Over the past month, I've asked many friends,”Why do you follow God?” This question brings up some of the best conversations.
Even when friends say, “I don't follow God and think the rest of you are crazy for following some fictitious character!” This still leads to interesting conversation.
Everyone has a different way of expressing their answer, but I found a common element among most. They follow God because it brings them happiness, joy, and fulfillment. They feel free and at peace when they follow God.
As I was coming out of the traditions of my fathers, I gave a lot of thought to how I had been deceived. I didn't want to make the same mistake.
I kept hearing the words, “Jennifer, follow your joy!” These wise words have been a compass to me over the last several years. I follow God because of the incredible joy I feel. If life never got better than it is today, I have not been cheated of living in heaven. Yet, every day life expands, becomes more adventurous, and is a delicious experience.
People talk of a god who condemns, accuses, judges, and has a scowl of his face for me and my weakness. I am not too interested in living with that kind of god. He can take his angels and others who think like him and go live in their own place. I want nothing of it. It would be hell for me to live with a god like that.
Lest you misunderstand, there is a great difference that I experience when living a dark life of drudgery and despair which is riddled with false perceptions, and the fear that is manifest when seeing my darkness brought into the light.
My God works with me by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned, by kindness, and pure knowledge. He does reprove and correct me. He shows me exactly where I've strayed and how to get back on course. When the course correction is made, there are no lingering guilt or unworthiness issues hanging over my head.
I used to berate myself over my mistakes, and this wasn't good for my progress. Jesus helped me with my false perceptions about my tripping and failings. Now, when I make “mistakes”. Jesus asks, “Did you learn something?”
“Yes, I did. I learned this and this and this . . .” I find Jesus continually making lemonade out of all the lemons in my life. Stumbling and falling has lost its judgment; it is just part of my journey.
I also see Jesus as a rearing stallion. Only the bravest and most courageous dare ride Him. I have fallen many times, been bucked off, and sometimes drag along with one foot in the stirrup as my head bounces along the dirt path. I've also been covered with dirt and mud with my hair in a ratted mess. My God who treats me with such tender love also says, “If you get bucked off, get back on! I'm not slowing down so as to be transformed into a gentle mare! :-) Learn to ride and I'll give you the ride of your life! ;-)”
I've heard of another god. This god also requires those who worship him to sacrifice everything for him, but it is for a very different reason.
While I was living Haiti, I learned something about the Haitian culture. Christianity is a small minority there, and the majority of the people, when asked their religion, identify as voodoo. They explained to me that there are two gods. One is the Good God and one is the mean god. I asked why they worship the mean god. I found that they do so out of fear. If they don't worship the mean god, he makes their life more miserable than it already is. Obedience is required by both the Good God and mean god, but one is obeyed out of love and the other out of fear.
The God of Light and the god of darkness work under opposite governments. I recently learned a great lesson from a close friend. Actions performed under the government of Light have totally different results than those same actions performed under the government of darkness.
God of Light – Honoring Agency
god of darkness – violating agency
God of Light – Charity & Love
god of darkness – unrighteous dominion
God of Light – Being as a Little Child
god of darkness – deception
God of Light – Working in the Light – Transparency
god of darkness – doing things in secret
God of Light – Working in God's Divine Timing - Thy Will be Done
god of darkness – asking amiss, impatience, hastening the work
Example: I offer my friend a drink of water. She says “No thank you”. I offer again. She declines. I offer again, and she accepts. I just violated her agency. I wouldn't take no for an answer. I operated in the dark even though I was offering her a “good thing”.
Example: I want to get baptized and take the sacrament, but I know my husband won't approve, so I don't tell him. Baptism and taking the sacrament are good things, right? But I just did something in secret. Because we are married, I have an obligation to tell him. If God tells me to get baptized and take the sacrament, I should tell my husband and let the consequences follow. Then God can bless my path.
Example: Many times people tell “white lies” because they don't want to hurt someone's feelings. It's not good to hurt others feelings, right? No, because it is deception and is done under the government of darkness.
Example: The loss of the 116 pages was a violation of agency..
Example: Eve partook of the fruit in the Garden of Eden out of God's divine timing.
The September 2017 Covenant
There has been much conversation on this topic. If I take the covenant under the government of darkness, it will turn to my condemnation. If I take the covenant under the government of light, it will be a blessing in my life. Each person needs to make this decision for herself. For example: If I have anxiety, fear, uncertainty, and worry about what is being offered, STOP and DO NOT make the covenant. On the other hand, if I feel at peace, look forward to the offering, and am getting answers from God about my concerns, then by all means go forward with confidence and make the covenant. The confusion comes when we look at the action and not the government under which the action is performed. What is right for me may or may not be right for you. People are saying the covenant is good and others are saying it is bad. They are both right. Work under the government of God and all things will turn to your blessing. Work under the government of darkness, and you will be cursed. Baptism, sacrament, and covenants can be administered under each government. One can be doing it in darkness while the person sitting next to him can be doing it in the light. Your heart can discern the difference and what is right for you.