Pilate's question to Christ

on 28 February 2009

And for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?

Is truth an absolute? Or is it merely what we make of it? Or is there an absolute truth that we can’t comprehend? Or is the absolute truth just what we simplistically see it as? That sinners will suffer while perfection is exalted. That Christ is the one who makes us perfect and takes our sins upon Him. But if it really is that simple, then why is there a requirement of action on our part if Christ already took our sins upon us? What if truth really is not a one-dimensional law of nature, but is instead a multi-faceted law that contains more than we can imagine? Unfortunately we do not know if Christ answered Pilate, but we do have his answer that was given before the question to help us answer the question of what is truth.

Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice

Do we not all hear the Lords voice? Do we not feel his spirit and hear the still small voice? In hearing this are not people of the truth? So as long as we are able to hear the voice of the Lord we are pursuing and doing that which is true? What is truth to you? Is it an absolute or is it subjective?

Plato told us the allegory of the cave. In which you can understand truth and reality as it is, not how we grew up to believe it trapped in a cave. Perhaps this is how we understand truth. We have left the cave and seeing the sun believe it to be the absolute truth. But even the sun is a distortion of the true absolute truth. and perhaps we are not able to realize and achieve that in this life, but I belief that it exists.

I will leave you with this quote “The true master is not the one who teaches an ideal path but rather he who shows his pupil the many ways that lead to the road that must be traveled to reach the destination. As of the moment that you find this road, the master can no longer help you, because your challenges are unique.” -Tahlan (impassive comprehension)

Moho Quantum Mechanics

on 27 February 2009

Okay so a friend of mine was blogging about his Biology class where they were talking about the optic nerve and so they started out with a discussion on light. The professor described how light is sometimes a wave and sometimes a particle. My friend went on to ask “

how could [this] be, and if it were a particle, wouldn't it have mass? Matter? Weight? Etc... I did this because i believe that all science supports what the Gospel says, we just haven't applied it quite right.
"D&C 131: 7-8
7 There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes; 8 We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.

He went on to describe how he knew the truth and that science would support the gospel. And then he ended with this lovely line “Which means that, yet again, the gospel is right, and my teacher is wrong!”

So I commented on his blog describing the characteristics of light and this idea hit me. My comment to him was, verbatim this:

Light is neither a Particle [n]or a wave. Light is something that we do not fully understand. Sometimes it acts as a particle acts and sometimes it acts as a wave, but those characteristics are only useful to help us understand light in our lives. After all, we don't know that Gravity exists, but if there is some force out there with the same force and abilities as Gravity but more, is it still not useful for us to understand how what we call gravity works in our lives? Consider the true nature of light to be a mystery of God.

As you said, according to your professor and his Einstein reference, then actually your professor is right, but so are you.

Then my thoughts started to apply this to the MoHo dilemma and this is what I cam up with. With light we often struggle to grasp the fact that it can be both a particle and a wave at different times, but if we see that it is neither, but something else that acts like both of these contradictory items at different times based of off laws that we can not fully understand and grasp it seems so much clearer.

As we know that Light = Truth, isn’t it possible for there to be a similar quantum mechanic for truth? Is it possible that what a Peter Priesthood Mormon and a spiritual Post Mormon Moho believe truth to be, which is often contradictory to each other be accurate purely because our view of truth is imperfect? I have been so concerned with trying to find the right answer that I have been assuming that there is ONE right path. Perhaps the real Truth is that both are right. That rather than a fork in the road that leads me one of two 180 degree paths, this is merely a stone in the stream. Either way the water passes doesn’t matter, because the destination doesn’t change.

Ralph Waldo Emerson took the road less traveled, but did he have a destination in mind? With a destination in mind, perhaps I have come across what seems to be two roads, but they really are two parts of the same path but I have been determined to force a way through the brambles blazing my own path with all of the pain of such an activity, but having no results because my blazing is what isn’t on the path.

Did I carry that metaphor too far? Did any of that make sense? It did to me and so I think that I might be getting some sort of closure on things. And am finding some things out. And it is good.

Theoretical Theology

on 26 February 2009

In my last post I discussed the hand of God in All things. Particularly in relation to me being gay, but now I want to take it a bit further.
1 The Lords Hand is in all things (D&C 59:21)
2 Whatsoever thing persuadeth to do good is of the Lord (Ether 4:12)
3 All things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good (D&C 122:7)

Here are their Inferences:
1 Nothing doesn’t have the Lord’s hand in it
2 Everything from the Lord is good.
3 Things that give us experience are good

Given these, isn’t it safe to assume that everything in this life comes from God, both the “evil” and the “good”? Does anyone really do anything “evil”? We might think that another’s actions are evil, but we do not know their own mind. In order for you to do something you have to believe it is good, or at least that it is the best possible outcome. You might choose to make an “evil” choice that is a choice that is self-defeating, that harms you based on someone else’s scale. But in order to make that decision you have to believe that you are making the good or less evil choice. You have to believe that you have some knowledge that makes your seemingly evil choice good. Isn’t Satan’s flaxen cord just persuading us to do good?

