Making SENSE of It All – Pt. 2


HIGHER-ARCHY, LOWER-ARCHY – IT’S ALL THE SAME

Continuing down, or should we say up Avicenna’s list of inner senses, we see that there are three types of imaginative faculties. These have the responsibility of relaying information back and forth from the deeper or higher realms, depending on how you choose to describe it. In the Mormon Temple ceremony these are represented by the personages of Peter, James & John. Avicenna says they teach animals and humans what they should avoid and what they should seek in their environment. And this is indeed the same function we find Peter, James & John performing for Adam & Eve in the Telestial World. One of those things that they charge us with avoiding is “evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed.” In our fallen and fragmented psyches we will unfortunately be led to believe that this refers to respecting some hierarchy of leaders. Spiritual blindness keeps us from noticing that all who pass through the temple, not just symbolically but literally, as in every person who is born into this world has been anointed. You and I fall into the category of the Lord’s anointed. And if you speak evil of yourself you will most certainly pay the consequences. See, it is OUR WORDS that shape OUR WORLDS. So, if we “speak evil” of ourselves, putting ourselves down with negative ideas about ourselves then we have only ourselves to blame for the ‘real world’ results of not avoiding that which the heavenly messengers told us to. Remember thought is most powerful. If our thoughts are amiss we may hear a hiss. But no need for alarm, we may simply charm the S-E-R-P-E-N-T and watch as it R-E-P-E-N-T-S. It is all a matter of putting things in their proper order. To re-pent means to re-think and we need to re-think this whole false idea of hierarchy.

“There isn’t a King organ, in charge of your whole body — but you are an organ-ism — a symphony of interacting parts, working in unity. You can’t quite tell if you’re a brain who has a stomach to get food for it — or if you’re a stomach who has a brain to find food for it to eat. And your brain [the one most people think of as “in charge”] isn’t run by a King neuron, directing the trillions of its neuron-underlings — but the brain is strong because of the connections between neurons, and the number of connections you have.”

– Justin Jay in the Commentary On The Revelation of God in Jesus Christ

“If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

1 Corinthians 12:17

Until we can learn to esteem all flesh as one, we will reap imbalance. Zion starts with our individual cells and body parts then spreads to loved ones, near and far, overtaking everything in our path with love. WE MUST STOP THE PRACTICE OF PLACING ONE THING UPON A PEDESTAL AS IF IT WERE MORE IMPORTANT AND SETTING ANOTHER ASIDE AS UNIMPORTANT.  The Fathers will surely come to rescue the children but the inverse is also true. So in order to really receive the Spirit of Elijah both the living and those currently dead must be seen as equals. Neither male nor female, spirit nor body can be set over the other but must work together for the best results. We exist to serve God and God exists to serve us.

We must believe in all things. This is essential if we desire to unlock our spiritual senses. The temporal senses, in spite of any boastful attitudes they might have ignorantly adopted towards the spirits, are not to be considered inferior so much as put in proper perspective. The mystics teach that enlightenment can be obtained through a mix of sensory stimulation and deprivation. Any and all paths are valid and open to us. In either their physical or spiritual manifestations, we have made the mistake of arranging our sensory powers in vainly imagined pyramids. For example, the precious foundational sense of smell has been given special attention in this writing to balance the gross negligence our modern culture has traditionally had toward it. Over e-o-n-s, the  n-o-s-e have become so fine tuned in its detection capabilities that the mudra of placing one’s finger to one’s nose has come to signify accuracy. But, in this age, we mask reality from our revealing, highly reliable human olfactory with false fragrances.  One obvious targeting of the sense of smell, can be found in the recent run of advertisements for Procter&Gamble’s Febreeze (Fib-Breeze) air fresheners. They feature subjects recruited off the street for what they were told was a scent experiment and guided into stinky settings like dingy abandoned buildings or shabby wieght-lifting gyms with no windows. In every case, the blindfolded described pleasant-smelling environments nothing like what surrounded them in reality. At the end of the commercial we hear a voice-over boast, “Victory over odors for good, both here and in your home.” Through ignoring the spiritual roots of all things we have come to label many natural odors as ‘stinks’ and it has cut us off from our ‘in-stinks’ We have gone on playing ‘sour grapes’ to deny outright that we humans are supposed to have instincts just as the animals do.

