25 December 2010

Merry Christmas!!

Christmas is a wonderful time to spend with family and friends, and also a great time to unwind from everyday life.  I truly hope you are having a fantastic Christmas!

I have included in this post a talk that I gave to at church to the congregation.  I talked about what Jesus Christ saved us from, spiritual and physical death, and why we need a Saviour.  If religion isn't your thing, discount the rest of this post and enjoy your Christmas.

I remember once watching a movie, where there was a loophole in time, and someone from our time was talking to an individual in the past. This character spoke of why he was looking forward to the birth of Jesus, and looked to this modern day character and asked, do you believe in Jesus? She responded no. He than asked how could you live after the time of Jesus and not believe? Did he not perform miracles, did he not perform the perfect atonement for our sins, and wasn’t he resurrected?

This little snippet has always made me ponder.  We know through written records of witnesses that Jesus did live, that he did perform the atonement in Gethsemane and on the Cross – to over come spiritual death – and rose from the dead three days later – to overcome physical death. How could we live after his life and not believe?

From my missionary experience and also since that time I have noticed, we are most likely to not going believe if we don’t know who Jesus is, what he did for us, and what we are being saved from.  To understand these aspects, let us first discuss where we came from.
We all lived in a pre-earth life, also known as the pre-mortal life.  We were spirits during this time.  We had reached a point where we couldn’t advance anymore.  We had accomplished all the tasks we could do in our spirit bodies, and we wanted to be like the father of our spirits, our Heavenly Father. As any loving father, He wanted us to be like him. He had a physical body.

A plan, or two was proposed to help us advance and become like our Father.  One plan was, proposed by our elder brother Jesus, allowed us to keep our ability to choose, our agency, Jesus would be our Saviour, and the glory would go to the Father.  The other plan, proposed by another brother Lucifer, was to withhold our agency, so that none of us would be lost due to misuse of our agency.  We would all proceed through earth-life, in a sense, without scars. Lucifer wanted the glory instead of the Father, because Lucifer felt that he came up with something new and wonderful that would save us all, and there would be no risk involved.

Lucifer’s plan was contrary to our Fathers will, as in order to grow, we need to be able to make choices and have opposition.  Jesus’ plan was chosen by many, however, there was a group who did not like Jesus’ plan.  They willfully used their agency and rebelled against our Fathers plan and followed Lucifer.

If I may take a sidenote here.  Sometimes us as adults look at the children of couples, and say “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”  What does this logic say about our perfected Heavenly Father and his son Lucifer?  Is our Heavenly Father a terrible parent because of Lucifer’s choices? Of course not! Lucifer had the ability to accept or reject his parents teaching.  Same with our children, they have a temperament that they are in a sense ‘born’ with, or took from the pre-mortal life.  They have the ability to choose or reject, and are accountable, after the age of 8.

Anyhow, under the direction of our Father in Heaven, Jesus created the Earth.  A place for us to learn and grow.  Our Heavenly Father, being perfect, could only create perfection.  So this earth was in a sense, in the presence of God.  Same with the two chosen to come to Earth, Adam and Eve.

Adam and Eve walked and talked with God, and Jesus Christ.  They were in a state of perfection and like a child.  They were unable to have children in their perfect state, but they did have their agency. As such they were given two commandments, multiply and replenish the earth, and to not partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. As they stayed obedient, and did not eat the fruit, they remained in God’s presence.  But they were not able to progress because they weren’t experiencing opposition that comes with mortality. They could not know joy because they had not experienced sorrow or pain.

Lucifer, now known as Satan, tempted Adam and Eve to partake of the fruit. They chose to break a commandment that Heavenly Father had given them.  This was part of our Heavenly Fathers plan because now Adam and Eve had to leave His presence and experience mortality.  They became susceptible to spiritual death, separation from Heavenly Father, and physical death, because they became mortal and susceptible to disease and decay.

They were now able to have children and they could choose right from wrong.  As was planned out in the Pre-Mortal life, Adam and Eve were told that a Saviour would be provided, to save them from their fall from the presence of God.  This Saviour will save them from Spiritual Death and Physical Death.

We need a Saviour to first save us from this fallen state, that Adam and Eve created by partaking of the fruit. Now, as the article of faith #2 states, we believe that men are punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s (or our parents) transgression.  Each of us has been born physically into a world that is fallen, and that has physical death.  We need a Saviour to overcome physical death.  If not, at death our bodies would stay here on Earth, and our spirits would go to the spirit world, and never unite again.  This would be contrary to God’s plan of wanting us to have physical body like Him.

Instantly, we are all in need of a Saviour.  We cannot overcome physical death on our own.  As hard as we have tried to prolong life, we can’t prevent death.  We need Jesus.  Jesus, being mortal, died. But also being a God, He rose three days later, body and spirit reunited, and overcame physical death.
The second death that Jesus overcame was spiritual death.  Separation from God.  Being mortal, we often give into temptations and break God’s commandments.  This separates us from God. God is Happiness, and despite popular belief by Satan propaganda squad, sin leads to unhappiness, including feelings of guilt and shame.  Due to our sins, we are no longer pure, and cannot be in the presence of our Heavenly Father. Of course, if we repent, which is to have a change of heart and behaviour, and rely on our Saviour, Jesus Christ, and make covenants, we will be able to return to our Father in Heaven.

Is it any wonder that prophets of old looked forward to the day their Saviour would be born?  Is it any wonder, 2010 years later we still celebrate the birth of our Saviour?  This little babe that was born in Bethlehem was to save us from our fallen state. If it were not for Him, we would not be able to return and live with our Father, because we would be spotted by the world and no unclean thing can dwell with our Heavenly Father.  Also, the plan would have been thwarted, we would not be reunited with our bodies after death.  All would have been for nothing with out Jesus.  Remember Gods plan is to bring to pass the immortality (having a resurrected body) and eternal life (living forever with God) of mankind.  Both purposes would not have come to pass without Jesus.

Each and everyone of us needs a Saviour.  No matter how righteous we think we are, we cannot return and live with our Father in Heaven without assistance from Jesus.  Start making, or keeping your covenants that you have made with Jesus and Heavenly Father, as this will entitle us to the assistance needed to be saved.