Sunday, August 9, 2015


As I was saying, recent events have moved me into a deep and concentrated evaluation of my discipleship. As I openly impart some of the ponderings my mind has rested upon during the past month and as you read them, I pray you will remember that any benefit you might garner will be a result of your personal internalization as you find them coming in conflict with your own set of rationalizations.

Because of their Eternal implications and the profoundness of the message, I will do this examination of my discipleship using the words found in the Sermon on the Mount. I pronounce my personal prejudice of the correctness and additions which were given by inspiration to Joseph Smith in using both the accounts found in Matthew 5 and 3rd Nephi 12.

Blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I have come to believe that in this beatitude, the Lord was admonishing us to measure our level of humility, which seems to be the hall-mark of true discipleship. Likewise, I have come to believe that humility has to do with my relationship with Deity and not with man. Therefore, I quickly ask myself, am I really willing to submit unto the infinite wisdom of the All Knowing Being, while also recognizing the tremendous gulf which separates my meager guesses from his Supernal Truths? My problem never seems to be in questioning the Omniscience of God, but seems to lie in correctly evaluating my own inefficiencies. Grade – passing but barely!

Blessed are all they that mourn for they shall be comforted.

We only need to examine the width and depth of the Savior’s Atoning Act in order to get a glimpse of the ultimate extension which His admonition to mourn must ultimately be extended. I find my mourning to be narrow of scope and not very long lasting, very far from anything which would approach all-encompassing and everlasting. It is far too easy for me to be selective in the administration of my mourning. It is a simple matter for me to categorize Heavenly Father’s children into groups of those who deserve my empathy and those who do not. Just like the shifting of sands I seem to be constantly re-categorizing those who are worthy to be mourned with and those who do not presently merit my additional grief. Grade – needs a lot of work!

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.

With the passage of time the word meek has lost its positive-ness and become a negative quality. In order to understand the Lord’s admonition we need to use some alternative descriptors in order to make a proper evaluation. The most common synonyms used are gentle, forgiving and benevolent. In my own introspection, I have come to believe that the Savior was asking me to look seriously at my relationships with others. He has told me that only when I am without sin do I become eligible to cast stones at others. He has admonished me to love others as He has loved them. He has indicated that by loving my neighbor and God with all my heart and soul I will be capable of living all the commandments. I still find myself in the business of picking and choosing those who are worthy of my love. I find that the love I extend to others is too often based on how closely their views and comportment conform to my own. Sadly, John’s words concerning the level of love I have for a brother who I have seen, modifies considerably the love I truly have for God. Grade – improvement seen but still needs further work!

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Although the days my life have been abundantly filled with opportunity to hunger and thirst after the words of righteousness, when all is put on the measuring block, I am fearful that since most of my studying was done to enhance my earthly career, it probably won't count for much at the pearly gate. If I will be judged by the thoughts and silent prayers which daily frequent my mind I will undoubtedly come off in a better light. Grade – in some ways good in other ways maybe not so much!

Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.

Unless I have totally missed the mark on this one, it is an extension of the Lord’s instruction on being meek. However, now, rather than just having the attribute we are admonished to become active in our gentle forgiving benevolence. I think we received additional instruction on this principle when we were admonished to treat others as we would be treated and further taught that by the same measure we measure, we will be measured. I suspect, like all principles of discipleship, our strengths or weaknesses will only be of real importance when they become part of who we really are. Too often I have heard it said, ‘I will forgive, but I won't forget.’ Somehow, that doesn't quite fit into the attribute of the Savior which we are trying to emulate in our discipleship. And I the Lord will remember them no more. Grade – probably one of the best areas, however, be wary of overconfidence!

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

This may be one of the hardest of all the measuring sticks of discipleship to gauge, for now we get into the degree of our sincerity. Since this is impossible to be judged by another, we alone are capable of knowing the pure intents of our hearts. I know there have been times when I have acted so that men would call me blessed. I know that there have been moments when I didn't really care what anyone including my Heavenly Father thought. I hope I am moving toward a time when I act with pure intent for the betterment of my neighbors and because this is what my Heavenly Father desires. Grade – sometimes up sometimes down!

Blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I think the last time I was persecuted for any reason was in the 9th grade when the person who sat behind me in history class stuck gum in my hair. Therefore, since I lack personal experience in the area of being persecuted, I will examine how I am doing in the area of not being a persecutor. I have always found it extremely easy to keep from persecuting those with whom I share a lot of likes and dislikes. With those who grew up on the same side of the tracks I did. With those whose parents walked in the same social circles. With those who cheered for the same sports teams. With those whom I share the same world views. But, it is a work in progress and fortunately I can report progress. I am continually able to include more of those who do not fit in my sameness blocks more frequently into the groups which I do not heap persecution upon. Grade – much improvement seen!


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