Master, Master, We Perish


I will go down with this ship:

now it came to pass
on a certain day
that he went into a ship with his disciples
and he said unto them

let us go over
unto the other side of the lake

and they launched forth
but
as they sailed
he fell asleep
and there came down a storm of wind on the lake
and they were filled with water
and were in jeopardy
and they came to him
and awoke him
saying

master
master
we perish

then he arose
and rebuked the wind
and the raging of the water
and they ceased
and there was a calm
and he said unto them

where is your faith?

and they
being afraid
wondered
saying one to another

what manner of man is this!
for he commands even the winds and water
and they obey him

Taking this story as a metaphor for one’s life, it goes like this:

  • Jesus has a mission for you
    [let us go over unto the other side of the lake].
  • You are obedient to him
    [and they launched forth].
  • His mission leads you into harm and peril
    [but as they sailed … there came down a storm of wind on the lake and they were filled with water and were in jeopardy].
  • He is not all that concerned about that
    [but as they sailed he fell asleep].
  • You will have to either rouse him — or fix it yourself
    [and they came to him and awoke him — where is your faith?].

Wait, what?  God will lead you into peril and jeopardy and then leave you there so He can take a nap?  Yes.  And if you don’t have the faith to either fix it yourself or to cry out to Him, then He will keep on napping — while the situation drowns you.  Having let the Lord of the Universe into the “ship” of your life and being obedient to His directions will grant you zero security that your travels will be safe.

And it wasn’t just the 12 disciples:

Lehi’s vision of the tree of life did not begin with “a large and spacious field” in which he “beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.”  No, it starts ominously with:  a dark and dreary wilderness,

and it came to pass
that I saw a man
and he was dressed in a white robe
and he came and stood before me
and it came to pass
that he spake unto me
and commanded me to follow him
and it came to pass
that as I followed him
I beheld myself
that I was in a dark and dreary waste
a
nd after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness
I began to pray unto the lord
that he would have mercy on me
according to the multitude of his tender mercies
and it came to pass
after I had prayed unto the lord
I beheld a large and spacious field
and it came to pass
that I beheld a tree
whose fruit was desirable
to make one happy

You see, we begin our story in a miserable place, a dark and dreary wilderness.  Then, all is well, a man in white appears and commands us to follow him, presumably to deliver out of this situation.  And instead, we are led into an even worse situation, a dark and dreary waste.  Thanks a lot Man-in-White.  Then he just leaves us there — to wander in the depths of despair and depression.

And there’s where the story would’ve ended had it not been for Lehi’s impulse to begin to pray unto God for mercy and deliverance from the darkness.  It’s only then that we can find ourselves in the large and spacious field with the fruit of happiness and family togetherness.

God isn’t troubled by your bothers, unless you can be bothered enough to trouble Him:

and he spake a parable unto them
to this end
that people ought always to pray
and not faint
saying

there was in a city
a ruler
who didn’t fear god
nor care about people
and there was in that city
a widow
who came unto him
saying

give me justice
and stop my oppressor

and he would not
for a while
but afterwards
he said within himself

though I do not care about god
nor respect any person
because this widow troubles me
I will exact justice for her
lest by her continual coming
she tire me out

and the lord said

ponder what the unjust ruler said
and shall not god avenge his own elect
who cry day and night unto him
when he has patience with them?
I tell you that he will grant justice for them speedily

Next Article by Justin:  New Thoughts on Faith

Previous Article by Justin:  Tithing the Widow’s Mites

Advertisements

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].

…and I’m a Mormon


Maggie asked me:

“I believe in a similar fashion and lately I have been unable to call myself a Mormon because of it.  Is one a “true” Mormon if they do not take everything in the rigid literal?  I started to feel I couldn’t be much like I can’t call myself a vegetarian if I eat meat.  But now I’m not so sure.  Isn’t this what Mormonism is at its core, its base?”

I’ve also read similar sentiments – e.g.

“I [have x-y-z different opinion on this-or-that facet of Mormonism, yet still identify in some degree as “Mormon”].  As a result, when I speak to others [and] I say, “I am a Mormon.”  Am I being deceptive if I don’t reveal what that phrase means to me upfront?

This represents my ~4500 word response to that.

The religious experience of the gospel of Jesus Christ — at its core, its base — is the subjective and transcendent experience of God:

I was once told in conversation that:

“Mormons just don’t drink alcohol – that is the least that is expected of them.”

And I thought – really, that’s the least that’s being LDS means – abstaining from alcoholic drinks?  I’m sure if we are talking about LDS youth, then that person would probably say that the “least” is something related to body modesty or not having sex.  But again – that’s our least?

For a religion proclaiming Jesus Christ – the “least” ought to be pretty straightforward.  Jesus called people to consider themselves the servants of all – and act accordingly.  Having the same mind in you that was in Him:  who did empty himself and take the form of a servant [Philippians 2:5-8].  That’s it.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is fluid.  It’s meant to be lived by every human who’s ever lived on the whole earth.  As such, it is flexible, adaptable to the variety of conditions that exist among people.  What makes nature so beautiful and awe-inspiring is its diversity.  Even though nature follows certain patterns, it is ever-new and always creating – never boring or monotonous.  [see, Going from Concrete to Flowers]

However, a “hardened” religious tradition cannot tolerate subjectivity and diversity.  So, when one’s mind is informed by such a belief system, God ceases to be the experience of the Supreme Being – and becomes instead This-Thing who sits Up-There in the sky ruling over nature and who must be related to according to in That-Way [see, Making an Image out of God].

The fundamental aspect of the gospel is people having a transcendent experience of God – one that experiences God as a continuous happening that we are all a part of.  It’s that experience of Joy that all our myths, stories, and rituals are telling about and pointing to – so that we may come to that same place where we too relate to God with an I-Thou relationship framed in terms of family and covenant [see, Taking our Myths Literally].

