Thursday, April 13, 2006

Gospel Values Essay

For FA-100, we have to attend the Gospel Values Lecture, given by a Brother Call. Since I put it off until the last one, I also had to write a Gospel Values summary essay. I think it came out pretty good. See for yourself.

It is obvious that te Gospel of Jesus Christ has certain standards we are all expected to live up to. These standards canjust as easily be called values. They are what set us apart from the rest of the world and draw us ever closer to God and Jesus Christ.

God's goal is to keep His Spirit with us at all times. In order to fulfill the goal, He gives us commandments - or His standards - that lead us to live righteously. We renew our baptismal covenants each week as we take the Sacrament. These covenants state that as long as we are consciously striving to live worthily, by keeping our values, than the Lord will keep His Spirit with us. If, at any moment, we are not living righteously, the Spirit withdraws and leaves us vulnerable to Satan's power.

In contrast with the Lord, Satan's main objective is to keep us separated from the Holy Spirit at all times. It is during these separations that he can put into action his specialized plan to destroy each of us individually. It is inevitable that we will once in a while fall victim to his plotting. It may seem at these times that we are left solely at his nonexistent mercy, but we must remember this: we have power over Satan, and by turning back to the standards set for us by the Lord, we may come again into the presence of His Spirit and fully repent.

We, as believers and partakers of this Gospel, have three main principles. First of all, we have the gift of the Holy Ghost. This means that as long as we are maintaining the values, we not only have th privilege of His Spirit, but a right to it as well. In order to keep ourselves as far away from sin as possible, it is important that we learn ways in which we can stay close to the Lord. Constant prayer is of the utmost importance. As long as we are praying, our thoughts are "garnished with virtue." Doctrine and Covenants 10:5 tells us to "pray always that you may come off conqueror; yea that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work."

The next principle is the line. There is a line between good and evil, but it is not easy to see. the extremes, white and black, are clearly decipherable, but the gray is enormous, and its murky darkness ever so subtly bleeds into the white. Brother Call says that "Satan's biggest lie is that the line is somewhere in the middle. I think the line is as a soon as the gray touches the pure white. ... It's easy to distinguish black from white, but it's pretty hard to distinguish off-white from white."

The third principle is that we must judge wisely. These values were given to us not only for the purpose of bringing us closer to His Spirit and to help us to stay on the right side of the line, but also that we may judge where that line is. Every day we are confronted with choices that may contradict our values. If we choose wrong, we commit sin. If we choose right we gain in spirituality. This happens in every decision we make - our spirituality is not standing still, it is either decreasing or increasing. This is why it is so important that we make righteous choices.

Possibly the most common decisions we make are media-based. The mdeia is always in our face; in movies, T.V., music, and magazines. There are two criteria we should take into consideration when making a decision based ont he media. Ifrst is the content. Is the material virtuous? If not, we should choose right then not to have anything to do with it. If so, the second criterion is style. If the style and content are both good, it's certainly worth participation in. It's praiseworthy, lovely, of good report, and virtuous. If the content and style are both bad, there is really no temptation. If the content is good, but the style is mediocre, it's probably not harmful, but also not worth much. The most dangerous zone is when the style is good and praiseworthy, but the content is filth. this can deceive some into believing it is appropriate, interesting, "worth it," and sometimes even as beautiful as that which is truly virtuous.

Satan is subtle in his snares. It is up to each of us to realize our dependence upon the Lord and grasp hold of the principles He so caringly gives us. Sometimes we will fall, but through the grace-filled Atonement of Christ, we may repent. Through these things and by continuously raising the bar just a little higher for ourselves each time, we will one day become perfect in the Lord and He will welcome us into His home.

To view the Gospel Values Powerpoint Brother Call uses in his lecture, click on www.byui.edu, go to "Students">"Academics">"FA-100"

4 comments:

ML said...

Good essay. I found the last sentence in the next to the last paragraph chilling...and unfortunately true.

Liza said...

What you said about media and style vs. content reminded me of this quote: "The poet's job is to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, in such a beautiful way that people cannot live without it." - Jane Kenyon, a great New England poet

Calandria said...

Great essay, Mal!

kyledawn said...

hey buddy,
haven't read this post yet but i'm going to:D

i really liked the verse of that hymn you told me about. you should email me the whole thing!