About this article: It was the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Dr. Betty Edwards that first got me comparing split-brain research with the gospel. I had developed some ideas about it, but never wrote them down, though I did verbalize them to what4anarchy. Recently, though, at the library, I picked up an old Stanislaw Lem book, Peace on Earth, which brought the research back into my mind. So I again took the subject up, this time going a whole lot deeper. Afterward, I passed it through what4anarchy and told him I was thinking of writing an article on this topic. He suggested I do so immediately. So, I put pen to paper and came up with the following…
Two Brains, Not One
Modern brain research has discovered that what we term our brain is really two brains working together. One brain resides in the right hemisphere, which I will call the right-brain, while the other resides in the left hemisphere, which I will call the left-brain. The right-brain controls the left side of the body, while the left-brain controls the right side of the body.
Each brain is the mirror image of the other, and like mirror images, they express themselves and perceive reality in opposing ways. However, the two brains are joined by a bridge of connecting tissue, called the corpus callosum, which allows them to communicate with each other and to combine their individual expressions, so that outside observers perceive a single message.
We all know that there is an inner conflict or turmoil within us, though no one else may be aware. We often desire two conflicting things at the same time and must make instantaneous decisions to suppress one desire over another. What we may not be aware of is that these conflicting thoughts, feelings, desires and impulses are coming from our opposing brains.
Observing the Conflict
The conflicting messages transmitted by the two brains are largely unobservable by outsiders. However, when a callotomy is performed, which severs the corpus callosum, neither brain can communicate with the other and thus they become incapable of coordinating all of their actions. Once this main communication line is cut, and by using specific tests, the independence of each brain can then plainly be seen.
Through these tests and observations of callotomized humans, modern research into the differences between the left and right brains has so far revealed the following:
Left and Right Brains Compared
The left-brain uses intellect.
The right-brain uses intuition.
The left-brain is convergent.
The right-brain is divergent.
The left-brain is digital.
The right-brain is analogic.
The left-brain is secondary.
The right-brain is primary.
The left-brain is abstract.
The right-brain is concrete.
The left-brain is directed.
The right-brain is free.
The left-brain is propositional.
The right-brain is imaginative.
The left-brain is analytic.
The right-brain is relational.
The left-brain is lineal.
The right-brain is nonlineal.
The left-brain is rational.
The right-brain is intuitive.
The left-brain is sequential.
The right-brain is multiple.
The left-brain is analytic.
The right-brain is holistic.
The left-brain is objective.
The right-brain is subjective.
The left-brain is successive.
The right-brain is simultaneous.
Thus, we see with the above list that there are “two ways of knowing.”
Left and Right Brains, Another Comparison
Here is another comparison between the left and right brains:
The left-brain is verbal; using words to define.
The right-brain is nonverbal; using non-verbal cognition to process perceptions.
The left-brain is analytic; figuring things out step-by-step and part-by-part.
The right-brain is synthetic; putting things together to form wholes.
The left-brain is symbolic; using a symbol to stand for something else. For example, the + sign stands for the process of addition.
The right-brain is actual, real; relating to things as they are, at the present moment.
The left-brain is abstract; taking out a small bit of information and using it to represent the whole thing.
The right-brain is analogic; seeing likeness among things; understanding metaphoric relationships.
The left-brain is temporal; keeping track of time, sequencing one thing after another, doing first things first, second things second, etc.
The right-brain is nontemporal; without a sense of time.
The left-brain is rational; drawing conclusions based on reason and facts.
The right-brain is nonrational; not requiring a basis of reason or facts; willingness to suspend judgment.
The left-brain is digital; using numbers as in counting.
The right-brain is spatial; seeing where things are in relation to other things and how parts go together to form a whole.
The left-brain is logical; drawing conclusions based on logic; one thing following another in logical order; for example, a mathematical theorem or a well-stated argument.
The right-brain is intuitive; making leaps of insight, often based on incomplete patterns, hunches, feelings, or visual images.
The left-brain is linear; thinking in terms of linked ideas, one thought directly following another, often leading to a convergent conclusion.
The right-brain is holistic (meaning ‘wholistic’); seeing whole things all at once; perceiving the overall patterns and structures, often leading to divergent conclusions.
The Chinese description of yin and yang is but a description of the brains, too. Notice in particular, those of you who subscribe to the notion that we were initially created as dual, composite beings, male and female, that one brain is female, while the other is male.
The yin (right-brain) is feminine.
The yang (left-brain) is masculine.
The yin (right-brain) is negative.
The yang (left-brain) is positive.
The yin (right-brain) is the moon.
The yang (left-brain) is the sun.
The yin (right-brain) is darkness.
The yang (left-brain) is light.
The yin (right-brain) is yielding.
The yang (left-brain) is aggressive.
The yin (right-brain) is the left side.
The yang (left-brain) is the right side.
The yin (right-brain) is cold.
The yang (left-brain) is warm.
The yin (right-brain) is autumn.
The yang (left-brain) is spring.
The yin (right-brain) is winter.
The yang (left-brain) is summer.
The yin (right-brain) is unconscious.
The yang (left-brain) is conscious.
The yin (right-brain) is emotion.
The yang (left-brain) is reason.
Two Ways of Seeing – Convergence and Divergence
Human eyesight has elements of both right and left brain characteristics.