That relative experience is expressed outwardly in a material sense in various ways:

Now – the gospel does manifest itself outwardly as a physical space-and-time institution according to the doctrine of expediency.  Suiting itself to the conditions found among the people at that time and place [see, There are no “higher” or “lower” laws; there are only expedient laws and D&C 46:15].

But the base-layer, the common experience is always about coming to relate to the Power of the created universe in terms that break-down the left-brain sense of separateness and open-up the right-brain sense of complete continuousness and connectivity.

There may be behavioral or moral implications of a covenant with God – but it is not the jurisdiction of the gospel to lay down specific “hither thou shalt come and no further” fence-posts for human behavior that have a universal application across space-and-time.

So, within Mormonism, there is a wide range of possibility for diversity in belief and practice that can be characterized by having different people fill in the following blanks:

  • A Mormon is known for at least always ___________.
  • A Mormon is known for at least never ____________.

We should not be ashamed to display a bit of a bell-curve variability with respect to what a Mormon looks like, especially considering the subjective morality and the generally ambiguous nature of the standard works [see, Methods of Scriptural Interpretation].

But institutions patterned after the doctrines and commandments of men [such as corporations] generally dislike such variation — seeking instead to streamline and control naturally variable situations.  So, in Mormonism we see things like correlation, the CHI, etc.  But that’s a different matter entirely.

Specific manifestations of a common subjective experience express natural diversity:

The point is – [to go back to Maggie’s vegetarian who eats meat example] is there nuance within vegetarianism?  Certainly.

Is it animal meat only?  What about organs, or fish, or mollusks, or crustaceans, or dairy, or eggs – or is it all animal products altogether?  Is it only about the eating, or is it also about using them too?  Or is it really about a protest against the industrialized rearing conditions of the modern food system?  Or is it about choosing to only eat plants?  I’ve known vegetarians who could go a whole day and not eat a single vegetable – what with soy burgers, breaded tofu nuggets, and pizza.

There’s variation among a community that is informed by a common impulse – i.e. something is wrong with our current way of relating to the Life that we eat.

Fundamentally, all that matters is if you experience the miraculous works of the Father or not:

Being of this-or-that religion, practicing this-or-that model of worship, conforming to this-or-that belief system – none of that gives any indication about whether a person has experienced Jesus or not.  And therefore doesn’t matter.  The only standard for determining that a person is a true believer in Christ is the presence of the miraculous works of the Father, or signs that follow them that believe [D&C 84:64-72], in their life.  Anything else is not a righteous judgment [John 7:24] – but is a judgment based on the outward appearance or the works of men.

Telling me you read the scriptures, participate in the rituals, are active in the church, etc. – tells me nothing about the experiences you’ve had with Jesus.  Those things are just the retelling or reenactment of someone else’s story.  It is all pointless and vain unless it is pursuant to you having the same experience — seeing eye-to-eye with the seers who have laid down those stories before you.  Their stories will not save you.  Reenacting events from their stories as a ritual will not generate Joy in you.  Such things are meant to motivate you to get on the same pathway, to receive a similar connection with God, and to see eye-to-eye with them [see, The role of angels in Nephite preaching and How to receive what you ask for].

I don’t want to hear anything about what system of stories a person believes in their brain to be “true”.  Whether those stories “happened” or not is completely irrelevant to me – because what matters is what “happens”, right now – in you.  I don’t care if you believe in the stories about Adam or Abraham or Moses or Lehi or Joseph Smith having real experiences with the Father – I care if you’ve had them.

The only thing that discerns a good thing from a bad thing is its relationship to the thing that Alma termed the ever-good seed [Alma 32:28]:

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.

Anything that persuades you to believe in and plant this ever-good seed into your right-brain-heart is itself a good seed.  While anything that persuades you not to believe and plant this ever-good seed is not a good seed.

Nothing in the gospel is based on the merits and works of men.  Righteous judgment has nothing to do with having mainstream LDS beliefs.  All things are judged to be good or evil with respect to how they measure up to the ever-good seed and whether they point people towards, or away from, it [Moroni 7:13-19].

Everything in the gospel is based on the merits of Christ and whether we harden or soften our hearts in response to the experience of His love.

The presence of miraculous works should be our only concern:

What should characterize LDS and be our over-riding passion is the experience and the celebration of the stories of people who’ve experienced faith as a principle of power, instead of action [see, The seeds of the powers of godliness] – which are the examples of the miraculous works of the Father being manifested.

The scriptures are our collective stories of such events.  But we should be celebrating the experience [nothing more, nothing less] – and with an emphasis on the newest miraculous experiences.  Because a proper celebration of the spiritual works of God invites others to receive the same experiences for themselves – so there would be no need to hold on to the stories of a by-gone generation.  Every country, culture, and local group needs to have their own body of miraculous works of the Father among themselves to celebrate.

It is dangerous to celebrate non-miraculous works [the works of men] and call that “faith.” All it does is encourage drudgery, or the non-miraculous works of men.  There are plenty of people of all religions who sacrifice for their beliefs and religions, but who have no works of the Father in their lives.

I’ve met people who receive multiple visions or prophecies, who’ve spoken in unknown tongues on demand, and who’ve been ministered to by angels.  On the other hand, I’ve also met people who’ve never received a revelation in their entire life.  In either case, every one of those people professed to believe in Jesus and came from different churches and belief systems.  The only substantial difference between the two groups is that the former manifested the works of the Father – while the latter manifested the works of men.

Someone who has denied their Self, experienced the transcendent joy of the Supreme Being, and received Christ will be totally obsessed with Jesus.  And only the truly obsessed have faith – and only those with faith demonstrate the manifestations of the fruits of the Spirit in their life.

Being a “good Mormon” or Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Wiccan – or any “faithful” [add-Religion-here] only tells me whether a person adheres to the creeds of their respective belief system.  That says nothing about whether they have faith in Christ or not.

We should only be concerned with having faith in Christ and experiencing the miraculous works of the Father.  Unless one has communed with God, been ministered to by angels, seen visions, received prophecies and revelations, etc. – all incessant talk that professes belief in Christ is just mental masturbation, feeling good but not producing any fruit.

The all-important, saving faith in Jesus Christ that we should be obsessed with is centered in Jesus only

With sufficient faith, a believer can come to know the truth of all things [Moroni 10:5].  But faith in this-or-that true doctrine does not blossom into experiencing the miraculous works of the Father.  If faith is ever transferred from Christ to true things about Christ – then even though what’s spoken may be true, there is no faith there.

Mormons have much truth – but they have essentially transferred all faith to the truths, and thus none of it is on Jesus.

The vast majority of our conversations at church are centered on prophets and apostles, obedience to leaders and commandments, blessings of paying tithing, attending church and the temple, and every other conceivable topic that has nothing, whatsoever, to do with Jesus Christ’s suffering, death, resurrection and judgment upon all mankind.

In fact – a good test is to ask how much of our religious conversations are devoted to the relative, periphery matters and how much is devoted to the experience of God’s love.  How comfortable are we in talking about this-or-that issue of the day in light of Mormonism – and how comfortable are we talking about our spiritual contacts with Jesus Christ.  With the latter, I’ve found we stumble, are vague, express doubt, and likely just say nothing at all because most people have nothing to say.

Any church not based on the miraculous work of the Father may potentially be a true church, but will be a dead and blind church:

We may have true stories and properly authorized rituals – but they are not enlivened with the Spirit of God because none of them are experienced eye-to-eye as shared experiences.  Our standard for judgment is informed by outward appearances instead of by the light of righteous judgments informed by the fruits of the Spirit. [see, What does the phrase “only true and living church” mean?]

This has made the LDS successful in being exactly like the rest of Christianity.  There may be true doctrines, disciplines, and rituals – but such things have been made into absolutes and pedestalized as ends unto themselves – instead of being the means to an end – which is obtaining the experience of the miraculous works of the Father.

To convert a bona-fide revelatory experience with God into a prescribed system of creeds and approved practices dodges the real issue.  It’s easier to tell ourselves that the important thing is keeping certain rules and believing certain doctrines – instead of turning ourselves over to the transcendent idea that the fundamental nature of Reality [God] reaches into human history to covenant with humans and gather them into a family.

The basic purpose of what we call “the church” is to take unrelated believers in Christ and knit them together by covenant into a single body or family:

When people see a problem with their group worship dynamic – the temptation is always to get together with some like-minded and “do church” more scripturally.  However, this often will just create a slightly smaller, less-controlled replication of the same dynamic they were trying to get away from.

The problem lies in the fundamental way we feel towards God, towards the earth, and towards ourselves.  It is a model based on the underlying concept of separateness [see, Split-Brain Model of the Gospel: The Fall of Man]:

  • God as the male-figure seated on a throne exerting control over nature,
  • relating only to a certain in-group by virtue of their religious behavior towards Him,
  • living as separate islands of skin-encapsulated centers of will that are plopped onto a earth of otherwise disorganized, inherently-flawed stuff.

The very ideas that are informing our relationship with the world and with other people has to change – the pattern or model of a hierarchy of religious rulers and approved ways of thinking is [itself] broken.

Putting different people in power can’t change a problem that exists because there are people in power.  Power must instead be pulled down [Alma 60:36].

You can’t have meetings with an instituted body of the like-minded become “more scriptural” – when the gospel is tribal in nature and meant to be experienced by a group of kin who naturally meets.

One can use religion to serve their Self or to serve God.  If you believe that only your collection of stories is the One, True Way of experiencing God – then you are using it to serve your Self.  This is the hardened or atrophied religare that creates feelings of superiority and maintains a sense of separation and conflict with others.

On the other hand, when in the service of God, a fluid religare is just the stories left behind by men and women who have had miraculous experiences with the governing Power of the universe that direct the community to receiving that experience for their selves, eye-to-eye.

Effectively, what we call the “Great Apostasy” represented a hedge that had been built up around an individual person and the experience of God.  The whole essence of a religious life was reduced to a commodity that needed to be brokered by a male-dominated priestly class.  And the “Restoration” was about taking scattered and disconnected people and gathering them – not by virtue of what they believe in the mind or confess with the mouth – but by covenant into a family.

But instead of having a passion for this tribal notion of a separate people-group bound by covenants, gathered out from their scattered state among the tribes of the earth – leadership patterned after the works of men care more about uniformity of thought than about making actual tribal connections between individuals.

Focusing on these outward appearances [which include prescribing behavioral standards and acceptable doctrines] is a manifestation of the current state of the church being guided by the doctrines and commandments of men.  While the gospel could be said to prescribe a certain approach to human problems and decisions – any ethical component is but a consequence of a person’s genuine relationship with God – not the basis for receiving one.

The mission of the church of God is to be the ministerial support for individual members becoming Kings and Priests, Queens and Priestesses in their own right – to teach them the word of God, explain and offer the covenants of the gospel, and then allow them to organize themselves accordingly as their local circumstances dictate – helping them as they go from an unrelated body of like-minded and knit them together into a bona-fide family.

