The Priesthood of God & Its Relationship to the Only True Church Doctrine

The true priesthood is not meant to be like Sauron's ring of power

45 “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood…” (D&C 121:45).

Like many modern books and movies I believe Lord of the Rings teaches an important gospel message. One of its central themes revolves around the idea that power corrupts—so it’s up to the strong and wise to keep it in the hands of the weak and humble until the time that it can be “cast down” by perfect equality and fellowship. I believe this message is very important when it comes to understanding Christian priesthood, and is a theme that runs throughout LDS scripture. In this article I would like to try and show that LDS scripture teaches religious priesthood is not so much a ‘power of God’ but a preparatory symbolic authority given to man by divine beings to test who will stay “humble as a hobbit” like Frodo and Samwise, verses who will be corrupted by its influence like Saruman, Boromir, Theoden, and the race of man.

I love the LDS Church, but I believe that since the days of the earliest Saints there has often been fundamental misunderstandings and misapplications of priesthood in the church which lies at the root of the division this topic has caused—whether it be the use of priesthood authority to to support our exclusive truth claims, or using arguments of priesthood to pressure people into doing things they don’t really feel good about… or even instances of using priesthood arguments to marginalize blacks, women or other groups.

On one hand, misunderstanding and misapplication seems to have has caused people to want a burden and obligation which no person should really desire. On the other hand, privilege and abuse have sometimes caused a thing designed to maintain equality — to promote exclusivity, elitism, inequality and division. Misunderstood principles like “the one true church” and “only true priesthood” doctrines have often turned an equality promoting symbolic responsibility into an inequality promoting honor & privilege. But assuming there is legitimacy in Christian or LDS priesthood, I believe scripture suggests it is part of a test given to religious leaders to find out who might be worthy of true authority in our next rounds of progression.

Common LDS misunderstandings regarding priesthood—as defined in our own scriptures
-Scripture makes it clear that the priesthood is not the power to do miracles or create worlds and should not be confused with that ‘power’ of God.
-The priesthood is not, and never was, needed to be a prophet, seer or revelator—otherwise how could you explain biblical prophetesses and the many non-levitical prophets?
-The priesthood is not, and never was, needed to heal; or perform any other skills said to be ‘Gifts of the Spirit’, given freely to all.
-The priesthood was never entirely lost during apostacy. (see D&C 86:8–10; D&C 84:17–18, Abr 1:4, 2:11. ‘keys’ were simply taken from Israel and transferred to the Gentiles; now they’re being restored to Israel.)
-The higher priesthood has never been exclusive to one religion or people. (only the lower priesthood is fundamentally exclusive)
-The priesthood should never be used to support or legitimize the only true church doctrine.
-The lower priesthood appears to be a symbolic authority to administer the offices, ordinances and symbols of salvation.
-The higher spiritual priesthood invisibly governs all the religious and political affairs of the earth while maintaining equality and mankind’s self determination..
-The lower, temporal or religious priesthood should not be confused with the higher universal spiritual priesthood it is was created to symbolize, copy and prepare for.
-ALL priesthood IS a responsibility to active servitude in order to equalize inequalities. It’s proper use NEVER guarantees any special privilege, special standing, special respect, authoritative legitimacy, reward or power simply by virtue of its possession.  If people desire this burden, then it is a sign that it is being misused, misunderstood and misapplied.

Sauron, Satan, and the Corrupting Influence of Power

In the book/movie The Lord of the Rings, J.R. Tolkien walks us through a story which illustrates the corrupting influence of power. The story begins with the forging of the Great Rings of power. Nineteen of these rings are given to the leaders of earth to give them “the strength and will to govern each race”.  But Tolkien teaches that in accepting these rings the leaders…

“were all of them deceived, for another ring was made. In the land of Mordor, in the fires of Mount Doom, the Dark Lord Sauron forged, in secret, a Master Ring to control all others. And into this Ring he poured his cruelty, his malice and his will to dominate all life. One Ring to rule them all.”

With this master ring, Sauron begins to enslave the people of earth bringing about an apocalyptic war for freedom. In the quest to destroy this “Ring of Power”, Frodo and the fellowship are tested and tried as they battle not only the evil followers of Sauron, but the evil that the ring creates in the hearts of the heroes by its very essence. Gandalf summarizes Tolkien’s view of power with his words concerning the ring,

“I dare not take it. Not even to keep it safe. Understand Frodo, I would use this Ring from a desire to do good. But through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine.”

To Mormon’s & Christians this plot and what it teaches about power and authority might sound eerily familiar to the Biblical concept of Satan’s fall and plan for worldly dominion. In LDS and even general Christian theology it was the lust for power which caused the archetypal Satan to become a “the fallen archangel”—warring against all that is good. In Joseph Smith’s book of Moses (ch.4), it is explained that in the beginning Satan wanted the honor of redeeming mankind. As opposed to Christ’s plan of self sacrifice and equality— Satan’s plan was to use God’s power to “destroy the agency of man”, redeeming “all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost”. We can only assume from the context given in Moses 4:1–4, as well as subsequent biblical history that his plan was one of using “God’s” honor & authority to create a global totalitarian autocracy to coercively exalt all mankind (but especially himself and his crony power structure).

After his totalitarian plan is rejected, Satan rebels and comes to earth to carry out his plan anyway. Without the true secret to God’s political power or authority (which was self-sacrifice) he comes to earth and creates a false priesthood, which like Sauron’s rings of power, he uses to subtly manipulate, “deceive, blind and lead [people] captive to his will” (Moses 4:4). Satan’s goal seems to have been to either manipulate or trick people into obedience to his autocratic system through false pretenses (Moses 1:19–22), or as a last resort to do what the ancient Jews and many Christians still hope of their false Messiah. To come in power and glory dyed in blood, ready to force every knee to bow to his own egocentric concept of truth, order and righteousness (Rev 13, Dan 7). Just as Tolkien’s book details the corruption of earthly authority into what could be considered Sauron’s ‘false priesthood’, the Bible is–cover to cover–a story of the continual corruption of Jewish and earthly priesthoods into ‘Satan’s false priesthood’ of idolotry and autocratic domination.

In this article I hope to show that by upholding the only true church and only legitimate priesthood doctrines, Mormonism has unwittingly gone contrary to the democratic agency-promoting principles given in many of our own scriptures—and sometimes used the same manipulative tactics of Satan’s false priesthood to uphold autocratic power and authority. Something that we must eradicate if we are to play our key part in Christ’s true spiritual church.

The Difference Between Priesthood and The Powers of Heaven or Spiritual Gifts

Before going into other aspects of the priesthood I believe it’s important to cover what LDS scripture says the priesthood is, and is not. There are many traditional LDS beliefs and teachings which have contributed to the general pride that’s developed around priesthood in LDS culture. Some of this stems from the nearly ubiquitous misunderstanding that priesthood is the supernatural power of God [1a] used to create the world or do miraculous or supernatural acts, or that the priesthood is needed in order to be a prophet (one with the gift of prophecy), exercise divine power or be a religious icon like those idolized in Christian scripture. So why wouldn’t everyone lust after it, right?!  If like a magical ring, it gives the power to to heal or to prophesy or to cast out devils or move mountains or split seas or be a leader, prophet, seer or revelator of course it would become a source of pride to those lucky enough to have it, and a source of envy to groups forbidden from it!

A careful examination of the scripture show that priesthood is neither needed nor said to uniquely give people power to do ANY of these things. The scriptures instead teach that Judeo Christian priesthood was simply a symbolic religious order, authority and responsibility which obligates the powerful aspects of society to be a metaphor of the heavenly church, and use one’s attained power for good, and to establish the level of equality needed for group exaltation– and a system to convict it’s holders when they twist it into something opposite its intent. The scriptures make it clear that all the supernatural powers of God are given equally to ALL WORTHY MANKIND (humankind) as “gifts of the Spirit” and are available “by faith” to all people regardless of gender, religion, color or priesthood ordination (see D&C 45, Moroni 7, and 2 Cor 12, 2 Ne 26:33, Lectures on Faith #1).

To confuse the priesthood (which is accessed only by ordination into a specific religious order) WITH the ‘powers of heaven’ or ‘power of God’ or gifts of the Spirit which scripture says are accessed by faith is like confusing the force of George Lucas’ star wars with the order of the Jedi who are trained to use it or Tolkien’s wizards/Istari order with the power or magic they have learned to access. After all, Christian scripture teaches that even Satan and his followers have learned by faith to use the miraculous divine powers, and his power is obviously not the same as the priesthood or order of God. Although mixing these definitions may seem a trivial debate in semantics — by perpetuating these unscriptural misunderstandings we inadvertently cause many to covet or feel excluded from a burdensome obligation of sacrifice that no one should desire.

There is simply NO scriptural support for the ubiquitous traditional LDS doctrine that the “priesthood” is the supernatural power God used to create the world and universe. There is no scriptural support suggesting priesthood has exclusive claim to any of God’s miraculous powers, except an authority or burden of responsibility to religious administration (servitude), to officiate in symbolic ecclesiastical ordinances and seal and symbolically bring a people into God’s presence. D&C 121:45 makes it clear that “That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven”, but the priesthood should not be confused for the “powers of heaven” or the “power of God” which D&C 88 teaches is “is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed”.

There are literally hundreds of verses of scripture proving these points, but I trust the average LDS reader can be convinced by reading just a handful. (see footnote [a] for more scriptural examples comparing priesthood with the power of God accessed through faith. see also The Difference Between Priesthood and Prophets , and Ether 12, Heb 11, TG; faith, D&C 88:7–13, 84:45-46, Moses 1:32, Jacob 4:9, Morm 9:17, D&C 29:30–31).

The priesthood is primarily a metaphor or symbol of a heavenly or spiritual system

Technically, priesthood does not even give people a right to authority or rule, per se. Much like Israel and the Christian Church in general, the scriptures teach that the priesthood was created to be an order of servitude and symbol or type of a heavenly spiritual system. A light to show the world how heaven operates. The true priesthood is not like Sauron’s ring, or some imaginary crown which mystically gives individuals God’s authority to rule over others — or to be God’s only revelatory mouthpieces or political regents. [1] Even Tolkien understood that such a system could only come from, and lead to evil. Joseph Smith, perhaps ironically, echoed this sentiment that religious priesthood was never meant to give men true power or authority over others. He wrote in revelation,

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only [but] by persuasion, long suffering, meekness… [and other Christlike attributes]” (D&C 121:45)

This was fairly clear in the Jewish religious system, as the priesthood was held only by Levites, and authorized its holders ONLY to work as priests in the temple. Prophets, Rabbis and many other Jewish political and religious leaders had no need for the priesthood. It was clearly only a responsibility to administer the symbolic outward ordinances of the religious system. With the advent of Christianity, the Church or congregation became the temple, and the symbolic managerial duties of the temple priests moved to ordained men of the congregation (1 Cor 3:16; Eph 2:21; 1 Peter 2:5) . With the new covenant, instead of sacrificing animals and performing ordinances on behalf of the people, the priesthood was now to follow Christ’s example of sacrificing themselves and performing symbolic ordinances on behalf of the congregation and world (Romans 12:1–2; 15:16; Philip 2:17; 4:18; Heb 13:15–16). So even though early church records show a clear hierarchical administrative system [2] which was associated with priesthood, Christ’s teachings were clear that the Church was not to follow the world’s model of using that priesthood position to support and maintain the organizational hierarchy. (In fact there are many apocryphal sources which suggest Christ created a secret organization of women equal in importance to the men)

The system of heaven which Jesus came to teach was that power and authority came not from position but from self-sacrifice. Knowledge and self sacrifice were to be the “keys” or authority of the kingdom (Matt 16:13–20, D&C 84:19; 107:15). Ordination to an office was never meant to prove one’s legitimacy or give one person authoritative control over another. He taught that only by humbly serving others can we righteously create a hierarchy or gain privilege over the will of another. That no ordinance can truly give authority, the ordinance and priesthood office is a symbol pointing to the type of wise character and level of service which earns true power and authority over others while completely preserving agency. Take the words of Christ to his apostles in Matthew 20 for instance.