Convergence Our eyes focus on a single point, the smaller and more defined that point, the clearer the vision. This is known as central fixation and is the key to superior eyesight. Thus, your eye must be single, or centrally fixated, to be able to see the light. Central fixation is typical of left-brain convergence, converging the attention on a single point.
Divergence However, we also see what surrounds that point. This is known as eccentric vision. Eccentric vision takes in the whole picture, the whole view, with less clarity than the central point we are fixating our eyes upon. With eccentric vision, we get a sense of where everything is in relation to everything else. None of what we see with eccentric vision is very clear. In fact, it could almost be termed “dark.” This dark, eccentric vision is typical of right-brain divergence, as attention is diverged among all points and not just one.
In this way, using centric and eccentric vision simultaneously, we are able to see the one and the all at the same time. Both are necessary for proper vision, otherwise blindness, to a greater or lesser degree, results.
Two types of blindness If you were to become eccentrically blind, so that all you could perceive was a single point, you would not be able to determine where that point was in relation to everything else. You would literally be lost, having no idea (spatially) where anything was. And if your centric vision became blind, so that you could only see everything around the point you fixated your eyes upon, you would be able to determine that there were things around you, knowing (spatially) where everything was, but you wouldn’t be able to see it with any clarity, meaning that you wouldn’t really know what it was with any detail, nor would you know what the point you were focusing on was.
A Cerebral Struggle for Dominance
Just as both centric and eccentric vision are necessary for proper perception, so are the left-brain and right-brain necessary, yet modern man tends to favor the left-brain processes over the right-brain ones. In fact, the left-brain almost always dominates the right-brain in adults because the speech centers are typically located there, whereas the right-brain is mute. In a debate between a highly articulate man and a mute man, the articulate one wins every time.
As both brains are essentially opposites in every way, and compete for dominance over the man, it is not surprising that the left-brain has ridiculed the right-brain in every language. All words and verbal expressions come from the left-brain. It names everything. It also controls the right hand. So, it is not surprising that everything good is associated with the right hand, whereas everything evil is associated with the left hand, which is controlled by the right-brain. To give you two examples of how the left-brain builds itself up while putting the right-brain down, consider the words “sinister” and “adroit.” The etymology of “sinister” is left, while that of “adroit” is right. Sinister has a bad connotation, while adroit has a good one. The left-brain, in control of speech, takes every opportunity, in every language, to aggrandize itself and belittle the right-brain.
Again, I say, that such behavior is not surprising because, invariably, the right-brain actions—the messages it communicates to the outside world—are always believed over the words verbalized by the left-brain. The right-brain, being mute, communicates through gestures and body language. When a man talks to someone else, and his words do not match his body language, invariably the listener will believe the message communicated by the body language, over what is spoken in words. The left-brain’s words only gain credibility if the right-brain’s body language and gestures match them. Each brain, though, is independent and wants to make itself heard and to dominate, so the necessity of working together can be frustrating, which frustration is manifested by the left-brain calling the (right-brain controlled) left hand names.
In the gospel, we are taught to be one and we tend to think of that in terms of two or more people. However, in its most fundamental practice, it means to harmonize the two brains so that they work in unity, instead of fighting between each other.
The term “one,” used in the scriptures to describe the Godhead and us in relation to God, should (says I) be translated “united.” “United” is a more descriptive term; it recognizes the individuality of the parts while showing the harmonious relationship of the whole. The left-brain, however, is the one that chooses the words of the scriptures and so it is understandable that “one” is the word used. The left-brain does not want to even recognize the existence of the right-brain, therefore, according to its thought, we are to become one homogenized being, centered smack dab in the left hemisphere!
What the Left-Brain and Right-Brain Actually Are
If you were to ask a person to point with their finger where they are in their body, they would eventually figure it out and point to their brain. For example, although they control their knee and can see and feel it, it is “over there,” not “in here” where they are. If you ask where their mind is, they will point to their brain (either hemisphere). When you ask where their heart is, they will point to their chest. When you ask where their sentimental heart is, not the physical heart, they will point to the same location, the chest.
For most people, the sentimental heart and the physical heart are located, like the knee, “over there,” not “in here” where they are. Yet, all sensations are sensed in the brain, not in the extremities. It is the brain that interprets the signals coming from without as pleasure, pain, etc. The organs at those extremities are designed to collect information about the inner and outer environments and to transmit the information to the brain, which then interprets it as “feeling.” We can see physical organs at every location of the body, but the sentimental heart, which we say is located in the bosom somewhere, has no physical organ that collects sentimental information. Where, then, is the location of the sentimental heart? Where is the organ of the sentimental heart? It is the right-brain.
In its quest for dominance of the brain, the mind of man (the left-brain), has named the location of the heart of man (the right-brain), as “out there,” somewhere in the bosom or chest area. In the reality of the left-brain—which is the dominant brain in adults—the heart is something that is to be subject to the mind, like any other part of the body. It, the left-brain, wants the man to believe that his mind (which is the left-brain) occupies the whole region of the cerebral area, both left and right hemispheres, while the heart (which is his right-brain) is in a nether region.
The truth of the matter is, though, that the left-brain, which deals in symbols, has created a symbolic location for the sentimental heart. The actual location is unnervingly close to the mind, right across the corpus callosum bridge, and it, the heart, is every bit as big and complex as the mind. In fact, the heart of man is not just the equal of the mind of man, but is actually the primary brain organ, while the left-brain is a secondary brain organ.
From this point on, I will refer to each brain by what they actually are: the left-brain-mind and the right-brain-heart.
