Sunday, November 22, 2015


A few months back I started watching a made for television series called the Vikings. It didn't take me too long to realize that this series was the History channel’s attempt to stay in competition with the other cable channels in shows which depict man’s propensity towards gory and gruesome slaughtering.

I did watch enough episodes to be introduced to the writer’s depiction of the worship practices of the Vikings and Christians of that period. This stimulated a thought which might have been the only good one I had during the brief time I viewed the show. How, throughout the ages, generations have chosen to serve a variety of things which they referred to as their gods.

During the earths epics:

Some serve gods which were to be feared.

Others served gods which were manifest in laws of nature which were as yet not understood.

There were gods served which could sway the seasons which would bring about bounteous harvests.

There were gods which could overpower armies and yield booty of limitless treasures.

It would probably be more difficult to find something which hasn’t had supernatural powers attached to it than those which have.

Probably the most served god during the history of mankind is the one called ‘myself.’

During the 75 years of my life, I have quietly come to know another God, a God which like many others has been worshiped for millennium by millions. I hasten to say that I have also come to know that the degree and sincerity of worship has a great variance among those who claim to be worshipers of the self-same deity.

It will probably remain one of my life’s unanswered questions when I leave this frail existence, of how anyone in any generation has been able to attribute to their gods the granting permission and even directives to do preemptive hateful and destructive acts against their neighbors.

Therefore, I am prone to be drawn to a God whose teachings:

Teach not of vengeance, but of mercy.

Teach not about generating fear, but of mercy.

Teach not about forsaking, but of mercy.

Teach not about buying salvation, but of mercy.

Mercy is an attribute which is governed by the disposition to forgive, a propensity to be kind, and a desire to refrain from harming offenders, a desire to shower blessings and to maximize everyone’s eternal existence.

Admittedly, there are those who read the same scriptural texts which I have chosen to govern my life that come to much different conclusions than I. I am not ignorant of those passages which men use to pour down destruction and go on crusades and put the sword to the neck of those who refuse to kneel before ‘their’ God. I suspect that like all others, I am being very selective of what I choose to make a permanent influence on my being. Therefore, I have deliberately chosen to seek out, emphasize and hopefully inculcate those edifying attributes I find in writings, such as mercy, into my life.

I am more influenced by:

Adam and Eve choosing to make possible mankind’s entrance into mortality, rather than to view them as fallen beings.

Abraham sending his servant into the desert to seek those in need, rather than to concentrate on him as a shepherd king.

Israel as a father of nations, rather than the ancestor of cousins waring over desolate lands.

Nephi as one who recognizes the tender mercies of God, rather than as a mistreated brother.

Mormon as a chronicler of history, rather than as a general of a decadent and defeated nation.

Joseph Smith as a restorer of truth and prophet of a generation, rather than as a martyr.

Jesus the Christ as a Savior and Redeemer, rather than as one crucified.

My wearing and looking through rose colored glasses has been a conscious and deliberate choice because I have observed through a life of small steps:

Those who choose to worship a god of fear are often filled with fear.

Those who worship a god of retribution are often filled with vengeance.

Those who worship a god of mystery are often in darkness.

But they who worship a God of mercy are often filled with mercy and compassion.

I echo the words of Joshua of old who exclaimed, ‘choose ye this day whom you will serve.’

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