Freshly led out of Egypt, the children of Israel were delivered by a series of miracles that seem like they must have been incredible to witness. Camped at the base of mount Sinai, they were left alone without their leader, Moses. During this time they could have lived by the memory of what they had seen, they could have remembered and been true to what was shown to them. Instead, in a matter of days they were building new gods to worship. How quickly they had forgotten, how unable they were to walk when left alone.
Walking alone is part of the process
The following is a few excerpts from a paper written by Terryl L. Givens called “Letter to a Doubter” which I read recently on Mormon Interpreter. He illustrates this principle of patience when walking alone and the importance of remembering.
I have experienced this phenomenon often in my life where I have these incredible revelatory and enlightening experiences followed by silence and a sense of spiritual isolation. I’ve often wondered if I was being rejected by God or if I had done something to offend him by my actions or not being true enough to his commandments. I’ve talked to others that Read Full Post
There are so many levels that this subject can be explored on but I will only be addressing the few that I think are the most interesting at the moment. The drama begins when a particular article was published in the old “Improvement Era” magazine back in June of 1945. The repercussions of this article seem to have survive to this day with those who are against the LDS Church and with those who are IN the LDS Church who still believe the false aspects that were presented in the article.
The article is very heavy-handed in its approach to the subject of sustaining, so much so that it advocates blind, unthinking obedience, a way of behavior directly opposed to the doctrine of agency. A concerned Unitarian minister wrote then President George Albert Smith who Read Full Post
“The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue—it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know.” (Lord, I Believe, April 2013 General Conference)
What a great line from Jeffery Holland! I have often erroneously thought to myself, “I can’t wait until I have greater faith so that I can do greater things!”
Maybe this is what the Lord meant when speaking of faith as small as a grain of mustard seed (Matthew 17:20). It isn’t the size of the faith but the degree of integrity toward your current faith where all sufficient power is found.
“And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh?”
This sentence is from 2 Nephi 4:27, part of what is known as “Nephi’s Psalm”. I’ve been studying it for a few weeks now off and on and it seems that every time I look at it, I find a new little gem. This particular sentence is an interesting one to ponder and it brings many thoughts to mind.
Nephi is asking this question to himself in this particular instance. It wasn’t until recently that I noticed that I had been glossing over the comma in this sentence. Now the original Book of Mormon did not have punctuation, so this comma was added at some point along the process (that would be interesting to study). When you read it, try pausing for a moment after the comma and then read the rest.
“And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh?”
Today, I hear many justify sin because of weaknesses or defects in the flesh, but Nephi isn’t having any of it. In asking the question “why should I yield to sin,” he immediately disqualifies Read Full Post
I don’t know who wrote the following story but I remembered hearing it a long time ago and it has always been a powerful metaphor for helping me through rough times. I was thinking about it the other day when I used it to illustrate a point to a group of people and decided to look up the original, or at least whatever I could find that was closest to the original (apparently the author is unknown).
My mom used to cross-stitch so I know exactly what the kid in the story is talking about when he sees the tangled mess; amazing what perspective and trust can do.
When I was a little boy, my mother used to embroider a great deal. I would sit at her knee and look up from the floor and ask what she was doing. She informed me that she was embroidering. I told her that it looked like a mess from where I was. As from the underside I watched her work within the boundaries of the little round hoop that she held in her hand, I complained to her that it sure looked messy from where I sat. She would smile at me, look down and gently say, “My son, you go about your playing for a while, and when I am finished with my embroidering, I will put you on my knee and let you see it from my side.”
I would wonder why she was using some dark threads along with the bright ones and why they seemed so jumbled from my view. A few minutes would pass and then I would hear Mother’s voice say, “Son, come and sit on my knee.”
This I did only to be surprised and thrilled to see a beautiful flower or a sunset. I could not believe it, because from underneath it looked so messy.
Then Mother would say to me, “My son, from underneath it did look messy and jumbled, but you did not realize that there was a pre-drawn plan on the top. It was a design. I was only following it. Now look at it from my side and you will see what I was doing.”
Many times through the years I have looked up to my Heavenly Father and said, “Father, what are You doing?” He has answered, “I am embroidering your life.” I say, “But it looks like a mess to me. It seems so jumbled. The threads seem so dark. Why can’t they all be bright?”
The Father seems to tell me, “My child, you go about your business of doing My business, and one day I will bring you to Heaven and put you on My knee and you will see the plan from My side.”
Throughout my day I come across interesting motifs and symbols and usually take pictures of them. It didn’t occur to me until yesterday to use something like Instagram to document and share the things I come across. Since this is just really brand new, I put some images up that I already had on my phone and made a few comments and insights on the images.
If you’d like you can follow oneClimbs and share in the discovery of interesting things all around us in plain sight!
