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Friday, April 10, 2015

Who's on the Lord's side?

The Lord's church is becoming harder to ignore and the demand for information about the church is continuously becoming greater. This talks about how mankind is becoming less and less ignorant of the church's existence and wants to know more about it.  In it, Michael Otterson, managing director of the church's public affairs department, said "We tend to get calls asking us just to comment on things all the time now."

It looks like the general public seems to be craving, more often now, the position of the Lord's church on current issues facing society.  It makes sense, though.  When people see a certain group or people generally thriving more and happier than everyone else, they want to know why. According to Linda Davidson, "The church has become more visible, more familiar, more accepted – especially among those who help shape public opinion."  As an example of this, a huge number of law makers and other voices on both sides of the LGBT community in many states throughout the U.S. have celebrated Utah's recent legislation, encouraged and sanctioned by the church, for fairness regarding LBGT rights in harmony with religious freedom.  In fact, according to the article I mentioned at the beginning, "the nations major newspapers described the “Utah Compromise” as a "landmark bill" (The Washington Post), a "golden mean" between religious freedom and gay rights (The New York Times) and as Utah showing "the way on gay rights" (The Wall Street Journal)."

There are a huge number of other things the have drawn attention, both positive and not, to the church and will continue to do so.  Meet the Mormons, Mitt Romney, and The Book of Mormon musical are just a few.

The three fold mission of the church is to 1) Perfect the saints 2) Proclaim the gospel and 3) Redeem the dead.  When we really get down to brass tacks, our responsibilities in each of these has been repeated and reaffirmed adamantly by God's prophets since the beginnings of the church, but with all the increased public attention on those of Heavenly Father's children who know His plan of happiness for us, our ability to hide from the public is growing exponentially more difficult.  I would venture to claim that within the next 5-8 years, there will be a very small relative percentage of people on this planet, who have not at least heard reference to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

So what does this mean in regards to us as members of the church?

To me, the thing that sticks out the most is the message we are sending as more attention is drawn to us, or in other words, the example we set.  Remember what our Savior, Jesus Christ said to His followers, "I give unto you to be the salt of the earth; but if the salt shall lose its savor wherewith shall the earth be salted? The salt shall be thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men."  We have been given a responsibility to be as a pleasant savor to the earth, especially in the last days.

For members of the LDS Church, if you haven't already been asked by a friend, a brief acquaintance, or even a complete stranger what we believe or something similar by now, it won't be much longer.  If you have, were you ready to respond?  Was your testimony and faith in the truth of Jesus' gospel and the church that espouses it firm and sure enough to give a heart felt, personal, authentic, kind, assertive answer?  If you have not been approached in this manner yet, consider Bishop Causse's words, "Is [the gospel] Still Wonderful to You"? He has provided an amazing, wonderful suggestion to keep us from getting apathetic or too used to the gospel.  He said "We should be never tire of discovering or rediscovering the truths of the gospel". The writer Marcel Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”"

Keeping the gospel in our view as a precious, wonderful, joyful, beautiful thing consistently is something that has been key in my continuous desire to set a better example every day and be able and anxious to invite others to "come unto Christ and be perfected in Him."  I also love how Robin Williams put it, something close to "When expectation turns into appreciation, the world changes instantly."  Trust me, I know from experience that the way you view something changes it's effects in your life.  The more you love the Lord and others, the easier life becomes, not because of how things do or don't change around you, but because of your ability to perceive things and people as they really are.

Because the world's awareness of the church is changing it's members must - MUST - be sending the right messages about it's head, our Elder Brother Jesus Christ, and what He has asked of us.  Being reluctant, timid, doubtful or unsure about sharing the doctrine, teachings and example of the Savior will send the wrong messages about Him and His church to the world.  The time has come when confident, first hand testimonies, born of the Holy Ghost and proved by our choices, will be the only thing that will successfully show the world the true joys and blessings of following our Father's plan completely.

Things are going to get bad, really bad, and really good too and REALLY soon.  As the chasm between Christ's true followers and everyone else widens, mediocrity will become less and less of an option until you are either completely on His side or you are completely not.  Jesus has promised that His true followers will be sufficiently protected, provided for and experience the deepest peace and joys of eternity, but He can only guarantee that for us, regardless of our external circumstances, if our hearts are tuned to Him constantly.  Those who are truly on His side will be heavily persecuted, but as President Russell M. Nelson said, "If you're not being persecuted, you need to repent."

I know that He is our Redeemer and Friend, the Savior of the world.  I know from experience that God, our Father in Heaven, loves us.  I'm sticking to His plan at all costs because He has shown me how much better I can be and given me a small idea of the joyous wonders He has in store for me if I do.  I don't understand everything about it all, but I know He does.  *Edit [June 22, 2015]* I invite all who read this to always be looking for ways to go way out of your comfort zone spiritually.  Do something the bring yourself closer to the Lord Jesus Christ and complete obedience to His gospel frequently, something really hard, something that builds your faith in ways you never imagined possible.

Christ is coming soon, very soon.  If you are not ready for it now, you don't have very long to prepare.  Please, come to know Him - better.*End edit*

I mess up and sin a lot, but He's committed to me all the way, so I'm committed to Him all the way.

Who's side are you on?