“The way a book is read — which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book — can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts into it…. Anyone who can read can learn how to read deeply and thus live more fully.”
~Norman Cousins

Writing is where we truly learn. Join the Journey.

I read from my scriptures (book), but you can find scripture reference here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Unholy Temples ( Helaman 4 )

Helaman 4

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 1 Cor 6:19

I am the mother of six beautiful children. I remember the birth of each. Each brought me great joy. Each came into their body with a unique spirit, unique gifts, and unique abilities. This uniqueness of spirit cannot be explained by genetics. It cannot be explained by environment. God tells us that the body that we gain at our birth "is the temple of the Holy Ghost", which we have because God gave it to us.
I believe their uniqueness can only be explained by recognizing that they are literal spiritual children of God. They lived before they obtained the body that I (through the gift of God) gave them at their birth. They came to earth to learn to exercise their agency and to learn to love God as he loves them. Their bodies are temples. We all inhabit the temples that God created for us. We all learn day in and day out to keep these temples holy.

This made me think about the purpose of temples(the building kind). Temples have been used for many things throughout history, but traditionally they are built so that man might
1. Make Holy Covenants to their God
2. Worship(revere his name) their God.
3. Commune with God
4. Give Service(sacrifice) to their God
Temples were hallowed places where only the best of the best was allowed. Temples represented man's attempt to commune, listen, serve, and to be close to their God.

Our bodies are our temple. Metaphorically speaking we can keep our temples pure by keeping our hearts pure and clean. We can live higher standards. We can learn to keep a prayer in our heart. We can learn to cultivate and listen to the Spirit that God has placed within us. We can teach our spirits to carry our bodies in such a way that others will recognize the reverence we have for our bodies and see God's light within us.

As I read of the plight of Zarahemla's people I was struck with how quickly they turned away from their covenants. As I read of the wars and the contention it became clear to me that this was a story of a people who were caught up in their pride to the point that they forgot to think about their bodies as temples wherein God's spirit strives to dwell. They allowed their temples to become unholy.

Pride is like a double edged sword. If we check our pride with humility it serves us well by helping us achieve success that brings us peace. If however we forget humility, service, and love then the same sword of pride that serves us will also destroy us. If it is coupled with boasting, conceit, selfishness, or discontent then pride is not a good thing. Pride can be used to serve; pride can be used for selfish pursuits. It all depends on how holy we keep our temples.

Words and Phrases

vs 8 those dissenters ... - this is a reminder that it was not the Lamanites that began the war, but the Nephites who were once members of God's church, who once enjoyed the prosperity of living God's word. those dissenters... who forgot that unchecked pride (like an unclean temple) quickly allienates God's Holy Spirit.
vs 11 those who professed - we all profess to believe. What makes the difference between what we profess and what we do? Why do some of us fall away? Why do we forget about the spirit of God that is within us?
vs 12 What makes our temples unholy? Which do I need to clean from my temple? If you think of this list as a reminder for keeping your temple clean, this verse can be a handy checklist.
1. unchecked pride
2. exceeding riches.. when we allow riches to rule our hearts... take the place of God's work.
3. oppression of the poor
4. selfishness .. not helping the hungry, the
5. assault
6. mockery
7. deny the spirit of prophecy (God's direction in his voice)
8. denial of revelation
9. murder,
10. robbery
11. lying
12. plundering
13. adultery
14. contention
15. desertion

I believe that some of these transgressions represent a progression of sin. some you would not commit without first committing another.

vs 13 their own strength - when we are left with our own strength we cannot do the work of God. When we boast in our own strength the Holy Spirit becomes offended that we have forgotten from whence our blessings come.
vs 15 repentance brings prosperity - not because it makes us rich, but because it teaches us to how to keep our temples (bodies)holy so that God's spirit can stay with us. Repentance cleans our bodies so that a clean spirit can dwell there. Repentance takes the ungodly and makes them worthy of his place within our heart. God wants us to prosper. When we read his word, listen to his Spirit, we are led to do the things that will help us prosper. Think of repentance like unto a good cleansing of our house. dejunk, sanitize, organize
vs 21 they began to remember - We all make mistakes that take us away from the Spirit of God, but if we can remember... if we can make it a practice to remember.. then we can keep our temples holy.
22 wicked even like unto the Lamanites The Lamanites did not know the workings of God within them. They did not believe that God would speak to them, reveal his word to them, and help them prosper by helping one another. They set their hearts on the ways of the world, on secret combination, on vanity.
23 to dwindle - diminish in size. why? Why do we forget who we are? We allow other things to supplant God's love. We listen to another voice. We follow another direction. We ignore the prophecy and chalk it up to coincidence. We stop seeking God's help. We begin to rely on our own strength. When we allow ourselves, our numbers to dwindle, God's love in its force also dwindles. (it affects all of us).
vs 24 the spirit of the Lord did not more preserve them - God is bound to hold to his end of our covenants when we do as we promise, but when we do not what he asks of us, then we have no promise.
vs 24 Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples - Our bodies have been created to bring God's Holy Spirit to earth. But it will not dwell in temples that are impure, unclean, or unworthy of his holiness. We will not feel God's joy if we do not do his will.
Just as we must work daily to clean our physical homes, our kitchens, etc, we also must work daily to keep our spirit worthy to house the spirit of God. Just as temples represent a place where we covenant, commune, and serve our God, so do our bodies represent a place where we can (if we keep it clean, holy, and worthy) receive revelation, prophecy, and guidance that will help us prosper in this life. But mostly... because our bodies represent the temple of God, we can set an example to others by our actions, our words, our aura, our service... so that others may want to know God and be drawn unto his safety and love.
vs 25 except they should cleave to their God - God will protect us when we cleave to him. When we choose to follow our own strength we stand alone. We stand with our own strength against the might powers of Satan. We our but human with human skills, human strength, human senses, unless we cleave to our God.
vs 26 they became weak because of their transgression.. the power of believing lies in believing. When we forget to believe, or choose not to believe in a God who brings strength to our souls, then we lose the strength of God's holy spirit. We lose the power of revelation, of prophecy, of compassion, of selfless love, of generosity, of service, of one another's talents, of community, of family...

I wanted a family for many different reasons. One of the most important is that I believe God's spiritual children reside in heaven awaiting their turn to come to earth and receive a body. As a daughter of God, I wanted to do my part to allow God's spiritual children the opportunity to experience life. I wanted to allow these choice spirits into my earthly family. I feel very blessed by each of my children. They are each very unique and spiritual giants in their own right. It brings great joy to my heart to see my children recognize, accept and entertain the spirit of God that dwells within them. It brings great joy to my heart to know that I have done my part on as their mother to teach them of their true spiritual nature.

What a wonderful gift it is to be able to not only give a spiritual child of God a temple within which to dwell, but to also help them keep it clean and holy by teaching them the value of service, of love, of God's word. What a wonderful gift it is to gain a true understanding of the importance of keeping our temples worthy of God's love. What a wonderful gift it is to see your own family grow and prosper as they too practice keeping their temples holy.

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