Author Archive

Apr 1, 2013
1 min read

Notes From the Climb: March 2013

  • “Rust ruins more tools than overuse.” – Anonymous
  • “I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.” – 2 Ne. 1:15
  • The priesthood is the means whereby things are organized and exalted.
  • “Repentance is not a turning away, it is a turning towards.” – R. Anderson
  • “I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” Eccl. 9:11
  • Strength can come from knowledge. It can bestow the power to act or the opportunity for the power of God to act in our behalf.
  • Faith is intelligence exercising will.
  • We don’t comprehend what we are. Using will alone, we drive a cosmos of trillions of atoms and billions of cells to bring amazing things into existence.
  • Just as we direct the matter of our bodies by our will alone, it is also possible to direct matter outside our sphere. Great faith can affect matter outside of the sphere of one’s body. Perfect faith, like God’s, can organize the macrocosmos.
  • Faith is exercised through ‘channels’ and life is about searching for and finding the ones that fill us with light and life.
  • Faith and fear are both actions taken towards things believed but not yet seen; fear only cares about what avoids pain.
  • Fear will forsake truth to avoid pain while faith will receive truth even through pain.
  • “The will acts upon the body in producing motion.” – Noah Webster
  • The atonement is not something to ‘fill in the gaps’ in our lives, our lives themselves are transformed as we approach this atonement. In the end, we are completely converted and totally redeemed by it.
  • The faith of any intelligence is only as strong as its will.
  • “The understanding or reason compares different objects, which operate as motives; the judgment determines which is preferable, and the will decides which to pursue.In other words, we reason with respect to the value or importance of things; we then judge which is to be preferred; and we will to take the most valuable.” – Noah Webster
  • “Desire is that internal act, which by influencing the will, makes us proceed to action.” – Noah Webster
0 Comments
Mar 31, 2013
0 min read

He Lives and Loves

There are a lot of things that I believe are true and a lot of things that I do not believe are true.

There are also things that I “know” are true like the existence of the city of Jerusalem. I’ve never been there, but I’ve seen pictures and know of others who have been there, so in that respect, I “know” it exists.

Then, there are things that I know, not because anyone told me or because I read about them or saw them in photos or video; I know because of first-hand, personal experience. The sun in the sky, the thoughts of my mind and heart, the ground beneath my feet, the voices of my children and the wonderful taste of a cool glass of orange juice on a summer day – these things I know.

I also know the pure love of Jesus Christ.

So can you (Alma 33).

0 Comments
Mar 25, 2013
59 min read

Symbolism of the Bee: “The Deseret Connection” by Hugh W. Nibley

In response to an email question about the meaning of beehives sent in by Cameron to ldsSymbols.com, I dug up some information that I had read several years ago. I located the article I was looking for here, which contains a really great history of what the beehive meant to the Egyptians. This is pretty significant to Latter-day Saints who also use the beehive as a primary symbol of the faith as well as the culture and people of Utah.

Why should what the Egyptians believed be of any significance to Latter-day Saints today? Perhaps it is because the Egyptians, while practicing beliefs that on the surface seem foreign to modern people, had many core principles tied into truth obtained from an earlier time. Abraham 1:26 states:

Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.

I find it interesting that some people conclude that that Latter-day Saints hijacked temple ceremonies from the Masons and that Christianity hijacked teachings from the Jews who hijacked their temple rights and beliefs from the Egyptians who hijacked them from…well, maybe the guys who had it right in the first place. I believe that everything goes back to the beginning anyway, and that the “doctrinal debris” left behind can be “restored” or “reconstituted” into a form where truth and light can come to us from it.Read Full Post

0 Comments
Mar 21, 2013
0 min read

First oneClimbs Documentary: “Reading Temples” Now on YouTube!

Did you know that you can “read” temples? What if all of the temples around the world today constituted a vast library of new scripture just waiting to be read if we had eyes to see? This presentation covers some basic concepts relating to LDS Symbology and a guide to approaching the subject of learning symbolism.

This video presentation incorporates my first attempt at presenting principles related to “reading” temples. The content of the video is suitable for all ages and anyone interested in learning how understanding symbols can play an incredible part of their spiritual lives.

3 Comments
Mar 18, 2013
7 min read

The Nephite Interpreters

nephite-interpreters

Pictured above is my latest rendering of the Nephite Interpreters that were in the possession of Joseph Smith for a time. I have always wondered what these instruments must have looked like so I began by creating a few simple illustrations. Over time, the illustrations evolved into a more realistically rendered piece of art and this is the latest version. One day, I think it would be interesting to try to construct a physical model.

You can begin to get an idea of what these interpreters must have looked like by examining quotes from witnesses that actually saw them; from there you are left with gaps that can only be filled in with speculation. Here are the aspects of this version that I feel are pretty solid:

  1. Triangular shape of the “stones”
  2. Figure-8 design of the frame
  3. “Glass” setting for the interpreters

Here are the characteristics that are speculations and assumptionsRead Full Post

3 Comments
Mar 15, 2013
0 min read

Acts 10:38

Healing of the Blind Man, Buoninsegna

Healing of the Blind Man, Buoninsegna

“…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” (Acts 10:38)

I love this verse on many levels. We learn that God was with Jesus and “anointed” him with the Holy Spirit and with power. There are two simple things that Jesus is described as doing:

  1. Going about doing good
  2. Healing those oppressed by the devil

As Latter-day disciples of Jesus, what should this say about our core purpose in daily life? What if we simply focused on just doing good and healing where possible?

0 Comments
Mar 11, 2013
1 min read

You Cannot Stay on the Summit Forever…

6174358628_05d33d6567_b

In the very quote that inspired the title of this blog, Rene Daumal penned a profound though: “You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again.”

The purpose of the climb is to reach the summit and to see. Then one must climb again but downward to return and live according to what the climb revealed. The summit is not actually the end or the destination, but the halfway point. Life itself is a climb, but so are individual pursuits for truth.

You were never meant to stay there and you cannot survive there, even though it is beautiful and you can see much better than you can below.

Rene suggested that “There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up.” and that “When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.”

You’ll notice that none of the ordinances of the gospel imply that you have permanently “arrived”. After baptism, you come up out of the water and back into life, after the sacrament you go home and start your labors again the next day, and after a temple session you leave the Celestial Room and return to the “Telestial” world.

What is the point of this?

My good friend and old Institute teacher had a saying that he picked up from his grandmother: “The temple is like a great mold; the more your pour yourself into it, the more you become like it.”

Each time we climb, we are supposed to see and take back with us a knowledge of higher things to put into practice down below. Are we are stuck at the top? How many tarried for a while and returned empty handed? The climb itself may not bring knowledge but it always generates strength. The purpose of the climb is to receive and not to demand, we must be content with what the master is willing to give us in his wisdom.

“There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions…” we get to try what we learned, we get to make mistakes and keep practicing. Covered by grace, our mistakes are acceptable only as we repent, learn from them and are perpetually willing to allow ourselves to change.

0 Comments
Mar 9, 2013
3 min read

Why Every Latter-day Saint Needs to Own This Book

2013-03-09 12.12.57

A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe is probably one of my favorite books in the whole wide world. Is it the be-all, end-all, of all things ever? Nope. So what’s the big deal about it? It is a “switch-flipper” an “ah-HA!” generator and an incredibly fun read!

Latter-day Saints are a people that are swimming in a world of symbolic meaning, especially those that attend the temple, but how many really ‘get it’? The problem is with the way that we think and author Denver Snuffer hit it right on the head:

“Exposure to the culture of ceremony and symbols is a priceless advantage to anyone coming from a secularized and demythologized society. The power in the temple’s rites and symbols, lies in the reorientation of the individual and their minds from what is in society today to a different setting and different world-view…one in which you are prepared for companionship with those who, behind the veil, live in a culture of symbols and ceremony where deep meanings and eternal patterns are seen endlessly.” (Denver Snuffer, The Second Comforter: Conversing with the Lord through the Veil, Millcreek Press, pps. 260-61; 374-75)

I love that quote. In our “secular and demythologized society” we are dense to anything beyond what we seeRead Full Post

4 Comments
Mar 6, 2013
4 min read

The Scale of the Universe 2

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 9.45.21 AM

Well, I guess this is “brother-in-law” day today at oneClimbs! I owe this post to Brad who emailed this to me a few hours ago, and I also posted The Enchiridion by Epictetus from my other brother-in-law.

I’ve seen the older version of this “Scale of the Universe” presentation and the new one is even better. I think it is awesome because it illustrates just how large or small we are depending on what perspective you are coming from.Read Full Post

0 Comments
Mar 6, 2013
38 min read

The Enchiridion by Epictetus

I’d like to thank my brother-in-law, A.J. for turning me on to Epictetus and Stoicism, it is a fascinating philosophy and has helped me round out my own views that I found reflected in many of the core concepts. Truth is everywhere and all truth belongs to the Saints; we do ourselves an eternal injustice by willingly limiting our exposure to knowledge. That said, Epictetus wasn’t 100% doctrinally correct, but there are many great nuggets of wisdom.