Take Hitler. Was his choice to challenge the rest of Europe, incarcerating non-Aryans an evil choice? We see it as an evil choice but was he sitting there in his bed thinking, “I am so evil”? NO! He was most likely thinking that he was doing what was best for him, for Germany, maybe even for God. So wasn’t he persuaded to do good?

If God’s hand is in all things, then wasn’t his hand in having Hitler commit the holocaust. He wasn’t forced to it, but the LORD’s had was there, persuading him to do good.

In the Crusades, the Crusaders believed that they were doing God’s will that they were doing that which was good. So was their murdering of Muslims in the name of good and of God, are they at fault?

How about we look at an example closer to home. Did Brigham Young believe that in restricting the priesthood from blacks that he was doing that which was good? Did he believe that it was from God? I would like to assume Yes because I don’t think that the Prophet could go against what he thought was God’s will. If this is so then either A. it was God’s will that the blacks have the priesthood withheld, or B. By following that which he knew was right, Brigham Young was justified and was not lead down to hell, but was instead following that, which persuaded him to do good.

We assume that Hitler will be punished in the Telestial kingdom, but what if that isn’t so? If it is wouldn’t Brigham Young also belong there for restricting the rights of the priesthood and thus stopping thousands upon thousands of souls from entering into the gospel on this earth, thus harming their spiritual selves whereas Hitler only harmed the physical selves of the Jews. Isn’t the Spirit more important than the Body? And yet we think that Brigham Young will achieve exaltation. How do we rationalize this? Wouldn’t it be safe to assume that those who end up in the lower kingdoms and even outer darkness are those who have the feeling of what is right, or what persuades them to do good and then they go against it. Isn’t a member of the Outer Darkness one who denies Christ after having full knowledge make more sense in this light? Those who go against that which persuades them to do good and to follow God are those who are sons of perdition?

Even Eve had to be persuaded by the good she thought would come from eating the fruit. And we know that her eating the fruit was a key component to our existence because Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy. (2 Nephi 2:25) Does this mean that the tempting of Eve came from God? Was it a temptation? Or was it a prompting?

I have been questioning this for a little while now and the following is where this train of thought leads me. It brings into question Lucifer’s role in all things.

The above analysis of the scripture leaves me with only 2 possibilities (given that my analysis is correct)

God’s hand is in all things but it is a figurative meaning or more transitive. For example, Satan exists because there must need be opposition to all things and when Heavenly Father created Christ, Satan was the opposition to him. Very similar to how darkness is the absence of light, cold the absence of heat, then evil would be the absence of God. Given option 1. God created Satan and therefore, all of Satan’s temptations have God’s hand in them because Satan was created by God.

The second option has two sub-scenarios, that is it could have been on purpose, or has been adapted to fit the plan. This option depends upon understanding what God’s purpose for us is. I postulate that his utmost desire is for us to return to him, that HE loves us and desires us to have the joy that he has in his position. Given this utmost desire of God, what does he have in store for the 1/3rd of the host of heaven?

After all, their “sin” was A. their first known use of agency, and B. there was no clear right and wrong of either plan, that was why it was put to a vote rather than dictated by the LORD. Had the 1/3 been 50%+1 what then would have happened? Would the eternal plan of happiness been disrupted? NO, it is eternal. C. All of us make the same choice as the 1/3rd each and every day. Their choice was to not follow Christ. How often do we make that choice weekly? Daily? Hourly? And yet we can still achieve Celestial Glory if we but turn to Christ. So why when our mistakes are often much more grievous and against a greater light are they punished more severely?

So getting back to Option 2. Could it be part of the Fathers plan to create Satan as the Devil? Was he a necessary component? Maybe not to the Garden, but to the state of the world as it is? Is there any redemption for our brother Lucifer? How would it become? Would it not come by Lucifer following the role that he was given by the Father? After all, did Satan believe he was doing evil when he proposed his plan? Or was he doing what he thought was good? And aren’t all good things from the LORD?

Wouldn’t this be a much better explanation of opposition in all things, the veil ( in that if we were aware of this it would throw all of our actions out of whack?) and wouldn’t it be the perfect plan of a perfect Father whose utmost desire is for his children to get back to him? Wouldn’t our Father leave the 90 and 9 and go after the one Lost sheep? Wouldn’t he provide a way for Lucifer to get back to HIM? Lucifer, his beloved son of the Morning who desired to be great in the eye of the Lord.

I leave you now with a quote by Mark Twain.

But who prays for Satan? Who in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most, our one fellow and brother who most needed a friend yet had not a single one, the one sinner among us all who had the highest and clearest right to every Christian's daily and nightly prayers, for the plain and unassailable reason that his was the first and greatest need, he being among sinners the supremest?

Made This Way?

on 25 February 2009

Was I made Gay? or was it just a product of the fallen world? I haven't really wondered as to this question, but in talking with my friend about something else, I told her about god's hand in all things and I remembered this scripture "And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments."

I find this a remarkable quote. I know now that I was created this way for some reason. That for some reason, me being Gay will be for my learning, or like the blind man healed by Jesus was there to teach others. But either way I know that the LORD create me Gay and it brings me great comfort to know this. I wonder what the Bretheren would have to say about this? would it be that yes I was created this way so I could learn to resist it like someone who was created a pedophile or an alcoholic? or would it be that no I wasn't created this way but it is Satan's hand?

Or would it be the deeper analysis that states that yes it is Satan and the Fallen world that made me Gay but they were created by God? much like the story of th eman who told God that he could recreate man out of the dust of the Earth, God agreed to a challenge and they both created a man from the dust of the earth, but God then chuckled and said "I created the dust." But does it matter what learned men say? I believe that it only matters what the Lord and his spirit say unto us whether through them or not but given a choice I will take the Spirit over a man any day.

Emergency Preparedness

on 24 February 2009

So today while I was at the middle school that I am helping out in their production of Peter Pan, I cam across this discarded survey. It was entitled "Same Sex Marriage Interview Questions" It was a questionnaire/survey that was created by one of the students we will call her Jane (not real name) The person answering was a female.

Q. Would a gay marriage in you family effect you?
A. Maybe a little bit, everyone can make their own decisions, but I don't agree with their choice.

Q. Would you support your friend's realization of their sexuality if they came out to you?
A. I would not support them, but I would not discard them as my friend. I would appreciate them for who they are.

Q. Are you offended when people use the term "gay"?
A. No, not usually. It is said all the time.

Q.Do you believe that homosexuals should have the same rights as heterosexuals?
A. Not all. I don't think homosexuals should be allowed to have kids or be considered being "married"

Q. If later on you realize you are a homosexual do you think your opinion would change?
A. Maybe, I don't plan on becoming a homosexual.

K so first off the fact that this is in our middle schools makes me kind of proud of America. The fact that a student could confidently make such a survey is wonderful. This school was the same one I went to and it is amazing to see how far they have come, and how close they still are to the homophobia that was present when I attended 8 years ago.

So the first question about a gay marriage in your family effecting you, A. maybe a little bit. This response is so great! the fact that this 7th or 8th grader in Mormon town thinks that a gay marriage would only effect them a little, this is so wonderful!

The second question is my type of answer, rather dichotomous, but it represents a long way from my day when I would have been shunned by my friends.

Fourth question ;( I look at my gay friends, both MOMs and Partnerships and think that no kids or marriage for them would be horrendous. granted I am biased, but at least she wouldn't be opposed to giving us any rights.

Final question provides the title of this post. Were any of us really "planning" on becoming a homosexual? I know that I didn't, but if that were such a possibility, which in an odd way it is (not to actually plan to become one, but to realize it) wouldn't it be so wonderful to be prepared for it? at least somewhat. and that is one things that our schools want to prohibit. They want to keep any discussion of a gay-friendly nature out of schools and that just leads to longer closet times and more self hate.

So if you had the chance to go back and prepare to come out to yourself, what would you have wanted to know? what measures would you have taken to make sure that you were a good Boy Scout?

The Revolution Will Not be Televised, It will be Networked!

on 23 February 2009

I am sorry to say this but we are an infection, a plague upon the world. We are like a virus, spreading to each and every person, transmitting ourselves and our symptoms upon all those who "know" us. We are viral. 20 years ago we could never have dreamed of having such impact upon any stage, we would not have known of each others existence so profoundly, We would not have the power to infect others with knowledge about us that we currently have.

I was just on facebook and I saw this article by Jose Vargas, a political technology writer for the Washington post. I have followed his stuff concerning the rising generation and their impact on the political sphere and have greatly admired his work up till now. He has discussed many aspects of this virality (yes I meant that and not virility) that each and every one of us posses. He has discussed how, using the internet, citizens of Idaho got a huge amount of people supporting Obama. His newest article is entitled "Bloggers are changing the way the gay rights movement communicates."

