June Books: The Chronicles of Narnia

Hi! Sorry it’s been so long. After I took my last final, the hard drive cable of my computer breathed its last breath, and the Flashing Gray Globe-Icon of Death replaced my desktop photo of the LA temple. 🙁 The rest is history. I took my computer to the Apple store, and 6 weeks and $120 later it’s as good as new. Now we’re back in business.

A lot has happened since my last post, and I would’ve loved to share my thoughts on the issues at hand, but I think the main thing I want to catch up on right now is my book of the month, because I read no less than 5 books last month!! #applause.

We drove to the cabin (Idaho) in early June, and road-tripped to Washington for my cousin Haley’s farewell and to visit Anny, so I had ample reading time.

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As you can see from the title and images, I had the pleasure and good fortune of re-reading (for like the 5th time) C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. #CSLewisIsTheMan. If you haven’t read all seven of these books, I strongly recommend that you make it a priority as soon as you possibly can.

I once heard a person say, “Did you know that the Chronicles of Narnia have spiritual parallels?” I wanted to respond, “Did you know that Jacob 5 isn’t actually about a farmer?”, but I’m proud to report that I resisted. The spiritual parallels are just so obvious and prevalent to me, that I can’t imagine reading these books without noticing their huge significance to the plot.

Here’s a quick summary of a few doctrines explored:
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: The Atonement, Forgiveness, Justice, Mercy
The Magician’s Nephew: The Creation, Other Worlds, Good and Evil, Satan, the Fall
The Horse and His Boy: Foreordination, God’s Plan, God’s hand in our lives
Prince Caspian: Priesthood, Revelation, the Holy Ghost
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: Kolab (yup), Sacrifice
The Silver Chair: Our divine nature, God’s nature, Faith
The Last Battle: the 2nd coming, False Christs, the Last Days, Judgment, Life after Death
And many more… Wait, C.S. Lewis wasn’t Mormon?

Here’s one quote I love that I wanted to end with:
“It isn’t Narnia, you know,” sobbed Lucy. “It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?”
“But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan.
“Are -are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund.
“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

I can honestly say that I know Him better from reading these books. My relationship with the Savior has grown stronger over the past few weeks because of my experience with these books. I learned more about Him and His plan, and I invite you all to do the same, along with the Book of Mormon. I know that God lives and loves us, and I know that His Son Jesus Christ is the only way for us to return to live with Him. I know the Atonement is real and forgiveness is possible for all who open their hearts.

The Cunning Plan

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Okay, I need to preface this by saying that I DETEST that expression. For one thing, it sounds totally tacky. Also, we know that it’s completely untrue, and is in fact a considerably irresponsible mindset. You do not only live once. Also, I hope this doesn’t sound preachy or self-righteous. It’s just some thoughts I’ve concocted over the last few days.

Anyway… In Sunday School last week, my teacher mentioned that some people are upset that others who party and mess around and do whatever they want may ultimately achieve the same reward as those who live righteously. She said they “kind of get the best of both worlds” because they “get to do both”.

That really puzzled me, because I can’t think of a single sin that I’d be happy I “got to” commit. The truth is, there is no such thing as a worthwhile sin, there is no such thing as an action without a consequence, and there is no such thing as forgiveness without repentance. No matter what we do, or how small the sin is, we still have to repent, which is indeed a process and must be completed by everyone, no matter who they are or under what circumstances the sin was committed. Alma has plenty to say on this.

The response of one member of our class was that when we get to the other side and are able to see our lives, we will see both the good and bad, and only wish we’d been able to do better. In short, we will never at any time be glad we were able to sin. That’s that. If YOLO, then this would all be different, and nothing would actually matter.

I just want to say that I’m very grateful that we know that YDOLO, and we have the opportunity to repent and be forgiven. 22 days until I take off to share that message!!

7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.

8 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be bmerry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.

9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.

2 Nephi 28:7-9

Semester/ Life Conclusion

·      “Our faith must be alive. It cannot be just a set of ridged beliefs and notions. Our faith must evolve every day and bring us joy, peace, freedom, and love. Faith implies practice, living our daily life in mindfulness. Some people think that prayer or meditation involves only our minds or our hearts. But we also have to pray with our bodies, with our actions in the world. And our actions must be modeled after those of the living Buddha or the living Christ. If we live as they did, we will have deep understanding and pure actions, and we will do our share to help create a more peaceful world for our children and all of the children of God” –The Living Buddha, the Living Christ, p. 136

If I didn’t have a testimony…

I’m in a Mormonism and World Religions class right now, and so far we’ve studied Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. Each religion has interesting doctrines and philosophies, each has important values to teach and ideas to consider, and each has been enlightening to learn about. (hahaha that was a pun. Enlightening, get it?)

At first I found it fairly easy to judge them, because I’m very confident in my own beliefs (yes, I do have a very firm testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel of JESUS CHRIST),
and could easily spot the doctrinal differences and maybe compare them in the wrong ways. But that only lasted like a week. The way my class is structured invites us to discuss the doctrines of the different religions, and then put a Latter-Day Saint light on them to further our understanding. Interestingly enough, the early history of Jainism started in a way very similar to our’s, not unlike Joseph Smith’s First Vision.

I’ve especially enjoyed learning about Buddhism, because the Buddhist teachings just really resonate with me. One thing that the original/ Supreme Buddha, Siddhartha Guatama, said after he first became enlightened, was, “I am neither an angel or a saint. I am awake.” Interesting, eh? The goal of the well-known Buddhist meditation exercises, which I’ve been doing on the beach early in the morning for my class, is to become awake. I love that! I love the idea of coming to your most natural and self-controlled state (this means literally only thinking about your breathing. Nothing else. This is harder than you might think.) and seeking knowledge in order to gain enlightenment. It feels so good.

HOWEVER. Although I’m intrigued by this and all the other religions I’ve studied so far, they all have something missing. It occurred to me just a few days ago. They don’t have a living prophet who continues to give them revelation and guidance! They also, of course don’t have the same scriptures we do, that just happen to contain the fulness of the living gospel. The Hindu scriptures that I’ve studied so far are actually very interesting. But I’m just observing the huge difference that came to me.

In the end, if I didn’t have a testimony, I would love to practice Buddhism. But I do have a testimony! And that’s that. I can still meditate, and work on ahimsa, and, more than anything else, develop understanding and compassion that will help me understand others, so I can share my gospel with them, and they can share their’s with me. I think we’d both benefit immensely.