Intimacy as the Opposite of Sin


The married Life:

Marriage proceeds from the mind first – and as a consequence results in a bodily, sexual event.  Satisfying sexual relationships are ones grounded on the trust, love, communication, and intimacy of two, real-life human beings who have covenanted to receive each other as husband and wife.  These intangible qualities exist first – and then spill-over into the bedroom.

This is because all creation consists of two basic aspects [2 Nephi 2:14]:

  • that which acts (called Spirit)
  • that which is acted upon (called Element).

The physical, the flesh, the Element is the component of existence that is acted upon.  Therefore, it cannot create any change in the Spirit.  The mind must be changed [“repentance”], the heart must be softened [“broken heart”], and the spirit must be crushed [“contrite spirit”] before anything genuine and lasting and joyful blossoms into material reality.

Adam and Eve were married before they even knew they were naked.  Their union as husband and wife was a solution to loneliness – not lust.

and the god YHVH said
it is not good that adam should be alone

[Genesis 2:18]

The sexual union is the chief means of physically expressing a genuine connection of Love between two people.  It is Love/unity dynamic of our sexual contact that distinguishes humans from other animals [who are sexual for procreation and pleasure].

In the garden, Adam and Eve lived in open-faced, fearless, and intimate fellowship:

  • with God
  • with each other

Once sin was conceived in the heart [Moses 6:55], it produced two alienations/separations:

  • from God
  • from each other

Thus, restoring the kingdom of God will:

  • restore the union of humans and God
  • restore the union of men and women

Intimacy [openness or “into-me-see”] is the opposite of what Satan suggested Adam and Eve do when they discovered their nakedness in the garden of Eden.  Before he found them – they were naked [Adam fully exposed to Eve and Eve to Adam],

and they were both naked
the man and his wife
and were not ashamed

[Genesis 2:25]

and it was Satan who taught them that such full-fellowship is shameful and showed them how to cover that shame with hiding and separation.

see
you are naked
take some fig leaves and make you aprons
father will see your nakedness
quick
hide

[The Garden]

It’s unfounded fears, rooted in this state-of-mind based on the concepts of sin, separateness, and shame – that keep us from having real community and bridging the gaps between the sexes.

An experience of Life that is founded on separateness:

The problem with any religious tradition that begins with the initial, out-right assumption that God is entirely separate from nature – is that it becomes impossible for the Mother and the Father to ever be one – because She is left with no voice and can never be His friend.

This idea that the “Supernatural” is something sitting on a throne, over-and-above our natural existence is killing any experiences of Joy.  Our lives just become a wasteland of stress and fear – where we all live out inauthentic lives, fulfilling purposes that are not truly our own, reliving and retelling the stories of a by-gone generation – having no Life.

We can never be one with God and with our neighbor from this perspective because we will always continue experiencing God and neighbor as something that is foreign and detached.  Attachment and connection become devalued – because they demand our vulnerability.  There is a fear that maybe if we really get into a relationship with another human that we might just start to care too darn much – or even worse, we might just lose our Self.  Like independence is the key to Life?  We are not separate one-person islands, our narratives are all intertwined with each other.

If your goal in life is Joy – then connectivity is key [see, Zion will not be Established by Unrelated Persons].  If you want to be “free” or “self-sufficient”, then you can knock yourself out with independence – but the way of Jesus is to stretch yourself out until you die to your “Self” as this all-alone and sufficient bag of skin.

Adam and Eve ate the fruit of a tree of duality and separation [see, The Tree of This-and-That] – and it’s the experience of being in Jesus Christ that is the fruit of Life that brings you back to non-duality [“I and the Father are one”] and interconnection [“all mine are thine”].

The revelation of God in the scriptures is that [instead of separateness], the most basic fabric of all existence is chesed, loving-kindness or compassion [“to be passionate with”].  It’s the image of a God who relates to the universe with the level of intimacy that is the result of berith, or a covenant.  It’s an image of existence that’s based on the single concept of unconditional love [call it chesed, agape, whatever].

All things are included, loved, gathered-up, forgiven, and knit together into a single, vast organism – God.  The only difference between God and humans is that humans still see a different between God and humans – because they are using a mind hardened by the basic concept of sin and separation to look [see, The Split-brain Model of the Gospel: The Fall of Man].

