Re-Ceive them with Gratefullness! (D&C 6 and 14) There is no scripture that says we earn salvation or Eternal Life or Exaltation. All good things are Gifts from a Loving Father and Mother.
“What doth is profit a man if a Gift is given him and he Re-Ceive NOT the Gift? He neither rejoices in the Gift, nor in the Giver of the Gift.” D&C 88
He told me that: “I am the Vine and you are a Branch on the VINE, and you can DO nothing without Me.”
He told me that since I had fallen by partaking of THE TREE, that I could merit NOTHING of my self, and that I should RELY WHOLLY Upon His Merits. What part of Relying WHOLLY ON HIS MERITS do we NOT understand???
He told me through King Benjamin that we had all fallen in the same way as Adam and Eve (by partaking of “THAT TREE”) Otherwise, why am I being punished in this hell for Adams transgression?
And in many more ways He told me that ONLY He could save me and perfect me and make me righteous and sanctify me if only I would RECEIVE His Holy Spirit.
And finally He told me that He did not send me here to WIN and ACHIEVE;
He said: He that Loseth His Self Life for Me, Shall find Eternal Life (and My Joy and My Love and My Peace).
He told me through Mormon & PAUL that even if I lay down my life and have ALL knowledge, do all kinds of wonderful works, if I do it for any other reason than just because of His Love, that it would all be for nothing, and that everything would fail! - Except His PURE LOVE.
And The Lord reminded me that of the foolishness of thinking that if I could just develop that Christ-like quality of Love, then I could make myself righteous and WIN and achieve Eternal Life.
He reminded me that we CAN NOT earn or Develop that Pure Love, but rather it is BESTOWED as a gift upon ALL Those who choose to Come unto Christ and surrender our Natural Man ego to Him and allow ourselves to be Completely stripped of our vanity and pride, ONLY then would my self centered egotistical sinfulness be cleansed from Me.
He told me that Eternal Life and Salvation is SOLELY a Gift from Him, bestowed upon all those Who Believe in Him and who Come unto Him and who RECEIVE His PURE Love AS A Gift from a Loving Father who chooses for me to live a whole different life in Love and Joy and Peace.
President Faust told us: Our salvation and Eternal Life DEPENDS entirely on Believing in and accepting the AT-ONE-MENT!!! Through the At-One-Ment, which lies beyond comprehension of mortal man, the Savior’s Grace is activated IN us, which purifies us, changes our hearts, and CAN perfect us.
Elder Wirthlin said: Eternal Life is Gift from a Loving Father, offered FREELY and LIBERALLY TO ALL who COME UNTO HIS SON, Jesus the Christ IS “THE WAY, THE TRUTH, & THE LIFE; NO ONE COMETH UNTO THE FATHER, BUT BY HIM.
IS THERE STILL A QUESTION IN OUR MINDS AS TO WHY WE SHOULD COME UNTO HIM??? Elder Scott told us in the Layton Northridge stake in 1992: WE HAVE A SERIOUS PROBLEM IN THE CHURCH!!! We have been teaching each other to “Come unto “THE” Church, when we should have been teaching one another to Come unto Christ.”
How many of us think you know what it means to Come unto Christ? Who is Christ? Where is Christ now? Is He just our brother who did a good deed for us? We might learn something if we were to actually study our scriptures.
Elder Scott also taught that: “The ONLY FUNCTION OF a Priest-hood “Holder” is to point all others to a “DIRECT” relationship with Christ – so the He can save them. He said: DO NOT ever put your self between Christ and one of His Children – don’t you EVER do that!!!”
Then he told me through Pres. Harold B Lee to search through 2 Nephi 2 to find our real purpose in Life – for that is the only place in scripture where I have found we are told the PURPOSE of our Lives – in those very words. Here is the great paradox of paradoxes I found in the ONE scripture explaining our purpose for being here in this Telestial world: 15. And to bring about his eternal purposes of man, after he had created all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.
16. Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other. BOTH!!!
Are we enticed by both ways – Either to live by the Tree of Good vs Evil physical perspective; OR living on the Tree of Eternal Life, Love and Light spiritual perspective. Lehi said to his son Jacob:
2 NEPHI 2: 3-8 Read it over and over until the Spirit reveals to you what it means:
3. I know that thou art redeemed, because of the Righteousness of thy Redeemer
4. And the Way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free.
5. And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.
6. Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through The Holy Messiah; for He is full of grace and HE IS THE truth.
7. Behold, he offered himself a sacrifice for sin (SELF), to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.
8. Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the Presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah….. and they that believe in Him shall be saved.
Nephi pleaded with us twice saying: THE RIGHT WAY IS TO COME UNTO HIM AND BELIEVE IN HIM AND LOVE HIM WITH ALL YOUR HEARTS.
