What is purity?
Much like “truth”, purity is another word which often is hijacked and convoluted by society and/or organized religion. In a religious context, purity is most often associated with innocence, virginity or sexual abstinence. The suggestion by religion often is that one who is “pure” is one who has not been “corrupted” by sin, forbidden sexuality or “Babylon” or the wicked world. I believe that although these colloquial definitions can be related to moral purity, they essentially miss the mark on a concept which is vitally important to one’s personal progression.
More properly, purity is defined as a state of being “unmixed with any other matter” (see webster’s dictionary). Gold is said to be pure if it is not mixed with other substances. A music note is pure if it is unmixed with other sounds. A musical chord is pure if it contains only the desired notes in perfect harmony. A color is pure by the same definition. And perhaps most importantly in our present context, an intention is pure if it is directed toward a single goal without being convoluted by conflicting ones. In this light purity is indeed a “straight and narrow path” to a goal. Thus personal purity in thought refers to a personal belief system that is not convoluted by conflicting, unharmonized or unbalanced ideologies.
At the heart of personal purity is a lack of conflict. In this light we see how purity is related to peace, harmony and balance. “Pure” white light, is light in which the whole rainbow spectrum is perfectly balanced. A “pure” natural environment is one which is in harmony and balance, and its purity is lost when elements are added to that environment which mix up that balanced environment. A “pure” individual is likewise one who is not mixed up or filled with inner conflict. Their inner and outer selves are at peace and in harmony. Their beliefs and actions are harmonic, and are in accord with their goals of what they want to do and who they want to be.
A traditional Christian religious definition of purity is certainly true in a sense, but what many fail to realize is that organized religion plays just as big a role in corrupting or convoluting the “pure” as the “wicked” world does. The great masters of this world have come to earth to show what’s possible. In nearly every case they defied the religious mores and regulations of their day in order to pursue a pure path to their chosen missions. One of the problem with organized religion is that they then often tend to block the “pure” path to obtaining desired experiences by their laws, standards and mores. For example, Christ was excommunicated for rejecting Judaic moral law and blaspheming their holy temple. In just about every case, the “true” prophets though history have shown their purity by rejecting or going against the mainstream political & religious systems of their day. They showed that purity is indeed following an unwavering path toward a god given desire in your heart regardless of what the present social or religious norms are.
In regards to sexual purity, we see it is related to innocence and virginity but not bound by these attributes. Historically speaking, in LDS or Biblical doctrine is it obvious one could be sexually pure regardless of whether they are virgins, monogamously married or indiscriminate polygamists. Sexual purity is our unwavering and unconvoluted, balanced path toward a specific sexual goal. So then we must firmly know our sexual goal in order to practice sexual purity. In Mormonism this sexual goal is encouraged to be marriage as a virgin in the temple to a “worthy” person. But the problem with trying to “teach” or instill a goal in someone is that if it conflicts with pre-existing deep seated desires or goals which lie in the heart of individuals it often throws them out of balance and destroys their purity. There are many “worthily” married LDS couples who are actually not “pure” because by trying to be “righteous” (by their perception of Mormon standards) they create conflict with their true inner desires, throw their inner harmony off balance and become miserable people who are not progressing upward toward their goals. Their goals become mixed and convoluted and so do their paths; and their lack of purity (finding a harmony which true to themselves as well as others) sooner or later manifests in extreme depression or divorce. The New Testament speaks often on the “deadness of the law” or the inefficient manner of teaching people how to “progress” through rules, regulations, standards and dogma. Truly the only way to achieve true happiness and the purest way to progress is to “live by the spirit”. We best help others do this by “teaching correct principles and then letting them govern themselves” which often means teaching idealistic social standards without strong expectations of individual outcome. (Which is a difficult task, and impossible without real love for, and personal relationships with, those we teach!) We help them form definite goals which achieve their true desires and then let them plot out their own course while following their inner voice. To lead others to a path of sexual purity is to help them form a sexual goal that harmonizes with their true inner desires, and then help them see which actions lead directly to that goal and which actions will lead them through a convoluted or conflicting round-about path. Any other path which does not truly respect the free agency of the individual will lead to the very pain which the teacher may be hoping to help the learner avoid.
In the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ much is taught about purity. In the opening pages Mary and Elizabeth are taught by a Jewish Egyptian sage in Egypt about the destined missions of their sons. Elizabeth is taught that John has come as a living archetype of Purity, which prepares the world for Jesus, who will be the archetype for true love; and that purity is essential for love.
21 The only Savior of the world is love, and Jesus, son of Mary, comes to manifest that love to men.
22 Now, love cannot be manifest until its way has been prepared, and naught can rend the rocks and bring down lofty hills and fill the valleys up (balance the inequalities) , and thus prepare the way, but purity.
23 But purity in life men do not comprehend; and so, it, too, must come in flesh.
24 And you, Elizabeth, are blest because your son is purity made flesh, and he shall pave the way for love.
25 This age will comprehend but little of the works of Purity and Love; but not a word is lost, for in the Book of God’s Remembrance a registry is made of every thought, and word, and deed;
26 And when the world is ready to receive, lo, God will send a messenger to open up the book and copy from its sacred pages all the messages of Purity and Love.
27 Then every man of earth will read the words of life in language of his native land, and men will see the light, walk in the light and be the light.
28 And man again will be at one with God.
The relationship between purity and love is an interesting one, and something that I believe the current christian religions of the world teach poorly. As mentioned in the above verses, the world knows little of purity and love. The degenerate aspects of society do not even try to understand or achieve these ideals. The religions of the world strive toward them, but just like the Jewish culture to whom John and Jesus were sent, they miss the mark. They think purity and love comes through the law (or religious standards like the law of chastity, etc). But purity and love are not found in keeping moral strictures. They are in the balanced and harmonic use of gods energy or spirit; and this is not something that can be easily taught. A harlot can often be more full of purity and love than a high priest. This should be evident to a Christian by the fact that apparently harlots recognized and followed Jesus, while the High Priest (Pope or Prophet) and the Sanhedrin (ruling elders) of the Judaic religion rejected and had Christ murdered. And unfortunately this is a scene that plays over and over especially among the youth of Christianity. Because the religiously active “good” kids in the schools do not understand purity and love, they wrongly judge and despise the “bad” kids in school. Adversely, many of the rebellious kids in school do the same to the “goody two shoes” religious crowd. Neither understanding that love and purity are not determined as much by your behavior, but by the harmony between your actions and your beliefs. The balance between your inner and outer selves or how true you are to your inner voice and highest light (In LDS terms, one’s obedience to personal revelation, over organizational rules or worldly fads). Sexual abstinence does not guarantee sexual purity, nor does sexual promiscuity preclude it. In reality neither makes much of a difference, what matters is that you stay true to your own personal inner beliefs and let the free flow of God’s energy manifest in unselfish and unconvoluted ways.
This idea of following our inner light is taught well in the following dialogue,
15 And then the people asked, What must we do that we may make our bodies fit abiding places for the king?
16 And Jesus said, Whatever tends to purity in thought, and word, and deed will cleanse the temple of the flesh.
17 There are no rules that can apply to all, for men are specialists in sin; each has his own besetting sin,
18 And each must study for himself how he can best transmute his tendency to evil things to that of righteousness and love.
19 Until men reach the higher plane, and get away from selfishness, this rule will give the best results:
20 Do unto other men what you would have them do to you.
Another great dialog teaching the principles of purity and love is given in Chapter 8 of the same book. In this excerpt Mary and Elizabeth are taught concerning the higher and lower selves. It is by listening to and following our higher or spiritual self that our lower or carnal self is conquered. The carnal self follows after the philosophies and religions of the world. The higher or spiritual self follows the path god has laid out for us in our hearts. The difficulty in achieving purity is learning to listen to that higher inner voice and learning to differentiate it from our lower carnal voice or the voices programmed into us by society or earthly religion.