Having Life, or just having the image of it:

Religions become concerned with ethical behavior and doctrine – instead of changing people’s minds/hearts and how they view/experience their world.  The problem with approaching religion as though it were a method of relaying ethics and doctrines is that ethics only teach us how to live as though you were one with your neighbor.  You learn the modes of action that imply a compassionate relationship with another person.  It offers you incentive to act in a certain way – but it cannot generate the genuine feeling of it.

While there may be certain ethical implications of making a covenant with God – such things neither add to or subtract from current pool of human ethical wisdom.  It is not the domain of religion to be laying down specific “hither thou shalt come and no further” ethical guidelines for human behavior that transcendent time, space, culture, and circumstance.  Rather, religion is about providing the environment for people to experience the miraculous works of God and manifestations of the spiritual gifts – because once the experience is had – the very way in which a person approaches and experiences human problems/decisions will be altered.

The gospel is about that transcendent experience that smashes a hardened, left-brain sensation of separateness and opens a person up the fluid, right-brain awareness that all creation is a continuous and connected event that we are all a part of [see, Taking our Myths Literally].  The Supreme Being is all of creation – from beginning, until now, and on forever – as one continuous pattern, one symphonic arrangement.

Without the spiritual gifts, the power of God, the signs following the believers in Christ – Mormonism [or Christianity] is just another school of thought for civil policy and moral behavior.  When dead to the workings of the Holy Spirit – the gospel is used to work for people rather than working on them.  We use Jesus to meet our needs – rather than getting them judged by Him, falling to the earth and weeping at His feet.

It’s an approach to religion that mistakes the symbol for the Reality – the image for the Life – the stage-show act for the actual experience – the poetry for the prose.  It turns the preachers into the preached and pedestalizes the stories and experiences of someone else, making it into the one-and-only true formula.

It’s essentially idolatry [see, Making an Image out of God] – to look at the image that pointing and cling to and serve it, rather than to Look, Follow, and Live [see, …and the labor which they had to perform was to look…].

Next Article by Justin:

Previous Article by Justin:  Paul and the church at Judea

[In Search of a New Church Home].

Going from Concrete to Flowers


Nothing is as delicate and brittle as thing-oriented group of people – so easily shattered by envy, covetousness, and strife once the pressure is put on.

ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; […] [do] lift yourselves up in the pride of your hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities;

and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.

For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches,

more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.

Zion is not a pie-in-the-sky utopia that falls in our laps once we’ve occupied our time long enough — waiting around for Jesus to return to sort everything out.

It is a permeating culture or way of life.  Jesus showed the world what this utopian kingdom looks like by the miraculous works of the Father that He manifested – showing us how to end the reign of the four horsemen [statism, war, famine, and death] and establish the Reign of God.

Those works that He did are what bring about an apocalypse –

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass

but we [as free agents] must do those works for the image to become reality – revealing Jesus Christ in ourselves, being the Jesus Christ in our own situations — making the Word become flesh in us.

If not, it remains the idea of Zion — what we wait around for and sit around and talk about.

We can spend our Life searching for salvation, enlightenment, etc. “out-there” — when all the time, we carry it around in us:

behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

We must surrender [or die to] all our earthly attachments, our vain imaginations, our worldly ideas, and our petty emotions — they must all be nailed to the cross of Christ so we can change our minds [repent] and move on —

— on to that immortal aspect we have in each one of us, You as God [or God as You] — and that’s who Jesus Christ was — God as a human, or humans as God.

That’s what Jesus was showing us:

Here, in that gold-lit realm of Zion lies our true reality, where we are who we are in our right-brain-hearts – once all pretense and personas have been dropped.  Where we are the fully naked-Self that just is.

Unless that change has occurred:

  • where we have the same mind in us which was in Christ Jesus,
  • where we’ve stopped relating to God as the “out-there”, elderly man on the throne,
  • where we no longer just tag”the name of Jesus Christ” onto the words and actions of our left-brain concept of Self,
  • but have begun to identify ourselves with [or as] Christ in mind and in heart

we cannot expect a physical change in our environment to manifest.

Once we’ve denied [or disowned] our Self with the fear, trembling, sorrow, weeping, and broken heart brought about by the gospel of Jesus Christ preached in its purity [by the power of the Holy Ghost and in the spirit of prophecy and revelation], taken up our cross, and started doing the same works as Jesus — then may we begin to see eye-to-eye with those in Zion.

