31 August 2023

Collectively And Not Individually

I gave a reply to someone who was questioning why 'a disciple can only receive a fulness of the glory of the Father in the Celestial Kingdom.' I gave this rather long reply. I hope that it gives each person reading this good cause to reflect on her or his efforts.

The Spirit has spoken to me over the years to teach me, when I was on mission wondering what right I had to upset the applecart of really wonderful people who were earnestly striving to serve God, Jesus, Heavenly Father, or whatever they called Him. They were doing great work and by declaring to them that there was more than they had, I could do nothing less than upset their happy walk along their path of discipleship.

After a long time of pondering this and pleading for a reason to remain on my mission, I was impressed to 'Read D&C 1'. I read it, then reread it, then reread it, and I was struck by the declaration that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is 'the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased'. With further reading and pondering the Spirit spoke to me that this is 'speaking unto the church collectively and not individually—For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance;' and then further insight 'Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven; And he that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received; for my Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of Hosts.'

Then, in recent months, the Spirit spoke again and confirmed that the declaration to Joseph Smith in the grove that Joseph 'must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”' It was made clear to me that this applies to them collectively and not individually, for some are truly devoted disciples of the God of Abraham, whatever they call Him - God, Father God, Jesus, Jehovah, Allah, or whatever. If they are devoted to serving the God of Abraham, then they are worshipping and serving the same God that we serve, and they will be blessed for all of the good that they do. Indeed, many of them are far better examples of true disciples of Jesus Christ that I might be, or you might be. How often do we hear reference to Mother Theresa, CS Lewis, and others who may possibly be far more effective serving God outside the restored Church than they might be able to do inside the Church. That puts the onus on us to make it possible for these wonderful disciples to receive the ordinances of the Temple by proxy.

I know that God will not deny any blessings to anyone who qualifies for them. But, He has made it very clear that the fullness can only be achieved in the Celestial Kingdom where God, the Father, reigns in righteousness. You and I may be held accountable if we have neglected to help them to receive their Temple blessings! We have no place holding ourselves above anyone - 'For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.'

I know that God will truly bless everyone for every good that she or he does, and not hold back anything, but He also cannot reward anyone for things that she or he neglects to do when they had the light!

God delights to bless us. Let us be fully worthy of His blessings, my brother.

Have I shared with you how the Spirit spoke to me saying that we need to be worthy to hold a Temple Recommend in order to receive a patriarchal blessing? Yep, I knew that. Then I was impressed that, in order to fully benefit from that patriarchal blessing (God speaking to me personally) ten or twenty years later, I need to be worthy of a Temple Recommend! Then the Spirit added that in order to really benefit from the scriptures (God speaking to all of His children) I really need to be worthy of a Temple Recommend! That is a really good reason to always have a current Temple Recommend. I know that those who neglect that simple symbol of their devotion to discipleship will almost certainly be numbered among those foolish virgins who were left outside the marriage feast because they lacked sufficient oil in their lamps.

This is a long reply to your comment, but I think it might be somewhat shorter than your Facebook post 😉

Please prioritise being in the Temple as often as you possibly can be, and doing Temple and Family History work, or FamilySearch Indexing, when you cannot personally and regularly be inside the House of the Lord. Keep all of your covenants, attend your sacrament and priesthood meetings, show the Lord that you mean business and He might just relieve you of some of your suffering that you might sometimes feel is a reason for not being as fully committed and present as you can be. 

I share this loving counsel and encouragement in the name of our Messiah, Jesus Christ, amen.

I might add that I have learned that the 'individually and not collectively' (and 'collectively and not individually') applies in any group setting. We often look at a group such as nation, tribe, gender, class of people, city, town, religious affiliation, atheism, career, art, sport, language, or any generalisation and treat everyone in that collective as fitting the mold that we envisage for that collective. But I know many individuals in almost every collective that do not match the criteria of the whole (such as religious extremists that give an impression that should not be applied to the whole) or achievers (such as those who take themselves out of the 'gutter' and become very successful contributors to society). Let us put away our prejudices and not focus on -ites, but rather look for the good in individuals and collectives, and appreciate the good that there is in any individual or group. 

PS. I have had a lot of insight from the Spirit over the past 50 years about the descriptions 'individually' and 'collectively' relative to looking at the only true and living church, and 'join none of them, for they were all wrong'.  I have come to realise that some people who are true disciples of Jesus Christ might well have a mission to serve outside the true and living church, and I'm the one who will be judged if I condemn them, or fail to help them to receive the essential ordinances after they complete their mission in mortality. I have pondered about someone in the middle of China or India 500 years ago who finds a Bible and becomes a truly exemplary disciple of Jesus Christ but never gets to meet anyone who can baptise her or him. I have thought about how someone needed to betray Jesus Christ; someone needed to be Pilate; or the soldier scourging Jesus; or hammering in nails to nail Him to the cross; or Martin Luther; or John Calvin; or Christopher Columbus; or Mother Theresa; or CS Lewis; or anyone who missed the boat travelling to Zion because their mission kept them busy elsewhere in time or space. I know that our truly loving, gracious and merciful Heavenly Father will not say 'Too bad. You missed out and cannot enter into the kingdom of God because you were not born of the water and of the spirit.' He would not want anyone to not return to His Kingdom, or be 'glad to be rid of that one'. It is entirely our choice to accept - or to not accept - or to not reject - or to reject - His invitation. He will honour our choice, even if it grieves Him if we do not double the talents that He gave to us according to our several ability. It is me, individually, and not any collective, that will be judged by He who looks on the heart and not on the outward appearance.

No comments:

Post a Comment