I've been thinking it's about time I talk about another Article of Faith, so let's do that. Article of Faith number four:
"We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost."
I'm not sure what all to say on this, because I might have a lot to say or I might not have much to say at all.
First, I wanted to talk about how the first principle is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. One time on Twitter, we saw somebody say that one of the reasons she was an atheist was that she just couldn't accept a God who demands that everybody worship Him. I didn't say anything to her, because I'm very timid in public, but my first thought was that we are God's children, and what's wrong with a child honoring her parents?
In fact, the Ten Commandments are divided up into two different categories--the first four are about loving God, and the second are about loving our neighbors, because the two great commandments are first love God and second love your neighbors. The very first of the "love your neighbor" commandments is "Honor thy father and thy mother." So I think it's all a very similar thing. Your parents, if they're good parents, care about you, want what's best for you, and, because they've been around for so much longer, they probably have some idea how to get what's best for you. They make rules for you to follow when you're growing up, and the first of those rules is to obey them, because they know what's best, and maybe something will come up that isn't already covered in the list of rules. That's why we honor our parents, and that's why we honor the Lord.
Another important thing to remember as far as faith in Jesus Christ is concerned is that we need to have faith in the Atonement, because the Atonement is The Way to salvation and eternal life. If we don't believe it works, we won't apply it, and so of course it won't work. It's like if you don't believe the switch will turn on the lights, you won't flip the switch and the lights won't come on.
Next we need to repent, because if we're not willing to actively try to be better people, we'll never be better. It's like how if I don't actually put forth the effort to learn Japanese, there's no way I can wake up one morning and speak it fluently.
Third is baptism, and this is where my thoughts get a little fuzzier. Baptism has been described (at least, I think the person who said it might have been describing baptism) as an outward expression of an inward commitment. When you're baptized, you make a covenant with the Lord that you will "bear one another's burdens, mourn with those that mourn, comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and stand as a witness of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places." In exchange, your sins are washed away (this covenant is renewed by partaking of the sacrament each week, because nobody can stay sin-free they're whole life). But it has to be done in the Lord's way, and with the proper authority, or you might as well just be dunked in a pool and it will have the same meaning.
Fourth, the gift of the Holy Ghost. The best way we can think to describe it is like your conscience, but powered up. I admit, this is a subject I don't think about very often. You get the Holy Ghost to be with you, to guide you and comfort you, nudge you in the right direction to make good decisions and stuff. And like with all gifts, you have to actually use it for it to work.
And if that doesn't make any sense (which it probably doesn't), there's a much nicer explanation of the Holy Ghost here. It says some really beautiful things, so I definitely recommend checking it out.
Today I'm thankful for the wonderful lessons we had in church today, the gift of the Holy Ghost, Page being super adorable with her neck all squished against the wall (apparently she likes it that way, because she does it a lot), handy online resources, and being just about done at the computer for now.