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What Ought Ye To Have Learned- Part 2 - The Third Rail


          In politics there is a metaphor for subjects so controversial and politically sensitive any politician broaching certain subjects suffer immediate politically adverse consequences. For most politicians, that subject is cutting Social Security Benefits. The proverbial “third rail” is a reference to an electric railway powered by three rails, the third rail refers to a rail through which electricity powering the train flows. Touching the third rail results in instant injury and possibly death. The economy of God has a “third rail” who’s consequences are less visible initially, completely under our control and potentially toxic to the person touching it.


          As one who has come perilously close to touching God’s “third rail” on numerous occasions, I can offer many examples where my pride, self-righteousness and ignorance nearly brought disastrous consequences. I share one example to introduce God’s “third rail.”


          My sister, the eldest sibling in our family was a person for whom the book, “How to Hug a Porcupine” could have been written. She was in many respects brilliant. A near photographic memory and razor sharp tongue.


          When our parents passed most if not all of our Mother’s possessions went to her, without dispute. Our parents were people of simple means and not much to dispute over, but dispute she did. When estate matters were resolved, I was so angry I told my wife the next time I see her will be at her funeral.


          I felt fully justified and righteously indignant. My wife and I were care givers to my parents in their final years. We built a home for them four blocks from our home for that express purpose. Caring for them without assistance from her and my two brothers was challenging. Suffice it to say, I felt wholly justified in the anger I felt toward her.


          Several months passed with no communication between us. I made no attempt to hide my contempt for her. Soon thereafter I was introduced to “The Second Comforter Conversing with the Lord Through the Veil.” In the context of this book I received greater understanding of the Atonement and judgment. The words of the book resonated with me. I concluded to follow the course described by Denver in this book.

 

“As for my heart, there were many things I resented, doubted and questioned. There were many things I had not yet resolved for myself, despite years of Church membership. When being objective (to the extent anyone can be objective about themselves), I was “converted” but still lacked conviction about many things that probably needed resolving before I could say I unhesitatingly accepted the Church in its fullness. I could see a difference between Church culture and true faith, between traditions and presumptions governing many people’s conduct, and the things taught or commanded in scripture. I could see that the scriptures themselves discouraged me from applying an outward measuring rule against others, while they encouraged the need to confine my judgment using the scriptural standards, internally, and only against myself. Many of the criticisms and resentments I held were there because of this looking outward, and failing internally to apply the same standard of judgment against myself. I determined I needed to accept others, or at least attempt to do so, no matter what they did, thought, said or failed to do. I would attempt simply to accept them and leave it to them and God to decide what they ought to be doing. As for me, faith would be applied as an internal measure for deciding what I should do, should not do, and should change. Religion was, I determined, to be applied only internally, and not for external application. I feared this new approach would be confining. I feared it might make me neurotic and insecure. Instead, I found it liberating. It was like dropping a great weight when I no longer needed to evaluate others. And when I applied it to myself, I found some things that troubled me before were petty and superficial and did not merit further consideration. Cultural things may be significant to others, but that is their concern. The real work that needed doing was within my heart. There was so much amiss, so little overall harmony, so little delight, that this faith of Christ’s which had been so joyful at first had become a joyless burden. I could still recall the joy I felt as I converted. I remembered the excitement of new discovery and new learning through those first couple of years of membership. That was now lacking in my life. I needed to recapture what was right in the Faith. To do so, I needed to return to where I was when I first joined the Church. I needed to go back to anxiously seeking for light and truth, wherever it was to be found, and without regard for the opinions of others. That was the happiest time in my life. Every day was alive with the new discoveries being made about the connections between Gospel concepts and doctrines” (Jr. Snuffer, Denver C.. The Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil (pp. 287-288, emphasis added). Mill Creek Press. Kindle Edition.


          I was not a convert in the traditional sense, like Denver. Still I had a conversion story from when I served a mission and related perfectly to his experience. It has taken many years to feel the unburdened relief Denver describes in relinquishing the need and desire to judge others. Liberating is a most accurate description when you genuinely feel it. I frequently say, “It’s not my job to judge,” and I mean it.


