THEORIES OF HUMAN NATUR
The study of human nature, or in other words, a development of personal philosophy, is a critical determinant of both the performance of the individual and the performance of the home organization. This paper provides knowledge and concepts of human nature. Different theories are compared and analyzed in order to create and determine the philosophy of the author. By understanding and utilizing the study of human nature, the researcher solidified her position as a leader in the new millennium. The author assessed and clarified her own value system.
The nature of man
“What is man? This is surely one of the most important questions of all, or so much else depends on our view of human nature. The meaning and purpose of human life, what we ought to do, and what we can hope to achieve-- all these are fundamentally affected by whatever we think is the ‘real’ or ‘true’ nature of man.” (Stevenson, 1987, p.3)
The nature of God
Some would have us believe that God is present everywhere. It is not so. He is no more everywhere present in person than the Father and Son are one in person. God is considered to be everywhere present at the same moment; and the Psalmist says, “Whither shall I flee from his presence?” He is present with all his creations through his influence, through his government, spirit and power, but he himself is a personage of tabernacle, and we are made after his likeness.
Our God and Father in Heaven, is a being of tabernacle, or, in other words, he has a body, with parts the same as you and I have; and is capable of showing forth his works to organized beings, as for instance, in the world in which we live, it is a result of the knowledge and infinite wisdom that dwell in his organized body. (Widtsoe, 2000, p.24)
God has chosen above all titles to be called Father. The idea of the Fatherhood of God was also known to the pagans and to Israel. Zeus, from the time of Homer, had been known as the father of gods and men. Other examples abide in literature and philosophy of the Fatherhood of God. There is a relevance that is too many times ignored by others. He is literally the Father of men’s spirits. (Smith, 1999).
The nature of Christ
This belief therefore, leads to the belief that Christ is the Son of God the Father. He, too, is the literal son of the Father, not just in spirit, but in flesh, too. This trait is what made Christ different from other men. (Smith, 2001).
The nature of the Holy Ghost
The third member of the Godhead is the Holy Ghost. Christ told of his role when he promised to send the comforter after his death. The Holy Ghost does not have a physical body and works much as the sun does for the earth. The Holy Ghost is a being that can be in only one place at a time, but his presence can be felt by many, just as the sun is one object whose warmth and light can be felt by many at the same time. (Smith, 2001)
Roles of God and Jesus Christ
The main role of Jesus Christ was and is to be Creator, Savior, and Judge; and the role of the Father is to be the Supreme God, ruler, and overseer. (Smith, 1999)
The plan of salvation
God in his wisdom and as a Father who wanted his children to be able to grow and progress, prepared a plan wherein they would be able to do so. This plan is known as the Plan of Salvation, and was presented to God's spirit children in the world where mankind dwelt before they came to the earth. (Durham, 2001)
Plato's vision was that "beyond the world of changeable and destructible things there is another world of unchanging eternal forms." Also, in Plato's comparison of Euclidean geometry, he noted that theorems "are proved with absolute certainty by logical arguments. So here we have indubitable knowledge of timeless objects which are the patterns that material objects imperfectly resemble."(Stevenson, 1987, p.29)
God’s plan is one of absolute truth, based on eternal knowledge presented on earth in material form. Hence, the whole of the human existence on the earth is based on a spiritual or eternal plan taking on a physical or material form on the earth. God's plan is perfect, his plan for the creation exact, his laws absolute. (Durham, 2001)
When men fell into spiritual death through the fall of Adam, the earth was changed from the perfect creation that Christ had made it. This was part of God's plan, for in the pre-existence God had seen the need for a Redeemer and Savior. He knew that the conditions on the earth would lead to sin. And sin would mean that mankind, as imperfect beings, would no longer be allowed in the presence of perfection. (Talmage, 2000)
Justice and mercy
So how can the law of justice be satisfied while the law of mercy is met? Are these not in contradiction to one another? What of grace and works? Is the grace of God sufficient for the sinner? Or must there be works as James so eloquently states? (James 2:14-17) Are these principles in contradiction, too?
Not if one understands the great plan laid out before the foundations of the world, a plan for which there was even a battle in heaven fought over. (Rev. 12:7-9)
God's plan presented
God the Father came to his spirit children and explained that they had progressed as much as they could as spirits, but that he would create a earth where they could go and that by receiving a physical body, man would be subjected to passions, tendencies, infirmities, disease, and ordeals that one would otherwise not encounter as spirit beings. Thus, in coming to earth and in receiving physical bodies, whole new experiences would be opened up to mankind. (Burton, 1956)
God explained that by learning to overcome the "carnal" or physical side of man on earth, that human beings would learn self-control, and how to make correct choices, thereby learning to use the gift of free agency wisely. (Talmage, 2000)
Sartre states that, "Conscious beings, by their very nature, can conceive of what is not the case. It follows that to be conscious is to be free.” (Stevenson, 1987, p. 94)
“Every aspect of our mental lives is intentional, chosen, and our responsibility. So even though we are often not aware of it, our freedom and hence our responsibility extend to everything we think and do.” Sartre uses the term 'anguish' to describe this consciousness of one's own freedom. He also uses the term ‘bad faith’ to describe the lack of mankind becoming what it has the potential to become." (Stevenson, 1987, p. 95)
Sartre’s diagnosis of 'bad faith' is close to the truth, for he says, "human reality must be what it is not and not what it is." Stevenson says that Sartre could not really have meant that for it is a self-contradiction. (Stevenson, 1987, p. 97)
The word "choice” brings the paradoxes of free will or volition to the forefront. If the body is not making choices during conscious experience, then men are just machines. If conscious experience is the functional act of mind that acts to bring the body into harmony with itself and the world, then mankind has a type of creative act that suggests an element of choice. (Williams, 1999)
What, then, of the unconscious? Freud did not invent the notion of the unconscious. By the end of the 19th century it had become a fixture of psychological medicine, accorded prime clinical significance by such practitioners as Jean-Martin Charcot and Joseph Breuer. Freud inherited an elaborate theory of the unconscious stating that many perceptual and cognitive processes occur at subliminal levels, and that what is consciously learned can become automatic and remain non-consciously effective. (Williams, 1999)
The dualism of man
The plan of salvation gives mankind the answers that eluded Sartre, Freud, and others. The dualism of man that Plato referred to, but could not understand, is also explained through the plan. The knowledge that our physical bodies are occupied by spiritual beings and that the bodies are subjected to passions, infirmities, and so on, and that the spirit basically is good, answers many questions about the theories of man. (Smith, 2001)
The Book of Mormon states that the natural man is an enemy to God. (Mosiah 3;19, vs. quoted in works cited) Thus, Sartre in his own way saw the irony and battle that man was ensuing. In saying that human reality must be what it is, he had realized that as a whole, man tends to follow [choose as Sartre understands] the carnal, whereas he should choose what he is not; the spiritual, the good. The only problem here is that he is spiritual and good; he is just in a battle over himself, for his own soul. (Allred, 1974)
The plan unfolds
One must revert to the plan being presented in the pre-earth life. Two of mankind’s older brothers stepped forward and volunteered to help carry forth the great plan of God. The older said that he understood that in the conditions present on the earth, in obtaining a physical body and in having free-agency, man would enter in violation of God's will or in other words, sin. (Talmage, 2000)
A savior would be needed to redeem us and to meet the demands of justice while providing mercy. (Micah 6:8, Rev. 13:8) Hegel (2002) notes in his subject of Abstract Right (Recht) that a person is the bearer or holder of individual rights. Hegel claims that the right of personality is a simple relation of the will to itself. He says that the demand for justice as punishment rather than as revenge, with regard to wrong, implies the demand for a will which, though particular and subjective, also wills the universal as such. In committing wrong, the will has become aware of itself as particular and has opposed itself to and contradicted the universal embodiment of rights.