Man is from the Beginning Right-Brain-Heart Dominant
We come into this world right-brain-heart dominant. Over time the speech and other centers of the left-brain-mind develop and, due to the mastery of speech and writing, the left-brain-mind often and largely takes control of the man, dominating the right-brain-heart. The return to a heavenly state, such as our pre-mortal state, indicates a return to right-brain-heart dominance.
In one of the lists above, the left-brain-mind is called the secondary brain, while the right-brain-heart is called the primary brain. Let’s explore why this is.
Right-Brain-Heart: Primary; Left-Brain-Mind: Secondary
When Jesus visited the Nephites, he was complying with the commandments of the Father, who had given him a to-do list (and a to-say list.) After finishing the list of tasks, he was to return to the Father and then to go to the lost tribes but he changed plans, because his right-brain-heart, the primary brain, which contains the emotional centers, felt compassion towards the Nephites. He then stayed longer, said more and performed more acts than he had been instructed to by the Father. In other words, Jesus took initiative and expressed his individuality.
The right-brain-heart trumps the left-brain-mind every time. It takes precedence over the logic of the left-brain-mind. We left-brain-mind dominant humans, when thinking of the oneness of the Gods, tend to think in mathematical logic like a computer program which gives the proper response to every conceivable situation, as if the Gods were robots. Such thinking is uniquely left-brain-minded, in other words, it is convergent. Although the Gods utilize their left-brain-minds, and thus are capable of convergent thought, they are right-brain-heart dominant, which is divergent. There is not one proper response or solution, but an infinite number of proper responses and solutions. Diversification and variety are functions of the right-brain-heart.
So, despite going beyond what the Father had told him to do, Jesus acted properly.
The Nonverbal Gesture Language of the Right-Brain-Heart
The right-brain-heart of man, although mute, possesses the language of gestures. No matter what language you look at on this planet, you will find that human verbal expressions are often accompanied by hand and body gestures. Try telling someone to describe a spiral staircase to you and see if they don’t make a spiral gesture with their hand as they give their description. The gesture language of the right-brain-heart appears to be more or less the same regardless of language or culture. We all use the same or similar gestures, with some variance among the like generalities. When picking a mate, gestures or body language is virtually identical in every culture. This is known as the pair-bonding sequence. All of this mute body language is the right-brain-heart communicating with another right-brain-heart.
In the heavens, as everyone there is right-brain-heart dominant, the principal language is a gesture language. The language given to Adam was also a gesture language. (Think back to Adam’s prayer in the temple.) The gospel ordinances consist of bodily movements and gestures. This is the language of the right-brain-heart.
The language of the right-brain-heart cannot be expressed in words or written down. The verbal left-brain-mind cannot understand the expressions of the right-brain-heart. It is all a mystery, unknowable to the left-brain-mind. That is, perhaps, why we find such curious passages of scripture in which Jesus prays to the Father and no one can speak or write “the things” they both saw and heard him speak. Part of the reason could very well be because Jesus used the gesture language of his right-brain-heart in front of the multitude.
Later, on the second day of his visit, Jesus again prays a prayer that was impossible to speak or write. Finally, on the third day, the babes and little children spoke unspeakable things, as did many of the later church converts. (The children, still right-brain-heart dominant, were already in the proper dominance state, so right-brain-heart speak would come first and easiest to them.) All of this may be indicative of the gesture language of the right-brain-heart.
A built-in lie detector; a built-in lying machine
The right-brain-heart always tells the truth that it perceives, whereas the left-brain-mind is capable of lying. (The left-brain-mind has the ability of lying through its rationalization processes.) If the left-brain-mind speaks a lie, even to the point where it attempts to control the person’s body language to make the deception complete, the right-brain-heart will nevertheless cause a body part to manifest that the words spoken and body language shown are untrue. As much as the left-brain-mind tries to control the right-brain-heart’s bodily gestures, the message of truth always gets through, via so-called involuntary functions, such as pupil dilation/constriction, etc. A person trained in these right-brain-heart body signs can always tell when someone is lying, just by careful observation of the body signals.
The Spiritual Center of Man: the Right-Brain-Heart
The residence of the Holy Ghost All spirituality is centered in the right-brain-heart. When explaining how the spirit of revelation operates, the Lord said, “I will tell you in your (left-brain-) mind and in your (right-brain-) heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your (right-brain-) heart.” (D&C 8: 2.)
In addition to residing in the right-brain-heart, the Holy Ghost utilizes the peculiar processes of that hemisphere to communicate divine knowledge.
Dreams As the right-brain-heart controls the subconscious, many prophets and seers, such as Lehi, received divine dreams.
Timelessness The right-brain-heart has no concept of time, so we find Joseph Smith matter-of-factly stating, after his visions with the angel Moroni, “After this third visit, he again ascended into heaven as before, and I was again left to ponder on the strangeness of what I had just experienced, when almost immediately after the heavenly messenger had ascended from me the third time, the cock crowed, and I found that day was approaching, so that our interviews must have occupied the whole of that might.” (JS-H 1: 47)
Children, in particular, routinely demonstrate the timelessness of the right-brain-heart. Being right-brain-heart dominant, they have the innate ability to immerse themselves in the reality of the right-brain-heart, without very much input from their left-brain-minds. Such a brain state might be termed R-mode. Only by activating the time keeping function of their left-brain-minds, can R-mode be broken.