AGAIN Elihu met his pupils in the sacred grove and said,
2 No man lives unto himself; for every living thing is bound by cords to every other living thing.
3 Blest are the pure in heart; for they will love and not demand love in return.
4 They will not do to other men what they would not have other men do unto them.
5 There are two selfs; the higher and the lower self.
6 The higher self is human spirit clothed with soul, made in the form of God.
7 The lower self, the carnal self, the body of desires, is a reflection of the higher self, distorted by the murky ethers of the flesh.
8 The lower self is an illusion, and will pass away; the higher self is God in man, and will not pass away.
9 The higher self is the embodiment of truth; the lower self is truth reversed, and so is falsehood manifest.
10 The higher self is justice, mercy, love and right; the lower self is what the higher self is not.
11 The lower self breeds hatred, slander, lewdness, murders, theft, and everything that harms; the higher self is mother of the virtues and the harmonies of life.
12 The lower self is rich in promises, but poor in blessedness and peace; it offers pleasure, joy and satisfying gains; but gives unrest and misery and death.
13 It gives men apples that are lovely to the eye and pleasant to the smell; their cores are full of bitterness and gall.
14 If you would ask me what to study I would say, yourselfs; and when you well had studied them, and then would ask me what to study next, I would reply, your-selfs.
15 He who knows well his lower self, knows the illusions of the world, knows of the things that pass away; and he who knows his higher self, knows God; knows well the things that cannot pass away.
16 Thrice blessed is the man who has made purity and love his very own; he has been ransomed from the perils of the lower self and is himself his higher self.
17 Men seek salvation from an evil that they deem a living monster of the nether world; and they have gods that are but demons in disguise; all powerful, yet full of jealousy and hate and lust;
18 Whose favors must be bought with costly sacrifice of fruits, and of the lives of birds, and animals, and human kind.
19 And yet these gods possess no ears to hear, no eyes to see, no heart to sympathize, no power to save.
20 This evil is a myth; these gods are made of air, and clothed with shadows of a thought.
21 The only devil from which men must be redeemed is self, the lower self. If man would find his devil he must look within; his name is self.
22 If man would find his savior he must look within; and when the demon self has been dethroned the savior, Love, will be exalted to the throne of power.
23 The David of the light is Purity, who slays the strong Goliath of the dark, and seats the savior, Love, upon the throne.
Purity is following your higher self. It is overcoming the law and lower priesthood and learning to walk by the spirit. Purity is not being tarnished or convoluted by the doctrines of others (be they religious or worldly)–it is following the Spirit as it guides you personally. This is why John the Baptist, the archetype of purity lived alone in the wilderness away from organized religion and society. Purity is being true to yourself by living your inner beliefs or the direct personal revelation that God puts into your heart. The following section from Oahspe 9 does a great job of explaining the importance of personal revelation and the difference between direct and indirect inspiration.
34/9.1. Man I created with capacity to distinguish My direct from My indirect inspirations, says Jehovah.
34/9.2. And My angels gave him rules, by which he could make manifest the difference between the two.
34/9.3. Man has said: Behold, any man may say: Thus says Jehovah! || One kills his neighbor, saying: I was thus inspired by Jehovah. Another practices all goodness, and his words are wisdom and comprehension, and he says: I was inspired by Jehovah!
34/9.4. I say to you, O man: In this I also gave you liberty; therefore, judge for yourself as to which came from Me, and which from his surroundings.
34/9.5. You shall be your own judge in all things.
34/9.6. Behold, I sent My God to judge you; but you shall also judge the judgments of your God; and afterward, you shall judge yourself in the same way.
34/9.7. I created you a perpetual judge, not only to judge yourself and all the world besides, but you shall judge Me, your Creator.
34/9.8. I have given you many sacred books, and I said to you:
34/9.9. Unless you judge them, you shall be caught in a snare; I charge you, you shall accept nothing from men, angels, or Gods.
34/9.10. But you shall rely on your own inspiration from your Creator.
34/9.11. Such is My word which I speak to your own soul.
34/9.12. What comes to you from a man is indirect inspiration; what comes from an angel is indirect; and what comes from the Gods is indirect.
34/9.13. No direct inspiration by Me can come to you from a book, or a sermon, or from anything in all My creations, but only from Me, your Creator.
34/9.14. Though one man receives direct inspiration from Me, and he writes it in a book, yet, when it comes to you, it is indirect inspiration, and is not binding upon you, except only so far as My direct inspiration upon you moves you to receive it.
34/9.15. Yet, I did not create all men with the same clearness to perceive Me, and to frame My wisdom in words.
34/9.16. Only a few will turn away from the inspiration of the world, and come to Me.
34/9.17. Many profess Me in words, but they do not fulfill My inspiration in practice.
34/9.18. My words come easily to the pure in heart; and My wisdom shows itself in the frame of their speech.
34/9.19. For I give them words, just as I give inspiration to the animal, to do perfectly and wisely the parts for which I created them.
34/9.20. Behold, I show the dumb spider how to weave its geometrical net; is it a greater wonder for Me, to give words of wisdom to a righteous man?
34/9.21. Or to put him in the way of receiving My revelations?
34/9.22. Or to show him the harmony and glory of My creations?
Sexual purity is an extension of the same concept–having sexual relations with those that your heart (your personal inspiration) says you are in harmony and compatible with. This is the meaning of “true marriage”. It is not just getting married as a virgin in the temple by a priest and then being “faithful”. Faithfulness is true love which is an unselfish love that gives (sexually and physically) instead of takes. It is a balanced love that gives but at the same time doesn’t give too much by playing the martyr; it does what is wise, balanced and most harmonious for all. It is true appropriate action untarnished by what others “say” you should do.
This is explained well in the following excerpt attributed to Jesus,
2 Now, marriage in the sight of law is but a promise made by man and woman, by the sanction of a priest, to live for aye in harmony and love.
3 No priest nor officer has power from God to bind two souls in wedded love.
4 What is the marriage tie? Is it comprised in what a priest or officer may say?
5 Is it the scroll on which the officer or priest has written the permission for the two to live in marriage bonds?
6 Is it the promise of the two that they will love each other until death?
7 Is love a passion that is subject to the will of man?
8 Can man pick up his love, as he would pick up precious gems, and lay it down, or give it out to any one?
9 Can love be bought and sold like sheep?
10 Love is the power of God that binds two souls and makes them one; there is no power on earth that can dissolve the bond.
11 The bodies may be forced apart by man or death for just a little time; but they will meet again.
12 Now, in this bond of God we find the marriage tie; all other unions are but bonds of straw, and they who live in them commit adultery,
13 The same as they who satisfy their lust without the sanction of an officer or priest.
14 But more than this; the man or woman who indulges lustful thoughts commits adultery.
15 Whom God has joined together man cannot part; whom man has joined together live in sin.
These are interesting concepts and point to the difficulty in achieving the deepest levels of purity, or being true to our highest light. I believe the definition of “lustful thoughts” in these verses is thoughts full of sexual desire which seeks to possess or be possessed of another without love (harmony & unselfish giving). It is taking from someone instead of giving to them. Common sense should reinforce the lessons here that religious or civil marriage do not make sexual union “loving” or righteous. Nor do lack of religious or civil marriage make sexual union “unloving” or unrighteous. Righteousness is interrelated with purity which is being in harmony with our higher spiritual self which teaches us to love others selflessly. Religions and Societies constantly try to use ritual and rigid laws to keep order and teach people the higher ways; always with the same poor results. Additionally, in both cases selfish individuals always eventually end up heaping more and more laws on the populace to control them for their own ego-filled reason of power or self-righteousness. It is from these laws that Christ came to free both the Jews and us.
18 The Hebrew prophets, seers, and givers of the law, were men of power, men of holy thought, and they bequeathed to us a system of philosophy that was ideal; one strong enough and good enough to lead our people to the goal of perfectness.
19 But carnal minds repudiated holiness; a priesthood filled with selfishness arose, and purity in heart became a myth; the people were enslaved.
20 The priesthood is the curse of Israel; but when he comes, who is to come, he will proclaim emancipation for the slaves; my people will be free.
21 Behold, for God has made incarnate wisdom, love and light, which he has called Immanuel.
This is what I believe Joseph came to give, and the eventual future of Mormonism if it stays “pure”. To offer freedom or emancipation to the slaves of corrupted religion and sin. However, currently we are not pure. Not because we are too lascivious or sexualized but because we are not true to our inner voice. And we are not true to our inner voice because we have allowed ourselves to be corrupted by the polarized maelstrom of medieval Christianity (teaching sexual prudery) and popular western culture (teaching no sexual restraint). I believe a large Part of true purity comes through sexual emancipation balanced by wisdom & love. For too long has sex been held hostage by the prudery of the dark ages. Joseph Smith’s ideas on morality and sexuality are, even today, too free and liberal for most LDS members to accept. Additionally, much like the children of Israel at mount Sinai, it would seem that from the early days in the Church the people have been too selfish to handle the kind of freedom god would like to give them. They thirst for regulation, idols and lower laws written in stone—likely because they know they are not unselfish enough to handle the freedom of the higher law. I believe self-righteousness has caused many LDS church presidents to follow the historical trend of heaping additional moral laws upon their people for self-righteous reasons; and that these strictures have cause a large amount of unneeded division among the people. But the balance between unconditionally loving others and following the “law” exists for important reasons, and to each who would strive for purity and love; the spirit is ever present to guide individuals to transmute the laws written in stone into laws written on the fleshy tablets of our hearts. I also believe in this generation the spirit is being poured out in great measure in all the churches trying to free them from the pitfalls of organizational “orthodoxy” which cause division; and lead them to a more free and loving condition. Much like a young innocent and virile teenager… a more pure condition.
In light of these definitions, I personally like to think of purity in light of pursuing a path to salvation, which I define as balance and harmony with ALL that IS through service to others by directing each action purely to that course following the steps of self realization. At face value, these concepts seem to contrast irreconcilably with the usual Mormon and Medieval Christian concepts of focusing on controlling the self above all else. But I believe Christ came to show a better way of focusing on finding love, understanding, and forgiveness in our experiences instead of punishment, control and retribution. In application this means not trying so hard to fit a rigid mold of how you “should be”, or spending your mental emotional energy controlling yourself as a dictator would his people. But instead spend your energy living life and finding the love and meaning in the experiences God sends your way (be they good or evil by social standards). Let the experiences come as they may, and as they come go through these steps to progress through the experience; first, consider all experiences, relationships and desires in relation to our own personality then to its effect on and relationship to society, then find unconditional love & acceptance through it so it can be used to enhance free communication which serves others, then through interpersonal interaction the well understood experience will facilitate active energy exchange to occur with others, and eventually sacramental unity (atonement) with the divine. All without getting sidetracked into paths devoid of purpose.
In my personal life I have found only pain by following the “mosaic” approach of focusing heavily on self-control, measuring up, and retribution. But in time I finally came to the realization that it was too much focus on these attributes that caused the Jews to not recognize and crucify Christ. Christ did not fit “the mold” that these Pharisaical Jews had built to define righteousness. And because their personal and religious focus was on control instead of acceptance and love, they simply could not recognize their own king when he came. They were too busy controlling the “imperfect” aspects of themselves and others to love themselves, and so they naturally did the same to Jesus and others. This is why they were so angry and miserable, and sought to kill Jesus–because they could not repress and control his “imperfections” (by their perception) as was their habit. Christ came to free people from the law by showing them love, acceptance and forgiveness–which is actually the true fulfillment of the law anyway. When I found love within myself, I found Christ and that allowed me to let go of the law, and find happiness and joy. In a symbiotic way I believe it is love which allows us to be pure (which is acting true to your inner conscious, or the light of Christ within)—and it is purity which helps us to find love in all the experiences of our lives.
When ‘Do Unto Others’ Meets Hookup Culture