I don't think I could have written it until now, after all the spiritual and mental calisthenics we've all been through during the past couple of years.
Let's begin by asking a question: Have you reclaimed yourself?
What do I mean?
There are three definitions of "reclamation" that we can apply to ourselves:
1. Reclamation, noun: "the cultivation of waste land."
I don't know about you, but the landscape of my spirit resembles a landfill more than an English garden. There are more crumpled chip bags than carnations in my flowerbed.
How is God supposed to take my stinky-heap-of-a-mess-dump (i.e., my carnal, sensual and devilish nature) and terraform my spirit into a promised land?
In terms of land management, reclamation means "the process of reconverting disturbed land to its former state or to other productive uses."
- What sort of reclamation is needed so that our spiritual deserts may blossom as a rose?
- How can we spiritually irrigate our fields so they bring forth fruit meet for repentance?
- How can we reconnect to our divine selves?
2. Reclamation, noun: "the process of claiming something back."
We are lost because of what we've lost.
Try honestly to answer these questions:
- What have we lost that needs to be reclaimed?
- What has been stolen from us that needs to be restored?
- What have we given away that needs to be returned?
3. Reclamation, noun: "the process of reasserting a right."
People like to quote Boyd K. Packer's statement that we "live far beneath our privileges." But why do we? Why do we sell ourselves short?
- What caused us to stop asserting our rights, or self-authority, in the first place?
- Who have we given power to, or authority over us, that needs to be returned?
- What needs to change in order for us to fully enjoy our divine rights again?
Keep in mind these synonyms for "reclamation" as we go on:
Recovery Recapture Retrieval Repossession
The title of this Series comes from Alma 37, where Alma is talking to his son Helaman about the Liahona.
What does the Liahona represent? Let's see what Alma says:
It is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.
Liahona = Word of Christ
Word of Christ = Compass
This compass (the word of Christ) guides us "to the promised land."
The million dollar question, then, is what is the word of Christ?
What is the Word of Christ . . . and Where is It?
I often hear people say we should "follow Christ" or we should "heed His words."
But what does that actually mean? On a practical level, how do we "follow Christ?"
In order to solve this, we need to figure out what the word of Christ is (and what it is not).
This is gonna be fun!
1. The Word of Christ is "easy."
Yes, you read that right. Easy.
Really? Isn't it supposed to be hard?
O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way.
My friend recently wrote in a blog something I found to be of great worth:
"Fiction and the Word of God"
"Oliver Cowdrey said 'the children of the wicked one may have power to seduce the foolish and untaught, till naught but fiction feeds the many, and the fruit of falsehood carries in its current, the giddy to the grave' (Oliver Cowdrey, Footnote to Joseph Smith History, Pearl of Great Price).
"Do we respond to our condition as a result of the fall using fiction or the word of God? One places a burden on us, the other places the burden on our Savior. One is a heavy burden the other is light.
"The truth is we cannot live our way to eternal life. We can only die our way there.
"The Lord does not set up 1000 rules and admit to heaven only those who live all of them. Its narrowness lies not in the fact that it is small or hard to find, but rather lies in the fact that it is so hard to accept. The idea of losing our life is repugnant to us.
"I think we find it easier to sell spiritual and moral achievement; salvation for the successfully well-behaved and pie in the sky for all the winners who think they can walk into the final judgment and flash their passing report cards.
"Self justification requires performance. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of repentance, not a gospel of performance."
(Excerpts from "Fiction and the Word of God," blog post March 1, 2022, posted on Given by the Finger of God, accessed HERE)
How is Christ's Word "Easy?"
The idea that Christ's word is "easy" seems contrary to our lived experiences, right? Aren't we all trudging through this valley of the shadow of death?
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Here we find again (!) that strange, out-of-place word: easy.
1. Easy, adjective: achieved without great effort.
2. Easy, adjective: presenting few difficulties.
3. Easy, adjective: free from worries or problems.
Now I know this is some sort of joke.
Because we all know that religion is demanding, stressful, and difficult. We all know we've got to struggle and claw our way along the straight and narrow and "endure to the end," right?
Well, pleasing God is easy.
It's pleasing ourselves, and others, that is hard.