Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Gospel and Comic Books Part 5: Enduring to the End

Consider the following... You're in a battle. This is no ordinary battle: There are people throwing fireballs at you, other people flying overhead, and did that guy just shoot lasers out of his eyes? It becomes pretty apparent to you who the good guys are and who the bad guys are, and you know that this is no ordinary battle... This is a battle with some serious consequences attached to it. The outcome could not only determine the fate of those involved, but the fate of the entire world. It's pretty obvious who you would root for... The matching outfits make it pretty obvious (good ol' blue and yellow!). You cheer for the heroes, and do anything you can to help. Suddenly, they just stop. All the good guys just sit down and take a breather. You run up to them and start shouting "what are you doing? You can't just let Magneto win!" Cyclops simply replies "We're too tired. We've been up pretty much all night the past couple weeks fighting these guys, and we're just exhausted. We'll try again later." What!? Come on! Not even Cyclops can be that sissy, can he? But you look around, and sure enough, everyone's about to fall sleep. Even Wolverine! (Well, maybe not Wolverine, but everyone else, for sure). What can you do? You can't just force the X-Men to do anything. All you can do is sit back and watch Magneto and his crew of villains take over the city, then the world. And that doesn't bode well for non-mutants. Soon, they'll be enslaved, or worse.
But of course, that would never happen. The X-Men would never give up in the middle of a fight! (Not even Cyclops... though he'd be the most likely). They're going to see it through to the bitter end, no matter what happens. Nothing would stop them from defending the innocent and upholding justice. That's what they do, that's why they're the X-Men. They're there through thick and thin, and are going to make sure the job gets done.
The battle isn't over till it's over, and that's just as true for us as it is the X-Men. Just because it starts getting really hard, even overwhelming, or we're tired or sick of fighting, that's no reason to just sit there and let the Adversary walk all over you. There are times in every one's life when the odds seem insurmountable, and we're not sure where we can turn for help. There are also times when the temptation is so enticing, that we're not sure we can resist it, or if we even want to. No body is perfect, and no body is immune to this.
We're all here to be tested. Just like the prophet Alma taught, "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." (Alma 34:32). We are meant to prepare for that time when we stand before the Lord to be judged. Imagine what it would be like to get up there and have to tell your Heavenly Father "Well, I got really tired, and that seemed like it would be really fun, so I decided to just go for it." That probably wouldn't go over very well, would it? Just because it's hard to get up and go to church, or you're really tired and don't feel like reading your scriptures, or your friends keep telling you one little drink won't hurt doesn't mean that you can just give up. Once you know who you are and see the path laid ahead of you, it's Exaltation or bust... and that all depends on you. Endure to the End! Live the life you know you should live. Enduring to the End is just constantly redoing those previous steps: It's always having faith in Jesus Christ and in your Heavenly Father, it's constantly repenting and making yourself better, it's living worthily to take the sacrament and renew the covenants you made at baptism, and it's striving to constantly have the Holy Ghost with you. It seems to me that this step is either the easiest or the hardest, and you're the one that makes it that way.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gospel and Comic Books Part 4: The Gift of the Holy Ghost

Gosh I love comic books... In case you can't tell. And I rather enjoy being back in the swing of this whole blog writing thing... Neat. Just gotta keep myself motivated, I can keep pumping these bad boys out. Ideas are also important, I guess. Well, if you haven't guessed, I'm still on my kick on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yesterday was baptism, and baptism is incomplete if it isn't followed up with the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The Gift of the Holy Ghost is a very important, and very amazing thing. Thanks to the Holy Ghost, we are able to have a member of the Godhead with us at all times. We are able to be led and guided in right choices, and we can be warned of dangerous situations. As long as we are living righteously, we can always count on the Holy Ghost to be with us and to help us out. It's like our conscience, whispering in our ears what we should and shouldn't do. If we will listen, we can always be sure to make the right choice, and we can be aided in our day to day lives. What a wonderful gift we are given, and all we have to do is be obedient to the commandments! The Holy Ghost is a great help to everyone, no matter who you are, and will protect us from any dangers we may face, spiritual or temporal.
And now... comic book application. Spider-Man is pretty awesome. He's got cool powers, a witty persona, and a firm grounding in what he's doing and why he's doing it. He's got some pretty sweet powers, and he's always on the job. I've written about him before, but today I'm going to focus on a certain power of his that makes him unique: his spidey senses. We've all heard the quote before: "My spidey senses are tingling!" This is possibly Spider-Man's most useful power, because it allows him to have the upper hand over his villains, because he's able to detect threats before they even happen. Thanks to his senses, his villains are at a severe disadvantage. It makes dodging that much easier when you know what's coming at you, no matter what. So, what would you say if I said that you could have spidey senses? Well, that's a lot like what the Holy Ghost is like. Before we receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, it can testify to us truth. That's how we can gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, or anything else. But once we're baptized, and confirmed a member, the Holy Ghost becomes our constant companion. With it, we're always able to feel our Heavenly Father's love, and know what it is He wants. And, of course, the Holy Ghost can warn us of danger. Whenever we're in a situation, and we get a bad feeling, that's the Holy Ghost telling us to get out. So, just like Spider-Man, we can have spidey senses, too! Thanks to promptings from the Holy Ghost!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Gospel and Comic Books Part 3: Baptism

Feels like it's been forever since I've done one of these... Probably cause it has been. But, I'm back, and ready to go! So, continuing right along with my theme... we move along the Gospel, following up Faith and Repentance, and we find ourselves at... Baptism! Baptism is an essential part of following our Savior. As He said in John 3:3 "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." But how can a man be "born again"? Jesus answers that question a couple verses later: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Baptism is a rebirth. We are washed of our past life, and given a new one. The symbolism in baptism is beautiful. The water is a sign of us being washed clean. The fact that we are submerged shows that we are being buried, then raised again, just like our Savior. Our old ways are dying, and we are rising to a new, better life. It's not just a sign of faith and devotion, it's a necessary ordinance for us. If it wasn't, why would Christ be baptized? He was perfect after all. But, "he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments." So, we see that baptism is necessary for our salvation, as Jesus clearly taught and demonstrated. How can we be like Christ? Do the things He did.
Bruce Wayne was a pretty typical kid (except for the billionaire parent thing). But, after his parents died, he was put into a situation that no one wants to be in. So, he left. He left everything behind, and struck out on his own. In this time, he determined that there was too much evil in the world, and he wanted to do something about it. He found himself in a training facilities, run by the famous (yet mysterious) Ra's Al Ghul. After reaching a high level of skill, Bruce decides to return to his home in Gotham, and don a costume, and become Batman. (This is, of course, the origin story presented in the movie Batman Begins. As there are so few consistencies in his origin, I went with this one, since it's probably the best known). Now, what does this have to do with anything, especially baptism? It's quite simple, really: Bruce Wayne's training was a rebirth process for him. He became the Batman... he discovered who he was, what he wanted to accomplish, and how he could do that. He left behind the old Bruce Wayne, and became Batman. It's a similar process, kinda, to our rebirth. We must put off our old persona, who we were, our old vices and bad habits, and become someone better. Just as Bruce Wayne became Batman, we must be reborn, and become something better!