Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Reading

For a couple of years now, Linda Stafford and I have enjoyed a bookclub on our own, a study group if you will.  It's always just Linda and me, on the phone on Thursdays, usually for hours.  We spent a long time with The Things Which My Father Saw,  dealing with Lehi's dream and Nephi's vision.  We learned to so much and have found ways to improve a lot of things in our life as well as in our readings.  Currently we are studying the book of Revelation from the New Testament.  We read a chapter in the NT and then a couple of other corresponding chapters from other writings on the topic, basing a lot on Who Shall be Able To Stand?  We also have, thanks to Rebecca Stay, a course by her favorite Seminary and Institute Teacher.

Decades ago we had a man in the ward who had quite a program based on this book of scripture but it was all doom and gloom and scare tactics.  I heard him talk once in church and then opted to not attend these firesides.  Right now we are finding such joy and hope and happiness that really is found in the book of Revelation.  And since we both love the Old Testament, Linda and I have been able to refresh that study as well.  It's been stated that if you don't know your OT, you really won't understand Revelation.  More and more we are finding this is true even tho this exercise is stretching our minds a great deal.

This week's study schedule is chapter 9.  Having been sent to "The False Gods We Worship", a 1976 talk by Spencer W. Kimball, I felt an urgency to share this will my children and their spouses.  I copy/pasted the whole article so they didn't have to go searching it or wouldn't have an excuse not to read it.  I received a surprising reply from Jordan:


Very good timing on this article. On Sunday, I was out hometeaching/searching for people who haven't been to church in a LONG time. We ran into a perspective Elder's dad (his son no longer lived there and we could tell he wasn’t on very good terms with his dad by the voicemail he left for him on our behalf, and his mother had passed away too.). He was obviously a Harley Davidson guy judging by the outfit, hair, and mustache. We were able to talk to him briefly but he wasn't interested with talking to us until we mentioned we knew some real estate agents and people looking to buy homes etc (and he was trying to sell his house). So he let us in to show us his home and pool (he had a huge Harley Davidson tile mosaic built into the side of his pool). I took advantage of the opportunity to ask this gentleman about his beliefs. I asked him how his son became affiliated with our church and if he ever attended church. He said "no," and I could tell he was uncomfortable talking about it. But I asked him if he was at least spiritual and/or believed in God (which I've never met a motor cycle guy that didn't believe in God, I met about 1000 bikers and had the same conversation at a biker rally in Wyoming and no one ever rejected the existence of a God).


His response was simply, "My God is Harley Davidson" and then he kicked us out.


It was a very sad response for many reasons. I know for a fact that there is only one true God, whether we accept him or not. And I also felt like he didn't really believe a word of what he just said. I had this same experience many many times with people. They are very comfortable talking about hobbies and things, then you bring up God/religion, and they shut down. And I believe they normally shut down because they don't want to face the truth: that they already have a testimony & they already know there is a God. No different than someone being in denial about their drug addiction etc. They choose to stay in denial rather than face their guilt/shame. Not everyone shuts down this way for this reason, but many people do. 

When you say something so egregious as “My God is Harley Davidson”, even if you’re only saying it to end the conversation, it has the power to pierce one’s soul with shame. And it offends that Light that is always present and recognizable, that same Light that we brought into his house, the same Light I assume he has been aware in his life.  I would think a comment like that would make even God’s knees weak, how much more should it destroy us? 
This Pres. Kimball article can be found in the Ensign, June 1976, it's the first feature.

Altho this probably seems very preachy to some, I have to conclude this post as I did the email to my children, with another quote from President Kimball.  The times are such that I wish there were more plain speaking from our pulpits instead of cute stories and feel good moments, those that always want us to think all is well, when it's not.

FINALLY FROM HIS BOOK  Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball:  we look to foreign programs, summit conferences, land bases.  We depend on fortifications or gods of stone; upon ships and plans and projectiles, our gods of iron--gods which have no ears, no eyes, no hearts.  We pray to them for deliverance and depend upon them for protection.......But we continue on in our godlessness...while armies are marshalled and march and drill, and officers teach men how to kill....we continue in idolatry and adultery...while corridors are threatened and concessions made, we live riotously and divorce and marry in cycles like the seasons.  While leaders quarrel and editors write, and authorities analyze and prognosticate, we break the sabbath as though no command had ever been given.  While enemies filter into our nations to subvert us and intimidate us and soften us, we continue with our destructive thinking;  'It can't happen here.'  Will we ever turn wholly to God?  Fear envelops the world which could be at ease and peace. In God is protection, safety, peace. He has said, "I will fight your battles.'  But his commitment is on condition of our faithfulness...pp. 415-416

1 comment:

Lin Floyd said...

thanks for sharing this-powerful thoughts!

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