The Winds of Mortality


We are all safely back from our California trip. We enjoyed our trip very much, and give a huge thanks to Victoria and Jay for their hospitality and for the Redlands fireside. It was a wonderful opportunity. Now I want to get my head back into the real world of Un-Blogging and doing the Lord’s work, instead of dealing with what motel we going to stay at tomorrow night.

One of the questions I get asked quite often is if pursuing a course of righteousness makes your life harder. Does it just add trials and opposition and pain that we could avoid by just doing the minimum to qualify for eternal life while in mortality?

I have considered this question for some time now, because it is important. The expected reward has to be significantly compensating for the struggle, or people just won’t do it. I’m stubborn and determined in spiritual matters, but I have also wondered many times if I was making my life harder by doing so.

Many years ago I was walking through my home when I saw a vision of my own life up to that point. The whole vision seemed to go on for a long time, but no actual time elapsed. It was somewhat like Lehi’s vision. I saw myself from above and behind. I could see the path I should have gone down, and eventually did, was rather short. Then I watched my life as I made both good and bad decisions. The good decisions moved me upward a little ways, then my incorrect decision sent me down long painful paths that did not move me forward spiritually. During that time, there was opposition and pain and significant trials – all of which were engineered to push me back onto the straight and narrow way. Then, I made a series of correct decisions by following the voice of the Holy Spirit, and I made significant forward progress before allowing myself to be bumped off of the path again.

I concluded that the majority of the trials I experienced were while I was not on the pathway of light and truth. During those times my trials were to humble me and to motivate me to return to a true course.

Here’s the interesting thing, when I was on the pathway, I still had trials of the same intensity, except that I was prayerful and humble, willing to learn and grow, and these trials pushed me upward, instead of sideways.

In my little view of my life, I traveled 100 hard miles for every 1 mile on the straight and narrow path. Those 100 were by far the hardest.

A possible metaphor of mortal life might be that life is a mighty wind storm that always blows. We are going to live our life in the biting wind no matter if we are on the path or off. The only difference is, when we are off of the path, obeying our own will, or the demands of the flesh, then the winds are pounding us to propel us back onto the path. The pain, struggle and loss don’t move us toward eternal life, but rather sideways back toward the straight and narrow way. We are being compelled to be humble by the winds of mortality, which is a painful and wasting process with little upward movement.

When we finally humble ourselves and choose to walk the straight path, especially when we permanently declare our discipleship and our determination to obey forevermore, then the winds push us upward along the path. Instead of humbling us with sorrow and pain, they begin to purify and gift us with faith sufficient to work miracles, see visions and claim the greater blessings. The trials don’t end, or become less even, but the voice of revelation guides, protects and sanctifies us through our trials.

In my estimation it is actually far harder to experience mortality on the forbidden pathways, where the sting of mortality is not swallowed up by faith, hope and revelatory knowledge.

So, I would answer the question, is life harder when we are on the path? I say, no, it is approximately the same on or off. The glorious difference is that when we are on the straight path, we are purified by life’s struggles rather than battered into submission by them, and we are empowered by the atonement to obtain the vast and glorious blessings mortality offers those who are true and faithful in all things.

Brother John

© July 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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8 Responses to The Winds of Mortality

  1. darrell brashear says:

    Great unblog and great comment brother John. I agree with you. From what I’ve observed throughout my life and the lives of others is that the more sinful and evil a person is, the more miserable they are. Thier trials seem greater to me because they are left with nothing but the trial. Thier hearts have become hardened and thier minds darkened making it nearly impossible for the Lord to impart comfort and hope.

    On the other hand, although the faithful go through many trials, they know that the Lord will deliver them. There is a scripture that I love, it reads…”Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all”. (Psalms 34:19).

    Another scripture I love is in John. In this scripture the Saviour says, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”. (John 16:33).

    He has overcome your world and my world, in fact, everyone’s world, including all the pain, heartache, sin, or loss of any kind. I believe that a person who follows Christ comes to know increasingly through thier trials that He will deliver them and thus His love, mercy, and power are revealed to them over and over again. They look at trials as opportunities to become more acquainted with thier Lord and Saviour until they become like Paul when he said, “…And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

    Lastly, I think of these words of Paul, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, AND DO COUNT THEM BUT DUNG, that I may win Christ”. ( Philippians 3:8).

    I myself don’t have that great knowledge yet, but I feel the vision of it within me and yearn for the day when I would count the loss of all things but dung in comparison with my knowledge of Christ and His love for me and my love for Him.

    Brother D.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Adam, Lindon, Utah says:

    I think the path to have your calling and election made sure is more difficult.

    Here’s why:
    1. The adversary is only able to work upon the hearts of the children of men in proportion to the light and understanding, and spiritual capacity which they possess. A man that has a greater spiritual capacity will have more opposition from the adversary. Job is a good example of this.

    2. A man that wants to see God has to be purified and sanctified in ways that will require a number of tests on his character so that he can be trusted with the greater things.

    3. A man that wants to see God will experience an Abrahamic trial of some sort to see if he will be obedient at all costs.

    On another note, I love your blog and the light that I have received from your thoughts and ideas. Awesome stuff.

    Adam

    Like

    • John Pontius says:

      I understand what you are saying, Adam. I used to be of the same opinion. Recently, I have come to believe that my life is not measurably harder than other people throught history. What IS required of us that is different, is greater and greater obedience, which requires greater faith, and greater discipleshipm but not harsher trials.

      There are great differences in the straight path and any other, but our trials are not greater than other people, in my opinion, they are just finely tuned to challenge our discipleship and to prove our determination to serve God at any hazard. But, looking at the world throughout history, people have always suffered horrible things and died awful ways. If our tests were really harder, we should see a higher percentage of awful things happening to righteous people. If there was a measuable difference enemies of the church would have pointed it out, just to attempt to highlight God’s disfavor upon us. The blood and horror appears to be evenly distributed. For a non-believer, being tortured is a way to die. For a martyr for Christ (in any dispensation) being tortured feels the same, it is just that our discipleship and willingness to pass through anything the Father sees fit to inflict upon us, yields eternal glory.

      At any rate, I respect your persepctive.

      JMP

      Like

  3. K-Jo says:

    Good to see you back. Wonderful post 🙂

    Like

    • John Pontius says:

      Thank you K-Jo. As soon as my sunburn quits smarting I’ll be happy to be back. People from Alaska should not believe any rating of SPF will protect you!

      Just kidding! It’s good to be home, and back in the Un-Blog saddle.

      Thanks,

      JMP

      Like

  4. Donald says:

    John, as always, thank you for your insights.

    Your comments reminded me of time I spent with my grandpa.

    When I was a boy, visiting my grandpa in his little Idaho mountain valley home, he and I would hike through a wheat field and grab a handful of wheat from the stalks. He’d show me how to quickly rub my hands together (with the wheat in our palms) then blow and puff on our cupped hands to separate the chaff from the wheat. We’d put the kernels of wheat in our pockets and hike on with an occasional snack of wheat.

    To “harvest” a little wheat it seems there needs to be a little gathering (of sorts), opposite hands, some friction, and a kind of winnowing (or whirlwind) to separate the wheat from the chaff in our hands.

    I remember how warm my hands would get from the friction of vigorously rubbing them together with the wheat in our palms….then the sifting wind to finally get the edible kernels. My life has felt that way at times….. the friction(s) of life and my choices have had their sifting effects.

    I loved that time with my grandpa…. and grateful for what he taught me.

    Like

  5. Cary says:

    Really insightful – thank you and good to have you back!!

    Like

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