Category: light

How can Zion come from this?

I responded to an email posing the question of how Zion would result from what is presently happening and who is presently involved. I responded by explaining these ideas:

Any solution could be imposed quickly and would result in stabilizing everything–just by adopting a central command structure to compel order. Everyone is already conditioned to accept authority and obey it. But that step would bring peace at the price of altogether losing the hope for Zion. For now it must be this gentle way.

Don’t think about this as a time to gather but as a time to prove.

Continue reading “How can Zion come from this?”

Prophecy, not Publicity

The most surprising thing to me is the Lord’s utter indifference to whether the world takes note of what He is doing. Prophecy was never intended to be the same thing as publicity. He works in obscure, unnoticed ways to bring His work to pass. The Book of Mormon calls it “small means.” He describes His labor force as “the weak things of the world.”

The people who expect something big, noteworthy and earth-shaking before recognizing God’s hand have never noticed His message or messengers. The world expects publicity. It expects God will always work through the “chief seats” when He rarely does.

The Lord will return as a “thief in the night” because He is unwanted, unwelcome, and although He gives many signs and sends a message, men choose darkness instead of light. For mankind it is always nighttime. They do not notice the dawn. They remain asleep, with eyes closed.

Trust and Patience

Trusting God and being patient go together.

Knowledge enters our life incrementally, a little at a time, as we notice it and focus on it. Light grows brighter and brighter because we become more sensitive to it. Oddly, we choose how much light we have by how much we notice.

The entire “universe” was once thought to be nothing more than our Milky Way galaxy. But our ability to detect has been magnified by lenses, greatly expanding our ability to see more. The universe did not change, but our ability to see more of it did. We have only recently been able to see the same distant lights that have shone overhead for thousands of years.

The scriptures have been with us for thousands of years (in some cases) and over a hundred years in almost all cases. But our sensitivity to them is so dull we are unable to perceive the light they contain.

Incorporating light into our minds is not accomplished only by hearing, reading or watching, but grows as we act on it. The scriptures are a guide to allow us to have our own experiences walking the path God’s people have walked since Adam.

God’s Many Works, Part 3

This brings us to King Benjamin’s explanation of our relationship with God. He explained our utter dependence in these words:

I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another— I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants. (Mosiah 2: 20-21.)
Is God the one who “created you?” If He “created you” then what of mankind is co-eternal with God? (D&C 93: 29; see also TPJS p. 353: “The mind or intelligence which man possesses is co-equal with God himself.”) But what is “intelligence” or the mind of man? Intelligence is co-equal with the Father because it flows from Him in His exalted state. It is His glory. “Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made” because it exists as a part of the Father’s existence. (D&C 93: 29.)

Intelligence is God’s glory or His power. “The glory of God is intelligence.” (D&C 93: 36.) This glory is also called “light and truth.” (Id.) Or, in other words, light and truth emanates from God the Father, and is co-extensive with Him. This light and truth is also called intelligence. This is what conscience is made from. This is the power by which man comes into existence. It is as eternal as the Father Himself because it exists as part of His glory.

According to King Benjamin, God the Father created you “from the beginning.” What does it mean to have created you “from the beginning?” Whose beginning? Ours? What does it mean that He has “kept and preserved you?” What does it mean that He has “granted that ye should live?” Without the Father’s power would we no longer live? 
What does it mean that God is “preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath?” Could we not breathe without borrowing the power to do so from God?
What does it mean that we are able to “live” because of God’s power? How dependent on God are we if we use His power to “live and move?” How utterly reliant are we on His power if it is Him who is “even supporting you from one moment to another?”
What is this relationship between God’s power, which proceeds forth from Him, and sustains not only planets, stars and our sun, but also us so that we live?
This power is:
-preserving us,
-comes from the Father, and
-causes everything to exist by its power.
Therefore, the “light of Christ,” which is in and through all things, is co-extensive with the Father’s “glory,” or “intelligence,” or in other words “light and truth.” (D&C 93: 36.)
This “light of Christ” or Holy Spirit, or intelligence, or glory of God, or power, or light and truth, or mechanism is important to recognize. But until you recognize it is the power by which you exist, that sustains you from moment to moment and lends you the power to live and breathe, you haven’t yet appreciated the concept you are trying to assign a word. It is only vocabulary. The underlying idea remains hidden even if you have a vocabulary for it.
Coming next is the other part of the equation.

God’s Many Works, Part 2

Section 88 continues the explanation with the following:

And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; (D&C 88: 11.)

This is not just environmental. This is now touching you. It is the “light of Christ” which “enlighteneth your eyes.” What does that mean? Could you see if this were withdrawn?

What does it mean that the “light of Christ” is what “quickeneth your understandings?” Without the light of Christ would you be able to understand anything? How intimately are you connected to the “light of Christ?” How dependent are you on His light?

It continues:

Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space— The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things. (D&C 88: 12-13.)

