Quick summary for those who are unfamiliar with the story in the Book of Mormon and are reading beyond my LJ cut (It's a great story, you won't be disappointed.)
Jared, the brother of Jared and their families are leaving Babel and have been told they will be sent to a promised land. Upon arriving at the ocean they are given instructions on building barges the likes of which they have not seen before.
They are supposedly "tight like a dish," but the brother of Jared has several concerns. First of all, how are they to breathe in these barges? He inquires of the Lord and the Lord tells him to put two doors, one on the top and one on the bottom. If they need air, unstop the one at the top. If water pours down, stop it up again.
With the second question, the Lord is less than forthcoming with an answer. The brother of Jared inquires what they shall do about light in the barges. They can not have windows, they would be dashed out. They can not have fire, (fire in a wooden boat, bad idea, plus the Lord has said they shall not go by the light of fire.) What shall they do about light?
The Lord, instead of giving an answer, asks the Brother of Jared what he would have him do.
The Brother of Jared (who I bet was a little disappointed he wasn't given a direct answer,) decided to molt some glass stones out of nearby rock and took these clear stones back to the mountain to talk again to the Lord.
He told the Lord his plan...God would touch the stones and make them glow and with those stones for light, they would journey to the promised land which is exactly what happened.
In class though, we had a lively discussion as to why the Lord would give a straight up answer to the Brother of Jared's first question, "Lord, how shall we breathe?" concerning the barges and yet make him think of his own answer for the second question, "Lord shall we go in darkness?"
Why a direct answer the first time but not the second? Many points were brought up, you can't expect God to give you a direct answer on everything, otherwise how could you possibly progress if you were told everything?
In the midst of the discussion though my mind roamed to the atonement and the two basic parts of it.
Part One: We are all going to physically die. Can't help it, fact of life. Because of the first part of Charist's atonement, all mankind will be resurrected, regardless of their behavior. It's a "freebie," because God has declared that man will be punished for his own sins, and not Adam's transgression. Because of Adam's transgression in the Garden of Eden, death was brought into the world. We can't help that we're going to die, so we all get resurrected. (Note, resurrection does not equate necessarily with returning to live with God.)
That's part one.
We are all going to spiritually fall, but unlike physical death, we CAN help it. Sort of. Everybody sins, but some people try harder than others to not. Heavenly Father has declared however, that he can not look upon sin with the least degree of allowance...so one snitched twinkie when you're a kid for instance (I never did that,) and you are cut off from God. Seems severe, but those are the rules.
What if, however, someone, someone upon whom the rules had no claim, someone who actually managed to LIVE a perfect life was willing to take your punishment for you?
Again, the atonement comes into play. The atonement can save us from spiritual death, but unlike physical death, there are certain provisions. There are steps we have to take in order to prove that we are accepting the gift. Not unlike signing the slip of paper with your credit card. Without that signature, the transaction is invalid.
In order to accept this second part of the atonement, we have to:
2. Be baptized
3. Recieve the gift of the Holy Ghost
4. Endure to the end (basically, be GOOD.)
We have to accept Christ's sacrifice and let him into our lives.
None of this is new, and what the heck does it have to do with the brother of Jared and his two questions to the Lord.
What if you apply the atonement as a metaphor into the story of the Brother of Jared.
Air is an immediate need. Without air, you die. It is a very temporal, physical requirement.
Light is not so immediate a need. You CAN get along without it, but there is also much stumbling in the dark. No light on a long journey makes for a miserable existence.
So the first question was a freebie. It involves a very physical requirement and got an immediate answer. They needed air on their journey. Put some holes in the ship and keep it stopped up when the water was pouring in.
The second question was equally important and I think held the more valuable lesson. The brother of Jared had to WORK in order to get his question answered and because of his efforts to help bring light (Christ=light, get it?) to his people for their journey to the promised land, he had an experience that had been unequaled.
He saw the Lord stretch forth his hand and saw the finger of God touching the stones. And after that, he saw the whole spiritual body of the Lord and according to Ether 3: 25 and 26 he saw pretty much everything:
And when the Lord had siad these words, he showed unto the brother of Jared all the inhabitants of the earth which had been, and also that would be; and he withheld them them not from his sight, even unto the ends of the earth.
For he had said unto him in times before that if he would believe in him that he could show unto him all things-it should be shown unto him; therefore the Lord could not withhold anything from him, for he knew that the Lord could show him all things.
It's possible to go through life without the light of Christ. But once you have it, you realize the difference it makes in your life.
So these were my thoughts as I sat in Gospel Doctrine, none of which I shared because I was still processing it all. And my roommate thought I was asleep.