Are we all familiar with the love opposition? Well, if you are not, here is a quick little refresher course: everything has its necessary opposite. Good – bad, sweet – bitter, happiness – sadness, and so forth. It is best described by Papa Lehi:
11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.
13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away. (2 Nephi 2:11-13)
Let us reason with one another to understand that this is where our agency comes into effect.
16 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other. (2 Nephi 2:16)
This is what the whole purpose for the Great War in Heaven before we came to this earth was all about. So the law of opposition is kind of a big deal. Agreed? It is the only way in which we can exist and fulfill the measure of our creation.
However, there is another aspect of this law that is taking precedence in my personal development right now that I regretfully never before considered. Dad speaks of it in his “BIG warning” included inside our invitation for the Remnant Rebirth.
Quite frankly, I believe it to be an unpopular doctrine, nevertheless I know how imperatively integral it is to our spiritual strength and endurance. To be able to harness its power correctly and orderly, using it for our benefit, we will yield much fruit in such a fallen thistle-filled world.
“Enlightenment consists, not merely in the scene of luminous shapes and visions, but in making the darkness visible. The latter is more difficult, and therefore, unpopular,” (Carl Jung)
The simplest way I can delineate it is by stating that for every good element in your life, there is an equal bad element. So in other words, every blessing you’ve been given, loser-liar-cannon is allowed to oppose it with equal opportunity or power. Whether that be with fear, doubt, lies, temptations, or pain, the light in your life will be equally opposed. Is a divinely decreed law of the universe which God ordains, we must undergo and accept else we would never be worthy enough to inherit eternal life.
The Scriptures are busting with evidences of this law. Of the many, the most popular one that I can think of is the first vision. In Joseph Smith’s own words:
15 After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
16 But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
17 It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! (JSH 1:15-17)
Because of what was about to take place – the opening of a new dispensation, THE dispensation of the fullness of times, loser-fat-fail-a-lot was allowed to try his might in opposing such magnificent light.
Sadly, this truth has been hiding in the shadows of my own life experiences and I didn’t even know it. I’ve been suffering from the opposition of my own choices, and sins for so long that I’ve been held down to believe that this is the only way a person could progress.
Yes, it seems true that most of the glorious blessings in my life have come by way of the consequences of my sins, but if I were to delve deeper, those blessings were stipulated by way of my repentance. In other words I only received those blessing because of my repentance, not my sins.
A person can progress through trials (that’s for sure), and most everyone does, but I do not now believe it is the only way in which to merit the glories of the sun. If we take a closer look, my life pattern this far is a perfect representation of the laws of opposition as it plays in regards to this pattern: commit to living Christlike. Immediate temptation. Sin. Shame. Humbling. Repentance. Commit to living Christlike again. Immediate temptation. Sin. Shame. Humbling. Repentance. An even more major commitment to living Christlike. Immediate severe temptation. Sin. More shame. Humbling. Repentance. The super-duper commitment to living Christlike! Immediately, all hell breaks loose with temptation! Sin! Utter shame! Prison! Excommunication! A great humbling! Repentance! And on and on and on…
Without fail opposition with equal strength dashed immediately after every commitment I have ever made to hand my life over to my Savior. That life is great and all, because it caused me to grow up real quick, which is wonderful. Also I have learned a lot of very glorious lessons that comprise my testimony I have today; all of which are a natural product of repentance.
But there has got to be a better way! There’s just GOT TO! After years and years and years of riding the roller coaster of suffering, I think I have finally cracked the case! Glory be to God!
Might I share it with you lovely folks? Good. First I must answer the spirit and say this: Tere is no shortcut to happiness. Opposition will always be at our doorstep. Always. So even though it may sound simple and truly isn’t. The only one sure way to endless days of bright glory is to just stop sinning! That’s it. Don’t look for some hidden remedy or some ancient Chinese secret. There isn’t one. To cease sinning is the way. The only way. But take heart in that truth, because there is a bountiful bag of gifts our Heavenly Parents have given us to aid us in this one objective. Some of which I will uncover and then bear a solemn witness that they work. I’ve discovered these helps by trying to understand another law of the universe. It is the law sacrifice. To help illustrate it. I will ask for some assistance from the Bible dictionary:
Soon after Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, the Lord gave them the law of sacrifices, which included offering the firstlings of their flocks in a similitude of the sacrifice that would be made of the Only Begotten Son of God (Moses 5:4–8). Thereafter, whenever there were true believers on the earth, with priesthood authority, sacrifices were offered in that manner and for that purpose. This continued until the death of Jesus Christ, which ended the shedding of blood as a gospel ordinance. It is now replaced in the Church by the sacrament of the bread and the water, in remembrance of the offering of Jesus Christ. (Bible Dictionary, sacrifices, page 720, 1st paragraph only)
This law was in effect after our first parents were banished from the Garden of Eden for partaking of the forbidden fruit. Why? Because man became fallen by that choice, and the demands of justice claimed our eternal damnation.
