Sunday, November 19, 2006

I will glory in my Redeemer
Whose precious blood hath purchased me
Mine was the sin that drove the bitter nails
And hung Him on that judgement tree
I will glory in my Redeemer
From Satan's power He sets me free
My only answer before a holy judge
The Lamb who is my righteousness

I will glory in my Redeemer
My life He bought, my love He owns
I have no longing for another
I'm satisfied in Him alone
I will glory in my Redeemer
His faithfulness my standing place
Though foes are mighty and rush upon me
My feet are firm, held by His grace

I will glory in my Redeemer
Who carries me on Eagle's wings
My life He crowns with lovingkindness
His triumph somg I'll ever sing
I will glory in my Redeemer
Who waits for me at gates of gold
And when He calls me it will be paradise
His face forever to behold

God never moves without purpose or plan
In trying a servant and molding a man
Give thanks to the Lord, though your testing seems long
In darkness, He giveth a song

Oh, rejoice in the Lord
He makes no mistakes
He knoweth the end
Of each path that I take
For when I am tried and purified
I shall come forth as gold

I could not see through the darkness ahead
So I looked to the cross of my Savior instead
I bowed to the wil of the Master that day
Then peace came and tears fled away

Oh, rejoice in the Lord
He amkes no mistakes
He knoweth the end
Of each path that I take
For when I am tried and purified
I shall come forth as gold

Now I can see testing comes form above
God strengthens his servants
And mouldeth in love
My Father knows best and I trust in His care
Through purging, more fruit I will bear

The Truth of the Matter

I was at the home of a friend of mine recently, and we were eating dinner. I asked if she could pass the salt, and when she did what finally reached my hands bore no resemblance to the salt I knew and loved. It was grainier and had brown bits floating around in it. I looked at it and very politely declined. My friend said, "Hey, you've got to try it. It's Real Salt." I looked at her a little funny, but I trepidaciously added about a half a shake of the stuff to a remote corner of my food. I took a very careful bite, chewed, thought for a minute, and then looked up at my friend. She was looking back at me, waiting.
"Wow!" I said, as I reached for the salt shaker, "That is really amazing stuff. I don't even know how to describe what makes it so good!"
"I know," she said, "it tastes like something you've been needing."
I looked at her as if she had said the most wise thing I ever heard. "Yeah, it does. It tastes like something you've been needing..."
I've carried that sentance around with me ever since. It finally reaches out and describes in the best way I've ever heard about how truth feels.
The Scriptures are wonderful things. Even when you don't really feel like reading or studying them, a great thing happens when you do. Your spirit calms, your heart expands, and you can really begin to understand the things that God is teaching you through them. When you're done, it's like you've quenched a thirst you never knew you had. It tastes like something you've been needing.
And for me, all truth has done this. When I prayed about and discovered where the Priesthood was, I felt this. When I 've searched for the answer to my prayers, and tried the path that I knew was right, it tasted like something I had been needing.
And I find in this the solution to my worry over what is right and wrong to do in my current situation. I am sure, that when it comes time for me to get married I will feel this, too, and I already do to a point.
And speaking of points this is it for today. The truth, the Truth, tastes like something you've been needing, and you can trust that.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Quest

I think everyone's life has a theme; it's own little grail quest that is played out on a grand, lifelong scale. For me that quest, the thing I desire more than anything else, is the safety, refuge, and love of a good, healthy family that I can call my own. And the search has been hard for me.
My natural family isn't around anymore, for various reasons, and I've been pretty much handling life by myself for about seven years now. In those seven years, about three families have offered to invite me into their families, and be there for me, but in what seems like this tragic pattern, something always happens to come between my new "family" and me. And it hurts each time as if I've lost my family again. But I have this belief that somewhere out there I have a family and people who will love me through anything, no matter what.
I'm saying all of this here and now because I'm beginning to consider joining a family as a plural wife. I'm not sure what will happen. Everything is only just beginning, and is in that careful, fragile, who-knows-what-will-happen stage. But I'm a little afraid. I'm excited, yes, and very happy when I'm with them, but I'm also a little afraid. And on top of being afraid of loving and loosing another family, I'm afraid that they won't be able to handle my being afraid. And I'm afraid that I'll loose them if I let them too close, and I don't want to loose them. They really are wonderful. I wish I could tell you better what makes them so wonderful, but they didn'task to have their personal information put on the internet.
And so we're back to a few of the usual places. "Perfect love casteth out all fear". If I am really trusting God, then I can know that nothing will happen to me that s outside of His will as long as I am following Him. He is in charge of me, and if He is in charge of them, as well, then all will end as God wants it too. If either of us is outside of God's will, then we wouldn't really be happy together anyway.
I have all of these what-ifs in my mind. What if it doesn't work out? What if it does? What if it works out long enough for us to all make some serious commitments and then it fails? What if someone gets hurt? What if I get hurt?
And yet, as the possibility of being hurt is part of love. Love can't possibly exist without the possibility of being hurt because love, without that possibility is really just selfishness. Love is opening your heart to someone else, putting them in a position where they might possibly hurt you. The trick to loving is knowing that your needs are met elsewhere, in God, and you are finally free to love unselfishly rather than protecting your own interests.
And yet, I still get the strange, backed into a corner sensation sometimes. There is going to be alot of work for me to do on myself to get through this. Like everything else good in my life up to this point, it will have to be a work of God.

My life s in Your hands
My heart is in Your keeping
I'm never without love
For my salvation is in You.
My life is in Your hands
And though I may not see clearly
I will lift my voice and sing
For Your love does amazing thngs
Lord, I know, my life is in Your hands.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Measure of a Man

This is going to fly in the face of what most people think about Mormon Fundamentalism, and even the opinions of some of the Fundamentalists themselves, but it's entirely scriptural. OK, hold on to your seats, here it comes:
We are all the same.
There, I said it. In God's eyes, the smallest child, the most recent convert, the Prophet and Council Members, and the bum on the street are all the same.
Now, before you throw stones at me, hear me out.
An office, even the highest of priesthood offices is nothing more than a calling. As a matter of fact, Christ told His disciples that the ones who desired to be leaders must first be servants. Then, to illustrate His point, He wrapped a towel around his waist and performed the most menial task a servant could be asked to perform. He washed their feet.
So we have among us many different men, and we seem so often to measure their worth based on their title or their priesthood office. Don't get me wrong. I mean no disrespect to those in high offices, but I think that we have largely as a people and as a human race, stopped seeing people for what matters and have started seeing them with giant labels over their heads. One is Prophet and one is Aaronic Priesthood holder. One is Wealthy Business Man and one is Minimum Wage Earner. And these titles are true, but they do not measure the worth of a man. I know people with Elder labels who brightly outshine people with Apostle lables. I know Middle Class families who put Wealthy families to shame.
So how do you measure? There are a couple of answers. The first is to look at yourself and ask why you're measuring at all. The second is to figure out what is really important. What matters more, the label that is over a man's head, or the love for his God and family that is in his heart? Is the monetary wealth of a man more significant than the welath of love he gives to those in his circle? Should a man with a higher class label be put on a different plane than another man?
Let's stop looking through the eyes of fallible humans, and start looking at one another through God's eyes. Perhaps then we will begin to see people for who they really are. I think that if we all did this, we would be both repulsed and enamored with what we would find.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Where'd I Go

I have received several e-mails checking up on me, and I just wanted to let you all know that I'm fine. I've just had a few emergencies recently that have taken alot of my time and attention, but I'm still here and I'll try to do better with posting.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Quenched

My ancestry is largely British and mainland European, with some Russian influence. And yet, I feel a kinship to this Samaritan woman at the well. Our stories are so similar.
This post is a little uncomfortable for me, because it opens up my story to you and makes me vulnerable. But I feel that there's something really important here.
God places us on the Earth with our parents and gives them a sacred trust. They are caretakers in lieu of God, and they are there to be sure their children's needs are met.
Unfortunately, many parents fail in this. Mine did. Don't get me wrong, my needs for food and water and shelter were abundantly met, but my needs for safety and love weren't. And so I entered life thirsty, just like the Samaritan woman, for these things. Does this mean that the things I've done worng in life and the decisions I have made are my dad's fault? Not at all, they are my own. But I can understand her thirst. My problem was, for the longest time, I was so used to this desperate search to fill this need for love, that I didn't even realize it was there anymore.
It was while I was studying for my counselling degree that I realized what was going on. I had already begun to have a relationship with Christ when I noticed that I was acting different. There was something a little less needy, a little less desperate about me. I mentioned it to a very wise counselling professor and he looked at me with those knowing eyes of his and said, "You know you're loved, so you can relax."
And I began to see the source of the desperate decisions I had made. Now, the more I think about it, the more I see this one theme running through my life: I would do anything for love.
I would get into painful relationships, allowing myself to suffer for the hope of love. I spent tons of money on just the right clothes or whatever it took, so that people would want to get to know me and love me. I sucked the life out of the people who did love me, to try to get them to love me more. I gave away my heart for free, in the hopes that it would make someone love me.
And then, after a while, just like the Samaritan woman, I gave up on love. I became hardened, cynical. I tried to convince myslef that I didn't need love.
And this was the woman who met her Messiah at the well of religion, where I had snuck up in hopes to draw a little of what I had needed. And after a brief encounter, in which he revealed to me who he was, my whole world changed, and I knew I would never have to be thristy again.
I don't have a father any more on this Earth. There is no one alive whose job it is to make sure my needs are met. This is good news. It means that my Father, God, takes this job on Himself. And He is more than able to handle it.
Here's my problem now. I think I know fathers. If you asked me if I thought God was just like my earthly father, I would be appalled by the suggestion. But I'm starting to realize that it's exactly what I think. And it makes me sad. You see, I know that God provides everything I need. I have never lacked anything as long as I was following Him. And yet, I take things into my own hands. I keep drawing from the well while He keeps offering me a drink. But I assume, because, after all, I know fathers, that He will let me down and I'll have to take care of it on my own. It's not how I want to be, and I'm trying to do better at this, but I still see it there. And I see it in the lives of so many people around me. It's hard to pinpoint, because you're so used to living that way, but God gives us a chance to relax and be truly happy. All we have to do is trust Him more than our own experience. It's an uncomfortable thing to do, because we always trus tour experience in every other aspect of our lives, but if we are ever to learn and grow and be truly free, it's what we have to do.
It's a war with ourselves. It's a war worth fighting.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Thirsty

There was something different about the woman at the well. So different that she felt compelled to wait until the most tiring part of the day to fill her water jug, so that she could avoid the throngs of women from the city who came in the cool of the day to fill theirs. She was searching for something. And she had searched everywhere. She had several husbands under her belt, and had finally given up and was just living with this most recent man. She was looking for love, and she had never managed to find it. At this point, she was a little hardened. She had given up on love, and now she was taking care of number one.
But this day would be different.
As she approached the well, there was a man sitting nearby. And as she dipped her bucket in the well to fill her jug, the man asked her for a drink. This was unbelievable to her, becausenot only did a single man never address a woman, but he was a Jew, and he wouldn't dare to talk to a Samaritan, much less a Samaritan woman. And yet, he was dressed as a rabbi, and you just never knew with those guys. After the initial shock, she decided she would try to play this guy. Cynical had always looked good on her, she thought. So she pointed out how rude he was for addressing her. The rabbi once agin responded in a strange way. He said that if she would take a drink from him, she would never be thirsty again. Intrigued, but knowing th emind games rabbis tended to play, she asked how he intended to give her a drink when he didn't have a bucket. And never be thristy again? It would be nice to never have to sneak around to draw her water, but who did this guy think he was? Her ancestor, Jacob had provide dthis well to his children. Did this rabbi think he could give her something better than Jacob did? So she brought up the major sore spot between Jews and Samaritans, hoping to put this traveling rabbi who had stepped on her turf in her place. She talked about where to worship, on the mountain or Jerusalem. But the rabbi wasn't drawn in. He answered that to the true worshippers of God, location mattered less than what was in the heart. The woman had never heard someone talk like this. In order to save face, she fell back on the old stand by response.
"When the Messiah comes, he will tell us who is right here."
"I am the Messiah."
And the woman's world changed in that instant.
She wanted to talk to him more, to maybe take that drink he was offering, but he said he wanted to see her husband. Well, that would never do. She couldn't bring the man she was living with on the fringes of society to meet the Messiah. So she tried to hide. After all, if he knew who she really was, he wouldn't give her the time of day. And she wasn't going to miss this chance to get to know the Messiah. So she told him she didn't have a husband, but deep inside, she was afraid he wouldsee right through her.
"You're telling the truth..." he said. She was relieved, but a little dissapointed at the same time.
"...you've had several husbands, and the man you live with now is not your husband."
Her world bent again. She stood there, with nothing to say, and then she turned and ran into the city. She went to where the respectable, religious menwere assembled and told them about the mysterious stranger who could see right through her and claimed to be the Messiah.
She stood on the outskirts as the crowd pressed in to see. She watched in a daze as the rabbi was accepted as the Messiah by the elders of her town. And she though tof the drink he had offered her. And she took it. And she knew she would never have to be thristy again.
Historical sources outside of the Bible tell us that this woman from Sychar became an ardent and faithful follower of Christ until her death. Something happened there, at the well her ancestor had provided to quench his childrens physical thirst, that quenched the real thrist that had been driving her life.
And the thing about this story is, it's my story as well. I'll talk more about that in my next post.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sun of Righteousness

There is a sort of an obscure, but very meaningful name for God in the Bible: The Sun of Righteousness.
What is a sun? Aside from being a star at the center of a galaxy, hanging somewhere in space, what does the sun, our sun, do for us?
It supplies our necessary food, plants, with their food. So it feeds us. It's gravity keeps the planets circling around it. It is our anchor. It provides us with light. It keeps us warm. It causes our bodies to create an essential vitamin for survival.
Doesn't God do these things for us? He feeds us, not only spiritually, but He meets our physical needs, as well. He holds us to Himself, not to limit us, bu tto keep us from spinning uncontrollably into space. He provides us with the light that helps us to find our paths and makes life more beautiful. He keeps our hearts warm. He keeps our spirits producing everything they need for survival.
And He does this for righteosness, as well. He makes it warm and light and alive. Righteousness without God is nothing but empty works. It is cold, dark, and utterly without hope. God is, indeed, the Sun of Righteousness, and the source af all that is good in our lives.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Broken Cisterns

Why do we keep coming back to the same things, over and over again? The same sins, the same weaknesses, the same things that have hurt us? Just when you think your over something, waves of it crash on you and leave you reeling.Is it because we think the thing we're trying to escape from will somehow fill a need inside of us? Is it a psychological addiction? Is it the temptation of Satan? I'm one who always hates to blame my failings on a source outside myself.
And yet, I find myself here. There is a relationship in my life that, despite how much we love each other, and we do, we can't stop hurting one another. We even decided that the best thing is to not really talk to each other. And yet, the desire is there to talk, to try to work it out. Is this a truly altruistic thing on my part? I know that at first glance, I desire that the other person wouldn't keep hurting. I want that person to have a feeling that the problem is resolved. And yet, deep inside, I wonder if it's actually a selfish desire on my part. Am I really thinking about the other person, or can I just not stand to not have the resolution I want?
Love is never selfish, and yet, there is something that comes along withit that is. There is something inside of me that wonders how I can get along for eternity without this one relationship. Yes, some realtionships are forever, if sealed by the proper priesthood authority. But even then the only relationship we really need is one with God. In a way, what I'm calling love in my head comes with another element that is, in a way, idolatry.
At least I think so.
These things can be easy from the outside looking inm but alot harder the other way around.
The bottom line is this question: What is love? Is love the emotion you have, that burning desire to be near another person, that softness in your heart? Or is it something more? Something entirely different?
I believe, and this belief sustains me through things like this, that love has absolutely nothing to do with feelings. Love is a series of choices, to put the other person's best interests above your own desires. If I'm feeding that feeling inside of me, I am focused on myself and what that person can give me.
And yet, in this, my little struggle over love, there is a broader problem. I have a felt need. In this case, one to be loved, and something inside of me wants to satisfy it with this one relationship. But the problem is that I'm digging a broken cistern.
In Jermeiah the prophet quotes God as saying "My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living water, and are hewing out for themsleves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water." That is exactly what we are doing when we seek to meet out needs from a realtionship, a sin, or an addiction. God is more than able to abundantly supply our needs, but we look to other places to get these needs met. And the places we look to, if they give us anything at all, can give us nothing more than a counterfeit that will never satisfy. And so, we seek more. Having our needs met by God requires faith, and sometimes, that seems harder than settling for the counterfeit. But if all we have in this life is counterfeit joy, counterfeit love, counterfeit peace, what will we have to show for it when it's all said and done? But if we exercise the faith, hold out, resist whatever it is in us that rebells, then it gets easier. Each time we overcome that unidentifiable need for the counterfeit, each time we find true fulfillment in God, we grow stronger. And the voice quiets until we can once again be at peace.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Missed Opportunities

Our group has a unique view of the mainstream Church. We believe that it still has a role in promoting the Gospel, by it's missionary work and by it's geneological work for the dead. And so, when the missionaries invited me to hear M Russel Ballard speak on missionary work, I decided it wouldn't hurt anything to go. I have a good relationship with the Church, and many friends in it, but I sometimes get frustrated with the Church's members.
So that's why, last night, I was standing in the Salt Lake City Institute of Religion Building, watching literally thousands of people crowd in to fill the plastic chairs line dup in the auditorium. The missionaries were standing at the door, handing out pass-along cards for people to give their friends, and the Institute Missionary Council had a table set up to hand out referral cards. I watched, struggling to keep my jaw from dropping, as streams and streams of hundreds of peopel funnelled past the missionaries, not one of them bothering to make eye contact as a card was shoved in their hands. I continued to watch as person after person passed by the woman at the table, completely ignoring her as she tried to hand them a referral card, treating her with as much disrespect as they would a sidewalk salesman who was harrassing them when they were in a hurry.
Watching this scene with me was a man who looked about my age. As I was backing up I accidentally backed into him, so I introduced myself and he started to tell his story. He ahd been raised in the Church, but when he was a teenager he rebelled and wound up wrecking his life. But he struggled and did all that he could and, after over a year of trying to become worthy to become missionary, he finally lived the dream and put in his mission papers. That morning, he read the reply from the Church office building. He was turned down to serve a mission. As he told me the story, the pain was obvious in his eyes. When he finished his story, he picke dup a stack of pass-along cards and helped the missionaries hand them out.
There were two sets of missionaries handing out cards, two people manning the table, and my new friend. All together that made seven people. Seven out of thousands. Seven who cared.
I worry about the Church. It seems to be falling further and further from it's roots. And yet, I can't pass judgement. There are LDS people who would line the streets just to shake hands with the Prophet. In my group, the Prophet gave a talk on dress standards and modesty that has largely been ignored. When it's spoken about, it is often relegated to the position of "just his opinion."
What is it that makes us do this? What is it that makes all of us, including me, fail to see the beautiful gift that we have? Instead, it's so easy to think about the next thing on our schedules or the next place we ahve to be. And in this mad rush to accomplish something we see as important, we miss out on the true calling God has placed on our lives. How often do we Fundamentalists do the same thing these Church memebers do? We pass up the real point so that we can put a check mark in the next box. And we miss a chance to love others, to put ourselves out there and make something eternal of our lives.
What's the solution? I'm not sure. Recognizing the problem is a part of it. I guess the only real solution is a change of heart that can only happen through Christ's grace. God can change us. He can make us notice these things and see the world as He does. And that is what will save us, even more than vigilance on our behalf.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Fallout

I've had this theory for the past year or so. If I am to act like Christ, I need to think of others before myself. Even in the little things. So where most people pass someone on the sidewalk, and shift their eyes away, I smile, nod, and say hello. And when there's someone who needs something I have, I think how it will affect me, and then I do it anyway. I'm nto dumb about it. I don't stand around with signs that say, "Please victimize me," but I've determined not ot let the evil in the world around me change who I am. I will bring love into the world, even if it requires sacrifice from me.
That was my feeling when I took the mutual friend of my best friend and I to Church with me. I knew I was running a risk. I knew she could tell my friend and I knew he could tell my boss and my landlord. But she wanted the truth, and I couldn't keep it from her just to protect myself.
So I took her. I introduced her to some of my most loved people. I took her to meet the Prophet. And she told my friend. He won't tell anyone else, but he will also never speak to me again. God took care of me, but I lost a valuable friend.
It's happened before, too, only worse, with trusting people.
And now, I'm a little shell shocked. The thought crossed my mind that perhaps I shouldn't have taken her. Maybe I'm too trusting, too soft. But I don't want to change who I am. I don't want to let what's wrong with the world change me. I was walking down the street while I was thinking this. A man passed me, made eye contact, and smiled. I quickly dropped my eyes away from his gaxe, and fixed them on some space just beyond his head.
There's a little bit of weakness in all of us.
I kept thinking. If I harden in such a small way, what does that say about my God? That I don't trust Him. That I think so little of His protection that I would stop obeying in order to protect myself. In a way, for me, there was something wrong in that glance away. It's not true for everyone, but not everyone has made the same pact with God that I have.
Love, true, godly love, means having an open, exposed heart. Trusting God is what allows us to do that. We open our hearts to risk any time we let someone in. And Christ didn't shut anyone out to protect Himself. When one of His own persecuters came to Him asking about Heaven, He talked to the man and didn't think he might be gathering information to hurt Him. By doing this, He gained a man who became one of His followers after Christ's death.
And I am called to be like Him. And I am called to not fear man. And I will follow where I am called, no matter the price. It can be easy to stand up for something like Plural Marriage. To say, "I will live this, no matter who stands against me." But in the smaller things, where problems start, it can be hard to take a stand.
But God gives us His grace. He proves Himself faithful, and we learn to trust Him. In all things.
Another man passed me on the sidewalk. I forced my jaw up, I smiled, and gave a friendly nod. And I felt a little better.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Love Doesn't Divide

