Community, Intimacy, and Connection


The Mormon Archetype of Zion:

And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.

The ever-present archetype in Mormon culture of the “City of Enoch” – of that first city of Zion that was taken up into heaven:

Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven.

and that is promised to return at a point when there is another city of Zion on the earth to meet them:

And the Lord said unto Enoch: As I live, even so will I come in the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance, to fulfil the oath which I have made unto you concerning the children of Noah; And the day shall come that the earth shall rest, but before that day the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve;

And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; […] and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.

And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other; And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest.

This romantic archetype is played out in various historical instances throughout the scriptural record.

After Alma fled into the wilderness, the community of believers that joined with him:

were called the church of God, or the church of Christ, from that time forward. And it came to pass that whosoever was baptized by the power and authority of God was added to his church.

And it came to pass that Alma, having authority from God, ordained priests; even one priest to every fifty of their number did he ordain to preach unto them, and to teach them concerning the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.  And he commanded them that they should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets.  Yea, even he commanded them that they should preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord, who had redeemed his people.

And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.

And thus he commanded them to preach. And thus they became the children of God.

[…]

And the priests were not to depend upon the people for their support; but for their labor they were to receive the grace of God, that they might wax strong in the Spirit, having the knowledge of God, that they might teach with power and authority from God.

And again Alma commanded that the people of the church should impart of their substance, every one according to that which he had; if he have more abundantly he should impart more abundantly; and of him that had but little, but little should be required; and to him that had not should be given.  And thus they should impart of their substance of their own free will and good desires towards God, and to those priests that stood in need, yea, and to every needy, naked soul.

And this he said unto them, having been commanded of God; and they did walk uprightly before God, imparting to one another both temporally and spiritually according to their needs and their wants.

After the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the community of believers in Judea:

continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.  And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.  And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

After Jesus’ visitation with Lehi’s descendents in the Americas, the disciples of Jesus there:

had formed a church of Christ in all the lands round about. And as many as did come unto them, and did truly repent of their sins, were baptized in the name of Jesus; and they did also receive the Holy Ghost.

And it came to pass […] the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.  And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.

Joseph Smith’s Desire for Zion:

These “Zions” where there are no rich and no poor, where all impart of their substance freely with one another, having no contentions, and having all things common [not “in common”, I think there’s a difference] have been a big part of Mormon history and collective culture.

The passion for that kind of community is behind a lot of what Joseph Smith was doing while he was alive – trying to get a united order of unrelated believers in Christ bound together by covenant into a whole new people-group.  A tribal community bound by covenant, in an effort to get away from the traditional order of a “church” of unrelated believers in this-or-that set of creeds.

For verily I say unto you, the time has come, and is now at hand; and behold, and lo, it must needs be that there be an organization of my people, in regulating and establishing the affairs of the storehouse for the poor of my people, both in this place and in the land of Zion — For a permanent and everlasting establishment and order unto my church, to advance the cause, which ye have espoused, to the salvation of man, and to the glory of your Father who is in heaven;

That you may be equal in the bonds of heavenly things, yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things.  For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things;

For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you.  And now, verily thus saith the Lord, it is expedient that all things be done unto my glory, by you who are joined together in this order;

[…]

Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, to prepare and organize yourselves by a bond or everlasting covenant that cannot be broken.  And he who breaketh it shall lose his office and standing in the church, and shall be delivered over to the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption.

But history has shown the Gentile church of God to be a hard-hearted and faithless bunch.  They are content with having one man sit atop the power-pyramid and habitually obey what he says – they receive equal “experience quotient” from images and representations compared to what’s being imaged and represented.

They rejected this consecration and never really got around to plural marriage as a genuine priesthood order of joining groups of like-minded strangers into bona-fide tribes of Israel – but rather kept it only as a social convention.

Polygamy became required for polygamy’s sake alone.  Polyandry was also out-right rejected, without which polygamy does not build joint-stewardships – just enlarges any one man’s single stewardship.  And so:

behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them; And are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom; And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.

Failed Attempts to Recapture Zion:

Mormon history is full of examples of believers going off to form “United Orders” – communal groups where they attempt to live the “higher law” of consecration, meaning to share all that they have with everyone else in the community.  These endeavors have always met failure, and it’s because of one common feature that connects them all – they have always attempted to do so while keeping many small, separate families.