As long as a part remains in the body – it is the body:

Most LDS speak about and relate to “the church” as this entity that exists outside of them or separate from their selves.  But there is no such thing as a group without the context of the individual people.  You cannot have a body without all the components that make it up all together.  A group is the sum-total of the individual units that make up that group.  The whole is the parts as they are arranged.

Thus, each person is the church.  You are the church – and so long as you remain in the church, your views are representative of what the church believes.  You are Mormonism — as it is lived out or as it is taken literally by you.  The only time that ceases to be true is when you cease to identify as a member of the church.

That’s why I would never advocate someone leaving the church.  The group is [hands-down] always better served if everyone who’s ever left over this-or-that doctrinal/history/etc. issue didn’t leave – but rather stayed and lived out their own story in the community.

By most estimates, there are at least as many, if not more, of them than there are of the toe-the-line, mainstream Mormons.  So, at this point, if they’d all stayed — they could potentially outnumber the rest, and we’d have an entirely different dynamic in the church.

You represent you – and that is representative of what it means to be Mormon – if it happens to be that you are Mormon.

Now, the Church [as it is organized currently as a corporate entity] is something altogether different.  None of us are their representative for what that group is or believes.  For that purpose, the Church has official Church spokesmen.  You can identify them by the corporate logo they wear on their name-tags.  If we all were official representatives of that corporate entity and what it says, then there would be no need to have a group of specially-called official representatives, now would there?

But when people tell me that they no longer find any value in the Mormon experience and want to leave – I get it.  I see in many respects how the church is laden with the doctrines and commandments of men, leader-worship, female repression, etc.  I truly empathize with people who feel disaffected with church because they’ve increasingly found the three-hour Sunday block [and all that comes with active participation] to be more of an obstacle, instead of a vehicle, for them experiencing the Lord.

I get why they don’t speak up to church leaders in an attempt to change things too.  There is no real platform for open and honest discussion among members without getting the:  “Well this is the way that the brethren have approved — so like it or leave it”-rhetoric.  I wouldn’t expect open and honest disclosure from people who feel put-out [even though I admit it would be better if they all did speak-up].

The environment provided by leaders at church leaves them with no voice and no room to have non-mainstream opinions [at least in some open and honest capacity] – so many don’t see how speaking-up matters.  They’ll just be told:

“Look here, if you do not want to subscribe to our form of worship of the Savior, then there are many other Churches to try out until one finds the one that provides that appropriate outlet or none may suffice.”

So they throw-up their hands and leave.  I get that.

Imagine a marriage relationship in which every time the wife brings up a certain issue she has with her husband, he gets defensive, he belittles her and yells, etc. — and nothing ever changes.

Now, the husband is doing that particular behavior one day and the wife has that look that women get when you know something’s wrong — she’s obviously bothered.  So he asks, “Honey, what’s wrong?”  And if you’re married, then you know her answer is, “Nothing.

Now — it’s not nothing, it’s most definitely something.  Why does she say “nothing”?

  • Because she’s a liar who doesn’t care about getting the marital issue resolved.
  • Because of her experience with her husband, she knows that bringing the issue up will only result in a fight and nothing will be resolved.

Are their marital problems her fault because she won’t be forthcoming about what’s wrong when asked?  Or are they his fault because he has failed to provide an environment where his wife feels comfortable talking about her issues in emotional-safety?

The key for me is that the church doesn’t belong to such people.  It belongs to Jesus – and He says you have a place in it:

To make that distinction further – each member was baptized into the church of God, not the Church.  None of us are listed on the corporate charter of that agency, and are therefore not their agent.  The scriptures only describe us as agents “unto ourselves”.  As believers in Christ – we ought to also consider ourselves to be agents “unto Him” – and act accordingly.

But our fundamental allegiance is to Christ and to the word of God – thus there is very little concern for whether this-or-that aspect is considered contrary to “general Church-approved practices”, the “long-standing traditions”, etc.

The assumed state of things in the church is to trust no one until you know them well enough to open-up and share your story with them:

Now, I’ve acknowledged that the leaders do not provide a platform for open and honest discussion among members – and there’s no outlet for the disaffected to express their nuance of opinion or their concerns about certain issues.  As such, church leaders cannot reasonably expect open and honest disclosure from people who are feeling on the outs.

In fact, in my experience, leaders are often witch-hunters [taking the “judge in Israel” thing to the extreme], always looking for someone to judge as unfaithful, apostate, etc.  The only valid reason, in their minds, for “contrary” points-of-view or “unapproved” behavior is worthiness issues.  And so although the scriptural law is innocent until proven guilty – according to my experience, when leaders see dissension, they take a guilty until proven innocent stance.

Which is why I’ve taken Alma’s admonition to “trust no one…” [Mosiah 23:14] to be my marching orders and usually keep my mouth shut.  I’ve seen that those who implicitly trust the leadership [not living Alma’s admonition to “trust no one” unless you know beyond a reasonable doubt that they are men of God], will often say more than is expedient to say and quickly get into trouble.

I’ve been protected by a revelation I received some years ago that the word of the day for me is, “Shhh” — or that it is always best to be silent, to say nothing, to openly answer no questions to church leadership — sticking with “Yea” for yea and “Nay” for nay if I am ever asked.

But whether you choose to remain in the church and identify yourself as “Mormon” has nothing to do with what the approved practices and long-standing policies of the corporation that runs the church:

“Mormon” is a lot like the term “Christian” — it is more about what the person professes to believe.  It is not a term that can be brokered by a particular class of rulers “in charge” of the word.

For example, LDS insist that we are Christian just like everybody else, based on our professed belief in Christ.  Others would claim that our more nuanced understanding of Christ, the Godhead, etc. are beyond the leeway allowed for by orthodoxy.  But since we profess to believe in Christ – we generally call ourselves “Christian”.