25 But Jesus called [his disciples] to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life… (Matt 20:20–28 ESV) [2b]

The narrative of Christ giving Peter the “keys” of the kingdom hit this point home. (A narrative strangely absent from every gospel but Matthew’s.) Instead of Christ ordaining Peter with a magical power that he could use to rule the church and do miracles to prove Christ’s legitimacy, he promises Peter the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” after a lesson on faith and a “charge” not to flaunt the Messiah title to legitimize their teachings. It then states that Christ began then to teach in depth about self sacrifice before the religious elite,

21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day… 24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. (Matt 16:21,24–25)

The entire system of Jewish temple worship & sacrifice, culminating with Jesus coming to be judged and executed by the Jewish priesthood & Roman authorities can be seen as a clear symbolic teaching and example to show both the right way (by humble non-institutionalized example) and the wrong way (by means of religious or political authority) to lead man. The second and third temptations of Christ were an offer by Satan to get power and authority the wrong way. The Christian priesthood was not meant to give man the right or legitimacy to rule over others.  It was instituted to give mankind a symbol of a heavenly system—and to teach mankind that true authority over others comes only through self-sacrifice. Heavenly authority is meant to maintain equality through the self-sacrifice and subservience of the leadership. To humble powerful people into being equal slaves and servants in Christ. This is why this responsibility of servitude is often only given to the most assertive and domineering (masculine) aspects of humanity and withheld from the humble or subjugated (feminine) aspects of humanity. That’s not to say women should not have priesthood authority, but instead that priesthood authority was an order and charge of humility given to the powerful, that they should abase themselves to be equals with the less powerful aspects of society.  (see footnote[2c])

In fact other revealed texts such as Oahspe 32/ch. 30 (God judges dominions) teach the scripturally supported idea that the cost of human leadership is that no leader can ascend to the higher realms of existence, until he has exalted or risen up all those who had become physically or mentally subjected to them! (see Matt 23:12) That is, that the responsibility and burden of both righteous ecclesiastical leaders or wicked despots was that they could not gain an exalted resurrection until they helped every one of their willing subjects ascend with or ahead of them! In Christ’s words, the first will be made last and the last will be made first. (Matt 19:30; 20:1-16, D&C 29:30)

… I show man not only the way of liberty, but the way of bondage. He shall know understandingly the ways of my dominions, and the judgment that is upon him. 32/30.20. And the same rules shall apply to every king, queen, emperor, and every other ruler in the world. 32/30.21. The resurrection in heaven of each and every one of them shall be with, and no faster than, those they ruled over on earth.  32/30.22. And they shall be responsible to all their subjects[2d]

LDS teachings commonly use arguments of priesthood to legitimize LDS authority as the only true church, and our General Authorities as Christ’s only true living prophets and apostles on earth. Our entire cultural system of giving General Authorities and priesthood holders the “chief seats in the synagogues” or always insisting “to be called of men Rabbi, Rabbi” [President or Bishop in our case] is directly contrary to Christ’s teachings (see Matt 23:6–12; Luke 23:6, 11:43). Like the Pharisees of Jesus time, I believe we have slowly come to focus too much on priesthood as an eternal authority and honor to be desired instead of merely a responsibility to be shouldered. It has become a way to legitimize dominion and exert one’s own will upon others, instead of being a responsibility of public service which maintains equality. We forget that God respects self determination above all, and will never force compliance contrary to the voice and conscience of the majority. We too often seek to ‘talk up’ the priesthood when we should instead be focusing on the fact that earthly priesthood is a symbolic responsibility and burden that gives assertive individuals an obligation to service — and that service is the true source of heaven’s power (A power open to ALL worthy humankind.)  Paul tries repeatedly in his New Testament letters to show the Jews that the Old Testament system and priesthood were types, symbols or schoolmasters pointing to heavenly systems and spiritual truths—not to be confused with the real thing.

10 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. (Hebr 10:1 NIV)
5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” (Hebr 8:5 NIV)
23 That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals.
24 For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. (Hebr 9:23-24 NLT)
6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter [type/symbol] kills, but the Spirit [meaning behind the symbol] gives life. (2 Cor 3:6 NIV, compare NLT)

Latter day LDS scripture echoes the same sentiment,

16 Now these ordinances were given after this manner, that thereby the people might look forward on the Son of God, it being a type of his order, or it being his order… (Alma 13:16)
13 …that all things may have their likeness, and that they may accord one with another—that which is earthly conforming to that which is heavenly… (D&C 128:13)

According to the LDS worldview, the ancient Jews looked “beyond the mark”, and twisted their religious system into an organization satanic enough to excommunicate and execute their own heavenly King (Jacob 4:14, 2 Ne 10:3). We also hold that the Catholics have their own record of priesthood abuse stemming from their belief that their priesthood is what makes them elected or chosen of God. Certainly, when a religion or mankind misunderstands temporal symbols given by heaven and creates an organization that manipulates people into a exclusivist leadership hierarchy fostering feelings of pride, subservience and inequality the true priesthood is corrupted. Just as declaring one’s self “the only true church” makes a religion run the risk of being part of the church of the devil, using any arguments of priesthood to justify our authority over others runs the risk of losing the true spiritual priesthood (D&C 121:37). Paradoxically, if Mormonism wants to be part of the True Church of God, it must never boast of being the only true church. If it wants to be worthy of the true priesthood, it must hide the tokens of that priesthood by never using priesthood as a reason for its authority or legitimacy. (For example: repeated talks on being the only true church or priesthood, talking up church apostles or leadership, or excommunicating those who challenge authority or repeated talks on “obedience to priesthood”, talks suggesting leaders, the “prophet” or General Authorities are unequal or superior to regular members, or manipulatively teaching that their priesthood “mantle of authority” deserves special respect and thus shouldn’t be questioned or challenged (ie. talks on not “steadying the ark”), instead of letting obedience, respect and submission to authority be a natural outgrowth of people wanting to follow their leaders because of the leadership’s humility, service and sacrifice).

The Two branches of Mormon Priesthood and what they symbolize

I believe LDS scriptures teach that the two branches of Mormon/Biblical ecclesiastical priesthood are a type or metaphor of two larger types of priesthood used by Higher Beings in the management of our world— The Aaronic or temporal priesthood and the Melchizedek or spiritual priesthood. In a way, I believe LDS scriptural teachings on these priesthoods are meant to reconcile the Catholic views on ministerial priesthood with the Protestant views of universal priesthood. The Mormon Aaronic or lower priesthood being a type or symbol pointing to the “temporal” priesthood or earthly authority of the earth’s religions & political organizations. The Mormon Melchizedek, higher or “spiritual” priesthood being a symbol of the “invisible” spiritual or universal priesthood which is used by heavenly/spiritual beings to rule ALL earthy political and religious affairs according to their agency.  The earthly temporal lower priesthood like the temporal church, is supposed to copy that higher perfect heavenly system. Its primary purpose is to be a type, symbol or example and schoolmaster to the world.

Re-examining what LDS scriptures say about the ‘Only True Church’ doctrine

67 Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.
68 Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church (D&C 10:67–68).

Introduction

In this article I hope to show from numerous scriptures in the Book of Mormon, the New Testament & the Doctrine & Covenants that the “one true church” of Jesus Christ mentioned in most of LDS scriptures appears to be a non-denominational “spiritual church” or heavenly church which manifests as a cultural movement and NOT strictly the LDS ecclesiastical organization as has been established in LDS tradition.[defs] I also hope to show in this and other articles in this series that Judaism, Christianity and Mormonism were created to be a symbol, or type/archetype of this heavenly church, but by failing to establish Zion the early saints also failed to establish & gather the temporal “true and living church” spoken of in D&C 1:30. The “only true church”, or Kingdom of god/heaven would be something earthly churches aspire to and lead people to, not an inherent right that comes with priesthood keys. The scriptures toward the end of this article hit the point home, and show that like Peter and other apostle’s constant misunderstanding of Jesus teachings—Joseph and modern church leaders may have also misunderstood and overlooked LDS scriptures which clearly teach that the “only true church” is a heavenly church instead of specific religious sect or denomination. A global spiritual brotherhood which all the good people and faiths of earth are destined toward if the follow the path of love and selflessness. It seems to this author that religious scripture, like good music and poetry, is made to be somewhat ambiguous on many issues, and cultures use that ambiguity to promote love and selflessness or egocentrism and pride.  It is my hope that by looking at the following scriptural arguments that the LDS people might choose to focus on scriptures which promote religious pluralism, and not those which promote exclusivity and pride.

 

Outline of points covered in the article
-The cultural overuse of the only true church concept in LDS testimonies too often follows the example of the Book of Mormon Zoramites. (see Alma 31:12–21)
-The Book of Mormon, Bible and Doctrine and Covenants teach that Christ’s one true church (as well as the church of the devil) are spiritual churches which transcend organizational and priesthood lines. (D&C 10:67–68, 1 Ne 14:10Moroni 7:16–17, Mark 9:38–402 Nephi 10:16Matt 12:30, etc)
-The Doctrine & Covenants (D&C 10:67–68) clearly teaches the condition required to be part of Christ’s Spiritual Church. Declaring more or less than that definition threatens Mormonisms’ membership in Christ’s one true spiritual church.
-A temporal sect or religion’s “trueness” or whether they can be classified as part of the “one true church”, depends on how well they copy, obey or “come unto” the spiritual church in heaven. (D&C 10:53–59,67–69)
-The separation of the wheat and the tares at the end of the age is synonymous with Christ’s separation of the Church of God and Church of the devil. The point of the parable revolves around the difficulty for humans to distinguish between the two. (see Matt 13:37–43, D&C 86:1–3, D&C 88:94)
-D&C 10:52–54 makes it clear that Christ’s spiritual church existed on earth before the restoration of the LDS sect. Joseph Smith’s church & priesthood were meant to “build up” and correct the already existing spiritual church on earth. And to be a symbol and archetype of the end-epoch separating and gathering process (see Heb 8:5;9:23-24;10:1; Alma 13:16).
-Mormonism should never boast of being the only true church until Messiah’s final gathering of all people and churches in One Body, and that universal brotherhood or kingdom is ready to “present to the Father”.
-Interpreting D&C 1:30 to suggest the LDS church is ‘the ONLY true church’, contradicts other scriptural evidence concerning the matter. We LDS people need to relook at the conditional nature of what the verse actually says–and stop using it as a pillar of exclusivity. (see exegesis of D&C 1:30)

Zoramitism in the LDS Church

It seems to me that many Mormons have focused too much on a prideful reading of D&C 1:30, and discount an abundance of scriptural information to the contrary, in order to support the tradition of being “the only true church”. Like the biblical Pharisees and Zoramites in the Book of Mormon, we sometimes twist the scriptures in a manner that makes us think that God has “separated us” and “elected us to be saved”, while “all around us are elected to be cast by [his] wrath down to hell” (or lower kingdoms until we do their temple work). Understanding the pride inherent in our doctrines is the first step in unraveling what I believe to be egocentric scriptural interpretations which crept into the church from its earliest days. The similarities between the Book of Mormon account of the Zoramites and the average Mormon testimony in Fast & Testimony Meeting should be enough to convict us and open our hearts to the need to look closer at what the scriptures teach concerning the only true church doctrine. For those unfamiliar with the story of the Zoramites, let’s read through Alma’s experience for some insight into this extremely prideful sect—one that LDS people don’t want to be like!

12 Now, when they had come into the land, behold, to their astonishment they found that the Zoramites had built synagogues, and that they did gather themselves together on one day of the week, which day they did call the day of the Lord; and they did worship after a manner which Alma and his brethren had never beheld;
13 For they had a place built up in the center of their synagogue, a place for standing, which was high above the head; and the top thereof would only admit one person.
14 Therefore, whosoever desired to worship must go forth and stand upon the top thereof, and stretch forth his hands towards heaven, and cry with a loud voice, saying:
15 Holy, holy God; we believe that thou art God, and we believe that thou art holy, and that thou wast a spirit, and that thou art a spirit, and that thou wilt be a spirit forever.
16 Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren; and we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast elected us to be thy holy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ.
17 But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever; and thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell; for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren, which doth bind them down to a belief of Christ, which doth lead their hearts to wander far from thee, our God.
18 And again we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people. Amen.
19 Now it came to pass that after Alma and his brethren and his sons had heard these prayers, they were astonished beyond all measure.
20 For behold, every man did go forth and offer up these same prayers.
21 Now the place was called by them Rameumptom, which, being interpreted, is the holy stand. (Alma 31:12–21)

Although the beliefs of the Zoramites concerning the nature of God and Christ were different than our own, we come too close to sharing the same pride concerning salvation. Like all fundamentalist sects, the Zoramites saw themselves as a “chosen and holy people”. Like us, the Zoramites truly believed that their doctrines, divine election, (and likely priesthood & ordinances)  made them the only true church, “elected by God to be saved”. They did not understand the following concepts taught by Nephi, and reiterated by Moroni, Jesus and other prophets—that until Zion is fully established & redeemed, the only true church is a spiritual church which transcends cultural and organizational lines.

The ‘Only Two Churches’ are ‘Spiritual Churches’ or Social Movements

I suggest the LDS concept of being the ‘only true church’ is promoted by a small handful of misunderstood scriptures. One example is Nephi’s vision of the two churches. In his vision given in 1 Nephi of the Book of Mormon, Nephi was taught that there are only two churches, the church of the Lamb of God (or the true church), and the church of the devil (the false church). This vision is often used to support the idea that there is only one true church on earth — however, since Nephi’s vision specifies that everyone on earth belongs to one of these two churches— it should be obvious that term “church” here is referring to a “spiritual” church or ideological allegiance and not just a temporal sect or ecclesiastical organization. Lets look at what the verse says,

10 And [The angel of the Lord] said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. (1 Ne 14:10)

It should be apparent from the context of this verse, that the term “church” in this scripture, can not be referring to the most popular modern definition of the word church (which is a specific religious denomination). Since the verse says “there are save two churches only”, defining “church” as a denomination would mean there could only be two religious denominations in existence, and everyone on earth would have to be a member of one or the other.

As implied by the context and noted by other authors, the word church anciently, often had a much broader meaning than it does now (Hebrew qahal or edah; Greek ekklesia). For instance, in Greek texts it referred more broadly to a general assembly, or political association of people who bonded together and shared the same beliefs or loyalties. Scholars have noted that the modern concept of a church as a separate priesthood organization or religious denomination, didn’t exist among Jews of the first and second temple periods. Instead the differing religious groups or “schools of thought” as Josephus called them, were forced to work together to manage the Jewish theocratic state despite their conflicting ideologies.

In regards to Nephi’s vision of two churches, LDS apostles and church leaders have often misunderstood the scriptural use of the word “church” by arguing an inconsistent definition-— suggesting on one hand that the “church of the lamb of God” refers to a literal ecclesiastical organization (the LDS church and its ancient equivalent), but yet that the “church of the devil” refers to a figurative or spiritual church that transcends organizational lines. Others have tried to define the Church of the Devil in Nephi’s vision as the Catholic or American Evangelical Churches. However any interpretation to make either “the church of the Lamb of God” OR “the church of the devil” into literal Christian organizations or sects, contradicts the principle taught in Moroni 7 where he teaches that “every thing which inviteth to do good… is of God” and “whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil… is of the devil”.