We have been reading about Christ and the “light of Christ” which empowers all of this creation. But now the source from which it proceeds is being identified. This “proceedeth forth from the presence of God.” Who is this referring to? Is this Christ still?
Who “sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity?” Who “is in the midst of all things?” Is this still Christ? 
Steven saw Christ in heaven standing beside the Throne of the Father. (Acts 7: 56.) Joseph and Sidney saw Christ on the Father’s right hand. (D&C 76: 21.) John received the testimony of Jesus where Christ affirmed that all who overcome will be able to also sit on the Father’s Throne, just as He (Christ) had overcome and could sit on the Father’s Throne. (Rev. 3: 21.) If Christ had to first “overcome” and complete the descent and ascent, then whose throne (the Father’s or Christ’s) is referred to in D&C 88 verses 12-13 above?
Assuming it is the Father’s Throne, and the Father is the one who has been sitting on it from the beginning, then what harmony is there between Christ and the Father? How can the Father’s power proceed forth in all directions, but Christ be the one who is “the light and life of the world?” How complete is the harmony found in the relationship between Christ and the Father if the power originates from the Father, but is given to the Son to become “the light and life of the world?”
What does it mean that this light “giveth life to all things?” How dependent are you on this “light” for your own life? What does it mean that “Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.” (D&C 93: 29.) If “the light of truth” cannot be made or created, then what does it mean that the light “proceeds forth from the Throne of God?”
What source flows from God and proceeds throughout all creation? What is the “power” behind all creation?
If this power bestows “life” upon its recipients, then can it also bestow something else?

Solstice

Tuesday marks the darkest day of the year, with the longest night.  During that night the moon will be eclipsed, most prominately in the North American continent.

Traditionally that night marks the moment when darkness has its greatest reign, to be then conqured by the returning light.  The following day beginning the return of light and the defeat of darkness.

This moment in nature marks a profound moment for those who believe nature has something to say.  It is an invitation to us to allow the light to begin to grow within us; to begin our own journey back into the light and to leave behind the darkness.

I think I’ll accept the invitation again this year, and mark the moment by renewed effort.  The particular alignment required for us to pass through the eye of a needle and enter the Lord’s presence is indeed possible.  For anyone.  On the same conditions.  It is a balance worth the time required to train ourselves.

Nature testifies endlessly of the Lord.  It also invites us endlessly to turn back to Him.  This continuing patience and enduring invitiation shown in nature is a reminder of how loving and patient, how persistent and committed the Lord is to our salvation.  Salvation is predicated upon the same, universal standard for all who would return to Him.  In that respect it is as exact and unchanging as the cycles of nature.  Despite its exacting requirements, it is endlessly inviting and continually encouraging us to accept that standard and to live it.  Not just to say, but to do.

I intend to do something, then, to show Him I want to return to the Light.

A student of the Lord

Our obligation is to conform our opinions to the Lord’s instruction.  That requires us to be careful about how we listen, how hard our hearts are, how much we want to let in, and how loyal we choose to be to traditions.  It is rare for any man to be an eager student of the Lord’s.  The scriptures give us only isolated examples.  Abraham was one of them.  He WANTED to receive and obey commandments.  (Abr. 1: 2.)
 
Resistance to truth prevents us from obtaining it.  The Lord will not force us to understand Him or His ways.  Instead He invites us to come and learn from Him.  Joseph Smith made this remarkable statement: 
 
“We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment: he must have been instructed in the government and laws of that kingdom by proper degrees, until his mind is capable in some measure of comprehending the propriety, justice, equality, and consistency of the same.”  (TPJS p. 51.)
 
Closing your mind to the Lord’s agenda before He has had an opportunity to fully instruct you is damnation.  Damnation merely means the end of progress.  So when we fail to progress in our understanding, we voluntarily damn ourselves.
 
The Lord’s system, however, involves gentleness, meekness and love unfeigned.  It requires patience and pure knowledge.  (D&C 121: 40-42.)  Before we can elevate anyone else’s understanding we have to stand on higher ground.  To lead a soul to salvation, as Joseph put it, required the following:  
 
“Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity—thou must commune with God.”  (TPJS p. 137.)  
 
Given this requirement for a man to be able to lead another soul to salvation, it would seem that few are really qualified.
 
Choose your teachers carefully.  Accept any truth you are offered and you will be offered more.  Reject a truth given to you and you close down the opportunities given to you for learning.
 
Someone asked the question a bit ago: “Humility = light?” and I haven’t responded till now.  The answer is humility allows someone to be taught.  We are all ignorant, but not all are willing to let in new understanding.  We must be taught about the things we do not yet know for us to be saved.  Without humility we cannot be taught, and therefore we cannot gain light.  Humility is so fundamental a requirement for gaining further light and truth that without it we cannot grow.  The two are so intimately linked together they form a near equivalency.