How beautiful upon the mountains have been the feet of the one

proclaiming good tidings,

sounding peace;

proclaiming good tidings,

sounding salvation;

saying to Zion, “Thy God has reigned!”

The voice of thy watchmen!

they have lifted up their voice, crying aloud together:

because, eye-to-eye, they see YHVH turning back to Zion.

Break forth into joy, sing together,

O waste places of Jerusalem:

for YHVH hath comforted his people,

he hath redeemed Jerusalem.

YHVH hath made his holy arm bare

in the eyes of all the nations;

and all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Living out their story in our own life, seeing the things that they saw with our own eyes, making the word become flesh — comes as we stop working in our own names, and begin to connect as family [united order] through the bonds of covenant, which knit together strangers into joint-stewards:

And now, a commandment I give unto you concerning Zion, that you shall no longer be bound as a united order to your brethren of Zion, only on this wise— […]

they shall be organized in their own names; and they shall do their business in their own name.  And you shall do your business in your own name.

And this I have commanded to be done for your salvation, and also for their salvation, in consequence of that which is to come.

The covenants being broken through transgression, by covetousness and feigned words — Therefore, you are dissolved as a united order with your brethren, that you are not bound only up to this hour unto them,

And again, a commandment I give unto you concerning your stewardship which I have appointed unto you.  Behold, all these properties are mine, or else your faith is vain, and ye are found hypocrites, and the covenants which ye have made unto me are broken;

And if the properties are mine, then ye are stewards; otherwise ye are no stewards.  But, verily I say unto you, I have appointed unto you to be stewards over mine house.

And for this purpose I have commanded you to organize yourselves, […] For the purpose of building up my church and kingdom on the earth, and to prepare my people for the time when I shall dwell with them, which is nigh at hand.

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].

For a time, humans gathered only according to their tribe and their land.  Familial ties are the natural form of human community.  “Advancement” has really just meant that we could begin “bonding” through other things like commerce or information – making communities out of largely unrelated persons.

The cost of this great advancement has been that few of us find joy in the work we do on this earth – few of us have time to cook healthy food and raise healthy families – and by the time most of us stop working the jobs we don’t really like, our health and family are so damaged that we’ll spend the remaining years alone, medicated in a nursing home.

When we are a thing-oriented society [instead of people-oriented] – we are all about the acquiring and the advancing.  Big concrete streets to accommodate big cars, to drive to big stores to buy big plastic-stuff – building the biggest house that’ll fit on the allotted property, having tiny backyards that are paved with concrete anyway, and then sitting inside in chairs to passively observe reality on pixelated screens – and that’s supposed to create joy?

That is so far detached from the Earth:

From the dirt that God gave us – that chaos from which we can create and nurture Life.  Truly living, as a people-oriented society is not about the acquiring – it’s about the connecting.  It’s not about the advancing – it’s about the enduring.  The struggle of human experience is to break through the barriers – and into connection, intimacy, and companionship.

This involves coming to know that – there is no value in things.  They are literally no-thing at all.

The only thing of enduring, true reality is the connections between human beings.  Connectivity is the key.

Humans are naturally social beings.  And the family is the charitable gift society that we are all born into – for the purpose of learning the only lesson we can learn that will save us – charity.  Those who learn charity will enter the charitable gift society that exists in heaven – the family of God.

For a gathered body of family is the only society that can be free and eternal – an everlasting Zion, worlds without end.

Nature [though it follows similar patterns] is ever-new and always creating:

Never boring.  Each new generation that comes along learns about the mystery of the Earth as it is – the world of nature, which was patterned after that eternal world where God resides.

One would think that stability and endurance in a society would breed utter boredom and monotony.  However, where we see utterly boring sameness is in our current skylines, TV shows, brand-names, and highways.  Where we see monotony is in our city-states, monetary systems, concepts of property, monogamy, monoculture, etc.  We are boxed-in with the whole world property-lined, zoned, speed-limited, paved, taxed, regulated, registered, addressed, and licensed.

But nobody left room for Life.

Life here on Earth is just a limited time in what is really a brief probationary situation.  It’s the same play acted out on the same stage for millennia.  The ancients faced the same trials and triumphs, had the same drives and desires that we do.

The props, the technology and fashions, etc. might get constantly replaced, but the plot always remains the same – to commune with God and with one another.

How many more different props and costume changes can a single play have?  How many more shiny things can I own?

It is we who take something like nature – which is amoral, impartial, and anarchic — come in and bring judgments and value-claims such as kindness and cruelty, meaning and order to the whole thing.  But nature itself, outside of a human left-brain-mind, is a blank canvas for our projection.

And humans have been working for millennia to make nature a safe, organized place:

But any attempt to control a single variable in a natural system will only result in more variables becoming chaotic.  This is because a natural system is at rest.  It is at equilibrium and can stay at equilibrium without any energy input indefinitely.

When force is applied to one part of the system, the other parts react proportionately in an attempt to restore that equilibrium point.

This is man’s fall [which is pride] — setting themselves up as Gods in their own right — trying to control the world with control, dominion, and compulsion – instead of just being spontaneously, naturally — as we suppose children or animals to be – and allowing our kingdom to flow unto us without compulsory means.

When Isaiah the prophet was told to prophesy to Israel, the Lord said:

Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot.  And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.

God gave humans barefeet because He covered the Earth in dirt and grass.  But man thought he could do better than God and he covered the world in concrete.  So man had to invent shoes to walk on the concrete.

One thing we do begets the need to do another thing in response [so on and so forth], until we reach the point we are at currently, where we spend most of our energy fighting to control what our attempts at control have caused.

The structure. 

We’ve separated ourselves within our little families with the minimum amount of adults required, each having our own properties and our own possessions – to such an extent that we miss out on the richness of oneness with others – the simple salve of being freely connected to all our human brothers and sisters.

That safety in numbers that comes as we gather.  Our souls cry-out for this connection and free association – but like when the body is missing a necessary component or nutrient, we may be able to cope but can never truly be made whole without it.

This satisfying level of community comes as human-beings connect with other human-beings.  A husband, wife, and resulting children look exactly like how the scriptures define a paradisaical, Zion community — the kind of community believers in Christ are supposed to be building, making it “on earth“, as it is “in heaven“.

Such a body of believers in Christ [who are bound by both kinship and shared belief] should continue to grow itself along the same lines — as a family.

Families meet together naturally, they do not “have meetings”.  Going door-to-door, handing out religious tracts – that’s advertising.  That’s marketing religion and religious paraphernalia.

Church and missionary work are about being engaged in gathering the tribes of Israel – gathering people out from among the tribes of the earth.  Everyone who comes unto Christ, whether they are of the direct bloodline of Israel [Jacob] or not [a Gentile], is automatically numbered among the house of Israel when they are converted to the Lord.   The covenants that the church priesthood administers are what takes unrelated believers in Christ and binds them [knits them] together into bona-fide tribes of Israel – the Lord’s family.

The reason we are all “one in Christ” is that we all become His sons and daughters.  That rebirth is fundamentally conceived of and described along tribal lines:

  • it is patterned after the image of being embraced by a bendoin sheik and being brought into his tent.
  • it is the chain of eternal family sealings going back to Adam and Eve.
  • it is the fathers’ hearts turning to children and the children’s hearts to the fathers.

It’s all tribal in nature.

When we take unrelated believers in Christ and knit them together by covenant into a family – we restore the tribal notion of Israel, a separate people-group, or nation of kings & priests and queens & priestesses.

Next Article by Justin: Taking our Myths Literally

Previous Article by Justin:  Falling to the Earth as a Sign of Conversion

The Keys to Prophecy I: An Introduction


834 words
© Anthony E. Larson, 2004

 

The Keys to Prophecy I:

An Introduction

 

Thanks to modern revelation, Mormons understand quite well what the prophets taught. The gospel has been made very plain due to the restoration and the ministering of modern prophets.

But there is one exception to that rule: prophecy.

It seems that the imagery of prophecy is still, to a great extent, an enigma to us. Visions such as those of John in Revelation, Daniel, Ezekiel and Isaiah—just to name a few—are loaded with symbolism that mystifies us. Even some of Joseph Smith’s prophecies have these same, symbolic features. Sections 88 and 133 of Doctrine and Covenants are a case in point. 

The fact that Joseph Smith used imagery consistent with that of the ancient prophets is a powerful verification of his calling as a prophet, but it still does little to help us interpret the mystifying symbolism of prophecy—either ancient or modern. 

There has been no shortage of those who claim to have the answers to prophecy. A whole host of books attest to the sad fact that anyone’s guess is as good as another’s. 

A survey of the multitude of present offerings suggests that very nearly all of it is guesswork and hunches, since none of it actually gives the reader the tools to interpret prophecy. Each interpretation depends on its founder’s own approach. 

Anyone can open the scriptures, turn to a prophetic passage and hazard a guess at the meaning of the inspired imagery found there. Warning of this very practice, Peter wrote, “No prophecy of the scripture is of private interpretation.”

In fact, such guessing is at the heart of the confusion that reigns in Christendom where prophecy is concerned. The would-be interpreters either avoid the most mysterious imagery, or they try to interpret it by turning to speculation.

The basic, underlying supposition of most analysts is that the Old Testament prophets, upon seeing our technologically advanced world in vision, were at a loss for words. Hence, they turned to familiar imagery to describe what they saw in revelations. For example, an atomic bomb became “a pillar of fire and smoke,” or an attack helicopter firing missiles became “locusts” with “stings in their tails.”

Most damaging is that these expositors’ interpretations take to be literal what was meant to be imagery and metaphor. Contrarily, they also resort to the opposite device, making symbolic what was meant to be literal. Thus, they almost entirely sabotage the original meaning of the prophets’ words.
What analysts universally fail to see is that there are numerous hints—‘keys’ if you will—found in the scriptures, modern revelation and ancient history that all move us closer to understanding prophecy. By letting the prophets speak for themselves, rather than ‘interpreting’ their words, we discover those keys—both ancient and modern.

There are hints everywhere in ancient cultures that the images of prophecy were customary, traditional images, common to all early peoples. Thus, the study of ancient iconography or symbolism becomes an invaluable interpretive tool in our quest to discern the meaning of prophetic imagery.

This article is the introduction to a series that identifies and explains the various keys to prophecy. Some are found in scripture, some in the words of modern prophets, some in science and some in comparative mythology.

Singly, they are curiously insightful; jointly, they make a powerful case for a truly novel method of interpreting prophecy.

Like fitting the pieces into a puzzle, each key adds a little to our understanding of prophecy, making the picture more complete. When all the pieces are in place, they produce a comprehensive explanation of prophetic symbolism. They make prophecy plain and understandable for anyone.

Hence, Joseph Smith’s statement, “Revelation is one of the plainest books God ever cause to be written.”

In subsequent installments in this series we will carefully search out and examine each of these clues as we unravel the mysteries of prophecy.

But what may be even more exciting and enlightening is that this quest will also allow us to better understand all the ancient imagery found in the Bible and even in modern revelation.

It will explain otherwise enigmatic statements by Joseph Smith and other modern prophets since his time—statements that have been neglected or dismissed by many LDS scholars because of their seeming irrelevance or lack of substantiation.

Still more remarkable is the discovery that this analysis will reveal uncommon knowledge about temples ancient and modern—from the icons that adorn their exteriors and interiors to their very purpose and meaning.

It will also explain Joseph Smith’s interest in things Egyptian and the revelations, such as the book of Abraham, which came from that study.

So, as it turns out, this effort is fundamentally about understanding the gospel itself rather than just the narrow confines of prophecy. Indeed, this study will lead us to understand more clearly even the first principles and ordinances of the gospel, the very foundations of our faith.

Only a study of correct principles could have such sweeping and profound implications and ramifications.

website

videos

Breaking News: Joseph Smith’s Daguerrotype is scanned and uploaded


This is to let all visitors to this blog know that I have come across one of the (supposedly lost) photocopies I made of a possible/probable daguerrotype of Joseph Smith that I discovered around seven years ago. Prior to today, the only LDS who had seen this daguerrotype were myself and the three people I showed it to seven years ago. Spread the word, this may be the missing daguerreotype of the Prophet that was apparently recorded to have been taken of him. You can see the images and read the account of how I discovered it by clicking the following link:

Joseph Smith’s Daguerrotype – An Appeal for Help

Next Joseph Smith article: What if…the Lord brought the Prophet Joseph Smith back from the dead to lead the church?

Previous Joseph Smith article: Romans 13: 1-7 and Joseph Smith

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist