I wrote most of this post last Friday but didn’t get it finished…..like most of my life lately! Happy reading.
I know………where have I been? To tell you the truth, I don’t really know. Life is spinning really fast right now. I take care of a few little things, throw in a load of laundry, make a few meals, read tomorrow’s lesson, think about how to manage it, go to bed because I am exhausted and then get up again and do it the next day. I am not even sure I should highlight the crazy things that are going on.
I have written letters to family. Tried to keep tabs on my sister who had a surgery. We have a funeral on Saturday, a baby shower tonight. I loved, loved, loved General Conference!
|copyright: Karen Larsen photography
That is a story in and of itself! So about three weeks ago, we received a notice that PGandE was going to shut off the electricity on Sunday to do some work. I didn’t think it was such a big deal, but our stake presidency did, because it would also shut off the electricity at the church. Requests were made for another shut-off day, which they accommodated. They moved the shut-off day to the Sunday of General Conference–which worked out great for the rest of my ward, but shut our power off at our house during Conference. Really? The one day I can sit at home in pajamas and still attend my church meetings? I was not happy. Now I had to go out and couldn’t even go to the church building two blocks away. Whatever.
We did get that all worked out. And I was able to see General Conference, though not in my own home. But that is OK.
Tonight, Sun came home from school and shared her awful day with us—mostly it was just one awful class. A rape crisis unit came in and taught them about gender identity, no joke. Poor Sun. She came home distraught at where the world is, what is being taught and how many people are buying into the lies. She was disheartened and sad. She shared her story with me and Speedy. Then when her father got home, she shared it with her dad. Then when we were attending the baby shower with her Young Women’s Presidency and many of the other young moms in the ward, I asked her to share her story again. I wanted those mothers whose children are not quite in high school yet to hear from Sun the things that were being taught to the high school youth, without parental permission or even notification, and how it was affecting her. I also wanted Sun to know that she could share her sorrows and troubles with her sisters in Relief Society and get support. It was a beautiful moment! I asked her if she would share it. She agreed. Then I got everyone’s attention and just said that Sun had had an experience today that I thought they should all hear. Then she shared. She got some very wise counsel from some very young mothers. How grateful I am those women are her friends!! How grateful I am for Relief Society–for an organization that applauds women and recognizes their strengths and nurtures their need for one another!!!
These mothers will need to fortify their children against the growing tide of evil and wickedness in the world, where people think ‘there is no God, therefore, there is no law’. They think their rhetoric is new. It isn’t. Lehi told his son Jacob:
And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.
And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.
Alma reiterated it (although he was a little more long-winded–chapter 42):
And now, ye see by this that our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord; and thus we see they became subjects to follow after their own will.
Now behold, it was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from this temporal death, for that would destroy the great plan of happiness.
Therefore, as the soul could never die, and the fall had brought upon all mankind a spiritual death as well as a temporal, that is, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord, it was expedient that mankind should be reclaimed from this spiritual death.
Therefore, as they had become carnal, sensual, and devilish, by nature, this probationary state became a state for them to prepare; it became a preparatory state.
And now remember, my son, if it were not for the plan of redemption, (laying it aside) as soon as they were dead their souls were miserable, being cut off from the presence of the Lord.
And now, there was no means to reclaim men from this fallen state, which man had brought upon himself because of his own disobedience;
Therefore, according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would cease to be God.
And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence.
And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.
Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment, which also was eternal as the life of the soul should be, affixed opposite to the plan of happiness, which was as eternal also as the life of the soul.
Now, how could a man repent except he should sin? How could he sin if there was no law? How could there be a law save there was a punishment?
Now, there was a punishment affixed, and a just law given, which brought remorse of conscience unto man.
Now, if there was no law given—if a man murdered he should die—would he be afraid he would die if he should murder?
And also, if there was no law given against sin men would not be afraid to sin.
And if there was no law given, if men sinned what could justice do, or mercy either, for they would have no claim upon the creature?
But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God.
But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works, according to the law and justice.
For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved.
What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God.
And thus God bringeth about his great and eternal purposes, which were prepared from the foundation of the world. And thus cometh about the salvation and the redemption of men, and also their destruction and misery.
In our society, it would appear we have removed God from most of the equation. When we do that, then there really is no right or wrong, just as these prophets have expressed. And when there is no right or wrong, there is no sin, so we are really free to do whatever we want. Unfortunately, the lie we do not recognize in that statement, is that our total and complete freedom to do whatever we choose, does not come without consequences. When our choices impede the freedoms of others, we are acting immorally. In order for the protection of everyone and for everyone to have the most freedoms, we have to exercise personal self-restraint. There are some behaviors we are not free to participate in because when we do anything we want, it infringes on the rights of others.
True freedom to do what we want, means we practice self-restraints so the most people have the most freedoms. We are only free to breath clean air if we choose not to smoke, hang around those who smoke, or don’t live in places with high air pollution, due to automobiles or excess air pollution from factories and businesses. Those who choose to use their freedom to smoke infringe on my right to breath clean air if I have to walk by where they are smoking.