Jesus said: IF YE BELIEVE IN ME, THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NEVER PREVAIL AGAINST YOU. (Are we trying to get “into” Hell? Or are we already in a hell of our own making and trying now to get “out”. The Prophet Joseph said: “Hell is NOT a place. Man’s torment and Hell is IN his own mind.”
Now, all of this is going to bring up all kinds of questions in your mind and skepticism and unbelief and self defense. Take those questions to God and plead with Him to teach you more by His Spirit – He will surely answer you and teach you.
The Prophet Joseph said: ‘If you choose to know and understand anything about your existence, do not go to books for the answers. Go to God and He will teach you.” This treatise has only been to tease you into asking the burning questions of life and to invite you to “Go to God/COME UNTO CHRIST”
HOW MUCH OF SALVATION AND ETERNAL LIFE IS a FREE GIFT?
Alma 11:40 And he shall come into the world to redeem His people; and He shall take upon Him the transgressions of those who believe on His NAME; and these are they that shall have Eternal Life, and salvation cometh to none else. (What does it mean to Believe on His Name? What is HIS NAME?
ALMA 42: 27 Therefore, O my son, whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come; but in the last day it shall be restored unto him according to his (choices).
D&C 14:7 If you keep my commendments and endure to the end you shall have Eternal Life, which gift is the greatest of all the GIFTS of God. (Keeping commendments of God do not Earn us Eternal Life, but rather show our gratitude and love and honor for Him for showering upon us His Love and His Gifts)
D&C 6: 13 If thou wilt do good, yea, and hold out faithful (unto Me) to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the Gifts of God; for there is no Gift greater than the Gift of salvation. (Salvation is entirely a Gift given by God – it is NOT earned – otherwise it would not be a Gift)
Ephesians 2: 8 For by grace ALONE (JST) are ye saved through faith in Him; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
2 Nephi 2:4 And the Way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free!
2 NE 2:27 And all things are gifted that are expedient to man, and you may choose Eternal life through the AT-ONE-Ment of the Holy Messiah (By relying WHOLLY ON HIS MERITS and Looking unto Him in ALL THINGS , OR Captivity and Death by looking to Self and the Arm of Flesh – for cursed is he who looketh to the arm of Flesh.
See Bruce McKonkie’s treatise on Salvation is Entirely 100% based upon His Grace and His Love
SALVATION BY GRACE ALONE?
Elder Bruce R McConkie:
“What salvation is Free? What salvation comes by the grace of God? With all the emphasis of the rolling thunders of Sinai, we answer: ALL SALVATION IS FREE: ALL comes by the merits and mercy and grace of the Holy Messiah; there is NO SALVATION OF ANY KIND, nature, or degree that is not bound to Christ and His At-One-ment.” (Promised Messiah, Page 346-347)
“Does salvation come by grace, by grace alone, by grace without works? It surely does without any question, in all its parts, types, kinds, and degrees. We are saved by grace, without works; it is a gift of God. How else could it come? In His Goodness and Grace the great God ordained and established the plan of salvation. NO WORKS ON OUR PART WERE REQUIRED. In His Goodness and Grace—and this above all—He gave His only Begotten Son to ransom man and all Life from the Fall – the temporal and Spiritual Death. He sent His Son to redeem mankind, to atone for the Sins of the world, to bring to pass the immortality and Eternal Life of man. And again all this comes to us as a FREE GIFT and without works.
There is nothing any man could do to create himself. That was the work of God. And there neither has been, nor is, nor ever can be, any way nor means by which man alone can, by any power he possesses, redeem himself.
We cannot resurrect ourselves any more than we can create ourselves. We cannot create a heavenly abode for the Saints, nor make provision for the continuation of the family unit in eternity, nor bring salvation and exaltation into being!!!
Truly there is no way to overstate the goodness and grandeurs and glories of the Grace of God which bringeth salvation (and Eternal Life). Such wondrous love, such unending mercy, such infinite compassion and condescension---all these can come ONLY from the Eternal God who lives in Eternal Life and desires ALL of His children to be inheritors of Eternal Life.”
“Suppose we have the scriptures, the gospel, the priesthood, the Church, the ordinances, the organization, even the keys of the kingdom---everything that now is down to the last jot and tittle—and yet there is no Atonement of Christ. What then? Can we be saved? Will all our good works save us? Will we be rewarded for all our righteousness? Most assuredly we will NOT!!!!
We are not saved by works, no matter how good! We are saved because God sent His Son to shed His Blood in Gethsemane AND on Calvary that ALL THROUGH HIM MIGHT BE RANSOMED (AND SAVED). WE ARE SAVED BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST!!!” (What Think Ye of Salvation By Grace, Page 47-48, Bruce R McConkie)