(last 22 Nov 11)
edited 18 Jun 00)
24 Mar 13
If it’s your desire to become one of the Lord’s champions, you can’t settle for “also-ran”. You must seek to become all your capable of in the cause of Christ. So where do you stand?
Are you valiant in the cause of Christ? What does that question mean to you? Does it have any significant mean-ing? To me it is very significant and it has a very clear and distinct meaning that starts outside of what is generally identified as “religion”. It starts with being valiant in the thing over which the war in heaven was fought over—Freedom of Choice. As a modern day prophet said, that war is raging upon the earth at this time and is a continuation of the war in heaven.
As everyone who has taken the course “Fundamentals of the Gospel 101” knows, “Man is that he might have joy.” Thus we came to this world to achieve three primary objec-tives, so that we could have joy.
1) To receive a mortal body (which happens automati-cally when we’re born),
2) to gain experiences (which happens automatically as we progress through our life in mortality) and
3) to be tried and tested to see what we will do with the our free agency (to determine if we will choose right or will we choose evil or something in-between). Thus we can be rewarded according to the choices we make.
The simple truth is we’re going to life forever—someplace. Life here in mortality is very short, but also very important. The reason is that the choices we make will de-termine where we’ll spend all eternity?
We are all children of our heavenly father and he loves us unconditionally. Therefore, his desire is that we live in a place where we can be as happy as we will allow ourselves to be.
That means that we will spend all eternity with others who love the same things we do. If its your disposition find fault with those that disappoint you, that means that you’ll live with others that have the same mind set. Unlike here on earth where this type of people have innocent victims to pray on, over there the only victims available are other with the same attitude. Can you think of a more miserable bunch of people to be totally surround by?
The bottom line here is a simple one. Does the life you live truly bring you joy? Will you enjoy doing it for all eterni-ty? If not, you may want to investigate other life styles. I highly recommend a spiritual life style!
As we progress through life we’re constantly experiment-ing with different options that are available to us. We do this in the search for what we believe will bring us joy.
As we get older, and hopefully wiser, we discover that some of the choices we make were very foolish and unwise.
If we’re really wise, we look at the effects of specific choices that others have made before we embrace them our selves. This can save lots of misery!
For a long time I prayed diligently to know why some are rich, some are poor, some beautiful, some downright ugly etc. In short, how could this life be just and fair when on the surface it appears that some are born to great advantages over others?
Sir Francis Bacon, the father of modern scientific inves-tigation developed the process whereby scientist have un-locked a multitude of the laws of nature. The early scientists like Sir Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei, Sir Francis Bacon, all believed in God. Their objectives were to observe nature and try to discover the laws of creation so those laws could be used to benefit mankind.
Yes, when I got off my behind and started to analyze the possibilities and figure out for myself what the common de-nominator was that God uses to judge mankind I discovered that most of the things we put great value on in this life are in fact determents to our quest for happiness.
That discovery was made several decades ago and since that time I have added many pieces of evidence to support that hypothesis.
Freedom of Choice
When Adam and Eve were in the garden, the Lord gave them commandments and he told them what would happen if they disobeyed. Then he reminded them that “nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself”, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it,”…
That’s what we call “free agency” the right and freedom to choose for ourselves whom we will serve (the author of good or the author of evil). After Adam had told his children what the commandments of God were, Satan came along and said “believe it not” . Is it any wonder that we have so many different ideas of what love really is? The devil’s always been very active in deceiving mankind. Why should he not be involved in deceiving us as to the meaning of the word “love”? We are all free to choose for ourselves. We are free to choose the cheap counterfeit or the real thing. And we get the fruit of the tree we choose to eat from.
What Is the Common Denominator That God Uses to Judge us
I finally came to realize that the life we inherit is the re-sult of the choices our parents and their progenitors made in the exercise of their free agency. And the choices we make will either expand upon the degree of those freedoms we enjoy or diminish them. It appears that the single most im-portant factor the Lord uses to judge us with is what we do with our free agency. He wants to see whether we can be trusted with power and authority.
As we acquire authority over others, will we extend to them the same degree of agency we have or will we use our authority to deprive them of the same rights we demand for ourselves?
Everything else seems to be nothing more that a tool to test us on this one issue.
It starts while we’re infants and continues all through life. We get possession over things and to some degree, dominion over other people. At first it’s only for a short while. We are constantly being tested and seeing the re-sults of those events.
As children, we have our toys. We take care of them or we abuse them, we let others play with them or we try to take advantage of other kid’s toys. We lord it over other children or we are kind to them. We bully and badger, lie, cheat or steal or we do what is right. The cycle repeats itself over and over again.
We see the results almost on a daily basis. With the help of our parents and older siblings (as well as friends) we are taught to one degree or another what the family values are. We learn what we can get away with and what we can’t.
This process continues throughout our life. Some ac-quire high moral values and some do not. But all in all, we are exercising our free agency. If we’re wise we profit from our mistakes. If we’re not, we suffer the consequences. As we get older we become more sophisticated in our ability to hid and justify wrongdoing or we discover that what others see is not nearly as important as what we see and know.
We will become either true to higher principles or to low-er ones. The choice is up to us.
If we are truly honest with ourselves, we’ll recognize that we’re choosing where we’ll be the most comfortable in after we move on from life on this earth.
When the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was re-stored to the earth, modern scriptures taught us there are three degrees of glory, or kingdoms, to choose from, not just between heaven or hell. If that was the only choice we had, where would you put the dividing line? Common sense should tell you there needs to be more options than that!
The highest is called the celestial kingdom. Its glory is likened to that of the sun, when compared with the other two. This is where God lives.
The second highest is called the terrestrial kingdom. Its glory is comparable to that of the moon, when compared with the other two. That’s where the righteous live, those who are the good people of the earth, but who did not chose to keep the higher laws of God, thus they did not qualify to live in the celestial kingdom.
The third degree of glory is called the telestial kingdom. Its glory is likened to that of a star, when compared with the other two. This kingdom is where the liars, thieves and oth-er truly evil people will spend all eternity.
Each of these kingdoms is further divided into classes that will accommodate the various degrees of good or bad people that will live there.
There is a fourth place called outer darkness. This place is reserved for Satan and his angels as well as those who qualify to become sons (or daughters) of perdition. This place has no glory. Think of it as a black hole where no light can penetrate. There will be very few people who’ve lived that will qualify for this place. No it’s not hell, it’s much worse! Hell is the telestial kingdom, and yes even there life will be far better that it is here on earth. That’s my presump-tion based on what I know of it.
Thus in this life we are gravitating towards that kingdom where we can be as happy as we’ve allowed ourselves to be, according to the choices we make during our life.
Whether you’re religious or not does not change the fact that everybody is living the gospel, whether they know about it or not. The truth of this fact is supported by the fact that every conceivable life style is covered in the gospel. You’re the one and the only one that will be the determining factor in which kingdom you’ll spend all eternity in. It’s all a matter of what laws you chose to live. All will achieve one kingdom or another. Yes even outer darkness is a king-dom—just not one of glory. And all of it is part of the Lord’s “Plan”, commonly referred to as the “gospel”.
Life is all about the choices we make! Those choices are between good and evil, right or wrong, whatever you choose to call it. Or you may choose to think of it as choosing be-tween self-gratification (selfishness), also known as the spirit of Babylon, which is the spirit of “what’s in it for me”? Or service to others, also known as “having the spirit of “charity”.
Helen Keller said it best (in her book, My Religion), “Christianity is the science of pure love without compul-sion.” Those who seek the base and low things of life will inherit a realm where they will be as happy as they can. For anything higher would be to them an unbearable hell..
The Lord bestows “existence” upon each of us for the express purpose of imparting “life” to us. Since God is love and love must have objects to which it can give its wealth of goodwill and beneficence. Thus, His infinite want cannot be satisfied with anything less than the existence of beings who can be finite recipients of his own happiness. At the same time such beings must have freedom and that ration-ality which accompanies true freedom. Thus, His gift of life must be received voluntarily, if it is to be their own.
However, many of us focus on the negative, instead of the joys that come from an attitude of love, thus we see what we focus on, which blinds us to everything else.
If however, you choose to focus on the light instead of the darkness, the light will drive out the darkness. Darkness cannot exist in the presents of light. I learned this principle the hard way!
I made it a habit of focusing on my families faults so I could solve them–that was a big mistake!
When you focus on solutions instead of problems, you’ll see solutions. When you focus on the light instead of the darkness, you’ll see the big picture, everything will be in prospective. You’ll be amazed at how little the problems are. That makes the solutions far easier to both see and solve.