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. (Moroni 7:16–17)

12 And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me. I am the same that leadeth men to all good… (Ether 4:12)

The idea sometimes pushed by early church leaders that every other Christian denomination BUT the LDS church was the Church of the devil would be a complete contradiction to Moroni’s words. How could Catholicism or protestantism for instance be the “church of the devil” when the devil “persuadeth no man to do good[0], no not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him“! The idea is prideful and contradictory and has subsequently been abandoned by most modern LDS teachers. But at the same time, how could the LDS church be the “only true church” when according to Nephi and other scriptures THERE ARE ONLY TWO CHURCHES? According to Nephi’s vision, holding that the LDS denomination is the only true church requires all others to be part of the church of the devil, which as we will see in this article goes contrary to the words of Moroni, Christ’s and the Joseph’s Doctrine and Covenants. The answer to this apparent contradiction is that Both Moroni and Nephi for the most part taught a broad spiritual version of Christ’s true church. [1]

Is it any wonder that we are scorned as being a cult by other churches when we repeatedly infer that they are part of the church of the devil? (Perhaps some LDS members don’t realize it, but our insistence that we are the ONLY true church infers by definition that unlike us, all others are false!).

To make either the Church of God OR the Church of the Devil into one particular organization is to twist the scriptures on the matter.

Early LDS Church leaders were not alone in their misunderstanding of the spiritual nature of the “church” Christ taught.  In the New Testament John and other apostles make this same mistake when they forbid a man who would not follow them, from casting out demons by Christ’s name and authority. Jesus rebuked them and teaches the same principle as Nephi and Moroni. No-one who does good in Christ’s name is of the devil—and the apostolic followers weren’t the only one’s allowed to act with Christ’s authority. Because all who do good in Christ’s name are part of Christ’s spiritual church.

38 John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone forcing demons out of a person by using the power and authority of your name. We tried to stop him because he was not one of us.”
39 Jesus said, “Don’t stop him! No one who works a miracle in my name can turn around and speak evil of me.
40 Whoever isn’t against us is for us. (Mark 9:38–40 GWT)

Nephi makes essentially the same statement using reverse logic later in his writings as he explains the nature of both the true church of Christ and the False church of the devil. (Christ also says almost the exact thing in Matt 12:30)

“Wherefore, he that fighteth against Zion, both Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female, shall perish; for they are they who are the whore of all the earth; for they who are not for me are against me, saith our God.” (2 Nephi 10:16, see also Matt 12:30)

So Christ in one place says “whoever is not against us–is for us”, but in another place says (along with Nephi) “whoever is not for us–is against us” (see Matt 12:30). These statements are a complete contradictions if you try to define Christ’s church as a closed ecclesiastical organization. (see footnote 4) They can only be harmonized if you see them as a restatement of the same forced spiritual dichotomy used over and over in scripture which teaches that those who do good and are heading toward love are part of the spiritual church of God, and those who do evil and are fighting good are part of the church of the devil. And that every ecclesiastical church, sect, denomination, religion, person or nation is constantly aligning themselves with one or the other in everything they do–and will eventually have to chose allegiances in the heavenly or spiritual battle. Understanding this logic shows how the verses mentioned above support the idea of a spiritual church… and not just a temporal church.

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The Good vs. Evil Dichotomy in Scripture

The binary or dichotomy of good vs. evil is taught throughout the scriptures. And perhaps nowhere is the idea that these terms transcend organizational lines taught better than in the parable of the wheat and the tares. In the parable the Master commands his servants to plant wheat in a field— but when it grows he find tares MIXED WITHIN the wheat. He tells his servants to allow them to grow together, least pulling out the tares, “ye root up also the wheat with them”.  The meaning of this parable is explained not only in the New Testament but also in D&C 86 & 88, where we learn that that “the field was the world, and the apostles were the sowers of the seed” (D&C 86:2), the good seed are the children of Christ’s kingdom (true church), and the tares are the church of the devil or bad people and bad works that come from twisted doctrine (Matt 13:38, D&C 88:94).

37 …He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom [Christ’s true church]; but the tares are the children of the wicked one [ie. devil’s church, see D&C 88:94];
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matt 13:37–43, see also D&C 86:1–3)

Verse 38 (clarified in D&C 88:94) makes it clear that in this parable the wheat are the kingdom or church of Christ, and the tares are the ‘kingdom or church of the devil’. And the whole point of the parable is that it is hard to tell the difference between the two because they look so similar and grow together within each organization! Both the wheat and the tares exist within every religion, culture and kingdom. There are tares in “Christ’s Kingdom”, and wheat among the Gentiles. But it is not until “the end of the world” (end or close of the age in most translations) that Christ and his angels (not mortal servants) will separate the two; gathering the wheat into heaven and burning the tares with the stubble to prepare a new crop cycle. [2].

Needed Reformation in the LDS Church – Specific Actions

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I’m an active Mormon, and I care quite a bit about my faith (maybe too much!). As I’ve looked deeply at Mormon history over the last decade, it seems to me that Mormonism has changed doctrine and practice about as fast as the members overwhelmingly desired it (or social pressure required it) —and to me, this seems just as one would hope of a religion that professes to follow ‘the plan of moral agency’ (D&C 101:78; 93:31; Moses 4:3). I believe scriptures supports the idea that divinity gives a lot more leniency for religious leaders to make decisions than those leaders typically dare admit. And looking at the history of Judaism, Mormonism or Catholicism, it seems that major divisions and schisms occur when church leaders do not recognize growing demand for change in the people–or leaders refuse to govern according the agency of the people (or the dictates of the Spirit as given individually to the vast majority).

Thus I offer the following as topics to think about. I don’t say any of these things to be divisive—to the contrary, as I read through LDS blogs and forums, I see way too much division and way too many people leaving the Church with very ill feelings.  Its something I’ve given a lot of thought and study to, and as I’ve searched through the scriptures for answers I’ve come up with the following list of divisive traditions and practices which seem to go against our own founding revelations.

In my opinion, basically every major problem in the church boils down to this first two or three Reform Actions.  I believe, power which has become too centralized and lofty for the progression of seasoned members, is at the root of every other imbalance mentioned in this article. (autocratic institutionalization can be great for coverts and new areas of the church, but it’s death to the 5th generational central stakes of Zion)

 

Note

These items now have their own section… and each Reform Action, its own post. See “needed reformation” menu.

 

Reform Action #1:

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Remove the doctrine of muted prophetic infallibility from our scripture and teachings. Church leaders and members often use the following excerpt from Wilford Woodruff’s Official declaration 1 (which aimed to end the church practice of polygamy) to suggest that God would never allow the church leadership to lead the church contrary to the will of God.  Read More>>

 

Reform Action #2:

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Decentralize and pull down the power, which has become too lofty and autocratic for seasoned members. Church hierarchy needs to humble themselves monetarily and authoritatively. Restore the balance of power between Stake and central church priesthood hierarchy, according to the principles delineated in D&C 107, by bolstering stake influence and reducing centralization & institutionalization efforts from SLC for seasoned regions, and expanding the influence of the patriarchal order of the priesthood. D&C 107 describes a perfect balance of power between the Stake government and the central church government, this balance needs to be reestablished. Read More>>

 

 

Reform Action #3:

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Reform governance in seasoned regions of the church, working to eliminate autocracy/unrighteous dominion and more properly balance agency and consensus rule (common voice). Restore the law of Common Voice where possible in the selection of many congregational-level callings. Do better at respecting difference of opinion and re-instituting the vote as a major form of decision making. (this does not necessarily apply in regions where the church is new). Read More>>

 

Reform Action #4:

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Reform the church’s unscriptural exclusive truth & priesthood claims.  Stop promoting false dichotomies in our truth claims. Maintain the multidimensional scriptural metaphors without imposing rigid church-wide interpretations for them. Read More>>

 

 

Reform Action #5:

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Be completely transparent about church history. (we’re making huge progress on this!)   Read More>>

 

 

Reform Action #6:

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Teach and encourage the practice of economic equality through the Law of Consecration in its proper framework under the United Order (essentially a hybrid form of free-will socialism). Completely ingnoring this law separates the church from the heavenly organizations which helped to found it. Failing to even teach (let alone practice) this system makes the church just another religious faction preaching supposed religiousness but not practicing a system which remedies social inequality—the single largest cause of social instability & collapse.  See D&C sections 42, 51, 78, 82, 104. see also Enrichment L.

Read More>>

 

 

The Rest is Trivial.

Every other action in this article is trivial. Giving this author or any small group of people control to create “reforms” would be just as ineffective as the current status quo if it comes from an over-centralized bureaucracy.  Most the below issues revolve around the institutionalization of the Church which has come as a result of its over centralization and autocratic power structure. They are just random ideas, and not actual dictates of how I think the church should be.

———————————————–

 

Reform Action:

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Put a greater emphasis on service, humanitarian work and giving. (I think we’re making progress?!)

Read More>>

 

 

Reform Action:

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LDS Apostles need to stop being dishonest concerning their witness of Jesus Christ. Read More>>

 

 

 

Reform Action:

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Stop teaching that LDS temple and ordinances are required to make it to the Celestial Kingdom and start emphasizing that these things are important symbols which aid in salvation and eternal union but are not a requirement for it per se.

Read More>>

 

 

Reform Action:

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Stop excommunicating or marginalizing dissidents. Excommunication should conform strictly with the principles delineated in D&C 42:20–28 and D&C 102. Public or private differences of opinion are not grounds for excommunication. Witch-hunts should be avoided at all costs. The church is meant to be a ‘type’ or example of perfect government, there must be effective channels for group secession and re-absorption to and from the ecumenical union.

Read More>>

 

 

Reform Action:

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Reform institutionalized temple worship. The current system of pressuring youth into temple initiation, and covenant making (without even knowing beforehand the full idea of what covenants they will be making) is morally wrong, and highly detrimental.

There are a lot of aspects of temple worship which need to change… Read More>>

 

 

Reform Action:

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Greatly reform the teachings and strictures concerning sexuality, health and substance abuse in the Church. Leave the specifics to the patriarchal order where they belong.

Read More>>

 

 

Reform Action:

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Take steps to decentralize the monetary system and allow stakes far greater latitude in deciding how much money to spend on structures (meeting houses, temples, etc) & programs. Do a better job of separating “for-profit” arms of the Church. The presiding bishopric, not the traveling twelve should be involved in these “temporal matters”.

Read More>>

 

 

Reform Action:

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Create a system of activism and unsolicited volunteerism. Perhaps a system of self appointed callings? (or something to this effect).

Read More>>

 

 

 

 

Other Possible Points

-do not make the same mistakes concerning pushes for gender equality in the church as were made in regard to the issue of black and the priesthood. (suggesting doctrine supports the idea that God is against it or that it will never happen etc…)

-slowly expand women’s roles until full gender equality is achieved. Start with missionaries (done!), move to Ward Council (equal number of men & women). Then to church wide general auxiliaries. Then to issues of priesthood (see GOHT). Have Bishops/Stake Presidents and General Authorities wives assist in their callings and speak at meetings and General Conferences. Show in word and action that these are shared gender callings… that men are not called, couples who have achieved true oneness are.

-encourage original music and art in more church settings. (Ensign and Deseret Book are doing a good job!)  Allow original and faith building modern music in sacrament meetings according to common consent.

-rename “worthiness interviews” to bishop “counsel sessions” or something similar. Do not ask yes/no inquisition-like questions, instead create an outline bishops can follow to rightly judge the ideas of the member’s understanding on certain topics. He can then give counsel and guidance according to their knowledge. Always holding the agency and personal revelation of the individual preeminent.

 

See also My reformational article dealing with more abstract doctrinal issues here….   https://mormonuniversalism.com/2613/needed-reformation-in-the-lds-church/

On the Great Whore & Counterfeits in the Church.

counterfeits-in-the-church



I don’t like to label things as evil. I like the detached scientific view where everything on earth is working together in a balanced ecosystem according to natural laws– to “God’s” laws if you will. Each plant and animal follows the natural laws of instinct, and the fittest survive maintaining the balance. The lion is certainly the lamb’s enemy when the lion is hungry, but calling one of them good and the other evil is simply a matter of perspective. The fly would certainly be justified in teaching its children that the venus flytrap is a bad evil thing… but an intelligent human observer would likely not take sides. Christian scripture if full of division of Good vs Evil, but then later prophets of scripture seem to step in and upset those definitions.

In the ecosystem of people there are also Lions and Lambs, predator and prey, those acting and those being acted upon. It is a common thing for both these groups to use camouflage or deceptive and counterfeit tactics to fulfill their desires.

Call it what you will. I would like to draw two short parallels to counterfeits in sexuality and religion. Perhaps different than most articles on this topic, I would specifically like to use counterfeits in sexuality to make some points about counterfeits in religious orthodoxy and priesthood.

Sexual Counterfeits 

There is a natural instinct for people to be attracted to each other, to explore that attraction, to eventually fall in love, to build a family together, to perpetuate the species and find self-fulfillment in serving and protecting offspring. Although there are exceptions, this is a fairly ubiquitous human instinct and emotional desire.

In that quest for each individual to fulfill the natural law (god given instinct), they often come across “predators” who are following their desires and instinct to manipulate others for their own gain. In terms of sexuality, we often hear the term “whore” (correctly or wrongly) used in religious contexts to describe aspects of this phenomena.

In the context of this article I would redefine a “whore” as male or female sexual counterfeit who tricks another into thinking they are following the natural law which would lead to long term sexual fulfillment, when in reality they are not. Not so much a prostitute, but an intentional or unintentional counterfeit; a deceit.

I think in the religious context of Latter Day Saints this definition is sorely needed. I hear so many voices calling attractive women a whore or “walking porn” or calling anything which leads to sexual thoughts, porn. Each person holding their own imaginary line of moral “correctness”. An outfit which would be overly modest at a beach becomes “walking porn” if it is in the mall. Or an outfit that would be considered puritanical in Western society becoming “walking porn” if it were in the Muslim world. Michelangelo’s “David” or the “Venus de Milo” are art to one and porn to another. I see it as inherently wrong to negatively label as whorish or “evil porn”, human bodies which nature has created.  In my opinion the whore or porn stigma should not be attached to a person or object, but to a state of mind. Similarly scriptural “lust” should not be considered the emotion of sexual desire (a God-given desire), but the act of desiring a counterfeit which will never fulfill the natural impulse to fall in love, find sexual fulfillment or procreate and raise and protect offspring. Over-sexualized depictions in media are not “evil porn” because there is something inherently evil about the people, their bodies or even their behavior. But they often bring negative consequences when the voyeur is deceived into thinking they will achieve their desires of companionship and long term sexual fulfillment from people they will almost certainly never be able to court, love or have fulfilling relationships with. The deceptive illusion can cause people to habitually consume a substance which never actually fulfills their basic needs because it is an unobtainable illusion.

(I am not trying so much to speak to the morality of this issue, as much as I wish to use it to make my next point.)

Lust or “whorishness” can not be defined by dress standards. It is better defined as a male or female sexual counterfeit who tricks another into thinking they are following the natural desire for love, unity and family creation… when in reality they are not.

Religious Counterfeits

In certain LDS scripture the term “whore” is also used to describe “false” religion.

I think this term in light of the definition discussed above is incredibly important to LDS people, and in fact people of all faiths.

Just as a whore in a sexual context is one who deceives another into thinking they will help them fulfill their true sexual desires (but doesn’t), a whore in a religious context is one who deceives another into thinking they will achieve their spiritual desires but never fulfills. A religious “whore” is a spiritual counterfeit. An institution which feigns to be God’s bride, but isn’t.

Now this is where it gets tricky, because even more than with sexuality, everyone’s spiritual needs are different. Spirituality is deeply personal and is defined & fulfilled differently for everyone. Using the porn analogy, U.S. pornographers have institutionalized sex and sought to manipulate the world into thinking a certain body type and sexual style is superior. They have deceived many into thinking their sexual desires as dictated by the natural law can only be fulfilled with the sexual icons and behaviors they promote. Many fall for this deception and continually try to find sexual fulfillment by following their program. For some it works. For most it does not. The test is whether it brings long term joy and happiness to one’s life or leaves one feeling hollow, empty and unfulfilled.

In terms of religion this is something religious leaders must be careful not to do in a religious sense. Every person is unique and different, so when we institutionalize spirituality and suggest to people that our rigidly defined program is the one and only way for people to fulfill their deeply personal spiritual needs–we run the risk of becoming religious whores or part of the scriptural “whore of all the earth” who manipulates and captivates those who are just trying to be “good people”.

Every person is unique, but there are common spiritual yearnings within most people. Psychological and emotional needs which cause a yearning for and enjoyment of things like a sunset or beautiful vista. Holding a new baby. Walking through a forest. Connecting with people. The enjoyment of music. Having structure and bounds in one’s life. Connecting with books, ancient wisdom and the ideas of others. Unity with God. Religion is divinely given to mankind to fulfill these instinctual yearnings. But we must take care that in the institutionalization of religion, we do not allow priests or prophets, temples or templates to become porn or prostitutes who give the appearance of satisfying the spiritual yearnings of the people, but by their rigidity and dogmatism actually keep them from that fulfillment.

I dont say this to demonize religious activity or religious leaders any more than I would demonize a lion for doing what it does. But I do think this is an vital scriptural principle that all us Christians should be aware of.

Religious things can also become counterfeits, which

Religious institutionalism can also become counterfeit, and trick a people into thinking they are satiating their natural desire for spirituality… when in reality they are not.

The Example of Stephen

Just before Stephen was stoned by the orthodox Jews for denouncing their condition he made many profound statements. One of which was,

David found favor with God and asked for the privilege of building a permanent Temple for the God of Jacob… However, the Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands. As the prophet says
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Could you build me a temple as good as that?” (acts 7)

Stephen wasn’t just saying that the Spirit of God had left the Jewish temple, he was saying it had left their religion and that their temple and all their ordinances had become man-made counterfeits. They had become porn and part of the “whore of all the earth”. They had allowed their symbols and rituals to morph from teaching tools into deceptive representations of the True God and His true temple—which are composed of the earth, a loving human heart and other natural creations built “without human hands”.

You see religion, ordinances and temple worship are all symbols (or schoolmasters) meant to point us to God and true spirituality. True spirituality is a state of being which is deeply personal and can not be universally taught with words or attained by human ordinances or sophistry. It’s like one’s natural instinct to join with another person and procreate an infant life. It’s a natural instinct to join with creation and co-create something special— your life.

No one can tell you exactly how to do that best. Hopefully loving parents, priests, prophets and leaders can point the way and use symbols and ordinances to help you build connections with the greater unseen reality outside our narrow human perception. But for some these sacramental powers which connect us to God and goodness might not come through church. They might not come through the temples built with human hands. Instead, they might come through God’s temple of the natural world. They might come through solace. They might come through the true natural sacraments of a kiss, a hug or holding a new baby. They might come through loving relationships. I believe these truths are woven throughout Christian scripture and ritual.

The Christian Religion is made to free the captives, not to make them feel enslaved.

Christ’s gospel was to preach freedom to the captives, not captivity to the free. Both sexual and religious counterfeits cause captivity by tricking our God-given instincts.

Conclusion

I write this because I see far too much whoring in the church.  Not so much from those making mistakes in the areas of human sexuality… but from those who have made the church into an idol—those believing personal salvation lies in correlated institutionalism instead of through the common sense principles of goodness defined by “God” to everyone on earth individually though His Spirit. Those who mistake symbols, idealism and counterfeit-things for the greater reality these emblems are trying to convey. Those who think the Spirit of God dwells more fully in prophets and temples than in the stillness of each individual’s heart. I see far too many people leaving the church not for their own selfish reasons, but for the egocentric ideals and selfishness they feel coming from the increasingly institutionalized church.

Nephi suggests that the crowning attribute of the counterfeit “whorish” church is control over others. Those of the false church “bind”, “yoke” and “bring into captivity” the peaceable followers of God” (those just trying to be good people). In biblical times that control over others was maintained by literal stones thrown by the orthodoxy, but for us it may be metaphorical ones. It can be control maintained by self-righteous and manipulative comments or talks given by those in authority. It can be religious doctrines which threaten damnation for those who do not follow one denomination’s specific practices or ordinances. It can be lessons which involve manipulative “wickedness bashing” or demonization of groups or human tendencies or making standards into heavy burdens. It can be insensitivity to each person’s unique situation, or promotion of faith in a vengeful dictator Messiah or a totalitarian millennial kingdom. It can leaders and members who feel they need to bad-talk or use church discipline on other members who see things a little different from the mainstream. We need more Jesus in the Church. We need less phariseeism and less dogma. We need to give each other more freedom to personally work through what’s real and what’s counterfeit in this world. We need to allow ourselves and others the freedom to try to identify things from the church’s youth which may have been manipulative, misleading or more human than divine. We need to emphasize the divinity and prophetic abilities in all men—not just institutional leaders or religious founders. We need to realize that if in religious zeal we cast stones of dogmatic moral judgement it might be us that God labels the whore at the judgement bar. We need to identify the counterfeits in our lives and the counterfeits in our religion which pretend to give fulfillment but just aren’t doing the trick. We need to be understanding of the fact that for some people there is very little of God’s spirit in the symbolism of temples, scriptures or church ordinances–because Creation speaks to them in the truer thing these symbols typify. We need to hold preeminent the undefiled “pure religion” of selfless service mentioned by James. We need to find the Spirit in all of us and work together toward a communion thats real, genuine and fulfilling for all.

References: John 1:29/Rev 5:5, Acts 6:8–15, 7:1-60 (NLT), Jer. 23:23–24 | 1 Kings 8:27, Acts 17:24–28, John 4:24 | 1 Tim. 1:17 | 1 Tim. 6:16, D&C 88:6–13, 2 Ne 2:13–14,261 Ne 13:5, 1 Ne 14:10–11, James 1:27, Gal 3:24–25, Heb 7:5–28, Heb 10:1–16

Christ as the Only Path to the Father

Does one have to be Christian to be saved?  Did Christ teach that you had to believe in him in order to go to heaven? Could a Buddhist get to heaven through Buddha?

Scriptures such as John 14:6 which says “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” is one example of a verse seeming to suggest that only Christians can go to heaven or that all must go through Jesus to get there. Terms such as “only begotten son” (or monogenēs: John 1:14; 1:18; 3:18; Heb 11:17; 1 Jn 4:9), similarly suggest to many that salvation is only through Jesus.  But is there a deeper symbolic truth hidden in these scriptural expressions?

I believe that Christ came from a realm of the highest, completely unified beings to be a living Symbol or archetype. This is why he is called the Word of God. Words are symbols which are meant to communicate thoughts, and Christ (which is simply the Latin tranliteration for the hebrew Mashiach meaning “anointed one”) was a living symbol sent to communicate the mind of God to man. What he symbolized was a certain character or manner of thought and being which is epitomized by love, self-sacrifice, wisdom and power. Christ, like the offices of Buddha or Lama was and is a title which means Messiah or Anointed One. So when the prophet say that there is no other way to salvation but through Christ, and all the other similar phrases they are saying that redemption from the Fall or Division of Man comes only through the same path he and all the Great Anointed ones prophets came to teach us.

 

 

The “Only Begotten” Son
AUTHOR: Clifton H. Payne, Jr.
As a small boy growing up in Alabama I had a deep love of God and a real hunger to know him better. By the age of eight I had read the entire Bible. But, like most people, I often struggled to understand what the Scriptures were saying. Many verses didn’t seem to make sense.

One of the first verses to puzzle me was the verse that is perhaps the best-known verse in the New Testament, John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten [monogenes] Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (NKJV). Why does the text say, “only begotten Son” and not “one and only son” as the NIV renders it? “Only begotten son” is not a term that modern English-speakers normally use.
To begin with, can we say that Jesus is the “one and only son of God”? While many people might at first say, “Yes,” the answer is actually, “Yes and No.” In the Gospel of Luke 3:23–38 the genealogy of Jesus is listed beginning with Joseph and going backward to Adam, “the son of God.” In Biblical terms, we are all children (sons) of God. For example, in John 8:41 the Jewish audience that Jesus was addressing said to him, “We have one Father-God” (NKJV). Also, in Isaiah 43:3–7 God called his people his sons and daughters. So, if we are all sons of God, how can Jesus be the “one and only son,” as the NIV renders the text? And if the text should be properly rendered “only begotten son,” what does this awkward expression mean?
The answer is found in Scripture and an ancient Midrash (Jewish commentary on Scripture). To understand what “only begotten son” means we must look at several ways it is used in Scripture and at the way the term “begot” is used in the Midrash.

We also find the term “only begotten son” in Hebrews 11:17: “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son” (NKJV). Now, it is clear that Abraham had more than one son. His firstborn son was Ishmael, but the Book of Hebrews calls Isaac his “only begotten” son. Obviously there is a meaning to this term that is different from simply “only son.” However, in Genesis 22:1–2 at the beginning of the story of the Akedah (the binding of Isaac), God told Abraham, “Take now your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering” (NKJV). In this text God referred to Isaac as Abraham’s “only”[yahid] son. Is it possible that God was confused, or that he had forgotten about Ishmael?

One clue is in the way that the term “only”(yahid) is used in the Hebrew Scriptures. Normally yahid meant “only” and referred to an only child (Gen. 22:2, 12, 16; Judg. 11:34; Jer. 6:26; etc.). It also sometimes meant “lonely” or “solitary” (Ps. 25:16; 68:6), or “precious” (Ps. 22:20; 35:17). It is perhaps in this last sense that the Septuagint (the second-century B.C. Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures) rendered yahid as agapetos (beloved), instead of the usual monogenes (only begotten) as in Genesis 22:2, 12, 16. The Septuagint’s rendering is significant because this is the word used by God for Jesus at the Mount of Transfiguration according to Matthew 17:5: “This is my beloved [agapetos] Son” (NKJV). In these examples we see that “only [one]” is the one who is unique and especially loved.

Another meaning of “only son” [yahid] is found in the story of Abraham and his relationship with Ishmael. Genesis 21:9 states that Sarah saw Ishmael “mocking” [mezahek]. Abraham subsequently expelled Ishmael from his home providing him with nothing but bread and water. Abraham was a rich man. Why would he have sent his firstborn son out of his home with nothing but bread and water? In Exodus Rabbah 1 (on Gen. 21:9), we find the Midrash’s answer:
What did Ishmael do? When he was fifteen years old, he commenced to bring idols from the street, toyed with them and worshipped them as he had seen others do. So “when Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne unto Abraham, making sport” [mocking] (the word mezahek being always used of idolatry as in “And they rose up to make merry” [Ex. 32:6] [i.e., to worship the Golden Calf]….) (trans. Soncino)

The commentary goes on to explain that Abraham expelled Ishmael because Ishmael had fallen into idolatry, and to prevent him from leading Isaac astray, Abraham sent him away. He treated Ishmael as though he had died. Even to this day, in some Orthodox Jewish families if a child becomes an apostate the family holds the son or daughter’s funeral. This is similar to the story of “the prodigal son.” The son had become apostate and upon his return the father said, “For this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Lk. 15:11-32). In this sense Isaac was Abraham’s only son since Ishmael was the same as dead, even as God warned Adam and Eve that if they sinned they would die (Gen. 2:17).
Isaac was indeed the “beloved” son of Abraham and Sarah’s old age, and due to Ishmael’s idolatry, their “only” son. Thus, we can understand “only” (yahid) as both unique and especially beloved.

