Thursday, June 30, 2011

Blessed by God: Individual Journies That Are Acceptable to Him

A friend of mine wrote the following comment a while ago in a thread about finding our way to God - and how not all of us walk the same pathway in that journey. I thought it was incredibly insightful, and I really like the scriptural reference to very different journeys that were blessed by God despite their differences. My friend excerpted a couple of comments from other people, and I have copied here the entire thing - excerpts and all:
There are times when I wonder if all that's really required is a good honest heart toward other people (hard work, love, caring for others, etc.) - and all this ordinance / sacrifice / priesthood holding, moving, etc. is the invention of men. Blessed by God, but only one of a number of paths that are acceptable to Him.

A good scriptural account of this principle is how the Lord worked with the brother of Jared. The important thing was that a journey needed to happen - to get the people to the promised land.

The boats were just tools in the journey. How the boats would work, or have light to support life, could be done a number of ways.

The Lord lets the brother of Jared choose one way (crystal stones touched and lighted by God's power), and God reaches His finger through the veil to oblige and bless that choice.

That is one way you can get to the promised land. Obviously, other groups did it differently, and the Lord blessed their "ways" also. In the end, it was the journey and what the individuals learned along the journey that mattered, not the details.

I think this way about the Temple Ceremony, and possible sources Joseph Smith might have used to create it. If it was blessed by the Lord, than that is fine for me. As [someone else] put it:

I'm chalking it up to human ideas.

I think in many cases . . . they're pretty good [or even transcendent] ideas and can help me feel close to God, as long as I don't get so caught up in the literal teachings that I fail to benefit from the symbolic and spiritual truths and principles they are meant to convey. The details are far less important than how I use them to reach my intended destination.


Keri Brooks said...

I love this. I think that God is much more boundless than we give Him credit for.

I know a man who is one of the most Christ-like people I have ever met. He prays frequently, serves the poor, loves his wife and children, treats everyone he meets with equality and respect, and exhibits the gifts of the Spirit in abundance. He's someone anyone would be pleased to have as a fellow ward member. But he's Muslim.

We've had several discussions on the subject of religion (for the purpose of learning from each other, not for the purpose of conversion), and I have come to realize that God is pleased with my friend's faith and righteousness. I have no doubt that he'll get the "well done thou good and faithful servant" treatment in the hereafter.

Molly said...

This reminds me of the book Pilgrims Progress. Christian is following the straight and narrow path to the Celestial City, but has very different experiences than other people on the road. They may have traveled the path at a different time of day so some temptations were "sleeping" or whatever. Still, they were both following the same path to the same end.

Anonymous said...

I'm always fascinated and edified by what you have to say about the temple,because it is totally different than I have come to expect anyone to say,and fits so well with my own instincts.Over time,i have come to completely distrust them.Hopefully I'll be able to re-habilitate my own inspiration over time.