Do You Trust the Lord
The real question is do you choose to trust the Lord and his remedies, or do you chose to rely on your own strengths? Do you have a desire in your heart to become one of the Lord’s Champions? If you do, I warn you, it’is not an easy road to follow—but it’s not only worth it—it’s the best game in town.
Life is Like a Refiner’s Fire
As stated before, the Lord has a plan and it is working perfectly. Life is like a refiner’s fire. It’s designed to sepa-rate all that is noble and good in us from that which is de-structive to our soul.
While we are free to make any choice we want in life, we are not free to escape the consequences of our choices.
The greater our tests, the more refined we become as we learn to purge out of our life those things that are destructive and thus detrimental to our wellbeing.
In order for us to qualify for the highest kingdoms will re-quire that we go through tests comparable to those the sav-ior and all the holy men that have gone before us have gone through. Otherwise, how could we be qualified to be-come equal with them and inherit the same rewards if we can’t pass the same refining process?
It seems that when we come into this life we bring with us an internal compass that causes us to gravitate to that kingdom that our heartfire most desires. Yes, it seems and many of us are born or placed into situations that greatly af-fect the course and character of our life and for a time this causes us to go off in different directions. In fact some of us really screw up our life in the process.
I for one have seen a number of individuals make unbe-lievable changes in their lives, once the gospel was ex-posed to them. It completely changes their life for the better.
But I have seen a great many more who have professed to embrace the gospel, but their actions clearly indicate that their heartfire is on a different course. It would seem that no amount of preaching, example setting or anything else will dissuade them from the course their heartfire has tuned in on.
The problem is that we never know. We don’t dare give up on them. We can’t see inside their soul.
We don’t know that but one word or one more act of brotherly love might be just the ticket to redeem them. And in that striving to help others “see the light” we are in fact, training ourselves for the reward we seek. That’s what un-conditional love is all about.
Achieving “unconditional love” is actually very easy, once you’ve decided to live in harmony with correct princi-ples. That means you leave the monkey on the back of whoever owns it.
If they are not honest, trustworthy, don’t keep their word, etc., you know how to deal with it, that’s their problem. Let them deal with it. You can still focus on their good qualities and promote them, set a good example, just don’t allow their flaws to affect your life or influence you.
And above all, don’t be like them!
For those who profess a desire to qualify for the celestial kingdom but aren’t even interested enough to search out those requirements, they are revealing their true character.
Whereas those with a celestial heartfire—those who de-sire to be all they can and really want to become the Lord’s Champions—have a burning desire to achieve celestial per-formance. They are continually striving to seek further light and knowledge pertaining to the things of God. They will not take anyone’s word for what is required. They go direct-ly to the source—the scriptures. They will leave no stone unturned in their quest to be sure they are not being de-ceived. They are continually striving to overcome every flaw, every weakness, every improper act. They strive to be true and faithful, dependable etc.
They quickly learn better than to put their trust in the arm of flesh. Especially when it comes to those things that have eternal consequences. They seek to prove all things and hold fast to that which is true. It becomes increasingly diffi-cult to deceive them.
They do what is right, when it is right, because it is right. They put their trust in God and in his word. They pray al-ways and have faith in the promptings of the spirit. They do everything possible to live according to correct principles.
They learn how to discern the spirits so that they are not subject to deceiving spirits.
You can forget about ever becoming one of the Lord’s Champions if you don’t know how to discern the spirit.
Discerning the Spirits & Detecting Anything False
It should be very obvious that if we were able to detect any and all falseness, both in those we deal with and in an-ything that comes before us, we would have a very valuable advantage. If that condition existed we would have the abil-ity to never be deceived.
The subject of discerning the spirits can be divided into two different categories. One category deals with people who are alive—our fellow human beings and the spirit they manifest—their attitude. This category was covered in the previous chapter Manifestations of the Spirit. The other cat-egory deals with visitors from the other side of the veil and the “impressions”, thoughts and ideas that come from the same source. That’s the subject of this short section.
The morning after the visitations from the angel Moroni (21-22 September 1823) to Joseph Smith he went to the place on the hill Cumorah where the gold plates had been hidden by General Moroni, some fourteen hundred years earlier to unearth the plates he had seen in his vision. As he later told Oliver Cowdery, while he was on the road to Cumorah he became fixed and determined to obtain the plates for wealth and prestige and not for the glory of God.