If they are monogamous LDS, then they’ll keep many small, separate monogamous families – and if Mormon fundamentalists, then it’ll be many, small separate polygynous ones.  But the separate-family feature is always the same.

However, without a covenant-based structure in which I may bind myself as a joint-steward with another to share our all commonly with each other according to the principle of charity – such a celestial, “Zion” community will never happen.  It’ll all go well so long as the circumstances go well, but by-and-by the end cometh.

For less-radical LDS, a common goal is to stay where they are and try to get their local ward to be the vehicle that produces a celestial community, or Zion.  One may see sacrament meeting talks and lessons on using fast offerings to “impart of our surplus”, on reminding us that there is no prohibition from leadership against using Welfare Services to live the “higher law” of consecration at a time when we’re only required to live the “lesser law” of tithing, and on trying to come up with way to make our church experience a more open place and have more of a “Zion-like” atmosphere.

Zion requires great intimacy and connection among the members.  The church lacks this intimacy and connection because we are all still strangers.  The only way to achieve Zion, or even a Zion-like atmosphere at church, is for members to all be connected to each other through covenants.  As it stands, the church only connects us to Christ through covenants, but not to each other.  As long as we remain unfettered by covenant relationships with each other, we will never achieve Zion and our words and deeds at church will never approach the level of intimacy and sharing required of that ideal.

So we may arrive at the point where we are no longer:

strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

People desire this sense of community, connection, and intimacy – yet we are all still strangers.  I received this as a revelation last week, and I’m willing to state it here as a prophecy – and it’s that:

nothing we are currently doing with church will ever produce the kind of Zion-like community we read about in the scriptures.

The gathered body of believers is supposed to be the result of these feelings of community – it can never be the means we use to achieve it.

Why does he always end-up talking about polygamy?

The level of intimacy and connection required to have the kind of community where what’s mine is yours [and yours, mine], where we all deal with each other based on the principle of charity, having no contention, imparting of our substance freely one with another, etc. – is something only arising out of kinship [or family-bonds].

For example, my entire paycheck goes into one bank account that my wife is free to spend on whatever she feels will satisfy her needs and the needs of our children.  Her and I already share all things common, I impart of my substance [and my time, my attention, my affection, etc.] freely with her and our children, etc.  In other words,

The family is the basic unit of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the most important social unit in time and eternity…

meaning, living in such a Zion-like community starts the moment a man marries a woman.  The two are gathered in Christ’s name, there He will be in the midst of them [Matthew 18:20] – and the twain shall be one flesh [D&C 49:16].

This connectivity is the key.  However, if such a community starts with the basic-unit of a man marrying a woman – then how can we expect to grow the community on any different sets of principles [other than men and women marrying]?

So that– if I had two wives, then the second wife would receive just as free of access to my time, talents, resources, and love as my current wife does.  If my wife receives a second husband, then I expect his entire paycheck to go into that same account – and for him to devote that same level of intimacy to my wife and her children, as I do.  Because this is the covenant-obligation we place ourselves under in marriage.

While I don’t think plural marriages need to be a “hill-to-die-on” for this whole idea [I’m all for anarchy, local solutions to local problems, letting people tailor their situation to particular circumstances, etc.] – I can state declaratively that any group that would out-right and from the get-go forbid plural marriages will always be limited — will always approach but never arrive.

Admittedly, one does not just generate a new spouse out of thin-air.  So I can agree that it’s good to start [perhaps] with a focus on getting people getting unplugged from wires and satellites, on getting outside more, on getting together with real human-beings more, etc.  That’s approaching a real kind of community with people in a positive way – people, who can then come to know each other well enough to begin to desire courting and joining together as plural spouses.

If the church actually wanted Zion, then I think most would be surprised over the number of both LDS and non-LDS who would be ready to sign on for it — if it meant living for a higher purpose.  But they don’t.  Marching orders are to get as much education as you can, so you can make as much income as you can, so you can pay more in tithes and offerings.  It’s to just stay where you are and live out as normal of a life as you can — but with just a bit of Mormon flare to it [e.g., serve a two-year mission, civilly marry in a temple, pay 10% of your paycheck to the church, do your home and visiting teaching, keep a current temple recommend, etc.]

Eternity is NOW, and we can make a heaven of it or we can make a hell of it:

The “idea of Zion” [just wanting to talk about Zion] is keeping us separate.  We see a paradisaical, Zion community as this pie-in-the-sky utopia that we can just sit around, occupy our time, and wait for Jesus to return and have it all fall in our laps.  We think our separateness is just fine to settle for here-and-now because one day we will have Zion in which to be together.  Just having the “idea” of it all is what’s keeping us apart and wasting all the life that we could be living, right now.

When I think Jesus has been the one just waiting –waiting on us to get a culture of heaven established here on earth – to have things “on earth” as they are “in heaven” – so He doesn’t end-up killing us with such a culture shock.  One should learn to swim before being plopped out in the ocean.  It would be best to know how to drive before getting behind the wheel of a car.

Instead of thinking, “Oh, we’ll just get it all figured out after we die [or after Jesus returns, etc.]” – we’re supposed to be doing it all here, all now – otherwise we’ll drown when we’re immersed in Zion in the future.

Next Article by Justin: The Adultery of Mary

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17 Comments

  1. So much of what I hear from General Conference and locally is that all is well in Zion—Zion prospereth. To support this conclusion, one need only cite the exponential growth of the members on the rolls; the P.R.-run advertisements; the growing influence of members who are powerful in the world as well as the flattery of prominent worldly men and women; or the missionary or temple growth. None of these things has ever indicated the long-term success of the body of Christ scripturally, and most have indicated its corruption. The way to the kingdom of heaven is strait and narrow, not broad and correlated.

    Justin wrote:

    nothing we are currently doing with church will ever produce the kind of Zion-like community we read about in the scriptures.

    The danger of a (well-meant) correlation program was not only that it stifled the generation of alternative interpretations of theology, but that it cast a long shadow over both the heterodox theology and the theologian. The freedom to study out the doctrines and prayerfully consider them publicly was stolen away, and statements which did not jive with P.R. Mormonism were largely hidden away—and I’m not talking about the `hard history’, merely the different practices and beliefs of earlier generations. Benson warned of those who would pit the living prophets against the dead—but it has become the living prophets who pit themselves against the past prophets.

    It is a very apparent fact that we have traveled far and wide in the past 20 years. What the future will bring I do not know. But if we drift as far afield from fundamental things in the next 20 years, what will be left of the foundation laid by the Prophet Joseph Smith? It is easy for one who observes to see how the apostasy came about in the Primitive Church of Jesus Christ. Are we not traveling the same road?
    —Joseph Fielding Smith, journal entry for 28 Dec 1938

    I don’t think one can really blame the church or the culture anymore for the direction they’ve taken of late. These have become institutions and are too big for anyone to control except by a very long, slow process. Little tweaks like Proposition 8 or the E.R.A. that are mainly in line with the institutional momentum are easy, but imagine if the word of wisdom were re-interpreted in General Conference to mean what it says; or polygamy were suddenly re-legitimized. The whole edifice would be in danger of collapsing. Too much compromise has been made with Babylon for Zion to take root in more than a heart here or a home there. We must actively seek to bring about Zion with the Lord’s help rather than man’s, and on his terms rather than the I.R.S.’s or the Federal Reserve’s.

    Heber Grant has been praised for establishing church welfare but this was only necessary because the saints first rejected the United Order. It was only an accomplishment among a people who had chosen to alloy their faith to the world’s ways of business and commerce and so had suffered after the world’s fashion having chosen the arm of flesh. And so being a “peculiar people” now means those who go to youth conference and refrain from swearing but still desire a career and worldly influence, instead of those who separate themselves from the world and study out the mysteries of Godliness. And so spiritual mediocrity is bred as we sup from the flesh-pots of Egypt and reject a life of manna.

    Many will say to me in that day, `Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?’ •And then will I profess unto them, `I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.’
    —Matthew 7:22–23

  2. great post you said
    “Polyandry was also out-right rejected, without which polygamy does not build joint-stewardships – just enlarges any one man’s single stewardship.”
    can you point me to a post or something that i can read where polyandry was presented it has to have been presented to get rejected….
    thanks

  3. The first plural marriage of Joseph Smith was sealing himself to another man’s wife. LDS polygamy began with one man having two wives [polygyny] and one woman having two husbands [polyandry].

