How do we find time to do everything that is expected of us?

How do we find time to do everything that is expected of us?

Question

 

Dear Gramps,

In the Church we are encouraged to study the Book of Mormon, read the General Conference Addresses, read and prepare a home teaching message from the monthly First Presidency message from the Ensign, study the Gospel Doctrine lesson, study the Priesthood lesson, and if your calling requires it, also prepare a lesson for your class. Add to that Family History work, Temple attendance, Home Teaching…

How do we find time to do everything that is expected of us?

Steven

 

Answer

 

Dear Steven,

It sounds like you are feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Indeed it does sound overwhelming when you put it in those terms.  I have a couple thoughts that might help.  First, remember that the Lord has counseled us through King Benjamin:

“And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.  And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.”  Mosiah 4:27

Do not run faster than you have strength.  Our relationship with God is not a “to do’ list and never should be.  If you’re seeing your spiritual life that way, you will feel anxious and unhappy.  A new angle is needed. The things you mentioned are all good things that can help us on our path to God, but they are intended to help support you like a life preserver and not to stress you and pull you under the water like a millstone.

Take a step back from the list for a moment and ask yourself what things help you feel closer to God. How can you more adequately nourish your relationship with the Father and the Savior?  Which suggestions from your list would be helpful for you at this time in your life?

Remember also that there are different times, seasons and missions in this life.  (I’m not talking about 2 yr proselytizing missions here, but life goals.) Joseph taught (Ensign, May 2006, 54–570) that “magnify your calling” simply means you are doing everything God requires you to for it. In the case of home teaching, the Spirit might tell you meeting once a month and reading the message is sufficient for a family. He may also tell you that you need to be making bi-weekly visits, taking over food, and helping with household chores. If we’re talking about two different home teachers here, we shouldn’t think the latter is magnifying his calling while the former is shirking his duty. Similarly, a person might be prompted that scrapbooking highlights in her children’s lives is currently sufficient for family history (generations later, when she becomes the person of interest, those documents will come in handy).

Finally, I counsel you to re-read (or watch) Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk, The Gift of Grace, from the recent (April 2015) conference.  His words serve as both a reminder, a teacher and a balm to our spirits.  Here are some of the highlights from that talk:

 

“Salvation cannot be bought with the currency of obedience; it is purchased by the blood of the Son of God.”

 

“If grace is a gift of God, why then is obedience to God’s commandments so important? Why bother with God’s commandments—or repentance, for that matter? Why not just admit we’re sinful and let God save us?”

 

“Brothers and sisters, we obey the commandments of God—out of love for Him!”

 

“As we walk the path of discipleship, it refines us, it improves us, it helps us to become more like Him, and it leads us back to His presence. “The Spirit of the Lord [our God]” brings about such “a mighty change in us, … that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”

 

“Dear brothers and sisters, living the gospel faithfully is not a burden. It is a joyful rehearsal—a preparation for inheriting the grand glory of the eternities. We seek to obey our Heavenly Father because our spirits will become more attuned to spiritual things. Vistas are opened that we never knew existed. Enlightenment and understanding come to us when we do the will of the Father.”

 

 

Continue to strive to keep the commandments and counsel we have been given, Steven, but do it out of love and gratitude for the Savior, not out of fear.  Then you will find the Lord’s yoke is easy and His burden light.  (Matthew 11:30).

 

Gramps

 

 

 

Is abstaining from fasting due to medical reasons a lack of faith?

Is abstaining from fasting due to medical reasons a lack of faith?

 Question

 

Gramps,

I have read many questions and comments in various forums including lds.org, and have yet to find someone else having the same thought about fasting that I have. Is the idea of refraining from fasting all together or partial abstaining, because of medical reasoning, simply a lack of faith? We are dealing with an omnipotent being that could easily take care of us during our fast time are we not? Thank you for your time!

Jay

 

Answer

 

Hi Jay,

At the most recent General Conference, President Eyring called the fast “a commandment with a wonderful promise for those in need and for us.” Nevertheless, fasting does not seem to be a well-understood principle among the Saints. This is partly a result of the times we live in. Our bodies were designed to endure periods of little or no food, and even go entirely without food for a few days at a time. Yet many people in our society today have literally never gone 24 hours without food, and the large majority really have no idea what it’s like to be truly hungry. We live in an amazing and blessed time in history, yet those blessings make us insensitive to what we have.