This brings us to the terms “begot” and “begotten.” In Genesis 25:19 it is written: “This is the genealogy of Isaac, Abraham’s son. Abraham begot [holid] Isaac.” Genesis 25:12 reads: “Now this is the genealogy of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s maidservant, bore [yaldah] to Abraham.” The Bible records that Abraham “begot” Isaac, but it never says that Abraham “begot” Ishmael. The Bible states that Ishmael was the son of Abraham, but the text never uses “begot” in connection with Abraham and Ishmael. The verb yalad is used in connection with Hagar, but not with Abraham. The commentary to Genesis 25:19 in Exodus Rabbah 1 explains the text in this way: “And it is written: ‘And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham begot Isaac,’ to teach you that he was like his father in all things: in beauty, wisdom, riches, and good deeds” (trans. Soncino).

Accordingly, “begot” means “to have the full nature of and to be exactly like.” This understanding comes from the biblical text itself. In Genesis 5:3 it is written: “And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.” Similar are Jesus’ sayings in John 14:9 (“He who has seen me has seen the Father”) and John 8:39–47 (“They answered and said to him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham… You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do'”). In this sense, “begot” and “begotten” convey, “to be the complete image and representation of the father.”

Both Isaac and Jesus can be said to be unique and especially beloved of their father: each was the exact likeness and image of his father, and the full nature of his father was in each. Hence, each was called “the only begotten son” of his father.

In the above sense we could say that Jesus is the only son of God, who is the exact image of God and in whom the full nature of God dwells, as it is written: “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9, NKJV). Although, in one sense, we all are sons of God, only Jesus was God’s unique and especially beloved son who bore the exact image and likeness of God the Father.
Lastly, there is another understanding of the terms “begot” and “begotten.” The terms are used metaphorically where no literal birth is intended, for example in Job 15:34–35: “For the company of hypocrites will be barren, and fire will consume the tents of bribery. They conceive trouble and bring forth [yalad] futility; their womb prepares deceit” (NKJV). Here the meaning of “begot” is “to bring forth.” Again in Psalm 7:14: “Behold, the wicked brings forth iniquity; yes, he conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood” (NKJV). It is in the sense of “to bring forth” that Psalm 2:7 employs yalad: “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, You are My Son, today I have begotten You” (NKJV), or, as The Complete Biblical Library translates the word, “I have brought you forth.” This is the sense of Hebrews 5:4–5 where Psalm 2:7 is quoted referring to Jesus as called and appointed by God.

In a positive image, the messianic prophesy of Psalm 2:7 speaks of God bringing forth the Messiah. In a kingly sense, the son who was to take over the kingship would be brought forth and presented to the people as a co-regent. In this way, full authority was given, preventing violent struggles for the throne. (The Complete Biblical Library, Hebrew-English Dictionary, p. 564)
Biblical words can have extremely deep meanings. How true it is of the words of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.” It appears from the above sources that the writer of John understood “only begotten” in a far deeper sense than simply “only son.” For John, Jesus was proclaimed by God to be the one and only unique and dearly beloved son who alone was the express and exact image of God the Father, in whom dwelt the fullness of God’s nature, and who was the one true and faithful son that was proclaimed by God to be king and co-regent at his baptism (Mt. 3:17).
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This article, written by Clifton H. Payne, Jr., was first published online with Jerusalem Perspective in 2004. The author has given permission to reprint his original work for the Haverim Study Community where he has been a longtime participant. Clif was a personal friend of Dwight A. Pryor whom he calls rabbi and mentor.

Behind the Veil: The Purpose of Religion, The Purpose of This Life

-the movie wizard of oz teaches a deep truth, that all which the masses perceive as reality is really just fire, smoke and mirrors and that there is an intelligent transdimensional man behind the curtain who is really creating the illusion.

behind-the-veil

-the movie ‘the matrix’ teaches this same lesson but with a slightly more dark perception about the reality behind the illusion. ‘Reality as we know it is an illusion’, and for the sincere seeker of truth there is a path to see behind that illusion and by understanding the principles which govern it, you may ascend to the same level as those who are currently managing the illusion or matrix.

-the deep truths concerning the purpose of life, the purpose of government and religion. why we are here, and where we are going are hidden, from all but the diligent seeker.  The platitudes given by culture, organized religion and government are part of the play.

The divisive purpose of this round of progression
The telestial world (current 3rd density) has one primary purpose, and that is to polarize/divide people in order to create an energy potential. In LDS terms we have all heard how there “must be opposition in all things”, or how we must taste the bad in order to prize the good. However I think we seldom realize all the implications of this; how without the somewhat hellish aspects of this telestial life, there would be no motivation for existence. As an example in physics, if we wish to do work with a charge or electricity, we must first create an electric potential by polarizing charge. We must polarize/separate a positive and negative charge and then establish a conduit (wire) or pathway with which to release the built up electric potential. The creation drama in the bible teaches this commonsense principle that in order to create, you must divide. Divide matter from space, separate ocean from sky, divide land from ocean, separate man from woman and lastly separate good from evil. The “Fall” in fact could better be termed, the “separation” or division or polarization.

This telestial life then has been created in order to separate any and every possible aspect of the human psyche in order to create a potential which will be released or used up in the next two rounds of existence (4th & 5th density/terrestrial & celestial existence). Here we are divided against each-other and divided against ourselves. Those who oversee the division process use whatever means possible to make people feel “different” than other people, and believe it or not religion is one of the most effective means used to do this. If one group of people can be made to feel better or superior or worse or inferior or any feeling of “otherness” compared to another group then the goal is accomplished. Thus the creation of a “peculiar people” who are “separate” from Babylon and the “only” true church or people is an effective condition created and egged on by the overseers of separation. (Also note that a yin and yang paradox exists wherein partial unity causes separation and total separation brings ultimate unity).

Everyone is allowed to choose how long and how far they will polarize (or be turned against ) themselves and others. As a general rule, polarization/separation is painful and unity or at-one-ment is pleasurable; and as already mentioned, in the next two phases of existence we will use up our polarity in a much more pleasurable reality (generally pleasurable for the selfless who were pained here, generally painful for the selfish who were pleasured here) . As a universal example of how this works picture the polarization of gender. In youth, by separating the genders and stressing their differences a psychological potential is created. Furthermore by clothing/hiding our bodies and keeping genders apart an even greater physiological potential is created. After each individual has on a subconscious level decided they have polarized enough, they begin the process of releasing that stored potential and the joys of sexual union are experienced. It might surprise many that the intensity of sexual pleasure is highly different to different people and it is dependent upon the created/stored potential. Some people even after having physical sex are still psychologically potentiating instead of releasing, experiencing painful relationships and subconsciously saving themselves for a better situation in which they can release the psychological stored potential and reap the consequential pleasure.

In the LDS Temple ceremony the Higher Gods oversee the separation of matter, plants, animals and even man and woman. But they leave the division of the human psyche in hands of a lower earthbound angel named Lucifer. We like to demonize Lucifer and call him the bad guy, but to a large extent he is simply an archtype of the divisive aspects of ourselves & creation (with a horrible temper mind you). Since separation causes pain it is easy to see this aspect of creation as “bad”. However, the very act of demonizing someone or calling something “bad” as opposed to “good” is divisive. Thus as we demonize or hate on Lucifer we effectually become Lucifer (or at least play that part with him in the great drama). As we demonize groups with different perspectives than us, we all play the part of Lucifer. (Watch Megamind the movie for a great treatise on how self-righteousness creates evil) That is the great paradox of religion, and the key taught in the LDS temple ceremony. It is Lucifer that gave organized religion to the world, dividing them from themselves in order to create a potential. But if we demonize either religion (or its opposite) we do the same thing. We are all potentiating in this world to some extent and when we decide we have had enough, we will die and pass to the next phase of experiencing the joy from releasing the stored potential. (There are many sub-cycles, and death for most simply continues the dramas of this life. Most must wait for the resurrection to experience release of stored potentials.)

All religions fit together in my worldview. Each seems to be a different perspective on pieces of the big picture.

All religions fit together in my worldview. Each seems to be a different perspective on pieces of the big picture.

Hundred of pages could be written on the scriptural archetypes concerning this paramount concept of separation or division and redemption or unity. The “first man Adam” is also a primary archetype of division in the Hebrew philosophical system. He watches and oversees his division from God’s presence (symbolized by the garden and the grave), the division of his children Cain and Abel, the division of the land, languages, peoples, religions, and the body from the spirit in death. It is the last man Adam or Christ who is the archetype of unity. He is the God of unity, redemption and reunion. He watches and oversees the reunion of man to god, child to father, brother to brother, and the resurrection/reunion of body to spirit. It is through finding Christ or the unconditional love that he stood for that man creates a conduit to re-unite the broken/separated aspects of his psyche. Truly finding Christ is reuniting and harmonizing all the opposites in our lives. It is finding peace by solving all conflicts of interest and will. Thus the lower aspects of religion, politics and priesthood divide, but the higher aspects of religion, politics and priesthood unite. This three pillared drama of creation/destruction, through fall and division, and destruction/creation through atonement and unity is what makes life worth living—and the foundation for existence.

These principles are difficult to teach in writing. When I get glimpses into the reality behind our current reality– I try to write them only to find that they will inevitably be misunderstood. In some ancient traditions (as well as in the LDS temple tradition) it was forbidden to try and teach the “mysteries” or higher laws in writing because it was known that all men would distort them to fit their own egocentric perspectives. This is in fact why all organized religion, and written/organized religion “etched in stone” is part of the lower law. (Governed by heavenly beings of the “temporal” Aaronic priesthood of D&C 84 & 107, in LDS scriptural symbology) The “mysteries” aren’t really so “mysterious” they are simply the common sense principles of why things are the way they are, how the differing dimensions relate to each other, how to live good selfless lives without rigid laws or religious or political organizations as well as the secrets of how heaven and priesthood work in governance for those not ready for a higher law. But selfish people tend to take any knowledge and use it to selfishly control or hurt others through manipulation, psychological hegemony, sexual coercion and gratification or violence. Because of this most mortals are governed either politically or religiously by the lower law until they can show they are unselfish enough to raise their consciousness to the emancipated levels. Some good hearted “apostates” who leave the church have done just that. This process of growing into higher levels of goodness in freedom continues throughout life and after death. It could be said that the higher law has only two rules, love God and love your neighbor along with yourself. It is a very free system. The lower given to Moses had ten commandments, to which hundreds were added because the people wanted and needed them. The same is typical of every dispensation. “Higher” god’s give the two eternal commandments and if the people can’t handle it, the lower gods give them more; to which humans continually multiply until God finally has to overthrow their oppressive political and religious systems.

 

Origins of organized earthly religions
-all churches started by “true messengers” or prophets of the higher beings which lead us have the secrets of their lower nature hidden within their teachings as well as guide posts pointing to the source of “true religion” (James 1:27). The true seeker will see these messages and learn that he must see past the visible, lower aspects of organized religion if he wants to learn “truth”.

Diagram of the spirit world by J.S.M. Ward

Diagram of the spirit world by J.S.M. Ward

In Mormonism it is made quite obvious in the temple ceremony. When Adam (representing all mankind) wants more truth, who sends it to him? Lucifer comes and says in essence, I hear you asking God for truth… well if you want religion, I will give you religion and it will be the philosophies of men mingled with scripture (truth). Only after Adam doesn’t believe what is taught by the organized religions of the world, do the higher beings (symbolized by Jehovah and Elohim) send him truth by way of true messengers who DO NOT give Adam (mankind) any organized religions, but instead give him personal (secret) tokens and signs symbolizing the stages & ideals of a true marriage relationship (the analogous relationship between the gods and their people as explained in other articles on this site). It is unfortunate that many of the even more blunt aspects of relationship between Lucifer and organized religion have been taken out the Mormon Temple Endowment perhaps leaving many Mormons to believe the LDS Church Hierarchy is where one should turn if he wants light and knowledge from God (even though they, like Peter James & John, are true light bringers to a certain extent). Anyway, I doubt the reason for their exclusion was purposeful deception and the general gist is still there, and I don’t say any of this to demonize Mormonism, Mormon leadership or organized religion. In Mormonism, Lucifer is the archetype of the left-hand or negative path, which is unity through force & control. He is the antithesis to Christ or an “anti-Christ”. His doctrine of autocratic government, force, manipulation and violence is thoroughly embedded in most the political and religious systems in this world. His doctrines are deeply embedded into the revelations of the Old testament and as the New Testaments teaches of the Law of Moses, are “a schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ”.

Just as “it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished” (Mormon 4:5), it is also by the “wicked” that the wicked are ruled. (“Wicked” only by human standards. Celestial beings do not take sides, they simply maintain the balance/justice in the universe. But they also don’t go around killing people, it is negative terrestrial gods like lucifer & his priesthood who do this.) People are ruled by the level of heaven they are ready for, and for those who reject the higher laws and priesthood as both the Children of Moses and early saints did, they are passed down to heavenly beings who rule more autocratically and with less mercy.  Oahspe, J.S.M. Ward, Swedenborg and a host of other material have a lot information to help a Mormon see their place in God’s great plan. The LDS Church has so much truth, and God’s hand was so involved in its creation. But there comes a point in our eternal progression where in order to keep ascending toward oneness an LDS member must stop calling themselves a “Mormon” and start calling themselves a “Christian” (That doesn’t mean you leave the church, it has more to do with one’s point of view). Furthermore, as a greater degree of unity is sought, one will give up the “Christian” title and join hands with all men calling themselves simply children of God— this egoless and self sacrificing, nondiscriminatory unity is indeed what Christ came to teach. (see above diagram) It is only for the purpose of preserving agency that all organized religions are given a good amount of scriptural and traditional material which seems encourages avenues of increased self-righteousness, isolation, elitism and service to the self and ego.

-one need only look to the founding of most lasting religions to see more evidence of the lower nature of organized religions. Neither Moses, Buddha, Christ or Joseph Smith really started their respective religions. They more properly revealed truth, and “gave the people what they wanted”, mingled with what they needed; and then left the scene completely unfinished, allowing their successors to construct the organized, structural part of the religion according to the wants and desires of the people of the time. Levi, Joshua, Peter, Paul, and Brigham were not bad people, but they were all blinded in part by cultural bias and personal selfishness and created systems with a balance of mixed material (good & bad) which preserve people’s agency by giving them a “fast-tracked” avenue to exaltation through the negative (selfishness) or positive (unselfishness) paths. As the Law of One states

This Ark [of the Covenant & Tabernacle] was designed to constitute the place where from the priests… could draw their power and feel the presence of the One Creator. However, it is to be noted that this entire arrangement was designed, not by the one known as Jehovah, but rather was designed by negative entities preferring this method of creating an elite called the Sons of Levi.

It became an object of power in this way and, to those whose faith was untarnished by unrighteousness or separation, this power designed for negativity became positive and is so to this day, to those truly in harmony with the experience of service. Thus the negative forces were partially successful but the positively oriented Moses, gave to your planetary peoples the possibility of a path to the One Infinite Creator which is completely positive.

This is in common with each of your orthodox religious systems which have all become somewhat mixed in orientation, yet offer a pure path to the One Creator which is seen by the pure seeker.

Christ came to show the path to those who start to see behind the veil of organized religion & politics.  As shown more clearly in restored gospels such as The Aquarian Gospel of Christ, he realized at an early age that much of Judaic religion was more influenced by Lucifer and the Gods of separation and force than the Gods of Unity and freedom.  But he also realized that psychologically harmonizing the dark and the light was the gateway to exaltation.  He travelled the world to learn the depths of all the great religions and he harmonized all their truths into one whole. He saw behind the symbols and unified his consciousness with that of the “Fathers”.  He did not “leave” Judaism even though it “looked beyond the mark” and was essentially controlled by Lucifer. He was excommunicated, but still sought to teach others how to exit the illusion of telestial glory and the domination of its mind-controlling political and religious lower priesthood. He allowed himself to be martyred, not to bring non-Jews (ie non-mormons) to repentance. But to help the jewish people see that their religion was corrupt and devilish. To free those captive to both sin and Judaism.  To quell the tide of self-righteous revolutionist and give the nation of Israel 40 more years of warning before destruction.  And most of all, he died as a symbol pointing toward a much larger sacrifice that plays out in the terrestrial arena.  Where terrestrial positively oriented groups self-sacrifice themselves in order to neutralize the unquenchable desire of negative service-to-self groups for galactic power, authority and control.

 

Seeing The Face of God…

first-vision

Introduction

There are many, many, many people in this world who honestly claim to have seen God or Christ. The vast majority of these occurrences happen during near-death experiences or in visionary states of altered consciousness. (see near-death.com for examples) A few even occur in full consciousness with natural eyes just as one man would talk to another. Those of different religious persuasions have these very real experiences too, although they call the light being/beings which they see by different names according to their religious biases.  If you are not already familiar with the God-encountering experiences of the differing religious icons of the world (such as Muhammad’s experiences, Joseph Smith’s, Buddha’s, or the scores of other religious founders, and uncounted near-death experiences of normal people) I might suggest you take a bit of time to read a few dozen of them. And from that context I would like to explain the experience from an LDS scriptural perspective, and then from a pluralistic context.

In my opinion, to properly understand these experiences it helps to first have a sound understanding of our earth’s cosmology (see my article Eternal Progression, Degrees of Glory, and the Resurrection). It also helps to understand the deeply symbolic meaning in the phrase “see the face of God”. To sum things up, I think there are many beings who watch over our planet from what could be termed higher densities or dimensions (heavens) or alternate levels of consciousness. Because the planes these beings inhabit vibrate far more quickly than ours, when people of this plane view these beings or realms they are perceived as light (often even when only perceived through visionary states).  The same is often true for the craft used by these beings. This life is a time for us to choose the group which we will join in our path to the higher planes. Truly “seeing God” and entering His rest is the summation of that choice.

Outline

-God / the Gods or higher beings teach men according to their understanding. If you are Christian it seems they will teach you according to your understanding, the same is true for a hindu or buddhist or muslim.

-Each religion has a multi-leveled counterpart in the earth’s 3rd density spirit world. These organizations seek to funnel people up to a state of consciousness where they can interact with the higher physical densities (resurrections).  Again it is necessary to understand earth’s cosmology to understand how this all works (Eternal Progression, Degrees of Glory, and the Resurrection)

-There are many levels of beings which can interface with man. In Mormon terms it could be a telestial spirit (3rd density being from earth’s spirit world- or “ministering spirit”), or a resurrected terrestrial being (4rth density being/angel symbolized by “Christ” in Christianity), or a celestial being (5th density being symbolized by “the Father” in christianity).

-Nearly all beings which interface with our earth are 3rd or 4th density beings (telestial or terrestrial).  For Mormons D&C 76 describes this saying that Telestial kingdoms are ministered to by the Terrestrial and so on..)

-The 4rth density (Terrestial realm) is still a polarized realm.  That means there are beings of positive and negative polarity in this order who can also be perceived as light beings.  The negative polarity is unity through means of autocratic domination; Lucifer or Satan being the Christian archetype.  In biblical terms the fact that negative higher dimensional beings are also perceived by lower dimensional beings as light is taught by statements like “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14).

-By upper 5th density there ceases to be meaningful polarity. These realms and beings symbolized by “the Celestial” kingdom and the presence of “the Father” in mormonism, watch over all interactions made by terrestrial beings to telestial beings. They assure that no unethical interactions occur. They maintain agency and balance. They assure appearances occur only after an appropriate “call” has been made. They oversee the process of harvest where terrestrial groups seek and assimilate telestial initiates and initiate groups.

-“Christ” in Mormonism and Christianity is an archetype of a all positive group consciousness. However, the biblical Jesus is in fact a member of the highest counsel or “spirit-world” group which is funneling souls upward through the various levels to a resurrected “off planet” counterpart. This might be hard to understand, but in the resurrected terrestrial realm, a type of group is formed where all members of the group are united in a shared consciousness where the thoughts of all are available to all.  The group is highly unified and the acts/words of one always reflect the will of the group as a whole. This is symbolically taught in many parts of the LDS and biblical canon. The Law of One terms this a ‘social memory complex’ (symbolized in Christianity by the communion/church or the body of Christ).  When an emissary of one of these groups makes contact with an initiate, they might call themselves “Christ” or they might just let you call them “Christ” (or whatever your religious bias dictates).  For reasons which will be discussed in the next point, it is important to understand that “Christ” is a title, and in truth all those who share this order are completely equal in authority, honor, doctrine and standing. (Christ is a Greek translation for the Hebrew word Messiah meaning an ‘Anointed One’, which is roughly equivalent to the Tibetan Lama, Hindu Maitreya or Muslim Mahdi)

-Negative 4rth order resurrected terrestrial beings are not equal. (Followers of “Lucifer” in Christian terms) They exist in a starkly hierarchical top-down autocratic system closely resembling that of many religions and nations. They are led by a beloved king/leader (dictator) and each member of the group willingly submits to his autocratic rule. Lower members of the group believe this leader to be selflessly benevolent, but he is infact a very cunning selfish liar. If a “true Christ” or positive/selfless terrestrial resurrected being makes contact with an initiate, an emissary of a negative group will be allowed to come in person or through thought to tempt the initiate with teachings which seek to persuade the initiate toward their selfish autocratic religious and political system. Their doctrine is one of service-to-self through exclusivity, control/fear and superiority (pride). The law of agency, watched over by celestial beings, dictates that equal opportunity for recruitment of converts must be given to both the positive (selfless) and negative (selfish) sides. This is why both sides are very selective in their personal contacts. Often, telestial initiates cannot tell the difference between the two, as both sides are very wise and the negative side is unimaginably deceptive. (Able to fake positive emotion and positive logic.) Both negative and positive heavenly groups have influenced every major religious and political system in earth’s history. The negative side is most interested in power and converts which increase its power, and uses decoy techniques to hide its real objectives.

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LDS Theology, like many religious traditions, teach about two fundamental “plans” for Eternal Progression. Works such as “the law of one” go into great detail concerning the specifics of these plans and how the higher beings heading these plans seek to harvest souls for the next round of progression.

-The more strongly a disciple or initiate seeks information or contact with “Jesus” or “god”, the more influence both positive and negative groups will be allowed to interact with him/her.  This is the true “trail of your faith” and the gateway to harvest.  Seeking “the face of God” alone is far more dangerous (as far as possibilities of deception goes), because we really only “know” ourselves through the use of mirrors — a function played by other people.  It is common for individuals to think they are seeking or seeing Jesus of the Bible, and yet they are actually interfacing with the New Testament’s antichrist (the antithesis of the free and equal system Jesus came to teach). The keys to knowing who we are dealing with is the thoughts given to us by those we are seeking contact with. Are they teaching us to love, accept and serve others in ways meaningful to them?  Or are they teaching us to control others (call to repentance or enlist in a cause) in self-righteous ways which really only serve ourselves or our group? Are we serving God by loving and serving others in equality, or are we serving ourselves by serving “a God” which is a projection of our own egos; trying to control, belittle, outsmart or outperform others in self righteousness. Do we await a dictatorial Messiah (or al-Mahdi/Maitreya/Krishna),  who will come to destroy the wicked, or a democratic one who will work with us to mercifully love and save the wicked by serving them without self-righteousness?  One who will bring order through force or one who will bring unity through wisdom? Do we delight in coming destruction or do we pray for peace?

-There is meaning and value to both the negative and positive paths.  Every religion on earth has been carefully crafted to contain scripture and doctrine endorsing both paths. The way is open for man to choose, and the path is guarded by very high beings with all power (as far as we are concerned).

 

-The Mormon religion (as all religion to some degree) is an accelerated gateway to harvest.  Harvest is a complicated topic, but as mentioned it has to do with being translated (dimension shifted) from the 3rd Density (telestial glory) to the 4rth Density (terrestrial glory).  This process happens in groups and has to do with harmonizing with the vibrations of existing 4th Density groups.  This translation from our current state of isolated/separated consciousness to the more unified group consciousness of the next stage of existence is symbolized by passing through a “veil” (a separation) into the “presence or face” of the Lord. (the Lord being your chosen terrestrial group).  LDS scripture and the temple ceremony teach this in many symbolic terms. Take these verses from the Doctrine and Covenants for instance.

68 Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will. (D&C 88:68)

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am; (D&C 93:1)

16 Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God. (D&C 97:16)

 

-The narrative of Moses seeing God typifies the principles given above.  Like many others, Moses was foreordained to be a leader and dispensational head in the pre-existence, just as the people of Israel are composed of souls fordained to be a microcosm or type of the forces acting on the world at large.  Thus Moses sought the “face of God” and was contacted by emissaries of both positive and negative terrestrial groups (each calling themselves Yahweh or Jehovah).  As with all mortals, Moses was tasked with discerning the difference between these groups and incorporated large amounts of practices and doctrines from both sides.  In hindsight, it is fairly easy to see which forces posing as “Yahweh” are responsible for the differing aspects of the exodus narrative. Take for instance when Moses comes down from the mount and learns that his brother has helped the people fashion an idol after the manner of the Egyptians.

25 Moses saw that Aaron had let the people get completely out of control, much to the amusement of their enemies.
26 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted, “All of you who are on the LORD’s side, come here and join me.” And all the Levites gathered around him.
27 Moses told them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Each of you, take your swords and go back and forth from one end of the camp to the other. Kill everyone—even your brothers, friends, and neighbors.”
28 The Levites obeyed Moses’ command, and about 3,000 people died that day.
29 Then Moses told the Levites, “Today you have ordained yourselves for the service of the LORD, for you obeyed him even though it meant killing your own sons and brothers. Today you have earned a blessing.” (NLT Ex 32:25–29)

Ten verses earlier the negative aspect of Moses’ “Lord” had threatened to kill all of Israel for the umpteen time, but Moses had begged for them to be spared. But like many parents, Moses got upset when he came down and saw how unruly his people were, and in that anger he followed the doctrine of the negative path, which is non-patience, non-mercy and rule through fear and violence. He was inspired to find those who would mercilessly kill for him and then make them his elite. This act was in accordance with the doctrine of righteousness through violence taught by the negative Terrestrial God (Lord) Moses was obeying at that moment. Much like Mohammed and Hitler, this violence culminated in the creation of a religious/priesthood and racial elite through jihad, genocide and racial cleansing. A system which the positive “Lord” tried hard to keep in balance through later Old Testament prophets and finally through the very positively oriented Jesus Christ.

There is a complexity is these principles concerning unity that can be hard to understand. One must remember that in Celestial Beings (symbolized by the Father) there is no division or imbalance. They have harmonized positive and negative paths and are One with all lower beings. This is also the goal of all those who seek to progress to higher intelligence. Christ becoming “one with the Father” or Christ being the “Jehovah of the Old Testament” can only be fully understood within that context. The closer one comes to the Father or Creator and source of all intelligence the less division exists.

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Some texts refer to the differing planes or densities as “projections” of God. This is because as the planes move further from their source, their fallen or divided nature is greater.

The principles of the positive and negative paths are explained at length in “the Law of One” material. LDS doctrine and scripture adds a second clear witness to the idea that the plan of Lucifer was to bring righteousness and unity through force (D&C 29:36–38, Moses 4:1–6). He is a terrestrial being with priesthood and power and seeks to bring about the Father’s plan of exaltation through autocratic rule which directs the honor and glory to himself. His plan is the antithesis of Jesus’ plan of unity through mercy, equality, humility and freedom. He seeks to destroy Jesus plan and sees it as weak and ineffective. He is the inspiration behind all dictatorships and autocratic systems which use manipulation, violence or fear. He is also the inspiration behind all religious systems which use propaganda, delusion, force and self-righteousness and give glory to their exclusive “Lord” (himself) instead of the Father Of All.

-As a final note it helps to reiterate that all polarity becomes unified (or at-oned) by the celestial (5th density) level.  Thus the negative and positive attributes of the differing terrestrial “Gods” or groups are as the light and dark in the Yin and the Yang. They are both just differing attributes of the One True God.  This is hard to explain and comprehend, but the important lesson is that in this life we choose our path to the Father in whom there is perfect unity… but we should realize that we need not demonize the other paths. Whether it be the violence of the Old Testament God contrasted with the pacifism of Jesus or the violence of Mohammadian Jihad contrasted with the pacifism of Buddha, the Highest God’s have set up these religions and path to lead mankind to unity and reconciliation.  And regardless of the polarity of the Lord’s face we seek, we will one day see how all aspects of God’s plan fit into one beautiful picture with many varying shades.

 

 

Finish Writing…

 

In regards to seeking angels.  Angels almost always speak to you telepathically through your thoughts. This is the meaning of the statement “angels speak by the power of the holy ghost… wherefore feast upon the words of Christ…” (2 Ne 32) Angels speak to us all the time, we just don’t know it. They don’t even need to be “present” to speak to you. But it is actually more important to learn to commune directly with God, (not Christ, but the Father or Most-High-God) than to get answers from angels. The same is true of the Second Comforter. Hopefully the advice you get from angels will point you in that direction. Seeing or speaking to angels often has negative consequences, and this is why there are strict rules restricting their interaction with you. One’s progress is markedly retarded once they “see” angels or the “face of the Lord”. The reason an adulterous generation seeks a sign is because of the comparative principles involved.

When we “see” the beauty of a body, it is easy to get distracted and forget that a person “is not their body”. Their mind and true self is veiled within that body. Its easy to get caught up in the outward appearance and forget that. The veiled darkness & blindness of this world acts as a catalyst to push our consciousness to connections with higher and higher spheres. At some point before going through the veil you will decide.. this is far enough, this is where I want to be.  As soon as you “see God” and pass through the veil that decision is pretty much made, and your potential for progression drastically slows. We should realize there is a great deal of subtlety hidden in the term “seeing God”.  It is mostly symbolic because in the highest sense it is not done with the eyes. When you finally do “see god” with “physical” eyes it will be a mediator god, and your progress toward the “Most High God” will be slowed.

Thoughts on Spirituality & Religion (Part 1. Supernatural Experiences)

All religions fit together in my worldview. Each seems to be a different perspective on pieces of the big picture.

I believe that “all truth can be circumscribed into one whole”.  All religions fit together in my worldview. To me each seems to be just a different perspective or piece of the grand picture of human perception.

As I explain in my ‘What is Truth‘ article, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy in my life trying to figure out how all truth in this world fits together into one cohesive whole. To me, that seems to be the highest idea LDS people learn in our church, taught to us in our highest temple ordinance just before we symbolically pass through the “veil” into the presence of “God”. I’ve read a good amount of most of the world’s religious works. I’ve had visions of spirits, I’ve heard voices, I’ve battled demons, I’ve dabbled in the hidden mysteries, and I’ve done my best to investigate and integrate into my worldview the best parts of the world’s religions. I was raised in the LDS Church and always considered myself an “orthodox” Mormon, and bought into a subtly condescending attitude toward those with views dissenting from the mainstream. Like much of the world’s religious faithful, I always had a strong “testimony” that our way was not only the best way, but the only true way. But after the death of my father, I gained an insatiable appetite for information relating to religion and the afterworld… and after years of asking—and getting answers, I gained a picture of reality that turned out to be quite different than what I thought growing up. I think my understanding and “testimony” now is in many ways very different from most Mormons, but still similar in many respects.

My testimony now (the LDS term for one’s belief system) is complicated. It’s certainly not black and white and doesn’t correspond to the sound bites of any particular church. (Despite considering myself LDS, and loving the truths in our church). Although this entire site is basically my religious thoughts that I am laying out for my kids or anyone interested, I want to use this article to try and summarize and prioritize my beliefs in a way that might help people better understand me.

Unity As The Highest Ideal

I believe the highest ideal is unity. As I explain in detail in my article What is Truth, Is the LDS Church the Only True Church? article, I believe ultimate truth is an understanding of a thing from every possible perspective, and so statements of testimony like “I know my Church is True” distort the very concept of truth. Because to most people such a statement is paramount to making one’s church ‘better’ than all the others, or suggesting that it’s mostly free from the lies, half-truths, misunderstandings, issues and limited perspective which are an inevitable part of anything run by fallible humans. I believe the tenets of all religions contain both truth and error, and are perceived differently by every member. Rather than taking sides in debates concerning truth, epistemology or ontology, I love to see what others believe and figure out how their beliefs fit into the big picture. I haven’t met a lot of people that I can’t see the truth’s in their perspective.  I like to talk to people from their perspective as much as possible. I love to try and enlarge the perspectives of others.

My Spiritual (Metaphysical? Supernatural?) Experiences

I think like many people I had experiences of synchronicity, and answers to prayers in my youth, which really gave me a sense that there was a higher power. A sense that the natural world we typically interact with was only a small part of a larger unseeable reality. But the first truly supernatural experience (from my perspective) I had occurred in about the 7th grade. Being raised in an active LDS family, I learned about Joseph Smith’s first vision growing up, but for some reason, it suddenly really resonated with me. I decided if praying worked for him to see god, it would work for me. I set up a day to go out and pray in a secluded place but ended up falling ill that day— to the point I spent a few days in bed. So I set my mind on another day some time later… but I strangely got really sick again. It was one of many strange examples of synchronicity which was hard to dismiss. To me, there seemed to be something very real to this God-thing. My apophenic mind found significant meaning in the fact that “God” (more on my view of that later) or some part of my subconscious self was fighting my conscious mind to prevent me from pursuing this experience. (More on my views of ancient and modern theophany experiences below…)

Strangely, that experience served as an important backdrop as I’ve talked with multiple people over the years (and read the accounts of many others) who have had visions and interactions with what they felt was deity (see wikipedia’s article on theophany).

A few years after the above experience I started reading the Book of Mormon for seminary. I got through the book of Second Nephi and became engrossed. I couldn’t put it down and read the rest of the book in a day or two. While reading the story of Ammon & Lamoni I had my strongest feeling-based metaphysical experience ever. A warm/burning feeling overtook me that seemed to originate from my heart and radiate through my whole body. It was a classic kundalini experience. It made me collapse in bed and wonder if I was having a heart attack or something — but it was accompanied by incredible feelings of love unlike anything I had ever felt before. This was not simple emotionalism, it was a whole-body biological reaction to what I read. It was not simply like the warm-fuzzies we all feel when we watch a touching movie. It was far more visceral and biological, with feelings of ecstasy, warmth and enlargement in my brain and heart area. To put it quite frankly, it was much like having a completely unsexual orgasm (not that I would have had any clue what that even was at that age)–where I was spiritually united with some unseen reality. Feelings associated with that initial powerful biological and emotional outpouring lingered for days. I felt anointed and special. I felt connected to God and to that book, and I subsequently used that experience as an initial basis for a testimony of the LDS church and its living prophets. From that point on, I was a fully committed to Mormonism, yet at the same time I felt a connection to divinity that allowed me to define what Mormonism was to be for me—rather than having it fully defined by Mormon leadership. I felt a true unity with “god” and Mormonism and increasingly felt like whatever issues I saw I could get answers to resolve them.

(I’ve since learned that such biological/spiritual manifestations of spiritual experiences are not exclusive to any particular religion, and have been experienced and described for thousands of years by many different religious traditions. It is also referred to as the sacred anointingbaptism by fire or serpent fire of Jewish traditions & Kabbalah; and the coiled serpent, chakra/endocrine theory of Eastern traditions. see The Biology of Kundalini)

Seeing Spirits

Two months before my LDS mission, my father was killed in a freak accident, and the seclusion and isolation of my mission became a powerful catylist for me in desiring to really know what lay beyond death. This was the beginning of my dark night of the soul. When my dad died, part of me died. After this, religion no longer remained a cultural and social given in my life. I became a true student of religion, because I wanted to know what lie beyond the grave. And although I really didn’t have many particularly unusual spiritual experiences on my mission (apart from very regularly occurring emotional religious confirmations and a few psychic voices in my mind), soon after my mission I began to have a number of experiences with what scientist have haphazardly termed sleep paralysis (which involve dream-like “thought forms“, or spiritual visionary/dream experiences) as well seeing earth-bound spirits. In my first experience of this sort, I woke up in the twilight hours before dawn to what I thought was my mother (a female individual) sitting on my bedside with her hand on my leg. As I opened my eyes and became conscious of her presence suddenly realizing that this was not anyone I knew, the individual instantly flew on top of me as if trying to enter my body (at least that was my perception). Not that this apparition was really even particularly frightening, but that I was horrified by not being able to move—and at the reality and unfamiliarity of the experience. After a few horrifying moments of me futilely trying to scream and defend myself (but not being able to move or make audible noises), the being left and my biological eyes opened (more on that in a second). This type of experience occurred a number of times from the ages of about 21 – 28, and as time went by I got better not freaking out and appropriately dealing with, or interacting with the experiences until it ended.

As I go through my subsequent experiences in this next section, I think it’s important to note that all but one or two of my experiences with seeing “spirits” have occurred with my biological eyes closed in the hypnopompic state. It’s a difficult phenomena to explain and it’s easy to see why those who haven’t experienced it would suspect all such experiences are just a type of dream (which is certainly one way to look at them).  In most of my experiences I am mentally “woken up” to see some apparition from my bed—only to be bewildered by the fact that afterwards I end up opening my physical eyes to find I was actually still physically “asleep”.  And yet I’m not asleep and these seem to me, far different than lucid dreams— I am totally aware of both my thoughts and surroundings and before opening my eyes, I can somehow see things like the time on the alarm clock and room lighting—which don’t change at all when I open my eyes. In these experiences I am always sure I’m wide awake with eyes open, only to surprisingly find myself later opening my physical eyes to an identical scene & feeling. (There is absolutely no sensation of waking up, only of opening my biological eyes). From my perspective I am somehow “seeing” things through the “eyes” of my spirit (for loss of a better word). I know that sounds hokey and I don’t expect those who have not experienced this phenomena to understand— but that is absolutely the perception I have of the experience. In multiple instances I have looked out the window to see the dawning light on the horizon, and then when my biological eyes open afterwards—there is absolutely no difference to what I perceived of the scene before and after my physical eyes open. In fact, it is absolutely uncanny how often these experience occur exactly as a sliver of light appears on the horizon. Even if I am in a dark room with curtains drawn, they nearly always occur within a short period of twilight.

One instance in particular really solidified my belief that my experiences with seeing spirits are more complicated than dreaming or super-lucid hallucinations. Sometime around age 25 I had an instance where I was awoken by the spirit of a young teenager in my room (my impression was that this individual had died as a teen). He woke me up purposefully by walking up to me and waving his hand repeatedly in my face. I remained semi-conscious and just watched him as he walked through the wall toward the living room where my wife was sleeping that night. I sensed his intent to try and annoy my wife as well, and so as I opened my eyes to get out of bed and start heading toward the living room, my wife popped in the room a bit shaken and asked if I had just snuck up to her and woken her up by loudly whispering “hey!” into her ear. She got up immediately and looked both beneath and around the sofa, fully expecting me to be hiding just out of her view. When she realized it wasn’t me, she was startled and came into the bedroom to see where I was. I have had many experiences with seeing and talking to spirits both before and after this one, but this experience with my wife sticks out as the first which was objectively confirmed by another individual. It is also interesting to note that my wife also had an experience of “hearing spirits” when she was young. It was a strange and frightening experience for her, and had never been repeated until this night. [Because of its transient nature there is can, of course, be little objectively provable scientific evidence of clairaudience or clairvoyance, so it deserves the skepticism it receives— but the phenomena has been documented for thousands of years, occurring to countless individuals; and my experiences certainly began to make me a believer.]