Mercy given, justice met
In Christianity, an eternal atonement and sacrifice would be paid to satisfy justice, for a price of suffering must be paid for every violation/sin. (Jer. 15:15, 2 Thes. 1:5) Mercy would be met as the sinner accepted the Savior's atonement. This acceptance, though, requires a change of heart, pure repentance, and a new life; thus “works”. (Rom. 6:4, 2 Cor. 5:17) (Allred, 1974)
“Grace” is the fact that even with all our "works" we fall short and are still in need of the atonement. Therefore, justice and mercy, grace and works, go hand in hand. They work together, balancing each other in the eternal plan. (Durham, 2001)
Grace is also extended in the form of a resurrection of body and spirit reunited after the temporal death of the physical body. This is a free gift offered to all who honored their first estate. Who are those and what is the first estate? (Widtsoe, 2000)
A Savior offered
The elder brother who offered himself as a savior was Jesus Christ and that is why he was born to an earthly mother with God as the Father. He needed the physical side to endure the ironies of life as mankind had so he would know how to succor man, but he needed the divine side in order to withstand the great suffering of the atonement, which an ordinary man would die under. (Smith, 1999)
The other brother to step forward was Satan, an angel of light, whose plan was for us to come to earth, and that Satan would come and see that no soul was lost. Man would be directed and ordered in all things. (Smith, 1999)
God the Father chose Jesus' plan, as it really was his. And in being rejected, Satan, the serpent, rebelled. There was a war in heaven and Satan became the Devil and was cast out of heaven with his followers. (Rev. 12:7-9) They were sent here to the earth where they are to this day. (Jude 1:6, Luke 10:17) (Allred, 1974)
The pre-existence was the first estate. (2 Tim. 1:9) Satan and his followers were not given bodies so human beings cannot see them, but humans may feel their presence. It is their desire for man to fall and to be miserable like unto themselves. (Smith, 2001)
On the other hand, the followers of Christ in the pre-existence, have come to the earth throughout history to receive physical bodies. Therefore, they are the ones who will be resurrected at the end and enjoy a free gift that is not contingent upon righteousness. The devil and his followers will receive no such gift and will be cast off into outer darkness. (Widtsoe, 2000)
Basis for choosing
In realizing that "one should avoid bad faith and choose authentically," Sartre left something unanswered. Stevenson questions, "But can self-knowledge or authenticity be the only basis for how to live? If no reasons whatsoever can be given for choosing one way of life rather than another, the choice is arbitrary." (Stevenson, 1987, p. 100)
Whereas, Lorenz has the view that "like many other animals we have an innate drive to aggressive behavior towards our own species. He thinks that this is the only possible explanation of the conflicts and wars throughout all human history, of the continuing unreasonable behavior of supposedly reasonable beings." (Stevenson, 1987, p. 125)
Of course, Freud's theory of the death instinct would appear to fall along this line of thought. (Stevenson, 1987, p. 75)
When looking at the plan of salvation, though, these philosophies of men quickly fall to the wayside. The plan gives reasons for choosing, a purpose for life, an understanding of irony, and a knowledge of the ongoing battle between good and evil, which is opposition; so that beings might learn joy through suffering, comfort through pain, compassion through irony, and receive life from death. (Durham, 2001)
The fall of Adam
While most of the Christian world sees the fall of Adam and Eve as bad, the plan teaches that it was good, that it was essential, and that it was even planned. (Smith, 2001)
God in his wisdom put Adam and Eve in a situation where they would have to transgress. He gave them contradictory commandments knowing they could not multiply and replenish the Earth in their present immortal state. To enter a mortal state where they could do so and have "knowledge" they would have to partake of the fruit. (Gen. 1:9,17, 2:5-6, 1 Tim. 2:14) When he came to them it was not to curse them, but to explain the consequences of mortality, i.e., earth life. (Gen. 3:17, note: ' for thy sake') (Smith, 2001)
Therefore, men through their own free choice, not being compelled of God, enacted the fall or spiritual death. In truth, man learns from him that Adam was not deceived and realized that to stay with Eve was the greater of the two choices, and so chose wisely. (1 Tim. 2:14) Mankind owes a great thanks to them for their proper choice. (Lundwall, 1962)
The human battle
Understanding the battle between spirit and body gives one the understanding of mental, intellectual, and physical parts of man. Why the mind/conscious seems to think and to do one thing, while the body/physical lags behind in procrastination and lack of control. (Allred, 1974)
When we know of the battle and understand who the enemy is-- that there are external forces; the devil and his followers, the philosophies of men, the consequences of sin; ours and of others, and so forth. And that there are internal forces; our own passions, tendencies, genetic errors, and so forth--it is an easier world to deal with. Some question the suffering and evil of the world, as does Stevenson in his opening criticism of Christianity. He says that, "the evil and suffering in the world seems to count against the existence of God." (Stevenson, 1987, p. 13)
But under the plan of Salvation, it becomes apparent that God cannot interfere with the consequences of sin, in that it would not be fair in the final judgment of men; also, it would interfere with man's freedom to choose for himself. (Lundwall, 1962)
The plan teaches that the earth is a teaching and a learning time, a time to prepare to meet God, a time to prove to ourselves, our families, our friends, and most of all to our God that we choose to be true and faithful, we choose his path, and we choose to return to him. (Smith, 2001)
Why can we not remember the pre-earth life and the great council in heaven? A veil was put in our minds. If we could remember previous covenants, the wonderful life with God, the lack of disease, infirmity, and so forth, we would all be good here on the earth and would do all in our power to return to our Father. (Talmage, 2000)
Thereby, putting the veil in our minds ensures that the earth truly is a proving ground, a test. Since sure knowledge is removed from the arena, faith becomes extremely important. True faith must be based on absolute truth, but it is in something of which we do not have a perfect knowledge. (Durham, 2001)
Other views of truth
Protagoras, however, allowed room for conventional views of truth and morals by adding that although no one opinion is truer than another, one opinion may be better than another. If to the eye of a man with jaundice all things appear yellow, they really are yellow for him, and no man has the right to tell him they are not. But it is worthwhile for a doctor to change that man's world by altering the state of his body so that things will cease to be yellow for him.
Similarly if any man sincerely believes that it is good to steal, then that statement is true for him so long as he believes it. But the great majority for whom it both seems and is bad, ought to endeavor to change the state of his mind and lead it to beliefs which are not indeed truer, but better. (Guthrie, 1950, n.p.)
Skinner grapples with this theory of truth in his scientific world of observation or experiment. (Stevenson, 1987) Little does he know, just as a scientist, that faith like science is based on observation and experiment. (Clark, 1965)
Truth or belief
There are many theories of the universe and man that are based on faith or belief. Neither scientists nor the sophists saw the beginnings of the universe, but through their observations of its present function and form they speculate an answer. (Talmage, 2000)
Is a belief in God, miracles, the priesthood, any less than scientific theory? The laws of nature are organized in a manifest order and design, of animals and plants. There are laws that the earth and the whole universe follow; the evidence of cause and effect and of means adapted to end. In the end, the observer becomes a worshiper. Man has always acknowledged his inner desire to worship. The only problem is that too many times, he has failed to worship the true God. (Nibley, 1954)
The will of man
Can living by faith and learning self-control by gaining a physical body be enough to bring man back into the presence of his maker? Would these two principles fulfill the requirements of accepting the atonement of a Savior? No, for man to truly accept the divine in him, to fully put off the natural man, he must do two other things: sacrifice and obey. Sacrifice comes first, in that man must learn to sacrifice physical desires, wants, and tendencies to the spiritual. (Petersen, 1959)
This concept appears in many man-made philosophies, but usually in distorted, greedy forms. Of course, Marx wants men to sacrifice economically for the good of all; that through social programs and education comes the way to terminate greed and other social evils. (Stevenson, 1987)
Aquinas (2002) says that sin has its origin in the will of man, which decides, against the reason, for a changeable good. When choosing a lower good as the end, the will is misled by self-love, so that self-love works as cause in every sin. Since, the will also moves the other powers of man, sin has its seat in these powers as well.
Aquinas says that God is not the cause of sin, since; on the contrary, he draws all things to himself. The devil is not directly the cause of sin, but he incites by working on the imagination and the sensuous impulse of man, as men or worldly things may also do.
When one understands the plan, it is obvious that as long as the devil and his angels tempt men, and as long as men reject their Savior and his atonement and choose to be carnal, there will be conflict in the world, and innocent people will suffer the consequences of those who sin. (Faust, 1980)
Sacrifice and obedience
Sacrifice, if done for the right cause, will cause a man to leave behind the carnal and choose the path of the Savior. Any religion that does not require great sacrifice will not be able to save its people. (Faust, 1980)
The next step, or principle, is obedience. God, in these great proving grounds, is testing man's love for him. (Heb. 5:8) (Allred, 1974) Christ stated this so, simply, when he said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)
Just as sacrifice brings man closer to his creator, obedience, even more difficult, does a more thorough job. Just as Saul learned thousands of years ago, God prefers obedience to sacrifice. (Nibley, 1954)
Part of our sacrifice and obedience comes from ordinances and covenants. God has always tried to teach men and lead them to him through the use of symbols. Many of these symbols are seen around the world in a myriad of religions and people.
Anthropologists and philosophers are puzzled by their universality, but the answer is simple. Adam and Eve were taught and given the gospel from the beginning, so when apostasy and degeneration followed, the followers changed and transferred these symbols to their new and various beliefs. (Talmage, 2000)
Stevenson (1987) implied that Christ borrowed from Plato concerning the dualism of man, but it was an apostatized version that Plato received from the first man who had received it from Christ, who was Jehovah of the Old Testament. (Petersen, 1959)
Some of the symbols are obvious, such as water, salt, and light, while others such as baptism and rebirth need more clarification. Each ordinance and covenant leads man closer to God. Marriage, baptism, the sacrament, the sealing of parents to children, anointings, and priesthood ordinations are just a few. (Petersen, 1959)
God has not left man alone to repulse his enemies. He has given men three of his powers to help, to edify, and at the same time, to test man by the way man uses these powers here on the earth. The first, which has already been referred to, is free agency. The second is the power of procreation, and the third is the power of the priesthood. (Petersen, 1959)
The priesthood is the power to act in God's name, and includes healing, ordaining, blessing, the performing of ordinances, and the governing of Christ's church. This is given to all worthy men and is shared by women who are blessed by its righteous use. (Durham, 2001)
The power of procreation is given mainly to woman, but is shared by men. Free agency is shared by both. (Durham, 2001)
If studied and observed carefully, almost every temptation and vice known to man involves the misuse of one of these powers. If all men could understand how subtle the Adversary is and how important it is to use these powers wisely, most men would act differently. (Nibley, 1954)
Each day, each individual is faced with choices it is helpful to know that one is a literal son or daughter of God. (Acts 17:28-29, Hosea 1:10) Mankind is not a mere creation or possession of God, nor in the next life will man be merely an angel playing a harp with nothing better to do. (Nibley, 1954)
Each human being is a child of deity; that means a divine seed and divine natures are within all men. If one can prove him or herself true and faithful, he or she will be a father or mother for future spirits, a priest or priestess, a king or queen. (Petersen, 1959)
Man will continue to grow, his learning will be eternal. In one’s family on earth, one finds its greatest joy, and the Plan of Salvation with its eternal ordinances, guarantees mankind that those relationships will continue beyond the grave, if one lives worthy of them. (Smith, 2001)
The three-fold mission of the gospel
The plan of the gospel of Jesus Christ is to bring every soul unto Christ. The mission is three-fold: 1.) To perfect the saints, 2.) To redeem the dead, and 3.) To proclaim the gospel. In this way, every soul, living or dead, will have the opportunity to hear the word of God, accept it, and have ordinances, vicarious or living, performed for them. (Mal. 4:5-6, John 5:25-29, 1 Cor. 15:29, 1 Pet. 3:19-20, 4:6) (Smith, 2001)
Of course, Satan would prefer that people not come to Christ, so he does all he can to hamper these three efforts. If Satan can convince a man that God is not real, or that he, himself, does not exist, or that God is so merciful that he does not demand justice, Satan can overcome and deceive that man. Any one of these lies, plus a myriad of others, will suffice. (Durham, 2001)
The character of man
Epictetus (2002) remarks: 'When I see a man anxious, I say, What does this man want? If he did not want some thing which is not in his power, how could he be anxious?' (Discourses 2.13.1, trans. Long). Those things that most of us, most of the time, seek after as being desirable, what we consider will make our lives go well, are things that are not in our power, and thus the hope we have for securing these things is placed in the hands of others or in the hands of fate. And when we are thwarted in our efforts to gain what we desire we become frustrated (or depressed or envious or angry, or all of these things). To be afflicted with such 'passions', says Epictetus, is the only real source of misery for human beings.
Instead of trying to relieve ourselves of these unpleasant emotions by pressing all the harder to secure what we desire, we should rather place our hope not in 'external' things that are not in our power, but in our own dispositions and moral character.
In short, we should limit our desire to virtue and to becoming (to the best of our capacities) examples of 'excellence'. If we do not do this, the inevitable result is that we will continue to desire what we may fail to obtain or lose once we have it, and in consequence suffer the unhappiness of emotional disquiet (or worse). And as is the common experience of all people at some time or other, when we are in the grip of such emotions we run the risk of becoming blind to the best course of action, even when construed in terms of pursuing 'external' things.
Maslow (1970, p. 24) noted that, one must be careful “against too great preoccupation with the exterior, with the culture, the environment, or the situation. Our central object of study here is, after all, the organism or the character’s structure. It is easy to go to the extreme in situation theory of making the organism just one additional object in the field, equivalent with perhaps a barrier, or some object that he tries to obtain. One must remember that the individual partly creates his barriers and his objects of value that they must be defined partially in terms set by the particular organism in the situational. I know of no way of defining or describing a field universally in such a way that this description can be independent of the particular organism functioning within it.
It certainly must be pointed out that a child who is trying to attain a certain object of value to him, but who is restrained by a barrier of some sort, determines not only that the object is of value, but also that the barrier is a barrier. Psychologically there is no such thing as a barrier; there is only a barrier for a particular person who is trying to get something that he wants.”
Maslow (1970) and Epictetus (2002) both saw the ability of the human being to choose and to be a free agent. Each man decides for himself what his barriers will be and molds his own perceptions. However, when the true nature of God and man's purpose on earth is understood, each man decides his own character. Or as Epictetus said, “we should limit our desire to virtue and to becoming (to the best of our capacities) examples of excellence”.
"We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul- We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." (13 Article of Faith, LDS Church, Talmage, 2000)
The author's goals
The following is from the author’s journal:
I am to judge, to discern, and then to choose between good and evil. Each trait I choose to live or incorporate should lead me to self-discipline, a better use of heavenly bestowed powers, and toward Christ, my Savior, for it is to him my debt must be paid.
The gaps in my life are many. I don't always judge righteously, and sometimes I am arrogant and too forceful in my sharing of the gospel. At times, I let my priorities slip and find myself preoccupied with material needs and wants and not enough with the spiritual.
My short-term goals would be to complete my education, to be a good mother and wife, to keep my priorities straight, to say no to those things that would demand my time but not benefit my family, and to help my children progress and grow in the gospel.
My long-term goals tie in with my philosophy; for each child to fulfill a full-time mission for the church (a primary reason I'm seeking a degree is to have a good second income to pay for all those missions), for each child to marry in the temple and be sealed for time and all eternity to a worthy companion so that their children will be born under the covenant and our family will not be lost to each other, and that each member of my family live worthy of all the gospel blessings.
The plan concluded
The plan of salvation concludes that after the second coming, after the millennium (which will primarily be for the redemption of those who died not ever hearing the gospel), after the final war, that there will be a final judgment, with Christ as the Judge. There have been those who have passed on, but while there are still God's children on earth it is obvious that there hasn't been a final judgment, yet. Therefore, people have not been assigned to any mansion (Christ said there were many) or to hell. (John 14:2) (McKay, 1957)
Christ died and three days later appeared to Mary, who he commanded, "to touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to my father". If he had not yet gone to his father, where was he? Peter tells us. (Pet. 3:19-20, 4:6)
The spirit world
The plan of happiness teaches that there is a spirit world, where, upon death, spirits go to await final judgment. This spirit world is divided into paradise and spirit prison. Those in paradise have the gospel and in turn are missionaries to those in prison. This leads to the greatest part of the plan of salvation, the redemption of the dead. Christ will not let one soul not have the opportunity to receive his message. God is a just god and regardless of earthly circumstances every soul will hear the gospel and will have his or her free agency to accept it or reject it. (McKay, 1957).
The house of the Lord
Then, in the House of the Lord, which has been established since the earliest times but was lost to apostasy, ordinances such as baptism, marriage, sealings, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and so forth, can be performed by the living, by proxy, for those on the other side of the veil. The atonement is vicarious, so why is it hard to accept vicarious ordinances? (Gospel, 2002)
What a beautiful plan! God didn't forget one soul. Each child will know, each child will exercise his free agency. (Gospel, 2002)
The author's philosophy
The following is from a letter that the author wrote for her children:
My whole value system is based on this plan-- what I teach my children, how I conduct my life, how I choose my conversations.
Every fiber of my being wants to share this plan with others. It brings joy, happiness, answers, and assurance. Most of all, it brings hope. I am not afraid to die; I even consider virtue more valuable than life. When one considers that one has a spirit that will not die and will one day be joined in perfect union with the physical body, losing the temporal for the eternal does not seem as terrible, as to those who have no such faith. (Job 19:26)
When one has the assurance of ordinances made and covenants kept, that my family will be mine beyond the grave because someone with the sealing authority performed those ordinances, what hope! What joy! My other friends have been told, "till death do you part", for the authority was only earthly, how sad! How worrisome! Hence, we go back to Skinner, faith, observation, and experiment. I know these things to be true, because I experimented with seeds of faith. With a small belief, I planted them in fertile soil. I have tried to weed out burrs, to clean away the rocky places, and water them with hope, scripture study, fasting, and prayer.
Lastly, I have observed the seeds of this faith. It has borne only good fruit. (Matt. 7:15-20) It has grown in the last days, as Daniel predicted, as a stone cut out of the mountain-- a force that cannot be stopped. (Dan. 2)
It is a faith that requires sacrifice and obedience, combines grace and works, and tempers justice with mercy. It has faith, hope, and charity, which leads to sanctification. (2 Thes. 2:13) It tells of the true nature of man; that he is divine and indeed, a child of god. But most of all, it teaches the true nature of god. He isn't some obscure, floating, impossible-to-comprehend being. He is our God, Omnipotent, Eternal, but with form.
His Son, Jesus Christ is a separate being, too, with form. That is why they chose to appear to a young man almost 180 years ago, in a grove of trees. So that finally after thousands of years, man could know for certain the true nature of God. He had spoken at the baptism of his son, and had appeared in like manner at Stephen's stoning, but apostasy and tradition have denied his nature. (Matt. 3:17, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22, Acts 7:55-56)
We are his children, he loves us and wants us to return to him. He has provided us with a Savior, and a way to return. We can pray to him and seek his guidance. He still speaks through his mouthpiece today as he has always done. (Amos 3:7)
This is why I walk without fear, why I have hope and joy. I know the answers to life's three most perplexing questions: I know who I am, I know why I am here on the earth, and I know where I will go after I die.
And what would I like to be remembered for? I will depart with the words of a hymn that I would like to be sung at my funeral. It is my hope that by then, I might be worthy of such words.
Each Life That Touches Ours For Good
Each life that touches ours for good
Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
Thou sendest blessings from above
Thru words and deeds of those who love.
What greater gift dost thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.
When such a friend from us departs,
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.
For worthy friends whose lives proclaim
Devotion to the Savior's name,
Who bless our days with peace and love,
We praise thy goodness, Lord above. (Davidson 293)
Allred, G. (1974). Immortality. Salt Lake City, UT: Hawkes Pub.
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The Book of Mormon (1989). Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."
Burton, A. P. (1956). Discourses of the prophet Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book.
Clark, J. R. (1965). Messages of the first presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft.
Davidson, K. L. (1985, Number 293). Hymns The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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Gospel Principles (2002). Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Grayling, A. C. (2002, June) Scientist or storyteller? The Guardian [Online]: http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,12084,741376,00.html
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The Holy Bible (1989). King James Version.
Lundwall, M. (1962). Masterful discourses of Orson Pratt. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft.
Maslow, A.H. (1970). Motivation and personality. New York: Harper & Row.
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Nibley, H. (1954). The world and the prophets. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book.
Petersen, M. E. (1959). A faith to live by. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft.
Smith, J. F. (1999). Gospel doctrine. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book.
Smith, J. F. (2001). Teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book.
Stevenson, L. (1987). Seven Theories of Human Nature London:Oxford University Press.
Talmage, J. M. (2000). The articles of faith. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book.
Widtsoe, J. A. (2000). Discourses of Brigham Young. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book.
Williams, C. (1999, Nov.). Towards "Embodied" Psychodynamic Theories of Human Nature: A Brief Exposition. [Online]:http://home.pacbell.net/corbettx/papers/cw-ep-03.htm