    Scripturally, polyandry is referenced in D&C 132,

    And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed cadultery and shall be destroyed.

    If she be not in the new and everlasting covenant, and she be with another man, she has committed adultery.

    Also, when it’s understood that marriage is a stewardship relationship — one can see a tribal picture described in verses like:

    Therefore, verily I say unto you, that it is expedient for my servants Edward Partridge and Newel K. Whitney, A. Sidney Gilbert and Sidney Rigdon, and my servant Joseph Smith, and John Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery, and W. W. Phelps and Martin Harris to be bound together by a bond and covenant that cannot be broken by transgression, except judgment shall immediately follow, in your several stewardships

    And that was the “united order” — stewards binding themselves together by covenant to be joint-stewards — to share all that they have with everyone else in the “order” according to the principle of charity.

    Further — I wrote Tribal Relationships after having read Sex at Dawn, which describes the natural sexual order of human beings as being simultaneously polygynous and polyandrous…

    …which backed-up what the organization of the family of God in heaven looks like…

    …which backs-up the reason plural marriage was instituted among the Gentile church of God in the first place [to establish tribes].

  4. So — as I had said, when LDS forbade polyandry outright — they rejected the principle of the gospel of binding stewards [husbands] together by covenant to be joint-stewards [joint-husbands of a common wife] into united orders [a multihusband-multiwife tribe]. This move was not ordained of God:

    whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God

    A woman who has multiple husbands is married to men who are all responsible for her temporal welfare. Her husbands form a quorum of tribal bishops, in which they share what they have with each other and with their wives and children, so that all have everything common.

    All mine are thine, and thine are mine

    They are bound to the all the wives by covenant to care for them and their children and thus are bound [linked through her] to each other, also. In other words, this is the what the various attempts at unrelated [non-kinship-based] United Orders are patterned after. The United Order spoken of in the scriptures binds men together by covenant to care for the poor and the needy and to dispose of their material possessions according to the principle of charity — having all things common — etc.

    The Lord commanded the LDS to organize themselves [“by a bond or everlasting covenant that cannot be broken”] and prepare every needful thing. This is according to the Lord working by the principle:

    For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

    Verily I say, men should […] do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

    For the power is in them, […] And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.

    But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, […] the same is damned.

    For we are the ones that determine what is needful and how we will organize — given the word of God that we have received. The power [keys] are in the hands of man to organize ourselves according to the bond or everlasting covenant of marriage. The only unrighteous thing about marriage is when it is forbidden — meaning it is “righteousness” and “good” to desire marriage. And this thing is needful in establishing Zion.

  5. Warning: threadjack

    Justin: somewhere in the past couple months you posted your thoughts on monks and/or the idea of withholding something from yourself (vows of celibacy, silence, seminal preservation, etc) as a way to enlightenment or something similar… I’m having a hard time finding that. If I remember correctly, you came down on the side of disagreeing with the premise that promotes such self vows.

    Do you remember what thread it was on and/orcould you summarize it here?

  6. As far as I could remember — the first time I thought about this and posted it somewhere was on the FastPencil site in the discussion comments among collaborators — here’s what I wrote:

    Just thought of this — so I wanted to write it down so I don’t forget:

    There is only one degree of separation from a Catholic priest making the case that celibacy is a more holy path than standard monogamous marriages — and that of monogamists telling polygamists that their marriage arrangements are a more holy/self-sacrficing path than what is the natural human state of multihusband-multiwife.

    In other words:
    Catholic priests are to monogamists what monogamists are to tribal polygamists.

    And I think after that I said it somewhere on Facebook — but that has all since been deleted.

    And I said something similar in a comment on one of Joana Smith’s blogs at Elephant Journal a couple weeks ago:

    …I’ll just say that I like this. A new-ish thing — about nature artifacts — about being, naturally.

    I think people are scared of natural b/c it doesn’t seem as “self-sacrficing” — like Catholic priests who feel their life of celibacy and restriction is “more holy” than a family-life — or monogamists who would tell a polygamists that they ought to “deny the natural man” and get with one-on-one monogamy instead of a natural state of multihusband-multiwife tribes.

