Gospel Principles 26: Sacrifice

February 12, 2011    By: Matt W. @ 11:54 pm   Category: PH/RS Lessons

Today at 1:30, I’ll be teaching this in Elder’s Quorum. Last week, Elder Ballard taught us in Regional Conference to not “over complicate” the Gospel. I’m trying.

Defining Sacrifice in LDS theology

Sacrifice can and has meant a variety of different things. The definition I like the best in the context of LDS theology comes from our concise little manual “True to the Faith” published in 2004. It says, “To sacrifice is to give up something valuable or precious, often with the intent of accomplishing a greater purpose or goal”. In a way, this definition is very similar to the use of the term in the game of Chess, where the pawn may sacrifice itself for the benefit of the entirety of the team. The pawn is killed for a greater purpose, but does not necessarily receive any direct benefit for itself. I sometimes hear people say sacrifice is giving up something good now for something better later. Thus we end up with sacrifice sounding like investing in a 401k plan. This doesn’t ring true to me. While it may be true that we give something up for something of higher value, the “something of higher value” may not directly have benefit for ourselves, and does not necessitate that benefit. The manual asks, “Why is it important to sacrifice as the Lord asks without expecting anything in return?” I think it is because the greater purpose or goal we are to give up is greater than ourselves. It is the glory of God and all mankind. Anyway, I think this concept of sacrifice as giving up for a greater good is useful as we think about religious sacrifice before Christ, of Christ, and in our lives as Christians.

Home Teaching the Mentally Ill: A Plea for Counsel.

February 7, 2011    By: Matt W. @ 8:26 am   Category: Life

I am not really sure I should be posting this. Names have been changed to protect the innocent. Please excuse my grammar errors.

I don’t really know what to do. It is the sort of situation I’ve never really thought about. But let me start from the beginning. Lightning moved here years ago, following his sister and parents. Lightning has never been diagnosed, mainly due to parents who have issues that are similar to his, but his sister believes him to have some form of high functioning autism. I am not sure that matches his symptoms, but I have no medical expertise in this area. Lightning spent years in the singles ward here, variously leering at girls until they became uncomfortable, or telling girls they were fat, or bearing his testimony of how he had to beat someone up for on his mission to teach them humility. Eventually, Lightning’s brother-in-law got a job far away and moved, taking sister and eventually parents away. Lightning chose to stay, being over thirty, and moved into our ward, having reached “the age”. Having known Lightning’s sister, I tried to keep an eye on Lightning. I helped him do his taxes, occasionally took him food, and let him do laundry at my home. Lightning meanwhile got a permit to carry a gun and became a security guard, and perpetually asked me if he could write my sister-in-law, “since she’d lost weight”. Lightning was a little odd, making inappropriate comments in Sunday School about teaching other missionaries humility on his mission to the slums of salt lake city, where he taught the gangs. (He did actually serve a mission to SLC. I don’t know about the rest.) Occasionally he would tell me things like God gave him super strength, and this would worry me, but not as much as his owning a gun did. Also a worry to me is Lightning’s engagement to a girl in the Philippines, whom he has flown over to see once. (Using the money from his tax return I helped him to get, and being unable to pay his bills for months afterward)