Richard Alger

Personal Online Journal

Sunday, June 21, 2015

What do I cleave to?

Words sometimes turn out to mean the opposite from what they used to. Cleave is one of these words. It has been confusing to me unless I recognize this contradiction. And also realize that cleave is not alone among words. They are called contronyms.

Cleave can mean "To stick; to adhere;", as in "If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth;" (Ps 137:6)

Similarly it means "To unite or be united closely in interest or affection; to adhere with strong attachment." as in "Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else." (D&C 42:22) and "forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, that ye shall live by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God." (D&C 98:11)

The opposite meaning is seen in cleaver, a knife that is used to cut meat.

So what do I adhere to? To what have I affection and am strongly attached to? What competes for my attention? That might distract me from the most important?

Friday, June 05, 2015

Made Mighty Even Unto the Power of Deliverance

We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel,
when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable,
when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life,
when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome,
and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone,
truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance (see 1 Ne. 1:20). 
Some individuals who hear or read this message erroneously may discount or dismiss in their personal lives the availability of the tender mercies of the Lord. ... We may falsely think that such blessings and gifts are reserved for other people who appear to be more righteous or who serve in visible Church callings. I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are available to all of us and that the Redeemer of Israel is eager to bestow such gifts upon us. 
(White space and emphasis is mine, "The Tender Mercies of the Lord", David A. Bednar, Apr 2005)

Thursday, June 04, 2015

If you could ask the First Presidency...

A friend of mine asked "If you could ask the First Presidency a question--any question--what would you ask?"

I wonder if the premise of the question is in our best interest. This was my answer to him.

One answer might be that in order for us to receive new light, we must be willing to live according to the light we have received. It is possible that you, personally, are living according to the light you have. That you have received a personal confirmation about some new light not available to the church or world generally. 
That does not mean that you have the authority to speak for the church. Or even the right to convince the world or Mormons of your new revelation, whether it is actually true or not.  
Asking the First Presidency might serve to distract from the most urgent needs of the church generally.  
This scripture came to mind
"if ye were holy I would speak unto you of holiness; but as ye are not holy, and ye look upon me as a teacher, it must needs be expedient that I teach you the consequences of sin." (2 Ne 9:48
Also this,
"We cannot and we must not allow ourselves to get distracted from our sacred duty. We cannot and we must not lose focus on the things that matter most." ("We Are Doing a Great Work and Cannot Come Down", Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Apr 2009)

It is not up to us to direct the church. It is not up to us what questions the First Presidency ought to be considering. If you feel a burning desire to advocate for a certain revelation to be received; if you feel God is calling you to make this come to pass; you are free to do so. Just do not expect the Brethren to feel obligated to answer you. Do not expect that you are free to do so without possible negative consequences.

If you are a sufficient distraction to the work of the Lord as discerned by those with the keys in your local area, they have the right to censure you as a Mormon. 

God does not make mistakes

God intended for us to have a mortal experiences. He did not make a mistake when giving Adam and Eve the opportunity to transgress or to allow Satan to tempt them. It was their choice but it was in God's plan for us to have a fallen world so that we could be born and experience it and have the opportunity to be redeemed from the fall and return more fully developed.

I do not think God makes mistakes. It is part of His plan. He did not do anything that He did not intend or foresee.

That said, the results of the fall are hearbreaking. But can turn to our good. The earth is cursed for our sake. Why? I think it is because is creates a result where we are more likely to turn to Him for help. The condition of gratitude that comes from His grace comes from our hearts turning to him. Living in a fallen world makes it more likely for us to do so.

And we chose to come here. He does not force anything upon His children. We chose to come to a fallen world. Because He promised us that it would help us progress. That we would be able to learn by experience the difference between good and evil.

The lame man did not sin to receive the punishment of his lameness. But to give the opportunity to show to him and others the grace and power and mercy of God.

Does God actively put obstacles in our way? Did He create the one born blind or lame? God does not put things in our way. We do or those before us have done so including Adam and Eve. God does not create evil he only allows it to give us opposition and thus the ability to choose.

In short, God does not make mistakes. Pain and suffering and imperfection in the world we live in comes from our imperfections and those before us.

The only antidote is repentance and forgiveness of others; and faith in our Healer Jesus Christ to restore us.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Spiritual Symbols

My brother in law pointed out a meaning of an oval (or ellipse). The orbit of the planets and other objects around the sun are elliptical. That means they are at times closer to the sun than at other times. When we pull away from God. His light and love draw us nearer to Him if we allow it.

