Friday, March 22, 2013

Identity Theft? No, I am a Child of God

Identity Theft? No, I am a Child of God

We live in a world of identity theft. It happens everywhere. If you have not been a target yet, you probably will be in the future. It has happened to my husband and me a few times.

The first time, it was more an error than theft. There are so many people with the name Robert Stevenson in this world that somehow, either by human error or electronic error, my husband's identity was mixed up with someone else's; and the someone else did not have a good financial history or credit background. So it hurt my husband's credit until it was resolved.

Another time I woman stole mail out of our mailbox. From that she obtained some credit card information and purchased many things online using my name. The silly woman actually used our phone number as a second phone number to call though, so she was found out. But still she got away with stealing a great deal of merchandise.

The most blatant identity theft with which we have had to deal so far came from a trusted employee. She used Bob's name to order cell phones. She also stole checks written to him and deposited them in her own bank account. Before we were aware of this theft, she had stolen upwards of $16,000. She felt that she had the "right" because of the amount of time she'd been working for Bob.

Identity theft is not new. It didn't even begin in this mortal world. Satan attempted identity theft while we were still all in the presence of our Father in Heaven. We all lived in the presence of our Heavenly Father before we came to this earth. We loved Him and we wanted to become like Him. Jesus was the oldest spiritual begotten Son of our Heavenly Father. His name was Jehovah. Satan was one of the oldest as well. His name was Lucifer, or Son of the Morning.

When Heavenly Father presented His plan to us in the Grand Council in heaven, we shouted for joy! He would give us the gift of agency, which is the ability to choose right from wrong. When we came to earth, we would no longer be in His presence, and we would not remember what things were like before our mortal life. We would have to live by faith. We were anxious to gain the experiences of a mortal life that would help us become more like our Father in Heaven (see Gospel Principles Lesson 2).

The tests in this mortal life would be new to us, and none of us would be able to live in harmony with the glory of God at all times. We would fall short, and we would need a Savior. Heavenly Father said that through faith in the Savior's Atonement, repentance of our wrongs, and obedience to God's commandments, we would all be able to progress and return to live with Him again. But we would have to choose righteousness (see Gospel Principles Lesson 2).

Because we needed a Savior to pay for our sins and teach us the way to return to our Heavenly Father, Our Father asked us, "Whom shall I send." Jesus answered, "Here am I, send me" (Abraham 3:27).

Jesus's love for us was so great that He was willing to submit to all that Heavenly Father wanted Him to do. He was willing to be born in humble circumstances and to give His life for all mankind. He was willing to follow the Father's plan which would allow all of us freedom to choose our own paths or to follow Him. He would do all this because He loved His Father and wanted to please Him and bring honor to His name; and He would do all this because He loved us and wanted us to be able to choose to return to live with God (See Moses 4:2). "Father thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever," is what Jesus said (See
Gospel Principles Lesson 3).

Satan, wanted all the glory for himself. He wanted to destroy the agency that God had given to men. He wanted to force all of us to live in harmony with God's laws. And he wanted all the glory for restoring God's children to Him (See Moses 4:1-4; Gospel Principles Lesson 3). He wanted to take God's place and have His glory. He wanted to steal our Heavenly Father's identity.

Because Heavenly Father knew that Satan's plan would not work, He chose Jesus to be our Savior. Satan then rebelled against Heavenly Father, and He rebelled against Jesus, God's Chosen One. Jesus was foreordained by Heavenly Father to be the Savior of the world.

Satan didn't rise in rebellion by himself. He took a third part of the hosts of heaven with him. Satan waged war against Jesus and His followers. He did this because of anger and jealousy. And because he sought to take away the agency of man and also God's identity, and because he rebelled against the priesthood authority that God had given to His Only Begotten Son, Satan and those who followed him were cast out of heaven (See Isaiah 14:12-15; Revelation 12:4, 7-9). Satan succeeded in confusing one-third the host of heaven about their true identity as sons and daughters of God, and because of their anger, jealousy, and rebellion, they chose to forfeit that identity and follow Satan. They will never have the opportunity to receive mortal bodies and to progress to become like our Heavenly Father. That was their own choice because of their willingness to fight against what they knew was right; to fight against God's Chosen Vessel, and to seek to usurp power, and steal the throne of God. In so doing, they became sons and daughters to the devil, instead of to God. Now they try to thwart our progression as well; and one of their main tactics is to confuse us concerning our identity and to rob us of our identity by persuading us to use our agency wrongfully. Another tactic is to get us to speak against our living prophets and against priesthood authority and against the Lord's servants.  

It's important that we learn and claim our identity as children of God. So many would rather identify themselves with factions, thinking that they are promoting themselves better by doing so; but, there is no better position to be in than to know that we are children of God and that He desires us to feel His love and acceptance and to, eventually, become like Him.

There is a prevailing attitude in the world, and now in the church, among so many that we have to accept "anything goes." We do not have to accept that, nor should we. We have the scriptures, and we have living prophets. If we read, study, pray, and follow the commandments, the Lord has promised us that He will be with us, and we will not be deceived. We also have the Holy Ghost and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and we can find strength in renewing our covenants every week as we partake of the sacrament worthily with a repentant heart and an eye single to the glory of God. Yet, Satan tries to cause factions and disharmony and to be a grand puppeteer of those who are willing to believe his lies and deceit concerning who they are and concerning Heavenly Father's plan for them. The sophistry of the devil is in great abundance, but it pales to the Light of Christ and in the light of those who are following Him and His prophets. 

Identity. We all knew our identity in our pre-mortal life, and we chose to follow our Heavenly Father's plan, and we chose to accept Jesus as our Savior. Satan tried to steal our Heavenly Father's identity, and He continues to try to steal our identity. And if he confuses everyone enough, he knows he just might be able to do so. So he spreads lies concerning both gender and same sex attraction, causing people to find false identity by defining themselves in limiting ways.  And he spreads lies about inequality, where no inequality is found. And he spreads lies concerning the very facets of our identity as children on God who are dependent upon Him for all that we have and are. And he spreads lies concerning the goodness of God and God's prophets. And he spreads lies telling people that their logic is correct and that it is just as good as God's prophets or God Himself. 

We have seen "gay marriage" being upheld and endorsed by those who are in authority in our state and federal governments. Like Satan, these people will endorse or uphold whatever they believe will bring them more power and glory. They are willing to enslave the people in order to rob them of their basic freedoms and identity in an effort to bring equality to all, they say; or in other words, to enslave the people so that they can reign supreme. To take away the voice of the majority is to rob the country of freedoms that will keep her free.  

Since December 2012, we have been seeing the fruits of the lies Satan has been spreading by the many distractions being cause by feminist groups, by a group called All Enlisted, and another called Ordain Women, to name a few, who believe that it is their purpose to promote feminist agenda that is contrary to the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Satan has convinced many of these people that they are doing so in harmony with the Spirit of God, and that they have a right to counsel both God's prophets and God himself.

Because  so many people are caught up in self-pity and disenfranchisement, they are willing to support the efforts of feminist groups that may touch a certain common chord of disharmony in their own lives. Without searching to find what the driving force and true agendas are behind these movements, many are jumping on the bandwagon thinking that they are doing all of us God-service by rallying a political movement within God's church, which is in opposition to the character and nature of the order of God's church. 

Satan is pleased to see so many confused and disenfranchised, and he grabs onto whom he can to further his plan to steal our identity. What many do not realize is that these feminist groups include many men as well. They seem to be the most fierce in driving these feminist page of the month clubs. Also, many who are adding fuel to the fire are apostate or excommunicated members already. Caught up in it all though are people who honestly feel disenfranchised and who do not understand God's plan or His scriptures. It is difficult for me to remember to be charitable when I feel like the Lord's Church is being attacked so fiercely. But that is exactly what we need to be now and in the coming days. 

You know, it seems like every discussion that I've participated in where  feminist issues of disenfranchisement are being discussed, no feminist woman for these causes has any solid thing to say. There are a whole lot of men out there thinking that they are being supportive of these feminist groups by repeating the rhetoric; and I am left to wonder whose fight for equality this really is. But then again, I know that it is Satan stirring up division in the Lord's house so that he can rob the Lord's children of their true identity. I also have seen many men and women who support the prophet and the Brethren; men and women, who have strong and solid testimonies, saying that they do not agree with these feminist ideas or tactics. And for that, they are belittled and told that they are stupid, passive, and conservative. We cannot think to impose the limited understanding of men's politics in relation to the Lord's Church. We are always to seek to gain counsel from God, through His prophets and the Holy Ghost, and not seek to counsel Him. 

So while we should all be rejoicing in our commonality as children of the Highest, Satan is delighting in the contention and division that he is causing. 

I am thankful for the understanding that I have of both priesthood power and authority. No one has ever said that women will not ever hold the priesthood. We already share in the power of the priesthood and act under the direction of the priesthood. Ultimately, priesthood power will be held jointly between husbands and wives who are faithful and become exalted. In my opinion though, women will never hold the same offices of the priesthood as men do. This has never been the order in the Church or Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love the gospel, and I am grateful for Christ's atonement, and that is sufficient for me. It should be for all of us. I think it is arrogant to demand anything more from the Lord or from our Father than what they have already provided for us and promised us. 

Here on earth, the priesthood is known to be the authority to act in the name of God. No one can receive that authority except from God. Seeking it by relying on the arm of flesh is godless. There is no pretense or arrogance in saying so.

Because I believe so strongly in my identity as a daughter of God, and because I believe that Jesus Christ is my Savior and the One who stands at the head of His own Church, I feel strengthened by their strength and their goodness. I identify with Them. Because I am a daughter of God, I thoroughly trust that the prophets are called of God and that they are not running this Church alone, but that Jesus Christ stands at the head. So I will put my trust in the Lord and His prophets. And, therefore, anyone who issues calls to action to members of the Church on behalf of the Church, who does not have authority to do so, I will not follow.

God knew that we would make mistakes and fall short; that is why He sent His Son. Even Jesus Christ had to grow from grace to grace in remembering His identity and learning His purpose. But He always did all things to please His Father. That is because He knew and remembered who He was. God has sent His Spirit to testify concerning Himself and His Son and concerning our true identity as sons and daughters of God. Jesus did not think it robbery to become like God, because God had promised Him Eternal glory for His obedience (see  Philippians 2:5-16); whereas Satan actually sought to rob God and keep all the glory for himself. And Jesus provided for us to all become joint-heirs with Him to all that the Father has (see Romans 8:16-18). What a grand and glorious plan and purpose. Who could ask for anything more?

I pray that we will all humble ourselves sufficiently in order to become recipients to the Spirit of Truth that will teach us all things which we must do, and which will testify to us of God's love and our own identity, so that we can hold onto it and not allow anyone to rob us of it. We kept our first estate, and we are promised eternal glory if we keep our second estate. We need to remember and claim our identity as children of God, and we need to follow the prophet and proper priesthood authority in order to remain valiant in doing so.

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