Einstein’s theory of relativity might sound like brilliance, but the reality of relativity is the condition of the natural man.
Relativism: is the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute.
The natural man uses relativism to define reality. In opposition to relativism, God claims to be the same yesterday, today, and forever. When Christ judges us by the quality of our fruits, it will be extremely important to know the standard by which Christ uses to define the difference between sweet and bitter. If we aren’t familiar with the words of Christ, we will be left to relativism as our standard. If the prophesies state that these latter days will have an abundance of wickedness, relativism will skew our understanding of …what we call sweet fruits.
In another late night conversation two nights ago, a friend and I got onto the topic of modern medicine, and it’s role in prolonging the life of the modern human being. I argued that modern medicine has very little to do with healing (if at all), and that all we have accomplished is addressing symptoms and managing pain. I reminded him of the power Christ exhibited when healing the blind, lame, and fixing the ear of the soldier that Peter cut off, in the garden of Gethsemane. I added that Christ was not the only one who exhibited these gifts. Nephi also brought his brother Timothy back from the dead (3 Nephi). In the end we came to agree that, “Because of our relative mindset, due to the absence (or uncommon experiences) of the gifts of the spirit, the church as a whole has reduced expectations for such gifts, and we have adopted the standard of the natural man, relativism.”
Relativism had the children of Israel accepting the conditions of slavery to the Egyptians, before Moses returned to rescue them. Even as Moses produced magnificent miracles, the children of Israel was conditioned to the certainty of Egyptian slavery, that even after the Red sea parted, many of the children of Israel longed for their life in Egypt. They didn’t understand the value of being sanctified and entering into the presence of God, so they would rather go with what they knew, and what gave them food, clothes and shelter. Their debts were removed, but they were void of the mind and will of God in the words of Christ. They could not resolve their new found freedom by way of the words of Christ, so they sought for the relative lifestyle in Egypt. For this reason the children of Israel rejected the fulness, and were cursed to wander in the wilderness for forty years.
Time and time again, the Lord reminds us that by your fruits you will be known. Many false traditions have used relativism to re-define the quality of fruits. When we compare the saints to the alcoholic, the drug addict, the prostitute, the thief, and the murderer, our failure to lay hold upon the words of Christ doesn’t seem so bitter at all. Relatively speaking, we’re pretty darn good. We go to church, pay tithing, do home/visit teaching, etc. The new definition of sweet has become relative to a rotten fruit, with worms. However, the words of Christ provides a different definition.
In the allegory of the olive tree (Jacob 5), the top of the tree symbolically represents the entire LDS church. On that tree there are only two types of branches. The branches are either the natural branches of the olive tree (the House of Israel), or the wild branches of the olive tree (the Gentiles). Both types produce fruits. But, the scriptures teach that the only way for a branch to produce sweet fruit is to get its moisture from the roots. The roots are defined as the gospel of Jesus Christ, with the words of Christ at their center. The branches that produce bitter fruit do so because they do not get their moisture from the roots. Sweet fruit is always connected to the words of Christ.
Another parable is in Alma 32, where Alma teaches the poor who were kicked out of their synagogues. Alma tells them to liken the word unto a seed. Then he proceeds to describe nourishing and fertilizing that seed as an expression of faith. Those who nourish the seed (the word) have faith, while those who don’t, lack faith. It’s the words of Christ that grow into a tree, and produce sweet fruit. However, this tree differs from the allegory of the olive tree, in that all the branches on this tree produce sweet fruit (Zion). That is because the seed is the word of God. The code language in the description of the fruit teaches that the sweet fruit is connected to the presence of Christ, among you, in the flesh. When you partake of this fruit, you will never hunger or thirst. But more importantly, your faith is dormant, because knowledge has replaced faith, such that you have faith no longer. A very different definition than relativism.
Both Lehi and Nephi’s dream identify’s a tree similar to Alma’s tree. Every branch produced sweet fruit. Lehi and Nephi were both partakers of that fruit, but Laman and Lemuel were separated out. When Lehi partakes, his immediate reaction is to turn and offer the sweet fruit to his family. Nephi explains further the symbolism of the fruit, which is the Love of God. That reminds me of the scripture that states, “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” The fruit is the Son.
There are many more parables, allegories, scriptures that describe the sweet fruit, from the perspective of God. Each of them describe the fruit as being associated with the words of Christ and entering into the rest of the Lord. Now, lets reflect back to our current relativistic perception of sweet fruit, and then compare it with the definition of sweet fruit offered in the scriptures. Suddenly relativism pales in comparison to entering into the presence of Christ. Our pale fruit lacks luster when measured against the light and truth the scriptures offer. Our fruit is bitter.
The natural man uses relativism to define reality, while God claims to be the same yesterday, today, and forever. When Christ judges us by the quality of our fruits, it will be extremely important to know the standard by which Christ uses to define the difference between sweet and bitter. If we aren’t familiar with the words of Christ, we will be left to relativism as our standard. If the prophesies state that these latter days will have an abundance of wicked, …relativism will skew our understanding of …what we call sweet fruits.
Conclusion: When we can open our eyes to the standard of the heavens, being taught in the words of Christ, then we can begin to get our moisture from the roots. We can produce the sweet fruits of Christ, and enter into His presence, while here in the flesh.
We must plant the seed (which is the word of God), and nourish that seed (which is the exercising of our faith). As we see the tree grow from a sprout, to a sapling, to a mature tree, our faith will increase and our confidence will wax strong in the presence of God, as we await the arrival of the fruit. The tipping point will be the great anxiety that all prophets describe, just before the appearing of Christ (the fruit). The tree is mature, strong, and immovable. We anxiously await the arrival of fruit. And then it happens… the fruit appears. And once the fruit appears, your faith is dormant, and has been replaced with knowledge. Every season the fruit returns, Christ doesn’t just appear sporadically, or seldomly. He returns often, until He permanently dwells among you. His presence is what makes Zion complete.
However, our failure to lay hold upon the words of Christ for our moisture, will only produce bitter fruit. It might have a form of good, they might prophesy and cast out devils. But those with bitter fruit, the Lord declares, “I never knew you.” Joseph Smith says it a little differently, “You never knew Him.” Those with bitter fruit draw near with their lips, but their hearts (their desires) are far from Him.
What makes a fruit bitter? The absence of the presence of Christ, the knowledge of Christ, which is life eternal. What makes a fruit sweet? It is knowing Christ personally, returning into His presence and being redeemed from the fall. Those who produce bitter fruit do so relying upon relativism as their standard. Those who produce sweet fruit get their moisture from the words of Christ, and use them as their standard. Feast upon the words of Christ, for the words of Christ will tell you all things what you should do.