Only after attempting unsuccessfully three times to re-move the plates from the stone box in which they were en-closed did he become aware that the angel Moroni was pre-sent.
The angel indicated that he was permitted by God to be led by this evil spirit so that from that time forth he would al-ways know the difference between a true spirit and an evil spirit.
From this account we learn that the temptation, inspira-tions, thoughts and ideas that come into our mind can come from the promptings of either good or evil spirits. Those who desire to become the Lord’s Champions, must therefore al-ways be on guard as to the source of their ideas—whether they be good or evil in nature. The source of each should be self-evident.
Both sources seem to have access to our minds. While it’s true that the Lord has told us that neither the devil nor anyone else can read our minds, our body language is something else. Our body manifests what our mind harbors.
This ability to “detect” what some people are thinking or contemplating is generally very easy until the subject be-comes wise enough to learn how to hid their thoughts and intents.
Children quickly learn this skill as they continue to get “caught” before they do what they are planning or contem-plating. But even adults forget how to hide their thoughts in unguarded moments.
After Joseph’s experience with the temptations regarding the gold plates, he continued to receive instructions in the gift of discerning spirits . Subsequent revelations to Joseph Smith gave him greater detail concerning keys to detecting the adversary. D&C 50:30-35 gave instructions on how to determine whether a spirit manifesting itself to you is of God or the devil. And then went on to tell how to protect yourself from an evil spirit that appears to you and that in such cases the individuals involved would have power to rebuke the spirit.
Joseph had experience himself with this type of mani-festation. On the banks of the Susquehanna River, Michael appeared to intervene and detect the devil when he ap-peared as an angel of light (D&C 128:20), indicating anoth-er dimension to this question of detection. Because the ad-versary apparently can take light and truth away from the disobedient (D&C 93:39), he can even attempt to pass as an angel of glory (2 Corinthians 11:14; D&C 129:8; Moses 1:2, 9, 11-25).
As indicated in a discourse (published in The Words of Joseph Smith) he revealed additional keys of detection. Far from saying that when the instructions of this discourse were followed, the adversary’s only recourse was to attempt to return the handshake, in a December 1840 discourse Jo-seph says, “The devil…will either shrink back…or offer his hand.” He will not remain absolutely still if he is tested.
How to detect the falseness of anything
On 28 April 1842, the Prophet revealed to the Relief So-ciety, and on 1 May 1842 to the Nauvoo populace, that there was another dimension for determining whether manifesta-tions and revelations were approved by God. There were “keys of the kingdom,” he said to a Sunday audience of the saints in the Grove, “certain signs and words by which false spirits and personages may be [p.21] detected from true, which cannot be revealed to the Elders till the Temple is completed…. There are signs…the Elders must know…to be endowed with the power, to finish their work and prevent imposition” (1 May 1842 discourse).
Three days later Joseph Smith revealed these sacred keys to nine men—in accordance with his plans as an-nounced to the Relief Society just six days before (28 April 1842). To these men, he taught the keys of prayer and de-tection, whereby all false documents, revelations, or mani-festations could be tested.
They were so sacred that when Heber C. Kimball wrote to fellow apostle Parley P. Pratt just a few weeks later, he said that Joseph had taught them some precious things on the priesthood that would cause his soul to rejoice if he knew them, but that Joseph had given instructions that how these keys work should not be written down. Heber con-cluded his description of the newly revealed endowment by saying that Parley would have to come to Nauvoo to receive the instruction for himself. Two years later Parley received those instructions.
The real question is “why don’t we have them in the temple to-day”? Yes, with the signs and tokens, we have part of them, but what happened to the part that enables us to “detect the falseness of anything”, such as false docu-ments etc.? They used to be part of the temple endowment. When was it taken out of the temple ceremony? Why was it removed? Who removed it?
Detecting the Source of Inspirations
From Brigham Young we get another very valuable key while he was in Council Bluffs (across the river from Winter Quarters). He had been praying for help on how to manage the migration of the saints.
In answer to his prayers he had a dream in which Jo-seph Smith appeared to him and taught him many important things, among which was how do detect whether the promptings of the spirit were from God or the devil. While this is probably one of the most useful keys to detecting truth from error—because such promptings are very com-mon among members of the church. This key only works with the honest-in-heart, because the key is to evaluate how those promptings make you feel, does it feel right or does it feel wrong? If you’re one of those people who enjoy believ-ing the vain imaginations of your heart and thus being de-ceived—this key is not reliable because you enjoy being deceived.
This last key is probably the most valuable on an every-day basis because such promptings are so common. Never-theless, all of these still comes short of our everyday need to “detect the falseness of anything”.
As one observes the every-day life style of the Latter-day Saints and compares that life style against the command-ments, it is very clear that we are in trouble—that we are be-ing deceived in virtually every significant area that is critical to our expectation for an inheritance in the celestial king-dom. Truly the warning in D&C 95:5-6 is true.
In keeping with the laws of God that declares that there must be opposition in all things, we have the maxim “For every fit—there are many counterfeits”. Or to say it another way, for every truth there is a lie, for every reality there is a fiction. If ever there was an example of the truth of this max-im—surely it applies to the word “love”.
The word “love” is probably one of the most perverted words in all of mankind’s languages. The world (remember that God uses the word “world” as a synonym for Babylon). The term, Babylon, refers to the ways of the world, which are directly counter to the ways of God. The antonym of Baby-lon is Zion, which the Lord defines as, “the pure in heart or the dwelling place of the pure in heart.
The term “love” has literally hundreds of definitions In order to be better equipped to detect the distinction between the fit and the counterfeit, it is necessary to always keep in mind the authors of each.
The scriptures tell us that the devil is the lord of this world (Babylon). The devil is also striving to deceive every-one he can. Therefore the devil is the author of all counter-feits.
God allows the devil to have the power to influence this world so that mankind will have choices between good and evil—right and wrong, so that mankind can be tested to de-termine whom they will serve—God or the devil. One of the devil’s major victories results from the idea that you don’t have to serve either God or the devil. But God tells us that is not true.
What is Love
Christianity is the science of love. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of pure love without compulsion. Therefore men who seek the base and low things of life, are rejecting true love, and will inherit a realm where they will be as happy as they can. For anything higher would be to them an unbearable hell. When the Lord dwelt on the earth He declared that on the two commandments, love of God and love of thy neighbor, hang all the law and the prophets.”
Since God is love and love must have objects to which it can give its wealth of good-will and beneficence. Thus, His infinite want cannot be satisfied with anything less than the existence of beings who can be infinite recipients of his own happiness. At the same time such beings must have freedom and that rationality which accompanies true freedom. Thus, His gift of life must be received voluntarily, if it is to be their own.
For this reason we pass through two distinct experiences. The birth into existence and the birth into life. That is why I say that I was born at the age of 23, up until then, I just existed. I was a nobody, going nowhere.
When we’re born of the flesh, we are utterly helpless and dependent. On the other hand when we are born into life (truly embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ), we do so by choice for no real spiritual life can be thrust upon us against our will. Only by exercising our powers of thought and keeping our hearts always warm and pure do we become truly alive. The act of conversion is the act of a change in heart changing the direction from one of self to one of service according to correct principles. Love deepens its roots by the joys we experience.
These joys we experience from love do not require any-thing from anyone else. They are internally established by knowing and caring for the well-being of others. These joys come from doing what is right, when it is right, because it is right. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the gospel of uncondi-tional love. True love then has no conditions upon its be-stowal. You cannot truly love anything if you demand or even expect something in return.
That is a lesson I learned after I embraced correct princi-ples as my one and only center (covered in the chapter on Discovery). I was able to love my wife and my children—regardless of what they did or did not do. What I discovered was that, I truly wanted them to be as happy as they would allow themselves to be. I had no right to demand or even expect, that they fit into a mold that I had designed for them. Each and every one of them have their own free agency and they will use it as they see fit.
True love wants everyone to be happy, to have joy and satisfaction—as long as it is not at the expense of others. Is this not the quest that we all face in life—to discover what makes us truly happy? If you truly love someone, then you truly want them to be happy—with or without you in the pic-ture. The true test of love is whether it promotes service to others or whether it promotes self centeredness. Are you more interested in what it has to offer you or what it has to offer to others? Do you truly want the object of that love to be free to pursue its interest or yours?
Once one discovers what real love is all about it’s hard to understand why anyone would settle for anything less—but they seem to hang on to their counterfeits as if they were very precious to them. However, that implies that the axiom “different strokes for different folks” is true.
