Wednesday, July 17, 2013

We Are ALL Enlisted

I should really reread my blog posts more frequently. This morning, I started with the idea that I wanted to write about the Sword of the Spirit and how we can be more active in our fight against Satan, but I already wrote about the Sword of the Spirit, so I guess I'll just focus on that last part.

I just had a visit by a pair of Jehovah's Witnesses. Their courage in boldly going forth to share their message despite the barking of our large, black dog demonstrates one way we can actively oppose evil: We can share good messages that we know to be true, and we can encourage others to stands firm in their moral principles. Satan is attacking everyone all around the world. He weakens some and misleads others. He would gladly have all good religions fight amongst themselves over individual points of doctrine, when we could instead band together against the world-wide flood of evil. We may disagree about some things, but we can all agree that people shouldn't hurt animals or each other. Maybe we could start with that. I don't think it matters a whole lot what a person thinks God's name is, or whether that person believes in God at all. If they're a good person, they're a good person, and the world's a better place because of them. Sure, a belief in God can help encourage people to be good, and a good religion can teach them how, but when it comes to which specific religion to join, well... There are trillions of people who don't belong to the one true and living church, and I don't think God would shut the door on them just because they're not members of a specific group. The Lord looketh upon the heart.

Semi-political mini-rant aside, each individual person on earth is on the enemy's hit list. If he had his way, he'd destroy us all. His tactics are aggressive and relentless. If we're going to even keep pace with his war efforts, some of us, myself very much included, are going to have to start fighting harder. And it begins on an individual level. If Satan is attacking every person on earth, that means that he's fighting each of us. In order to survive this battle ourselves, and gain the strength we need to help others, we need to (as Chuck Norris did in my favorite Chuck Norris joke) kick the devil's butt and take our souls back.

As Elder Holland said, "You cannot travel down what Lehi called 'forbidden paths' and expect to guide others to the 'strait and narrow' one—it can’t be done." (We Are All Enlisted, General Conference October 2011) We can't help others win unless we are already winning.

Thankfully, there are some of us, including many of our religious leaders, that are winning. That's not to say that they're perfect, because no one is. It just means that they resist temptation, usually successfully, more often than not. My desire of those types of people is that they share their tactics. We all have the same enemy, and he has the same weaknesses and inabilities fighting one person as he does fighting another. Theoretically, the same tactics one person uses to defeat him should also work for someone else. Still, every person is different. A strategy or technique that works for one person may not work as well for another person. Even so, it's good advice, and if a person tries a variety of tactics, each of which have worked for other people in the past, he might find a set of tactics that works for him as well. Then he can pass those tactics on to others, and so forth.

One of Satan's major advantages in this war is that he's been at it for thousands of years. He has lots of experience. He has learned by now what works well and what doesn't. We don't have that experience (or at least, we can't always recall it). Humans, in general, need advice. As we follow the counsel of those who have come before us, and then pass our experience down to those who follow us, we can make a chain linking the wisdom of the ages to the challenges of today.

We're all in this together. Though there are many different churches, there is still only one God and one Adversary. We're all trying to follow the One and reject the other, and though we may try to go about it in different ways, there is really only one way: by following the example and teachings of Jesus Christ. And while we could spend all our time and energy fighting against each other, arguing whose interpretation of scripture is most correct, I think it would be more effective to just try to help each other live by and stand for basic moral principles. If we all try to be good people and encourage others to be good as well, I think that would be a good thing.


Barbara Robarts said...

I think it makes a very big difference - eventually - which church you join or do not join. I believe in the saving ordinances of the priesthood which are only found in Christ's church.
God will judge us by how well we lived the light we have received, or sometimes, by the light we could have received had we not turned out back on it. Many people who did not accept the gospel of Jesus Christ in this life will later. But eventually they must if they are to receive exaltation. Too many who have been blessed with great truths and opportunities are going to be somewhat surprised to find themselves relegated to lower levels because they did not live the truths they had.
In my limited study of world religions, I find that most share many basic principles and codes of living. Most, if not all, can help people become better and bring them closer to God. We should be friends and help each other.
Ultimately, the truth remains that some day, all who wish to dwell with God again must accept His Gospel and covenants. If we love God and love His children, we must share what we have, but also respect other's right not to recognize or accept it. And remain friends.

Andrew Robarts said...

Yes, everyone does need to accept the saving ordinances through true Priesthood authority, eventually. But that's a big part of why we have temples; so we can do saving ordinances for the dead.
What I'm hoping for is that people see things more clearly in the post-mortal spirit world than they do here on Earth, so the gospel will be easier to accept.
In the meantime, I think arguing is pointless. If a person has a religion that they're satisfied with, they're going to stick with it no matter what we teach them. Now, if there's a person who's searching for truth, we can help them find it. But if a person isn't looking for greater light, they won't see it even if we show it to them.
My guess is that we'd be more effective trying to convince people to be good than we'd be trying to convince people to join our church. And helping them be good or better will still have a positive affect on their souls. It won't "save" them, but it'll help them take a few steps in the right direction.
Now, if we /could/ talk to people about religion and have them be interested in the conversation without the discussion turning into an argument, then that'd be great. But in my experience, most people just don't want to hear it.