    I think that about sums up the thought I had. Is that what you were looking for hayden?

    I think I first started thinking about that whole idea when I read this post on Elephant Journal about Buddha being a “bad father”. People were saying things like:

    I don’t care what anyone says: babies drag you down. You would never invite a one foot tall, non-English speaking person to come in your house, cry all day until you feed them by hand, and then sh-t on your floor. But that’s what bringing home a baby is.
    […]
    And, I think the questioning about fatherhood is deserved. Sometimes our responsibilities as a householder come into conflict with our desires to be a spiritual person. Siddhartha exemplifies this struggle. Its interesting for me as a questioner how he resolved this struggle.

    and

    sometimes when I feel like sitting on a mountain top I have this “well buddha abandoned everything” argument with myself 🙂 fortunately for my husband and children I am not really a buddhist and it hasn’t worked yet 🙂

    I think this is an awesome article…I don’t know a lot about LDS but I think its super neat that Justin has no conflict with his householder duties and spirituality…I find that odd…I mean as far as I can tell a lot of religious/spiritual modalities/faiths/practices have a “removed” stance — monks, nuns etc… It is very normal for people to choose one over the other and so it is perfectly reasonable, as far as I can tell for people to feel “torn” … raising children is HARD…because it is important.

    It’s a reality and being a good loving parent doesn’t negate feelings of overwhelm, desire for freedom and questioning about the correctness of the path.

    And I was just talking about this again recently with Joana — but I realized that this way that I think about spirituality as being so intertwined with family is probably pretty unique to me. All I could think when I was reading that post was how I couldn’t actually conceive of a valid spiritual desire that would conflict with my family. In fact, I’d use that as a good key for discernment — whether the spiritual desire includes my family and/or helps me be a better and more present husband/father to them, etc.

    To me — my spirituality is my family, and my family is my spirituality — and that’s why tribal worship services kinda blew the whole lid off this thing for me back when LDSA published it. Part of it [I know] comes from Mormonism [the eternal families, etc.] — but I still have felt more radical about this than other members I know as well.

    The church acknowledges in word [just not in deed], that the family is the central unit in the gospel of Jesus Christ and that the church is its appendage. However, the church has never been truly “family” oriented — the “family” is only upheld by the church insofar as the family upholds the church. I know that individuals here-and-there feel differently, but the environment at church and the social expectation there is clear — the church comes first when it really matters [temple marriages with non-member families, demanding callings/meetings, etc.]

    …Now I think my comment is the one that needs a threadjack warning…

  7. Justin! If you wrote this and nothing else (not to take away from other things you have written), you should be able to die happy from being a messenger for God for something so important. Of course since you understand this message, you wont die happy without moving forward and living what you have shared and prophesied.

    I wish the post would have included what you commented about Joseph’s sealing to his second wife and about being bonded by covenant and their stewardships. Together I believe it is a message that if shared would open up so many people to the Holy Ghost so they could be taught.

    To me, I’ve learned a lot from the site about plural marriage and I could appreciate it and what it offers. But I hadn’t yet saw very well how it fit into God’s plan for us here.

    “nothing we are currently doing with church will ever produce the kind of Zion-like community we read about in the scriptures.”

    “The gathered body of believers is supposed to be the result of these feelings of community – it can never be the means we use to achieve it.”

    I add my witness that what you have said here is true and from God.

    This is the most important/biggest principle I have learned and lived about Zion and living the Gospel.

  8. Things are coming together and at 3 Nephi event speeds.

  9. Rob — you feed my ego — so I’ll just say thank you for your comment.

    On having the comment about Joseph’s polyandry included — I’m pretty sure that’s included in the GEMTAM book — and if you want to share this article with anyone, you’re free to add that part into the post too.

  10. Sorry, I am just really excited about it. I was trying to tone it down with the message and messanger relationship. But this is an important principle about what Joseph was trying to do. If one of us just had 5 minutes at general conference.

