Here’s a talk I gave at church on 2018-04-29:
From 1835 to 1921, our Doctrine and Covenants contained a series of seven doctrinal expositions on faith. In the culminating 7th part, it says this concerning Christ: “…Where is the prototype? or Where is the saved being? … there will be no dispute among those who believe the bible, that it is Christ: all will agree in this that he is the prototype or standard of salvation…. he was like the Father, the great prototype of all saved beings: And… to be assimilated into their likeness is to be saved; and to be unlike them is to be destroyed: and on this hinge turns the door of salvation.” (7.8,14)
As impossible as it may seem, to become like Christ, we should take God at His word. If his entire work and glory is our exaltation (Moses 1.39), and this is what he labors for constantly (2 Nep 26.24), it can’t be an entirely futile effort. As impossible as it seems, it must be possible.
But, we need to be in it for the long haul. Joseph Smith explained: “...it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned [all the principles of exaltation]. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave.” (History of the Church, 6.306-7). In other words, the labor extends well beyond this blink-of-an-eye moment of our existence.
This is why I take Christ as the ideal of what I want to strive for, even if I see how woefully distant this appears. Sometimes I grow discouraged at how far short of this ideal I fall. But, this is always momentary and then I resume the pursuit with faith and hope. I think that keeping Christ as our constant goal is what he meant when he said: “...I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” (3 Nep. 12.48)
So, over the course of this talk, I’m going to speak in terms of ideals. I’m going to speak as though these things are possible because “…with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1.37) All things are present before his eyes (D&C 38.2), he sees the end from the beginning (Isa. 46.10). He sees us not as we are right now, but what he intends us to become.
This breathes life into me. This causes my spirit, like Mary’s, to rejoice in God my Savior (Luke 1.47) and my soul to magnify Him (Luke 1.46). This makes me want to strive to stand as a witness of Him at all times and in all places (Mosiah 18.9).
This is how I see the world – in terms of ideals, in terms of the impossible, even if the hard reality of the gulf separating me from this ideal (1 Nep. 15.26-30; Hel. 3.29-30) stares me constantly in the face. What is faith if not to show in every word and deed that I believe the impossible to be possible? To me, this is the definition of faith. (Heb. 11; Ether 12)
So, what is the supreme ideal as it concerns the way we treat and interact with each other? What is the most foolish and impossible goal? To me, it’s Zion. It’s described in the book of Acts when the converts “had all things common” (Acts 2.44) and “…sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” (Acts 2.45). It’s described in 4 Nephi where “…there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.” (4 Nep. 1.15)
It’s seen in the people of Enoch who Continue reading