February 3, 2013
Through his prophet Alma, Jesus Christ taught:
And he said: Thus saith the Lord God—Cursed shall be the land, yea, this land, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, unto destruction, which do wickedly, when they are fully ripe; and as I have said so shall it be; for this is the cursing and the blessing of God upon the land, for the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. (Alma 45:16)
We know that God loves us. And so he must possess the virtue of tolerance to a degree that we do not. But from this passage we learn that there must be things he does not tolerate. What are they?
God does not tolerate sin. Why? It is because he loves us. Sin causes us pain. It injures us. It brings failure and disappointment. Ultimately it destroys us. We should not marvel that Jesus Christ is intolerant when it comes to sin. He is intolerant because he loves us. He wants us to be happy, and he knows better than any of us where the path is that leads to happiness. Hence, Jesus Christ loves us, but he is intolerant of our sins. We must repent of them or we will suffer.
November 18, 2011
I just spent nine days far away visiting a brother that I have loved since he was born in 1950. We grew up together for years, sleeping in the same bedroom. I love him with all my heart. Although he believes there is a God and attends church regularly, he has been resisting my efforts to make a Mormon of him for nearly fifty years since I joined. Because I believe the teachings of Joseph Smith and his successors, and because I believe the teachings of the scriptures, I have no confidence that we will have a family relationship after this life, because the “forever family” is assured only to those who marry in the temple and keep those covenants thereafter. I do not want to lose my wife and children, of course. But I also do not want to lose my brother. Now that we are approaching 70 years of age, I am beginning to lose hope. My concern becomes more urgent. When we love someone, how do we find comfort as we watch them slip away?
When I try to discuss this with him, he just says that religion is not his “hobby,” suggesting that it is mine. He believes there is a God, but religion is just not something that interests him. How can a good man, an honorable and honest man be disinterested in the welfare of his own soul? How can he care nothing about what comes next after this life or in what he might do today to improve his situation there? The Savior asked us in the Sermon on the Mount to “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth… But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”
My brother has been far more diligent than I in carefully managing his earthly treasure. He is a cautious, prudent man. And his estate shows it. If he believes in God, and a life after this one, how can he be so cavalier in his attitude about heavenly treasure? If we cannot be the great friends and brothers in the next life that we have been here, I will sorrow. I will be forlorn.