Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hiding Eggs and Blowing Bubbles

This Easter I tried to reflect on what Christ's life, death, and resurrection truly mean to me. I went to the temple on Monday and afterwards I started thinking about a time in my life when I was pretty down. It then hit me what the big deal about Easter was. Christ gave us the indescribable gift of the Atonement. But it wasn't an easy gift to give. He suffered in the garden and on the cross to give us that gift, and he did it alone. When he was on the cross, he cried "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" He knew that everyone else would forsake him, but even God, his father, did. He, the most perfect man to walk the earth, had to go through the most difficult trial, and he had no Heavenly Father, no Holy Spirit to comfort him. Truly, it was what had to be done, but truly, it was a representation of the greatest love known to mankind. I then realized that Christ suffered alone, so that I would never have to. I am never alone. When I face a trial, I always have God, Christ, and the Spirit with me. That's what his life means to me. That is why he died. What a sacrifice! What a glorious kind of love. And to think that he was resurrected, and he lives, and one day I'll be able to meet the person who loves me so much he would suffer and die for me. I'll never be able to thank him enough. I've always wished that I knew how to love like he does, so that I could reciprocate it. But I don't believe I have the capacity just yet. I suppose all I can do is try my best to show him the love and gratitude that I do have, and to spread his love and the knowledge of his divinity to the rest of God's children.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Dangerous Illusion

We're seeing terrible things in the news lately regarding the Middle East, especially Pakistan and Afghanistan. This weekend I was researching things a bit more in depth, because Afghan President Hamid Karzai has just signed a law that "forces women to obey their husbands' sexual demands, keeps women from leaving the house--even for work or school--without a husband's permission, automatically grants child custody rights to fathers and grandfathers before mothers, and favors men in inheritance disputes and other legal matters." In Pakistan, in the Swat Valley, the Taliban has instituted Sharia law in some regions, burned down over 200 girls schools, and since January 15th, banned girls from getting an education. Al Qaeda is wreaking havoc in Swat Valley and Afghanistan. We all know that extreme Islamic militancy has had a negative impact on our world for quite some time.

I hesitated, however, to be someone who comes out and condemns everything the Taliban is doing and calls for the U.S. to drop as many bombs as possible to flush them out. I hesitated to counter their ideology with my own ideology, and tell them that the beliefs they are willing to die for are just down right stupid and incredibly wrong. They believe that they are guided by a divine command. This frustrated me, because according to my beliefs, their actions are incredibly and disgustingly evil.

I was furious this weekend. I once got down on my knees to say my evening prayers and asked Heavenly Father to soften the hearts of these men who were taking away the rights of their women. I begged to know why people would do such things. I wished I could understand how they could be so desensitized to the light of Christ. After reading several news articles and watching this documentary: http://video.nytimes.com/video/2009/02/22/world/asia/1194838044017/class-dismissed-in-swat-valley.html, I became so frustrated with the entire situation that I grabbed my scriptures and read the next chapter in John. I happened to start with John 16:1-3--"These things I have spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me."

They believe that they do it in the service of God. But they do not truly know the Father, and they do not truly know Christ. I thank God for a true prophet today that leads and guides the church according to God's will, and not according to an illusion of God's will.