President Wilford Woodruff famously, or infamously, said:

It was remarked this morning that some people said they could not fast because it made their head ache. Well, I can fast, and so can any other man; and if it makes my head ache by keeping the commandments of God, let it ache.

Though this quote is fairly well-known among the Saints (most think it was Brigham Young who said it), many don’t realize that the “headache” part of fasting is generally not a permanent feature of the fast. When we begin fasting, we might get a headache the first two or three, or maybe ten or twelve, times we fast. Eventually, our bodies adjust to the lower blood sugar and other biological differences a fast makes, and we are fine. Fasting always demands some small price, even if it’s only a bit of weakness from not eating for a day. But that’s as it should be; fasting is supposed to be a sacrifice, the idea being that we give up something good (a day’s worth of food) for something much better.

But what of those of delicate health, for whom fasting would be a potential threat to their very lives? I quoted President Woodruff above. The very next sentence he spoke after those quoted above were:

There may be some people whose health is so delicate and fragile that they would be harmed by fasting for twenty-four hours. Such people are very, very rare; for the vast majority of us, our overall health could only improve by avoiding food for a day. I believe if the Saints, and indeed anyone else, fasted once a month, they would see real health benefits.

Of course, you and I can apply this to ourselves, and perhaps to some extent in our families. But it is rarely our place to tell others what their individual actions must be. My answer is designed to be a general overview, not a criticism of those who are afraid to fast.

The blessings of the fast are real, and they are powerful, and they are numerous. But they come only to those who fast. Those few who truly cannot fast are not condemned for it, though of course they miss the blessings of fasting. But the rest of us ought to examine ourselves very carefully before declaring ourselves unfit to fast. We stand to miss out on some great and profound blessings because we refuse to obey the law of the fast on which they are predicated.

The Book of Mormon teaches of four sons of king Mosiah, who had been very wicked men but who repented and became men of outstanding faith and power, saying (Alma 17:3):

“They had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.”

Do we want the spirit of revelation and of prophecy? When we teach our children or fellow Saints or neighbors, or any other situation where we need to teach gospel truths, do we want to teach with power and authority of God? If so, the way is clear: We must do as the sons of Mosiah did, and give ourselves “to much prayer, and fasting”.

Many Saints seem not to have incorporated these powerful lessons in their lives. The Fast Sunday fast is often skipped over completely, or is done perhaps by skipping Sunday morning breakfast. But if we want the blessings promised, we need to be willing to follow the law upon which those blessings are predicated. This is a simple example of the law of sacrifice: We give up something we value to get something we will value more.

I began this answer by referring to President Eyring’s General Conference address. Please read that talk carefully, and use it as a springboard to your study on this topic. And fast! It will do you good if you learn to be powerful in fasting.

 

 

Gramps

 

 

Must I keep a promise of torturing myself?

Must I keep a promise of torturing myself?

Question

 

Gramps,

A while back I made a promise to God that I would stop falling asleep when I wake up in the mornings so as to spend that time more productively by reading scriptures, etc. However, after breaking this promise for the fourth or fifth time, I became consumed by such inextinguishable  guilt and shame that I recklessly promised God that if I failed to keep my promise again that I would torture myself in some way or another every day of my life. I broke my promise again, so do I have to torture myself?

Austen

 

Answer

 

Dear Austen,

I commend you on your efforts to use your time wisely and spend more time with your scriptures.  Both of these desires are pleasing to the Lord, I’m sure.  I do not, however, think the Lord would want you to torture yourself, in any way.  There are two issues I would like you to consider.  First, what is a covenant with the Lord, and second, what is the Lord’s form of punishment.

It is true that we should strive to keep our covenants.  At LDS.org we can read a clear, simple definition of a covenant:

“A covenant is a sacred agreement between God and a person or group of people. God sets specific conditions, and He promises to bless us as we obey those conditions. When we choose not to keep covenants, we cannot receive the blessings, and in some instances we suffer a penalty as a consequence of our disobedience.” Covenant

Notice Austen that in the covenants we make in church, God sets the conditions.  God not you.  In your case, you made a promise, which is a little different since you initiated it, but even with promises God needs to agree.  The following verses in the Doctrine and Covenants suggest to me that Heavenly Father would not agree with your plan to hurt yourself as punishment.

 

Doctrine and Covenants 121:41-43

 41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

 

 42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

 

 43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

The Lord’s emphasis here is on gentleness, meekness and love.  Torture is not mentioned at all.

My suggestion to you, Austen, is to be more patient and kind to yourself.  Go back to your knees, talk to the Lord about how you now understand that torturing yourself is not His will.  Ask Him for guidance about how to improve your scripture study.  Consider, Austen, that maybe mornings are just not the best time for you to study your scriptures.  Counsel with the Lord about a time of day that could work better for you.

Be gentle and loving with yourself.

 

 

Gramps

 

 

 

Should we be in a panic concerning food storage?

Should we be in a panic concerning food storage?

Question

 

Gramps,

My husband and I have been activity working our food storage for over 10 years. A few days ago I reading thoughts of an LDS group on line, where I thought we might get ideas from other LDS members doing the same thing. I spent a couple hours reading several post from this site. Some sounded like they were in a panic. Some posted about personal dreams/visions, and parts of patriarchal blessings. Aren’t these things to be kept private? I plan to drop from this group.  Have the General Authorities ever addressed this issue?

Tracie

 

Answer

 

Tracie,

In the 2004 April General Conference, Elder Boyd K. Packer, delivered a sermon titled, “Do Not Fear.” He introduced his remarks by recounting a visit of his grandson and feeling anxiety about the future and the world that this little boy faces as he grows up. As he pondered this concern, he received inspired reassurance from the Spirit of the Lord.

“That guiding, comforting Spirit, with which we in the Church are so familiar, brought to my remembrance what I already knew. The fear of the future was gone. That bright-eyed, little two-year-old can have a good life—a very good life—and so can his children and his grandchildren, even though they will live in a world where there is much of wickedness.” (Do Not Fear)

 

Elder Packer spoke of his own life experience, growing up in an age where children routinely were exposed to diseases like measles, smallpox, and polio. He himself contracted polio and could not walk for a time. He also spoke of losing loved ones in his life and the sorrow that accompanied those losses. Nevertheless, he also spoke of the tempering and sustaining power of the gospel to comfort and aid us through life’s trials.

President Hinckley was famous for his optimism. Indeed, he warned members to avoid many pitfalls like excess debt, worldliness, etc. Yet he also encouraged members to be positive and not be overcome with anxiety for the future. In a New Era article from July 2001, he cited an even earlier statement of encouragement.

I have little doubt that many of us are troubled with fears concerning ourselves. We are in a period of stress across the world. There are occasionally hard days for each of us. Do not despair. Do not give up. Look for the sunlight through the clouds. Opportunities will eventually open to you. Do not let the prophets of gloom endanger your possibilities (from Ensign,Apr. 1986, 4–5).

Under the leadership of the prophets and apostles who have led the Church over the past several decades, members of the Church have been counseled to prepare themselves in various ways. Among those instructions include having some stored food. One of the tools to help us plan for and acquire food security for our families is the pamphlet All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage, which is available on the Church web site. The guidelines in this pamphlet include these steps:

  1. Gradually build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet until it is sufficient for three months.
  2. Store drinking water.
  3. Establish a financial reserve by setting aside a little money each week, and gradually increase it to a reasonable amount.
  4. Once families have achieved the first three objectives, they are counseled to expand their efforts, as circumstances allow, into a supply of long-term basic foods such as grains, legumes, and other staples.

(See All is Safely Gathered In)

There’s nothing alarmist or frightening in any of the Church publications that teach members how to prepare for times of need. Indeed, it’s far more likely that a Mormon family will use their food storage to ride out a period of unemployment than Armageddon.

When we surf the Internet or participate in social media, there is often much beneficial knowledge to be shared. We should use prudence and follow the influence of the Holy Ghost. If we feel troubled by what we read on web, we should trust our feelings and take it to the Lord in prayer. In particular, be wary of web sites where people share their own personal revelations about dire judgments and tribulations. Elder Packer, speaking to an audience of new mission presidents in 1982, related:

I have come to believe also that it is not wise to continually talk of unusual spiritual experiences. They are to be guarded with care and shared only when the Spirit itself prompts you to use them to the blessing of others. I am ever mindful of Alma’s words:

 

“It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.” (Alma 12:9.)

 

I heard President Marion G. Romney once counsel mission presidents and their wives in Geneva, “I do not tell all I know; I have never told my wife all I know, for I found out that if I talked too lightly of sacred things, thereafter the Lord would not trust me.”

 

We are, I believe, to keep these things and ponder them in our hearts, as Luke said Mary did of the supernal events that surrounded the birth of Jesus. (See Luke 2:19.)

I love that Elder Packer mentioned the example of Mary, the Lord’s mother. How many wonderful, sacred things did she experience watching Jesus grow up in her care? Yet the gospels are largely silent on them. What a model of spiritual self-restraint!

If you encounter web sites where you feel that members are sharing things that are inappropriate or are announcing inspired dreams that trouble you, just keep in mind that the Holy Ghost testifies of truth and that one of the fruits of the Spirit is peace (Galatians 5:22). If you don’t feel right about what you read, trust your feelings and take it to the Lord in prayer. You can be prompted and motivated to work towards preparedness and do so without undue anxiety. Don’t let food storage become a bone of contention between you, family members, or cause divisiveness in your ward family. As with all other things, do your best and leave the rest in the Lord’s hands to bless your efforts.

 

Gramps

 

 

How can I learn to love my enemies?

How can I learn to love my enemies?

Question

Dear Gramps,
I have been struggling with this one for a long time.  I don’t have the ability to love my enemies, those who want to hurt me or my family and country.  I want to obey the Lord but its not in my heart to love people who want to hurt me or my family, evil politicians and people who want to destroy the USA as in 9/11.  Any thoughts?

Regards,

Michael

 

Answer

Michael,

I want to categorically correct something you have said. You DO have the ability to love your enemies. So let’s talk about that a bit.

The idea that one cannot help who they love is strictly contrary to the idea of agency. To love one another is a commandment. God will not give commandment unto the children of men save He shall prepare a way that they may accomplish the thing commanded (1 Nephi 3:7). He also commanded us to love our enemies. So a claim that we cannot is simply false. The Lord will prepare a way if we are only willing to do as He asks.

So let’s talk about obedience a bit.

Before getting into that, I want to let you know that I have struggled with similar issues you are bringing up here. Often we are taught in church to love our neighbors, and I think to myself, “How?” Sometimes our neighbors are not very lovable. Sometimes the guy next door is our actual enemy.

But then I recall what my mother taught me in my youth. “If you want to love someone,” she said, “Serve them.”

A lot of times when we’re taught to love, it is from the perspective that if we do we will serve better. “Love your neighbors so you will do your hometeaching.” I cannot help but wonder if that is not somewhat backwards. Maybe it should be, “Do your home teaching, so you will love your neighbors.” But, really, I think it’s both.

Love is a choice.

What? You mean I can choose whether to love someone or not?

Yes!

The world would have us believe it is not a choice. We cannot help who we love, they preach. We either do or do not, and there is no choice about it at all. They would imply there is no agency. Does that sound like anyone else you can think of? Someone who wanted to destroy our agency?

Satan’s plan was to destroy agency—to take away our choice, or to make our choices not matter. And the world at large is chanting his theme song. But we know better. We can choose.

Does that mean that we can force feelings that aren’t there? Well, as you have well pointed out, no…not directly in every case. But that is not really what love is. Not entirely. Obviously feelings of tenderness and compassion are part of it. But tenderness and compassion follow action and decision as much as the other way around. And loving someone is a matter of how we choose to interact with them and how we choose to treat them as much as how we really “feel”.

Take a parent, for example. Their child comes in and does something horrible, messy, annoying, or otherwise childish. Is the parent always going to respond by thinking, “how sweet.” No. Does that mean they don’t love their child? The automatic response will be frustration, disgust, anger, or other negative emotions, in many cases. We are all human, after all. And yet, the love of a good parent leads him/her to put aside the negative, replaced with responses that are patient, long-suffering, kind, tender, and loving. This is in spite of the natural man. How silly it would be to feel frustrated at one’s own petulant child and determine that it means we do not love them. Keep in mind, the fact that we love them does not mean that we do not punish them either.

By a parent choosing to act lovingly in spite of natural emotional reactions, the bond of love between the child and the parent grows. The parent loves the child more, the child loves the parent more, and both are increased and made better.

So it is with our neighbors, and even with our enemies. The fact that our neighbors annoy us sometimes is natural. The fact that evil men doing evil things angers us is natural. But, as we know, the natural man is an enemy to God. (Mosiah 3:19). Just as when our child does something wrong, we must put aside our natural tendencies and instead respond with characteristics of someone who loves. By so doing, we learn to love. We actually love them more. We practice love. And we show love for our Father in Heaven. (Mosiah 2:17)

But remember also that we learn line upon line:

2 Nephi 28:30

 “For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.”

Learning to love is a lifelong process. We cannot expect that today we do not love, and tomorrow, by simply choosing to do so, that our love will be perfect. Nor can we expect that our love will be perfect in this life.

We only get a taste of God’s perfect love in this life. We sample it by doing a small part of what is His work and His glory. But our imperfect, mortal frames are not capable of the fullness of His love. That is why God gave to us obedience.

Love is the what.

Eternal life is the why.

Obedience is the how.

The Savior set an example of obedience for us.

2 Nephi 31:7

 “But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments.”

Thomas S. Monson also taught:

 “The Savior demonstrated genuine love of God by living the perfect life, by honoring the sacred mission that was His. Never was He haughty. Never was He puffed up with pride. Never was He disloyal. Ever was He humble. Ever was He sincere. Ever was He obedient.”

We learn in the Book of Abraham 3:24-25

 “And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;

“And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;”

Prove us how? If we will do what we are commanded. In other words, will we obey?

So why is this the standard whereby we are proved. Why doesn’t this scripture say, “We will prove them herewith to see if they will love God and each other”?

Think on it.

Here’s an idea:

D&C 130:20-21

 “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—

“And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” (emphasis mine)

We see these ideas consistently throughout the scriptures. For example, Mosiah 2:41

 “And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.”

Thomas S. Monson also said:

 “An attitude of love characterized the mission of the Master. He gave sight to the blind, legs to the lame, and life to the dead. Perhaps when we [face] our Maker, we will not be asked, ‘How many positions did you hold?’ but rather, ‘How many people did you help?’ In reality, you can never love the Lord until you serve Him by serving His people.”

I’m going to restate that last line, this time bolded:

“You can never love the Lord until you serve Him by serving His people.”

After quoting President Monson in the above link, Elder Oaks then taught, “Those who are caught up in trying to save their lives by seeking the praise of the world are actually rejecting the Savior’s teaching that the only way to save our eternal life is to love one another and lose our lives in service.”  (emphasis mine)

And M. Russell Ballard taught:

“The love the Savior described is an active love. It is not manifested through large and heroic deeds but rather through simple acts of kindness and service.” (emphasis mine)

President Monson also taught us that “Spiritual strength frequently comes through selfless service.”

Are you beginning to see a pattern to these teaching? In which manner do we obey so that we may learn love?

I wonder how the politics of the world might change if our nation’s leaders began their approach with this philosophy.

John 14:15:

 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

Herein is the key. The greatest commandment is to love God. And we do so by keeping His commandments.

We read in Mosiah 2:17

“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”

Therein is the answer to your question. “How do I love my enemies?”

The answer is simple. You serve them.

Gramps

Is it okay to get a tattoo after baptism?

Is it okay to get a tattoo after baptism?

Question

Gramps,

After seeing the beautiful video of the tattooed Mormon, I wonder about those getting tattoos/piercings after receiving the blessings of baptism, and the temple. Are we advised or even commanded not to alter the temple of God in this way? I have always had a very strong desire to get some gently beautiful artwork but, have always abstained because I feel the Lord would be disappointed in this decision.

Bradley

 

Answer

Bradley,

Here’s Gordon B. Hinckley on the matter:

What creation is more magnificent than the human body? What a wondrous thing it is as the crowning work of the Almighty.

Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, said: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

“If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor. 3:16–17).

Did you ever think that your body is holy? You are a child of God. Your body is His creation. Would you disfigure that creation with portrayals of people, animals, and words painted into your skin?

I promise you that the time will come, if you have tattoos, that you will regret your actions. They cannot be washed off. They are permanent. Only by an expensive and painful process can they be removed. If you are tattooed, then probably for the remainder of your life you will carry it with you. I believe the time will come when it will be an embarrassment to you. Avoid it. We, as your Brethren who love you, plead with you not to become so disrespectful of the body which the Lord has given you.

Need I say more?

Gramps

How do I handle parents that are too controlling?

How do I handle parents that are too controlling?

Question

Gramps,

I like this boy and we date a lot and it is driving my parents insane because I am paired up with him on these ridiculous group dates. But I am crazy about him and want to just hang out with him, I hate sneaking behind my parents backs but they are rigid about rules.  They follow every suggestion as pure doctrine. We can’t even play gin rummy because one prophet said that playing cards in the hands of a priesthood holder is a satire upon religion. All these rules seem to be more about controlling me than teaching me to love the Lord. Most mothers have the talk with their daughter about sex. My mother and father had the talk jointly before my 1st date and all they said was, your 1st kiss must be at your wedding, Nothing about birth control, resisting temptation, just no physical contact with a boy, never be alone with the boy. My parents think that fun and free time are sins in and of themselves as they continually ask whenever they see me doing nothing or laughing, “is what you are doing going to get you back to the Celestial Kingdom” The way they describe the Celestial Kingdom it makes it sound like hell. One long unending church meeting. Not really inspiring me to behave with my boyfriend. I’d sure love to be able to talk to my mom about this.  I really need advice/info on this.. Maybe if my parents relaxed and let me be 16 and not expect me to be grown up church wouldn’t be such a pain. It shouldn’t be, should it?

Abbie

 

Answer

Abbie,

When I was a youth I too felt similarly with my parents rules as you do with yours. As a youth, these rules felt more restricting rather than providing or allowing myself the “freedoms” I felt I personally deserved. As my parents said (following the Church guidelines strictly), “No dating until you are 16.” I remember when I thought I would be able to pull a fast one on my parents, I was 14, and my fast one wasn’t so successful. They created an atomosphere where I knew I had to break up with her. When I broke up with her, she really disliked me and didn’t want anything to do with me afterwards because I told her I needed to break up with her because of my parents — although it was the truth. As a youth, I could only see what I wanted to see and didn’t allow the words of my parents to enter very deeply into my heart, in other words, I never tried to understand their point of view. As a parent myself, I have come to recognize they weren’t too far from the truth as I find myself saying at times (but swore in my youth I would surely handle it differently, “Oh my gosh, that is exactly what my father/mother would have said.”

I recognize, and your parents recognize that you care about this boy, which is part of their worry. They know the passion, because they have experienced this passion themselves, when they were young — and this begins the worry of any parent who truly love their children. As parents though, we don’t always have the best way to approach something, but we do our best according to our fears and our faith. Have you stopped your current mental process and actually meditated on the reason why your parents have the rigid rules they do, or do you simply ignore them without much thought because it disagrees with your desires, your personal passion for this young man?

The greatest objective for any faithful LDS member is to help our children recognize the value of being good by keeping the commandments of God. Every faithful LDS parent desires all of their children and their family to be received in the Celestial kingdom. Every faithful LDS parent knows that this is accomplished by keeping the commandments and if we break any commandment to repent quickly. With my own children, how my heart aches when they leave my side knowing that they may make a decision that will ultimately deny them access into the Celestial kingdom, if they don’t repent. Some children make a decision, and instead of repenting they forsake the gospel to justify their actions. Yes, this is one of the many reasons why we as parents seem to have “rigid” rules to our children. Even my children have thought that we had rigid rules in my house. Yet, I have rigid rules to protect, or try to protect my children from making decisions that will ultimately steer them away from our family being together forever in the Celestial kingdom.

It is apparent, your parents want you to keep the law of Chastity. Now, I won’t say a parent is ever wrong in their parenting unless they are abusing their children. Your parents are doing the best they can, according to their current knowledge, to keep you safe. For example, if you never kiss a boy before you are married then there will be no worries about you breaking the law of Chastity — understand?

To be frank, I must admit, I am at a disadvantage is answering your question since I do not know exactly how your parents have defined, or explained, the Celestial kingdom to you. The Celestial kingdom is where God dwells along with those who have reached their full measure of growth. These are they who will inherit all the Father hath, and will be the only individuals who will not experience any misery as a result of personal choices on this earth — in other words — they will have no reason to gnash their teeth. This sounds pretty pleasant to me (I need the scriptures which explain the joy of paradise).

The balance between rules, commandments, and our obedience to these commandments is very important to our growth as sons and daughters of God. Without obedience, without rules, we would never come to reach the full measure of our creation, because we would not know ourselves which path leads to glory and which path leads to captivity.

In my youth, I also thought my parents strict, over-bearing with rules, until I realized the importance of them and why they were there. The idea of not kissing any boy before you are married isn’t a bad rule. The best way to avoid temptation is by not indulging in temptation.

If you never kiss a boy, you don’t have to worry about birth control. The only people who need to worry about birth control are those who are sexually active, at 16, then a birth control lesson is moot. If you have no physical contact with a boy, then why would you need to worry about birth control? If you are becoming passionately involved with a boy, heavy kissing which ultimately leads to petting (touching private parts, in other words a boy touching a women’s breasts) then a talk about birth control might be advised.

Instead of fighting against your parents have you even considered the possible wisdom of what they are trying to teach you, or are you more concerned with what you want, and what you want is more important than wise counsel?

 

Gramps

 

Should we still be living the Law of Moses?

Should we still be living the Law of Moses?

Question

Gramps,

I recently met a man who identified as a Christian Hebrew. He believed we should still keep the Law of Moses. I investigated some of his claims. I was interested by Moses’ account of Noah and the clean and unclean animals. This explicitly tells us that unclean and clean animals are part of pre-mosaic law. I haven’t ever thought of myself as a smorgasbord saint but I just can’t figure out how we make the distinction between what we adhere to in the Mosaic Law and what has been “fulfilled”  and we no longer are obliged to keep. For example we still adhere to the Ten Commandments but seem to have done away with things like eating restrictions and restrictions on contact with those who were ill or dead or postpartum. As far as i am aware, i have not found anything that says its okay to eat “unclean” meats and there is even the scripture (Acts 15) where Paul talks about the Gentiles being exempt from parts of the law but still should not fornicate or worship idols (which we still adhere to), but he also says not to eat strangled things or blood (which i have never heard restricted in the latter days). Where do we draw the line? Thank you

Josiah (more…)

Is there a line between faith and blind obedience?

Is there a line between faith and blind obedience?

Question

Gramps,

Could you have the faith Heber C. Kimball had?   First he was asked to share his wife with Joseph Smith.  He agrees only to be told it was a test of faith. Then after passing that test he is asked to give his 14 year old daughter up to marry Joseph. This time it’s not a test nor is it a ceremonial marriage.   In thinking on this, I don’t think I have that level of faith.   I could not give my daughters to men they did not choose for themselves nor loved.   I want to develop my faith, but is there a line between faith and blind obedience? Can we make it back to the Father if we lack the faith of a Heber C. Kimball?

Concerned (more…)

Why do we need to follow the Ten Commandments?

Why do we need to follow the Ten Commandments?

Question

Gramps,

Why do we have to follow the Ten Commandments if the atonement covers everything?  Why is repenting the only thing we have to do in order to get back home?  Is there a parable, an example or any talks from church leaders about this situation?   Other people say why follow the laws if Christ died for me.   I am free.   God understands I’m weak.  He will save me anyway.   I don’t have to be perfect.   It won’t matter because He died for me.  What does being saved IN your sins and FROM your sins really mean?

Ed (more…)

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