This article shows how a group of people with no voice without the internet, now have a large voice in the white house and it is through this technology. We have the power to become like this group. We have the power to band together, to share our message with all that we know. The interesting thing about this is that this is a movement that is being propelled exponentially and it will not stop. This movement is like a stone cut without hands growing until it fills the whole earth. We are here, we have a voice, and we have more power than we know.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others" - Nelson

We have the ability to become the city on the hill, the light uncovered, and as we share the light of that candle with others it does not diminish our own light, but increases the light of the whole. As we share our information, our knowledge, our stories with those around us we are illuminating the whole. We need to get up, to stand up, not to leave, but to speak. We need to share our stories with all those who will listen because who knows who the beating of our small butterfly wings will influence for the better. Who knows what torrential storm of change, what purifying force we can become. We will never know if we stay silent, but if we continue to stay silent then what becomes of us? We fade. We become worthless. So speak up, and share yourself with the world, do not limit yourself to the few circles of interactions that make up your life, but expand them for we are all members of the HUMAN race. We are all connected to each other.


on 21 February 2009

In light of recent readings, I have come to believe that agency, and the ability to be held responsible for use and misuse of said agency, is predicated upon some knowledge of the will of the LORD.

In the pre-existence, we were given the Father’s plan and Satan’s plan and we were asked to choose. Those who choose the Father were blessed with this our second estate, and those who failed to follow the LORD were unable to stay in heaven. This is one profound example of when, given knowledge, agency has been rewarded and punished.

Now lets look at two other times when agency was used to go against the LORD but was not punished because there was ambiguity, or no knowledge concerning the will of the LORD.

In the Garden of Eden, Eve, in partaking of the fruit, choose to exercise her agency against the will of the LORD. His commandments were such that there was ambiguity as to the fulfillment of them. On one hand you had the commandment to not eat the fruit of knowledge or of good and evil, on the other hand you had the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth. There was NO, 0, way that Adam and Eve could have M&P the earth without them having some knowledge. We know then that the Adam and Eve had some clear ambiguity concerning these two commandments from God, and in time, had there been no tempter, knowledge would have been provided. Eve ate the fruit and in the LDS perspective, the only punishment was the “joy” of childbirth, an essential part of the New and Everlasting Covenant. There was no real punishment; only the affirmation of gender roles but that was really the only punishment for those who did not know.
Satan, on the other hand, knowing the choices before him, was punished by the LORD. Satan’s animal of choice (the serpent) was cursed to become the least of all animals, it had its legs removed and it was to become the enemy of women, and it’s head was to be bruised by man. So here we see that either the Lord is a respecter of persons, or he is punishing due to the light of knowledge given rather than the sin in and of itself.

The other example would be when Christ was crucified. Christ forgave those who crucified and tormented Him because they knew not what they did.

So here we have a clear division of how punishment is given out based upon how much knowledge, or how clear that knowledge is. As Scott is beginning to provide an in depth look into the scriptural basis for the sinfulness of homosexuality and I have linked to him here and to my own discovery in that field. This shows that the scriptural case for Homosexuality is ambiguous. And as Daniel, Sarah and I have pointed out, the Prophetic evidence is difficult to separate between personal feelings and those of prophesy. So what does this mean for us? What does it mean to you? Are there any other examples of punishment being stayed due to ambiguity in the law?


on 20 February 2009

I have rediscovered a beloved word recently and I figured I would share it with you and the meaning that it has in my life. This word is Satyagraha. I originally discovered it in Orson Scott Card's book Shadow of the Hegemon, a great read by the way, but it was originally coined by Ghandi.
He took two Sanskrit words the word for truth and firmness and coined the term Satyagraha. The definition that was given by Ghandi then for Satyagraha was the firmness of truth, but I enjoy the poetry of Card much better when he stated that Satygraha is "the willingness to endure great personal suffering in order to do what is right."
Sometimes what is right isn't friendly, it isn't peaceful, it isn't fulfilling, it isn't gratifying. What matters is that you do not hide from the consequences. You bear what must be borne. It might be like courage, the courage to do what is right even when you can't win. If you know that the price of doing right is a terrible loss or suffering or even death, satyagraha, means that you are all the more determined to do right, for fear that fear might make you unrighteous.
While in and of itself, Satyagraha is very difficult to achieve when you know what is right, it is infinitely harder when you are unclear about what is right. As you have seen, I am still trying to figure out what is right, but I hope to, once knowing, be able to achieve satyagraha and follow that truth firmly, no matter the greatness of my personal suffering.
As this concept is ingrained in my mind, I am always looking for new words or methods to describe it, do any jump into your mind?

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on 18 February 2009

I have always seen Lent, for some odd reason, to represent and be symbolic of Christ fasting in the wilderness for 40 (read: many) days, and that it carries many similarities with Ramadan in that it is a time of fasting from the things of the world whether in food and sexual pleasure (in the case of Ramadan) or something of your choice (like Smoking for my Granny) in the case of Lent. I never realized that it was a commemoration and purification before Easter.

I am going to follow in Christ’s footsteps.

In Christ’s day He often discussed doctrine and scripture with the Rabbi’s and the Pharisees and Sadducees. He tried to understand His mission through the clarification of the priesthood in his day. I have tried to do that as well in my life. Christ, before he began His ministry went into the wilderness and fasted and went to commune with Heavenly Father. He stopped listening to the noise of the world and instead focused his attention on the LORD and afterward, He came out of the wilderness knowing his mission fully and nothing, not food, power, glory could distract him from the mission he knew he had to accomplish. He was reluctant, I believe only once, when he asked the cup to pass from him but he also knew that the Father’s will was most important.

I am going to follow in Christ’s footsteps.

I plan to enter the unknown, the wilderness, and seek council only from the Lord. Because I can not just head into the mountains for 40 days I am instead going to have to enter into the wilderness of mind. For Lent I am giving up all Noise that has hounded my mind. I am going to eliminate all discussion, all argument, all persuasion, all attempts to prove my beliefs in what to do: With regards to Religion, the Church, and the MoHo Dilemma. I plan to cut out ALL of this discussion and instead focus that time towards communing with God and listening to the Spirit. I plan to spend at least until Easter, but possibly farther not seeking out discussion at all and if it starts to happen either with others around me or in my own mind, I plan to change the topic. I do not know where this will take me but I have faith that it will lead to the Fathers will for me. I will spend my time getting ready to tear my soul in two. I will commit myself to following and covenanting with God in whatever he tells me. A part of this will be the curbing of all blog reading for about 40 days, I will (in the Catholic Tradition) check them once every Sunday but will most likely avoid commenting on them. My blog will most likely flounder for a little bit while I find my new voice, but I will blog about my experience and hope that the answers I get will bring me peace and a foundation of security.

PS Lent Starts Feb 25th, I will be at the MoHo party on the 28th, but will most likely be not to talkative when it comes to MoHo philosophies and I might need to leave early as well. :( sorry Scott.

A World Without You?

on 17 February 2009

I was first introduced to Children of Eden by D. when he showed me Lost in the Wilderness. I was again, a few days later, told about it again by a fellow “family” member who wanted to audition for the role of Adam when tryouts happen this April at BYU. Me, not knowing much about the play, thought that was neat, but that I would try for Cain because of the song Lost in the wilderness. Today I was listening to the entire soundtrack on my way to school and I stumbled across the song A World Without You. This song is my new favorite song because it describes me personally and the troubles I faced right before I tried to hurt myself back in DC. I think that it also describes the feelings that we MoHos face. We are asked to choose between an help meet and God.

My wonderful dichotomous mind and I can see both sides of this coin as well. So often I feel like Tevia in the Fiddler on the roof debating between one hand and the other hand, but unlike him I am unable to say that there is no other hand. On the one hand I see that Adam, in choosing to stay with Eve, became the progenitor of the earth, the human father of all mankind for we are all sons of Adam and daughter of Eve. In choosing to avoid God he became the Prophet in still trying to do what he had been taught even though he knew not why. On the Other hand, I see that I am not the first man, I have not had a direct physical connection with God, and the telling of the Garden story in “Children of Eden” isn’t necessarily true to doctrine. On the other hand I can’t help see that we will be punished for our own sins and not for Adam’s transgression. On the other hand I see that this might just be Adam’s personal transgression and not the same sin repeated in us generations later. On the other hand Adam fell (left the Garden) so that man might be and that they might have joy, How am I supposed to be if I do not fall?

I think I am going to have to stop with the other handedness now. Do you have any thoughts on this?

Peace of Doubt

on 12 February 2009

Recently I have been dealing with a new paradox of spirit. The Paradox of Peace and Doubt. In D&C 6 the Lord tells us that he will speak peace unto our mind and that this peace is the greatest witness of the Lord. We are told that Satan is the author of contention and the institutor of doubt. However, as I have viewed this I also know that the Devil is cunning and we have been taught that the devil will sell us 9 truths to give us one lie. If this is so wouldn’t the Devil remove opposition once we start to follow him, leaving us with a feeling of peace? And doesn’t the Lord give us doubt to allow us to humble ourselves? So how do we know when the peace is from the Lord or the Devil and how do we know when the doubt and contention is from the Devil or the Lord? How do we know? Does anybody out there know?