A*N*I*M*A*L – ALL IN MAN

We do not merely possess a human version of instincts. We share the self same instincts of our animal cousins. Subconsciously, we are well aware of this. We do not say that one is as cunning as a lawyer but that the lawyer is as cunning as a snake. According to the Rabbi Elijah of Vilna, the Creator was addressing all of creation, bidding each creature to contribute a portion of its characteristics to the human being when He said “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness.” The beasts of the field obey their Creator’s law in the instinct which governs them. Of all the creatures that God has made upon the earth, man alone is rebellious. The [fall]ing out we experienced with our animal cousins that occurred when we lost sight of paradise has made it so we sometimes seem only capable of bringing out our animal natures in the most disgusting and vile of ways. Suppressing those parts of ourselves for so long makes it difficult to access them except in extreme circumstances. Man is a microcosm for the whole universe. And as such, God grants him the privilege of being the repository for all its powers.

Ancient Vedic Scripture says that God sleeps in stone, breathes in plants, dreams in animals and awakes in man. But those beautiful sentiments were recorded in a different time and different world. These days it would seem that M.A.N. is an acronym for Misuse of Animal Nature. We have set the tone of this dog-eat-dog world. If humanity is to awaken from its coma we will need to inhale deeply the smelling salts of the earth. To do so, we should tap into that good old olfactory that is so keen and reliable among many animals but underdeveloped for the most part in modern man. One distinct clue that the spiritual side to this particular sense is all but completely dormant is the rarity with which it occurs that we smell or even taste things in our dreams. Survey your friends, family and acquaintances and see how rare an occurrence it is. Smell being so closely linked with memory, it is no wonder we have trouble remembering our dreams most of the time.

Animals teach us about ourselves. A human fetus passes through every major category of animal forms, ranging from ‘fish in the sea’ to ‘creeping thing’ to ‘fowl of the air’ to ‘beasts of the field’ during the nine month gestational period; not to mention the worm like sperm cell that moves through the primordial waters. The human brain can be divided into seven general sectors, each corresponding to a different species.

  1. Reptilian – Lower brain stem activity – Fight or flight response
  2. Insect  – Medulla – Group effort – No emotional bonding  – Hive Mentality – Busywork – Ants for example are under obligation to obey the rules or suffer beheading as a penalty
  3. Avian – Cerebellum –  Cerebellum means Little Brain but it’s no ‘Bird Brain’ – Birds are capable of complex cognitive processes and behaviors such as using tools and even self recognition – But recognizing one’s reflection is no replacement for Knowledge of Self –  Herein lies the Intellect – But also the Ego
  4. Mammalian – Occipital – Emotions – The capacity to truly know kinesthetically what is happening anywhere in the world – where we can actually begin to access manhood, womanhood, kingship and queenship, godhood.
  5. Pure intuition –  Man – The capability to perceive past present and future simultaneously- Compartmentalization due to the severe abuse, cultural conditioning has retarded this ability in us.
  6. Temporal lobe –  Enlightened man – The ability to hear and see etc into other dimensions ESP
  7. Frontal lobe – Immortal god – Utilizing the entire electromagnetic spectrum

In a culminating scene from the movie Zookeeper, the main character, Griff is getting a pep talk from his animal friends. The lion says, “You haven’t changed. You don’t know how to trust your instincts. You listen to us and we’ll turn you into an alpha male.” To which the lioness adds, “You’re a good man. You just need some help.” Then the monkey tells our hero, “And who better than us to help you?”

