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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Harry Reems Dies

This may seem strange to post about, but bear with me. The Daily Mail (and other news outlets) noted the death of Harry Reems this past week. Apparently he was the star of a famous (or infamous) adult movie in the 1970's. However, while that may be what the world remembers, I wanted to note the following from the news story:
Reems spent nearly a decade enjoying a successful career in the adult film industry but alcohol addiction brought him to his knees. A religious conversion was the catalyst for change and since the late 1980s he had worked in Salt Lake City as a real estate agent.
... In a 2006 interview with the Deseret News, Reems described his battles with alcohol and how his life transformed after he became sober.
'I literally should be dead. I know a lot of people who drank a lot less than me, and they are dead,' Reems said. 'God has left me on this Earth for a reason, and I think it's to save lives.'
He reflected on the life changing event in 1989 that inspired him to break free from the chains of addiction - a gracious police officer that encouraged him in his alcohol treatment.

'That police officer treated me with dignity and respect. He told me I was a worthwhile human being and I have a purpose here. Maybe that purpose was to be of service to others with the same disease.'
During his rehabilitation he turned to faith.
'If I didn’t put God in my life, I’d be dead now,' he said in an interview in 2007.
The incident with the police officer caught my attention. It is sometimes easy to decide that someone is too far gone or past redemption to hear the word of God. We are specifically admonished, though, that we are not in the position to make that decision. The Lord taught:
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
Matt: 7:1-2. I don't believe that this means that we are never to make character judgments and avoid those that present a moral or physical danger. In the same sermon, Christ also taught:
15 ¶Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth devil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Matt: 7:15-20. Nor does this mean that people who sin will necessarily relieved from the temporal or earthly consequences of their sins even if they repent.

What I think it means is that as believers, we cannot decide who is "worthy" of hearing the Gospel message. Although the report lacks any details, I'm sure that Mr. Reems' encounter with the police officer was not a social visit, and Mr. Reems probably did not present as a sympathetic subject. Yet he was, in fact, at a point in his life where he was apparently willing to put his life in God's hand, and it only took a caring comment from the police officer to put him on the right path. As a result, Mr. Reems fought the good fight instead of succumbing to his personal demons.

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