14 And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal.
15 And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.
16 And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption. (Alma 34:14-16)
We must have “faith unto repentance” to be redeemed from the fall through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
In olden days they shed the blood of their flock’s in similitude of the infinite Atonement of Christ. When the law of Moses was fulfilled by Christ, no longer are we to shed blood, but our sacrifice is that of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
20 And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.
21 Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin.
22 Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved. (3 Nephi 9:20-22)
Now let’s bring this back to the law of opposition. I propose that a man cannot, by his own bullheaded willpower, cease to commit every sin placed in his path, and not succumb to the woes of opposition except through the mercy of Him who is able and willing to save, even Jesus Christ our Savior. I also propose that it is only by having “faith unto repentance” and “a broken heart and a contrite spirit” that a man may access this mercy which is necessary for the redemption of that man’s eternal soul, as stated in the Scriptures above.
And lastly, I propose that with these key factors within these two Scriptures, a man may make it easier on himself and satisfy the law of opposition that demands its opportunity into that man’s life, and all of our lives.
Because if you really think about it, if you have faith unto repentance and a broken heart and a contrite spirit than the law of opposition has nowhere to move. There is no counter punch! Therefore, you have broken through the seal and endless happiness is your right. Don’t you see?
It is the constant (yet necessary) opposition in our lives that brings us all of our pain and sorrow. That is your prison! That is my prison! But don’t wallow there. Freedom is our goal. And it can only be had through the mercy of Jesus Christ, by having faith unto repentance and a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
Essentially through the law of sacrifice, we may deal with the law of opposition. Isn’t that just amazing?!
So then the real question becomes: how does a fallen person-one who has sinned countless of times-obtain or practice “faith unto repentance,” and have a “broken heart and a contrite spirit?”
There are many ways, but for now I will speak exclusively about four different ways that pertain specifically to the law or sacrifice.
Number one) The sacrament: as stated in the Bible Dictionary, the sacrament of bread and water is a similitude of the great and last sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son. As we partake of these emblems worthily, we renew our covenants and bear witness of our willingness to obey. In our constant remembrance of these things we are led correctly through life by the voice of Christ Himself.
Number two) Tithing and fast offerings: all that really needs to be said about this is found in these verses:
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.
12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:10-12)
We often only focus on verse 10 and just stop there. For good reason, though I understand. That promise of the Lord is powerful and wonderful! But I believe there is an even more powerful promise in verse 11: our opposition will be dealt with – rebuked – and we can bask in the fruits of our labors!
Number three) Serving: Callings and missionary work – time is money and our energy is all we have. Where we spend these basically shows who we are.
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (3 Nephi 13:21)
If we do selfless service and first seek to build up of the kingdom of God (JST, Matt 6:8), then we are serving God (Mosiah 2:17), and He is more than willing to fight our battles. (D&C 105:14)
Number four) Fasting and the Remnant Rebirth: I will be straight with you on this one… I don’t know how, or really even why, but I do know that fasting WORKS! Every time I fast, without fail, I see my request fulfilled. When I was at Brown Creek and the prison was shutting down, I was being threatened with the tremendously high possibility that I’d be sent to one of the scariest and most dangerous prisons in America. We fasted as a family and *bloop* two days later I was moved to one of the best prisons in North Carolina!
One of my good friends here in prison got mixed up into some trouble and got sent to the “hole.” I fasted for him. *bloop* The very next day he was back out! Then again with the 40-Day Fast that dad and I did recently that he spoke about, I don’t like to brag, but I’m humbled to say that I focused really fervently to flawlessly fulfill that 40-Day Fast. It was FANTASTIC! Seriously though… Never before had I been happier or more complete. It was difficult, I’ll give it that, but I did it, and it is now the new standard for my spiritual ability.
I often look back on it and wonder why, which has caused me to write this blog post. I believe it was such a pristine miracle filled 40 days because the opposition of my life was so miniscule that I barely even noticed it.
How could this be? Again, the law of sacrifice can fulfill the law of opposition – or at least hack it to the point you don’t even recognize its opposition. I don’t know about Dad, but that 40-Day Fast changed my life! Which is why we have been led to this Remnant Rebirth and are so gung ho about it. It works! I know it! I literally just lived it!
In its nature, what it does is allow us to daily sacrifice ourselves, which in turn *bloop* automatically distracts the opposition in our lives. Please seriously consider participating in your own Remnant Rebirth. Intrinsically we want to believe this will only create more burdens and heap more opposition and responsibilities upon us, but I promise you that that is all backwards! It is actually *bloop* freeing, delivering, disentangling and rescuing! *bloop*
I hope that we can all personally come to know the vitality and utility that the law of opposition and the law of sacrifice play in our lives. But more importantly, I hope we may all know how they cohesively interact together to create a useful tool in our prison temples, a tool that completely alters our habitual pride cycle we’ve been stuck in for so many years.
I cannot wait to use it in my “Conference To Conference Remnant Rebirth” beginning here shortly. Can you say “happiness overload?”