SPIDEY SENSE – OUT OF TIME

You may like the idea of summoning your totem of power animals and unlocking your animal powers. But you are probably thinking, “I don’t have time for this.” No time? You’re right. You have no time to waste. Like Noah, you and I are tasked with assembling an ark. As arc-welders we need to connect the appropriate neural pathways which create buoyant brains. Your personal ark contains what Avicenna calls the “two storehouses” of the memorative and formative faculties (Right & Left Brain). These are symbolized by Noah and his wife who, in conjunction with Shem, Ham and Japeth plus their wives harness the cooperative energy of the afore-mentioned ‘Eight’ to draw in the positive animal attributes. If you build it, the animals will come to you. The ark construction is your act of faith. So before you download one more app for your i-phone, take the time to download an animal spirit. If you are too worried about the time restraints of your busy Babylonian routine, your faith and effectiveness will be lessened. So, might I suggest that you start with something small and quick? Literally.

The spider can help us with our time troubles. In addition to its {8} legs, the spider’s basic body shape is that of a figure-eight or an hour-glass. If you stop the sands of time by laying that hour-glass on its side {∞} head and abdomen form the symbol for infinity. Time is not an issue, but rather a tissue to this skillful silk weaver. Like you she has much to do. Speedy Spidey’s secret is that she operates outside of time so she is never “out of time.” But is it really the outer rim– nigh to Kolobian star systems –where we should be searching for the end of time? NASA may scope the furthest reaches of space and never find it. Meanwhile, the secretive spider spins spirit into a web with a form which is so soundly based on the dynamics of the universal grid, it draws from the inner rim. This non-place is the nun-palace, housing the i-n-t-e-r-i-m, rearranged into i-n-r-t-i-m-e, that no man has ever seen, but the Black Widow occupies it. What is ‘it’? Why, the interval of time between one event, process, or period and another – counted as nothing by man but nonetheless constituting the bulk of the universe. So the next time you have to kill a poisonous or possibly deadly arachnid to preserve the safety of your family members and pets, do it with gratitude and purpose, in the spirit of the Lord. You will discover, like Nephi after slaying Laban, that the qualities of the slain will be yours to use in fulfilling the commandments of the Lord.

What does the spirit of the spider feel like? The best example I can think of is in an experience had by a young LDS father from the Seattle area. While playing a game of basketball this man had an experience that he describes in the following words:

“I had the ball, I jumped right by the hoop and a defending player jumped as well. Time slowed when I was in the air bumping next to the other guy. What lasted less than 2 seconds to everyone else, lasted 10 seconds to me. Look at a clock and compare those two times. That is a major difference. Actually there really wasn’t any time, I was just doing things without time. I realize that now. I could move, it was slow and precise, my senses were super heightened. I could move my arms and shoulders around and manipulate my movement and his movements. I was able to move around his arm and body to get a clear shot. I physically was able to move and twist and jump higher and with more power than ever before. Once it ended, the trainer told me, “good body control.” I have no idea how it happened. It’s not important that it happened to me, it happens to people all over. Movies try to show it, but it’s not the same because the whole being is functioning, not just what a camera can show.

When I was jumping with the basketball, the smallest things were important. I was cognizant of every part of me and what it did and could do and I used them. But time didn’t exist for me. I did everything I wanted. My senses were truly magnified and functioned properly (a la The Initiatory). The way I reacted to the other player’s body in that moment, it was different. It was like a dance. I didn’t force him, he followed my lead. I don’t think it was him mentally, but his body responded to me, harmoniously. It was very fluid.

You know when you bump in to someone by accident, you can’t recall specifically what hit, just a general area. Well, when our bodies were in contact, every patch of flesh and muscle, I was aware of and felt. It’s like they were all alive. I was very conscious of each body connection; my shoulder to my elbow and how they worked together, even though I didn’t concentrate or focus on it. My subconscious and conscious minds were one. So I could manipulate my body and move it very specifically. This also affected the other guy because I moved across his body in exact ways.

Also, my power felt whole. Not that I was super powered or super strong, just very solid, whole. I did what I wanted and it’s not like he resisted, even though to everyone else, he was throwing his body weight into me and mine was being thrown into his ~ definitely a power layup as it is called. But it wasn’t a struggle between us, more of a dance and I was the lead.