Likewise, the Church has a hard time with professed Mormons who practice polygamy – thinking the term “Mormon” belongs to the corporation.  However, polygamist Mormons are Mormons.  The Community of Christ are Mormons.  Everyone has a professed belief in the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith.  We may have more nuanced approaches to certain things [polygamy being the key example], but [like “Christian”] the term is general and correctly identifies all of us [in a general sense].

A person that hears me identify as “Mormon” starts viewing my actions and words as representative of the church.  This is why the Church – as a corporate entity – is big on the members considering themselves walking “advertisements” for the Corporation, carefully monitoring the public image that the members “sell”, etc.

But I am not their spokesperson.  I am not a broker for their religious product.  I am Me.

People do not exist as Platonic Ideas — pure representations of terms or concepts.  Being Me means that I represent the unique symphony that is the arrangement of my Life.  I can’t pour the entirety of Me into your brain all at once.  Each human being is a storytale that has to be shared in order to be known.

We come to know people as we interact with each other.  The “whole truth” doesn’t come by “telling” – but by coming to know the real You through experiencing.  It cannot be shown all at once – but people do come to see it.

So I’d say, “I’m Mormon” is generally not a bad start for me.  Granted, my family does understand certain things differently and holds a bit more of a nuanced opinion on things like what church authority means, what the role of the church with respect to our family is, the priesthood keys and common consent, marriage and family relations, etc.  But those views aren’t applicable to every relationship we have with every other church member — just like my entire set of views on things like politics, diet, marijuana, vaccination, homeschooling, etc. don’t need to be put all out on the table every time I meet someone new.

Should the particulars come up, I don’t hide or obscure them — but I don’t hand them out like business cards either.

We should treat our religious identification like we would any other interpersonal interaction – we start basic and progress towards the more specific/personal as [or if] the relationship goes that way.  To attempt to disclose the whole picture of the entirety of the specific nuances and peculiarities all at once at a first meeting or in casual interactions is both impractical and unhelpful.

Next Article by Justin:

Previous Article by Justin:  Taking our Myths Literally

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

Falling to the Earth as a Sign of Conversion


And now the astonishment of Alma was so great that he became dumb, that he could not open his mouth; yea, and he became weak, even that he could not move his hands; therefore he was taken by those that were with him, and carried helpless, even until he was laid before his father.

And they rehearsed unto his father all that had happened unto them; and his father rejoiced, for he knew that it was the power of God.  [Mosiah 27:19-20]

and

And it came to pass that they did call on the name of the Lord, in their might, even until they had all fallen to the earth, save it were one of the Lamanitish women, whose name was Abish, she having been converted unto the Lord for many years, on account of a remarkable vision of her father — Thus, having been converted to the Lord, and never having made it known, therefore, when she saw that all the servants of Lamoni had fallen to the earth, and also her mistress, the queen, and the king, and Ammon lay prostrate upon the earth,

she knew that it was the power of God;  [Alma 19:16-17]

When Alma saw his son being carried home by his friends, rendered completely unconscious – his first reaction was to rejoice because he recognized that as a manifestation of the power of God working.

When Abish saw the Lamanite queen and king, all their servants, and Ammon laying prostrate on the ground, unconscious – her first reaction was that this obviously meant the power of God was working.

Falling to the earth in this manner is a sign that the power of God is rending the veil of unbelief and breaking the chains of hell that are on that person:

Alma and Abish share one thing in common that explains why their first thought after seeing someone fallen to the earth unconscious was that the power of God was at work – they both had first-hand experience with the miraculous works of the Father.

Alma had witnessed the word of God delivered by Abinadi in the spirit of prophecy and revelation:

…the Spirit of the Lord was upon [Abinadi]; and his face shone with exceeding luster, even as Moses’ did while in the mount of Sinai, while speaking with the Lord.  And he spake with power and authority from God;  [Mosiah 13:5-6]

Alma went on to organize a church of believers gathered in the wilderness, himself and the church manifesting the miraculous works of the Father:

…both Alma and Helam were buried in the water; and they arose and came forth out of the water rejoicing, being filled with the Spirit

…Alma, having authority from God…  [Mosiah 18:14, 18]

Abish had witnessed a miraculous vision that had been given to her father in the spirit of prophecy and revelation:

…she having been converted unto the Lord for many years, on account of a remarkable vision of her father…  [Alma 19:16]

Falling to the earth is a result of the fear of the Lord coming upon that person:

And behold, he spake unto us, as it were the voice of thunder, and the whole earth did tremble beneath our feet; and we all fell to the earth, for the fear of the Lord came upon us.  [Alma 36:7]

It accompanies true recognition of one’s unjustified state before God, which is received when the word of God is preached in its fullness — in the spirit of prophecy and revelation, by the power of the Holy Ghost:

And now, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had made an end of speaking the words which had been delivered unto him by the angel of the Lord, that he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and behold they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them.

And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying:

“O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.”  [Mosiah 4:1-2]

Once the fear of being cast off forever from the presence of the Lord sinks into the right-brain-hearts of believers, it works there to create this “fear” spoken of in the scriptures.  Trembling/shaking and weeping/shedding tears follow next – working to rend the veil of darkness and remove the chains of hell attached to the brain of all sinners, and to manifest a broken heart and contrite spirit.

But, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”  [Psalm 126:5]:

Meaning the Lord is quick to hear the cries of his people and answer their prayers [Alma 9:26].  The conversion pattern found in the Book of Mormon shows that once the fear of the Lord comes upon a person/people, they’ve been overcome and have fallen to the earth, and have shed tears of sorrow and anguish for their carnal and sinful state – joy follows:

And it came to pass that after [the people of King Benjamin] had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which king Benjamin had spoken unto them.  [Mosiah 4:3]

and

And it came to pass that [Abish] went and took the[Lamanite] queen by the hand, … ; and as soon as she touched her hand she arose and stood upon her feet, and cried with a loud voice, saying:

“O blessed Jesus, who has saved me from an awful hell! O blessed God, havecmercy on this people!”

