Monday, August 24, 2009

Recently I noticed an interesting shop in a strip mall: "Eternal Ink: Tattoos and Body Piercings."

I wonder if the shop's owner/operator realizes just how eternal tattoos and piercings, along with all our other actions, thoughts and words, can be?

The Bible clearly teaches that we will all experience Judgment Day. The Apostle John told what we will be judged by:

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20:12)

Recently my Mormon daughter shared this quote from an early Latter-day Saint prophet and Church president, John Taylor.

"Man sleeps the sleep of death but the spirit lives where the record of his deeds is kept--that does not die--man cannot kill it. . . by and by he rises again from the dead and goes to judgment, and then the secret thoughts of all men are revealed before Him with whom we have to do; we cannot hide them. . . . If a man has acted fraudulently against his neighbor--has committed murder, or adultery, or anything else, and wants to cover it up, that record will stare him in the face. . . . that record is written that cannot lie--in the tablets of his own mind--that record will in that day be unfolded before God and angels who shall sit as judges."

And from a latter-day Apostle, Elder Bruce R. McConkie:

"In a real though figurative sense, the book of life is the record of the acts of men as such record is written in their own bodies. It is the record engraved on the very bones, sinews, and flesh of the mortal body. That is, every thought, word, and deed has an effect on the human body; all these leave their marks, marks which can be read by Him who is Eternal as easily as the words in a book can be read. . . . When the book of life is opened in the day of judgment, men's bodies will show what law they have lived. . . . the account of their obedience or disobedience will be written in their bodies."

Talk about eternal ink.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mormon Hymns

A gentleman (church affiliation unknown) recently told me that he would join the Methodist church, except that their hymns are dull.  "The Baptists have the best hymns," he declared.

I don't know if he's sung any Mormon hymns, and perhaps he shares Gladys Knight's dismay about Mormon hymn-singing, but I for one love Mormon hymns.  From young childhood, I'm drawn to singing the hymns of the Mormon Church not just because of the music, but also because of the thought-provoking lyrics.

Mormon lyrics are not just beautiful, they are true doctrine, and hence, powerful.  My appreciation for the light those words provide continues to grow as I continue to sing and ponder them.  

It has occurred to me that some of the best of those verses, unfortunately, don't fit in the alloted space between the treble and bass clefs, and thus relegated to the "basement," are unfortunately forgotten.

Consider the following "forgotten" lines and tell me if you can't feel doctrine melting your heart and opening your mind.

"May we who know the sacred Name
From every sin depart.
Then will the Spirit's constant flame
Preserve us pure in heart."
(vs. 4, "Sweet Is the Peace the Gospel Brings," LDS Hymnbook, hymn #14)

"When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o'erflow.
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

"The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!"
(vv. 4 and 7, "How Firm a Foundation," hymn #85)

"He looks! and ten thousands of angels rejoice,
And myriads wait for his word;
He speaks! and eternity, filled with his voice,
Re-echoes the praise of the Lord."
(v. 6, "Redeemer of Israel," hymn #6)

And finally, three of my favorite, all of them sacrament hymns:

"In word and deed he doth require
My will to his, like son to sire,
Be made to bend, and I, as son,
Learn conduct from the Holy One."
(v.4, "God Loved Us, So He Sent His Son," hymn #187)

"He died, and at the awful sight
The sun in shame withdrew its light!
Earth trembled, and all nature sighed
In dread response, 'A God has died.'"
(v.5, "Behold the Great Redeemer Die," hymn #191)

"How great, how glorious, how complete,
Redemption's grand design,
Where justice, love, and mercy meet
In harmony divine!"
(v.6, "How Great the Wisdom and the Love," hymn #195)

Next time you open a hymnbook, sing big, but sing reflectively.  Ponder the powerful truths the hymns teach.  Let them sink into your heart and move you toward Christ, the real author of all inspired music.