For example, when my youngest son is engaged in an enjoyable activity, which I need to interrupt because it is time to go, there is no way to disengage him without him becoming upset. This is because he has no concept of time while in R-mode and feels cheated to be suddenly taken out of it. Even if he has been playing for hours on end, to him it wasn’t enough time, since he wasn’t aware of time while doing it. What I need to do in order to avoid a scene is to engage his left-brain-mind (or L-mode), which does keep time, by saying, “Okay, we’re leaving in 15 minutes!” Instantly, the left-brain-mind of the boy starts a countdown, which overrides the right-brain-heart’s timelessness. At intervals, he will ask me, “How much time is left?” because his left-brain-mind still has no concept of how long a minute is, let alone 15, and it needs information to pace the countdown. When the time is up there is no scene when leaving because his rational left-brain-mind is telling his right-brain-heart that he was given “enough” time to play and “fair warning.”
As things really are The right-brain-heart is concrete, seeing things as they really, actually are, and not projecting symbolic relationships, so, when the Lord wishes to reveal truth, which is “knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come” (see D&C 93: 24), he does so through the right-brain-heart of man.
More on Timelessness: Patience is Centered in the Right-Brain-Heart
Patience takes on a new meaning when in a timeless state. There is no sooner or later in eternity or timelessness. You either get something or you do not. The right-brain-heart will ask God for something, believing that it will receive it. “I do not know when I will get it, I just believe that I will get it,” says the right-brain-heart. The right-brain-heart is, by nature, patient, because waiting an eternity to receive something is the same as waiting one day. Without a concept of time, it is all the same.
The Exaltation of the Left-Brain-Mind (by Man)
Modern man, being left-brain-mind dominant, tends to idolize the left-brain-mind attributes, whereas the right-brain-heart attributes are considered inferior. So, a man with strong intellectual powers, rational and analytic in thought, with strong verbal skills, who is punctual and can follow instructions precisely, is lifted up on a pedestal as ideal. Such a man is a thinker, thinking things through and figuring things out, linking things together like a Sherlock Holmes detective until he comes to the “only logical conclusion.” Logic, reason, intellect, mathematical concepts, with emotions being held in check at all times, so as not to cloud one’s thoughts, these are the qualities of the scientific, left-brain-mind dominant man.
The Use of the Right-Brain-Heart (by God)
Unfortunately, such a man, whose right-brain-heart is largely neglected, while the left-brain-mind becomes over-developed, misses every opportunity to hear the voice of God, because God dwells only in the right-brain-heart.
Spatiality God shows the spatial relationships of the heavens to man in vision through the right-brain-heart, not the left-brain-mind. “These are the governing ones,” the Lord said to Abraham (in Abr. 3: 3), as he showed him the planets and their spatial relationships. The left-brain-mind must rely upon telescopes and math to get a picture of where everything is, whereas the right-brain-heart has the built-in capacity to see the whole picture at once, so God uses it when giving vision.
Intuition When we have an “a-ha!” moment, that is the right-brain-heart in action. We finally understand something, though we may not be able to put it into words, or the words we use to describe the understanding is inadequate. Although the left-brain-mind processes, like advanced mathematical equations, are very complex, they still only deal with the one point or thought that is in the mind. The right-brain-heart has the job of dealing with everything other than that one point or thought. In other words, the right right-brain-heart sees the whole picture (eccentric vision), while the left-brain-mind sees only one point of the picture (centric vision). Right-brain-heart processes embrace the all or infinite, while the left-brain-mind embraces the one or singular. The left-brain-mind sees one thing at a time, sequentially; the right-brain-heart sees multiple things at a time, simultaneously. As a result, the right-brain-heart is vastly more complex than the left-brain-mind. Its processes are much too fluid and complex to be put into words.
Miracles As LDS, we often fall into the left-brain-mind track and approach the gospel in a left-brain-mind way. Each side is to be fully developed and harmonized, or united, becoming “one.” If one or the other must dominate, the right-brain-heart, the primary brain, is to be the one in the control seat, not the left-brain-mind. If the order is reversed, we may find ourselves going through a list of gospel actions, which is inherently left-brained, without experiencing any of the miracles, visions, dreams, tongues, angelic visitations, etc., which are associated with right-brain development and dependence.
Gospel principles Faith, hope, charity and all the rest of the gospel principles are right-brain-heart centered. It is impossible to exercise these principles utilizing the ordered left-brain-mind. To the left-brain-mind, the right-brain-heart appears disordered, chaotic, anarchic, much too free and unrestrained. The left-brain-mind likes to be told what to do, to be directed, guided, and confined into limitative schedules and restrictive borders. This is because the left-brain-mind only sees one thing at a time and the dot or point it sees has specific boundaries, everything converging at the center. The right-brain-heart, though, sees everything at once, and there are no boundaries to what it sees, all things diverging in all directions. It enjoys the freedom of boundless space and the natural order that the things it sees “settle into.” It doesn’t like to be confined and it has no sense of propriety. All it sees is infinite variety, all of which it deems “proper.”
The Return to Right-Brain-Heart Dominance
Our task here on earth is to return to right-brain-heart dominance so that God can reveal the way to become one, so that both brains act in harmony, firmly under the control of the right-brain-heart, which sees the big picture. This is why the scriptures state that God requires the heart of man. Once God gets a man’s right-brain-heart, He can show man the big picture and man can see where he fits in the universe, what his potential is and how to obtain it.
As I said before, all mankind is born with a dominant right-brain-heart. As infants, babes, toddlers and little children, we learn chiefly using the right-brain-heart processes. At some point we learn how to speak, read, write and do arithmetic (which are left-brain-mind processes) and the left-brain-mind overpowers the right-brain-heart, suppressing the imaginative and creative right. Such left-brain-mind dominance impedes our spiritual progression. What then becomes necessary is that we become as little children, repent and be baptized (see 3 Nephi 11: 37) and also repent, be baptized and become as little children (see 3 Nephi 11: 38). We must become as little children both before and after baptism. In other words, we must become again right-brain-heart dominant.
Often many of the instructions given by the Lord to LDS are switched by the LDS, so that we try to perform a right-brain-heart function with the left-brain-mind and vice versa. For example, when the Lord told the Nephite disciples to cease praying but not to cease praying in their hearts, we might confuse “praying in the heart” with praying with the mind. The (left-brain-) mind uses words, while the (right-brain-) heart is mute. It can feel and make gestures, but it cannot express itself in words. Therefore, to pray in one’s heart is to express a feeling towards God. It is entirely possible to continually pray in one’s heart to God while performing other tasks.
Likewise, pondering in one’s left-brain-mind and pondering in one’s right-brain-heart are two separate things and have different results. Left-brain-mind pondering is analytic, abstract, propositional, temporal, rational, digital, logical and linear and leads to intellectual stimulation. Right-brain-heart pondering is synthetic, analogic, imaginative, nontemporal, nonrational, spatial, intuitive, holistic and nonlineal and leads to spiritual stimulation and revelation. Unless one ponders with the right-brain-heart, it may result in no spiritual progress.
Many of the “techniques” we are taught to use for gospel study are nothing more than left-brain-mind processes. In fact, any and all studying engages only the left-brain-mind. This is why the Lord said to Oliver Cowdery, “You must study it out in your mind.” (See D&C 9: 8.) Faith is right-brain-heart based and study is left-brain-mind based. And so the Lord said, “And as all have not faith…seek learning, even by study (left-brain-mind) and also by faith (right-brain-heart).” (See D&C 109: 7.)
To maximize gospel progression, the right-brain-heart must be engaged. The more it is engaged, the more rapid the progress. The right-brain-heart has the capacity to dwell on something continually, night and day. Ask any broken-hearted fool if he feels the effect of his lost love continually and he’ll tell you. By placing the affections of the heart upon the Lord (see Alma 37: 36), we keep it open to receive communications from that quarter.
United Brains – or, One Brain under (the Right-Brain-Heart, It Being under) God
The Lord has said that “children are whole from the foundation of the world.” (Moses 6: 54.) Another way of saying “whole” is “united,” “complete,” “not missing any parts,” “with no divisions or separations among the parts,” meaning that the two brains are united, each one working as they are supposed to work, in other words, with the right right-brain-heart in the dominant position. Then they enter earth life, in which all the adults have brains in which the left-brain-mind is dominant, and as they grow up, “sin conceiveth in their (right-brain-) hearts” (Moses 6: 55.) The effect of sin is that it separates us from God, so, as the right-brain-heart is our pathway to the divine, as soon as children allow their left-brain-minds to dominate or ignore the right-brain-heart, they begin to cut themselves off from Heavenly Father.
The devil has a few strategies to “deal with” the right-brain-heart. As the right-brain-heart is the conduit to God, one strategy is to get people to completely ignore it. Using the left’s power of words, the attributes of the left-brain-mind are exalted while those of the right-brain-heart are ridiculed as foolishness. In this way, no one wants to develop the right-brain-heart qualities because of its stigma in the popular mind-set. Right-brain-heart dominant artists, creators, visionaries, and prophets are looked upon as slackers, knaves, vagabonds, lazy, crazies, etc. Their “heads are in the clouds” and they need to “get their feet on the ground” and “face the realities of (left-brain-mind dominant) life.” Right-brain-heart dominant individuals are not punctual, can’t follow a set of instructions precisely (they are prone to change the order of a sequenced plan on the spur of the moment), they can’t focus on any one thing at a time, instead thinking of everything at once, they are irrational (nonrational), etc. Who wants to be like that?! Just about every right-brain-heart process has been marginalized and made unpopular by the left-brain-mind so that hardly anyone wants to develop it.
The universities are especially adept at atrophying the right-brain-heart so that a man can enter a university with faith in God (the right-brain-heart functioning) and leave it as an atheist, with near total reliance upon the left-brain-mind. Universities and most schooling in general teach left-brain-mind development almost exclusively.
Another strategy of the devil is to inflame the desire and emotion centers of the right right-brain-heart so that hate, anger and rage pour out instead of the love and goodwill that is supposed to be there. He will also incite desires for sex, power, fame and money because the desires of the right-brain-heart never tire as do the thought processes of the left-brain-mind. So, if he can’t get a person to ignore the right-brain-heart entirely, he will try to get the individual to spend right-brain-heart energy in anything other than God.
If all of this fails and the person still seeks God and continues to develop the right-brain-heart, he will give them religion, a religion that is largely left-brain-minded, that professes God with its mouth (the left-brain-mind words) but whose (right-brain-) heart is far from Him. Or, if a person’s right-brain-heart is very developed so that left left-brain-mind dominant religion has no appeal, the devil will present spiritualism and other esoteric religions and paths to the individual, causing him or her to divert right-brain-heart energy to something other than God. Women, in particular, are susceptible to this latter strategy.
The Right-Brain-Heart, the Key to Combating the Devil
The way to combat these devilish deceptions is to open up the right-brain-heart to God and to develop it despite the stigma. “Yielding up the (right-brain-) heart to God” (Hel. 3: 35) is how the scriptures describe it. This causes the right-brain-heart to become sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost which will then dwell there and deposit the gifts of the Spirit, which gifts will discern the deceptions of the devil (see D&C 46: 8) and will reveal the truth via miraculous manifestations. So, the right-brain-heart is the key to everything.
Belief, Doubt and Prayer
The right-brain-heart is the believing brain, whereas the left-brain-mind is the doubter, unless the belief is based upon logic, facts, peer-reviewed evidence, etc. So, when the Lord instructs us to pray in faith, believing that we will receive, nothing doubting, he is explaining the manner of using both hemispheres of the brain. Verbal prayers require the left-brain-mind, while faith and belief both originate in the right-brain-heart. And by saying “nothing doubting” He is explaining that the left-brain-mind is to speak but do nothing more. So, there is to be no conflict between left-brain-mind and right-brain-heart. Belief and faith are to come from the right-brain-heart without any doubt from the left-brain-mind. In our prayers, then, we are to be one, meaning that our left-brain-mind and right-brain-heart are to be united, with the right-brain-heart in its proper role as the primary and dominant brain. Prayer, then, becomes a means whereby we may train our left-brain-minds to be subservient to our right-brain-hearts.
Revelation and the Right-Brain-Heart
By changing our approach to the gospel from left-brain-mind to right-brain-heart dominant, suddenly one-way communication (prayer) turns into two-way communication (revelation) and God starts pouring down information about the nature of the Universe, expanding our horizons accordingly. Joseph Smith, Jun., is the poster boy for what happens when you develop the right-brain-heart and turn it over to God: God fills it with visions of eternity. Joseph’s left-brain-mind was in no way as developed as his right-brain-heart, which fact bothered him, but this did not present any obstacle whatsoever to him receiving messages from God. The reason? Because the left-brain-mind is not needed by God to communicate to us. Only the right-brain-heart is. The Holy Ghost speaks to the left-brain-mind when the message needs to be put into words, as that is where the speech center is found. If the message is only for the individual, the right-brain-heart alone can be used, but if the message is to be told to others, the left-brain-mind is also activated.
The Eternal Destiny of Man Requires an Organ that Can See Eternity: the Right-Brain-Heart
All of this talk of the importance of the right-brain-heart is not meant to imply that the left-brain-mind plays no part in the gospel. It does, but it was always the intention that the left-brain-mind have a secondary, not primary role, in the gospel. We are here on earth to learn to walk by faith (right-brain-heart) and not by sight (left-brain-mind). The left-brain-mind, being of a limited nature, with narrow confines, boundaries, rules, etc., is designed to be a tool in the hand of the right-brain-heart to perform certain limited, sequential tasks. The right-brain-heart has no limits, being as wide as eternity itself, and thus is designed to control the eternal destiny of man because its vision is large enough to see the big picture and man’s spatial relationship to all other things in the Universe. The left-brain-mind is unsuited to control the eternal destiny of man because of its limited vision, seeing only one thing at a time and not knowing where it fits in the Universe. But it is especially useful during mortality, to construct houses and perform other mortal tasks.
In eternity, the left-brain-mind is also used to perform tasks, but always in subjection to the right-brain-heart, which directs all things. If you look on the lists above of left and right attributes, you’ll see the left hemisphere is “directed” while the right is “free.” By nature and by design, the left-brain-mind is meant to be directed or to be given orders, whereas the right-brain-heart is meant to be free of direction. Thus we see the resurrected Christ following the orders of the Father, performing left-brain-mind tasks, but when the right-brain-heart expresses itself, suddenly plans change. Again, I repeat, the right-brain-heart is designed to do what it wants to do (freedom or anarchy, in other words, self-government); it is not designed to be directed. Whereas the left-brain-mind is designed to be directed, and not to be free. (The devil perverts this design by getting everyone’s left-brain-mind in the dominant position, with the devil doing the directing. The Savior corrects this perversion with the Sermon on the Mount, whose instructions, if followed precisely, would put the right-brain-heart again in the dominant position.)
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Appealing to Both Brains
The gospel contains elements meant to appeal to both left and right brains. Gospel symbols, sequential commandments, prophetic directions, linear progression, the emphasis on study, the word of God, etc., all appeal to the left-brain-mind, while Gospel literalism, illogical and irrational commandments, faith and belief, the innumerability of the worlds (infinity), spatial relationships of kingdoms (planets), etc., all appeal to the right-brain-heart. So, the gospel addresses the needs of both brains, but puts the major emphasis on the right-brain-heart as the primary organ that determines our eternal destiny.
The Lord’s Bountiful Sermon to the Nephites Corrects Brain Disunity
The pre-eminence of the right-brain-heart, the importance of it, cannot be over-stated. The Sermon on the Mount given to the Jews and the Bountiful Sermon given to the Nephites, speak almost exclusively of the re-enthroning of the right-brain-heart, giving irrational, illogical rules to live by, such as turning the other cheek, etc., which rules fly in the face of the left-brain-mind’s sense of justice. For example, “blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me” is contrary to left-brain-mind pride. “Blessed are all they that mourn” is contrary to left-brain-mind concepts of happiness. “Blessed are the meek” is contrary to left-brain-mind aggression. To the left-brain-mind, these instructions given by the Savior are irrational. To the left-brain-mind, it is the strong that inherits the earth, not the meek. The left-brain-mind cannot see how being persecuted can be of any benefit. Left-brain-mind dominant people, therefore, do not obey the principles found in the Sermon on the Mount, only insofar as the left-brain-mind sees a rational benefit associated with them. To the degree that it views no rational benefit, it avoids this sermon like the plague.
