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    Faith, Fiction and Going Beyond First Impressions

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    “I had the same good feeling while reading scriptures and while watching a fictional movie, how is that possible?”

    I have heard this question or something like it asked time and time again. I’ve heard this example used to illustrate how ‘emotions should not be trusted,’ which, I actually agree with. This question makes a valid observation if you are working under some kind of assumption that the Holy Spirit only confirms specific spiritual things as ‘true’ and shouldn’t ever be showing up during something like a movie (only if it’s a church movie though, right?)

    Without proper context, people can be led to conclusions that are incorrect because the foundational assumptions are problematic to begin with. I’m not blaming the person who has the question, I’m not sure we do a very good job at really teaching how the Spirit works and what the relationship is between the truth we have and the truth that exists among everyone else.

    Emotions themselves are a tricky, because they are simply reactions to things we are exposed to. If someone punches you, it hurts and you feel mad, if someone scares you, you feel terror for something that isn’t really terrifying once you realize it. If someone says sweet things to you, you feel good, even though they may really be wanting to take advantage of you. If you read something inspiring, it can also make you feel good.

    There’s nothing wrong with all that, but where we do go wrong is in mak Keep Reading

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    Free Writing oneClimbs

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    Just as an aside, I think it might be helpful for oneClimbs visitors to know that most of the posts here at oneClimbs are produce by free writing. I didn’t use that technique intentionally, it just what sort of happens. Most of these posts are simply a reaction to an initial thought. I’ll start writing about that thought and whatever else unfolds.

    Truthfully, I have no idea how good, bad or horrifying my grammar, prose or ideas are; I don’t consider myself very capable in those areas, but honestly, I don’t really care. The blog is called “one climbs” for a reason, it’s basically just one guy sharing observations and thoughts along the way.

    I care deeply about what I write, but I’m not too concerned about delivery. This isn’t a scholarly journal, it’s more of a public notebook.

     

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    O That I Could Just Fix Everything in the Whole World

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    I was reading Alma chapter 29 recently and I thought I’d share some observations that I think are particularly relevant to today’s world.

    I love how you can keep coming back to scripture to find new things. As we age, mirrors reveal changes, but the mirror does not change, we do.

    The Greek philosopher Heraclitus observed that one cannot not step twice into the same river [1], so perhaps one cannot read the same scripture twice. Additional knowledge, insights and understanding gained through time and experience cause previously bland verses to come to life in new and exciting ways.

    Alma 29 begins with a ponderous Alma wishing that he could change the world in a dramatic way.

    1 O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!

    2 Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.

    Remember that this is the Alma who was called to repentance by an angel who spoke with a voice that shook the earth [2]. Alma had this incredible experience and feels that perhaps others would respond in the same way if they experienced the same thing. In a way, we do the same thing when we Keep Reading

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    “Nature is a divine revelation for which we only have a corrupted text.”

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    Men are disturbed, not by things…

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    “Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things. Death, for instance, is not terrible,…But the terror consists in our notion of death that it is terrible. When therefore we are hindered, or disturbed, or grieved, let us never attribute it to others, but to ourselves; that is, to our own principles. An uninstructed person will lay the fault of his own bad condition upon others. Someone just starting instruction will lay the fault on himself. Some who is perfectly instructed will place blame neither on others nor on himself.” – Epictetus, Enchiridion, 135 A.D.

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    That Great Book Written in Symbols

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    “Philosophy [nature] is written in that great book which ever is before our eyes – I mean the universe – but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols in which it is written. The book is written in mathematical language, and the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word of it; without which one wanders in vain through a dark labyrinth.” – Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

    If you cannot understand nature and the universe without understanding the language of symbols, how can you hope to understand something much simpler like temples, scripture, or gospel teachings? How many feel like they wander in vain through a dark labyrinth?

    The study of symbols is unfortunately ignored by many; consequently much thought and meditation, much observation and appreciation, and much enlightenment never happens. Symbols echo the underlying structure of matter and reality. I believe that the foundational principles of all existence, and how the whole functions can be explained in the numbers 1 through 9. I know that may sound like a bold statement but it is actually pretty simple to explain. I’ll have to write about that sometime.

    My own personal understanding has been immensely impacted by devoting time to the study of symbols and archetypes. I see everything through a new lens, a lens where everything is important and has meaning and purpose. This in and of itself doesn’t change you, knowledge is essential, but putting it into practical use beyond self-serving intellectual stimulation is the challenge of life.

    Here are a few of my favorite resources for those interested in learning more:

    ldsSymbols.com

    A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe by Michael S. Schneider

    The Day Star: Reading Sacred Architecture by Val Brinkerhoff

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    John the Baptist: Locusts and Honey, Chaos and Blessing

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    A friend of mine was interested in the symbolism of the beehive and bees so I sent him this article.

    We got to talking about John the Baptist and how he ate locusts and honey and what that might have meant. Then some lights started going on and I thought of something I hadn’t considered before. I haven’t thought this whole thing through yet, but here are some of my initial ideas.

    Throughout the scriptures we see teaching through contrast and complimentary opposition. Themes of chaos/disorder/cursings are juxtaposed with themes of creation/order/blessings. For an example, look up the word “otherwise” as it is used in the Book of Mormon. That’s a great key word to see where these contrasting themes are presented, here are a few examples: Keep Reading

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    Gospel Knowledge vs. Gospel Know-how

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    Just because someone seems to know a lot about something, doesn’t mean that they can properly execute in that arena.

    Someone may know a lot about baseball; they may know all the rules and regulations, they may know all the tricks and insights but they may not be able to hit the ball or throw well. Another person may be able to hit, run and throw with great proficiency but know little about various insights or philosophies involving the game.

    In that same vein, it’s one thing to have knowledge and quite another to do well in applying it. I have had wonderful moments of awakening where previously complex doctrines or mysteries of the gospel have been clarified to me through the Spirit, and I love and cherish those moments.

    One can obtain the most incredible command of gospel knowledge on earth and it would mean nothing if they do no have love or charity in their hearts for their fellow man.

    It has always been significant to me that there are many in this world, of my faith, other faiths or in no faith at all who I have seen demonstrate perfect Christ-like love to their fellow man. No gospel knowledge at all was required.

    So I have to remind myself that in all my studies of the gospel, I must not forget to put the principles I learn into action. I have to remember to not be like the man who hid his talent in the earth, but instead seek wisdom in order to better serve my fellow man in this life. People matter most of all.

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    Profane

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    Consider the origins of the word “profane”:

    Profane: late 14c., from L. profanare “to desecrate,” from profanus “unholy, not consecrated,” from pro fano “not admitted into the temple (with the initiates),” lit. “out in front of the temple,” from pro- “before” (see pro-) + fano, ablative of fanum “temple” (see feast). Related: Profaned; profaning. The adjective is attested from late 15c.; originally “un-ecclesiastical, secular;” sense of “unholy, polluted” is recorded from c.1500.

    Temples are sacred spaces and there are prerequisites for entry; one must be “consecrated” but what does that mean? In Hebrew we have the word qadash which means:

    Qadash: a primitive root; to be (causatively, make, pronounce or observe as) clean (ceremonially or morally):–appoint, bid, consecrate, dedicate, defile, hallow, (be, keep) holy(-er, place), keep, prepare, proclaim, purify, sanctify(-ied one, self), X wholly.

    For some other interesting insight on the word consecration, this article from TempleStudy.com is enlightening.
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    Commentary on Lecture 1:18-24

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    Just some thoughts on the following verses from Lecture 1. (Lectures on Faith)

    18 The Savior says, (Matthew 17:19-20), in explaining the reason why the disciples could not cast out the devil, that it was because of their unbelief: “For verily, I say unto you,” said he, “if ye have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place! and it shall remove: and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

    Faith without belief isn’t real faith. Faith is centered in something, while belief expects something. The less that you expect that your faith will bear fruit, the less fruit you will find. There is a fine line here that becomes more tricky to walk as your belief and faith increase. Your expectations must be based on what it is possible for God to do, or what his will is concerning you. To know this, you must Keep Reading

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