08 December 2009

Who Am I to Judge?

So for the past couple of days in my Doctrine and Covenants class we have been talking about section 76. This section talks about the three kingdoms of glory and all that God wants to give us after this life.

When you think about this revelation and all that it meant back in Joseph Smith's day, it is a very significant revelation. He lived in the days of Protestant Christianity. The accepted and known beliefs about the afterlife consisted solely in heaven and in hell. The concept that all could receive glory must have been absolutely revolutionary then--it still is today.

Human nature is such that at times we want to condemn others. Perhaps we see their hypocrisy or their thievery or murderings or covetousness and think, "well, they'll get their reward." Maybe we aren't quite that extreme, but I'm sure we've all thought something bad about another person. And I'm sure that others have thought the same thing about us. We aren't perfect. Being quick to judge is not completely foreign to us. So when Joseph received that revelation, it must have been difficult to imagine a plan where all could receive mercy and glory from God.

We also talked about the order that Joseph saw the different kingdoms. The Lord shows him the greatest glory in the celestial kingdom, and then he showed him those who denied the Holy Ghost. And then He showed Joseph the celestial kingdom again. I can imagine that that was a bit of a shock for Joseph. But I'm sure that the Lord did that with good reason. I bet that the celestial kingdom looked even more glorious. There must be opposition in all things.

I have often reflected on how we must experience opposition. I thought about that on my mission quite frequently--especially when I was going through a hard time. My range of emotion was truly expanded. I felt lower lows than I had ever experienced before that time, but I also experienced the highest highs that I've ever known. I know that that was because my capacity to feel was expanded. Even this semester I have felt that range expand even further. I have had to take the time to put others first. I have taken on more than I was capable of accomplishing, feeling at times that I was going to break. Somehow, however, the Lord has helped me get through all of the homework and all of the work that I have. I truly believe that all of this has helped me and has expanded my range of feeling and has been for my benefit. I have learned once again the importance of relying on the Lord.

This is what the Lord was doing for the saints at this time. He wanted them to learn even better how to rely on them. How could they have ever crossed the plains if they didn't have both the greater strength from their trials and also the knowledge of what the Lord wanted to give them if they proved themselves faithful.

This entry will be the last of my reflections on the Doctrine and Covenants. I hope that you have learned something from my seeming ramblings and have gained a greater appreciation for the scriptures. From now on I'll just tell about my life as it happens.

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