Saturday, November 13, 2010

More or Less

The Story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks. She went for a walk in the forest. Pretty soon, she came upon a house. She knocked and, when no one answered, she walked right in.

At the table in the kitchen, there were three bowls of porridge. Goldilocks was hungry. She tasted the porridge from the first bowl.

"This porridge is too hot!" she exclaimed.

So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl.

"This porridge is too cold," she said

So, she tasted the last bowl of porridge.

"Ahhh, this porridge is just right," she said happily and she ate it all up.

After she'd eaten the three bears' breakfasts she decided she was feeling a little tired. So, she walked into the living room where she saw three chairs. Goldilocks sat in the first chair to rest her feet.

"This chair is too big!" she exclaimed.

So she sat in the second chair.

"This chair is too big, too!" she whined.

So she tried the last and smallest chair.

"Ahhh, this chair is just right," she sighed. But just as she settled down into the chair to rest, it broke into pieces!

Goldilocks was very tired by this time, so she went upstairs to the bedroom. She lay down in the first bed, but it was too hard. Then she lay in the second bed, but it was too soft. Then she lay down in the third bed and it was just right. Goldilocks fell asleep.

As she was sleeping, the three bears came home.

"Someone's been eating my porridge," growled the Papa bear.

"Someone's been eating my porridge," said the Mama bear.

"Someone's been eating my porridge and they ate it all up!" cried the Baby bear.

"Someone's been sitting in my chair," growled the Papa bear.

"Someone's been sitting in my chair," said the Mama bear.

"Someone's been sitting in my chair and they've broken it all to pieces," cried the Baby bear.

They decided to look around some more and when they got upstairs to the bedroom, Papa bear growled, "Someone's been sleeping in my bed,"

"Someone's been sleeping in my bed, too" said the Mama bear

"Someone's been sleeping in my bed and she's still there!" exclaimed Baby bear.

Just then, Goldilocks woke up and saw the three bears. She screamed, "Help!" And she jumped up and ran out of the room. Goldilocks ran down the stairs, opened the door, and ran away into the forest. And she never returned to the home of the three bears.


* * *

There are many statements in the scriptures about five topics mirroring this old fable about Goldilocks and the Three Bears. 

1.  “This is my gospel. . .” (3 Nephi 27:13-22; D&C 76:40; 1 Corinthians 15)

2.  “This is my doctrine. . .” (D&C 10:67-69; 2 Nephi 31; 3 Nephi 11:31-40)

3.  “And truth is. . .” (D&C 93:24-25)

4.  “The revelations I have given unto you. . .” (D&C 124:119-120)

5.  “The constitutional law of the land. . .” (D&C 98:6-7)

In each case, whether we are talking about the gospel, the doctrine of Christ, the truth, the revelations, or the Constitution of the United States of America, we are specifically warned, “Whosover declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me. . .” (D&C 10:68).

Relative to the path toward salvation and exaltation we are told, “This is the way; and there is none other way nor name given. . ." (2 Nephi 31:21).

When we discuss the doctrine of Christ, what He taught, and what constitutes His doctrine we learn, “Whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil. . .” (3 Nephi 11:40).

If the topic is truth, what it is and where to find it, we also learn, “Whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning. . .” (D&C 93:25).

The revelations that have been showered down upon the heads of the Church since the Restoration through the Prophet Joseph Smith are similarly situated: “That which is more or less than this cometh of evil, and shall be attended with cursings and not blessings. . .” (D&C 124:120).

This government of the United States of America was rooted in the Constitutional principles revealed to inspired men who planted the seeds of freedom and liberty so all mankind thereafter could be blessed by their efforts, and we are told, “Whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil. . .” (D&C 98:7).

Examples of “more than:”

In each case excesses can be identified.  "More than" the gospel?  Endless checklists of good things to do, while desirable and righteous, ultimately lead to misplaced zeal and enthusiasm for things that matter least.  Elaborate parties, decorations, handouts, while good and desirable, distract from the simplicity intended by the Lord.  The gospel takes on definitions that go far beyond the Lord's plain and simple declarations in the Word.  Revelation after revelation confirms "the gospel" to be an essential restatement of the 4th Article of Faith.  It is what it is:  Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and the laying on of the hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Anything "more than" that is evil and wrong.

"More than" the doctrine?  It is specious, speculative and uninspired interpretation of scriptures based upon men's wisdom and not anchored in the Word we have received.  One example:  The age of the earth, how it was created and the possibility of the existence of pre-Adamites.  The endless debates in high priest groups about trivial minutiae never founded upon scripture, going over the top in stretching for meanings never before revealed.  Some talks in the Church should be prefaced with "I will now proceed to discourse upon a subject about which the Lord has revealed little or nothing."  Example of "more than" the plain and simple doctrines of salvation can be found each week in the average high priest group meeting.  There seems to be a presumption among us that we must go beyond what the Lord has revealed to display our gospel scholarship.  Such ideas add to the "more than" doctrine category.