In the aptly titled “Time Must Have a Stop” Aldous Huxley writes: “There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self. ~ So you have to begin there, not outside, not on other people. That comes afterwards, when you’ve worked on your own corner.” This is the dance we are supposed to engage in. That others respond to the rhythm of our will does not constitute compulsion. It is an agreeable synchronization of spirits and that means it is happening on a higher, heavenly order than our typical earthly dealings with one another.

 ROYALTY IN REALITY – THE SECOND COMING TO OUR SENSES

There was a time when I described my‘self’ as “not really an animal person.” I considered myself better than the animals. As a self proclaimed “good person,” I of course believed that animals fell into our collective stewardship. My former self could almost be heard to say, with the voice of a posh British personality, that “Naturally, animals should be cared for, to an extent.” But as a “city slicker,” I didn’t “personally care too much for them,” both literally and figuratively. I always thought of myself as more of a “people person.” and still do to a great degree. But much of what the world today calls “people skills” are very over-rated when one takes in the bigger picture of our Father’s Plan. I can not bask in the false sense of pride I once did. I have now felt the real and royal sense of pride. That is to say, I am rapidly becoming aware of ‘pride’ in the sense that the mighty lion experiences it; as community.

That spirit of the rightful ruler inside me wishes to roar nothing save it be repentance unto this gene-ration. I issue a cautionary call and wild warning to anyone, my ‘self’ included, who would treat these things lightly. There are those who would misinterpret the humble pride of the lion of Judah, taking the King’s kindness for weakness. At this time they sit comfortably and secure, or so they suppose. But soon their townhouses will cease to provide them comfort and their gated complexes will fail to protect them from the young lions, who will go through and tear them into pieces. Not only is it foolishness to disregard the role that animals play in our lives, but it is also folly to work through  M.A.N.-Made political vehicles for the rights of animals. Never will men who place their faith in poli-tricks be able to be true advocates for the humane treatment of animals. Until they shed the so called ‘grassroots campaigns’ and feel the true grassroots echoed in the growth of their own manly manes, piercing the reality around their heads at a hundred receptive points to realize that, just as self-righteous vegetarians eat vegetableshumanitarians eat humans. If only they would be proud of their animal heritage and not prideful in their preaching of political process which profanes the symbol of the sacred eagle and prolongs suffering.

Please don’t turn up your noses at my raising a stink unless it is to catch the spiritual scent of truth. The modern gentile is indeed a self-endangering species. Any paleontologist will tell you how the larger olfactory bulbs and temporal lobes of human beings made a lot of sense for our healthier ancestors as these things contributed to kinship recognition, enhanced family relations, group cohesion and tribal learning. Ungratefully, we spend millions on plastic surgery and complain that no one even ‘nose’ their neighbors these days. The more a people reject the tribal wisdom of their past, the closer they draw to complete ex-stinktion.

We find ourselves at a critical juncture. For decades now we have been conditioned by “Diet, injections, and injunctions” just as ‘false’ prophet Bertrand Russell foretold in 1953. But we were forewarned by the Lord way back in 1833. Spiders weave webs. Men are free to use that for good or evil. Ten years after CON-SPIRIT-ors expressed the desire to make spiritual sensation “psychologically impossible,” they too, tapped into the Crazy Eight energy. They cleverly pulled us into a game of reverse psychology to see who could divest himself of all his God-given cards first for a false feeling of wining. They released Fr∞t L∞ps ™,a false fruit poison introduced by a fake foul (Toucan Sam) to a target audience of young children. It is suspicious that Toucan Sam spoke to us with a Brittish accent when this product never has been sold in England accept for a limited time in 2012. And yet, the term “fruit loop” has commonly been used in the UK to refer to a person who is mentally ill.

