Transporter

God: The Great ‘Transporter’!

TheDiscipleMD

“Beam me up Scottie!”, Captain Kirk used to bark to the engineer of the Star Ship “U.S.S. Enterprise”. Then by the power of the “transporter”, he and his crew would return from their exploration of a newly found planet. A “transporter” would convert a person or object into an energy pattern, then “beam” it to a target, where it would be reconverted into matter. This fictional teleportation machine played an important part in the success of the short lived (Sept. 1966 to June of 1969), but long living original TV series called “Star Trek”. As a boy of ten it was fascinating to think of such a machine. In a blink of an eye you could go from one place to another, no matter the distance. Wow! That machine could even “transport” you to other worlds. It had the ability to completely take apart every molecule of your body; and then reassemble it somewhere else in perfect condition. What a machine! Well, I knew that it was just “science fiction”, but it was really exciting to think of the possibilities. While the “transporter” machine is a work of fiction, what it was purported to accomplish is not.

“Now my son, here is somewhat more I would say unto thee; for I perceive that thy mind is worried concerning the resurrection of the dead…Behold, there is a time appointed that all shall come forth from the dead. Now when this time cometh no one knows; but God knoweth the time which is appointed…The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame. And now, my son, this is the restoration of which has been spoken by the mouths of the prophets-” (Alma 40: 1, 4, 23-24).

Alma, like me, was also very intrigued by the ideal of a “transporter”. He didn’t use that word, but as he was diligently trying to teach his son he revealed something interesting. He said to his son, “There are many mysteries which are kept, that no one knoweth them save God himself. But I show unto you one thing which I have inquired diligently of God that I might know- that is concerning the resurrection”. (vs. 3)

Alma then goes into detail regarding the mystery of the resurrection; about the reassembling of the body after it has died. His desire to understand the mystery of how the body and soul will be reunited is a basic doctrine of our church.  That is an astounding point to ponder. The “transporter” is God! How He accomplishes such work may not be fully understood, but then again, I still don’t really understand how electricity is harnessed. Yet, I am a beneficiary of its wonder through the intellect of others.

Now it is important to note the most important part of “transporting”. Alma expounded on this most important point.

“…the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish-good for that which is good: righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just, merciful for that which is merciful. Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren: deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually, and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgement restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again. For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all. (Alma 41:13-15)

Alma taught that our body and souls wouldn’t be “dissemble”, (death), and then reassembled differently. He taught that our restoration would be just that, a restoration! To restore something means to “return” it back to it’s original condition; oft time it even means to “improve” it. Such will be the case with our bodies. They will be improved. But improved doesn’t mean changing the basic nature. Soon enough, all of us must lay down our bodies in the cold ground. The great hope is found in the resurrection, the “transportation” of our physical bodies from dust to their proper frame. Thus, it is only through the Savior, that we are able to rise again from our graves and be with our loved ones for eternity. He is the “Great Transporter”. It is a doctrine worthy of a lifetime of study.

 

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The Process Of Personal Decision Making

TheDiscipleMD

Over the years members have come into my office to discuss a problem that was vexing them. They would state the situation, and then ask me what they should do. More often than not, I could only give suggestions, or counsel them from my experience as to a course of action. As their priesthood leader,  I did have the right to receive inspiration to nurture and encourage them,  but that calling didn’t supersede their responsibility to 1) identify the problem 2) Pray for guidance 3) Study the problem 4) Make the decision 5) Pray for confirmation and then 6) Act . That process requires time, effort and accountability. Some of them would have prefered to skip that process.

The process of personal decision making is a primary component in our personal progress towards becoming like God.  However, I think that some of us have the mistaken idea that if we pray to the Lord for guidance on everything, that we are somehow following the Lord’s way, when in fact, that might not be true. The Lord expects for us to study things out in our own mind, using all our faculties in so doing.  Once we have made a decision, then we go to him for confirmation.  In my opinion, sometimes there is more than one answer to a prayer or problem. The old saying that “there is more than one way to skin a cat” is certainly possible in most cases. So, after careful study and pondering we might decide to tackle the problem a certain way. We then pray, and when we feel the confirmation of the spirit we make the determination that the decision we made is the “right” way, when in fact it is “a” way to solve the problem. The Lord might have confirmed several decisions we could have made under the same situation. The important thing, most of the time, is to “make” a decision based on the process that has been revealed through latter-day prophets. I once recall reading that the answers to the all important decisions that we face are found in the scriptures or in the words of modern-day prophets.

It is important to make the Lord a part of the process in our decision making process, but going directly to Him, or His servants, without doing the necessary homework is making an end run around the learning process that the Lord intended for His children. That intent is evident by the fact that a veil was placed upon our minds when we came to this earth. Personal development through decision making is a key part of our agency in this life. We need to take the effort to gain all the blessings and development that the Lord desired for us in this process by following it His way.

 

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O Savior Stay This Night With Me!

TheDiscipleMD

A few years ago the focus of a church meeting was the hymns of our faith. It brought me to reflect upon my favorite hymn. My favorite hymn today is not my favorite hymn of yesteryear. My favorite characters found in the scriptures have been changing, according to my age and life experiences. So too, my favorite hymns have changed over time due to life experiences. I recall from my early youth how I loved the majestic and powerful opening notes of the hymn “God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hands”. I always loved hearing the organ open each verse with eight notes that reverberated throughout the chapel which seemed to encourage us Christian warriors to get ready for battle. It almost seemed like a “fight song” of sorts. I loved it so much that I asked if it could be sung at my missionary farewell as the opening song. And it was there, at my missionary farewell that I was introduced to a new favorite hymn, although, if my memory is correct, at the time it wasn’t found in the hymnal.

