The Thirteenth Article of Faith

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We believe in being Honest, True and chased by an elephant.

 

Ok not really. I know it’s a  cheesy and lame, and corny joke to start off this final installment of the articles of faith series. But then again I am a cheesy, lame and corny guy.

This is how the 13th article of faith really goes.

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

This article of faith really talks about one’s character and integrity. Highlighting some important character traits that we all should strive to have within our personal lives.

Honesty is a critical part of being Godly people. This goes along with being true. This is also something that is sorely lacking in our world in all aspects of people’s lives. I work in customer service and have heard every story and alibi in existence for not paying bills and trying to avoid the penalties of contract termination. People will say and do anything to avoid doing something they do not want to do. Honesty however is more than just telling the truth. Even truth can be twisted to deceive and lead one to a conclusion that is not true. Just look at your average political campaign as an example of this.

When I was a kid I would often take money to school to buy food and not take a lunch. The question I was often asked was “What are you taking for lunch?” Typically without fail my response would be “There are sandwiches at the school store.” While that statement is true, the intent was to lead one to believe that I was planning on buying a sandwich for lunch when in fact I would usually purchase junk food and pop. This was not being honest as while I stated a truth the message delivered was not truth.

Chaste can be defined as free from obscenity and decent. We believe in living lives that are pure and decent in all that we do, say and in how we dress and present ourselves. We must live so that we can stand before God on that final day and say “I have lived a pure and holy life”. Living a chaste life in this world is increasingly more difficult as we are bombarded with unchaste media, clothing, attitudes and ideologies. This idea of Chaste goes hand in hand with being Virtuous. Leading by example and living a pure life in harmony with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Being benevolent and doing good to all man is pure charity. We as Latter day saints should be anxiously engaged in a good cause and helping those in need and we should have charity in our hearts at all times. When we live so that we can look on others with compassion we will be blessed beyond measure. The prompting to help others can come at the most inconvenient times.

I recall a day when I was waiting for the bus at a transit center in town. A young man was on the payphone talking to what apparently was his brother. Though I only got one side of the conversation it was clearly a situation I could have helped in,  however I failed to act on the prompting. I could hear the desperation in this man’s voice as he said to his brother

“Please man, I have nowhere to go or stay, I don’t want to sleep on the streets tonight , we’re brothers why won’t you help me out. Please my bus does not leave till the morning and It’s so cold out tonight I can’t sleep on the street”

Overhearing this conversation I felt the urge to offer to go downtown with this man and pay for a hotel room for the night. I did not have the courage to act on it and by the time I finally decided to act on the prompting it was too late, he left and I could not find him again. To this day I regret not acting on the prompting and help this man. How sad for me and how sad for him. I hope that next time I will have the courage to act and not push it aside.

Believing hoping and enduring to the end are key components of this article of faith as well as the gospel.
We are sent here to be tried and tested and to see if we can endure to the end. Enduring many things and hoping to endure all things is the trials we will face and have faced in this mortal life. It is through the trials of life that we not only grow and mature physically and mentally but also spiritually. Trials like the refiners fire bring out the best in us. After all carbon does not become a diamond without immense pressure first.

If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things. Seeking the good in life should be a goal for all of us. When we focus on the uplifting and the positive we will be happier people and live a longer and healthier life. This is not to say that we should ignore the bad. However if we focus on the good we can then take the positive mindset to focus on changing the bad into the good.

I know that I am certainly far from perfect when it comes to following this article of faith in its entirety. I have fallen short of it many times. It is not in our failings however that we are measured in God’s eye but in our successes. God will look upon our hearts and actions and all he asks is that we work hard to live his gospel and seek continual improvement. This article of faith is about living the best and most righteous life we can. That is all God really expects of us. It is all we can expect of ourselves.

And that is the Gospel according to Andrew

 

 

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The Twelfth article of faith

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12 We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

The 12th article of faith is one that speaks about our role in relation to government. We have a responsiblity to be loyal to the governments which over see us. This article talks about honoring, obeying and sustaining the law. What is our role and how do we do this.

Amongst libertarian circles which I am part of this can come off as arguing that we should just obey without question. I don’t believe that is the point of this article however. As a libertarian I believe in speaking up against wrongful and corrupt laws within the country, city or province that I live in, however that does not mean that I believe that I can pick and choose which laws I want to obey based on whether I agree that they are good or bad, for or against liberty and freedom.

If you are passionate about defending freedoms from oppressive laws, many of which I would rather not have to obey, like I am it is important to remember that we can hardly help to defend the freedoms and liberties if we are in prison.

Like every law or commandment there are always exceptions but only in extreme cases should we disobey a law.

Being subject to kings, presidents, magistrates is not only a reality of life but necessary. This has been shown time and time again throughout scriptural history. Through the bible and Book of Mormon there has always been a form of government brought out by the people with which the stories take place. Whether that is kings or judges, or other forms of government.

