Friday, March 29, 2013

Equal: In God's Eyes

Eternity does have lasting implications. 

People have all kinds of faddish ideas that they associate with being "equal" these days.  Most of it seems to be just passing fancy.  It seems to be something you adorn yourself with, so that everyone will notice.

Some supposed stars have rather unique ideas about what is physically attractive.  For such, the public notoriety seems to be what matters most.

In the Church, we are under continued pressure from popular women's movements, to give women equal standing, or to ordain women, or some such.  Homosexuals demand to be recognized as a legitimate sexual preference, different from everyone else, supposedly in the interest of being "equal".  They propose to implement something that never has been, in order to establish what they deem "equality".

More reasoning minds view these popular issues from a dramatically different angle: 
We live in a time when there is much talk of equal rights, but this is not a new notion in the gospel. The scriptures and the prophets have clearly taught that “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). President Kimball reaffirmed this when he spoke to the women of the Church last fall. He said, “We had full equality as [God’s] spirit children. We have equality as recipients of God’s perfected love for each of us” (Ensign, Nov. 1979, p. 102).

Equality, however, does not imply sameness. Although men and women are equal in the sight of the Lord, their eternal roles and assignments differ. Men’s primary duties are associated with fatherhood and the priesthood; women have responsibilities relating to motherhood and sisterhood. By virtue of these assignments, men are directly responsible for Church governance and thus have organizational and administrative duties. Women, on the other hand, have specific responsibility to create and nurture. (Mormon Women: A convert's perspective)

Symbols like this simply represent one simplistic and dogmatic world-view.  Proponents who use this symbol insist that the positions they have staked out are the only ones that can legitimately lay claim to value diversity and ironically, "tolerance", which is rather uniquely nuanced to support their narrow interest.

From my point of view, it just looks like a discolored military insignia.  They apparently forgot to sort the washing by colors.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks speaks with the broader perspective of one who sees through the glass of a civil law:
While we must practice tolerance and respect for others and their beliefs, including their right to explain and advocate their positions, we are not required to respect and tolerate wrong behavior. Our duty to truth requires us to seek relief from behavior that is wrong. This is easy with extreme behaviors that most believers and nonbelievers recognize as wrong or unacceptable.  (Balancing Truth and Tolerance)

Neither are we required to march along in the popular parade.  Real substantive values are not adopted as a popular cause.  We adhere to them because they represent our understanding of absolute and eternal truths.

Oaks asserts:
We believe in absolute truth, including the existence of God and the right and wrong established by His commandments. We know that the existence of God and the existence of absolute truth are fundamental to life on this earth, whether they are believed in or not. We also know that evil exists and that some things are simply, seriously, and everlastingly wrong.  (Balancing Truth and Tolerance)

In a speech at Harvard Law School, Oaks taught:
My first fundamental premise of our faith is that God is real and so are eternal truths and values not provable by current scientific methods.  These ideas are inevitably linked.  Like other believers, we proclaim the existence of the ultimate lawgiver, God our Eternal Father, and the existence of moral absolutes.  We reject the moral relativism that is becoming the unofficial creed of much of American culture.
For us, the truth about the nature of God and our relationship to Him is the key to everything else.  Significantly, our belief in the nature of God is what distinguishes us from the formal creeds of most Christian denominations.  Our Articles of Faith, our only formal declaration of belief, begins as follows:  “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.”  (Fundamental Premises of our Faith)

In a particularly relevant address, Richard G. Scott counseled us to act to remove from our lives culturally-driven actions that serve as spiritual impediments to our well-being:
Satan would destroy families. Our Father in Heaven’s plan is centered in loving family relationships here and into eternity. The devil would undermine authority and order, whereas authority righteously exercised is the backbone of Father in Heaven’s work in the family, the Church, and every aspect of His kingdom. Satan would segregate Father’s children into groups with strongly held individual interests. He would encourage a tenacious preservation of those interests regardless of the consequences to others. Father’s plan is expressed in His Son’s words, “Behold, … I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine” (D&C 38:27). Satan promotes the concept that life is to be filled with constant personal entertainment even if that pursuit interferes with another’s well-being. Father in Heaven gives us the plan of happiness, which engenders the abandonment of selfish interests and provides happiness through service to others. The example and teachings of Jesus can unite Father’s children, regardless of culture or origin, under the single banner of membership in His kingdom. (Removing Barriers to Happiness)
Instead of divisiveness and contention, Brigham Young taught:
 “A perfect oneness will save a people, because intelligent beings [can only] become perfectly one, … by acting upon principles that pertain to eternal life. Wicked men may be partially united in evil; but, … the very principle upon which they are partially united will itself breed contention … to destroy the temporary compact. Only … truth and righteousness can secure … an eternal continuation of perfect union; for only truth and those who are sanctified by it can dwell in celestial glory” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1961], 282). (Removing Barriers to Happiness)