"More than" the Constitution?  It is creating legislation requiring free citizens to buy health insurance from the government, as one example.  Now that it's being challenged in the courts, the defense attorneys for the government are arguing it is merely "a new tax," (which it is), refuting earlier claims when it was under consideration that there were no new taxes involved.  Releasing $600 Billion in new currency, as the Federal Reserve authorized last week, flooding the markets with more worthless paper with the ultimate effect of weakening the value of the dollar.  Hyper-inflation cannot be far behind.  The appointment of "czars" as regulators in the massive bureaucracy of the federal government who are neither elected nor approved for confirmation by the Senate in its constitutionally granted authority to "advise and consent" on Executive Branch appointees.  Activist courts making, rather than interpreting, laws.  This is a very long, long list of "more than" excesses.  These are but a few.  As a nation we have gone far beyond the intent language of the original Constitution which was to insure limited government, leaving most functions to state and local government closest to the people.  Does the new House of Representatives have the courage, grit and determination to begin to put us back on the path to the properly defined role of government?  Time will tell.

"More than" truth?  If a little truth is good, how could "more than" the truth be bad?  Can you think of some examples here?  If Christ is filled with mercy (which He is), then He will surely forgive us at the last day and will not require individual accountability for our sins.  We must collectively work toward the reformation of society, curing its evils by levelling the playing field, raising the standard of living for the poor through a redistribution of wealth, and transforming our society to make it more accessible and equitable for all.  We must permit all men and women to do as they choose without interference or correction, because they have their free agency to act as they please.  We will merely take our "few stripes" for our indiscretions, but in the end His mercy will satisfy all the demands of justice.  We are free, in the meantime, to do as we wish, live our lives in pursuit of happiness as we desire and in the end be saved.  Do you understand how pervasively this "more than" doctrine is playing out among the LGBTs? 

"More than" Christ and the atonement?  What would that look like?  There are those who would have us believe Christ's atonement is not sufficient to heal us, to sanctify us and to purify us.  These are people who are modern-day Pharisees.  Like Saul of Tarsus before his encounter with the risen Lord on the road to Damascus, they anchor their performance in the requirements of the long list of the law of commandments.  They believe only after "all they can do" will Christ's atonement click in for them, like someone adding the cherry on top of the crowning creation of their perfect chocolate sundae.  These folks tend to be judgmental of others.  They measure their performance against those around them.  They are routinely certain about how righteous they are by comparison to their fellow ward members and neighbors.  They do not understand how desperately they need Christ in their lives because they are convinced Christ and His Church need them more than they need Christ.

 "More than" the revelations?  How could we have more than what we have?  It's those who would make the revelations say more than they do.  It's those who go beyond the simple requirements of the Sabbath day or the interpretations of the Word of Wisdom or tithing.  They are list makers.  They find comfort in "fleshing out" what may only look like a skeleton in the revealed word.  Or they may be a gospel hobbyist who has mastered the knowledge associated with where the lost 10 tribes of Israel have been situated, and at a moment's notice will be happy to take you on whimsical fantasy tour unfounded by the revealed Word.  Joseph Smith, with just such an one as this, when asked for the location of the lost 10 tribes, on a starlit summer's eve pointed to the North Star and said that's where they were.  Of course, he was joking but some maintain he's a fallen prophet for that faulty "prediction."

Conversely, many examples could be cited in the "less than" categories too.  I'll leave that exercise to you to think through.  Here's one example to get you started.  What is "less than" the atonement of Jesus Christ?  Is there anything that looks like the "opposite" of the atonement?  Consider this:  If you are a secular humanist, atheist, agnostic or non-believer, you embody the spirit of the "anti-Christ."  Anything, anybody, any philosophy, or idea, or erudite explanation about anything having as its root the diminishing role Christ performs as our Redeemer and individual Savior, is something "less than" or in direct opposition to Christ.  These are nothing more than sophistries in the first rank:  Plausible argumentation that is false.  I assert these ideas are "less than" true, and our society today is filled with the spirit of the anti-Christ.  When government presents itself as the cure-all, end-all, be-all to every human condition, we are very close to having displaced Christ as our Redeemer and Messiah.

"I stand at the door and knock"
“Enter ye in at the strait gate; for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad is the way which leads to death, and many there be that travel therein, until the night cometh, wherein no man can work.” (3 Nephi 27:33).

“For none of these [the Gentiles] can I hope except they shall be reconciled unto Christ, and enter into the narrow gate, and walk in the strait path which leads to life, and continue in the path until the end of the day of probation.” (2 Nephi 33:9).

That we may enter in at the strait gate and walk the strait path thereafter is a lifetime of worthy endeavor.  There is danger, however, on either side of that path.  Too much, too little, too hard, too soft, too hot, too cold, too big, too small; none of that on either side is "just right." 

The "just right" gospel, the doctrine, the truth, the revelations and the Constitution have all been defined by the Lord in the Word.  In each case they are perfect as they stand, and we can accept them as revealed and defined with absolute confidence in the Author.  May we always be found doing what is "just right" in modeling what we have been given in its accurate, pure and absolute content.

Anything "more or less" comes from the source of all evil.

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