Thus life gives each and everyone of us opportunities to make choices that will determine the course of our lives and the degree of joy and happiness we will experience. What astounds me—but I’ve come to accept as a fact, is that some people desire and embrace choices that are guaranteed to make them miserable. And then they tenaciously continue to make the same type of choices over and over again—they seem to “love” wallowing in their misery.
I once read a short piece of advice in the Reader’s Digest. It said:
When you find someone stuck in the mud, first determine if they are stuck—or just wallowing before you help them out.
What Love is Not
Any form of “love” that is self-serving is not love—it’s a counterfeit and in reality it is generally a synonym for greed and selfishness. It can also be a synonym for “lust”.
One of the most popular counterfeits of love is lust. The primary motivation of lust is to satisfy the personal appetite of the individual who is suffering from that desire. While the desire may be present in both parties—the principle in-volved is purely self-serving. Even if the other party has the same desire, that does not change the nature or the princi-ple involved. The motivation is still selfishness. And is an expression of an appetite of the flesh.
Our being is comprised of two parts—our body, which is made up of tangible elements of this earth and our spirit, which is not of the elements of this earth. To become one of the Lord’s Champions requires that we develop the self-control and discipline wherein our spirits have total control over our body, thus making the flesh subject to our spirits.
When our conduct is otherwise—the appetites of our body control our spirits and we’re in trouble. That is what the Lord was talking about when he said that the “natural man is an enemy of God.”
Jealously, or the “green-eyed-monster”, is another coun-terfeit of love. It is nothing less than greed—“he’s mine”—leave him (or her) alone! I want him all to myself! Anyone that suffers from jealously is kidding themselves if they think they truly love someone. Counterfeits always leave the par-ties that embrace them “shortchanged”. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear!
People who say they “love” their possessions (car, cloths—whatever) are telling anyone with ears that can hear, that they are suffering from a form of insecurity. These things they “love” make them feel important, better than those who don’t have them, etc. If for some reason they lose these “possessions”, their sense of self-worth is diminished.
When children get the idea that their parents don’t love them anymore, it is usually a sign that the parents have made a serious mistake in training their children. But just because a child says such a thing does not mean that the child actually believes it. In those cases the child is simply attempting to manipulate the parent. But when a child actu-ally believes they are not loved—there’s a real problem.
When people “fall in love” to the extent that they must have the object of their love—they’re in trouble. That’s not love—that’s a case of “I want that person” as a private and personal possession that I can have as my very own—because of the way it makes me feel. The simple question that will reveal the true motivation in such a case can be answered by asking the question—is this self-serving or is it something else.
The shallow minded person will never be willing to face such a truth—they love to be deceived into accepting a counterfeit—because they love their delusions and the Lord will send them what they want—even when it’s destructive to them. Why? Because the Lord wants them to be as hap-py as they will allow themselves to be.
True love always requires a deep personal sense of ser-vice and true caring for others. Such a person would ask “what can I do to enrich other people’s life?
Choosing a Mate
When it comes to choosing a mate there are two meth-ods, the world’s way and the Lord’s way. While both ways may appear to be the same—they are fundamentally very different.
For those who desire to be the Lord’s Champions, the choice of a suitable mate is greatly handicapped if they are not living or have never had the opportunity to live the re-quirements of the celestial kingdom (live in a true Zion community). The reason is that for the most part, we be-come the product of our environment. Most of what we know, we get from the traditions of our fathers or the society we’re raised in.
When all we know is what we have learned by observing others, with some small additional recommendations, such as seeking ratification from the Lord to support our choices. We still approach the subject the same way the rest of the world does. And the ways of the world are synonymous with the ways of Babylon.
The World’s Way of Picking a Mate
To better understand this method it pays to remember the primary philosophy of the world—“what’s in it for me”? Remember, this system is always self-serving—what’s in it for me or me first? What will get me the things I most desire from this relationship? They look for the one that arouses the most passion, lust, desire or whatever else they desire and “think” “that will make them happy”. All of which pro-motes self-centered desires. In short, “you give me what I want and I’ll give you what you want.” “I want the feelings that I expect to get from a relationship with you.” But when you cease to have or give me what I want—I’ll start looking for someone who does have it or is better at it than you are.
The green eyed monster is a sure sign of selfishness. He, or she, belongs to me! Don’t mess with my property.
