Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Christ Gave Us Freedom

Maria from Fritz Lang's film Metropolis.

Does anyone still believe that Christ gave us our agency & autonomy? I wonder all the time. I repeatedly see Mormons in my newsfeed lobby for control and coercion. It is as if they have forgotten the adversary who emerged from the Council in Heaven.

We read about that stuff in Moses 4:
1 And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.
2 But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
3 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;
4 And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.
D&C 76:
25 And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son whom the Father loved and who was in the bosom of the Father, was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son,
26 And was called Perdition, for the heavens wept over him—he was Lucifer, a son of the morning.
27 And we beheld, and lo, he is fallen! is fallen, even a son of the morning!
28 And while we were yet in the Spirit, the Lord commanded us that we should write the vision; for we beheld Satan, that old serpent, even the devil, who rebelled against God, and sought to take the kingdom of our God and his Christ
29 Wherefore, he maketh war with the saints of God, and encompasseth them round about.
Isaiah 14:
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
Revelation 12:
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
2 Nephi 9:
O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.
And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.
Re-reading this stuff, doesn't it seem clear to you that the adversary's goal is control and enslavement? If his plan was diametrically opposed to that of The Father, then wouldn't that mean that Christ intended for us to have the freedom to choose for ourselves and govern ourselves?

If this is true, then governments fulfill the plan of the adversary. On the surface, they protect our property, financial interests, and values. But if they dissuade us from doing wrong via threat of fines, criminal records, and/or imprisonment, then it's not really freedom that we are talking about. It is mechanical performance of appearances to avoid pain. In other words, it is a defense mechanism.

If Shakespeare is correct in declaring life a play, then aren't you just memorizing rote lines and performing a part? And if so, then who's plan are you fulfilling?

Machines also have parts. If a part performs well, then it hums in concert with the rest of the machine. If it does not perform well, then it is replaced and discarded. But there is something ignoble about being a cog under threat, isn't there? There is an empty caving in of will that results in an intolerable numbness.

God the Father didn't want machines to enter heaven. Why did Christ follow the will of the Father? Was it out of robotic obedience? If so, then wouldn't Christ simply be the ultimate machine, following the Father's commands with a cold exactness that is better than anyone else?

Nothing about Christ strikes me as robotic. His life as described in scripture was saturated in charity, grace, and love unfeigned. But the Pharisees and Sadducees that opposed him were painfully mechanical in their approach to spirituality and the sacred. They were all about the performance of clean appearances, and Christ had a monumental critique of their programming. Their collective response to his critique was that of a calculator that could not compute.

From John 9:
19 And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see?
20 His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind:
21 But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.
22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
23 Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.
24 Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.
25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
26 Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes?
27 He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?
28 Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples.
29 We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.
30 The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.
31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
32 Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
33 If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.
34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.
Their response to miracles was contempt and judgment. Their questions about healing was from a position of incredulous doubt. Such machines are not fit for a world populated by gods. What would they do there? Display their resistance to pork and shellfish? Recount the steps they took every sabbath day to prove their righteousness?

Verse 29 should be horrifying to people who regularly say "I know" in fast and testimony meeting. The Jews claimed that they knew that God spake to Moses, but they still did not recognize Christ. This begs a serious question: If they knew that God spoke to Moses, what was the nature of their knowledge? Was it mere tradition? If so, then isn't that just the result of hearing your parents and elders repeat the mantra "I know" until you become brave enough to repeat it yourself?

Their knowledge was not saving knowledge. This puts an unexpected twist on Joseph Smith's translation of Matthew 7.

KJV:
23 And then will I say, I never knew you; depart from me ye that work iniquity.
JST:
23 And then will I say, Ye never knew me; depart from me ye that work iniquity.
Clearly there is a hierarchy of knowledge, despite what some people at FairMormon would say on the matter. Some knowledge saves, and some knowledge does not. So when Joseph Smith says,
"A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world."

... it is likely that he is speaking of knowledge that is of the saving kind. Not only is it not heretical to seek this knowledge out, it is imperative. I believe that it is this knowledge, the knowledge of knowing Christ, that frees us from the fear and mechanical ungodliness of obeying God like the awful machines that the enemy would have us be. The enemy wants to keep you from it. He wants you to pretend, and to play your part instead of fulfilling the measure of your creation.
 
What is it that caused the Pharisees to resist Christ and fight against the kingdom of God? They accused him of being possessed by a devil. Was it not the other way around? Their ultimate response to his doctrine and gospel was to deliver him to the murder machine that, at that time, had their kingdom in thrall: the Roman Empire. Jesus claim to "fulfilling the law" of Moses was the last thing they desired. Freedom from the law was terrifying to them. But more terrifying than that was the new commandment (from John 13):
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
This commandment is still terrifying to us. So much so that we rely on the law to dispense our values to those who disagree with us. This is why this country and its people are not recognizable as "Christians". We do not love as he loved.

Think about that. We rely on machination, on government and law. On police and military to maintain our freedom. Christ, conversely, coerces no one. If he is willing to go to war with an enemy that wanted to puppet us into heaven, why would we turn around and implement the plan of the adversary on ourselves and others?

2 comments:

  1. So glad to see you blog again! Wow, this is a great way to explain what is happening. I think I will be using this to teach my teenagers.

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  2. Charity. The LOVE of Christ. Freedom. Acceptance. Without Charity, we are NOTHING or so says the Apostle Paul (1 Cor 13). How I LOVE it when Church members show GENUINE charity. What a breath of fresh air!!!

    ReplyDelete