These evil designs, which the Word of Wisdom warns us of, were intentional and laid the groundwork for what is happening right now. Sons and daughters of the 70s to 80s are often unable to distinguish between god food and bad. And even those who try to reach back and resurrect the spirit of the 60s through protest of Genetically Modified Organisms, do err in many instances because they are led by the precepts of men, which tell them that demonocracy and political activism will or can save them from downfall. With their lips they say, “Nature knows best,” but their hearts are far from Her. For, while they may identify some advancements of the Enemy through diet and injections, a veil of vanity blocks from their view the third pillar of ‘injunction’. They are tricked into playing the central role in the plan of the Evil One by engaging with it. They may avoid artificial sweeteners but they are suckers for the sweet talk of bogus Zionists. They might be able to tell the difference between Fruit and Froot but they are unable to distinguish between Truth and Error. They consistently mistake tactics for solutions. Will they ever acknowledge that all everlasting solutions;

1. Require a change of heart and lifestyle

2. Are not dependant upon money

3. Are illegal

Animals and tribal humans alike, have an inner sense that tells them when danger is approaching. The sense of smell and many others have been better preserved in the so called lower life-forms and primitive peoples. The God of Nature is ready to restore them to us if we will but humble ourselves. If the Second Coming of Christ is to be survived by us it will have to be experienced in all its glory and power and that requires a Second Coming to our senses. But if upon feeling the senses of our souls surge to the surface, we run straight to the Doctor for a prescription to deaden the strange sensations so that we can function ‘normally’ in the ‘real’ work-a-day world — what does that say about our stance towards Christ?

The Will of God and Faith


Romans 9: 6-24 [English Standard Version]:

…it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.”

And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad — in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls — she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written [in Malachi], “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

What shall we say then?  Is there injustice on God’s part?  By no means!  For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will? But who are you, O man, to answer back to God?  Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this? Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory — even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

The two historical cases:

Looking at Paul’s logic — because God chose one of Abraham’s spouses over the others, it follows that claiming descent from Abraham was not sufficient to make one an heir to God’s promise:

And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

Further because God chose one of Rebekah’s twins over the other, claiming descent from Isaac was not sufficient to make one an heir to God’s promise.

And Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.  And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the Lord.  And the Lord said unto her, two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

NOTE:  However, Rebekah was told that the older would serve the younger.  Given the Lord’s vernacular for presidency/leadership as voluntary servitude – perhaps this was a misunderstood revelation, and that misunderstanding led things to play out the way they did.  Just a thought.

The extrapolated case:

From these two historical cases, Paul theroizes that it is then likewise true that claiming to be “of Israel” cannot demonstrate that a person is right with God [or justified].

The implication made by using Abraham and Isaac as examples, is that being a justified believer is still a function of God’s choice [like choosing Sarah’s son over Hagar’s, and choosing one of Rebekah’s sons over the other].   He either made you for glory or for wrath and you are in no place to dispute His choice for you.

This is the Calvinistic doctrine of “irresistible grace” — wherein they conclude that it is not possible for humans to have any role in justification — because how could we do anything more than God could do Himself?

What about faith?

However, Paul consistently stresses “faith” as the means of access to God and to a justified state with Him:

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.  Is he the God of the Jews only?  is he not also of the Gentiles?  Yes, of the Gentiles also:  Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

and

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

and

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

and

But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

and

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Faith = Word of God + Belief + the Spirit:

So, if humans have access to God by virtue of faith — then it must still be God’s irresistible choice as to who “gets faith” and who does not — right?  To answer this question, it requires one to look at Alma’s preaching on the subject of faith that is found in Alma 32:

Now, we will compare the word unto a seed.

Equating the word of God with a seed is also done in Luke 8: 11;  1 Peter  1: 23; Romans 10: 17; and Galatians 3: 2-9.  The farmer analogy is quite accurate.  The right-brain-hearts of humans are soil, which can be at varying degrees of receptiveness for the seeds, which are the various doctrines of God, the devil, and of men.  The faith that will justify a person with respect to God comes as the ever-good seed is allowed to germinate and grow in the right-brain-heart.

Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart,

This “place” is given in the right-brain-heart.  It involves the concept of yielding [Mosiah 3:19] or being lowly, humble, and teachable.  Broken soil [or a softened right-brain-heart] is a result of a person humbling him/herself — thereby having a broken heart or contrite spirit.  This is equivalent to being “poor in heart” — which Alma observed that the Zoramites were:

of whom were poor in heart, because of their poverty as to the things of the world.

In their case, worldly poverty had brought them to this “lowliness of heart” state:

And now, as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word?

Yea, he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed — yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble because of their exceeding poverty.

So, Alma describes two options for softening the right-brain-heart:  a person may wait for certain circumstances to bring about a state of humility [or soft ground], which will make him/her open and receptive to the word — or a person may exercise self-motivation by virtue of the power of the word alone [motivated by the promises of the Lord], and give place for that seed on his/her own.

Also, if a person’s circumstances do not cause him/her to be humble and they cannot seem to humble themselves before the Lord, then the Lord provides another tool for a man or woman to obtain the required humility:  fasting and prayer.

Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.

This is how the ancients did it, because this is how it is done.

Continuing one with Alma’s preaching in chapter 32:

behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed,

The seed Alma spoke of was:

the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works.

This is the ever-good seed.  Any seed that is planted and persuades a person to believe in and plant this ever-good seed, is also a good seed.  While any seed that is planted and persuades a person not to believe in and plant the ever-good seed, is not a good seed.  None of this has anything to do with religion or churches.  All seeds are judged to be good or evil by how they measure up to the ever-good seed and whether they point people towards, or away from, it:

For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

Continuing on in Alma 32:

if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord,

Unbelief is equated by Alma with resistance.  Resistance requires effort or work.  It means to oppose with force. The opposite of resisting would be to bow, give in, submit, succumb, surrender, or yield.  All of these words imply a lack of effort or ceasing to work.

As belief is an entirely passive act, any effort whatsoever on a person’s part will stand as an obstacle or impediment to the formula for obtaining faith.  It is like someone pushing you and simply allowing yourself to be pushed — or being in a river that is pushing you downriver and allowing yourself to be carried along.  No effort.  This is belief.

The moment there is resistance [in the slightest degree] to that push, even to just change the direction of travel one inch, it will decrease belief — ultimately turning it into its opposite [disbelief or doubt], which is a state of resistance to the Spirit of the Lord.

behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves — It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

This is a formula — akin to a scientific equation or cooking recipe.  Following the steps with the outlined ingredients will always produce the same result.  If a person varies one step or another — or rationalizes that a certain step is not required — or puts in some of their own effort into the formula — anything different causes “user error” and faith will not result.

The desire to believe:

But what can a person a person do if he/she is having problems with the formula?  There are certain signs following them that believe.  The purpose of these signs is to give the professed believer [and also the church] a means to discern justified believers in Christ [saints, who possess faith] from non-justified believers in Christ [Christians, who do not possess faith] — this is the fruit by which you may know them.  If one finds that he/she is not able to:

In my name they shall do many wonderful works; In my name they shall cast out devils; In my name they shall heal the sick; In my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf; And the tongue of the dumb shall speak; And if any man shall administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them; And the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them.

or

And these signs shall follow them that believe — in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover; And whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth.

Then Alma advises that:

But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words

What will “awake and arouse your faculties”?  This was mentioned earlier in describing how to soften the soil:

  • One could be compelled by circumstances to have a desire to believe.
  • One could be motivated by virtue of the promises of the Lord in His word to desire to believe.
  • One could fast and pray until a desire to believe stirs in his/her right-brain-heart.

Again, “let this desire work in you” is the same as being in that river of water that is pushing you downriver, and instead of resisting, just allowing yourself to be carried along.

God’s will is your faith:

God works according to the faith of the children of men — meaning according to the formula outlined above.  Thus, the doctrine of God saving people by virtue of His will and choice is true.  However, that He works according to our faith means that His “choice” cannot be outside the bounds of an agent’s faith.

There is no such thing as something operating solely according to the will of God without the context of our faith.  Things operate solely according to the faith of agents — and this is God’s will.  This is why, for example, when Alma and Amulek were beholding the destruction of the saints by fire — and Amulek says to Alma:

How can we witness this awful scene?  Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us [which power comes by faith], and save them from the flames.

we read that Alma replies:

The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand.

Because Alma and Amulek had the faith to stop the destruction — the Spirit needed to tell them that they should not use their gift because there was a wiser purpose in letting the saints die.  Should it be the case that God’s will can be done without regard for an agent’s faith — then there would have been no purpose in the Spirit telling Alma anything.  Alma would have just stretched forth his hand and watched as the flames kept on burning [Much like what many LDS experience with priesthood healings, etc.].

The principle is that God must act where there is faith, so the Spirit had to tell Alma not extend his hand [not to exercise his faith] so that the destruction would not stop.

Also, there are two examples from Paul.  In 1 Corinthians 14, he gives a command that members of the church who possess the gift of tongues refrain from using their gift in church meetings whenever a member with the gift of interpretation of tongues is not present:

…let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church;

No such instruction would be needed unless the gifts are available to be used at will by those who have faith.  If the gifts worked according to God’s will and choice alone, then the Spirit would simply not manifest tongues in cases when an interpreter was absent — and no one would need instruction from Paul.

Also, in Acts 21, we see Paul in a similar circumstance as Alma and Amulek.  Paul is told twice, through the gift of prophecy, not to go to Jerusalem.  In the wording of the Alma 14 story we could say:  “The Spirit constraineth Paul that he must not go forth unto Jerusalem.

And finding disciples, we tarried [at Tyre] seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.

and

And as we tarried [at Ptolemais] many days, there came down from Judæa a certain prophet, named Agabus.  And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.  And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.

Yet, while Alma and Amulek chose to submit their faith to what the Spirit had told them — Paul chooses otherwise.  Exercising his faith — Paul feels it better to die at Jerusalem for the name of Jesus Christ.  When the people saw that Paul could not be persuaded, they acknowledged that:

The will of the Lord be done.

And His will is done — in these examples and in the example of exercising faith unto salvation.  It is God’s will that people work according to their faith — and His will is done when faith is used.  With respect to salvation, God chooses every person that He has the power to choose — and He only has power where there is faith.  Thus He “chooses” all those who have faith.

Next Article by Justin:

Previous Article by Justin:  The Tribal Church

See also:  The Faith of God Series, FPR post on LDS Cessationism, T&S post on LDS Cessationism, and W&T post on Alma 32

What the Word of Wisdom says and what it doesn’t say


D&C 89, the revelation known as the Word of Wisdom, gives both very specific and very general instructions. Sometimes we have a tendency to read more into it than is there, or to take away what is actually written there. In the economy of heaven, supererogation is a sin. We are expected by the Lord to do what is required by him. No more, no less.

And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them. (3 Ne. 11: 40)

But whoso among you shall do more or less than these are not built upon my rock, but are built upon a sandy foundation; and when the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and beat upon them, they shall fall, and the gates of hell are ready open to receive them. (3 Ne. 18: 13)

Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church. (D&C 10: 68 )

And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning. (D&C 93: 25)

And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil. (D&C 98: 7)

For that which is more or less than this cometh of evil, and shall be attended with cursings and not blessings, saith the Lord your God. Even so. Amen. (D&C 124: 120)

So, in the spirit of doing no more and no less than what the Word of Wisdom says, let’s review just what it does say, and what it doesn’t say.

  • Wine Drinking wine is prohibited by the revelation with but one exception: we can use wine for the sacrament if we ourselves make it, but it must be pure grape wine, not other types of wine.
  • Strong Drink Drinking strong drink is strictly prohibited, however, it is given the use of washing our bodies.
  • Tobacco Smoking, chewing and eating tobacco is strictly prohibited, however, it is given the use of a healing herb for bruises and sick cattle, with cautions on its use (as tobacco poisoning is a real danger.)
  • Hot Drinks Hot drinks, defined by modern prophets as tea and coffee, are strictly prohibited to be used on the outside or inside of the body.
  • Wholesome Herbs The Lord gives the thumbs up, but says to use them in the season thereof, with prudence and thanksgiving.
  • Fruit Again the Lord gives his approval of their use, but says to use them in the season thereof, with prudence and thanksgiving.
  • Flesh of Beasts and Fowls of the Air The Lord gives his approval for their use but emphasizes two times in the revelation that they are only to be used in times of winter, cold or famine, which is his definition of the word “sparingly” and also says that it is pleasing to him that they not be used, at all, except under the conditions he states. Also, these things are to be used with thanksgiving.
  • Grain The Lord gives a thumbs up for all grain, both for man, beasts of the field, fowls of heaven and all wild animals on dry earth.
  • Mild Grain Drinks The Lord gives a thumbs up for all mild grain drinks. Mild grain drinks at the time the Word of Wisdom was revealed was interpreted by the saints, including, apparently, the Prophet Joseph Smith himself, as being beer drinks, with alcoholic content between 1% and 5%, as opposed to strong drink, which was hard liquor with alcoholic content of 40% or more.
  • Fruit-Bearing Plants The Lord gives a thumbs up to all fruit-bearing plants, whether that “fruit” is found above or below ground.

That, in a nutshell, is what the Lord says about what we can or cannot eat. Now, here is what the Lord doesn’t say:

  • Cola drinks The Lord is silent on cola drinks.
  • Chocolate The Lord is silent on chocolate, including hot chocolate drinks.
  • Caffeine The Lord is silent on the consumption of caffeine.
  • Seafood The Lord is silent on eating seafood, both sea creatures and sea plants. After all, the saints were in the middle of the country and had no access to seafood, so why talk about it?
  • Insects, Arachnids, etc. The Lord is silent on the eating of insects, arachnids (scorpions, etc.)
  • Drugs The Lord is silent on drugs, whether legal or illegal.
  • Cooking The Lord is silent about cooking food. He doesn’t approve or disapprove of raw-foodism.
  • Vegan Diets The Lord is silent about vegan diets.
  • Vegetarian Diets The Lord is silent about vegetarianism, though the revelation seem to stress a mainly plant-based diet.
  • Every other type of food consumed, not mentioned in the revelation. The Lord is silent.

Some modern LDS interpretations on the revelation that contradict how the saints who lived at the time of the revelation interpreted it:

  • Wine Means Grape Juice The early saints did not understand the revelation to mean grape juice. It was wine, as in it had alcoholic content. It is lumped together with strong drink for this reason. After all, what’s wrong with drinking grape juice?
  • Mild Barley Drink Is Barley Water The early saints did not use barley water. The mild barley drinks they made were beers, not barley water. The Lord in the revelation is referring to the practices of the time. Therefore, he is referring to, and approving of, beer.

Open interpretations:

  • Wholesome Who decides what a wholesome herb is? You do.
  • Tea Although the prophets have interpreted “hot drinks” to mean tea and coffee, just what constitutes the tea that is prohibited is interpreted by LDS in different ways. For example, there are four types of tea: black tea, oolong tea, white tea and green tea. Some choose to interpret tea as being only the type of tea that was in use by the saints at the time of the revelation, leaving the other three types open for use. Especially green tea, which many people feel has great healing properties. Others reject all teas, including herbal teas.
  • Coffee Many saints think that it is the caffeine in coffee that makes it prohibitive and so drink decaffeinated coffee.

Sometimes as LDS we tend to be a little too judgmental of our fellow saints, based upon our preconceived notions of what the Word of Wisdom is and isn’t. Just because a saint has a bottle of vodka in his cupboard doesn’t mean he’s drinking it, it may mean he’s using it for washing purposes. Just because a saint has a winery and is bottling wine doesn’t mean he’s drinking it, it may mean he’s preparing for the day when we will again partake of the sacrament with wine. Just because a sister refuses to eat meat, it doesn’t mean she is breaking any commandment. Just because a saint is a raw-foodist or vegan or vegetarian, doesn’t mean they are weird or strange. Just because a saint drinks coca-cola or green tea or makes a meal of cake and ice cream doesn’t mean that they are sinners. And even if we ever see a saint drinking Guinness, at 5% alcohol, are they really breaking the Word of Wisdom? The earlier saints wouldn’t have thought so.

Remember, the Word of Wisdom was given for “the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.” It may be less of a test to see if we can follow it and more of a test to see if we can stop judging our fellow saint.

Previous Word of Wisdom article: Strong drinks, mild drinks, hot drinks, wine, etc.

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist