Being Subject to Jesus

While reading the words of Jacob in 2 Nephi, chapter 9, I came across this line: behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh, and die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him. (verse 5)

I’m not sure I understand this. Jesus became subject to man by letting himself by ridiculed, beaten and killed by humans. He is not the source of our dying, since mortal death came as a result of the fall.

Yet, by using the word ‘subject’ in both circumstances, Jacob seems to imply there is a similar subjection. As Jesus was subject to man, so must we be subject to Him.

Home Teaching New Converts

In this month’s Ensign, there is an article on creating effective elders quorums. In the article, there is a reference to an address given by L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It was given in January 2003 worldwide leadership training meeting.

He spoke of small units in the Church. The counsel also fits when a home teaching base is small. Active home teachers should be assigned according to need, focusing first on new converts. Total coverage may not be achieved for some time. Elder Perry’s counsel was: “If, as priesthood leaders, you only help your members keep their covenants with the Lord, you have done measurably what you are expected to do.” (p. 33)

So if the Church gave training to ward leaders to make sure home teaching was focused first on new converts, and thereafter making assignments based on need, why do ward and stake leaders still make such unattainable goals as 100% home teaching?

It cannot be because they want to improve home teaching because such goals/programmes never (or at least rarely) result in any sustained improvement.

I can see the wisdom of the Church trying to change the focus of home teaching from quantity to quality. Something like this, if actually practised, can do a lot to change the perception of home teachers that home teaching is less about something that they have to do and more about being something that nourishes others.

The Wise Man

I threw away my fish one day,
And walked behind a man.
His steps were clear and deep and sure
Upon the burning sand.
He walked right by, spoke scant a word,
But drew me still somehow.
I followed close behind the man
As wonder would allow.

It wasn’t long before I saw
The depth and breadth inside
This man who took his steady hand
And touched another’s eyes.
Then turned a bit and cupped an ear
And turned and felt a tongue.
Then turned once more with outstretched hand
And lifted up someone.

My eyes were wide, my jaw was dropped
As I could not believe
The things I saw with my own eyes
That this man could achieve.
And further on he walked again,
Speaking as he went.
And one by one, the people came
With sleeping roll and tent.

It was me who was with he
The night I nearly drowned.
It was I to whom he cried
To make his children found.
I was there when angels came
And covered him in light.
I was there in that girl’s house
When her dawn stopped her night.

I felt his hand upon my head,
His hair around my feet.
I felt the angels pry the locks.
I was almost complete.
I was there when he had prayed
And closed my eyes to sleep.
I was there behind the woods
While they walked that street.

Even then I did not know
All that he had told.
Some things strange and not quite clear,
My mind could not enfold.
Yet then I heard the rooster crow,
And then again twice more.
It was then I realised that
There was so much more.

And though my will was quick to go
My flesh stayed still behind.
I took some time and found my fish
And thought some things behind.
My life had changed these last few years
I was not quite the same.
And there he was, the man I loved,
Calling me by name.

Days went by, and soon I came
Upon the temple gates,
And looked upon a beggar there
And saw his lonely state.
“Look on us” I called to him
And so he cast his eyes.
“We have no coins, but this we have:
In Jesus’ name, arise.”

And as I took him by the arm
And lifted him to stand.
I felt the spirit pierce my heart
And power leave my hand.
He stood steadfast, with solid feet,
And then I felt anew.
For now my faith was full, a stone,
And now it all I knew.

Multiple Meanings

Have you noticed how some Mormon phrases consist of words with multiple meanings, but somehow the meaning of the phrase includes only one possible meaning?

Let me be clearer. Let’s take “free agency”. Often, people interpret it to mean that it is a free gift; it is given to us without a cost. However, it could also be interpreted to refer to agency that brings makes us free or brings us freedom (as in freedom of bondage to our sinful choices).

Another example: “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thes. 5:22) “Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?” (2 Ne. 4:31)

A very common interpretation of the phrase “appearance of sin” is that we should avoid anything that may appear sinful. For example, we should avoid drinking hot chocolate at work because people might think we are drinking coffee, or we should avoid eating in a pub because some member might see us leaving and think we were drinking alcohol.

However, “appearance of sin” could also refer to when sin appears or shows its head.

If more people thought about how different phrases such as these two could be interpreted, I wonder how fewer fanatical or self-righteous people would exist?