Pardon me--I'm going to get a teensy bit analytical.
I have been reading the Doctrine and Covenants in my personal scripture study. My favorite section has always been Section 93. I have found it be somewhat fragmented. It's as though the Lord is jumping to and from different unrelated topics. I realized this morning that this is God's invitation to to struggling servants to return to righteousness.
Oh the timing couldn't be better...
So now, we delve.
It opens with: 1) Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh until me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am.
It closes with: 53) And verily I say unto you, that it is my will that you should hasten to translate my scriptures , and to obtain a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man, and all this for the salvation of Zion. Amen.
It starts with a promise and ends with a commandment.
But what is the context? Who is speaking to?
On the first page, John the Revelator reveals the nature of Christ's ascension--how did he grow in wisdom? It says that he created worlds, and that he "received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace; And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness." (vs 12-13)
Then the Lord reveals who we are and how we can grow in the same manner.
He says, "Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth." (v. 23)
So what is Spirit? "For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseperably connected receive a fulness of joy." (v. 33)
In other words, who we were in the very beginning of time is a part of our physical make up. It is ingrained in our DNA.
What is the Spirit of Truth? I believe the Father is the Spirit of Truth--and we are His Children. Truth is "knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come." v. 24
We receive a fullness of truth, and become like our Father, when we are obedient.
"He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things." v. 28.
And because we were in the beginning with God, we understand what is light and truth. For this reason, we are held accountable for our actions when we choose to do those things that are untrue. We lose our light. We lose the intelligence that could have come from obedience.
Obedience=light and truth.
We can choose whether to embrace those actions that would sanctify us and allow us to see the face of God--as the first verse promises. Or not.
The Lord shares this without berating or saying, "If you are disobedient I will stop loving you!" He simply shares the truth--you will lose the light that comes with acting in accordance with truth. And without that light--you can't do all the great things I need you to do.
Then the last page of the section comes in--and I've always thought this was completely unrelated. The Lord lists a bunch of people who just aren't cutting the mustard. He tells Frederick Williams that he's not teaching his children well; he tells Sidney Rigdon to set his house in order; he tells Joseph Smith that he hasn't kept a commandment; he says that Newel K. Whitney needs to be chastened. He lists all of these people who need to repent.
And then he closes by telling them all to get back to work. Go translate the scriptures! Preach the gospel!
In other words--you messed up--but things still need to get done. And I need you to get back to work.
So to recap:
It starts with a promise that the obedient can see God.
Then he tells about Christ.
Then he tells us how Christ progressed.
Then he tells us who we are.
And how we can progress.
Then he calls a bunch of people to repentance.
And then he tells people to get back to work.
To me, this is a beautiful example of how God is a loving parent who understands that we will mess up, and believes in our capacity to choose the right and get back on track. Someday, I will use this section as an outline for great parenting.
(By the way--there's soooo much more I could say about this section--but it would take days!) But just to whet your appetite--after reading this section, I'm convinced that we are created by our experiences. We aren't just passing time here--our experiences both good and bad shape us physically. The germ of our existence is light and truth. What the what?? My thighs, my hands--all of my parts are crafted by my experiences and by my actions. Interesting... Does this lend more weight to our physical selves or less? Isn't it interesting that despite one's physical appearance--there are some "ugly" people who appear to be utterly radiant to us? Yeah, I could go on for days...)