Understanding the Plan of Salvation

For those of you who follow my blog and the comments closely, you know that I’ve mentioned a couple of times a project that I’m working on, a full-blown online presentation of the Plan of Salvation.

In so many of the doctrinal discussions that we have here, particularly with those that are not LDS (or Mormon), there is the need to fall back on the core understanding of the principles of this plan, and how they relate to the beliefs of Mormonism.  The topics of salvation, for instance (as the most recent example), the nature of God and Man, the role of Christ and the atonement, the role of the resurrection, what happened before earth, the judgment, and what happens after.

The longer we discuss these things the more I realize that to truly understand Mormonism, you must really understand the sweeping panorama of this grand plan.

But, at the same time, it’s doctrinally drenched, and can be tedious to articulate with words alone.  Consequently, I’m taking a highly visual approach.  Building a professional-level illustration of the primary components of the plan, with a summary explanation behind each component along with links to a full post dedicated to its description, and for further discussion.

Not only will this visual, interactive layout facilitate Latter-day Saints with their understanding and appreciation of God’s great plan of happiness, but it will serve as a fantastic visual overview for non-Mormons who can dive in where they wish for more information and further discussion.

Now, here’s where I’d like your help.  As a part of this presentation, I’d like to include with each component a full reference of scriptural sources to which viewers can look for additional study.

If you have favorite scriptures pertaining to the components of the Plan of Salvation (or the plan as a whole), in any of the Standard Works, please email me.  Let me know what they are so that I can be as inclusive as possible.

If not, I hope you’ll enjoy the results of this project.  I’m rather excited about it myself.

Rusty

P.S.  This kind of visual representation will be particularly valuable when I build the translated version in Chinese, since most of the concepts are entirely new to non-Christians.

Michael Phelps – setting and achieving goals

I’ve moved this post to my new Life-Engineering blog, dedicated to motivating people to achieve their goals and change their futures by taking control of their lives.

You can now find this post here:

http://life-engineering.com/michael-phelps-–-making-your-dreams-come-true/

Celebrating 50,000 page views

Speaking of setting goals, in January of this year, inspired by a call by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, wherein he encouraged Mormons to take a more active role in building a voice online, I had set a goal to build a blog.

My first post was on Thursday, January 31st (Simple acts of kindness and caring).  It was short and simple, and not very original, but it was a start.

193 days later I have created 152 posts and 5 pages.

My first full month (February), my blog averaged 75 page views a day.  By the third month online, that average climbed from 75 all the way up to more than 350 page views a day. 

This month, the average is 508, and on Friday, we reached 50,000 total page views… and then blew right on by as Saturday we had almost 1,000, and Sunday we had almost 1,200 (1,190 to be exact).

What’s more, there have now been 987 comments.

That’s fantastic.  So, in celebration of reaching 50,000 page views, I wanted to pause and say thank you.  Thank you for helping to make it all possible.  Thank you for your interaction.  Thank you for the many marvelous discussions we have had.  Most of all, thank you for being interested in the gospel.

These numbers represent an ever-increasing consumption of religious views and discussions online, and I’m happy to play a part in that endeavor.  Most of all, I’m grateful for the opportunity, the medium, the time, and the ability to host and promote discussions centered around the gospel of Jesus Christ, and an effort to encourage people to live just a little better, and experience just a little more.

Now, that said, this is still just the start.  If we reached 50,000 page views in just over 6 months, I want to shoot for a total of 150,000 in the next 6.  You can help (find out how).  At the bottom of the blog there’s a little counter that tells you the current number.  I hope you’re here to watch with me as the exposure of these Christ-centered discussions continues to climb.  I hope you play a part.  And for the part you play, thank you.

Rusty

A Christian call to action

Fighting has broken out between Georgia and Russia, and is taking place right in the Georgian capital.  CNN is reporting that heavy casualties have been reported on both sides.

Lyudmila Ostayeva, who lives in the capital, said “I saw bodies lying on the streets, around ruined buildings, in cars.  It’s impossible to count them now.  There is hardly a single building left undamaged.

Sarmat Laliyev told AP “They are killing civilians, women and children, with heavy artillery and rockets”.  You can read the full story here and click here for photos.

The Georgian president, Mikhail Saakashvili tells about how the Russian warplanes are targeting the civilian population and residential areas.  He’s now putting political pressure on the US for to get involved and send in troops to fight Russia.

How can we get involved?  There are likely many ways, not the least of which (but perhaps the most simple and immediate, if not the most powerful) is simply through prayer.

It’s easy to watch these events happen on the news, and simply turn off the TV to return to our lives of luxury and comfort.  But as Christians we have a responsibility, a responsibility to be filled with charity, and to let our genuine concern drift to all the peoples of the earth, especially those in war torn areas of the world.

But prayer is a real and mighty power, allowing us to draw upon the powers of heaven to intervene in the lives of man, that the souls of those affected might be comforted, strengthened to shoulder the burdens placed upon them, and that the hearts of those directing the conflict might be softened, that a resolution might be reached speedily.

For are we not all sons and daughters of God?  We cannot simply sit unfeeling as our brothers and sister perish and suffer.  May we all cast our voices heavenward in unity, and be one in might, mind, and intent, our voices lifted up together to pray the help of an all-powerful Father. 

Rusty

Subscribe to Ongofu | Get Ongofu by Email

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please bookmark it by clicking on the button below, and selecting a service so others can find it too. Many thanks.

Bookmark and Share

How to tell if it’s the spirit, or yourself?

Someone typed this phrase into a search engine the other day, and ended up at my Blog.

First, I love seeing that people are out there asking such important questions.  For indeed, the ability to discern the promptings of the Holy Ghost is one of the most important attributes I think we can acquire.

There are many answers to this question, but here I’ll make the assumption you’re referring to a confirmation you’re seeking to a question or decision in your life.  For this, let’s look at the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 8:7-9), which addresses this topic head on.

7.  Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.

8.  But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you;  Therefore, you shall feel that it is right. 

9.  But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong;

Study it out in your mind:

From this scripture, we see the prerequisite command that we must first study it out in our mind, whatever it is we seek. 

So often we have our own prejudices, we have our own idea of what we WANT, and we naturally feel fear, or apprehension over certain things.  I like to refer to this as emotional baggage, and every decision is fraught with it.  If we skip this step, and don’t exercise our own mental capacity to figure it out objectively, then we leave ourselves far more subject to these external emotional influences.  Only by studying it out first, are we prepared to transcend that emotional baggage, make a decision based on principles and not prejudices, thereby leaving us open to feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

Ask if it is right:

Once we have studied, and have come to our own conclusion, then we’re prepared to ask.  But we must ask sincerely and with faith, believing that we shall receive. 

If we ask insincerely, without being truly willing to follow the answer we get, then again, we find ourselves more greatly swayed to our own emotions, and all we get is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  If we ask without faith, then again, the doubts in our mind will block or blur the clarity of the feelings of the spirit.

Burning or Stupor:

That burning feeling comes as the Holy Ghost bears witness to us that what we’ve asked is right.  The stupor, at least for me, isn’t that I suddenly suffer from amnesia, and forget everything, but seems to me more like a confusing feeling, where I struggle to really envision the path that I’ve decided on.  On the other hand, if it is right, and the times when I distinctly feel the spirit, the path (whatever it is) is very clear, and you’re motivated and inspired by that clarity, even it isn’t a complete understanding of HOW it might come to pass, you still see that first step clearly.  But if it feels somehow indistinct, or blurry, like a concept you can’t quite grasp, then you’re likely feeling a stupor of thought to indicate you need to pursue an alternate course.

Putting it to the test

Within the scriptures, in many cases, we’re told about how a good seed can only bring forth good fruit, and an evil seed will only bring forth evil fruits, hence “by their fruits ye shall know them”.

Alma, in the Book of Mormon teaches the same principle in his magnificent discourse on faith, suggesting that you should experiment upon the word, plant it in your heart, and see if it will grow.  And if it grows, then you know that it is good.  But if it doesn’t, then you know that it is not good (Alma 32:27-34).

I most commonly use this principle in my decision making process, treating the word, or the seed, as the idea or concept that I am pursuing.  In my mind, I study it, I follow the idea through, trying to understand all the likely paths and consequences.  I have found that when doing so, if it is good, then I find that the “way is lit” (mentally), and I can see clearly what will happen.  But if it is not good, then I stumble around, as though in a “stupor of thought”, and struggle and struggle to try to “imagine” it through, but to no avail.  At that point, I try to shake off the emotional baggage that held me to that concept, and then attempt the mental exercise on the opposite course.

This way of “experimenting upon the word” has always been successful to me, so I wanted to share it with you.  I hope you (or someone) finds it of some value.

Rusty

P.S. If this did not answer your question, I’ve also addressed the “feelings” of the spirit to some degree here where I describe that not all emotion is of divine origin, and offer some suggestions as to what it seems witnesses of the spirit do feel like. 

Also, here and here I explain how to sharpen your spiritual senses and increase the frequency with which you’re able to feel the spirit.

Subscribe to Ongofu | Get Ongofu by Email

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please bookmark it by clicking on the button below, and selecting a service so others can find it too. Many thanks.

Bookmark and Share