Sunday, July 31, 2011
I had a friend ask me today whether I thought priesthood is always attached to an institution, and what I thought the definition of righteousness was. I decided to share my answer here.
I don't know that the priesthood is always attached to an institution. I think it often becomes an institution, though. The gospel requires a few things:
*authority to perform ordinances (i.e. priesthood authority)
*actually performing the ordinances
*places to perform the ordinances
*people meeting together often to
*partake of the Lord's supper (to renew covenants)
*uplift each other
*places for the people to meet
The people are to have a specific lifestyle, such as
*sharing one another's burdens
*helping the poor
*not reviling against revilers
*praying for those who harm or try to harm them and/or their loved ones
*being honest and kind
*it would appear that eating mostly plants is part of it
*praying often to God
*humility, meekness, charity, et al
I would think that righteousness is a frame of mind, or perhaps I should say a state of being that is framed (as a picture is framed) by humility, faith, and love/charity.
We cannot be righteous (or at least it is very difficult to be so) if we think we know more than God, if we are deriding our fellowmen, if we think we are better than others, if we are not open to the fact that we don't know everything, etc. I would classify that under humility.
Could we really be righteous without believing/having faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, not only for ourselves but for others? This reminds me of an experience I had a few days ago.
As I was praying, I began praying about all of those who had hurt me in my life - from perverts to peers to siblings. As I prayed, my mind and heart opened up and I wanted with all of my heart and mind for them to be forgiven. As that happened, I saw very clearly that if I refused to condemn them, the Atonement cleared them, and it was as if they had never done anything to hurt me. The up side of that was, not only their salvation, but that it had never been done to me. The whole thing, the whole experience was (or could be) wiped clean - as if I had never been wounded and as if they had never hurt anyone. It was an awesome thing to witness, to see. A complete wiping away of the whole experience. And I saw that, in this way, each person is pulled away from Satan, who thinks he owns us.
I think what I saw was the full effects of humility, faith, and love as one person forgives. Multiply that by a billion, and you've got Satan losing, wholesale. Even a million people with that experience, ongoing, would put a serious dent into his plan to capture and enslave all of us. I rather like the idea of erasing other people's sins. Of course, being healed from the wounds is pretty enticing, as well.