Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Scriptural Language

So, I've been saying for a long time that the primary purpose of life is not a test. I really dislike when members of the church focus on the "test" aspect of our mortal existence.

I believe firmly that the purpose of life is for each of us to become more like our Heavenly Father. It isn't an examination to determine if we are "good enough" to be in the Celestial Kingdom. Father wants each of us to become like Him, to develop the character attributes that He has. This feels right to me. There have been a couple of scriptures that seem to contradict that point of view.

The first is in Abraham 3:25. God says to the Savior: "And we will prove them [the spirit children of Heavenly Father] herewith [using the world they are going to create], to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;"

The second comes from Mosiah 23:25. Here Mormon speaks about the people of Alma the Elder who had just escaped from King Noah. They are about to be brought into captivity by the Lamanites and wicked priests of King Noah. Mormon explains why the Lord would allow this to happen. He writes: "Nevertheless, the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith."

I used to be bothered by these passages. Then out of curiosity I looked up one word from each verse in the dictionary. It was thoroughly enlightening.

From the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Prove: (a usage no longer common in modern language) to learn or find out by experience.

Try: (Another obsolete usage) To refine or purify.

When seen in the light of these "new" definitions, these scriptures take on a whole new meaning. I was grateful that even the scriptures teach that the Lord's intent is to make us better people. He wants us to become more like him. He gives us trials and difficulties in order to help us reach our divine potential.

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