Almost four years ago, I wrote this post, and today I am compelled to add to it. Get ready for some reading. If not, skip to the last paragraph for the kicker.
Also, this is not a retraction. My post from four years ago is exactly relevant today. But, the moral or the goal of that post is oriented toward reconciling religious beliefs in government. That is completely separate from the goal of religion, as I am coming to understand a little bit better.
So, I dreamed a dream, and wanted to share it with you. You may have heard it before, as have I, but this time I got to be a part of it:
"I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste. And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies.
"And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field. And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy. And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.
"And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.
"And as I cast my eyes round about, that perhaps I might discover my family also, I beheld a river of water; and it ran along, and it was near the tree of which I was partaking the fruit. And I looked to behold from whence it came; and I saw the head thereof a little way off; and at the head thereof I beheld your mother Sariah, and Sam, and Nephi; and they stood as if they knew not whither they should go.
"And it came to pass that I beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit, which was desirable above all other fruit. And it came to pass that they did come unto me and partake of the fruit also.
"And it came to pass that I was desirous that Laman and Lemuel should come and partake of the fruit also; wherefore, I cast mine eyes towards the head of the river, that perhaps I might see them. And it came to pass that I saw them, but they would not come unto me and partake of the fruit."
-1 Nephi 8:7-18
I must have read this at least 15 times in my life, and I always quickly made the association with missionary work, the love of God, keep to the strait and narrow, yada yada yada. What stuck out to me in my dream, though, was what comes later. First, we see the "world":
"And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth. And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.
"And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost."
-1 Nephi 8:26-28
And to really do it justice, or perhaps to understand better what I'm trying to point out, you should also read chapters 11, 12, and 13:1-9
So, back to those jerky-jerks in the great and spacious building. What a bunch of jerks, am I right? Good thing they got what's coming to them, eh? ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) NO! I'll just pick on myself here: too often I have been the one standing under the tree and pointing and laughing at those back in the building, and that is precisely NOT what happens under the tree. No, what happens under the tree is what happened back in chapter 8, verse 37 & 38:
"And he did exhort them then with all the feeling of a tender parent, that they would hearken to his words, that perhaps the Lord would be merciful to them, and not cast them off; yea, my father did preach unto them. And after he had preached unto them, and also prophesied unto them of many things, he bade them to keep the commandments of the Lord"
All the feelings of a tender parent. Or brother or sister. Or friend.
So, my friends, you can look at this in the context of recent court rulings, or previous court rulings, or just every day life: are we scorning those in the building, or are we lamenting for a loved one and begging them to come and partake of eternal life?
Again, I absolutely love D&C 134, and recommend you look at that again. When it comes to governments, we'll have to hammer out how to live with one another. When it doesn't go the way we want, I'm looking at the beginning of verse 12:
"We believe it just to preach the gospel to the nations of the earth, and warn the righteous to save themselves from the corruption of the world"
Lastly, and for those of you who skipped everything, Alma gave up the judgement seat to preach for the rest of his days because he understood that it is the Gospel that will end up saving people, not the illusory freedoms of man. Man's laws will always differ from God's laws, and the people who choose to follow God will always be a "peculiar" people. If you're "preaching" by complaining about government...you're doing it wrong.