First off, let me help you with the pronunciation, first we’ve got Epictetus (e-peek-ti-tos) and then Enchiridion (en-kahy-rid-ee-uh) which is “often shortened to simply “The Handbook”, is a short manual of Stoic ethical advice compiled by Arrian, who had been a pupil of Epictetus at the beginning of the 2nd century.” [via Wiki]

Read and enjoy!

epictetus

1. Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one wordRead Full Post

0 Comments
Mar 3, 2013
2 min read

Notes From the Climb: Feb 2013

  • The bread prepares us for the cup, signifying the way that the earthly prepares us for the heavenly. The resurrection fuses the two while grace purifies the whole.
  • Revelation comes to us not only as fast as we are able to hear it, but as fast as we are able to bear it and hearken unto it.
  • Revelation is not just the transmission of knowledge, but grace and glory as well. It is receiving and being transformed by what lies on the other side of the veil.
  • Desire is the most important component of revelation; desire opens veils.
  • Re – meaning “again” or “backward” to indicate withdrawal or backward motion.
  • Velare [latin] “to cover; a veil.
  • Reveal – to make known something before unknown or concealed.
  • The level at wich God communes with us personally parallels not only our worthiness but our desire.
  • It is one thing to know and another to understand.
  • Evil can speak through that which God has already made. When evil men use symbols, they must hijack them from the sphere in which they reside.
  • Faith, worthiness, purpose and service create holy places; they may be permanent or temporary.
  • If we are not changing, we are not repenting. There is a difference between sin abhorrence and sin avoidance. The greatest change comes through revealed knowledge and encountering and embracing the divine.
  • Receiving the Holy Ghost is not a one-time event, it is a choice we make at every moment we live.
  • The Church is built upon the rock of revelation, meaning that the ability to experience truth unveiled, to commune with the divine is essential or the existence for a church of God upon the earth.
  • “[Christ] went about doing good and healing…” – Acts 10:38
  • The priesthood holds the entire universe together from one moment to another. Seeking blessings by virtue of the priesthood doesn’t have to be a rare event, it should feel as appropriate as drawing a breath from the air around us.

girlClimbs

Just for kicks, I thought I’d include this thoughtful journal entry from my 7 year old daughter. She’s picked up the journaling kick like a champ and started off with a small notebook where she would just write questions like “Why do you [God] love us so much?” it was really cute.

She recently asked for a new notebook since she filled the other up, now she seems to be trying to comprehend doctrines and develop frameworks for understanding Just goes to show you that it’s never too early to start and you can make it anything you want it to be. So below are some of the ideas she was working on during sacrament meeting today. My five year old daughter has started to follow the example as well and I’ll get her a nice notebook once her writing develops more. Right now she has a sketchbook and just works on visual concepts.

Maintaining a spiritual record is a powerful tool for meditation and an invitation to revelation; truly a lost practice in the modern age.

2013-03-03 13.22.52

2 Comments
Feb 12, 2013
2 min read

Stop saying these words

I found this little jewel of a post by Kurt Francom of LeadingLDS.com and it struck a nerve with me because I often find myself uttering this horrible phrase. I honestly try very hard to avoid it but sometimes it seems like the only thing to say. Well good news, there is actually some helpful advice that might just change your life for the better. The context is home teaching but it can also apply to visiting teaching or really any situation that you might find yourself where you are in a position to potentially minister to another human being. Enjoy!

Original post via: modernmormonmen.com

Kurt is the author of LeadingLDS, a website focused on cracking the code on home teaching, visiting teaching and church leadership in general. Kurt served a mission in Sacramento, California. He is married to a massage therapist (which means he never gets a massage) and has a new baby girl that thinks he is Superman. He tweets too!

The home teaching checklist:

Set the appointment … check.
Knock on their door … check.
Ask the “How’s work?” question … check.
Be the children’s punching bag … check.
Pet the family dog … check.
Share brief Ensign lesson … check.

Then comes the dreaded closing question. Near the end of the visit 99.3% of home teachers and visiting teachers ask the same question. (official study … okay, not really)

IS THERE ANYTHING WE CAN DO FOR YOU?

These words have a long history in the church. A separate unofficial study (that never happened) found that 99.4% of home teachees responded with the words, “No, we’re fine.” The reality is, this question makes the home teacher feel good but doesn’t really bring a need to the surface.

I’m right there with you. I am the president of the Is-There-Anything-We-Can-Do-For-You Club. I have been whipping out that question since my mission … until I changed my ways a few weeks ago when I read an article by Joseph Grenny called Coping with the Loss of a Loved One.

When we’re at a loss for what to say we often end with, “If there’s anything I can do for you, please let me know.” If you really want to do something, stop and think. Stop and think about everything you know about their lives. Where do they live? What little chores do they have to do to make it through the day? If they have experienced a loss, like the article suggests, what extra tasks will now fall on them because of the loss? Empathize as best you can until you find some proactive task you can do to communicate real compassion. It won’t matter if what you do isn’t perfect; it just matters that you take initiative rather than assign them to involve you. They rarely will, so the offer rings hollow.

I now catch myself before blurting out the (in)famous question and really analyze the situation of the individuals I’m home teaching. What do they really need? What can I offer them that would lighten their load? Or I don’t even ask. Imagine if they walked by their front window and realized you are already half-way done with mowing their lawn. A late afternoon phone call letting them know you have already made ravioli and are bring some over for their family. This is where home teaching begins — real ministering.

Never state the words again: Is there anything we can do for you?

0 Comments
Feb 3, 2013
1 min read

Notes From the Climb: Jan 2013

2013-02-03 10.01.16

For something new, I’m going to be posting insights from my personal notebook that I feel are not too personal to share and may be of worth to some out there. If you are new to oneClimbs, you might not have read a how-to article I posted a while back about keeping your own “Small Plates“. If you want to understand more about this practice that I’ve personally used for the past twelve years, check it out.

The primary reasons I am doing this are both to share and also to encourage this practice among any individual seeking to improve their personal revelatory insights and experiences.

  • The priesthood is associated with signs; whenever ordinances are performed, signs are associated.
  • Symbols guide our understanding and  prepare us for experience.
  • Symbols establish a framework in the mind that revelation can fill.
  • Some things in life can seem as impossible to move as mountains, yet the scriptures testify that mountains are indeed movable.
  • There is no full atonement without a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ. Tho know Him is to find salvation, to be a stranger to Him is to not know the atonement.
  • In innocence we transgressed,
    in knowledge we sinned,
    in virtue we return.
  • The temple is not the meaning, it is the context.
  • “The repenting sinner must suffer for his sins, but this suffering has a different purpose than punishment or payment. Its purpose is change.” (The Lord’s Way, 1991, Spencer W. Kimball)

Begin keeping your own “Small Plates” today!

0 Comments
Feb 1, 2013
1 min read

Video: The Purifying Power of Gethsemane

Yes! I’m glad that someone has finally uploaded to YouTube a decent version of Bruce R. McConkie’s last testimony in General Conference. I don’t quite know the full story behind this talk, but I do know that he did, in fact, pass away just a few days after giving it. I have heard that he was so ill that he wasn’t even supposed to be able to appear at this conference, let alone give a 15 minute talk.

Elder McConkie is an interesting and controversial figure. I feel shades of Brigham Young in his writings; they both spake very absolutely about what they believed even though they got some things wrong. Since I don’t expect perfection from mortal men, I don’t condemn for their errors and admire point at which they tried to correct them. Thankfully the Spirit is a guard against error and a protection against being led down an incorrect path. I think that’s part of the challenge in belonging to a church run by imperfect, though inspired, men.

I think their contributions and efforts far outweigh their imperfections. Brigham Young was born to colonize and lead, there’s no doubt about that, and Elder McConkie was a relentless force always seeking to serve the Lord and testify of Christ.

As I watch his final testimony, knowing that he knew it would be his last, I admire his courage and dedication and think that his reunion on the other side was probably exactly as he envisioned it.

0 Comments
Jan 30, 2013
0 min read

Treat Everyone You Meet Like They Are Climbing Mountains…

 

One of my clients is a fantastic illustrator and posted this on her website the other day. I thought it fit right in with the oneClimbs world and reposted it here for something a little fun and different. Check her site out, I think you’ll like it.

treat-everyone-you-meet-web

0 Comments
Jan 28, 2013
36 min read

“Putting on the Names”: A Jewish-Christian Legacy

by Truman G. Madsen

Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

Reprinted by permission from By Study and Also By Faith: Essays in Honor of Hugh W. Nibley on the Occasion of His Eightieth Birthday (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1990), 1:458–81.

Aristotle observed that “nothing is by nature a name or a noun.” That is, words or word-names have no inherent or necessary meaning. Instead they are arbitrarily assigned to objects or persons. For different reasons, it is a standard view today that names, as well as concrete or abstract terms, are no more than a flatus vocis, a mere sound.

This tendency to reduce language to whimsical convention without concern for more profound origins may be symptomatic of the secularization of men and even the trivialization of life itself. At any rate, it reflects a diminishing of the religious consciousnessRead Full Post

3 Comments
Jan 20, 2013
17 min read

His Grace Is Sufficient

brad-wilcoxBrad Wilcox was serving as a member of the Sunday School General Board of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as a BYU associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education in the David O. McKay School of Education when this devotional address was given on 12 July 2011.

I am grateful to be here with my wife, Debi, and my two youngest children—who are currently attending BYU—and several other family members who have come to be with us.

It is an honor to be invited to speak to you today. Several years ago I received an invitation to speak at Women’s Conference. When I told my wife, she asked, “What have they asked you to speak on?”

I was so excited that I got my words mixed up and said, “They want me to speak about changing strengths into weaknesses.”

She thought for a minute and said, “Well, they’ve got the right man for the job!”

She’s correct about that. I could give a whale of a talk on that subject, but I think today I had better go back to the original topic and speak about changing weaknesses into strengths and about how the grace of Jesus Christ is sufficient (see Ether 12:27, D&C 17:8, 2 Corinthians 12:9)—sufficient to cover us, sufficient to transform us, and sufficient to help us as long as that transformation process takes.Read Full Post

2 Comments
Jan 20, 2013
13 min read

The Three Tests We Must Pass?

I have been having a great time digging through Avraham Gileadi’s book “The End From the Beginning” which analyzes Isaiah’s apocalyptic vision of the last days. My favorite kind of books are the ones that help me connect the dots, personally. Now, in order to connect dots you have to have them first, so here’s dot one: the Heber C. Kimball prophecy concerning a great latter-day test.

I realize that I refer to this prophecy quite frequently on this blog, but I just keep finding so many various connections to it that I just have to put some thoughts down. Here is just a small excerpt:

…the Saints will be put to a test that will try the integrity of the best of them. The pressure will become so great that the more righteous among them will cry unto the Lord day and night until deliverance comes.

Yes, we think we are secure here in the chambers of these everlasting hills, where we can close the doors of the canyons against mobs and persecutors, the wicked and the vile, who have always beset us with violence and robbery, but I want to say to you, my brethren, that the time is coming when we will be mixed up in these now peaceful valleys to that extent that it will be difficult to tell the face of a Saint from the face of an enemy against the people of God.

Then is the time to look out for the great sieve, for there will be a great shifting time, and many will fall. For I say unto you there is a test, a Test, a TEST coming. (Heber C. Kimball, First Counselor in the First Presidency, May 1868, in Deseret News, 23 May 1931; see also Conference Report, Oct. 1930, p. 58-59)

The last part where he says “…a test, a test, a test…” is the first dot. Late President Gordon B. Hinckley referenced these very words in a talk first given in 1974 (which was then repeated again in 1990) where he concluded: “…I do not know precisely the nature of that test. But I am inclined to think the time is here…” He suggested “that the test lies in our capacity to live the gospel rather than adopt the ways of the world” (Gordon B. Hinckley, A City Set Upon a Hill, October 1974 General Conference).Read Full Post

6 Comments
Jan 18, 2013
7 min read

Isaiah Identifies the Latter-day Archtyrant

It always amazes me how we acknowledge the historical certainty of the rise and fall of nations in the past, but we don’t seem to think that the same fate is an eventuality today.

Sure, men wanted to take over the world back then, but not today.

Sure, there were men trying to take over the world in the last century, but not today.

Sure, the newly appointed (unelected) “President” of the European Union, Herman Van Rompuy, recently stated: “2009 is also the first year of global governance, with the establishment of the G20 in the middle of the financial crisis. The climate conference in Copenhagen is another step towards the global management of our planet.”

To think that we will ever be at the mercy of power hungry men bent on world domination and global plunder is surely just some kind of crazy conspiracy theory isn’t it?

I could not more highly recommendRead Full Post

10 Comments
Jan 14, 2013
4 min read

A Few Notes About Temple-related Clothing From the Temple Institute

All of the notes below are taken directly from the Temple Institute which is an organization seeking to rebuild the third temple on Mount Moriah.


the-temple-institute

Moses was instructed by G-d that the garments of the priests were to be both dignified and beautiful; as precious as the garments of royalty. Indeed, the Talmud informs us that when the wicked Persian king Ahasuerus made a feast for his advisors and officers and sought to impress them with his greatness (as recorded in the scroll of Esther, which tells the story of Purim) he put off his own royal vestments and donned the uniform of the High Priest… which was more precious than his own. These priestly garments were in his possession since the First Temple had been destroyed byRead Full Post

0 Comments