It’ been a real long time since I’ve posted here. Going through an interesting period, or some would say a process, and I haven’t felt like posting in here. But I read something and wanted to put it on here.

Alma, chapter 41, is about the Law of Restoration. The verse that caught my attention was verse 11:

“And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.”

Years ago I learned about the writing technique called “parallelism”, which is where “repeated syntactical similarities are used for rhetorical effect” (Webster’s Dictionary). It is used widely in Isaiah and other biblical books.

Here we have it in verse 11 – “contrary to the nature of God” and “contrary to the nature of happiness”. It implies that the nature of God is the nature of happiness; further reduced to God is happiness. Its a concept that is brought up in other places in the scriptures.

The other parallelism in this verse is “the gall of bitterness” and “the bonds of iniquity”. These come from being in a natural or carnal state. This is the state that we are born into because of the Fall. Our challenge then is to be re-born, or born again, into a spiritual state.

This is the great battle of my life. And because we are all human, we all have this struggle to one degree or another. Sometimes though I get overcome with the challenge. Its too easy for me to embrace the “natural man”. That’s why this blog is so hard for me, because I would rather spend my time on the things of the natural man, as opposed to writing in here.

But what does that have to do with restoration? Here’s Alma’s response:

“And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature? O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful. For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again…”.

This brings up two things for me. First, as I go through life, I bounce back and forth between the natural man and the spiritual man. I think most people do. Are we restored to that part of our selves where we spent the most time?

For the second, I have to go back to Alma’s question: “And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature?”

Isn’t that what happened when we were born? We were in a spiritual state and then born into this natural state. So are our earthly actions a reflection of our spiritual self? I don’t think that in the final judgement, we will be restored to what we were before coming to earth. That means the restoration as Alma explains it, applies only to our earthly life. So what about our efforts pre-mortally? Are they fallow? (I used a thesaurus).

There’s more that I don’t know than there is that I do know. But its obvious to me that there is a plan. Father had to see what our true nature is, and the only way was to put us into a mortal world and see how we would respond. Perhaps He placed us in our earthly environments based upon our pre-mortal actions and aptitudes. He also gave us a mission to accomplish. Then He gave us a hug and well wishes and booted us down to earth (just kidding).

No, He gave us something more precious. He gave us a way back; and that way was His well beloved Son. Through His own precious, loving blood, Christ purchased our return ticket back to the Father. It comes at a price though: the overcoming of the natural man. And we can’t do that either, without Christ.

“Jesus saith unto [us], I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me .”(John 14:6)

Why is it that I so stubbornly cling to the natural man in me?

End note:

Some of the early missionaries to the New World wore the double-barred cross, also called the French Cross or the Cross of Lorraine. Many American Indians adopted the double-barred cross and would wear it, or bead it into their designs. To them it represented the dragon-fly, which they considered to be a strong protection from their enemies or “bad things”. Some Indians today still use it as a protection amulet.