The process is everything – the answer is nothing

Process is everything.  Answers are nothing.
If you learn the process, you can develop godlike traits.  That is, the very tools that are required for us to develop as disciples of Jesus Christ are, in fact, the tools used by God Himself.

Faith in God is necessary for us to develop. God extends His kingdom by His faith.  Therefore, as we develop faith we are developing a characteristic that is godlike in its form and function.  He knows we are unable to have faith in ourselves right now.  Therefore, it is required for us to have faith in Him.  Indeed at this stage of development it is necessary for us to concentrate all faith in Him because this whole creation belongs to Him.  We are not self-existent yet.  Our organization and continuation is dependent upon Him.  (See Mosiah 2: 20-25.)  

Christ is our great example, and in this He showed the way as well.  While here, mortal, and before finishing the course, He declared: “I can of my own self do nothing.”  (John 5: 30.)  When resurrected, however, He declared “all power is given unto me in earth and in heaven.”  (Matt. 28: 18.)

The rules of Celestial glory are the rules of the Temple.  Obedience, sacrifice, Gospel, chastity and consecration are all the hallmarks of citizenship there.  This is why peace, order, kindness and love prevail in that society.  There is nothing to harm, threaten or break up families.

Why would an answer to a deep doctrinal question help someone who is not prepared to live in conformity with the Celestial standards?  And contrariwise, if they live Celestial standards, how can you keep them from understanding the doctrine?  (John 7: 17.)
Process is everything.  A mere answer will not fill the empty soul. Those who have read my books should understand this.  This blog is for them.  Those who do not have a doctrinal basis to understand what is going on here will not be satisfied by this blog.  It is not meant as a substitute for understanding what I’ve written.  It is only a supplement to it.

That does not mean that you must read what I’ve written to understand the Gospel.  There are many ways to obtain that understanding, the primary one being to study the scriptures.  In my opinion the quality of what we teach now is so diluted, so basic and simplistic. It leaves by the wayside so much of what the Prophet Joseph Smith taught that you either have to read early church materials or else read what I’ve gathered (based primarily on the scriptures and secondarily on what Joseph Smith taught).  If you have been a Latter-day Saint for longer than about 4 years, today’s curriculum, in my view, is not adequate to inform you about the obligations devolving upon you as a disciple of Christ.

I labor to teach process.  I want you independent of me and every other teacher, able to get answers for yourself directly from heaven itself.  I want to avoid today what Joseph cautioned us against in Nauvoo: “[I]f the people departed from the Lord, they must fall – that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving on themselves[.]”  (TPJS p. 237.)  Joseph did NOT want you dependent upon him for answers.  He wanted to teach you correct principles and let you govern yourself.

Any man who tries to put himself between you and heaven, claiming that he alone should be the source of your religious beliefs and education, is practicing priestcraft and will in the end lead both himself and you to damnation.

10 thoughts on “The process is everything – the answer is nothing

  1. Great post. I’m one that has recently started reading your blog and have not as yet read any of your books. I am sorry that apparently so many LDSs are in need of these “answers” as you say, and come to you as if you had nothing greater to do with your time. I agree with everything you’ve said here. The Lord will give us all we desire, just as fast as we are able.

    I do intend to buy your books– we just save the new book purchases for C-mas usually, and I haven’t run across any at DI yet. :) None in the Salt Lake county or city systems either. I guess I can understand that, though.

  2. I would love it if all the anonymous bloggers would put an initial or something next to the word anonymous so we can distinguish them one form another. I like to get a feel for the different personalities of the bloggers.

  3. I see your dilemma as a teacher. Sometimes in order to teach the process of getting answers from heaven to those who are so unfamiliar with the truths that are taught there requires giving a few answers so people will know what to expect when they search on their own. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to addiction to getting answers from the teacher because the process for getting the answers from above requires work. I’m subject to that myself from time to time. On the other hand, when I’m in the role of a student, I’d have to say that hearing the word of God preached faithfully helps me develop faith, and when entering into new categories of knowledge where the landscape is so unfamiliar, it helps to have the insight of others who have travelled farther along the path. Guidelines that help me develop proper questions to pray about are helpful. Examples of different ways a potential mystery could be unlocked helps me have some options to study out in my mind and ask if it is right. Clues about what types of behavior might be associated with the blessing of knowledge that is being sought are helpful. Context and definitions of phrases that are supposed to be readily picked up and understood, but skewed by traditional interpretations beyond recognition seem to beg for clarification on a basic level preparatory to the deeper answers. As a student, it is also nice to sometimes express a question without expecting an answer from the immediate audience besides recognition that it is a good question to ask. I think these kinds of discussions on your forum need to happen more frequently with a lot more people outside of this blog. I’m wondering if any of these thoughts might help moderate against the “answer addiction” you warn against. What do you think?