This comforts me in my emotional swings. That I can always draw closer to God. That perhaps I might be able to adjust my proximity to God by adjusting my orbit and by being more constant or like a circle.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Instant of Turning

I have had the most transforming experiences of my life. I attended Landmark Forum these last three days. I have eliminated my fear through expressing myself vulnerably.

I am leaving my past in the past. I am not creating a future based on my fear. I am powerful and free to do whatever I want.

I invite you to come to my last session in Scottsdale Tues night at 7:00 pm to 10:15 pm Phoenix time. You will taste a bit of what I have experienced these last 3 days. You will have an opportunity to register for it yourself.

No one needs the Landmark Forum. You will continue to have the life you create. You will likely still live, have wonderful relationships (or not) and be successful (or not).

I request that you consider the possibility that your life can be transformed, it is the instant you turn from the life you have to the life you want.

16100 North Greenway/Hayden Loop
Building G - Suite 108
Scottsdale, Arizona, 85260

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Love Wins

A post from one of my friends who is a bishop.

It's 2am. I have to get up at 5:30am. I sit in my chair after laying in bed, unable to sleep. For several days I've been concerned about a sister in our ward. She hasn't been to church the past couple of days. She didn't go to work today. I helped her get her job. I fear she is on the verge of losing her job and her testimony. I've been to see her, bearing chocolate, but still, I have concerns. I have another sister who recently returned from a mission but now finds herself so busy she can't find time to go to church. You'd think a return missionary would know how important church attendance is! These are two. What can I do more to help these individuals? Why am I not more spiritually attuned so I would be able to know what to say and do? There are serval others that I am concerned about, also, so I sit here awake, worrying, I was thinking about whether the Savior is worried about us! I know that He is. The worries and concerns of a bishop are minuscule and finite. The Savior's love is infinite and so is His concern. Please know I love each of you. When you hurt, I hurt. My heart weeps for you. Please let me help you. And, remember, the Savior's love. He is infinitely greater. He knows you better than I. Rely on Him!
This was my reply

Love wins it always does. God knew this. It is why we have agency. There is no love without agency. We have to choose it. Regardless of our thirst for fairness. We must give it up. Because Jesus paid the price for it. We must be willing to forgive and be forgiven. It bury deep those things that destroy us and those we love.  
Jesus brings hope because his love is perfect. It fills every hole. Heals every hurt.
Alma the younger could not bear to exist until he remembered what his father had taught him about Jesus.  
Charity is the pure love of Christ and it never fails. It crosses mountains and eons. It convinces humans to open their heart after the spirit brings it to the threshold. It brings new birth, new life. Through it we are born again.  
So whatever the question is, love is the answer. The love of God.

Friday, May 01, 2015

"Then Will I Make Weak Things Become Strong unto Them"

We all come into this world with broken machinery. We are perfect spirits from our Heavenly Parents. We are joined with a fallen body. Entropy kicks in. Our bodies have bred in them genetic flaws. The processes of developing as an embryo, fetus and as a child are not perfect and contribute to the weakness we have. Add to that the damage we infict upon the innocents around us. It is no wonder why our machines are so messed up.

The Lord has told us why we have weakness.
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. (Ether 12:27)
This reminds me of a story recorded by my friend Geoff Nelson, Praying with your Feet. Russell Hancock tells his story. A story of a Mormon who felt second rate because he didn't receive a testimony like those he saw around him. It took decades of experience and a willingness to stick to what he believed to be good and true.

He did receive his testimony, but not like the path almost exclusively told among Mormons.

In fact, for the last several years, I relate much more to the second way Russell describes. Alma 32 details the second formula to get a testimony. I have found it comforting and reassuring.

We all come into this world fractured, broken and weak. As we recognize the strength we brought with us in our essence, we can sucessfully separate our identities from our broken bodies. We are the divine that created us in perfection. Not the temporary vessels we occupy in this life.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bruce R. McConkie and the 1978 Revelation

Elder McConkie's role in the 1978 revelation

- A year before the revelation was given, he had written a long memo to President Kimball concluding that there was no scriptural reason the policy could not be lifted.

- Before the revelation was received, he spoke up in favor of the change, reiterating that there was no scriptural impediment.

- And he defended that view under searching questions from President Tanner.

- Then after the confirming revelation was received, he wrote one of the three drafts that were later merged into the final announcement.

- He advocated for immediate announcement instead of waiting.

- And when the announcement was presented to the General Authorities he was one of the first to voluntarily stand and declare his support, giving an impassioned extemporaneous discourse on the related scriptures.

From "In Defense of Elder Bruce R. McConkie – A True Apostle of Jesus Christ", J. Max Wilson, Apr 21, 2015.