Perfection Is A Long Time Coming

Well, I have been on the sickbed for a while, as anyone, who has followed my ramblings has noticed. Includes some interesting experiences…

Anyhow, here are some thoughts, lightly edited, that I originally wrote in October 2008, but it’s never been published. Here we go:

There is a common understanding among us that the goal of our lives is to become perfect. It is understandable, of course, with Jesus saying it right in the Sermon on The Mount (see Matt 5:48). This exhortation should be viewed in light of other recorded inspired counsel and understanding.

Joseph Smith said:

When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave. -Nauvoo, April 7, 1844 (emphasis added)

Likewise, I have been much edified by something that the Lord told Moroni, recorded in Ether 12:27:

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

I take these two ideas (and these are certainly not all that has been said about the subject) combined to mean that:

  1. The Lord has promised to show us our weakness if we come unto him. This is part of the price of discipleship – we must be humble.
  2. Chirst’s grace is sufficient for those who humble themselves before him – i.e. turn to him and seek his forgiveness and help, recognizing and admitting their weakness.
  3. If we do so, he will help us overcome our weakness – addictions, foul temper, etc (remember his ability to heal us). NB! This will probably not happen fast enough for our mortal timetable (have patience), but will take both time and effort, but will be immeasurably more efficient if the Lord is given a chance to help us.
  4. As we go about trying to improve, we will discover new things we need to learn as we understand the will of the Lord better. Reiterate steps 2 to 3.
  5. We will never during our mortal lives be finished with this process, but will have to continue through eternities, until we have learned enough.

The important part of what I’m saying is that we are not alone: It is only through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that we are able to learn the principles of exaltation. Moreover, it is only by the same grace, that the Atonement satisfies the claims of justice and we can finally be exalted.

So if you feel weak and inadequate, the Lord understands you better than you can believe (see Alma 7:11-12). Do not give up.

I have felt my weakness, and must surely acknowledge it right now, as I am climbing the ladder, which seems to be overwhelming sometimes. But like Job, I know in whom I put my trust. My Savior will carry me day by day and show me what I should learn. I am so grateful for the Peace I feel.

Peace be with you.

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Posted in Mormonism, Religion
3 comments on “Perfection Is A Long Time Coming
  1. Blain says:

    A couple of things on the idea of perfection that aren’t always considered:

    One meaning of “perfect” is complete or finished (as in the perfect tense in grammar). Not in the sense, necessarily, of “all done,” but that something in particular has been completed. I have this in mind when Jesus says “I would that ye should be perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect,” and then when he says the same only he includes himself. In between, he said “It is finished.”

    In this sense, I think perfection is not necessarily the absence of flaw, but simply having completed the path before us in mortality. That would seem to extend beyond mortality, but not as far as eliminating the last flaw will.

    • velska says:

      That’s an interesting point. I don’t believe in the kind of perfection that means there’s nothing more to learn any more. I’m sure, for example, that from the human view point, Heavenly Father is totally without the kind of weaknesses that we suffer from — but he’s not stagnating, either. In other words, he’s learning. He says himself, that “[his] work and [his] glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). So he has a calling, and I understand it does create feelings of grief or disappointment in him, when his children turn away from him.

      I also sometimes wonder if I anthropomorphize God too far with these kinds of speculations. At the same time, the experiences that I have give me a reason to think maybe not so. I have felt his disappointment in my behavior, and also his joy when I have taken his hand again and confessed my sins and acknowledged my foolish pride and asked him to help me get rid of them.

    • velska says:

      Let’s face it. I read the comment above and saw how “anthropomorphic” my God is.

      Man was created in His image! What else would He be than something we can understand to a certain degree. We actually do need to find ourselves to be really happy.

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