Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Judgement of God

A correspondent reminded me of these Bible attributions to God:
  • In the Garden, 'do not eat of that tree or you will die.'
  • At the Flood, 'repent or you will die.'
  • To the Pharaoh, 'let my people go or your children will die.'
  • To the Israelite gathering wood, 'do not work on the Sabbath or you will die.'
  • To the gathered Israelites, 'do not go up the mountain or you will die.'
  • To Korah, 'you have provoked me, the earth shall open and you will die.'
  • To the Israelites, 'do not worship idols, for I am jealous and you will be taken into captivity.'
  • To the Israelites in the Law, 'do not commit adultery or you will die.'
Here's my view:

Karma or the Law of the Harvest is real. If I live prodigally I will suffer the realization in heaven, and I will shrink from the presence of the Holy One. But the Holy One himself won't be goading me or closing the door on me.


When I was 19 I entered the LDS missionary training center with a large cohort of new missionaries. Entrance day was full of a lot of cattle processing lines and inspectors and forms, like Ellis Island, the military, or any people processing operation. As I moved down a long table I suddenly came in front of a man who looked up at me and said, "¿Habla usted español?" (Do you speak Spanish?)

I answered, "Sí", or "Sí, un poco."

He replied, "¿Dónde lo aprendió?" (Where did you learn it?)

"En la escuela," (In school) I said.

That was it. That was the test. Unannounced and reality-graded. After those two questions, he informed me I would be placed in the short program without language training. I'd be in the center for two weeks instead of eight. If I had been flustered by the questions or asked, "Huh?" he simply would have sent me on down the line.

I picture the eternal judgement (or our daily judgement as parents and ministers) as such an occasion. Our preparation and being can't be faked in those moments of truth. It is self-evident. And that is what we should fear. That is the righteous fear. I fear only myself, that I will yell or grab or be fierce with my children. Or that I will shrink from the glory of the Father. As some Near Death Experiencers say, "The brightness increased and increased. I thought, 'This is going to kill me!' Then it stopped." But others say, "The brightness increased and increased. Then I was one with the giver of life. I will never forget that moment, that eternity."

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