Thursday, November 17, 2011

19: AWAKE and ARISE.... or RISE and FALL

If you drive along the I-15 freeway in Utah, you cannot help but see billboards with the two words “RISE UP”  in large bold font.  These advertisements are not a plea to join the Occupy Wall Street protests,  but instead are part of BYU’s publicity campaign to increase excitement for their football team’s new independent status.

The LDS Church is also making use of the word RISE in their clever slogan for their massive construction project in downtown Salt Lake.  It is called “Downtown RISING,” where billions of dollars have been spent on the new retail shopping center, office space, restaurants, and condominiums that are scheduled to open on spring equinox in 2012.  A spokesman for the church’s real estate development arm is calling next year “the Year of Retail.”    

Below is a photo of the high RISE buildings that have been built up around the temple. Mostly all of the buildings are banks or other financial institutions. I have labeled most of the prominent buildings. All of the names on the right are color coded. NINE of the buildings (in GREEN) are predominantly bank buildings and their offices. SIX of the building (IN RED) are part of the Church’s new Downtown Rising project.


• Tiffany & Co. — Luxury and fashion jewelry and watches; along with leather goods, china and crystal gifts
• Porsche Design — Accessories, luggage, sports apparel, men’s shoes, electronic products and a men’s fragrance line.
• Bose — High-end retail electronics
• Brooks Brothers— High-end business and casual clothing
• Coach — High-end leather goods
• Cotton On — Australian brand men’s and women’s clothing and accessories.
• L'OCCITANE — The France-based brand of skincare, body care and fragrance products
• Love Culture — Fashions and accessories, including clothing, jewelry, bags and sunglasses
• LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics — British brand fresh handmade cosmetics.
• N3L Optics — High-end performance eyewear.
• PANDORA — Hand-finished jewelry.
• Papyrus — Custom-printed stationery, note cards, journals and unique gifts
• Swarovski — Fashion jewelry, accessories and watches, as well as home accessories and décor objects
• TUMI — Premium travel, business and lifestyle accessories

While using the word rise in marketing slogans today might seems clever and positive, the word RISE in scripture usually always has a negative connotation. Definitions of the word “rise” include “to revolt" and "to puff up or become larger… to swell up, expand.” Rise is also word used when speaking about making bread, as it was the yeast—or leaven—that would cause the bread to “rise”.  Yeast was synonymous with sin… since it has the same effects that sin (pride, wealth, and power) has, to cause us to be “puffed up".

It is important to note that leaven or yeast is basically old, fermented dough that is placed in new dough in order to make it rise. You only need to add a very small amount of fermented dough to make new dough rise. Galatians 5:9 describes this very thing, saying, "…a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."  Carrying this out to sin, it can be said that "a little sin can wind up destroying the whole body."

Could money be considered a “leaven”?

Surely the prophet Moroni, who saw our day and is writing to us, is probably talking about all the other churches, and not us. Right?
“Yea, it shall come in a day when the power of God shall be denied, and churches become defiled and be lifted up in the pride of their hearts; yea, even in a day when leaders of churches and teachers shall RISE in the pride of their hearts, even to the envying of them who belong to their churches.” Mormon 8:28 

He continues in the verses in 36-38 about our love for money and our substance and our fine apparel.

What are we saying when we have our youth proudly declare that they are the "rising generation"?

On the flip side, all throughout scripture, the Lord repeatedly commands us to ARISE…not RISE. There is a remarkable difference.

ARISE means "to ascend, or move to a higher place…" Arise is a state of being or becoming.

"Awake and arise and go forth to meet the Bridegroom; behold and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord." Doctrine and Covenants 133:1

However, before we ARISE… we must AWAKE. No one likes to be woken up to their awful situation, but it is the necessary step before ARISING and going forth and meeting the Bridegroom.

Isaiah and Nephi mention several times the importance of arising, counseling the members to "Shake thyself from the dust; arise, sit down, O Jerusalem; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion." (2 Nephi 8:25). But unlike the FALL that inevitably accompanies RISING, when one shakes himself from the dust (sins) of the world, they ARISE then SIT DOWN—on their throne as a joint heir with Christ.

They qualify for such, because in the process of accepting this command and invitation to ARISE, they have come to know the very Christ himself, the Holy One of Israel, even the gatekeeper:

Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.
3 Nephi 11:14
Leaving the Mountain West Conference improved BYU’s revenues since they could then sign their ESPN contract which brings in close to $1 million per game. Also, the potential of receiving a bowl invitation would also bring in a lucrative amount of money…  And since the Cougars are not in a conference anymore, they can keep the entire payout instead of sharing it with other teams. 

“SOME RISE BY SIN, and SOME BY VIRTUE FALL.” William Shakespeare.