The Wheat and The Tares

on 10 February 2009

While I wasn't blessed with the "Bitter Fruits of Apostasy" lesson yet, I was graced with the lesson on the Matthew 13 Parables last Sunday. While I was listening and reading and pondering the parables, the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares hit me.
In this Parable there is Field (the World) that is panted with good seed (the Righteous) In the night, the Devil plants Tares (wickedness) in the field. The servants of the Field (prophets?) ask the Lord if they should pull up the tares. The Lord tells them not to because they might, in pulling up the tares, also uproot the good seed. The Lord instead, tells them to wait until the Harvest (Judgement) when the Tares shall be gathered and burned, while the Wheat is harvested.

The juxtaposition of this with the church's recent political actions led me to make a connection here. For the sake of argument, lets assume that I have been deceived by the Devil, Am evil, and Apostate, Wicked in essence. And that Homosexuality is the corruption of a good thing by the Devil. Would it not be safe to assume that those who go against the grain of the Church are the Tares? If so, then Why is the Church trying so hard to uproot the Tares when they should instead be tending to the Good Seed until the day of harvest? Does anyone else see the disconnect between the teachings of Christ and the recent Political actions of the Church?

The Master Plan

on 03 February 2009

I heard this story told to me and realized that it might apply to my situation so much.

The Teacher was gathered together with his disciples one morning, when a man came up to him.

‘Does God exist?’ he asked.

‘He does,’ replied the Teacher.

After lunch, another man came up to him.

‘Does God exist?’ he asked.

‘No, he doesn’t,’ said the Teacher.

Later that afternoon, a third man asked the same question: ‘Does God exist?’

‘That’s for you to decide,’ replied the Teacher.

As soon as the man had gone, one of his disciples remarked angrily:

‘But that’s absurd, Master! How can you possibly give such different answers to the same question?’

‘Because they are all different people, and each one of them will reach God by his own path. The first man will believe what I say. The second will do everything he can to prove me wrong. The third will only believe in what he is allowed to choose for himself.’

I do not know why the Lord has given me the Spiritual experience that he has. I just know that he has and that D&C 122:6&7 tells me that even “if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters … all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” I know that if I follow this prompting and keep my eye single to the Lord then everything will work out.

I am reminded about an interpretation from Scriptorian and LDS scholar Brother Wilcox who told me the following. Satan was not essential to the plan of the Father, How could it be that the ultimate plan required the falling away of 1/3 of HIS children. Many people think that Satan has the power to disrupt the plan of the Father, but we know how the story ends. It ends with the people of the Lord conquering Satan in a civil war, where brother fights brother. Satan was not necessary to tempt Eve and get her to leave the Garden. Satan’s actions however disrupting he thinks they might be, have time and time again, only played into the hands of the LORD. Having Eve eat the fruit might not have been the ideal way that the LORD wanted Adam and Eve to leave the Garden, but he did intend for them to leave the Garden. Satan misinterpreted the hierarchy of the contradictory commandments and thought that eating of the Fruit would be a worse sin than to stay in the garden. However, this attempt to disrupt the plan of the Father only played into the Fathers hands. I believe that the LORD has ultimate power and understands the intrinsic individual weavings of our own personal threads and how they form a greater picture than we can imagine. I have faith in the Lord that in the end, just as our actions can do nothing to reverse the flow of the Nile, our actions will not affect HIS great plan both for the whole and for us individually. I have faith that the LORD will provide a way for his children as long as they have their eyes turned towards him!

Testimonies and Interviews

This weekend has been an eventful one. Friday night was an emotional day for one of my friends who had to deal with parents and family who did not understand. I tried to lend comfort as best I could but somehow feel like it was lacking.

Saturday night I shared my story of how I nearly killed myself over the internal battle over religion or self and how I have gotten to where I am now. At the End I wanted to bear my testimony about the truth that I feel but stopped short and stuck to my desire for others to feel the peace that I feel in my life. The entire experience was great and i felt so glad that I did it even though my body was in fear and rejection mode the whole time.

Then I had Scott and Sarah's Party which was great! I never felt so welcomed by so many people who didn't even know me. I have always had a hard time in social situations, but this time I had none of that. I mixed and mingled throughout the crowd and it was wonderful. I am so Glad that I spent the time there.

Sunday, Fast and testimony meeting. So I was composing the previous post on following the Spirit as Sacrament meeting started and was moving along following the Spirit in gaining inspiration on what to write and then Testimony meeting started. It started off with a woman who used to be a member of the ward who came up and spoke about how grateful she was that when she was here she could walk to church and not be surrounded by the ugliness that is in her city of San Francisco, and how much pain she feels after living in California these past 6 months with Prop 8 and all of the ugliness that has surrounded her. She then spoke about how she is so grateful that she has the ability to just simply follow the Prophet. During this whole thing I was getting upset by what she was saying and that last comment made me go, Uh? Don't we have the Spirit for a reason? So in silent protest I walked out behind her and left the Chapel. On my way out I caught the eyes of one young man who I am sure is a MoHo in hiding and the Sadness that was exuding from his face tore at my heartstrings. So I went outside the Chapel and finished my thoughts that became a blog post. and then pressed upon by the Spirit and the look in that kids eyes, I went back in and walked up to the Front. I stood on the stand and started to bear my testimony of the Spirit and how grateful I feel to be able to follow the Spirit of truth and knowledge that testifys to me the Love God has for us, and the atonemnet. I was really tempted to take that time to share my story with the audience as a blessing of feeling the spirit. but Again I refrained.

As I sat back down I thought to myself about the juxtapostion of wanting to bear my testimony in the secular setting and share my story in the spritual and I am bittersweet about not taking the advantage to do so.

Graditude, to follow in Faith or be led by the Spirit?

on 02 February 2009

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, all men are created equal.”
These words are often the most quoted political words in the history of America and they are the words that start the Declaration of Independence. These words are those that are cherished in the hearts and minds of most citizens of the United States. Why? Why do we cherish this phrase “all men are created equal” so much? Is it the actual words as were written to mean “all men (read: free land owning white males) are created equal”? Or do we cherish this phrase because we see it to mean “all men (read: Human Beings) are created equal”? Is it the words themselves that we cling to, the diction presented to us by Thomas Jefferson? Or is it the spirit that the words give to us? The Spirit of truth that rings through and declares itself “self-evident”? Personally I am one to follow the spirit that is meant by a law, not so much the words with which the law was created.

When it comes to things of the Gospel, do we focus on the physical words that are spoken and passed down from generation to generation? Or do we focus on the Spirit, which they bring into our lives? Missionaries are now being taught that it is not through the words they speak that people will want to join the Church, but through the Spirit which touches an investigators heart and resonates true with them. Should we not apply this principle to our own lives? Should we not focus on what the Spirit and the gift of the Holy Ghost is telling us rather than on the literal words that are spoken unto us? As C.S. Lewis touches upon in the introduction to his book “The Abolition of Man” we as human beings statements about objects of subjective value (such as “the waterfall is sublime”) are, in part, because of our feelings about the object and the feelings that that subjective object exude with in us. The waterfall humbles us and therefore makes us qualify it as “sublime,” rather than just pretty.

I think that is crucially important for us to rely upon the spirit in our lives because we need it ever so much in these the latter days. There was a time when we, as creatures of our LORD lacked the gift of the Holy Ghost, the comforter left to us by Christ. In that day when all we had was the light of Christ to guide us we were forced to turn out hearts to righteous men who voiced the words of the spirit as they interpreted the Spirit to prompt them. There are hundreds of examples of the need to turn to the words of the prophet, of him with the power of the Spirit in the day and age of the Bible, but one particular example sticks in my mind because a friend of mine brought it up recently.
While the Children of Israel were wandering lost in the wilderness, there came upon them a swarm of snakes that were biting the people. The Lord through the Prophet Moses commanded them that all they needed to do to cure themselves was to lift up their eyes and look to the prophet. Many people died because they were too focused on trying the temporal solutions to the snake bites and protecting themselves from the snakes that they would not hearken unto the prophets voice. My friend used this example to illustrate that when a Prophet calls us to action we need to follow immediately whereas my view was that we needed to pray about the words that the prophet gave us to know the truth of them after having studied it out in our minds. She told me this story to illustrate the fact that as someone called to listen to a prophets voice, the logical answer would be to focus on the snakes and not on the words of the prophet. I understood her point, but later realized the one crucial difference between the Children of Israel and the Members of the Church. The Children of Israel did not have the gift of the Holy Ghost in their lives and so any attempt made by them that wasn’t hearkening unto the prophets would be in vain, whereas if we as latter-day saints follow the counsel in D&C 30 we will turn our hearts and our n=minds away from the teachings of men and draw closer to the teachings of the spirit.

This is the key difference between the people in the bible and us today. They had not the Holy Ghost as their constant companion. And so they were forced to rely on the lesser law of strict obedience to every jot and tittle of the Law of Moses.

When Christ came, he taught the Higher law, the law by which every jot and tittle of the Law of Moses was contained and fulfilled in the Lord’s two great commandments. Love the Lord thy God with all thy Heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. “On these two commandments hang all the laws and the prophets” The Lord Jesus Christ taught us the fulfilled gospel which included following the spirit, not the teachings and rituals of men. He taught us a gospel of Love and understanding and he left with us the comforter so that “we might have his spirit to be with us.”

I can only assume that one of the reasons that we have the spirit is to personally guide us to the truth. The spirit is a speaker of truth and it can not testify things unto us that are false, but I believe that the Spirit speaks to us not in words, but it speaks to our spirit through the language of the heart rather that the muddied languages of men that have been confounded since the tower of Babel. I believe that in the action of placing words to that which has touched your spirit muddies the spirit with the language of men. That “no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls” (3 Nephi 17:17)

Should we try to vocalize the things of the spirit they are often passed through a series of filters that are present in our life. The spirit’s voice passes through our mind following similar tacks to which our mind is accustomed to going. The vocalizing of the Spirit is thus passes through our own experiences leaving their mark on the vocalization of the Spirit. Most people who have given a blessing will tell you that they often receive the impressions of feelings and vocalize them as best they can and only rarely have the exact phrasing come to their minds. Scott has a great post concerning this in relation to Patriarchal Blessings that can be found here.

I think that it goes farther than just blessings that the vocalization of the spirit is filtered through our own prejudices. I believe that when the Spirit teaches us it touches upon our hearts and our minds and teaches us on a level far greater than this pithy set of languages that our tongues manipulate. There is an example that I would like to share with you concerning this lack of completeness that our language possesses. It is in the use of the word Adieu in Jacob 7. Critics often claim this to be proof positive that the Book of Mormon was composed by Joseph Smith but if you look beyond the flippancy of the argument you see that “and it came to pass” wasn’t on the plates either. The Book of Mormon is a translation of ancient scripture and thus the word Adieu is the word that best fit the inscription left by Jacob and was the best word that Joseph could have used to express the symbol on the plates. Just as the Book of Mormon is a translation of the Gold Plates, our vocalization of the spirit is a translation from that which we feel to that which we can tangibly speak. The word Adieu wasn’t on the plates, but it is the word that best describes the meaning that Jacob was trying to get across, similarly, the Spirit is hampered by our own limitations of our language.

I personally see the effects of these filters often in my life. Anytime I redo an action such as re-read a book or re-watch a movie I see things that I didn’t notice before, or something will hit me that I had not experienced before because I didn’t have a filter through which its meaning could pass. The story in each case remains the same, but my ability to understand it grew. That is why it is important to read the Book of Mormon over again, so that we can relate the stories to our current lives. I believe that this is true of the Spirit as well. The Lord is the same yesterday today and tomorrow and yet we have had many changes and reforms to the gospel throughout the course of recorded history. The most recent was the opening up of the Priesthood to all worthy males. This, I believe, was not God changing his mind on something, but a result of President Kimball sitting down with an open and soft heart, removing the filters that would have tipped his mind one way or another and opening himself unto the spirit which pored forth the blessings and revelation unto him. I believe that as we soften our hearts, we will be given more of the word even unto the knowing of the mysteries of God. (Alma 12:10)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that principle in these words: “If you teach the word of truth—now note, you’re saying what is true, every thing you say is accurate and right—by some other way than the Spirit, it is not of God. Now what is the other way to teach than by the Spirit? Well, obviously, it is by the power of the intellect. Suppose I came here tonight and delivered a great message on teaching, and I did it by the power of the intellect without any of the Spirit of God attending. Suppose that every word that I said was true, no error whatever, but it was an intellectual presentation. This revelation says: ‘If it be by some other way it is not of God’ (D&C 50:18). That is, God did not present the message through me because I used the power of the intellect instead of the power of the Spirit. Intellectual things—reason and logic—can do some good, and they can prepare the way, and they can get the mind ready to receive the Spirit under certain circumstances. But conversion comes and the truth sinks into the hearts of people only when it is taught by the power of the Spirit”

This quote by Elder McConkie is one of my new favorites because it shows that we can not be content with the simple action of following what we have been taught in our minds to follow the words of the Prophet, if they are not taught unto us by the power of the Spirit than they are not of God. It is thus vitally important for us to follow the teachings of the Prophet insomuch as they are confirmed to us by the power of the spirit by which all truth is known. Not to simply follow blindly, but to follow because we have been taught the truth by the spirit.

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