And when she had said this, she clasped her hands, being filled with joy, speaking many words which were not understood; and when she had done this, she took the king, Lamoni, by the hand, and behold he arose and stood upon his feet.

[…] And it came to pass that when Ammon arose he also administered unto them, and also did all the servants of Lamoni; and they did all declare unto the people the selfsame thing—that their hearts had been changed; that they had no more desire to do evil.  And behold, many did declare unto the people that they had seen angels and had conversed with them; and thus they had told them things of God, and of his righteousness.

And it came to pass that there were many that did believe in their words; and as many as did believe were baptized; and they became a righteous people, and they did establish a church among them.

And thus the work of the Lord did commence among the Lamanites; thus the Lord did begin to pour out his Spirit upon them; and we see that his arm is extended to all people who will repent and believe on his name.  [Alma 19:29-36]

and

I [Alma] was racked with eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins.  Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments… the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror.

[…] And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.

Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart:

“O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.”

And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.  And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!

Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.

Yea, methought I saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of singing and praising their God; yea, and my soul did long to be there.  But behold, my limbs did receive their strength again, and I stood upon my feet, and did manifest unto the people that I had been born of God.  [Alma 36:12-23]

We must follow the example of the king of the Lamanites after he received the gospel from Aaron:

And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded [the gospel] unto him, the king said:

“What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day?”

Behold, said he, “I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy.

But Aaron said unto him:

“If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest.”

And it came to pass that when Aaron had said these words, the king did bow down before the Lord, upon his knees; yea, even he did prostrate himself upon the earth, and cried mightily, saying:

“O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day.”

And now when the king had said these words, he was struck as if he were dead.

[…] Now when the queen saw … she also began to fear exceedingly, lest there should some evil come upon her.  And she commanded her servants that they should go and call the people, that they might slay Aaron and his brethren.

Now when Aaron saw the determination of the queen, he, also knowing the hardness of the hearts of the people, feared lest that a multitude should assemble themselves together, and there should be a great contention and a disturbance among them; therefore he put forth his hand and raised the king from the earth, and said unto him:  “Stand.” And he stood upon his feet, receiving his strength.

Now this was done in the presence of the queen and many of the servants. And when they saw it they greatly marveled, and began to fear. And the king stood forth, and began to minister unto them. And he did minister unto them, insomuch that his whole household were converted unto the Lord.  [Alma 22:15-13]

Next Article by Justin: Going from Concrete to Flowers

Previous Article by Justin:  Going From “You Owe Me” to “Money”

Cheerfully Doing All Things


In the beginning, there was man — and for a time, it was good.  But humanity’s civilization soon fell victim to materialism and covetousness.  Then man made a System in his own likeness — man becoming the architect of his own demise.  But for a time, it was good.

The Cynics were a philosophical group in Greece and Rome around two to three centuries before and after Christ.  They were named, by their critics, after dogs [The Greek kynikos] because of their shameless rejection of conventional manners, mores, and values.  They were a group of indifference towards the normality enforced by Luciferian control systems.  They were known for eating with hands, going naked and having intercourse in public, walking barefoot, sleeping outside, etc.  As dogs, who have a very discerning nature, they could recognize as friends and receive kindly those ready for their teachings and lifestyle – while they would drive away any unfitted or unfriendly.

I share, with the Cynics, a similar understanding of how happiness is attained in mortal life:

  • The goal of life is happiness, or joy – which is to live in harmony with Nature.
  • Happiness depends on freeing yourself from influences such as wealth, fame, materialism, or power – things that have no value in Nature.
  • Suffering is caused by assigning value falsely – striving after the wrong things leads to negative emotions and vicious character traits.

Paleoanarchism, or Anarcho-primitivism, is a critique of the origins and progress of human civilization.  As I studied human history I noticed a common trend, the shift from hunter-gatherer tribes to sedentary agrarian communities gave rise to the social stratification, coercion, and alienation from God, fellow humans, and Nature that have been the main reasons behind every success Satan has had with the human race.  Anarcho-primitivists advocate a return to non-“civilized” ways of life thru deindustrializing society, abolishing the division of labor, and abandoning large-scale organization power into states.

Satan’s first success story with using a mortal to alter conditions on earth was Cain.  Notice that Cain brought forth “of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord,” signifying his lifestyle of sedentary agrarianism.  He was the first to “build a city,” thereby establishing a rule of statism over his posterity.  His family initiated the first secret craft guild societies when they became “instructors of every artificer in brass and iron.”

This continued beyond the deluge in Noah’s time – with the great amalgamating power represented by Nimrod’s Babel.  As any statist, Nimrod was working to concentrate all power and knowledge at the top of his pyramid –archie.  Had the Lord not gone down and encrypted the human language, either Nimrod or someone following in his footsteps, would have succeeded.

Today, were are nearing that point again.  Babylon has brought all nations and people,

“to bow down with grief, sorrow, and care, under the most damning hand of murder, tyranny, and oppression, supported and urged on and upheld by the influence of that spirit which hath so strongly riveted the creeds of the fathers, who have inherited lies, upon the hearts of the children, and filled the world with confusion, and has been growing stronger and stronger, and is now the very mainspring of all corruption, and the whole earth groans under the weight of its iniquity.”

Her “iron yoke” and “strong bands” represent the “very handcuffs, chains, shackles, and fetters of hell.”  The innocent are murdered by this System – and we, as the ones awakened to it – have an “imperitive duty” to “work with great earnestness” – even “that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness.”