The Sermon on the Mount is designed to present principles which are intentionally contrary to the nature of the left-brain-mind so that mankind can learn to obtain control over it, to re-enthrone the right-brain-heart as the director and to become as a little child.
In particular, the Bountiful Sermon is a test, given to LDS, as to whether they will receive the “greater things” that were ministered to the Nephites by the Savior. Of all the scriptures in the entire Standard Works, the four chapters found in 3 Nephi 11-14 are the most important. If a person were to throw away every other scripture and just read and live every principle found in these four chapters, the Lord would open up the heavens to that man and would re-reveal the rest of the scriptures, including scriptures the man never had, so that he would obtain, through the door of his right-brain-heart the keys of his salvation and enter into the rest of the Lord. The fact that all these years have gone by and we still have not received the complete Nephite record shows that LDS are largely ignoring the Bountiful Sermon, perhaps complying with left-brain-mind commandments, but avoiding those that target the right-brain-heart.
As a result of this failure to comply with the Bountiful Sermon, choosing instead to let our left-brain-minds direct us, our right-brain-hearts have become hardened or atrophied. All mankind begins life with dominant, soft hearts which, over time, grow hard and give up dominance to the left-brain-mind. Like stones, hard hearts need to be broken open through repentance (a “broken heart and contrite spirit”) so that the Spirit of God can finally get in. In other words, we need to become as little children again, with soft, dominant right-brain-hearts. The Bountiful Sermon is the way to achieve that goal.
(For The Anarchist Version of the Bountiful Sermon, see the post, The Words of Jehovah-Saves Anointed One, Spoken During His Nephite Ministry: DAY ONE. That post is also my answer to the question posed in the post, If you could only read 3 chapters or sections…)
Hardness of Heart, Blindness of Mind and Looking Beyond the Mark
The scriptures refer to the left and right brains as being in a state of wickedness with the expressions “hardness of heart” and “blindness of mind.” The left-brain-mind becomes blind only when it “looks beyond the mark.” It can see, by design, only one single point or dot (mark). If it attempts to see two or more things simultaneously, or if it attempts to see outside of the boundaries of its centrally fixated point, it cannot and becomes blind. In other words, if the left-brain-mind attempts to see what the right-brain-heart can see, it fails and sees nothing, becoming blind.
Two Brains, Two Realities
The left-brain-mind and right-brain-heart perceive life in opposing ways.
A Circle Within a Circle The reality of the left-brain-mind consists of two circles, one smaller circle within a larger circle. Within the smaller circle are all things the left-brain-mind has deemed “possible and probable.” Outside of the small circle, but within the larger circle are all things it has deemed “possible, but improbable.” Outside of the larger circle are all things it calls “impossible.” The left-brain-mind sees reality in this way because, by nature, it is incapable of viewing it any other way. It is designed by God to be an organ whose view of the Universe is limited, that is, it can focus only on the one and not the many. It deals only in absolutes such as on or off, right or wrong, true or false, etc.
No Circles The reality of the right-brain-heart has no such labels, as it uses no words. It merely sees all things at once as they are, or as they really look, and perceives their various spatial locations in relation to everything else. It also perceives the similarities of the objects, as well as the differences or divergent paths. As there is no end to the things it views, its view contains no boundaries, no symbolic circles, etc. The reality of the right-brain-heart, therefore, is the reality of limitless eternity and infinite variety, in which “all things are possible.” If all things are possible, then nothing is impossible or improbable.
The realities of the left-brain-mind and right-brain-heart are conflicting and create a clash within us. “Which view is correct?” you may ask yourself. But such a question comes from the left-brain-mind, which sees things as right and wrong, correct and incorrect, proper and improper. In other words, for the left-brain-mind everything is either a 1 or a 0, either on or off, whereas the right-brain-heart sees everything in infinite gradations and variations. Because the gospel of Christ is one of eternity, it must be lived in the reality of the right-brain-heart. Therefore, the real answer to such a question is that both perspectives are correct.
Possible, probable, improbable and impossible If we are ever on our knees for some miracle to occur, and we think any of the following thoughts—
“I’m just engaging in wishful thinking.”
“I don’t really believe this will happen.”
“Do I really believe this will happen?”
“Maybe I should state this as a hope, not a belief.”
—all of these doubtful thoughts are coming from the left-brain-mind. To the left-brain-mind, if what you are petitioning the Lord for falls into the “possible, but improbable” category of its reality—or even worse, the “impossible” category—you are engaging in “wishful thinking,” “delusion,” or some other designation of an irrational mind. The left-brain-mind is incapable of comprehending the reality of the right-brain-heart, in which all things are possible, and must label the right-brain-heart’s reality in left-brain-mind terms.
The Four Modes of Existence
There are four modes of existence: 1) L-mode and R-mode expressing themselves simultaneously, with the left-brain-mind dominant, 2) L-mode and R-mode expressing themselves simultaneously, with the right-brain-heart dominant, 3) L-mode expressing itself with the right-brain-heart silent and 4) R-mode expressing itself with the left-brain-mind silent.
