I have a couple of questions that I have been pondering that I would like to share, and then give what I think may be the answer to these questions. I am by no means saying that what I think is the truth. But we have been told to liken the scriptures to ourselves and these are the things that the scriptures have told me.
The first question came to me while reading 2 Nephi 4:18-21. In those versus Nephi talks about how he is “encompassed about” by temptation. He then says, “And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins…” Everyone talks about how great a man Nephi was, and how we all should be like him. Why does Nephi talk about how his sins make his “heart groaneth”? Had Nephi not repented of his sins? What sins could Nephi of committed that make his “heart groaneth” when he thinks of them?
I think the answer is because Nephi really understood the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He may of repented of his sins, but he still knew that those sins caused Jesus Christ to “bleed at every pore.” D&C 19:17-18 reads:
17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink
I would guess that the sins that Nephi committed were small in nature, but he understood that those sins caused some of the pain that Jesus Christ had to suffer so that we could return to live with our Heavenly Father. Someone had to suffer for our sins. Christ suffered for them, so that we could have repentance. He suffered for every sin, no matter how small, or how insignificant it may of seemed. Even the smallest sin caused Jesus Christ pain and suffering. And I think that Nephi knew this, and that is why even small sins made his “heart groaneth”.
The second scripture I found was in Alma 32. In Alma 32, Alma is teaching the “word of God unto the people”. While teaching he notices a group of people that have been kicked out of the synagogues because of the “coarseness of their apparel.” Alma then ignores the people in the synagogue and then turns his full attention to the poor behind him listening. In Alma 32:13 he talks about how the people were blessed because they were compelled to be humble. But then in the following versus, he talks about how those who are not compelled to be humble are “much more blessed” than those who were compelled to be humbled. This make me start to think, why would God bless one group more than he would bless the other? I think the answer is this. God is not blessing one group more than the other. But the one group is blessed more because they did not sin. Those who “without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe” are more blessed. Not because God thinks they are better, or wants to punish them, but because they were unable to receive as many blessings from God.
Those who sin, and then are compelled to repent are indeed blessed less than those who have not sinned and accepted the truth without being compelled. They did not have to go down the road of repentance, and tasted of its sorrow. They have been able to receive blessings from God while the sinner missed out on those same blessings. This is how the sinner that eventually becomes humble is less blessed than the one who believes from the beginning.
D&C 130:21 reminds us of this principle: “And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” The more laws that we obey, the greater our blessings will be. It is not that God gives more blessings to one individual over another, but that the individual does not obtain blessings because of lack of obedience. Therefore, the ones that are not compelled to be humble and follow the gospel do indeed receive less blessings then those that follow the gospel from the beginning.
Having said that, I think that everyone has room to repent. The LDS church as a wonderful program on Addiction Recovery. The recovery program has 12 steps. (It is based off of the AA addiction recovery program). When people hear about additions, they usually think of Word of Wisdom issues. But after seeing this program work in others lives, I think it is beneficial to anyone who has any type of addition. I think that everyone has some type of addiction they are struggling with. It may not be a Word of Wisdom issue (smoking, alcohol, drugs) or a moral issue (pornography, inappropriate sexual behavior) but could be something like pride, R rated movies, computer games/online activities, etc.
Everyone would benefit from this program.
I have been on a Joshua Creek kick lately, a mix of country and gospel. I really like this song, and find it to be appropriate for this post. The song is called “I Love You, Son”.