Many men want to lord it over women, they want to be-come their dictators, they’re slave masters. This desire is another sign of wrong thinking and being deceived into be-lieving “that’s the way it is supposed to be”, another decep-tion planted in the hearts of men who have allowed the dev-il to deceive them. In many such cases, the man feels more important if he can dominate others—especially the weaker sex. What such people are really manifesting is their own short-comings. Their deep feelings of inferiority.
While it is true that God has decreed that the man shall be the head of the women, he also set out principles of just how that was to be done. Namely, man is expected to love his wife unconditionally. He is expected to treat his wife with the same respect the Lord treats him.
Many women on the other hand want to be totally inde-pendent or to be “equal” with their mate. That’s like expect-ing an apple and an orange to be equal. Men and women are different and each has a different roll in God’s plan. Some women also like to be very manipulative, to get men or their man to “eat out of the palm of their hand. Many women use sex as a weapon. If their man doesn’t do what she wants—he can sleep on the couch.
In both cases it’s a power struggle, the desire for un-righteous dominion. In both cases each is looking for a “prize catch”, the best pick of the litter. The one they can brag about, that will show the world they are better than oth-ers are.
With regard to the women’s roll, the Lord expects them to be as obedient to their husbands as their husbands are obedient to the Lord. The moment the man starts exercis-ing unrighteous dominion—he’s in trouble with the Lord. For those who have made their vows eternal, either one who violates the covenants they made are in trouble.
The Lord’s Way of Picking a Mates
To understand this concept you need to recall the basic philosophy of Zion. Remember that Zion is the dwelling place of the pure in heart. Its principle motivating force is service to others and unconditional love for others.
If you want a truly enduring relationship you must first of all have a very clear picture and understanding of where you want to spend eternity—especially if you want to spend eternity with this mate. One of the fundamental objectives should be a commonality of spiritual goals—do you both desire the same kingdom? Incompatibility in either of these objectives will be fatal to the eternal goals of the parties in-volved.
Next in line, would be the strength of character—how committed are the parties to the principles they espouse?
Will they come apart at the seams when they’re under pressure? Will they stand by you through thick and thin?
Potential mates with “the right stuff” are rare. While they may be strong in one area they are usually very weak in others. When your principles are on the line, will they fold and become a handicap, or will they be a source of strength and support?
Unfortunately, only time and experience will prove them out. However, the past is generally a prolog of the future. The best way to tell is by very careful observation with your eyes wide open (and your hormones turned off). But the faithful can call upon the Lord for guidance. And the key is to be receptive to the spirit of the Lord and not to go into it with your mind already decided.
When you’re young and thereby inexperienced, your hormones will try to dominate and rule your life—this can be fatal to the prospect of eternal relationships. The hormone drive it what motivates the world—not Zion.
Next in line is the issue of compatible traits, goals de-sires and objectives. Or to say it another way; the more things you have in common the smother the relationship will be, especially in those areas where your traits or life styles clash. If one is a “neat-freak” and the other is a slob—you’ve got a major problem. If one is a “health-nut” and the other is from the “Twinkie-generation”—you’ve got a prob-lem. If one has been trained to be financially and physically responsible and the other is not—you have a problem.
The thing you really want to determine is what the other person truly wants out of the relationship and then to deter-mine if you truly are willing to provide that want. I’m not talk-ing about selfish wants—I’m talking about having compati-ble life-styles and interests.
Physical beauty, while always desirable, is in reality very low on the priority list for individuals that are truly striving for exaltation in the celestial kingdom.
While physical beauty, along with wealth, power and prestige are the ones most highly sought after by those who seek after the things of this world.
In a Zion society, the sisterhood, especially the married ones, are the best qualified to select available women for available men. Women know the ways of women, they can see through any potential facades. Women are far more ef-fective at discerning the spirit of other women. To men, women are the fickle daughters of inconsistency.
The symptoms, action and attitudes of the world’s con-cept of love seems to be nothing more that self serving greed or selfishness. We see someone and “fall in love” with them because they have something we want to pos-sess or otherwise claim title to. The natural man wants a beautiful women. How she looks is very important. If some-thing happens to her and she is no longer beautiful in the man’s eyes (usually after they have been married for a time) he will start looking for someone else.
A man who is more interested in satisfying his sex drive that remaining true to correct principles and the covenants he has made, clearly demonstrates who and what is really important in his life—and it is not his wife!
Women want to be “loved” to feel they are desirable, that they are beautiful—that’s why they spend so much time and money on makeup, their hair and their clothing so that men will fight over them. But what they really want is to be adored. But this form of adoration is also a counterfeit. To have men say and give other evidence that is romantic. In short, if you will give me what “I” want—I will give you what “you” want. But if you stop giving me what I want I’ll dump you and find another that will. All of these attitudes project the spirit of Babylon—what’s in it for me?
Now contrast that with the philosophy of Zion. The spirit of Zion, as you know is one of service to others before you think of yourself. When you find someone that has the same heartfire as you do, that wants the same things in life as you do, there develops a strong mutual attraction be-cause you complement each other. The true test is whether you would be willing to let them go and support them in their desires to find “happiness” with another. In short, do your feelings for them manifest unconditional love? Could you let them go and be happy for them if they wanted out of the relationship?
However, if your requirements for a mate started with their physical qualifications as opposed to her spiritual ones—I suspect you’re in trouble from the very beginning.
Brigham Young said that you should be able to walk away from a women anytime it became appropriate without regrets (or words to that effect).
I believe he also said that if we could see what our mates will look like in their glorified state (in the celestial kingdom), we would never let any physical limitations interfere with our choices.
The greatest requirement that I can see in choosing an eternal mate is to insure both of you have the same heart-fire—both are willing to pay the price to qualify for the king-dom you desire to inherit.
My first marriage started before I discovered the gospel. We were married for almost 48 year, even though it ended some years before. My wife and I had different spiritual agendas. Because we did not have the same spiritual goals or objectives, we also did not have the same belief systems. When she decided she could not support me in my belief systems the marriage was effectively over, even though it continued for many more years. Eventually she decided she wanted out.
My desire is—and continues to be, that she be as happy as she will allow herself to be. I long ago realized that I have no right to dictate how she (or anyone else) will exer-cise their free agency. As stated earlier, when you have learned to love unconditionally, you are willing to let them go without any desire to hurt or take advantage of them. That is one of the fringe benefits that comes from embracing correct principles as your center.
When I got married, I did not know about the gospel or any of the things I’m writing about herein. But now I do and that is the reason that I’m in no hurry to get married again. If ever there was a team that were unequally yoked we quali-fied. Hopefully I will never make that mistake again. When I marry again it will be for the right reasons and hopefully my choice will be determined by the standards of Zion.
Ideally I want a mate that knows what I know, believes what I believe and desires what I desire. To me that would be a match made in heaven—and I’m willing to wait as long as it takes to find such a mate. But don’t get the wrong idea, she can be smarter than I am, be more faithful than I am and want the celestial kingdom more than I do. And yes, if the spirit told me to marry someone that did not appear to have any of those qualities, I would trust God enough to give it my best shot. For I truly believe that sooner or later, the Lord will cause us to find each other. After all I’m in this thing for all time and eternity—so I can afford to wait until I find someone that wants the same things.
While there is only one form of true love, there are ac-ceptable ways of manifesting it and there are unacceptable ways. Some ways are reserved for the marriage bed. When there is a truly harmonious relationship between husband and wife, adoration is not far behind.
Loving someone does not necessarily mean that they adore them. Adoration is like a seed that can grow or die, depending on how well it’s nurtured. True adoration is earned and it is conditional. And normally, it is mutually felt between both partners. It is earned by bringing great pleas-ure and satisfaction to your mate. Generally, that has noth-ing to do with sex. However sex may be one of the ways “thanks” is expressed. Like the word “love”, adoration also has a counterfeit. True adoration promotes affection, which is different than love.
From the last chapter, you may remember the experience that Joseph and Hyrum had when they were both seized with the cholera and how they were healed as a direct effect of the prayers of their mother. Do you suppose that those two sons adored their mother? Do you see the value in hav-ing a deeply spiritual mother, wife or husband? Do you see the great advantage of choosing wisely? Remember that we inherited that which we got when we came into this world and that the fruit of that inheritance was a direct result of the choices our parents and their progenitors made be-fore us.
Will the heritage you have for your children be higher or lower? The choice is up to you. And it will be determined by how you exercise your agency.
Can you imagine the great advantage to your offspring if you pick your mate using the Lord’s method?
Choices, choices, how much we need help from our Heavenly Father if we are going to make good ones. It nev-er ceases to amaze me how people can expect to find joy and true happiness without following the Lord’s formula for it. How much we have to be constantly on guard from being deceived. No one said it would be easy—but I believe with all my heart that it will be worth it!