Recently we had stake conference. One talk stood out above the rest because the member of the stake presidency said, “stupid.” He kept saying it over and over again. Obviously the children’s ears perked up when they heard “stupid” being spoken from the pulpit. His talk was about how “sin makes you stupid.”
Because that phrase stuck out in the mind of my little children, I have referred to it time and time again. However, I have taken it a little further. Let me explain my thought train:
- Heart/Mind (incorrect desires)
- Foolish Logic
This is the order that we follow. However, most times it isn’t until the point of “trouble” that the ignorance, heart and mind is exposed. It’s not until trouble that we admit to a problem. It’s not until trouble that we begin to work on the problem. And since trouble caused the problem, we are fooled into thinking that trouble is the problem. The reality is we ignore the ignorance!
We are all guilty of sin. Everyone falls short and sin’s in like manner. Sin isn’t a new concept and neither are the ways that we sin. Sin just seems to show itself with modern disguises. But beneath it all, it’s still the same old sin. The great thing about understanding this thought train is… we can choose to derail it at the core- Desire and ignorance. Ignorance is the real enemy, not the person or the trouble they caused. Our ignorance is what causes us to choose evil over good.
We tend to judge people harshly and end up throwing the baby out with the bath-water. Each one of us are children of God. People are precious, despite what they might look like on the exterior. The exterior is only evidence of the ignorance. Fix the ignorance and the the trouble fixes itself. Here is the pattern that the Lord suggest for us:
- Heart/Mind (correct desires)
- Principle based choices
- Confidence wax strong (trust in the Lord)
- Exercise Faith (Bravery, without fearing what others think or do)
- Miracles (power)
The war chapters in Alma points to this concept. King-men vs. Free-men was the straw that broke the camels back to expose the interior rot of the Nephites. The Nephites were ignorant to the words of Christ, thus the King-men were able to cause contention, which led to a civil war, which resulted in multiple battles and thousands of deaths. However, through it all, two thousand and sixty stripling warriors obeyed “with exactness.” Amidst all the deaths, none of the 2,060 were lost (both physically and spiritually.) The scenario was the same, the battles were the same, but the method of obedience was significantly different.
The solutions that the world offers do not address the problem. The worlds solutions typically address the symptoms- the trouble. Our world is puffed up in that we believe that we are advanced and technologically superior. We have bought into our own marketing. Most of the medical problems that ale us, we have no idea how to cure. Most of our medical advancements are treatments to deal with the symptoms, while little advancement has been made by way of cures. We celebrate our increase of life expectancy of 70-80 years, while ignoring the fact that Adam lived for 930 years. We cannot look to the world for lasting solutions. The world only produces temporary solutions to symptoms, while manipulating your perception so that the results are considered acceptable- relativism.
If we followed the counsel of the Lord we would spend less time concerned with the trouble, and focus our attention of the real problem- the ignorance. In the war chapters, Moroni leaves the immediate battle with the Lamanites to clean up their inner vessel– the King-men. Moroni is no respecter of persons. He threatened to kill Pahoran, the chief judge, if he did not repent. Moroni did not resolve the deaths of his men by winning the fight with the Lamanites (the symptoms). Moroni first cleaned the inner vessels, and the problems with the Lamanites resolved itself. The final chapters of the book of Alma we see the Nephites thriving and Hagoth exploring both to the North, and then to the West. The troubles took care of themselves when the inner vessel was cleaned.
How are we to resolve our problems? We fix our problems by overcoming ignorance, by cleaning the inner vessel. As we search the scriptures and seek to know the mind and will of God, we can learn the primary principles available to us there. Eventually, those primary principles refine us to a point that we need more from angels and revelation. To Nephi the law of Moses was dead (2 Nephi 25:26-27 or something like that). He had received greater laws from angels and eventually from Christ. We too have the scriptures laid before us, are instructed to seek messengers from our father, and are promised that once we see Christ in the flesh then whatever he tells us to do that is what we will be required to do (2 Nephi 32:6). When Joseph Smith said that no man can be saved in ignorance, he meant that being saved came by understanding and by obedience. That is what Christ offers us in the atonement. He offers to show us the only way to the Father. He is the one who opened that way. No other man can show us that way (2 Nephi 9:40-41)- not even a true prophet, only Christ.
In Egypt the symbol of special knowledge is a circle above the head. Like a policeman’s hat or a military captain’s hat is a circle on the top of their head, the pictures in Egypt used that same symbol to represent knowledge of the cosmos, or someone with higher knowledge of the heavens, or one who is connected to heaven, or one who has authority. Look at facsimile #2 and you see several figures with such circles above their head representing such knowledge. The circles are sometimes called moon disks because the light of the moon is a reflection of the light from the sun. Just the same a policeman’s uniform is a reflection only of the government in power. Likewise the priesthood is the reflection of the power of God. The information that the Lord wants to give us to connect us to heaven is what he offers for us to overcome all, even death.
The problem with ignorance is we tend to ignore or consider the important things as things of naught (2 Nephi 33:2). We rest the scriptures (D&C 84:55-57). And for this reason our lives come crashing in on us and we are left rummaging up the broken pieces, trying fix the troubles in our lives. None of the external remedies fix the internal problems. It’s the internal remedies that do the fixing, the educating, the faith building, and eventually produce the precious fruit (Alma 32:42-46-ish).
In the end they who are ignorant will always fear, while they who have obtained special knowledge will never fear, but will instead act in faith. Abinidi was not afraid. Neither was Alma afraid. Nor Shadrac, Mishac, and Abidnago. Neither did Christ fear. Each of them searched for, found and aligned with the mysteries of God. Each of them counsels us to search the mysteries of God. The first verse in first Nephi tells us that Nephi writes his scripture so that we too can know the mysteries. While the Aaronic priesthood holds the keys to the ministering of Angels, the Melchizedek priesthood holds the keys to the mysteries of God. God wants to cure us of our ignorance, by providing us with His mysteries, thus providing us with immortality and eternal life.
“10. And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the Mysteries of God until he know them in full.
11. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.”
The word is how God delivers saving knowledge and how he points to even greater sources of knowledge. As we receive more and more of the word, we are promised more and more of the mysteries, until we know the mysteries of God in full. Abraham in chapter 1, verse 2, speaks of searching for greater knowledge. He too wants to know the mysteries of God, and is found searching the words for it. The words then point to the heavens, and the heavens point to Christ. At the end of verse 2 Abraham reports that he found what he was looking for. Each scripture points to finding what Abraham found.
God doesn’t need people that are absent of sin. The absence of sin doesn’t produce eternal life. What produces eternal life is the knowledge of the truth and the alignment of our hearts and minds with the truth. Guilt is always focused on the trouble of the matter (externalities). Guilt is Satan’s tool. Satan is all about the externalities. Satan believes that forcing someones obedience produces greatness. He convinces us to use compulsory means, manipulation, whatever means possible to achieve our objective. But God wants our heart. Once we understand that and give our hearts and minds to him, God will make us into an immortal being by teaching us truth. Then we can have faith, and wax strong in confidence and never fear!