This "hands-on" is in the form of what we call a personal testimony.

My personal ideas and interpretations.

I hope it's useful. If not, I hope you'll forgive me for wasting your time.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Line upon Line

I have a friend, of the Evangelicals, who questions me on the validity of 2nd Nephi 28: 30:

I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, ...; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; ....

His thesis was that 2nd Timothy 3: 7, in describing the unrighteousness among men in the last days, includes this trait:

... Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

which would seem to foreclose the concept of learning by degrees.

Now this good man knows Isaiah 55: 8, 9:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

He is not asserting that the principles of godliness can be suddenly comprehended so completely that a mortal man would have no further need to learn. His contention is that Mormons, comforting themselves in 2nd Nephi 28: 30, have in general cut themselves off from the confession of faith and the knowledge of salvation.

And I must acknowledge that sometimes we behave as if his accusation is true.

We sometimes forget our first four Articles of Faith:

1 We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
2 We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
3 We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
4 We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The fourth Article of Faith is especially important: Faith in Jesus Christ and repentance are specified by the Lord in 3rd Nephi 27 , among many other places, as the fundamental principles upon which to build:

13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—
15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.
16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.

You may need to read the whole chapter to see why I say this, but these are the ones we should return to if we get lost.

If we understand these correctly, then we can also understand the love which Jesus has for us, which is the love He commands us to have for our fellow man, as in Mark 12:

30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

When we build on the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can learn from God what we can understand and then proceed forward from grace to grace, to the full knowledge of God. We can understand truths that are eternal.

When we build on something other than the gospel, it does not lead us to the important truths, no matter how much we learn.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Mosiah on Freedom

Reading in the hospital, I felt unusually impressed about the last three chapters of Mosiah.

These are among the parts of the book of Mormon where I began, as a teenager, to recognize my heart and my brain telling me, there is serious truth here. This book is not just about some egomaniac immortal claiming control over my life.

Bacground: In Mosiah 23, we see Alma strongly advising his little congregation not to seek to have a king. In v. 7, it is not expedient to have a king. In v.8, just kings are okay, but it doesn't last. Vs. 9-12, how bad things are under an unjust king, and how hard it is to get rid of an unjust king. 

In v. 13, "... stand fast in this liberty wherewith ye have been made free, and ... trust no man to be a king over you."

And not just government: in v. 14, "... trust no one to be you teacher nor your minister unless he be a man of God, walking in his [God's] ways and keeping his [God's] commandments.

How does this work? V. 15, love neighbor as self, for starters.

Some might complain that v. 17 is a loop-hole for an autocrat, but we must remember that the people had been asking him to be their king. Also, Alma does not behave as an autocrat.

On the other hand, if we have read this before, we might wonder whether such doubts about such things were part of the cause of Alma's namesake son's later rebellions.

A side note from ch. 24, we see that it becomes the effective duty of the dead wicked king's wicked priests to teach the Lamanites enough language skills that, when the four sons of the last Nephite king come preaching, some of the Lamanites can hear and understand.

Now we come to ch. 27.

Alma's people have had to escape from those wicked priests again and have rejoined the main body of Nephites. Alma has set up a church organization that is recognized by Mosiah, the last Nephite king.

Alma's namesake son has joined with Mosiah's four sons in trying to undo their fathers' work in teaching the people, by persecuting and trying to destroy the Church, when he and his buddies see an angel. This angel helps them to see that they have been working against themselves, and they begin to repent and try to undo their work.

One particular thing he says to Alma, "... remember the captivity of your fathers in the land of Helam and in the land of Nephi; ... for they were in bondage, and [the Lord] has delivered them." (This may provide a clue as to which group Alma's mother came back with. Maybe not.) The argument is that the Lord's purpose is to save his people from bondage -- including, from the high taxes and forced immoral behavior of a corrupt and society-corrupting government.

(The younger Alma's being snatched, etc., are important in a separate but not unrelated context, so I'll mention Alma 38: 8, that he had to decide he wanted to be saved before the Lord could rescue him. The Lord gives us opportunities to be saved, but does not force us, unless you insist that His failure to force is force, in which case, how could we ever be free?)

In ch. 28, the four sons of the king decide to go preach to the Lamanites. If you wonder where Ammon gets his skill with a sword, here you have it. He's been thoroughly trained as a prince. Mosiah knows he will not live for their return, but is inspired to let them go.

But Mosiah now no longer has a successor. So he cleans up some of his affairs.

Then we have ch. 29.

Mosiah knows he must be the last king, but the people in general do not. He knows the form of government has to change, but he must get his people to see that it is so. He begins by taking some surveys. Then he sends around an explanation of the problem, using pretty much the same arguments the elder Alma used.

Then he adds some interesting bits.

It is not the usual case that the voice of the people should choose evil. And when the larger part of the people choose evil, destruction awaits that society. These twin principles completely undo all elitist arguments.

And he doesn't stop there.

He lays out some rules of structure that provide accountability, including a failsafe of making the higher judges ultimately accountable to the lower. Rough checks and balances.

Then he lays out another important principle showing the fallacy of elitism. To lay the moral burden of a people on their king is an inequality, and not right. All the people should bear the moral burden of their own decisions and behavior, and the combined social burden should come on all equally.

Flat political structure.

Democracy may have been something of an invention of the Greeks, but the underlying principles have been known to God's people for a long time. Those principles are real and true.

The gospel is not just a feel-good warm-fuzzies philosophy.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Church Japanese/English -- Article of Faith/信仰箇条

The Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

article(s) of faith

Other notes: 注釈
Jesus => God is our help.
イエス => 神(かみ)は助け(たすけ)なり。
Christ => anointed, chosen
キリスト => 油(あぶら)を注がれた(そそがれた)、選ばれた(えらばれた)
article (of faith, law, etc.)
Our Articles of Faith are statements of things that we believe.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Books of the New Testament -- 新約聖書の各書

For my personal notes, 
[personal notes => 個人用の覚書]
[eventual => いつかの、結局の(しばらくして投稿する)]

The Books of the New Testament (in the Bible) with some Japanese annotation:
[testament => 誓約、特に遺言の誓約]
[bible (Bible, Holy Bible) => book (聖書)]
  1. Matthew [・シュー] -- The Gospel according to Matthew
    Or, Saint Matthew's account of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
    [=> マタイによる福音書]
    [gospel (good news) => 福音(良き知らせ)]
    [saint => 聖者、聖なる]
    [account => 記述、報告、談話、説明など]
  2. Mark [マーク] -- The Gospel according to Mark
    [=> マルコによる福音書]
  3. Luke [ルーク] -- The Gospel according to Luke
    [=> ルカによる福音書]
  4. John [ジョン] -- The Gospel according to John
    [=> ヨハネによる福音書]
  5. Acts [アックツ] -- The Acts of the Apostles
    [=> 使徒行伝]
    [act => 行動(修業?)]
    [apostle => 使徒(特に、イエス・キリストの証人の役目)]
  6. Romans [ロー・マンズ] -- The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans
    [=> ローマ人への手紙]
    [epistle (letter) => 手紙、指示を含む書簡]
  7. Corinthians [コ・リン・シ・アンズ]
    [=> コリント人への手紙]
    1. The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians
    2. The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians
  8. Galatians [ガ・レー・シャンズ] -- The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians
    [=> ガラテヤ人への手紙]
  9. Ephesians [エ・フィー・ジャンズ] -- The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians
    [=> エペソ人への手紙]
  10. Philippians [フィ・・ピ・アンズ] -- The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians
    [=> ピリピ人への手紙]
  11. Colossians [コ・ロー・ジ・アンズ] -- The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Colossians
    [=> コロサイ人への手紙]
  12. Thessalonians [・セ・ロー・ニ・アンズ]
    [=> テサロニケ人への手紙]
    1. The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians
    2. The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians
  13. Timothy [ティ・モ・シー]
    [=> テモテへの手紙]
    1. The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy
    2. The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy
  14. Titus [タイ・タス] -- The Epistle of Paul to Titus
    [=> テトスへの手紙]
  15. Philemon [フィ・レ・モン] -- The Epistle of Paul to Philemon
    [=> ピレモンへの手紙]
  16. Hebrews [ヒー・ブルーズ] -- The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews
    [=> ヘブル人への手紙]
  17. James [ジェームズ] -- The General Epistle of James
    [=> ヤコブの手紙(書簡)]
  18. Peter [ピー・ター]
    [=> ペテロの手紙]
    1. The First Epistle General of Peter
    2. The Second Epistle General of Peter
  19. John [ジョン]
    [=> ヨハネの手紙]
    1. The First Epistle General of John
    2. The Second Epistle General of John
    3. The Third Epistle General of John
  20. Jude [ジュード] -- The General Epistle of Jude
    [=> ユダの手紙]
  21. Revelation [・ヴェ・レー・ション] -- The Revelation of Saint John the Divine
    [=> ヨハネの黙示録]
    [revelation => 啓示、霊感]
    [divine => 神の、天来の、神授の]