  4. Sometimes I feel like it’s better to ask a dumb question than make a dumb mistake. I’ve more than my share of dumb questions… and made my share of dumb mistakes too.

  5. Excellent post Zang.

    I also feel for Snuffer. He comes to the internet peacefully, with permission, writes w compassion to those who have ears to hear, and then some malcontent or pseudo-intellectual wants to challenge him, or pelt him w questions. I say give Snuffer a break, if your understanding doesn’t match his, this isn’t a forum to debate.

    Keep up the good work Denver.


  6. From Brandon:

    I just wanted to add a comment. (Love your books, Denver!)

    “The rules of Celestial glory are the rules of the Temple. Obedience, sacrifice, Gospel, chastity and consecration are all the hallmarks of citizenship there. This is why peace, order, kindness and love prevail in that society. There is nothing to harm, threaten or break up families.”

    Yes – interesting enough, the word happiness is not found in that paragraph. I would assume that happiness starts and ends with the individual. That is why I believe the time will come where people will see Celestial Glory, and not want to be there. One can live among such a peaceful society, and still be miserable. Of course, heaven would not be a goal for such an individual any way you look at it.

  7. Proving God vs. receiving answers:

    I appreciate the clarification of your role and ours as seekers of truth. Process is the key, not the answer. The other day, as I was studying about Gideon and his army of 300, I noticed an interesting pattern. The Spirit of God came upon him, and he was told to lead the army against the Midianites. In response to the revelation, Gideon asked to “prove” God, by seeking a specific sign (dew in the fleece). Once received, he asked again (dew not in the fleece). The answers were so subtle that only Gideon knew if they had been given or not. It made me wonder, “Can I ask God to give me a sign? Can I ‘prove’ God as Gideon did?” I thought, “Why not?” In a prayer to Him, I asked that He would give me a sign that only I would know. Within 15 minutes of asking, I received. The answer was something completely natural and everyone else would have not noticed. But the instant it happened, I knew it was the answer. A few days later, I tried the same thing… with the exact same results: an answer that only I would notice, but I knew it was God’s response.

    So I wonder, is this one way to advance the “process?” Each answer is like an stake in the ground as I ascend a steep mountain? And the more stakes I have, the stronger my faith? And each experience helps me to understand Heavenly Father’s personality and love for me? I think I’ll continue the “experiment” and find out.


  8. I really appreciate Doug’s example of Gideon’s asking for a sign and then trying it out himself. Doing that has never crossed my mind before, that I can remember. I agree with the Zangs that it would be wonderful if people would give us examples from their own lives of what has worked for them in getting answers and learning new things from the Lord.

    A question about the “sign” thing — can’t the dark sign give us signs too? How can anyone trust a sign?

    My experience in getting answers has been that what works for one person doesn’t always work for another, or at least not at first. An example of something that has worked for me is that I have to ask zillions of questions and talk things out ad nauseum. I pray, think, talk to people, pray some more, think, discuss, discuss, and in the midst of all that, at some point, when I have worked through things, an answer often comes as pure intelligence. Sometimes, what someone else says triggers it, and sometimes not.

    One time I was put into an extremely difficult situation where I had no idea what to do to solve the problem, but the situation was a critical one that could not be ignored. The obvious solutions were A and B. I was intellectually willing to do either one, but in reality, I wasn’t as willing in my heart as I was in my mind. Over a period of two weeks as I did the process described in the paragraph above, I came to a point where I actually REALLY was willing to do either A or B. At that point, in the middle of discussing things with a friend, the Lord told me what to do (which was C) and He told me exactly how to do it — even what words to say. I did what He said, and the problem was solved 100% immediately.

    Another example of this same method is what happened with Denver’s blog post titled “The same is required of all”. I had a huge question about it and wrote several of the 26 comments made after that post. During the course of reading and writing and thinking, etc. for several days, the answer suddenly became crystal clear.

    I’m sure this is only one of a zillion ways in which people get answers, but it has worked for me. I’m really interested to hear what has worked for you.

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