  11. I second Rob’s enthusiasm for the truths set forth in this post. I also appreciate the direct manner in which they are presented. This is what is needed. As I’ve been out on this mission for almost a month now I am surprised at the boldness of tongue that the spirit directs. But the love is so strong and my companions and I see a very valuable outcome every time a person with a good heart has to confront the truth of the conflict created by their activities in the latter-day gentile church and their inactivity on the very things which have been communicated directly to their own heart via the still small voice of the holy spirit.

    As far as the yogi/sufi/buddhist concept of withdrawl from the group for enlightenment vs. intimate living within the group. I have noticed a vital balance between the two. I don’t think either should be ignored or shunned. The this/that mentality is most easily corrected by no longer insisting that the duality represents a conflict or even a contradiction and instead see the relationship that is formed. Tribal living enables that type of balance in that it liberates from the rat race through sharing the burdens of daily subsistence. It is opening up possibilities for individuals to experience that more apophatic association with divinity. But this Via Negativa approach to God flows directly into and shares the ultimate in intimate relationships with what is typically viewed by us as more “active” ways.

    It is action faith and power faith working together. ( See this post for details: https://ldsanarchy.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/the-seeds-of-the-powers-of-godliness/ ) I do believe that one may be first and the other next in terms of the process to accomplish the Lord’s work. But owing to the very intimate relationship between spirit and flesh, once that lone mountain top experience is had, it naturally and anxiously engages itself in service and team work with the very physical work of family life. This is what God has inspired us to offer and share with all tribal converts and affiliates first and foremost — A chance to unplug from the world with a promise that, the immediate and spontaneous effect of sitting still long enough to know that GOD IS, who GOD IS, where GOD IS etc. brings a deep realization of two things simultaneously…
    1) You do not HAVE TO do anything.
    2) You WANT TO do certain things.
    These particular ideas distill upon your soul and infuse your being in such a way that you feel, maybe for the first time in a very long while, your spirit body act upon the temporal elements of your physical body. The feeling is so loving and so right that you know whatever the INspiration (call a relative, eat a candy bar, give money to a stranger, dance, sleep) it is exactly what the Lord would have you do in that moment. Why do you think that Lehi and other Book of Mormon prophets speak of being overcome with the spirit so often? I think it is silly when former Christians flip from such a dangerously overly “active” life path to using Buddhism as an escapist lifestyle. We would see someone as very stupid if they tried to only breathe out or if they always breathed in and never alternated with exhalation. Buddha himself said, “He who has ascended the ladder of enlightenment unto the highest heaven, upon looking down and seeing his brothers and sisters suffering below, immediately begins the descent to serve and uplift them.” So its not that complicated to me. Work, rest, work, rest ad infinitum.

  12. Chantdown — your remark that:

    I think it is silly when former Christians flip from such a dangerously overly “active” life path to using Buddhism as an escapist lifestyle. We would see someone as very stupid if they tried to only breathe out or if they always breathed in and never alternated with exhalation.

    really spoke to me — reminded me of this by Alan Watts:

    When this new sensation of self arises, it is at once exhilarating and a little disconcerting. It is like the moment when you first got the knack of swimming or riding a bicycle. There is the feeling that you are not doing it yourself, but that it is somehow happening on its own, and you wonder whether you will lose it—as indeed you may if you try forcibly to hold on to it.

    In immediate contrast to the old feeling, there is indeed a certain passivity to the sensation, as if you were a leaf blown along by the wind, until you realize that you are both the leaf and the wind.

    The world outside your skin is just as much you as the world inside: they move together inseparably, and at first you feel a little out of control because the world outside is so much vaster than the world inside. Yet you soon discover that you are able to go ahead with ordinary activities—to work and make decisions as ever, though somehow this is less of a drag.

    Your [flesh] is no longer a corpse which the [spirit] has to animate and lug around. There is a feeling of the ground holding you up, and of hills lifting you when you climb them. Air breathes itself in and out of your lungs, and instead,of looking and listening, light and sound come to you on their own. Eyes see and ears hear as wind blows and water flows. All space becomes your mind.

    And while I did speak a pretty weak view of withdrawing/isolationist spiritual disciples — reading your comment reminded me of scriptures like:

    And when [Jesus] had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

    and

    For it came to pass after I [Nephi] had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot…

    etc.