If we show mercy to our fellow man, we merit mercy from Our Lord. If we show love to our fellow man, we merit love from Our Lord. With what measure we measure, it will be measured again to us; pressed down and overflowing. This is serious business. We are living in a brief, temporary and probationary state. It is going to pass by as if a dream, and end sooner than any of us imagine. When it does, if we have left a record of forgiving our fellow man, loving them, and refraining from returning evil for evil, we will have filled the measure of what God has asked of us. He will be able to excuse our sins, because we have adopted a standard by which we can be forgiven. Our mercy shown to others is really mercy being shown to ourselves. We set the standard for our own judgment. Christ’s counsel pleads for us to set that standard mercifully low for others, so we can meet that standard ourselves. His perspective takes a larger view into account. If you will follow Him and accept His teachings, when you arrive at life’s end, you will proclaim the wisdom and mercy of the Lord. He will have prepared you for that day by helping you set the standard for your own forgiveness. If you forgive greater offenses by others than you have committed against others, you will surely pass the test. If the standard of tolerance and kindness shown by you to your fellow man is broader than the one which you have demanded that they show you, you will be forgiven” (Jr. Snuffer, Denver C.. The Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil (pp. 277-278, emphasis added). Mill Creek Press. Kindle Edition.


This is serious business. This is the Lord’s third rail. People become so enamored with the grace of Christ and His mercy they fail to understand His grace is only limited by the grace you show others. He returns to you what you apply to others. It is an immutable law and tremendous incentive to not only overlook the weakness of others but to pray for their redemption, with the hope the Lord does the same for you. He doesn’t set the standard, we do.


“ . . . I, the Lord, forgive sins unto those who confess their sins before me and ask forgiveness, who have not sinned unto death. My disciples in days of old sought occasion against one another, and forgave not one another in their hearts, and for this evil they were afflicted and sorely chastened. Wherefore, I say unto you that you ought to forgive one another, for he that forgives not his brother his trespasses stands condemned before the Lord, for there remains in him the greater sin. I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men. And you ought to say in your hearts, Let God judge between me and you, and reward you according to your deeds . . .”(RE T&C 51:3, emphasis added). 


The word “required” in the last verse is what makes forgiveness the third rail in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus suffered for the sins of all mankind He reserves the right to judge us for Himself. But like all things the Lord commands us to do, the commandment also delivers us from a just condemnation. If we choose to place ourselves in the position of judge for others, divine justice requires we be judged in like manner. If we obey His commandment to forgive others, He then has the ability to deliver us from the demands of the same justice.


“It is in this sense that Joseph taught, “A man is his own tormentor and his own condemner.” Hence the saying, ‘They shall go into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone.’ The torment of disappointment in the mind of man is as exquisite as a lake burning with fire and brimstone. I say, so is the torment of man.” (DHC 6: 314, emphasis added.) This self-condemnation may come about in a different way than you might first imagine. Don’t think of this explanation by Joseph as you damning yourself out of guilt for your misdeeds. Rather, think of it in terms of having set a standard by judging others which you cannot meet when that standard is used against [what] you have set for others. It is “just” to use that standard against you. It is “merciful” to judge you by a tolerant standard which showed greater leniency to others beyond what you asked for yourself. All of these things interrelate and are the substance of what Christ is trying to teach us. He is trying to make of us something much better than we are now. To accomplish this, you will have to adopt His standards for dealing with the unjust, the unmerciful and the cruel. The bread cast upon the water returns to you. (Jr. Snuffer, Denver C.. The Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil (p. 278, emphasis added). Mill Creek Press. Kindle Edition.


          As I read these quotes from “The Second Comforter Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil” I understood I would not be held guiltless before God if I failed to genuinely forgive my sister for her actions. My certainty of being judged justified and guiltless while my sister was condemned began to gradually dissipate. Abdication of my accountability for how I judged her, melted away and I realized I could not be forgiven unless I first forgave her.


          What finally carved my condemnation in stone was reading Denver’s account of the Savior’s Atonement. It was then I comprehended that it wasn’t my sins that caused the majority of His suffering. The greater suffering was my inability to offer unconditional forgiveness to her and others who offended me in various ways.


He pondered and asked, Why were there waves of torment [for Christ]? Why did they increase in difficulty? How were they organized as they seemed to fit a pattern?


After long inquiring into the things which he had seen, the Lord, who is patient and merciful and willing to instruct those who call upon Him, again appeared to the man on the 20th of December 2007. He made known unto him that the waves of torment suffered by the Lord came in pairs which mirrored each other. The first of each wave poured upon the Lord those feelings, regrets, recriminations, and pains felt by those who injured their fellow man [the sinner]. Then followed a second wave, which mirrored the first, but imposed the pains suffered by the victims of the acts committed by those in the first wave. Instead of the pains of those who inflict hurt or harm, it was now the anger, bitterness, and resentments felt by those who suffered these wrongs.


From each wave of suffering, whether as the one afflicting or as the victim of those wrongs, the Lord would overcome the evil feelings associated with these wrongs, and find His heart again filled with peace. This was why, in the vision of the suffering of the Lord, it was in the second waves that there appeared oftentimes to be injuries to His body.


The greater difficulty in these paired waves of torment was always overcoming the suffering of the victim. With these waves the Lord learned to overcome the victims’ resentments, to forgive, and to heal both body and spirit. This was more difficult than overcoming the struggles arising from the one who committed the evil. This is because the one doing evil knows he has done wrong and feels a natural regret when he sees himself aright. The victim, however, always feels it is their right to hold resentment, to judge their persecutor, and to withhold peace and love for their fellow men. The Lord was required to overcome both so that He could succor both.


In the pairing of the waves, the first torment was of the mind and spirit, and the second was torment of mind, spirit, and body.


The Lord experienced all the horror and regret wicked men feel for their crimes when they finally see the truth. He experienced the suffering of their victims whose righteous anger and natural resentment and disappointment must also be shed, and forgiveness given, in order for them to find peace. He overcame them all. He descended below them all. He comprehends it all. And He knows how to bring peace to them all. He knows how to love others whether they are the one who has given offense or the one who is a victim of the offense” (RE T&C 161:16-21, emphasis added).


Coming to this understanding of the Savior’s Atonement for our sins as measured by how we forgive others was both sobering and revelatory. I wrestled with the question, is there any act of malfeasance committed against me that was so important I would sacrifice my soul to hold on to it? I remembered the words of the Lamanite king, the father of Lamoni who was moved upon by the Spirit of God and uttered the following words:


“And it came to pass that when Aaron had said these words, the king did bow down before the Lord upon his knees, yea, even he did prostrate himself upon the earth, and cried mightily, saying, O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God, and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me? And I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead and be saved at the last day. And now when the king had said these words, he was struck as if he were dead” (RE Alma 13:10, emphasis added).


I concluded there was nothing more important than for me to “give away all my sins to know thee.” For that, there was no price too high to pay. I forgave my sister and began renewing my association with her.


          She was morbidly obese and suffered from neuropathy in her hands and feet. She moved to St. George for a time until she was asked to leave every care facility in that city due to her harsh attitude. She returned to Bountiful where she was accepted as a resident and began contemplating her lack of self-awareness and introspection regarding her conduct. In small degrees she began to accept responsibility for her incivility. We began having regular Gospel discussions and she confided in me she finally felt she could call upon God again. Up to that point she withdrew from God, convinced He would have nothing to do with her.


          When Covid hit she contracted it three times. The third time she died from the illness but passed to the other side in a better frame of mind than before. I harbored no ill will toward my sister then or now. I have no bitterness toward her and wish only for a better life for her. In forgiving her I found peace in my own soul.


          I am now of a frame of mind that I refuse to take offense to anyone or anything they might do. I don’t want their misdeeds to take up residency in my head or heart. When I hear of others taking offense, particularly among those professing to follow the Savior’s teachings through Denver I’m shocked and perplexed. Is there anything, any sin against me so important as to allow it to jeopardize myself and my relationship with my family, let alone my soul now or forever? In that context, the answer is a resounding NO! When the opportunity for offense presents itself, it is liberating not to allow it into my heart. I give it to the Lord before it can take root.


Rediscovering a Very Old Paradigm


          Generally the Atonement of Jesus Christ is associated with the remission of sins and the Resurrection. There is more to this paradigm. In addition to teaching us repentance and remission of sins, there is a desired outcome to the Atonement process. It is transformational and ascending.


“. . . For all things must fail, but charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth for ever. And whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with them. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified, even as he is pure. Amen” (RE Moroni 7:9, emphasis added).


          The desired outcome for all who repent is to possess charity or the “true love of Christ,” which is our witness to God we are His sons and daughters. If we are in possession of charity we become His children and are transformed into His image. That transformation is encompassed in three steps through Christ’s Atonement.


Transformation Through the Atonement


“ . . . And the firstfruits of repentance is baptism. And baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments, and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins, and the remission of sins bringeth meekness and lowliness of heart. And because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the holy ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God . . .” (RE Moroni 8:5, emphasis added).


The process begins with repentance and baptism. Baptism, because the person develops faith sufficient to confess their sins before God and repent, seeking a covenant to obey His commandments. Following baptism, the person’s sins are remitted. Remittance of sins brings meekness and lowliness of heart because the holy ghost enters the heart filling the recipient with hope and perfect love. This is a natural progression for those who sincerely repent, exercise faith and “receive the holy ghost,” which is the first commandment after baptism. Meekness, lowliness of heart bring hope and perfect love, the pure love of Christ known as charity. One hopes they will be transformed into the image of Christ, becoming His son or daughter.


          This is the beginning of the Atonements influence on the meek and lowly of heart. Reception of the holy ghost is a transition from the nature of the natural man to the attributes of Jesus Christ. There are three stages to this transformation.


Forgiveness of Individual Sins


          The sinner seeks forgiveness of his sins, covenanting to keep God’s commandments in exchange for remission of their sins.


“Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father, that he was a just man, for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and blessed be the name of my God for it. And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God before I received a remission of my sins. Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forest, and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life and the joy of the saints sunk deep into my heart; and my soul hungered, and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul. And all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came, I did still raise my voice high, that it reached the heavens. And there came a voice unto me, saying, Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee and thou shalt be Blessed. And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away. And I said, Lord, how is it done? And he said unto me, Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh. Wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole” (RE Enos 1:1, emphasis added).


The first step in accepting the Atonement of Jesus Christ is acknowledging our sins and pleading for His forgiveness. It has little to do with the words spoken by Enos or the duration of his prayer. Having sin remitted is a matter of the heart. There is nothing in Enos account suggesting he was guilty of grievous sin. What stirred his soul were the teachings of his father and the distance he felt between himself and God. Enos had faith in the words of his father and longed to feel the joy his father spoke of and desired to have hope for Eternal Life. His willingness to call upon God in earnest until he received a response was a testament to his faith in Christ. His faith was rewarded with the remission of his sins through Christ.


          Obtaining personal forgiveness of our sins is the initial step required to advance through Christ’s Atonement.


Desiring the Remission of Sins for Our Enemies


          After someone receives a remission of their sins, they are naturally drawn to petitioning the Lord on behalf of their enemies. The greatest testament before God we forgive others is when we, who were sinners, now seek the salvation of those deemed our enemies.


“And it came to pass that after I had prayed and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me, I will grant unto thee according to thy desires because of thy faith. And now behold, this was the desire which I desired of him: that if it should so be that my people the Nephites should fall into transgression, and by any means be destroyed, and the Lamanites should not be destroyed, that the Lord God would preserve a record of my people the Nephites, even if it so be by the power of his holy arm, that it might be brought forth some future day unto the Lamanites, that perhaps they might be brought unto salvation. For at the present, our strugglings were vain in restoring them to the true faith. And they swore in their wrath that if it were possible, they would destroy our records, and us, and also all the traditions of our fathers” (RE Enos 1:3, emphasis added).


Once Enos received a remission of his sins, his desires turned to the salvation of his enemies. Unfortunately, people relieved from the burden of their sins sometimes remain focused on the miracle of their forgiveness but fail in their responsibility to assist in the redemption of their enemies. Individuals stung by the bitterness of serious sin are so influenced by the remorse they felt prior to redemption they cannot bear the idea of others facing a similar fate.


“Now it came to pass that after the sons of Mosiah had done all these things, they took a small number with them and returned to their father the king, and desired of him that he would grant unto them that they might, with those whom they had selected, go up to the land of Nephi, that they might preach the things which they had heard, and that they might impart the word of God to their brethren the Lamanites, that perhaps they might bring them to the knowledge of the Lord their God and convince them of the iniquity of their fathers, and that perhaps they might cure them of their hatred towards the Nephites, that they might also be brought to rejoice in the Lord their God, that they might become friendly to one another, and that there should be no more contentions in all the land which the Lord their God had given them. Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure Endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble. And thus did the spirit of the Lord work upon them. For they were the very vilest of sinners, and the Lord saw fit in his infinite mercy to spare them. Nevertheless, they suffered much anguish of soul because of their iniquities; and suffering much fearing that they should be cast off for ever” (RE Enos 12:1, emphasis added).


The sons of Mosiah, who were the “vilest of sinners,” after suffering for their sins and repenting before God, became what could arguably be the greatest missionaries in the Book of Mormon.


          When a person goes from the bitterness of sin to the joy of redemption it adjusts their perspective. Meekness and lowliness of heart coupled with the memory of the consequences of sin stir them to ignore the wickedness of mankind in the attempt to lead them to Christ and the joy of redemption. That objective becomes paramount and all else standing between them and their enemies becomes irrelevant. Becoming more like the Savior, their central focus aligns with His. The immortality and Eternal Life of man.


          The loss of spiritual blessings is too high a price and they prefer to absolve transgressors of their wrong doing. They would rather know God and sacrifice pride and vain ambitions than gratify their pride and justify their anger. By granting mercy to the sinner, they set the standard of judgment for themselves. Their connection to God is more important than exacting revenge for past sins.


          Another attribute of those who function under this spirit is the understanding of the different individuals God sends to this Earth. Before Earth’s creation, some were noble and great. They condescended here to try and test others less advanced. This knowledge allows them to overlook misdeeds, acts committed in ignorance, as part of the learning experience in this cycle. They forego gratifying their ego with the hope theirs and others progression will continue unimpeded by petty differences.


          Paul described people who understood the Atonement of Christ. They were so focused on perfecting their lives rather than seeking pleasure and gratification. They willingly subjected themselves to adverse conditions to seek the first resurrection in the next life.


“ . . . and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain the first resurrection. And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea moreover, of bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.


And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received the promises, God having provided some better things for them through their sufferings; for without sufferings they could not be made perfect” (RE Hebrews 1:49-50, emphasis added).


These people were not distracted by the desires of this life but remained focused on obtaining promises from God by covenant for the next. This mentality is easier to foster when the Lord restores to you through the “Fathers” your “Record of Heaven.” Beholding these blessings with spiritual eyes makes things of this world pale by comparison. The blessings of this life are fleeting and do not endure beyond the grave. Promised blessings from God endure throughout Eternity and are worth the patience, sacrifice and faith needed to obtain them.


          Suffering at this level prepares them for the next life when their hope of being “like Him” is realized both in time and Eternity.


Being Like Him


          The Savior transcends the prior levels. He is the Spirit of Patriarchy perfected. Loving your creation so much you are willing to sacrifice, risk and defer Eternal blessings. His acts of selfless sacrifice and compassion provide the opportunity for His children’s advancement.


“After the meal, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me above every thing else? He answered him, Yes, Lord. You know that I love you. He said to him, Take care of my lambs as they are growing [Atonement’s first phase]. He asked him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me above every thing else? He said to Him, Yes, Lord you know that I love you. He said to him, Take care of my lambs as they increase [Atonement’s second phase]. He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me above every thing else?  Peter was concerned because He asked him for a third time, Do you love me? And he said to Him, Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you. Jesus said to him, Care for my lambs as they are added upon [Atonement’s final phase]. In the name of Father Ahman I tell you, when you were progressing [first phase], you dressed yourself, and went where you chose to go; but as you approach the end of the path [final phase], you will have to let others stretch out your hands and likewise nail you, even if you plead to have the bitter cup removed. This He said to foretell the sacrificial death that is required for endless glory. And then He added, You must follow after me” [to be “like Him.]” (RE T&C 171, Testimony of Saint John 12:18, emphasis added).


The Atonement of Jesus Christ is like the depths of the ocean. What our Savior has done is unfathomable to the mortal mind. We cannot comprehend the depths of His suffering, nor the depths of His love for His creations.


“ . . . This second wave was so much greater than the first that it seemed to entirely overcome the Lord. The Lord was now stricken with physical injuries as well as spiritual affliction. As He suffered anew, His flesh was torn which He healed using the power of the charity within Him. The Lord had such life within Him, such power and virtue within Him, that although He suffered in His flesh, these injuries healed and His flesh restored. His suffering was both body and spirit, and there was anguish of thought, feeling, and soul.


The Lord overcame this second wave of suffering, and again found peace of mind and strength of body; and His heart filled with love despite what He had suffered. Indeed, it was charity or love that allowed Him to overcome. He was at peace with His Father, and with all mankind, but it required another, still greater act of will and charity than the first for Him to do so.


Again, the Lord thought His suffering was over. He stayed on His hands and knees for a moment to collect Himself when another wave of torment burst upon Him. This wave struck Him with such force He fell forward upon His face. He was afflicted by this greater wave. He was then healed, only to then be afflicted again as the waves of torment overflowed. Wave after wave poured out upon Him, with only moments between them. The Lord’s suffering progressed from a lesser to a greater portion of affliction; for as one would be overcome by Him, the next, greater affliction would then be poured out. Each wave of suffering was only preparation for the next, greater wave.


The pains of mortality, disease, injury, and infirmity, together with the sufferings of sin, transgressions, guilt of mind, and unease of soul, the horrors of recognition of the evils men had inflicted upon others, were all poured out upon Him, with confusion and perplexity multiplied upon Him.


He longed for it to be over, and thought it would end long before it finally ended. With each wave He thought it would be the last, but then another came upon Him, and then yet another . . . The man saw that the Lord pleaded again with the Father that “this cup may pass” from Him. But the Lord was determined to suffer the Father’s will and not His own. Therefore, a final wave came upon Him with such violence as to cut Him at every pore. It seemed for a moment that He was torn apart, and that blood came out of every pore. The Lord writhed in pain upon the ground as this great final torment was poured upon Him.


All virtue was taken from Him. All the great life force in Him was stricken and afflicted. All the light turned to darkness. He was humbled, drained, and left with nothing. It is not possible for a man to bear such pains and live, but with nothing more than will, hope in His Father, and charity toward all men, He emerged from the final wave of torment, knowing He had suffered all this for His Father and His brethren. By His hope and great charity, trusting in the Father, the Lord returned from this dark abyss and found grace again, His heart being filled with love toward the Father and all men.


These great burdens were borne by the Lord not only on behalf of mankind, but also as a necessary prelude to His death upon a Roman cross. Had He not been so physically weakened by these sufferings and drained of power from within, the scourging and crucifixion He suffered at the hands of men could not have taken His life” (RE T&C 161:5-9, 11-13, emphasis added).


At the conclusion of this account it is appropriate to repeat the question first asked in the heading of this paper. “What Ought Ye to Have Learned?


          Petty criticisms and egregious acts melt away in the face of such devotion, charity and of course, suffering. Reflecting on the Savior’s words to Peter, “This He said to foretell the sacrificial death that is required for endless glory. And then He added, You must follow after me.


          As we contemplate the suffering of the Savior, we should contemplate what differences between one another stand in the way of our uniting as one? Reflect on the price He paid and then on what He asks of us. Are we willing to “give away all our sins to know Him?” Is it more important for us to see the just punishment meted out on those who offend us? The answer to these questions is what we ought to have learned.

 

Scott Roderick

6/13/24



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