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and puthim to an open shame.” – Hebrews 6:4-6
“And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.” – 4 Nephi 1:3
“For it was by faith that Christ showed himself unto our fathers, after he had risen from the dead; and he showed not himself unto them until after they had faith in him; wherefore, it must needs be that some had faith in him, for he showed himself not unto the world. But because of the faith of men he has shown himself unto the world, and glorified the name of the Father, and prepared a way that thereby others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for those things which they have not seen. Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith.” – Ether 12:7-9
- “The Savior wants us to understand his willingness to forgive” – Craig A. Cardon
- “Procreative power & priesthood power are shared by husband & wife” – M. Russell Ballard
- “I am a witness of the Resurrection of the Lord as surely as if I had been there in the evening with the two disciples in the house on Emmaus road. I know that He lives as surely as did Joseph Smith when he saw the Father and the Son in the light of a brilliant morning in a grove of trees in Palmyra.” – Henry B. Eyring
- “As home teachers, we are healers. As priesthood leaders, we are healers. As fathers, sons, brothers, and husbands, we should be committed and dedicated healers. We carry in one hand a vial of consecrated oil for blessing the sick; in the other we carry a loaf of bread to feed the hungry; and in our hearts we carry the peaceable word of God, “which healeth the wounded soul.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf
- “accept that darkness exists—but not to dwell there” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf
- “humility is the essence of repentance” – L. Whitney Clayton
- “he hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh” – 2 Ne 4:21
- “why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh?” – 2 Ne. 4:27
- The priesthood enables intelligence to influence all things according to the will of God.
- True sacrifice never involves the loss of what is essential.
- Finding yourself in darkness is inevitable, it is also necessary.
The following is taken from 2 Nephi 4:16-35, with some headings that I inserted to identify four key steps of transformation and if I were as awesome as President Monson I’m sure I could make them rhyme somehow ;)
Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.
It is easy to find fault in yourself and become overwhelmed
Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.Read Full Post
I like to understand how things work. I do this by trying to see relationships and patterns between things to see if they make any sense. I’ve been pondering the subject of desire for quite a bit now and in doing so the subject of “will” has entered the scene over the past several weeks.
As I pondered these things and discovered a few interesting little nuggets of wisdom, I think I’ve been able to piece a few things together that have really helped me personally.
In my studies, I have come to some conclusions about the power of will. The first step came by understanding will in a way that was somewhat new to me. It is summed up in this simple definition of faith: “Faith is intelligence exercising will”. This thought took me along another line of thinking that suggested that “the faith of any intelligence is only as strong as its will”.
So how do this all fit together? I put together a simple graphic that illustrates where I’m going with all of this.
The function of will
In pondering will, I turned to the good old Webster’s 1828 Dictionary for enlightenment. Concerning will, Noah Webster wrote:Read Full Post
My dad contacted me today about a quote that mentioned something about the atonement not being a part of the gospel but the gospel itself. I Googled the phrase and found this talk by Elder Madsen.
Now I had first heard this quote from Elder Madsen himself when he came to a zone conference while I was in the mission field and gave a sermon very similar to this one. I remember being very impacted by his words and took a ton of notes! I’m glad that there is a version of this online so here it is!
“The Gospel” by Elder John M. Madsen
It is a sacred privilege for Sister Madsen and me to join with you for a devotional on this beautiful campus, crowned with a holy temple, and to be in this magnificent hall, so recently dedicated to the Lord for His purposes. Especially, in light of His words recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 6:32, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered together in my name, … behold, there will I be in the midst of them–even so am I in the midst of you.”
I am humbled and honored to be invited to address you, because I know something of who you are and what lies ahead of you! I know this through the words of living prophets. President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “Our young people are … the nobility of heaven, a choice and chosen generation who have a divine destiny.”1Read Full Post
The following article is from TempleStudy.com
Professor William J. Hamblin has offered some good starting points in considering the relationship between the ancient Israelite temple ritual and the modern day LDS temple endowment. It is from this vantage point that we should approach trying to understand these ancient ritual systems and the connections they might have with the Latter-day Saints temple ritual.
“When considering the possible relationship between ancient Israelite temple system and the LDS Endowment, the first thing to note is the basic purpose of the ancient temple was to reconcile Israel with God and bring all Israel (represented by the twelve stones inscribed with the tribal names) back into the presence of God (that is recapitulating the Sinai theophany), symbolically represented by the Holy Place and Holy of Holies within the veil.
“The second thing to note is that Israel had exoteric rituals in the outer courtyard of the temple which could be witnessed by all (though only priests officiated). Esoteric rituals performed inside the temple itself could only be performed and witnessed by priests. LDS Endowment broadly corresponds to the esoteric rituals performed inside the temple, not the exoteric rituals performed outside. The ancient exoteric Israelite temple rituals correspond with the LDS weekly sacrament (the bread/wine offering of the Israelite temple).” (William Hamblin, Mormon Scripture Explorations)
Another important point to realize is that Christ was the last great blood sacrifice when He came in the meridian of time and offered the Atonement, which ended sacrifice by the shedding of blood (3 Ne. 9:19; cf.Mosiah 13:27; Alma 34:13; 3 Ne. 15:2–10). Since Christ was the last blood sacrifice (all precursors pointing to Him), from that point onward the outward nature of sacrificial ritual changed, but still pointing towards Christ, and still a sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit (3 Ne. 9:20–22; Psalms 51:16–17;Psalms 34:18).
See the gallery below for various artists’ depictions of the rituals inside the ancient Israelite temple. Click each image to enlarge.
- “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
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).
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
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.
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:
- Triangular shape of the “stones”
- Figure-8 design of the frame
- “Glass” setting for the interpreters
Here are the characteristics that are speculations and assumptionsRead Full Post
“…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:
- Going about doing good
- 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?
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.
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