You learn something new every day.

Of a more serious nature, but still just as good.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Just thinking. Don't mean to sound preachy, but if I do, oh well. It's my blog.

A while ago, I met a wonderful person--a person that loved God and loved the Church very much. He was one of those people you could tell was a good person just by being around him.
A few weeks after I met him, he decided to leave the state and leave the Church.

I was quite surprised and very sad to hear that. I suggested to a Mutual Friend that abandoning the Gospel at a time he needs it most didn't make sense to me. Mutual Friend quickly corrected me--this person wasn't leaving the Gospel, he was leaving the Church, the organizational aspect of the Gospel. He had a good point, and I couldn't help but think about it.

He was right of course--the Gospel of Christ and the Church of Christ are two completely different things. But they are related, even intertwined. As members though, I think people we often focus too much on the Church and forget the importance of the Gospel. I know I'm guilty of it--I go to church and do my calling but my heart isn't always in it.

But is it possible to focus too much on the Gospel and not enough on the Church? I don't think there's such a thing as focusing "too much" on the Gospel...Perhaps I should ask a different question: Is it possible to fully live the Gospel without the Church organization standing behind it? At first I wanted to say yes, that the Church was instituted for us as imperfect beings, that the Gospel is perfect enough to stand alone, and that it would stand alone if we could but live it.

But then I kept thinking. The basic elements of living the Gospel--loving God, loving your neighbor, service, prayer, repentance, scripture study, etc.--could (and do) certainly exist without an organization. But what about ordinances like temple work, the Sacrament, or baptism? What about modern revelation? What about the Priesthood?

I can't help but think of incredible number of commandments regarding ordinances and the Priesthood. And without the Church, none of it could happen. Sure, we could get to heaven without Sunday School. Maybe we could make it without confiding in a bishop. Perhaps we don't really need to go to Seminary or Insitute. But we need baptism. We need temples. We need Priesthood-holders.

It's amazing how the Gospel and the Church are so intertwined. Taking away one greatly takes away from the other. But just think of them together--a Church and a Gospel with everything you could ever want and ever need. Lead by prophets of God, a world-wide organization that I'm proud to be a part of. It's wonderful to travel to a different state or country and find that the Gospel doesn't change because we're all on the same page. And no, the Church isn't perfect because it is run by imperfect people, and I can't say I love everything the General Authorities say, but no one can tell me that it's not an incredible organization.

Still, for one reason or another, people choose to leave. And I respect that--life's tough, and we all have our agency. It certainly makes me sad to see people go, but I'll wish you luck and love you anyway.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Maybe that last post was a little dramatic.

There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them. Whenever I'm sad I'm going to die, or so nervous I can't sleep, or in love with somebody I won't be seeing for a week, I slump down just so far and then I say: "I'll go take a hot bath."

I meditate in the bath. The water needs to be very hot, so hot you can barely stand putting your foot in it. Then you lower yourself, inch by inch, till the water's up to your neck...

I never feel so much myself as when I'm in a hot bath.

I lay in that tub on the seventeenth floor of this hotel for-women-only, high up over the jazz and push of New York, for near onto an hour, and I felt myself gowing pure again. I don't believe in baptism or the waters of Jordan or anything like that, but I guess I feel about a hot bath the same way those religious people feel about holy water...

The longer I lay there in the clear hot water the purer I felt, and when I stepped out at last and wrapped myself in one of the big, soft white hotel towels I felt pure and sweet as a new baby.
from The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath

Monday, June 11, 2007

I don't understand why things happen.

I messed up. I have no idea what I'm doing. I want to go home.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

I'm in love with reading

All Nature is but Art, unkown to thee;
All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not see;
All Discord, Harmony, not understood;
All partial Evil, universal Good:
And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite,
One truth is clear, 'Whatever is, is RIGHT.'
From Alexander Pope's Essay on Man, Epistle 1
Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory;
Odors, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.
Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the beloved's bed;
And so they thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Excerpts from "Cry, the Beloved Country" by Alan Paton

p. 71:
He stood as though he was testing his exposition. Yes, that is right about power, he said. But there is only one thing that has power completely, and that is love. Because when a man loves, he seeks no power, and therefore he has power. I see only one hope for our country, and that is when white men and black men, desiring neither power nor money, but desiring only the good of their country, come together to work for it.

He was grave and silent, and then he said sombrely, I have one great fear in my heart, that one day when they are turned to loving, they will find we are turned to hating.
p. 94:
Who indeed knows the secret of the earthly pilgrimage? Who knows for what we live, and struggle, and die? Who knows what keeps us living and struggling, while all things break about us? Who knows why the warm flesh of a child is such comfort, when one's own child is lost and cannot be recovered? Wise men write many books, in words too hard to understand. But this, the purpose of our lives, the end of all our struggle, is beyond all human wisdom. Oh God, my God, do not Thou forsake me. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, if Thou art with me...