Babylon has entrapped us to an unbelievable extent.  There is no way to be truly pure in the world today.  Babylon provides all who suck at her breast a simulated sameness that removes humans from the natural cycles of life.  Our planet has boasted extraordinary longevity because she has been allowed to go thru the cycles of waxing and waning, decay and renewal.  These cycles are necessary for humans too – for the rejuvenation of our cells.  However, we are provided food produced in industrial factories without respect to seasons, water on tap at any time without respect to seasons, housing at the same temperature and amount of light without respect to seasons – but everything comes at a cost.  Urbanization and industrialization of human life has resulted in persistent stress, rampant responsibilities, less sleep, less play, less sunlight, creation of new environmental toxins, new pathogens, and reduced fertility.

We have falsely assigned value to monogamy, body modesty, consumption of things, “cheap” food, allopathic medicine, statism, hierarchies, and public education [Note that in that last link, LDS are half as likely as the general population to homeschool].  These manifestations of the Luciferian control system are intended to entice and derail the energies of the saints – until we come to lose agency and consciousness.  Humans are only truly happy when we embrace that which is designed into our constitution and nature – this means rejection of all things that are the result of convention or earthly –archies.

I believe firmly that if we “cheerfully do all things that lie in our power” – we can then “stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.”  In Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit came upon the believers gathered in that upper room — they immediately got up, left the room, and went to work.  Likewise, let us not focus on preaching to the choir, but instead focus on creating a little anarchy in the local congregations each of us has been placed into by the Lord [Examples of this can be found here, here, and here].

All things that lie in our power, which can restore humanity’s natural order, include:

 

Previous Article by Justin:  The World I See

Next Article by Justin:  Seeking the Good of Others

See also:  Zo-ma-rah’s Week in Faith October 17, 2010, comments at Tom’s Church Finance – Part III, and D&C 123: 7-15, 17

Every one of us had a perfect, wonderful and happy childhood


Old Photos

My wife recently asked me to scan in some old photos of our family.  As I looked over them, it made me once again realize how fleeting childhood is.  My kids are currently all over the childhood age spectrum.  They are all adorable to me just as they are right now, but viewing these photos and seeing how very young they were and how cute and cuddly they used to be in their earlier childhood stages, caused me to feel an acute nostalgia.  I longed for another chance at holding each one of them again in my arms, as babes and infants, or playing with them as toddlers, or watching them develop again as boys and girls.  It pained me that I wasn’t able to do that and also that my memory of those years wasn’t absolutely perfect, so as to re-live those precious experiences merely by accessing my memory.

My own childhood was very happy, but again, my memory of it is only of instances, not of continuous days, hours and minutes.  I cannot relive it by memory.  The most I can do is enjoy the childhood my kids are currently going through and to take advantage and cherish every moment I can.

Although my childhood was what I consider a happy one, it wasn’t perfectly so, of course.  None of us live perfectly happy lives, in perfect conditions.  And very many of us go through childhoods that are very far from happy, miserable even.  This is quite the shame, as childhood is so different than adulthood.  Childhood comes once and then is gone forever, whereas adulthood comes and stays with you throughout the eternities.

To have experienced a rotten childhood is such a bummer.  A child is the most alive creature on the planet and deserves to be around adults who are also alive and vibrant.  Often, though, life turns adults sour and adults take out that sourness on everyone around them, including the children.  This is unfortunate because once the sparkle of childhood, which can be seen in each child’s eyes and in their smile, is gone, it is gone forever.

At least, that is the conventional view.  My understanding is a bit different.

Memory of Mortality

When I was eighteen years old, I was once praying to God about something and in the midst of the prayer the Holy Ghost responded.  I cannot recall what I was praying about, but I do recall the communication.  It made quite the impression on me because it was the first time I had received anything from the Spirit while praying.  Here I was talking to God and then I get interrupted by a message.  Anyway, the Spirit told me that, by divine design,  our memory during mortality was not perfect.  She told me that the ability to forget was a gift of God given to us during our mortal existence, so that the purposes of God would not be thwarted.  Apparently, a perfect mortal memory, meaning a perfect memory of mortality, or of our mortal existence, would create tremendous guilt in mankind and we, having a perfect remembrance during mortality of all the bad things we’d done, would, essentially, end our lives.  Guilt, apparently, if it cannot be removed from one’s brain or mind or heart, is an unquenchable fire that destroys humanity.  Mankind self-destructs if faced with non-stop, perfectly rememberd guilt.  The atonement has power to remove that guilt, but much of mankind does not apply the atonement, or does not know of it, therefore, if mankind had a perfect memory here on earth Satan would conquer all and frustrate the plans of God.  The Spirit explained to me, then, that God had given us the ability to forget with the passage of time and the inability to recall things perfectly, to extend the lives of man upon the earth, giving them the opportunity to learn of the gospel and accept the atonement.

Again, I don’t recall exactly what I was praying about, but I think I was praying about memory, which is why I got this answer.  At any rate, I remember I was satisfied by this answer, and I was content to not have a perfect memory during mortality.

Memory of Pre-Mortality

We are all taught that there was a veil of forgetfulness placed upon us before we were born here on Earth.  This is why we cannot remember our pre-mortal existence.  This veil of forgetfulness allows us to exercise faith in the Lord because it takes away our memories of Him.  If we all had perfect memories of our pre-mortal existence, there would be no test or trial.  Mortality would be as easy to pass as if we were still living in God’s presence, for with a perfect memory of our life there, sin would hold no temptation to us here.  So, God temporarily took away our memory of our life there, so that we wouldn’t be influenced in our decisions here.  This veil of forgetfulness appears to have been placed upon our spirits, or spiritual bodies.  In other words, the veil of forgetfulness is not an aspect of our physical, mortal bodies.  On the other hand, I learned from the Spirit that God made our physical, mortal bodies in such a way as to limit our mortal memories.  In other words, the faulty or imperfect memory we have here during mortality is a result of the physicality connected to our spirits, the physical clothing acting as a dampener of the spiritual senses, limiting what we can see and perceive (and remember) through the spiritual senses.

The Restoration of All Memories

In the resurrection, we get our memories back.  We’ll remember both our pre-mortal existence perfectly and also our mortal experiences perfectly.  The immortal bodies we receive will have the intentional limitation that was placed there taken out, so as to be able to recall every instance of our lives, back to the very starting day when we first came into existence.  The blood of Christ will have been applied to everyone who inherits the kingdom of God (any of the three glories), so there will be no more guilt upon us and it will be expedient to see the sum of our lives finally.

Again, this happens in the resurrection, not in upon death.  Upon death, we all will enter into the spirit world, some of us going to paradise, others to spirit prison.  Without the physical body, the limitation that the body imposed upon our spirits concerning the dampening of the senses, including the memory, will be lifted, so that all will be able to sense fully, with perfect remembrance of every instance of their mortal lives.  Those with unrepentant guilt will have that guilt ignited into a fire that will consume them until they accept the gospel and repent, while those who have already repented will have peace of mind.  Unlike mortality, the guilt felt by the unrepentant sinners in the spirit world will not cause them to take their lives, for they cannot die, being immortal spirits, but it will merely give them the misery associated with the suffering of the damned, with gnashing of teeth, etc., until they repent and obtain the relief brought by the blood of Christ and forgiveness of sin.

The spirits in prison or in paradise, although possessing a perfect memory of their mortal existence, will still not remember their pre-mortal existence, as the veil of forgetfulness was placed upon their spirit bodies and will not be lifted until the resurrection.  Because of this, missionary work still needs to be done among the spirits in prison, for, if they could remember their pre-mortal existence, they would also be able to remember the plan of salvation and all that we learned then, and would have no need of missionaries preaching to them.  Their memories would be a sufficient preacher.  However, while residing in the spirit world, prior to the resurrection, nobody will recall their pre-mortal existence.

Two childhoods

Childhood being such a special time of life, one of the blessings that God has in store for each of His children is the restoration of the memory of their mortal childhood.  Now, that can be both good and bad.  Good if you had a happy childhood, bad if you were abused or otherwise had a miserable childhood.  However, He’s got that covered, too.

In the heavens, we also had a childhood.  Unlike our earthly parents, our heavenly Parents did everything right.  They provided the best environment, full of love and opportunities to learn and grow.  Whereas our mortal childhood is fleeting, our heavenly childhood lasted a veritable eternity.  We were perfectly happy in every sense of the word.  We enjoyed our siblings, our environment, the animals and other creations of God, the beauty seen everywhere, our own spirit bodies and those of others, and most especially, we enjoyed our Parents.  They were perfect in every way.  Every expression they had, ever word they spoke, every action they took, was perfectly calculated to make their children happy.  We were ectatic in their presence.  They understood how special childhood is and did not let time slip away from them.  They enjoyed our childhood as much as we did.

No comparison

Take the happiest child in the world, or the adults who claim to have had the happiest children of all and compare them with the childhood we all had in the heavens and we’d all see that there is no comparison.  The heavenly childhood lasted virtually an eternity.  In comparison, here it is less than an instant.  There we had all our needs taken care of, with perfect bodies, with unlimited opportunities and an infinite number of new things to confront our senses.  It was a continuous marvel of new wonders 24-hours a day, non-stop.  Imagine a kid in such a situation!  He or she would be giddy with excitement.  Such was our heavenly childhood.  Here, as children we have the same inclinations of wonder at all the new things, but rarely do we get to indulge ourselves in wonder and excitement.  Mostly, children are taught here to conform to the rules, not to explore their world.  Children often don’t have their needs taken care of.  Many are in loveless or abusive environments.  And many have imperfect bodies, being lame, blind, mutilated, etc.  Still, the spirit inside is a child and thus, is holy and heavenly, having come from a place of wonder.

Additionally, children here on earth have their adulthood forced upon them.  They get to a certain age and their bodies forcibly change them into an adult.  There is nothing they can do about it.  In yonder heavens, though, we had untramelled agency.  Want to stay a child?  Okay, stay a child for as long as you want.  Want to become an adult? (and the adult of our species is called a god, with reproductive capabilities), well, okay, you can go through the process of becoming an adult by being born into a physical, mortal body and then following the plan of salvation.  This is why our heavenly childhood was of a seemingly endless duration.  Every child placed into such a heavenly situation would voluntarily choose to stay in that state for an exceedingly long time, a veritable eternity.  Only when we had had our fill of being children, having reached the point of learning and playing that the next new wonders were with adulthood, only then did we have the desire to become an adult, and only then did we leave behind our heavenly childhood and enter mortality to begin the process.  Due to the quantity of new wonders in heaven, our heavenly childhood must have been mindboggingly long and exciting.  Any way you look at it, the heavenly childhood was superior to what we experience here.

When our memories come back

In the resurrection, we all will remember our heavenly childhood and will be able to re-live it, through our perfect memory, over and over again.  That memory will bring us so much joy and will wipe away or overpower any sorrow we might have felt about our mortal childhood.  Everyone, then, is going to get the memories of the perfect childhood.  With the perfect Parents.  And the perfect environment.  The Lord, in His mercy and foreknowledge, in this way can mend our broken mortal childhood memories and give us something infinitely better.

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist