Jesus lived and taught the virtues of love and kindness and patience. He also taught the virtues of firmness and resolution and persistence and courageous indignation. These two sets of virtues seem to clash with each other … yet both are necessary. If there were but one, love without discipline, love without deep conviction of right and wrong, without courage to fight the wrong, such love becomes sentimentalism. Conversely, the virtues of righteous indignation without love can be harsh and cruel – President Spencer W. Kimball.
Therefore, I have tried to balance love, kindness, patience, firmness, resolution, persistence and courageous indignation in this post… just like the colors of the rainbow all share their places and are needed for the full array of light.
At the zenith of His mortal ministry, Jesus said, “Love one another, as I have loved you.” To make certain they understood exactly what kind of love that was, He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” and “whosoever … shall break one of [the] least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be … the least in the kingdom of heaven.”18 Christlike love is the greatest need we have on this planet in part because righteousness was always supposed to accompany it. So if love is to be our watchword, as it must be, then by the word of Him who is love personified, we must forsake transgression and any hint of advocacy for it in others. Jesus clearly understood what many in our modern culture seem to forget: that there is a crucial difference between the commandment to forgive sin (which He had an infinite capacity to do) and the warning against condoning it (which He never ever did even once). Friends, especially my young friends, take heart. Pure Christlike love flowing from true righteousness can change the world…. Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them. – Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
It is my belief that the rainbow is the symbol of the love of God for all mankind. It is a symbol of hope of salvation; hope in better days to come. It also represents God’s power to redeem ALL who believe and obey his laws by COVENANT, and his intent to do so forever. It represents the unity of all truth in one great whole. Simultaneously, it is also a symbol of the beauty of variety, uniqueness and individuality within that whole. It has long been a Christian symbol, just like the dove, the butterfly, the Tree, and other symbols which have come, in our modern times, to be ascribed different meanings.
People also ascribe personal meanings to symbols because of their experiences with them or understandings of them. For example, when I was a little girl and heard “ark of the covenant”, I immediately pictured the arc of the rainbow, and thought that was what it was. So I have always personally associated the rainbow with priesthood power and traditional marriage, especially because the passengers on the Ark were 4 married couples who repopulated the earth after The Flood, at least one of whom was a Prophet of God and dispensational head, the courageous Noah.
Though I have long found the hijacking of the rainbow by the LGBTQ to be repellant to my sensibilities, I have been and will continue to be tolerant; granting these children of God the freedom of conscience and moral agency with which He endowed them. However, because of Obergefell v. Hodges and the reaction of so many people on Facebook of jubilantly rainbow-striping their profile pictures, I have felt compelled to raise my voice to teach, correct, defend and witness. This is not bigotry. This is intellectual, philosophical and spiritual self-defense in America’s life-and-death conflict between moral relativism and moral absolutism (Alma 46:12-13). I will teach my children what has become the law of the land, and I will continue to teach my children to love all mankind, but I will NOT teach error as truth!
I hold a feeling of sadness and resentment at being barred from using or displaying this symbol that I so long have loved because of the fear of my moral stance being misunderstood. Had I unknowingly posted a rainbow as my profile picture on June 26, 2015, the symbol would have said the antithesis everything I strive for. I also resent the spirit of compulsion that I feel in this visual/mental assault of rainbow-gayness which is beginning to feel like deliberate social conditioning, even brainwashing. So now hear this: In the righteous revolutionary spirit of Washington, Jefferson, Adams; as well of that of Helaman, Moroni, Mormon and Gideon – patriots of this land’s former days – and with the civilly disobedient fervor of Thoreau, I resist with all my might, mind, heart and strength! l raise my voice to persuade American Christian advocates of traditional marriage to reclaim, uphold and magnify this symbol by teaching the doctrines associated with it, thereby actively ensuring that, no matter what the world does, the rainbow is not shunned away by us into a permanent primary symbolic association with homosexual behavior in society. What happened to the swastika must not happen to the rainbow.
This post is a reflection of my personal beliefs and some conclusions which I have drawn about the rainbow. Though I base my thoughts upon my understanding of the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I am solely responsible for its content. This post is dedicated to the children of the covenant. May its fires always burn bright in you. Hurrah for Israel!
Render Unto Caesar; Render Unto God
Render unto God that which is God’s.
The rainbow is God’s.
The divine institution of marriage is God’s.
By What Authority?
If likened unto the current sociopolitical chaos in the United States,with squabbling Christians being likened unto the children of Isreal during the time of Christ, I can imagine a similar conversation to the one he faced when his authority was challenged. They were debating an ordinance then (baptism), just like they are debating an ordinance now (marriage). I think he might just respond in kind: “The marriage of man and woman. Whence was it? Of heaven or of men?” And I can hear SCOTUS and others deliberating: “If we shall say of heaven, we fear raising the ire of the social activists and the irreligious. If we say of heaven, we fear frustrating the Christians for messing with something outside of our jurisdiction. If we say of men, he will ask, then why are the nine of you presuming to overturn laws and traditions already established by the majority of mankind for hundreds of years? If it is of men, why aren’t you leaving it a social issue instead of power-grabbing by creating it into a government issue?”
An Unjust Law Is No Law At All
Or, as it is said in Latin, as a real legal term, Lex injusta non es lex. Consider this discussion of the 12th Article of Faith. It explains how the punctuation of this article defines the parameters of obedience to civil authority that are required for the faithful Latter-day Saint, or any other Christian.
There have been many who disagree with the LDS position on gay marriage within the LDS community of faith or among their friends and family. Distorted accounts have been all over Facebook on just exactly what was meant by a statement made by D. Todd Christofferson. I like how this blogger clarified the issue. And, to me, the following quote is both profound and succinct.
- The Prophet [Joseph Smith] did not say that any law passed by Congress is the supreme law of the land. He knew better. ‘When a people or a church have received a divine command, and a law is enacted against it, do they not know whether the law is constitutional or not, seeing that Congress is prohibited by that sacred instrument [the Constitution] from passing any law respecting an establishment of religion? And if the Supreme Court, yielding to popular clamor against an unorthodox body rules that the unconstitutional law is constitutional, does that alter the stubborn, patient, invincible fact that the law is in violation of the great guarantee of religious freedom? Any man who says that he really and firmly believes a certain law of God binding on him, and who will not obey it in preference to a conflicting law of man or a decision of court, has either an unsound mind or a cowardly soul, or is a most contemptible hypocrite! A law has been specifically framed against the establishment of their religion. The issue is obedience to God or submission to man; choice between a divine decree about which they have no doubt, and a human enactment that they firmly believe to be unconstitutional and void. It is a matter of conscience.” – Deseret News, July 6, 1886.
I also found this earlier video, made for before the SCOTUS ruling, to be an interesting and compelling argument for the LOGIC of confining the definition of marriage to the traditional heterosexual union: Should Marriage Be Limited To One Man and One Woman?
SYMBOLS: God’s To Give, God’s To Define
God’s to give, God’s to define:
The sign of the dove
The sign of the rainbow
The sign of the altar
The sacrifice for the altar
The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I make this broad declaration, that whenever God gives a vision of an image, or beast, or figure of any kind, He always holds Himself responsible to give a revelation or interpretation of the meaning thereof, otherwise we are not responsible or accountable for our belief in it. Don’t be afraid of being damned for not knowing the meaning of a vision or figure, if God has not given a revelation or interpretation of the subject.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., p. 291.)
Beautiful Zion Built Above Begins With It Being Built Below
The scriptures cited in the picture of Noah above remind me of a song called Beautiful Zion Built Above. The music and lyrics can be found here. The next image of the Hawaii temple includes the JST passage cited.
Then shall the righteous answer him saying, Lord, when saw we thee, a deceased person, an hungering to be found and remembered by his posterity, and fed thee joy, through volunteer indexing and family history research? or thirsty for truth and gave thee the Gospel?
When saw we thee, a stranger to the House of the Lord, and took thee in? Or without the holy robes of the priesthood and clothed thee?
Or when saw we thee sick at heart and took thee to the temple, or an ancestor in spirit prison, and came unto thee as proxy, offering freeing, saving ordinances?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
The Rainbow Chain of Faith In Jesus Christ
I am a builder working each day
To build my family.
And I will do the best I can
To serve them lovingly.
I am a builder growing so tall
And learning ev’ry day.
To speak with kindness in my home,
And help at work and play.
My Heav’nly Father sent me here
And He knows I can be
Strong and righteous as I build my eternal family.
I had the privilege of working in as a LDS branch primary president with a really inspired stake primary presidency. The greatest thing I learned is that miracles, REAL miracles; personal miracles in individual lives, happened as we all exercised faith in Christ. Link by link, we created a paper Rainbow Chain of Faith in Jesus Christ that eventually stretched for an entire mile. This picture is of my children, with links we created over 1 week of prayers, scripture reading, church attendance, service and other acts of discipleship. Link upon link, precept upon precept – every small act of faith in Jesus Christ remembered so the children could see what happens with dilligence and obedience: knitting our souls unto his, and unto each other.
Though it has been many years since then, I have not forgotten the supreme joy I felt in building the kingdom of God together with others of the covenant – children, men, women, young, old, members, leaders, followers, servers – who were just like me: freely willing and freely wanting to follow Him in faith. I still count these days as among the happiest of my life.
I am a builder building a home;
I seek the Lord in prayer.
And as I try to live God’s word
I feel the spirit there.
I am a builder serving the Lord
And following His plan.
To help my fam’ly come back home
And live with Him again.
My Heav’nly Father sent me here.
And He knows I can be
Strong and righteous as I build my eternal family.
Thanks Be For The Simple Gift
“Dankgebet” is German for “prayer of thanks”. I am thankful whenever I do not feel like I have to overshoot the mark: somehow must go “over” the limits that God has placed upon me in order to find happiness and fulfillment. Sometimes I forget. But I believe the truth of the Book of Mormon’s teachings that wickedness never was happiness, and that God will not always suffer his children to take happiness in sin. The only way that we can go “over” the rainbow is really to go through it, to become it. There is a simple path that leads to it and beyond. Beyond, not over; I think that’s really what is meant in the famous song. It is a spiritual homesickness that everybody feels because we really aren’t from here. We came from God. The simple path that leads back to him and to a life beyond, with him, has a gateway. The gateway is to always accept the gift of our Savior’s love by repenting for it, acting for it, living for it, loving for it. Then, just like the happy little bluebirds, we will make it home. Like Dorothy of Oz discovered, the power is already within us. Desire it, believe it and shut out the voices that say it isn’t so (Moses 5:13). We ARE children of God and we can make it back. Getting back home is the simple gift of the profound love of our Heavenly Father.
Signs Follow Them That Believe
Virtue is the spirit of life, and virtue loves virtue. It happens naturally, without any compulsion at all. And when it happens enough, a bond is formed. We just have to keep holding onto it by keeping our end of the bargain. This tie is unseen, invisible to many in the world, but it is real all the same. It is a tie that binds us to God and his promises (D&C 88:40, 121:46, 82:10. Mark 16:20)
Pictured above is one of many rainbows our family has seen in connection with significant events. This particular rainbow appeared over the house of a friend the day they lost their husband and father, reminding us all of an old song, I’ll Build You A Rainbow, used in the LDS seminary program in the late 1970’s, early 80’s. The video is embedded below:
The Father Of Lights
Is Always Surrounded By Rainbows
A House Divided
The scriptures have already laid out the standards for sexual behavior and for marriage. Did God suddenly change his mind? No, he hasn’t. I believe he lives! I believe that he speaks through modern prophets and apostles today, just as in the past. It is my sincere belief that The Family: A Proclamation To The World came from the mouth of the Lord and is his mind and will concerning personal identity, the divine institution of marriage and the importance of family. I was just entering adulthood when these teachings were given to members, and I was like, DUH! It’s so obvious. Of course marriage is between a man and a woman! Of course you are born male or female. I didn’t see what was coming, but God and his prophets and apostles did.
Because I Love You,
I Will Always Tell You The Truth
The challenge we may confront is remaining loyal to the Savior and His Church in the face of parents, in-laws, brothers or sisters, or even our children whose conduct, beliefs, or choices make it impossible to support both Him and them. It is not a question of love. We can and must love one another as Jesus loves us. As He said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” But, the Lord reminds us, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”So although familial love continues, relationships may be interrupted and, according to the circumstances, even support or tolerance at times suspended for the sake of our higher love.
In reality, the best way to help those we love—the best way to love them—is to continue to put the Savior first. If we cast ourselves adrift from the Lord out of sympathy for loved ones who are suffering or distressed, then we lose the means by which we might have helped them. If, however, we remain firmly rooted in faith in Christ, we are in a position both to receive and to offer divine help. If (or I should say when) the moment comes that a beloved family member wants desperately to turn to the only true and lasting source of help, he or she will know whom to trust as a guide and a companion. In the meantime, with the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide, we can perform a steady ministry to lessen the pain of poor choices and bind up the wounds insofar as we are permitted. Otherwise, we serve neither those we love nor ourselves. – Elder D. Todd Christofferson
Pay close attention to that quote by Elder D. Todd Christofferson. It comes from a loving, beautiful address he recently gave to young adults, called Saving Your Life. I believe the very fact that I even found the talk was an answer to prayer.
My heart was hurting with feelings of rejection and betrayal. I was deeply comforted by the passage above because I have been on both sides of it now. I was once the Prodigal, and my family and church members had to deal with me and all my issues. Now I am the parent, waiting for my Prodigal. While I was a Prodigal there were a few really, REALLY hard lessons I learned. Now, to try and avoid offense, I freely admit, up front, that I am human. I make mistakes, commit transgressions and I have, do and, no doubt, will yet sin (though I am trying to curb the sinning part). So when I address others, yes, the pointing finger is also pointing back at me.
The Crucial Difference:
Forgiving Sin vs Condoning Sin
The LGBTQ crowd quote the “don’t cast the first stone” part but do not remember that the Lords rebuke of the accusers of the woman taken in sin was in defense of a woman he knew would go, and sin no more; NOT in defense of an unrepentant person intent on leaving him and his laws, to return – like a dog to it’s vomit – back to her sins.
This partial quote of Christian belief, used as a weapon against us, is exactly what the philosophies of men mingled with scripture looks like. Leave out a part of the whole message and it is NOT the message.
Accounts in apocryphal literature relate that when Jesus wrote in the sand and didn’t at first answer the woman’s accusers, he was writing down what her accusers sins were in the sand, including naming sexual sins like adultery, that some had committed. The accusers saw what he wrote and were cut to the heart when he spoke. If the account is true, what Jesus did would be passing judgement, yes, even a condemnation, wouldn’t it? But here is the key: it was not upon the repentant woman but upon the unrepentant accusers. Christ was teaching a higher concept. The issue isn’t sin, because all of you, ALL of you have sins. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) The issue is whether or not you are repenting of them, and if you are sincerely repentant, neither do I condemn you. I originally posted all these pictures, videos and links as a Facebook photo album, but something there is preventing many people from seeing what I believe. Of all the pictures that I posted, the Christofferson meme generated the most commentary because I have an LDS friend who is really upset and hurting over what is happening online right now, in these days right after the Supreme Court Ruling. She doesn’t feel like the ruling has done any harm to anyone, and, like many, believes it doesn’t affect her at all.
She asked me this question after I posted the Christofferson quote: So, honest question here, how does one minister to lessen pain and bind up wounds if one is alienating people by condemning them for their choices? I don’t feel like that helps. I feel like people are much more open to those who are suffering when they trust us. I know that I am still on the Lord’s side, doing His work while personally upholding the teachings of the Church, without condemning people. To assume otherwise also alienates good people who are trying their best to do what they feel The Lord would have them do.
I think this is a question a lot of people have. My cousin commented, Just cuz u dont agree doesn’t mean we can’t still accept and support. But for people like me accepting and supporting laws that nurture the behavior = supporting the behavior. Our conscience and moral convictions just won’t let us do that. I tried to answer her as well as I could, and the only voice I could use was the voice of my own experience.
Prodigal Lesson 1:
Charity Never Faileth The Truth
This is the first lesson from my Prodigal days. “Charity rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” Yes, lessen the pain of poor choices. Yes, bind up the wounds insofar as we are permitted. But never condone, promote, celebrate, or advance anything that places the precious souls of ones you love most into eternal jeopardy. My true friends did this to me – met my need to be cared for and valued in ways that they could – but never gave me any illusion that my actions were acceptable to them. They were able to do that delicate balancing act of accepting ME, the person, while not accepting my actions.
What the Savior’s teaching about charity and iniquity also means to me is this: If someone leads you away from the truth, if someone persuades you that iniquity is love, that someone is self-deceived at best and a cunning demon at worst, whose only intent is to serve himself upon you.
Prodigal Lesson 2:
Love of God Must Come First
This is the second lesson from my Prodigal days. The FIRST, not the second, great commandment is to love the Lord thy God, and that means loving his laws and ordinances too. In obeying the second great commandment in the law, we cannot forget the FIRST. In my Prodigal days, I tried to do this and very literally broke myself upon it. I made this law, meant to be a stepping stone of progression for me, into a jagged stumbling block by breaking it. I tripped and fell, and fell hard. There must be both, and they must occur in this order of priority. I want the love of God the most. I want to be with him forever. But if that means I break his law now, to “love” my neighbor, what really happens is that I lose God (D&C 1:33), I lose my neighbor (Luke 16:13) , and I lose myself (Luke 15:17). I “served time” in the Land of Misery to learn this key. You can trust and believe me or you can chose to learn the truth by the things you suffer.
The Two Tables
How is declaring or explaining the standards condemning people for not choosing to keep them?
How is being loyal to standards judging those who choose not to be loyal to them?
- Can I use an analogy? I have two tables. At one table there is whole grain bread, organic vegetables and fruit, pure water… all the trappings to make a wonderful, truly healthful feast for the human body. At the other table is MSG-laden, sugar-laden pastries and candies, huge portions of CAFO meats, along with hidden poisons and toxins laced throughout. I have warned my child about the dangerous table. My child chooses to leave me, at my table, and go feast at the other one. Do I then go leave my table to sit with them at theirs? And support them in what they are doing? Partake of that food with them which we both know is not healthy for us? This is all that I am saying.
- I love you, my child. I love you dearly. But you can not ask me to like that you are eating at the poison table. You can not ask me to applaud. You can not expect that I would be glad and celebrate. I mourn! I weep for you! But I will not force you to come over here to my table. I will sit here, inviting you to come, waiting for you to come, until the day that you realize it was I who ever told you the truth. It was I who ever warned you of the dangers. It was I who loved you, no matter what you ate, and waited, and watched and kept this table and myself prepped, ready and healthy until the day that you came home.
- I will also not be ashamed when people mock me for being such a health-nut, such a fuddy-duddy old-fashioned nerd as to still keep thinking that these old plain foods that have sustained man for ages is what is really best for them, still. I will not be ashamed for having fought to have kept poison tables away from the realm of normalcy, from common, everyday American life. I will refuse to believe that I am “missing out” somehow on some great delicacy (Revelations 18:3). I am not condemning the people at the poison table as much as I am condemning those who are deliberately leading them there, those that are removing the warning signs around the table and the protective social fences that have long kept most of the citizens away from it.
- Nor am I unwisely, naively presuming that if I, from my wheat-bread table, cheer on and celebrate the goings-on at the poison table, that my support is immune and harmless. By my silence or by my encouragement, I am helping them partake of slow poison. How could I do that?! I would be partly responsible for their deaths! For not saying, Hey brother, that table isn’t right! It is going to hurt you! And what of my other children, watching their brother or sister eating at the poison table? Wouldn’t a loving, wise parent warn against the table while simultaneously not condemning their sibling eating there?
- And what happens on the day my child gets sick, violently ill, from the poison table and realizes the truth of what he’s been eating if I, out of love for him, have been sitting there at the poison table eating with him, or at least calling out to him from the wheat table encouraging, consoling, supportive words about his diet? He will remember, ever so slightly, what wheat used to taste like, and come to himself. He will start to miss it. And then he will look at me again, with opened eyes and he will think I am either heinously evil, two-faced, wholly untrustworthy or just plain crazy. For how could I have let him eat there? How could I have said NOTHING?! How could I have denied the truth of what he was doing? How could I even have eaten some of that stuff with him? Why didn’t I say something and save him?! Either way, he will view me as tainted, and turn for help to those who made the personal choice to only partake of the wheat table, and avoided the poison one. Or in other words, they exercised their moral agency and chose virtue.
- For how can you go to an unvirtuous person for help on recovering, repenting, repairing, and reinforcing the virtue of your own life? They will mock you. Tell you to stay at the poison table with them because it isn’t poison, you ninny! And if you need a mentor in virtue, then, obviously, go to someone who is already virtuous and knows how. He has his own life in order and therefore has the time and energy to help you.
- For a decade of my life, I lived this allegorical story. I lived it exactly. Among those mean people who I thought ALL hated me and judged me at the wheat table, and there were many, were still those precious few who were truly kind whenever they could be, those who were good to my innocent children and did not condemn them for their mother’s sins (Ether 12:37,Luke 7:47). Those who were as accepting to the affront of my marriage as they could be: They were there for me, with love, and tears, and help; refellowship when I came home from the prison of the Silver Chair, and rescued by grace, chose forever and ever afterwards Aslan and Narnia! (my thanks to C.S. Lewis)
“Some members wonder why their priesthood leaders will not accept them just as they are and simply comfort them in what they call pure Christian love.
Pure Christian love, the love of Christ, does not presuppose approval of all conduct. Surely the ordinary experiences of parenthood teach that one can be consumed with love for another and yet be unable to approve unworthy conduct.
We cannot, as a church, approve unworthy conduct or accept into full fellowship individuals who live or who teach standards that are grossly in violation of that which the Lord requires of Latter-day Saints.
If we, out of sympathy, should approve unworthy conduct, it might give present comfort to someone but would not ultimately contribute to that person’s happiness.” – Elder Boyd K. Packer
Love: The Moment of Truth
I used to think the following scene was the cruelest, most horrible part of Fiddler on the Roof. It is only by my own experience that I have come to understand how Tevye, the father, had his heart utterly broken at the choice between
- condoning the choice of a child he had loved all her life, a choice outside of all the law he had taught her… and
- his God, the God he professed to love above all else.
She was asking the impossible: Accept me, where I am, in all my acts, unconditionally. Allow me to do anything I want and praise me! Deny the law and the covenant and love me above these because love, my relationship to you as your daughter, is more important. How can he? How CAN he? (Alma 11:37)
I made this choice last year, too. But while my child has left, for now, I witness that God has been with me AND with my child. I will be here when my Prodigal comes home… just like my parents, especially my mother, were there for me, when I came home. (D&C 50:7).
God does not leave us, he only leaves our sins. It is his burden to push, his cross to bear, the law he has made and said that his children must obey to be with him and be like him. There is no other way. Truth is, it is always we who leave him. He won’t force us to come back, he won’t force us to follow him and he certainly won’t praise us in our sins . He is merciful. He is kind. The sun still shines on all of us. Good things still come to the worst of us. Nevertheless, he can not break his own laws, even for the sake of a dearly beloved child. He would cease to be God.
“The scornful often accuse prophets of not living in the 21st century or of being bigoted. They attempt to persuade or even pressure the Church into lowering God’s standards to the level of their own inappropriate behavior, which in the words of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, will “develop self-contentment instead of seeking self-improvement” and repentance. Lowering the Lord’s standards to the level of a society’s inappropriate behavior is—apostasy.” – Elder Lynn G Robbins.
Apostasy, root word apostasis, meaning mutiny. How can God, the founder of the whole entire Plan of Happiness, who wants it to succeed more than anyone, and see as many children as have the will to return to him accomplish it, mutiny from himself?? (Moses 5:9) And like my Father, how can I mutiny from myself?? Show no integrity to me and no agonizingly courageous charity to you? (Job 27:5) Though the story is fictitious, if you follow the history of Europe, Chava and Fyedka went on to Poland, the most anti-semetic nation in Europe. They and their posterity were likely eradicated – there are very, very few Jews left in Poland now. How could Tevye throw a rainbow-colored party at this choice??? How could Tevye be glad that this child he had thrown ALL his care and effort into raising up unto the Lord had deliberately turned on her heel and walked away? To go feast at the “poison table”?
The Ripple Effect
My cousin was reading along and asked, But but but just me eating at the poison table doesn’t affect you! I’ve often asked the question and rarely see it answered: Let’s say that I spent all my free time eating junk food and played video games. Occasionally taking a smoke break. Does it affect you? No. Does that mean it’s a good idea? Hardly! I responded:
- “There is one responsibility which no man can evade: that responsibility is his personal influence. Man’s unconscious influence is the silent, subtle radiation of personality: the effect of his words and his actions on others. This radiation is tremendous.Every moment of life man is changing, to a degree, the life of the whole world. Every man has an atmosphere which is affecting every other man. He cannot escape for one moment from this radiation of his character, this constant weakening or strengthening of others. Man cannot evade the responsibility by merely saying it is an unconscious influence.Man can select the qualities he would permit to be radiated. He can cultivate sweetness, calmness, trust, generosity, truth, justice, loyalty, nobility and make them vitally active in his character. And by these qualities he will constantly affect the world.This radiation, to which I refer, comes from what a person really is, not from what he pretends to be. Every man by his mere living is radiating either sympathy, sorrow, morbidness, cynicism, or happiness and hope or any one of a hundred other qualities. Life is a state of radiation and absorption. To exist is to radiate, to exist is to be the recipient of radiation.– David O. McKay. BYU, April 27, 1948.
- Other scriptures like “Trust no man to be your teacher except he be a man of God.” also apply. Personal choices matter. What is accepted as normal matters. And actually, the smoke break would affect me in the way described above, because second-hand smoke makes me ill. The choices others make in regard to social changes (mainstream, popular, majority vote, whatever – which is, by the way, unconstitutional because our country was founded on rule of law, with Law being preeminent: a republic, and not by majority vote: a democracy) DOES affect me and my family because it determines the programming on TV, the movies that come out, the songs on the radio, the books on the shelves or off of them. It totally changes the social air we all breathe.
Prodigal Lesson 3:
You See What You Look For
And this lesson really applies to all that this post is about, with the power of symbolism and the war that is raging right now for the hearts and minds of men. I love a children’s book written by Rafe Martin and illustrated by David Shannon. It is called The Rough-Face Girl, a story some like to call a Native-American Cinderella. But I think that is a dismissive description. If only the original French fairy tale were as beautiful as this one. I think the Rough-Face Girl is a story about coming to know God.
I read this book when I was somewhere past the robes and fatted-calf part of my Prodigal journey; When I was trying to find healing and release from all that I had done and all that others had done to me. I didn’t really get to know God until after the moment I started to believe that maybe this Atonement thing was for real. It really happened and it had really been done for me. This realization occurred while listening to a musical allegory, The Garden, by Michael McClean and Bryce Neubert. I came to myself during this song , and everything good that has happened in my life ever since came from the shock of realizing that when his pain was flowing like a river he DIDN’T just get up and leave here. He did not abandon me even though he could have. He did not abandon me to the inexperience and naivety of my youth, or all that I had suffered innocently. He did not abandon me to the foolishness of my mistakes or the pride of my deliberate acts of rebellion. He did not abandon this prodigal to the misery of my self-created blindness: vision darkened on the one hand by disbelief, misunderstanding, envy, resentment and self-pity and on the other hand by fierce distrust of and anger at God. He did not abandon me to the despair of lost righteous hopes and dreams. No. He was right there, all along, watching and waiting. Waiting for me to choose him. And when I reached for him, in that instant (Daniel 10:12), he reached back, caught me up, and saved me (Mosiah 27:29). That is when, like the Rough-Face Girl, I fell in love with God, who had always been there seeing me, but now my eyes were opened and I began to see him… everywhere. That is why the prophets plead for us to Look to God, and Live!
I testify that when I have been faithful in diligence: when I have steadfastly looked for him, I have “seen” him. Prayers that were answered. Inspired words that were spoken. Desperately needed answers of incredibly clarity and comfort that were found in the holy words of scripture, whispered from the dust. I have seen miracle after miracle, blessing after blessing, rainbow after rainbow. Not only do you see what you look for, you eventually get what you look for, too.
Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me… -D&C 88:63.
We suffered beyond anything you can imagine… [but] every one of us came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities…The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay. – quoted by James E. Faust
Prodigal Lesson 4:
Life Goes On, So Live It! Love It!
The plan of happiness is real. It was meant for me, it was meant for you. The Atonement is real. It was meant for me, it was meant for each of us. Jesus Christ is lives, he is real, and he really does want us to be happy. There is something wrong if the Gospel (or what you have been taught to believe is the Gospel) makes you feel suffocated, burdened and unhappy. Correctly understood, Redemption should make us dance for joy! Correctly understood, that kind of joy would be the keeping power – that thing which would make us so happy and so thankful to our Heavenly Father that doing what he asks of us feels like a privilege… like the huge compliment he could pay to your intelligence… like the deepest honor he could give to your value. He loves me! And he loves me enough to trust that I can do the hard things required to become just as awesome as He is.
“Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace…Try as you may, you cannot put the Lord in your debt. For every time you try to do His will, He simply pours out more blessings…” – Ezra Taft Benson (“Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations,” Ensign, Dec 1988)
“If it weren’t for the rocks in its bed, the stream would have no song.”
We suffered beyond anything you can imagine… [but] every one of us came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities…The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay. – quoted by James E. Faust
“The study of doctrine and the teaching of doctrine will change behavior more than the study of behavior will change behavior.” – Boyd K. Packer
Another thing that is alarming me is seeing how words are changing from standard, traditional or long-held meanings. I mean, gay used to mean happy. The same thing happened to the German language with the rise of National Socialism and it has never been the same. You can’t say Fuhrer, a simple word meaning leader, without evoking wisps of the stink of Hitler. Nobody wants to name their child Adolf anymore, when it used to be a good solid name just like any other. I am starting to wonder… when you use the word, LOVE, what do you mean? Because I am starting to suspect that you do not think it means what I think it means. Love, defined:
- 1. deep devotion and affection. (Guide to the Scriptures, lds.org)
- 2. In a general sense to be pleased with; to regard with affection, on account of some qualities which excite pleasing sensations or desire of gratification. (Webster’s 1828)
- 3. To have benevolence or good will for (Webster’s 1828)
So either we are losing our powers of communication or somebody is changing the language and understanding. I don’t know what the word is turning into, and I can’t even use other words to describe it because their meanings are changing too.
The closest noun I can come up with is permissiveness, as in the kind of bad-behavior-encouraging human actions you see on shows like The Dog Whisperer. You’ve seen it, where people pet and praise the yapping, snapping, crazy Pomeranian in soothing, indulging tones, and then can’t understand why the dog thinks it rules the roost and they can’t control it anymore. But they’ve LOVED him! How can the dog DO this to them! That’s not love. That’s negative reinforcement. The other descriptor that keeps coming to mind is something my mother always said, that her word was gold. If she said it, she meant it, and if we tested her on it, we found out she meant it, alright (D&C 82:10). That is what you call integrity, and I think somehow this part of love has been thrown away… or people want it to be.
It IS possible to feel deep devotion and affection for a person, to have benevolence and good will toward someone while at the same time being displeased with something they do, feel, think, want, say etc. Any parent knows that. Anyone who has ever charitably bitten their tongue and not said anything disagreeable at a family reunion, though they disagreed with Aunt Natalie and Aunt Rita, knows that.
Operation Rainbow Rescue
The rainbow has been hijacked and I want it back. It does not belong to Babylon, it belongs to God. This symbol is my brother-in-arms, lying wounded on the plains of Sodom and the fields of Babylon. To see truth and light lying there victimized provokes my deepest ire! So this is a search and rescue mission! I refuse to abdicate or abandon the rainbow to the hands of the enemies of righteousness just as Noah’s dove and Eden’s Tree of Life have been attacked, dismembered, and reassembled like so many Elves made into Orcs (my thanks to Tolkien). This song, Ye Elders of Israel, helped me in my own transformation back from an Orc into an Elf. The lyrics and music are here. Thanks for reading. There’s still more, but I know it’s getting long. So if you’re interested in more of my study of rainbows, this post continues with a part two.