    It’s just that even though prophets have historically had that alone, mountain-top moment [INspiration] — they do always come back down to their family and live that message OUT — they never stay up there trying to just only breath in, they lose themselves in service [breathing it all out].

  13. Also, while I was searching for something else — I came across this post from Times and Seasons back in 2004, called “The Church and the Tribe”. In it the author writes:

    The church has come to seem more church-like and less tribe-like since the time of Brigham Young.

    The gathering to Utah has been replaced by “gathering” to the stakes of Zion, i.e. not much more than gathering for church meetings each week, wherever one may be. Church auxiliaries that incorporated a significant part of the Saints’ cultural and recreational life have been pared back. We might see this as a somewhat late compliance with the general Christian trend toward a more abstract, more modern, churchy approach to God’s saving work.

    And yet we are taught at church that no success can compensate for failure in the home. […] Could it be that the tribe has always been God’s preferred structure for his kingdom?

    Though it was formed as a vehicle of the new covenant, of Christ’s higher law, in light of its teachings and practices the [church] is arguably just a helper organization to another, older and superior in purpose: the human family, the family of God.

    And a commenter [Clark] wrote:

    The reason we are all one in Christ is that we all become his sons and daughter. Further that rebirth is fundamentally conceived of along tribal lines. This is especially true in the Book of Mormon where Nephi describes the atonement in terms of images that are very tribal.

    Nibley, discusses this in terms of being embraced by the bendoin sheik and brought into his tent. Even the symbolism of the restored gospel is tribal in nature. The temple notion of sealings with a sealing going back to Adam in terms of Malachi’s prophecy is essentially tribal in nature.

    I personally think that unless you view most LDS theology in terms of both adoption and tribe, that little makes sense. Once you start viewing it in those terms, a lot make sense and you can see a lot of unity through all of the scriptures. In particular there is a lot of unity between the Book of Mormon and what are called Joseph’s latter “Nauvoo innovations.”

    Now a lot of this isn’t completely functional at the moment. We probably have to await future revelations. [But] We’ve lost our sense of tribe and thus our sense of family and community.

  14. So, now we have online evidence that the “tribal spirit” was already working on some Mormons as early as 2004…

  15. “If the church actually wanted Zion, then I think most would be surprised over the number of both LDS and non-LDS who would be ready to sign on for it — if it meant living for a higher purpose. ”

    from wiki:
    Unlike other purely religious organizations formed by Joseph Smith, members of the Council of Fifty were not necessarily Latter Day Saints. At its formation, there were three non-Mormon members – Marenus G. Eaton, who had revealed a conspiracy against Joseph Smith by Nauvoo dissenters, Edward Bonney, whose brother was a Mormon but who later acted as prosecutor against Joseph Smith for his role in the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor, and Uriah Brown. Their admittance reflected Mormon teachings that the Millennial theocracy would be multi-denominational, though Jesus himself would be king.[8] Although Brigham Young did not admit non-Mormons to the Council during his administration, he invited both Mormons and non-Mormons to be part of the theocracy,[9] and even part of the theocratic government.

  16. Referring back to my response to hayden’s question above — I think the problem that I have is the common incidence of associating spiritual “higher”-ness with restrictivity.

    And I think that ends up turning into a game of spiritual one-upsmanship — avoiding anything that smacks of “natural”.

  17. I wrote in this post that:

    The level of intimacy and connection required to have the kind of community where what’s mine is yours [and yours, mine], where we all deal with each other based on the principle of charity, having no contention, imparting of our substance freely one with another, etc. – is something only arising out of kinship [or family-bonds].

    I wrote in another post that:

    In contrast to the current political/economic narrative of a selfish, depraved, calculating human – kinship governs who we are in ways current theories fail to account for. In a world characterized by familial relationships, there is no such thing as “self-interest” [in a self-seeking, calculating sense].

    Today I found this: Science overturns view of humans as naturally ‘nasty’. To quote some of the article:

    Until just 12 years ago, the common view among scientists was that humans were “nasty” at their core but had developed a thin veneer of morality…

    Biological research increasingly debunks the view of humanity as competitive, aggressive and brutish

    Human children are “moral” in a scientific sense, scientists say, because they need to cooperate with each other…

    “Morality” developed in humans in small communities


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