More Interaction with Beings

Since the shared experience with my wife, I’ve had many experiences where I am “woken up” (although my eyes are still closed), to some ethereal being standing near my bed, teaching me. (I can’t move my head and look at them because I’m not physically awake–only mentally awake). This has usually occurred after I’ve read something to make me sincerely ask heaven for answers to questions.  The beings, (or sometimes just a voice) then give me lengthy, profound explanations which give me unbelievably clear visual and conceptual understandings of different topics. But then after I open my eyes and try to write down what was telepathically communicated to me, the vision and understanding fade and I fail to find the words to explain it. It’s a wild experience and in some periods of my life it’s happened with surprising regularity. Often the explanations will include scriptures or concepts which I don’t remember ever reading or learning, but when I wake up and look them up, they end up being legit verses.  I’ve repeatedly considered the prevailing scientific explanation that these visions could just be a product of an insanely lucid imagination or a hallucinogenic mind, but as I’ve analyzed these experiences objectively from an agnostic/scientific perspective (and those of others) I believe it is more likely the other way around. (I don’t think current psychoanalysis of hallucinations can account for ‘group visions’, the experience where my wife was woken up too, or psychic premonitions that I’ve experienced (and occur regularly to millions of other people around the earth). As I’ve looked for answers, I think it’s more likely that both spiritual and hallucinatory experiences in general are connected to DMT’s ability to allow the brain to enter subjective states of consciousness wherein humanity is more connected to each other or some type of subconscious group memory and perhaps even to an intelligent infinite creation. (see Rick Strassman’s work at New Mexico school of Medicine, on the Pineal gland’s production of DMT, as well as the link between hallucinogenic drugs and higher states of consciousness. — Note, I’ve never taken illicit or hallucinogenic drugs/medications of any kind by the way, nor have I ever had a metaphysical experience I can remember of while taking any type of cold, flu or pain medication).

While my wife was pregnant, I had one experience where I believe I saw an apparition of the spirit of my unborn child in the same manner as the other spiritual manifestations I’ve seen; however in this experience when I opened my eyes, I could still faintly “see” (or better put, perceive with an extra-ocular sense) the outline of this infant-sized spirit which floated in front of me blinking her big beautiful eyes. Because of these experiences I believe in an afterlife (or at least a spirit-world or global mental realm of sorts, wherein we can subtly interact with the consciousness of the dead, unborn or extra-dimensional beings). I also believe in supernatural events, and certain extrasensory abilities of the human mind; despite the differences in perspective and obvious fraud and forgery existing in the world’s descriptions of these phenomena. I believe very firmly in an afterworld which houses the consciousness of the dead (Spirits & Angels). However, I believe that when we interact with this realm the visionary individual does so in a subjective way through their OWN consciousness (the mystic’s mind transformed raw channeled information into their own language, culture & even physical forms). At the same time I fully accept the possible validity of purely psychological explanations for paranormal activity; as long as they accept the idea of some kind of subtle shared global, or infinite consciousness. but I don’t believe that visions and experiences with this unseen realm are a viewing of a fully objective reality like our own.  Attempts to view it as such run into issues both in my own experiences and in those of the thousands of others I have read of.  There is an aspect of that realm that is far more subjective than our own. (I’ll explain this more later)

I think it’s also noteworthy to mention that I’ve never had any experience with seeing my deceased father in dreams or my night visions.  I was woken once at my grandma’s house by a Spirit who I had the distinct impression was related to me, but I’ve never had anything like that happen with my dad, other than possibly feeling his presence or guidance during normal daytime activities. I would think, that if these experiences had to do with some kind of hallucinatory wishful thinking, that they would most certainly end up revolving around the one person who I always wished to talk with most beyond the grave?  But nothing. Even despite having a small experience with another loved-one shortly after their death, where they told me something of what it was like there, I have never been woken at night by my father.

You can read the near-death and spiritual experiences of thousands of others on the sites I have featured in the After Death portion of this website. Read Part 2 to see possible explanations of these phenomena.

continued on page 2  –>

A Bit on Moral Purity

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.

purityA 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.

Personal Note:
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.

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Commentary on the LDS Articles of Faith

LDS Articles of Faith with my commentary

1 We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

All of these are profound esoteric symbols of which volumes could be written. They are not simplistic dogmatic statements of one sided mortal-like individuals. God is the Creator and the Creation . He is a composite of all that is . He is in the Sun, moon and stars and the power by which they were made. He is in the Galaxy and the power by which it was made and so forth. He is all of creation. We are His “members” and a part of him much like a body is formed of many cells (D&C 88:6–13, Acts 17:28–29, Col. 1:16–19, Romans 12:5, John 15:1–7, John 17:11,21). All descriptions of Him end in paradox. All descriptions of him are partial and distorted by human perception. He is Father/Mother because he is Creator. He is Eternal because He dwells apart from time or relative mortal dimensions. Mankind knows Him only through what they can perceive of him… what He has revealed of himself to us. The Creation & Creator reveals itself through the symbol of the Son (Hebrews 1:1–3). The Son is Created yet also contains the power to Create, yet the Son is also Eternal. The Son is less than the Father (John 14:28) and yet since the Father is a composite of all that exists, the Son is part of the Father and thus One with and equal with the Father (John 14:8–11). The Son (created thing) reveals the Father (creator/creation). Jesus Christ is a living archetype or symbol sent by the Creator to teach us about creation and ourselves. Christ means Messiah or Anointed One. Jesus (or better translated Joshua) means loosely Jehovah is Savior. The Lord God is Jehovah Elohim. Jehovah is the Name given to the creator by the ancients because it contained the most three fundamental sounds Ye-Ho-Vih (see Oahspe). Elohim is a plural form of the Word “El” meaning God. Yet despite its plural form it is always used in a singular context showing the paradox of God’s Singularity and Plurality. A concept the GodHead also is trying to teach. Since God the Creator is a composite of all that exists, He is many. Yet since all his Creation is a part of Him just as cells in an organism or Members/limbs in our body He is One. Since the God’s who deal with our earth in the galactic scheme are perfect microcosms of the God’s above them and They presumably act in unison and form a chain which leads through infinity to the Most High God, we wrap them all into a term which is both singular and plural. El-ohim. Jesus was one of many mediators sent to help us relate to the Creator. To save us from the darkness of ignorance by revealing the creator. Just like all of us, He was the Son of God and yet he was God because like all of us He is a part of creation. Thus like the Elohim he is both Father and Son (Mosiah 15:1–5). To truly understand God and our full relationship to God is impossible for mortal man with his limited perceptions. But by understanding the microcosm of human parent and child we better understand macrocosm of eternity and our relationship with it.

2 We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

In other words we believe the concept of original sin as taught by the Medieval Christian churches is a convoluted and corrupted version of a true principle. Much like the “God-Head”, the creation drama taught in Exodus 1-3 is a historical allegory meant to teach us very profound philosophical concepts concerning the purpose and destiny of mankind. (By historical allegory I mean we believe it really happened in some place at some time, but its historical accuracy or reality were not important to the writer, as the revelator’s goal was to teach eternal philosophical concepts which play out again and again throughout history, not to give details of some one-time historical incident). Go into detail about how the creation drama relates to original sin, that mankind is lost because we have been veiled from a knowledge of our true character as part of god, so we need to be redeemed or saved from our own ignorance. Salvation comes form seeing our relation to all of creation. Redeemed from our pride and ego that suggests we are gods or the most or only intelligent life in our planet, solar system or galaxy; and thus not accountable to the rest of creation for ways our actions effect others/the creation. Redeemed from ignorance which allows us to be oppressed by more powerful individuals and beings. Redeemed from the veil which hides the knowledge of our unity with creation which makes us part of God and indeed “a god”. So the concept that we are a lost and fallen people is true, and in need of the truth of our reality which brings redemption from ignorance. But the Medieval Christian churches convoluted these profound philosophical truths into practices which suggested that if a person dies without baptism, they are damned to some tortuous Hell. They did not see that the ritual of baptism had no power to save us from ignorance (which is essentially the meaning of and reason for “Hell”), but that baptism was a symbol pointing us to the idea that we can be “raised” from the death slumber which is ignorant mortal life. More on this later.

3 We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

We believed mankind may be saved, but saved from what? Saved from separation. It is separation which causes all negative aspects of mortal life.

4 We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The ritual of baptism had no power to save us from ignorance (which is essentially the meaning of and reason for “Hell”), but that baptism was a symbol pointing us to the idea that we can be “raised” from the death slumber which is ignorant mortal life. It is the redemption from the grave which is a symbol of mortal life. As

5 We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

6 We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

7 We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

8 We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

9 We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

10 We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

12 We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

13 We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

My Articles of Faith
If I was going to write out my personal beliefs or my personal articles of my faith, I think this is what they would be (at least at the time of writing this… I would image they change from year to year).

1. Agency or preserving the ability of all men to exercise free will is the first principle of the gospel. All other doctrines and principles are inferior appendages to this.

2. Unity in selfless service or love is our goal & desire. We wish to convince all men to use their agency to choose good; which we define as unity through selfless service or love of others. It is the central theme of our religion.

3. Wisdom, light and knowledge of truth are the prize and outcome of unity through selfless service. One day I believe these principles will unites us with even those who seek to progress through the illusory path of selfishness or putting love of self before love of others.

4. I believe in the ONE God. A God who is Father and Creator to the earth and all mankind. I believe God creates through repeating processes of separation and unification, which makes existence possible and meaningful. I believe division of mankind has been the prevailing system of creation on earth for many thousands of years, but our hope is in the Good News sent by God through many messengers teaching that the age of prevailing global unification is upon us. We seek to serve with God toward this global unity through selfless service.

5. I believe the ONE creator to the Human Race has played a part in revealing ALL religion and science to mankind. I believe his purposes were sometimes to unite and other times to divide. I believe as the prophesied era of unification unfolds, He is now maintaining and upholding those religions and sciences which show they can unify mankind through selfless service. We seek the maintenance of the Creator through His active force.

6. I believe in direct communion with the ONE creator of all that exists. We also believe in many mediators who stand between the ONE creator and the MANY creations, attempting to explain Him in concepts people can understand. I believe Christ was the quintessential mediator of this epoch in teaching the ways of love. We also believe that Buddha, Mohammed and all other great religious leaders were mediators of the Creator. We also believe in chains of higher mediators not of this world. I believe all mediators point the way to unity with the Father or ONE creator. I believe communion takes place through God’s Holy Spirit and Divine Energy/Light.

7. I believe mankind has an innate desire to know his Creator. I believe in this quest the pride of mankind leads him to idolize, rigidly define and depict their Creator and HIS will. I believe the desire of a child to pretend he can accurately explain his Parent most often leads to division. I believe that the best way to know the creator is through selflessly serving each other. I believe that by truly understanding each other and the creation we come to better understand the Creator God. We call upon all scientific and religious institutions to put selflessly serving and understanding others before, above and ahead of trying to prove the correctness of their own perspectives. I believe it is this attitude which enabled the Creator’s messengers and prophets to be so successful in creating lasting ideological systems which teach mankind of their Creator.

8. I believe Creeds, tenants and rules have a tendency to divide even as they seek to unite. For those who find these words divisive, we invite you to rewrite them in your minds in a way that becomes unifying instead of selfishly interpreting them in a way that divides. I believe that through the Spirit all mankind can find the truth which unifies in all things. Again I believe the key is selfless service in love.

9. I believe that all social norms and commandments given through the Creator’s unifying Mediators were calculated to encourage the practice of unity through selflessness. I believe the selfishness of mankind tends to distort the original goal of these regulations, adding to them and turning them into practices and traditions which foster self-righteousness, oppression, disharmony and division. I believe this is why new mediators must be sent from time to time to overturn traditional political and religious organizations when they no longer fulfill their intended unifying purposes. I believe it is a best practice to keep rigid rules and regulations to a minimum. To preserve free will at all costs. To keep religious and political regulatory bodies as close to a local level as possible. To teach selfless principles and truly let local polities govern themselves as much as possible; in matters of worship, assembly, sexual practices & marriage, food & substance consumption, commerce and speech.

10. No mortal can really understand God because God IS creation of which we are only a minuscule part. God is the creator of all that is, and in fact IS ALL creation. We are but a tiny cell of his body. To understand him would be to understand all that exists which is not possible for a mortal mind. But we can see patterns in creation which help us to see a part of creation much larger than ourselves. The microcosm or fractal nature of matter.

11. We believe the purpose and destiny of the LDS Church was foreshadowed by story of Joseph and the Twelve Tribes of Israel in the Bible. We believe some aspect of the LDS Church will have the privilege if worthy and desiring of gathering and aiding the twelve tribes of Israel, just as Joseph gathered his brothers and gave them bread, saving them from famine. As God blesses us with power and influence it is our desire to use these things to bless the world and save them from disaster even as Joseph saved Egypt. We believe in the equality and brotherhood of all man, and that those who are abused and weakest are destined to become the most powerful and strong, while those who esteem themselves as greatest and most powerful are destined to become weak and humbled.

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-care for the poor and needy, perfect the saints, redeem the dead, preach the gospel.

-allow for more agency. less division and more unification. The world divides enough, Christ united. It is the age of unity. If it was HIS church for the millennium it would be about universal principles. Not about HIM, not about Christianity, not about rules that divide, but principles that unite.

-Christ’s church would actually teach every religion. It would utilize ALL the worlds scripture and prophets to bring people together into one organization that promoted unity. Exaltation would depend on unity.

-Should it not teach the two paths? No. As this religion is trying to bring the world into becoming a positive terrestrial realm it would teach the left hand selfish path as undesirable. It would allow its existence within limits. It would seek to convert those following this path to the positive. A celestial understanding cannot abide in a terrestrial glory. We are bringing people into the terrestrial glory.