Article by Don White
My mind today is on freedom. Freedom from and of.
Freedom from fear, want, and death.
Jesus Christ provided us freedom from death in his marvelous atonement. I love the Savior. He is my elder brother and cares for me, as he cares for you. Through the marvelous power of the Gift of the Holy Ghost he pours, literally pours, new and exciting ideas for wealth, health, giving, and well living into my being.
I realize the pain and agony that transpired as Jesus Christ suffered and died for all of our sins. He was the only perfect vessel, the only man to live a perfect life. The only one qualified to “pay” for our infractions and sins—and he did on the cross at Golgatha also called Calvary.
Is there anything more exhilarating than the understanding that we need not fear death? Let’s see, Christ came in the meridian of time. That means probably more than half of mankind had been born and lived on Earth with the hope that someday a Savior would come to redeem us of our sins. But we—we in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries are the most blessed of all. We have the sure knowledge that Christ died for our sins, voluntarily laid down his life and rose from the dead three days later, paving the way for us to do likewise. Oh, how I pity those atheists who are still living in the first three or four melennia, who don’t have that frim assurance of the resurrection.
We have it, folks. Even many today of our fellow travelers, fellow Americans are living without that firm assurance. Why? Because they choose to, that’s why. It is not necessary—if they would open up their hearts to that which is good and wonderful, to Jesus Christ and the gospel brought forth by the prophet Joseph Smith.
Oh, how I love that man, Joseph Smith.
That for a surety—as sure as we shall die in the body, we shall rise from the grave. Putting off the corruptible and putting on the incorruptible. That is a free gift from Jesus Christ. Finding eternal life by living Christ-like principles is still another matter.
But what is our gift to him? It is that we will embrace his gospel, repent of our sins, and be baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is the only true and living church upon the face of the earth, and work out our individual salvation. For there is no such doctrine in the church or God’s Kingdom as “Collective Salvation,” an idea of the devil propagated by some in Washington these days.
It is up to us, individually, to rise from our bed each morning with a renewed desire to keep all of His commandments and to remember his life and how he gained strength in the gospel. Strength and faith in God and in all that is good. Each person individually must learn the Abraham Lincoln maxim—to pull yourself up by your bootstraps.
President Thomas S. Monson told these stories about personal responsibility for sin:
Personal Responsibility for Morality
Dr. Karl Menninger, the brilliant scientist who founded and developed the world-renowned psychiatric center in Topeka, Kansas, stated that the only way our suffering, struggling, anxious society can hope to prevent its moral ills is by recognizing the reality of sin.
That’s the theme of his famed publication, Whatever Became of Sin? a plea to mankind to stop and look at what we are doing to ourselves, to each other and to our universe. Dr. Menninger referred to Socrates, who wondered, “How is it that men know what is good, but do what is bad?”
|Dr. Carl Menninger
Said Dr. Menninger, “I have come to the conclusion that the ‘Everyone is doing it’ morality which characterizes our public-business world is crippling people. We must believe in our personal responsibility to correct our individual transgressions—the white lies, the petty cheating, the apathy, which characterize our passive existence.” He further stressed, “If the concept of personal responsibility and answerability for ourselves and for others were to return to common acceptance and man once again would feel guilt for sins and repent and establish a conscience that would act as a deterrent for further sin, then hope would return to the world.”
|Thomas S. Monson
The following is from Thomas S. Monson, prophet, seer, and revelator, the 16th president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
Let me share with you a lesson learned in childhood. Our family has owned a summer cabin at Vivian Park in Provo Canyon for five generations. The months of July and August for me meant hiking; fishing; and swimming daily at the swimming hole, featuring a big rock from which we dived, and maneuvering through the swift current which roared by it and formed dangerous whirlpools.
Most swimmers would plunge into the icy waters and swim with the current, rapidly passing the big rock, and be eventually carried to the slower waters and the welcome bank of river sand. That is, all but one swimmer. His name was “Beef” Peterson. His swimsuit carried the emblem of “Life Saver,” and his physical body reflected great strength. Beef would, like others, swim rapidly down the current through the whirlpools, then suddenly turn and swim back upstream. For a few feet, his mighty strokes carried him forward, but then the swiftness of the current held him steady as he pitted his strength against that of the river. Gradually Beef would tire, drop back, and then swim effortlessly to the bank, exhausted. Swimming against the current became Beef Peterson’s trademark.
My brothers and sisters, I’m certain our duty and responsibility is frequently to swim upstream and against the tide of temptation and sin. As we do so, our spiritual strength will increase, and we shall be equal to our God-given responsibilities.
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