Monday, April 19, 2010
Every human love, at its height, has a tendency to claim for itself a divine authority. Its voice tend to sound as if it were the will of God himself. It tells us not to count the cost, it demands of us total commitment, it attempts to over-ride all other claims and insinuates that any action which is sincerely done "for love's sake" is thereby lawful and even meritorious... [Human loves] may thus attempt to "become gods"...
Now it must be noticed that the natural loves make this blasphemous claim not when they are in their worst, but when they are in their best natural condition...A faithful and genuinely self-sacrificing passion will speak to us with what seems the voice of God.
We may give our human loves the unconditional allegiance which we owe only to God. Then they become gods: then they become demons. Then they will destroy us, and also destroy themselves. For natural loves that are allowed to become gods do not remain loves... but can become in fact complicated forms of hatred.
Lewis reinterates often in his book that he does believe in the divinity of the feelings we feel--that they are a gift from the Lord, and that they deserve validation. However, the mere act of feeling them does not supercede the duties we have to draw closer to the Lord and avoid anything that would obstruct that goal---anything that would become a god unto itself (i.e. "I took on a mistress because we're so in love," or "I disregarded my trusted loved ones and ran away with my boyfriend because it feels so right!")
Maybe the first step in avoiding that trap is to arrest one's momentum. Passionate emotions are like spirited horses that bolt suddenly and run away with you. The scriptures don't say 'bridle your passions' for nothing. Enjoy the feelings, but put on that bridle and pull. You're driving the chariot. You are not the horses.
Another fitting metaphor: you've just fallen through the ice on a frozen lake. Now what? According to an expert in The Survivor's Club by Ben Sherwood, the cold doesn't kill as quickly as we think. It's the reflexive breathing shock and hyperventilation that cause us to sink quickly. So the first thing you must do is get your breathing under control. If you can steady your breathing within the first minute of falling in, you have ten minutes of muscle mobility in order to attempt a swim or pull yourself to safety. However, if you succumb to the hyperventilation, you sink.
So take a moment, after that shocking plunge, to control your breathing and regain spiritual clarity. Let no runaway emotion, however 'alike to godliness,' send you bulleting away from truth, duty, and the incomparable love of Christ. A person who really loves you will share those thrilling heavenly feelings and, by obedience to the Lord's laws, bring you closer to him.
"Nearness by likeness"... will not of itself produce "nearness of approach." Meanwhile, however, the likeness is a splendour.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
"And the moral of this story is..." work hard, sacrifice yourself for a greater good, prepare for and protect yourself from life's hazards. If you waste the day in laziness and recreation, behaving as though nothing bad will ever happen to you, you will find yourself exposed to the bad and woefully underprepared to handle it. Do not be lulled to sleep by sunny days and flower beds. Make use of those good conditions. Build a lasting foundation for tough times ahead, and you won't have to be afraid.
In her book The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why, Amanda Ripley hypothesizes that the failure to conceive beforehand that disaster could strike lengthens one's response time when the real thing happens. Many of these people may not have been able to believe that such a thing would occur to them. They were mentally unprepared to react quickly and rationally, and they hadn't constructed a game plan in advance. They were first lulled into security and then 'stunned in the headlights.'
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
An almost forgotten means of economic self-reliance is the home production of food. We are too accustomed to going to stores and purchasing what we need. By producing some of our food we reduce, to a great extent, the impact of inflation on our money. More importantly, we learn how to produce our own food and involve all family members in a beneficial project. No more timely counsel, I feel, has been given by President Kimball than his repeated emphasis to grow our own gardens. Here is one sample of his emphasis over the past seven years:
“We encourage you to grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property. Berry bushes, grapevines, fruit trees—plant them if your climate is right for their growth. Grow vegetables and eat them from your own yard.” (Ensign, May 1976, p. 124).
We encourage you to be more self-reliant so that, as the Lord has declared, “notwithstanding the tribulation which shall descend upon you, … the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world” (D&C 78:14). The Lord wants us to be independent and self-reliant because these will be days of tribulation. He has warned and forewarned us of the eventuality.
President Brigham Young said, “If you are without bread, how much wisdom can you boast, and of what real utility are your talents, if you cannot procure for yourselves and save against a day of scarcity those substances designed to sustain your natural lives?” (In Journal of Discourses, 8:68.)
"Let every man who has a garden spot, garden it; every man who owns a farm, farm it.” (President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., in Conference Report, Apr. 1937, p. 26.)
Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them. Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they somehow will be set aside because of the righteousness of the Saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion.
May God bless us to be prepared for the days which lie ahead, which may be the most severe yet. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
-- Letter from Thomas Jefferson to George Washington (1787)
I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.
-- George Washington, Response to newspaper criticisms of his presidency, as quoted in The Alumni Register of the University of Pennsylvania (1925), p.473
I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries; as long as they are chiefly agricultural.
The first farmer was the first man. All historic nobility rests on the possession and use of land.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bands.
–-Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Jay (Aug. 23, 1785)
Ye rigid Ploughman! bear in mind
Your labor is for future hours.
Advance! spare not! nor look behind!
Plough deep and straight with all your powers!
--Richard Hengist Horne, The Plow
Earth is here so kind, that just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest.
--Douglas Jerrold, A Land of Plenty
Adam, well may we labour, still to dress
This garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flower.
--John Milton, Paradise Lost, bk. IX, 1.20
[In the Millennial reign of Christ] …they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
Do not lose contact with the soil.
--Spencer W. Kimball, The True Way of Life and Salvation, Ensign, May 1978, 4
I posted Elder Holland's full talk in an October posting. Here is a revision with very moving reenactment footage.
I'm sensitive to any actor who plays either Joseph Smith or Jesus Christ. Maybe it's because they're two people so dear to my heart and two who are not easily replicated. But I think the actor portraying Joseph in this video is the best likeness I've ever seen.