Friday, April 7, 2017

After All We Can Do

2 Nephi 25:23

23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

What does this scripture mean? My interpretation is faith. We trust in the Lord, after all we can do. So we act in faith and tell our plans to our Heavenly Father. We ask Him to confirm if our plans are the right course and then we leave it in His hands.

To me this is a definition of how to use faith. We do our part, ask for help and confirmation that we are acting right, and then go forward depending on the Father.

Some people think that faith is only believing in Christ and depending only on our Father. Depending on ourselves alone is depending on the arm of the flesh. We must depend on our Father, after all we can do.

It is in this vein that I prepare. It is this way that I look at security. It’s like the story of the man.
A man was trapped in his house during a flood. He began praying to God to rescue him. He had a vision in his head of God’s hand reaching down from heaven and lifting him to safety. The water started to rise in his house. His neighbor urged him to leave and offered him a ride to safety. The man yelled back, “I am waiting for God to save me.” The neighbor drove off in his pick-up truck.
The man continued to pray and hold on to his vision. As the water began rising in his house, he had to climb up to the roof. A boat came by with some people heading for safe ground. They yelled at the man to grab a rope they were ready to throw and take him to safety. He told them that he was waiting for God to save him. They shook their heads and moved on.
The man continued to pray, believing with all his heart that he would be saved by God. The flood waters continued to rise. A helicopter flew by and a voice came over a loudspeaker offering to lower a ladder and take him off the roof. The man waved the helicopter away, shouting back that he was waiting for God to save him. The helicopter left. The flooding water came over the roof and caught him up and swept him away. He drowned.
When he reached heaven and asked, “God, why did you not save me? I believed in you with all my heart. Why did you let me drown?” God replied, “I sent you a pick-up truck, a boat and a helicopter and you refused all of them. What else could I possibly do for you?”
Often the means to save ourselves is right in front of us, but we’re waiting for something else.
I just was given a video about Church security. I watched it and I like it very much. But I also believe the safe, secure principles will never be implemented in my Ward. Often I have watched (and this used to be me as a younger Father) as parents walk into an LDS chapel and let their kids go. Most of the time they don’t know where their kids are. Off playing somewhere. Kids are dropped off to Primary and picked up without anyone thinking “Maybe we should have a system for picking up these kids so the wrong person doesn’t come in here and take a child.” We make sure the building is locked up when everyone leaves but we take very little thought to security when someone is in the building. We make sure a man, priesthood, is in a building when women are in their meetings but I doubt they are walked to their cars, or even that the guy has any idea what to do if something happens on his watch. He knows how to dial 911. If these things are brought up often the person concerned are scoffed at and asked “Don’t you trust in God?” They forget the “after all you can do” part. The Church teaches preparation.
There is one thing I’ve learned about wording in the Church’s manuals and on their websites. If the words “can” or “may” are used, it’s a suggestion. But if you read the word “should”, then you can pretty much call that policy, and you “should” do it.
“Wards and stakes should prepare for natural and man-made disasters that are likely to occur in their respective areas by creating an emergency plan. These plans are prepared under the direction of the bishop or stake president. They should be updated periodically.”
The “they” in the following paragraphs is referring to the Ward and Stake Councils.
“They develop and maintain a simple written plan for the ward to respond to emergencies (see Handbook 1, 5.2.11). They coordinate this plan with similar plans in the stake and community.”
“They develop and maintain a simple written plan for the stake to respond to emergencies (see Handbook 1, 5.1.3). This plan should be coordinated with similar plans of other stakes in the coordinating council and with plans in the community.”
The only reason I even bring this up is to not be critical of leaders, but to try and educate the members to remind the leaders of another thing they should be concerned about. Many leaders are doing these things. I maintain that if a leader hasn’t done just a basic emergency plan for disasters then they would probably not be receptive to a security plan. Now, nowhere does the Church say that a security plan should be in place. But it would be simple to add to a safety/preparedness plan. The video that I saw was created for any church but you could see it was aimed at Christian churches. Some people have to experience bad things before they will prepare. Also I’ve noticed that some leaders come from their own life. In other words, if they are doing well financially they would think nothing of ignoring Church policy about asking members to bring something to an activity that may cost a few dollars. Some people have financial situations where a few dollars can make the difference between paying a bill or buying basic food. The policy is there so that these members won’t be put in a hardship situation and affluent people don’t always see that because it is beyond their experience. I explained to another member that without a security plan some bad things could happen. They looked at me and said, “You’re a ‘glass half empty’ guy aren’t you?” I answered, “No. I just think the glass is too big!” Actually I answered with a story of a woman trying to take my daughter in a supermarket years prior. “Bad things do happen to good people!” I think it’s a realistic look on the world to be prepared and to be secure.
Here is an example:
Cache Valley, UT Jul 8, 2016
Police have arrested a 30-year-old Smithfield man, Jason Summers, who is accused of shooting at someone while trying to break into an LDS Church, Thursday night.
“A man reported he had been shot at by another male who was burglarizing a nearby LDS Church building. The man sustained no apparent injuries,”
Deseret News Dec 27, 2010
SOUTH JORDAN, UT — The man shot and killed by police outside the LDS Church's Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple was heavily armed and running toward a group of people with a loaded shotgun when he was shot, according to police. May 24, 2015
EAGAR, Arizona — An Arizona man is dead and two others injured — including a pregnant woman — after he began shooting at a LDS stake center in Eagar, Arizona, and later at his residence, officials say.
According to Richard Guinn of the Apache County Sheriff’s Office, the shooter, identified as Eric Robinson, 40, of Eagar, began firing at the stake center, which is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on Saturday May 23. A woman inside the foyer called 911 at which point Robinson left in his truck, Guinn said.
East Bay Times Jun 28, 2015
OAKLEY, CA — Two people were shot, and another bludgeoned multiple times, during a large fight between two groups outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while Sunday service was getting out, police said.
The incident began a little before 12:30 p.m. Sunday when two groups began fighting in the church parking lot on the 1400 block of Laurel Road. During the fight, a member of one of the groups began striking someone multiple times with a hammer or crowbar, and in response, a member of the other group began firing shots, said Oakley police Sgt. Robert Roberts.
These are just some recent shootings that have happened at Church properties. There have been many others.
Yet even with evidence to the contrary, many members and leaders think nothing of security. It’s like that bad intersection where a stop light is needed. Once someone dies at that intersection then the powers that be start thinking about putting a light there. Kind of like closing the barn door after the cow has come home.
Preparation is sometimes a hard sell when “all is well.”
2 Nephi 28:21
21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
I believe that most of the time “all is well.” But like combat described, "Hours of boredom punctuated by moments of terror." (That’s actually a description of war from WWI with “months” instead of “hours”.) My point is, all is well until it’s not. Then it’s too late to prepare but only react.
The whole point of this long, drawn out article is as members and leaders of a Church that is global and 15 million strong, we should be concerned enough about safety and security to at least have a plan. Preparedness is important and we should be a prepared people in every aspect of our lives.
Semper Paratus
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