I sat with my friends Jenny and Phillip, watching a movie in their home. I was curled up on the floor with a blanket, watching as the man in the movie looked deep in the woman's eyes and said, "I love you. I've never loved anyone like I love you, and I never will." They kissed, resolved their issues and, of course, lived happily ever after.
After the movie, Jenny and I went to the kitchen to clean up and Phillip went to the restroom. Jenny was Phillip's second wife, and they had been married for two years. Somehow, they still lokked and acted liked newlyweds, but then, it was the same with Phillip and Miranda, his first wife who he had been married to for over twelve years. As I washed the dishes and Jenny dried, she said, "What are you thinking so hard about?" "That movie," I admitted. "This may sound kind of silly of me, but I want that. I want to be the light in someone's life. I want someone to love me with their whole soul. It's a hard dream to give up." "Who says you have to?" Jenny replied, looking sideways at me. "I haven't" "How can you say that? Phillip is married to someone else, how can he love you like that?" We were good enough friends that I could ask things like that without offending her. "That's a question you should ask Phillip," Jenny said. "Now, back to the dishes!"
Later, when I was alone with Phillip. I asked him about it. "I know what you mean. it doesn't really make sense when You think about it. I remember when I first started courting Jenny I wondered how I could ever love her the way she ought to be loved. I already loved completely. I prayed about it all the time. I even fasted. And then, one day, it happened. My soul expanded. I loved both of them with my whole heart. that's how I discovered, love doesn't divide, it multiplies." I just nodded. Maybe, just maybe, plural marriage was something I could live.
I asked the question again to a different friend after a difficult romantic situation that had ended in alot of pain for all of the parties involved. "There's no way this is as hard for him as it is for me," I said. "He has two other wives to comfort him, and I'm alone here." "You know, I thought the same thing when I was courting my husband and we were far away from each other. He would tell me he missed me, and at first, I wouldn't believe him. How could he miss me when he has two other wives to think about? After a while, though, I realized, he really missed me. Just me." Once again, I had nothing to say. I was learning here.
Plural marriage is not all about pain and sacrifice. Yes, there are those things in every relationship, but there is also a surprising amount of love and joy. In our own power, witha human love, we are limited. But the love that God puts in our hearts never divides. It only multiplies.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I don't know what to do right now. I feel like I've just been hit by a train, but I'm at work so I have to keep it together. I have a strict privacy policy when it comes to the group in my real life, but I let my guard down, just this one time. I told a girl who was my best friends friend the truth about me. I even took her to church with me one Sunday. A week later, she told my good friend, who works with me and therefore doesn't know about my involvement in the work, all about me. And now, I have a bunch of problems. My friend is irreconcileably angry with me, and he has told me he's not sure whether or not to tell the people I work with about me. For those of you who don't know what life is like in a group like this, the fear of exposure is huge. Many people have been evicted, fired, and shunned from their community when people find out about them.
And yet, Paul had something intersting to say:
"I know whom I have believed, and I'm pursuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day."
and
"For we know that all things work together for the good of them that love the Lord, who are called according to His purpose."
The fear comes from the unknown. In our finite minds, we cannot see how this will ever work out. In God's mind, it already has a perfect ending.

When lost in the terror of tempestuous seas
Unkown waves before you blow
At the end of the darkness is eternity
Though fear and conflict grip your soul
But just think of stepping on shore
And finding it Heaven
Of taking a hand
And finding it God's
Of breathing new air
And finding it cellestial
Of waking up in Glory
And finding it home

Monday, October 09, 2006

Every Wind of Doctrine

I love my group. I love the people in it. They are each amazing and wonderful. But a select few of them have managed to come up with some fairly odd ideas.
I was recently having a conversation with a friend of mine who had managed to find someof these ideas. He had talked to a member in the work who had convinced him of a doctrine so off the wall that there was no way it could ever line up with scriptures. Despite this, he was willing to completely throw out the scriptures and the warnings or priesthood leaders, and follow this new wind of doctrine. Why? Because it's new and cool and unique.
And yet, there is no way I could ever stand in judgement of this brother. I can look a tthe doctrine he professes and know that I would never follow it, but I have this same weakness. It is so easy for me to be fooled by a smooth presentation of something new and never before considered. It's like a shiny object just out of reach, and if I chase the siren's call long enough, I can find myslef entirely lost in a strange territory, away from the safety of the fold. Luckily for me, I have two things to help me: Scriptures that are reliable and point the way to the true God, and Shepherd who always knows where to find me when I wander.
There are many confusing voices in the world out there, especially in the world of Mormon Fundamentalism. The trick is to follow God always, through the Scriptures He has given us, and never to put our trust in the arm of flesh. A man with an opinion that disagrees with the Scriptures is a man whose opinion disagrees with God's. And all of us who struggle in the confusing myriad of doctrins out there can look forward to the same day that Paul did in Ephesians 4:13-15, where he dasecribes the times when we will no longer be tossed by every wind of doctrine.

The New Blog

The bad news is, we had technical difficulties on my old blog, www.inthework.blogspot.com. The good news is, we now have a new site, a title that goes with our sister website, www.truemormonism.bravehost.com, and a fun new look. Of course, we'll still have the same great articles you're used to, and insights into life in a Mormon Fundamentalist group.