Thursday, April 11, 2013
In our world today, the word "charity" is often regarded simply as giving aid or help to someone, typically in the form of money. However, it has a much broader, deeper, and important meaning than that. Charity, as defined in the Book of Mormon, is the "pure love of Christ" (Moroni 7:47). This phrase can be interpreted in several ways. I love to think of charity as our love towards Christ, which we show and express through our prayers and testimonies of Him. In another sense, the word "of" indicates possession, in which charity is the pure love that Christ possesses towards mankind. This manner of love is perfect and lasts forever. In Moroni 7:45-46, a description of charity is given. If we replace the word charity with "Christ", this description becomes a depiction of our Savior and His nature: "And Christ suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not His own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. / Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not Christ, ye are nothing, for Christ never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto Christ, which is the greatest of all". As we pattern our lives after that of Jesus Christ, we will be able to love others and help to build them up. Christ does not just love those who loved Him, He loves everyone. This includes the sinners, the outcasts, and those who revile against Him. Though we will not be able to reach that pure and perfect kind of love that Christ showed in His life and the Atonement, we can try our best to improve. In following this example, we must try to remember that everyone we meet is a divine child of God, and treat them as such.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
We lived as spirits with our Heavenly Father before we were born in the pre-mortal existence. During this time there was a great war in heaven, as many authors and others have depicted, in which Satan proposed a plan and Jesus Christ supported Heavenly Father's plan for our mortal life. Satan claimed his plan would bring 100% of God's children back to Him because we would all be forced to do good and not sin. We would not have the freedom of choice, called agency, so it would be impossible for us to do wrong. Satan desired to bring glory and power upon himself through this plan, instead of praising Heavenly Father and trying to serve Him. Jesus Christ, on the other hand, supported His Father's plan of salvation for humanity. In this plan, we would come to Earth to gain a body, grow, learn, struggle, and make our own decisions. We would experience temptation and inevitably fall to sin at some points because of our imperfection. This mortal life would be "the time for men to prepare to meet God" by following the gospel that Jesus Christ set forth (Alma 34:32). We have the agency to make decisions, and we are accountable for the consequences of them. Heavenly Father knew that we would not always choose righteously, but through His Son Jesus Christ, we can repent of our sins, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure life's struggles and trials faithfully. In this manner, we are gradually perfected and become more and more like God. While Satan's plan promotes short-term pleasure and long-term misery, Heavenly Father allotted for us to experience short-term struggles and weakness on the Earth, in order to attain long-lasting, eternal happiness with Him. I know that all of us on this Earth chose God's plan in heaven, and that at some point in our existence we wanted nothing more than to serve and love Him. Through the plan of salvation, the Atonement, and the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can return to live with our Heavenly Father forever with our families.