Monday, October 10, 2011

Living Water

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
John 7:38
After yesterday's downer, I promised a more upbeat post on the fantastic Saturday session of the mid-singles conference. So, here it is.

I arrived and mingled for a while. I met a guy who is in his last semester of law school, so we talked about law school for a bit. (There's something about the legal profession that creates an instant kinship when two people meet. I don't know why, but there it is.) I gave him a pep talk about the bar exam because he's a bit worried about it. Then we exchanged business cards. Then I ran into one of my friends who I hadn't seen in a while, and we took a seat in preparation for the keynote address.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism

[There is] one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Ephesians 4:5-6
I attended a mid-singles conference this weekend in the Bay Area. It spanned three days, with social activities on Friday night, spiritual/educational lectures on Saturday, and a church service on Sunday. Saturday was fantastic, and my report on that can be found here. Today's church service, however, wounded my soul deeply.

The keynote speaker for today's service was Julie Beck, the general president of the Relief Society. When President Beck got up to speak, I was hoping that what had been a wonderful Christ centered conference would be concluded with yet another message focusing on the Savior. Sadly, this was not the case.

Friday, October 7, 2011

As we are, God once was

There's a poetic couplet in the church (by Lorenzo Snow, I think) that I heard a lot as a teenager but that I don't hear much now. It goes "As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become."

Its applicability/accuracy has been questioned. [1] But, as a thought experiment, I'm going to take it and see where it goes.

As a teenager, I picked up the implication that the couplet referred to our Father in Heaven. After all, at church, when we say God, we almost always are referring to the Father. I think, however, that the couplet takes on a more enlightening meaning if we interpret it instead to refer to Jesus Christ.

The scriptures suddenly made more sense to me when I had the epiphany about 10 years ago that "God" is not the name of the Father. It is a title that is properly applied to either the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. For example, Matthew refers to Christ as "God with us" when writing about the birth of Christ [2], and Christ refers to Himself as God when discussing His sufferings for our sins. [3]

So, since Christ can properly be referred to as God, the couplet can be interpreted as follows:
As man is, God once was;
Jesus was born as an infant. He grew into a child, then a man. He lived as one of us, subject to the pains and sorrows of life. He had friends and family. He had enemies. He wept. And finally, He died.
As God is, man may become.
Christ was risen from the dead, never to die again. He dwells in a glorious realm, free from toil and strife. He can be forever with His loved ones. This can be our eternal reward as well.

[1] When Gordon B. Hinckley was interviewed on Larry King Live and asked about that couplet, he downplayed its doctrinal significance.
[2] Matthew 1:23 "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."
[3] Doctrine and Covenants 19:16-18 "For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent...Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore..."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Every now and then I feel like I've taken too long to get started on my life. (I know that most of why my start on life was delayed was due to forces outside my control and the rest of the delay was because I served a mission, but melancholy doesn't respond to logic.) When my parents were my age, they owned a house and had two kids, my dad was established in his career, and the only debt they had was their mortgage. I just barely finished school, I'm in limbo in a dead-end job because nobody is hiring lawyers, I still rent, and I have massive student loan debt.

I had an epiphany last weekend, though. One of the speakers at General Conference (I don't remember who) was talking about the life of Christ. The thought came to me that Jesus didn't start His ministry until He was 30. So, the next time my melancholy or some busybody gives me grief for not being with the program, I'll just say that I'm following the example of the Savior!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Recap of General Conference

This past weekend was General Conference. If you want to watch or listen to it, you can go here. If you want to read a good summary and commentary, visit By Common Consent.

I did massive housework while listening to conference. Sadly, I only got halfway done with my fall cleaning. (I try to do spring cleaning, but law school got in the way this year, so now that I don't have that excuse, it's fall cleaning.) So now my apartment looks worse than it did before I started. But my kitchen sparkles. I'll take care of the clutter in my living room this week.

And in other news, I now have a second cat. My neighbor moved last week, and she had an outdoor cat that she couldn't take with her. I offered to take him in, and I introduced him to my cat a few weeks ago. After two meetings, it became clear that this wasn't going to work. The cats hated each other and were constantly hissing. So my neighbor found another neighbor to feed him.

On Saturday, my neighbor came by to check on Kitty. He had been sad and moping all week, but when she showed up, he perked right up. The manager walked by and said that she was going to call the pound because he had been abandoned. (Which was totally not true.) So after the manager left, I said I would take Kitty.

I brought him inside and miraculously the two cats are tolerating one another. They still hiss at each other, but they're learning to share the food and litter box. I'm hoping they'll become friends soon. Kitty stares longingly outside. I feel bad for keeping him in, but I know if the manager sees him outside again, she'll take him to the pound. (And she's so unpleasant that I'm sure she would remove his collar first so that the pound wouldn't know to call me to come get him.)