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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : The Beauty of the Gospel » The Beauty of the Gospel

The Beauty of the Gospel

Tom - February 2, 2007

To me the essence of the Gospel is this: our Heavenly Parents desire nothing more than that their children live with them in eternal joy, but as nascent spirits living in their presence and without understanding of good and bad, hope and despair, pleasure and pain it was not possible for us to grow and develop to become like them and experience the joy that they experience. So they sent us to a world where we would know pain and sorrow so that we could also know peace and happiness; where we would not be in their personal presence, or even have the memory of it, so that we could learn of our own accord to act in accordance with the principles that lead to joy; where we could be part of families so that we could in a small way play the roles that they play and learn to love as they love.

Impurity through sin, which would make us unfit to live in the presence of deity, and death of the mortal body were inevitable consequences of their sending us to this world. So they sent their perfect son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to overcome death unconditionally and sin contingent on our making and keeping covenants to the best of our ability. Through this gift of grace we will be resurrected and gain immortal bodies and become eligible to return to live in the presence of our Heavenly Parents.

So that we could know what it takes to reach our divine potential, yet still have the benefit of living without perfect knowledge of our Heavenly Parents, the Spirit communicates to us and confirms to us the truthfullness of the teachings of prophets.

More than anything, it is the elegant beauty of this plan and experiences that I regard as confirmation by the Spirit of its truthfulness that form the foundation of my faith. As I read over what I have written, hundreds of why and how questions come to mind. And examining the history of how this plan came to be known, of the men who have taught and propagated it, and of the institutional Church, hundreds of other questions come to mind. There are some questions for which I have answers that are satisfactory to me and others for which I don’t. But I believe that the big Gospel picture that came out of it all is beautiful and true.

13 Comments »

  1. Beautiful post, Tom, thanks.

    Comment by Susan M — February 2, 2007 @ 3:44 pm

  2. Tom,
    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your post was basic, sincere, simple and heartfelt. Something that just seems wild, radical and reckless in this Wild World Wide Web.

    Comment by Doc — February 2, 2007 @ 3:55 pm

  3. [...] On an unrelated note, this post by Tom at Nine Moons brings to mind something that has always troubled me about the Mormon divine plan.  Why is it necessary that someone should experience evil in order to experience good?  I believe that is absolutely false and its falseness is easily verified.  I don’t need to murder someone to experience the moral good of not murdering people.  I do need to have the choice, and I need to make it.  But I don’t need to make the wrong choice first and be forgiven.  The fact that I can do that reflects God’s awesomeness, but it’s not a necessary process in order to experience said awesomeness.  What am I missing? [...]

    Pingback by Defensor Veritatis » Blog Archive » Stuff — February 2, 2007 @ 4:58 pm

  4. Wonderful post Tom. I would say that my thoughts are the exact same but I fear I’m starting to sound like a broken record.

    Comment by Rusty — February 2, 2007 @ 5:51 pm

  5. Beautiful summary! :) It’s too bad Defensor Veritatis can’t see it.

    Comment by Proud Daughter of Eve — February 2, 2007 @ 9:57 pm

  6. Defensor,

    The truth of it is- if you go back to our very foundations in heaven before this earth was created, it was a known part growing that once we came to earth in our somewhat infant state we would all sin iregardless of whether or not there was an evil influence swaying us. It is the natural man that is an enemy to god. This to me means that it is natural for man to please his carnal desires and that he has to learn how to bridal those passions and control how he uses his desires. Before Satan became Satan the plan of our salvation was already in place and we all understood it. We all knew that left alone in the world we would sin and become imperfect.

    Satan is actually a hindrence to the plan of salvation. It would have been much better had he not chosen to become evil. God allows him to tempt us because to deny that would destroy both Satan’s agency and ours. Many miss the critical point of the lecture in the Book of Mormon that wickedness or goodness could not come to pass if either it was impossible to do so or that it was immediately silenced.

    I agree with you that it seems backwards to “have to” experience being wicked in order to be good.

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 3, 2007 @ 9:49 am

  7. Are you saying the truth is that we’re basically sinful? Did the Father set it up this way?

    On a side note, I don’t believe it’s destroying Satan’s agency to protect us from him, any more than it destroys a convict’s free will to protect society from him via a prison. He can will to harm us all he wants even if the Father prevents him. Of course, He does allow Satan to tempt us, that we may experience the moral good by choosing correctly (but we need not choose wrongly to experience said good).

    Comment by Brad Haas — February 5, 2007 @ 11:59 am

  8. Of course, He does allow Satan to tempt us, that we may experience the moral good by choosing correctly (but we need not choose wrongly to experience said good).

    I think this is perfectly in line with the Mormon understanding of things. But joy, the ultimate benefit of doing good, can only be experienced and fully appreciated if we also experience absense of joy and sorrow, which are inevitable aspects of the mortal experience.

    Comment by Tom — February 5, 2007 @ 12:21 pm

  9. Must you suffocate for a while to enjoy breathing? I believe that we’re just as built for joy and goodness (for God Himself, in other words) as we are for breathing.

    More directly, what about Jesus our model? He never sinned; He didn’t *not* do good, yet surely He has the most perfect experience of the moral good in history.

    Comment by Brad Haas — February 6, 2007 @ 12:19 am

  10. Must you suffocate for a while to enjoy breathing?

    Yes. We rarely enjoy breathing. We just do it automatically. I’m breathing right now and I’m glad I’m breathing, but it brings me no particluar satisfaction or enjoyment. I appreciate that I’m breathing because I know what it’s like to not breathe. The only time breathing is a source of actual enjoyment is right after you’ve been deprived of air. That first breath is such a great relief because it’s in direct contrast to the previous pain. If you didn’t know what not breathing was like could you really appreciate or enjoy breathing?

    More directly, what about Jesus our model? He never sinned; He didn’t *not* do good, yet surely He has the most perfect experience of the moral good in history.

    You’re right, one need not sin in order to be good. Like you said, one must have the opportunity to sin in order to be good. That’s a different matter from the need to have first hand experience of sadness and pain in order to know happiness and joy.

    Comment by Tom — February 6, 2007 @ 7:14 am

  11. [...] – Next, the discussion I mentioned in my previous post has continued.  Tom tells me: … If you didn’t know what not breathing was like could you really appreciate or enjoy breathing? [...]

    Pingback by Defensor Veritatis » Blog Archive » All kinds of stuff! — February 7, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

  12. Bush goes ballistic about other countries being evil and dangerous, because they have weapons of mass destruction. But, he insists on building up even a more deadly supply of nuclear arms right here in the US. What do you think? What is he doing to us, and what is he doing to the world?
    What happened to us, people? When did we become such lemmings?
    We have lost friends and influenced no one. No wonder most of the world thinks we suck. Thanks to what george bush has done to our country during the past three years, we do!

    Comment by Antibush — February 14, 2007 @ 5:20 pm

  13. [...] Though my trust in that witness is not always perfect, its power is what has anchored me over the past several years as I have learned more faith-challenging aspects of the Church. Plus, as I always have, I still take everything everyone says with a grain of salt and I still believe that there are questions that cannot be definitively settled through argumentation and examination of hard evidence. From hanging around the internet I think I have at least cursory knowledge of everything that seems to cause a lot of problems for people and some of that has probably influenced the way I regard the Church and its leaders, but it hasn’t caused a crisis and my faith has remained intact. I haven’t felt betrayed or deceived. I still trust the current leadership of the Church and I still find the Gospel as taught by the Church to be indescribably beautiful and true. [...]

    Pingback by Nine Moons » Blog Archive : My “Inoculation” » My “Inoculation” — August 17, 2007 @ 7:55 am

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