Monday, August 4, 2014

Mormon 9:35-36 -- On Family

"And these things are written that we may rid our garments of the blood of our brethren, who have dwindled in unbelief.
And behold, these things which we have desired concerning our brethren, yea, even their restoration to the knowledge of Christ, are according to the prayers of all the saints who have dwelt in the land."
Mormon 9:35-36

The idea here that our garments can be stained because of other people is interesting, and kind of scary.  We know that we don't have inherited sin from Articles of Faith 1:3, which states "men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression."  ... So, if it isn't inherited, then how does it work?  What it seems to be is that we have a responsibility to each other, to help each other get back to God's presence.  That's why the Book of Mormon was written... to help far future relatives and descendants of friends to come back to God.  Joseph Smith, speaking of our ancestors and people who have gone before us, said "their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation" (D&C 128:15), and he also quotes Paul who said "they without us should not be made perfect" (Hebrews 11:40).
God is our father, and so the analogy of family loyalty kind of fits here.  In our families, we want to help and protect each other, and we have a responsibility there... to be good examples for each other, to support and help rather than tear down, to share knowledge and encourage... to not let anyone go hungry or be alone when they need someone.  And I think here, and many many other places in the scriptures, God is reminding us that our family isn't just parents and siblings in a direct genetically related sort of a way.  As God is our father, we have a greater responsibility to him, and our siblings are the human race.
Sometimes the idea of Zion, a perfect society where there are no poor, seems impossible.  But if we look at our immediate families, I think it is easier to understand.  If, just on that level, we pooled our resources and helped each other, most of us would have enough.  God's idea is that we're all part of each other... all essential to each other's salvation, and we work together to make it happen.  Not just an abstract ideal, but a living truth.  An idea that can help us all, if we start thinking of each other as family.  Today, let's work on it.  Let's pray for each other.  Let's expand our sense of loyalty.  Let's be there for each other, and accept that larger responsibility to everyone.  Let's let that idea change the way we communicate and how we talk about others.  Let's love, and rejoice in our immense family. :) 

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