Personal Online Journal

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

"should he be cut off while in the thought"

A good friend of mine called me this morning. We talked about this passage,

"Behold I say unto you, that he that supposeth that little children need baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; for he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell." Moroni 8:14. The phrase, "should he be cut off while in the thought" stood out as a little different. To be condemned to hell because of the thought you had when you die.

The thought that immediately came to mind was a question. If instead of dying in the moment of that thought, what would happen if I continued to live? What happens if we continue to believe a false teaching? Perhaps Mormon had in mind someone or ones that deliberately chose against what they knew to be true. Certainly that could bring about the strong language he used. He says later in the chapter that his people were "denying the Holy Ghost".

One consequence is the darkening or blurring of the mind. An angel told Nephi that the temptations of the devil, "blindeth the eyes, and hardeneth the hearts of the children of men." 1 Nephi 12:17. C.S.Lewis said:
the right direction leads not only to peace but to knowledge. When a man is getting better he understands more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is alright. This is common sense, really. You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping. You can see mistakes in arithmetic when your mind is working properly: while you are making them you cannot see them. You can understand the nature of drunkenness when you are sober, not when you are drunk. Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either. (Mere Christianity. p88. Found at
This blindness keeps us from blessings God wants us to have. "To be damned is to be stopped or held back from blessings we might have received...When we sin, we prevent our own progress." ("Lesson 8: The Three Kingdoms of Glory". Preparing for Exaltation: Teacher’s Manual.) Perhaps the consequence of holding onto false teachings is the same whether you remain in this life or the next. The vital difference is that this life affords us a better chance for change.

We are taught that we will be judged by our thoughts 1, 2, 3 . Proverbs 23 says, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he". Charles A. Hall provided me a memorable way to link my thoughts with my ultimate destination: "We sow our thoughts, and we reap our actions; we sow our actions, and we reap our habits; we sow our habits, and we reap our characters; we sow our characters, and we reap our destiny" (The Home Book of Quotations, sel. Burton Stevenson [1934], 845.) (Found in "Our Actions Determine Our Character". Wayne S. Peterson. Ensign. Nov 2001.)

My wife once related to me something she had learned. There is a strain in western thought to want to assign _the_ explanation, the one interpretation. Those from the middle and far east seem to be more open to many meanings. That does not mean that there all interpretations are equally true. It does mean that there can be more than one true interpretation. I find this especially to be true when applying scripture to my own life. As I work out "what does this mean for my life today, this week." What I have gathered here may be one correct interpretation.

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