Mankind has alway’s been subject to rulers in one form or another and for any society that functions at all we must have a leader and government to do so effectively. This applies not only within the church but within our nations in a secular environment as well. Even within our own homes there is government with the leadership of the home being the parents and the subjects of that home government being the children.

Businesses have government (aka management) within them as well outlining the rules of conduct of its employees and interactions with their customers. Failure to comply with any form or level of government results in unpleasant consequences.

For minarchist like myself the roles of that government should however, be limited to the most basic and neccessary roles for the functioning of soceity. That is protecting our rights and liberties. We are however still subject to even for those who live within the most libertarian leaning governments.

Our loving father in heaven wants us to be as free as we can be under whatever government we reside under. To achieve this objective we must ensure we are living within the law to the best of our ability so that we can use whatever legal means we have to spread the message of the gospel or otherwise.

There are certainly times when civil disobedience is important and like I mentioned earlier this is not about obeying the law no matter what. Many throughout the history of the world and certainly in North American history have used civil disobedience to spark drastic change. Rosa parks refusing to give up her seat, people who help with the underground railroad and freed the slaves, the translators of the bible into english were all acts of civil disobedience. These are examples of extreme cases and serve as the exception to the rule rather than a reason to be disobedient to the law.

I do not believe that God expects us to simply submit to unjust and evil men just because they are the leaders we have in place now, But I do believe that God expects us to be obedient to all laws that do not put us in a place to contradict the gospel standard and that support liberty and freedom.

And that is the gospel according to Andrew.

The Eleventh Article Of Faith

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We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

The 11th article of faith touches on a very important aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Specifically one of liberty and freedom that I have come to love and embrace. The idea of allowing men to worship God according to the dictates of there own conscience is a wonderful principle and one of liberty and freedom.

Different churches around the world worship God via different means, styles and methods. Much of them can seem quite different from ours with traditions and rituals that seem bizarre and strange to the outside observer. When thinking that however we must also remember that we too as Latter Day Saints are unusual and different from them as well.

I have been to church services in the catholic church, Baptist and united respectively as well as some non denominational community church services. I have found there services to be everything from different to strange to what I felt was not reverent and respectful at all.

One church service I went to was loud and involved live band music which was very different from the traditional organ and hymns of a LDS service. The friend I went with ask what I thought of his church services. I told him that I honestly found it be irreverent and not conducive to the spirit of worship I felt that should be present in a worship service.

The catholic services I went to I found to be long, boring and while certainly more reverent it was not the kind of service that I could see my self attending regularly Perhaps it was my LDS faith that turned me off these ceremonies but it still did not feel right to me.

The United church I felt just did not have the right authority and felt off to me in a way I cannot describe.

The Baptist were highly energetic and certainly had the spirit as part of there worship services.

All of these churches have different practices and styles of worship Just as the Muslims and Jews do, or the Hindi or any number of other religious faiths that worship God even if by a different name. All these faiths must be respected in there styles of worship.

All must have the right to worship God according to the dictates of there own heart. This belief is essentiall in order to maintain religious freedom and liberty. Without it the church could not have come to be.

Ann M Madsen said in the Ensign, jun 1984

“How should we respond in these troubled times as we are faced with daily criticism and hostility in the world? And how should we respond to the everyday frictions and failings in our own lives?

I would like to suggest that part of the answer can be found in two phrases in our own Articles of Faith. The 11th article of faith [A of F 1:11] reads: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may” (italics added).

“Allow all men the same privilege” expresses, of course, the idea of religious tolerance. And I like to think that this is a gospel principle that can be extended to include tolerance in all its forms, which is what my father wanted me to understand.”

This religious tolerance is important to understanding others so that we might share and express our faith with them in a way that is non-confrontational.

As an example I recently met a gentleman while getting off of the train who certainly practice his religious faith quite differently from how most people do in the modern world. It was new years eve and I had said to him happy new year.

I soon learned that he does not practice new years because as he said it is not biblical nor is the year 2015 as the Jewish or biblical calendar is currently in the year 5775. The biblical new year wont happen till march according to this gentleman I met. He believes that animal sacrifice will continue and that while Christ did come to atone for man kind the fulfillment of the law was for him to keep the law of Moses not the ending of animal sacrifice. Shaking hands is also against his religious feelings due to it not being biblical.

I must admit that I was confused on how someone could be a christian while still practice what appeared to be a Jewish lifestyle. How does one believe Christ to be our redeemer and that he did atone for our sins while not believing that he ended sacrifice by his atoning sacrifice and Crucifixion yet here I was talking to someone who believed what he said and worshiped God in what to me seemed to be a contradictory state. However tolerance essentiall to opening up understanding.

I myself got off with a warning that if I continue to be Mormon and don’t start living as per the biblical text in his opinion then I would never get to heaven. I did not get the chance to tell him that he was wrong.

And that is the gospel according to Andrew