It is my earliest memory of hearing “Love One Another”. My Mother and sisters sang it! I loved it because of the simple melody and words. I was happy when this beautiful song was added years later to our hymns of praise. That hymn became my favorite for many years. But, as is the case with us all, life presents each with distinct challenges and obstacles. I don’t care how lucky or blessed you are in this life you will not get through it without being tested. For some the tests are numerous, mighty and for lengthy periods of time. Yet, for others they are short and intense. Either way, they test our resolve to be faithful and true. I am no different from most. Some of my challenges have been short and intense; others have been long and hard and continue to this day. Consequently, the inspirational power of some hymns come forward during those trials. Some seem to be written just for us!

I have gleaned great solace from listening and singing many of the church hymns over the years. None more so than my current favorite, “Abide with Me; ‘ Tis Eventide”. It contains within its verses the common occurrence in life of watching the day come to a close and preparing for a long night of darkness and loneliness. Anyone who has ever tackled a tough problem is aware that as darkness falls time seems to slow down. But somehow your mind speeds up as it becomes filled with the tough questions regarding your life, its direction and the trials before you. As your mind empties of the days activities, it starts to refill with the worries of your life. It can consume you! You are in need of hope! The first stanza of “Abide with Me; Tis Eventide” captures that feeling when it says:

Abide with me: ’tis eventide

The day is past and gone;

The shadows of the evening fall,

The night is coming on

It is the feeling of being alone, and without hope that make the impending darkness so forbidding. A gloomy night lies ahead and traveling it solo is not a pleasant thought. But, then comes a welcome guest and the cry of the chorus:

O Savior, stay this night with me;

Behold, ’tis eventide

O Savior, stay this night with me

Behold, ’tis eventide.

I wonder how many choruses of lamentations have been launched throughout history towards heaven as the shadows of evening fall and night is coming on. If you have ever had a sleepless night, you know how small problems become large ones and large ones become insurmountable. Sometimes it seems as though the gates of hell open up between the setting of the sun and its rising. Somewhere during that long night you need someone to hold onto. Someone you can lean on and someone who you know will understand your plight. That someone for me has been the Savior.

Abide with me; ’tis eventide

And lone will be the night

If I cannot commune with thee

Nor find in thee my light.

The darkness of the world, I fear,

Would in my home abide

I cannot speak for everyone but it has been my experience that light can be found in the midst of darkness when we take time to commune with the Savior. He will comfort us in our extremities. He will provide for us a shoulder to lean on, and the strength to carry on. He will give us the fortitude and resolve to make it through the night! I don’t know how it all works, nor do I really need to. I only know that as the dawn has broken on those kinds of nights for me, I have felt that the Savior has accepted my invitation to “stay this night with me” and I have made it through another night. The new day brings new challenges and new opportunities. But I know that the night will come again and I will be left to my thoughts. But, I have gained a testimony that as often as I have pled for Him to “abide with me”, He has stayed. I take great comfort in that knowledge, as I know there is always another night ahead.

 

 

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When You’re Sixty!

TheDiscipleMD

A RE-POST FROM A FEW YEARS AGO (OBVIOUSLY)
Today is the day “I lived a good life.” Today I turn sixty years old. The big one! If I had passed on yesterday I would have still been fifty-nine and my passing would have been tragic. After all, when you die in your fifties, you’re still young. Whenever I hear of someone dying when they are in their fifties, I always say, “They were so young. What a tragedy!” However, when someone is in their sixties and the grim reaper paid them a visit, I almost always say, with a bit of nonchalance, “Well…he lived a good life.” Somehow I equated being sixty as having lived a ‘full life.” Of course, now that my life is ‘full,” somehow I want more. What do I want more of? The answer is “life!”

Yes, life with all its privileges is what we all want. Sometimes we get so caught up in our problems that we lose the beauty of living each day. What a wonderful gift it is to wake up and see the dawn of a new day with all its possibilities! Each day…and I mean each day, has something special to offer us in the way of its magnificence, no matter our circumstance. If we examine our daily lives, we will discover that there is something good happening to us daily. Daily! That is a true statement!

Some of us have now ‘lived a good life.’ Now, everyday is a bonus. We should appreciate that and enjoy every moment of it. We know hard times may be ahead. Our bodies and minds will continue to deteriorate and that will not be fun. But, now that we have ‘lived a good life,’ each day onward we should try to look for the beauty that surrounds us and bask in the glory of it all, because we shouldn’t miss savoring a moment of life in all its grandeur!

The other day I was behind an old man in a check out line. He was hobbling and could barely walk. He looked like he was a hundred and two! But a funny thing happened as he passed in front of me. He gave me a smile and I smiled back. And I didn’t see a face ravaged by age. I just saw a countenance that carried a smile. And for a instance, all my cares disappeared as he gave me a moment of joyful rest from my journey now ‘full.’

For all those who have ‘lived a good life,’ there are still joys beyond measure to find, interesting people to meet, and places to see. But more importantly, there are hearts to touch, smiles to give, and lives to bless. May we remember to enjoy the beauty and magnificence of God’s handiwork on a daily basis! We’ve lived a good life, but there is plenty more..in store…to explore!

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