The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us that only modes #2 and #4 are acceptable. God is always to be a part of our existence (the main part) and as He manifests Himself through right-brain-heart dominance, only #2 and #4 put Him in His proper place. The natural man, forever an enemy to God, chiefly expresses himself in modes #1 and #3. Our task on earth is to switch #1 to #2 and #3 to #4. Again, this is accomplished by applying the principles found in 3 Nephi 11-14.
The Split-Brain Model Applied to God and the Universe
The Universe is a finite sphere of light with well defined, but ever-expanding limits. It is composed of kingdoms of glory (light) and space. All of creation exists within the Universal sphere. Beyond it nothing exists. This nothing region outside is called “outer darkness” in contrast to the inner light of the Universal sphere. Outer darkness has no limits or boundaries to it. It is truly infinite. (See the post, Deep Waters: Lehi’s model of the universe, for more info on this topic.)
God can see all created things within the Universal sphere through the capacity of His right-brain-heart, which sees everything simultaneously, but He also has the capacity to focus on the one, the individual creation, through the ability of His left-brain-mind, which sees only one thing at a time sequentially.
We know that God has already seen all things individually with His left-brain-mind, including each one of us, because He has stated that He has numbered every single thing that exists. Numbering is a left-brain-mind process which requires centric vision, focusing on the thing being counted.
The capacity of God’s left-brain-mind to number things appears to be unlimited because we are told that the process of creation is ongoing and never-ending (“my works never cease”) and that He numbers all of His creations (“all things are numbered to me”). We are also told that although all things in the Universal sphere are of finite number, the number is so very great that to man they are essentially infinite in number (“all things are numberless to man”). This shows that the left-brain-mind of God, which is designed to deal only with the finite, is beyond the scope of comprehension of man and it, alone, is worthy of man’s worship and endless devotion.
Nevertheless, the left-brain-mind of God, though awe-inspiring and dumbfounding in its perfection and complexity, like the ultimate computer, is sub-ordinate to the right-brain-heart of God, which is designed to comprehend the infinite. And where is the truly infinite? Outer darkness.
God’s left-brain-mind does not gaze into outer darkness because that region is infinite and God would not use an instrument designed for finite measurements and counting to deal with the infinite, but if it did look, what would it see? It would see nothing. Why? Because nothing is there. The “mark” of God is the Universal sphere of light. God’s left-brain-mind is not designed to “look beyond the mark.” Were it to do so, it would become blind and see nothing. Thus, to God’s left-brain-mind, outer darkness literally is dark.
Yet God does gaze into outer darkness. And He sees an infinite number of things of infinite variety surrounded by boundless space. He sees all these uncreated, non-existent things through the capacity of His right-brain-heart to imagine. These are the future creations of God.
Thus, through the finite yet ever-expanding Universal sphere of light, God is able to fully engage the numbering and naming capacity of His left-brain-mind, while the infinite and divergent nothingness outside of the sphere fully engages the infinite imagination and eccentric vision of His right-brain-heart. In fact, in a very real sense, God’s left-brain-mind is the Universal sphere of light (as mormonmilkman was cleverly able to determine), and, in like manner, His right-brain-heart is outer darkness. See the post, Deep Waters: Creatio ex nihilo, creation ex material and creation ex deo are all true doctrines, for more on this topic.
(It is telling that God has His right-brain-heart’s eccentric vision continuously gazing into outer darkness, as it is His right-brain-heart and not His left-brain-mind that brings us into existence. But that is a topic worthy of its own post, so I will take it up in the next installment of the Faith of God series.)
Finally, the Universal sphere of light converges at the center point where God resides “in the midst” of all things. Outer darkness, though, is best described as divergent.
Justice and Mercy
Justice is a characteristic of the left-brain-mind, which sees things as black or white, on or off, good or bad, righteous or wicked. Mercy is a characteristic of the right-brain-heart, which sees things as diversified and varied. The gospel of Jesus Christ allows us to obtain the mercy that resides in God’s right-brain-heart by developing our own right-brain-heart to match that of God’s, so that He can speak to us heart to heart. If we do not take advantage of the gospel, God will speak to us mind to mind and we will then be exposed to the justice that resides in God’s left-brain-mind. The sense of justice of our left-brain-mind is patterned after the sense of justice of God’s left-brain-mind, so those who receive God’s judgment will find themselves confessing that God’s judgments are all just and that they are guilty of their crimes. The key to avoiding God’s justice and obtaining His mercy is by using the gospel to submit our right-brain-hearts to God.
When the gospel is viewed through the split-brain model, many of the human and Godly behavioral mysteries suddenly clear up. Once informed by this model, no longer need we spurn the characteristics of the right-brain-heart as embarrassing, primitive, unnecessary and unwanted, but can heartily embrace them as just as much a part of the human nature as any aspect of the left-brain-mind, for such they are. Application of the model allows us to more accurately ascertain where we are on the gospel path, based upon the left or right processes we regularly use. By taking inventory of how we act, we can determine whether we are directed by our left-brain-minds or by our right-brain-hearts. And by using the Savior’s corrective Bountiful Sermon, we can unite our brains and re-enthrone the right-brain-heart as the dominant organ, allowing the Lord to open up a direct channel to us and pour light and truth into our right-brain-hearts.