I have felt lost at various points in my life; for different reasons and in different ways. I would like to focus specifically on the question of “Where does one begin?” in the context of finding the point in which one begins to return to God and in what manner it is done.
When I began, my path was full of detours, looking beyond the mark and simply being confused in mists of darkness. If I had understood the scriptures properly I might have found what I was looking for earlier on, but fortunately, we have a very patient and intensely wise Father in Heaven who never gives up on us.
So here we go then; I hope the information provided here can be of help to others that are searching as I was.Read Full Post
I enjoy Denver Snuffer’s books and his blog where you can glean some wonderful little nuggets from time to time. I thought the following quote was great advice:
“It is in the private, unobserved moments when you learn the most about yourself. What you think, what you do, how you act when you think you are alone reveals more about your heart than anything else. If you are distant from God, begin to return in those moments alone.” – Denver Snuffer (Emphasis Added) [source]
After detailing all of the places and situations in which we should cry out to God, Amulek adds “But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.” – Alma 34:26.
Indeed these moments alone are important. When free from the influence of others we have God as our audience, or is it the other way around? It is then that we really begin to understand ourselves but perhaps we don’t like what we see. If this is the case, we can cry out to the Lord without restraint or distraction.
I also like how Bro. Snuffer will sometimes ask searching questions along with the information he is presenting so perhaps I’ll include some in my posts from time to time. Finding truth is all about asking the right questions.
- What do we worship when we are alone?
- Do we believe that God does not see us just because others are not around?
- Do we believe that God cannot hear us in our solitude?
- Do we make time to be alone with God or are we too ‘busy’ for him?
- What would happen if we changed things today?
In Denver Snuffer’s book, “Passing the Heavenly Gift”, he provides a great summary on the meaning of the temple and its ordinances.
The temple ordinances portray a walk back to God’s presence. Although the ceremonies are presented in symbols, they testify of, and invite the actual return to Him. The washings, intended to cleans us, are more than a physical ordinance. They testify to us about necessary individual purity and spiritual cleanliness. Anointing with olive oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Thorough the Holy Spirit we are sanctified. It is holy, and when we receive it we become holy through our association with it.
When we are clothed with a garment, it symbolizes the sacrifice of Christ, laying down His body to cover our sins with His atonement. These are powerful symbols of how intimately our individual redemption is connected to Him.
The endowment instructs us about creation, and our own journey through mortal life. We must consider ourselves as if we are respectively, Adam and Eve. When we do, we find an explanation of our mortal condition. It tells us we came from God’s presence, and now live in a fallen world. To regain God’s presence we need to obey, make sacrifices, follow Christ’s Gospel, observe the law of chastity and consecrate our lives to Him. As we do, we will receive sacred knowledge from His messengers. Such messengers are sent by Him.
Men will try and mislead us with false teachings that mingle the philosophies of men with scripture. But if we remain true and faithful to whatever light we receive from Him, He will always send more. Messengers will come from the presence of God, bringing His message. They will not offer themselves for worship, adoration or respect…
True messengers labor to have you come to know Christ. They want all to be redeemed from the fall.
The purpose of the temple is to guide you back to Him. It is not the real thing, but only a symbol pointing to the real thing. It is not enough to read what has been written in scripture or taught by true messengers. You must get an experience for yourself so you also know God.
The real thing is found when the veil parts and you gaze into heaven. (p. 466-467)
The idea that the temple “…is not the real thing, but only a symbolRead Full Post
I submit that where symbolism is in use, there is an invitation to receive more knowledge via a revelatory experience.
The veil exists to ensure that we are not held accountable for that which we are not willing to receive.
When the disciples of Christ came to him and asked “Why speakest thou unto them in parables? (Matt. 13:10)” Jesus responded saying “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given… therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.” (Matt. 13:11,13)Read Full Post
Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
For the sake of convenience, I’m going to break each part of this verse down into digestible elements. This will not be exhaustive by any means and I might use this as a starting point for later study.
Now, we will compare the word unto a seed.
As a letter in the alphabet of symbolism, “seed” has been used to convey the idea of posterity or faith, but in this case “the word” is being compared to a seed. What is “the word” then? Well, technically, the word can be anything, it’s whatever you want to know. The word comes to us in many ways. It is preached to us, we read it in the scriptures or we just simply come across it or it reveals itself to us in diverse ways.Read Full Post
Talk by David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
My message focuses on the importance of striving in our daily lives to actually receive the Holy Ghost. I pray for and invite the Spirit of the Lord to instruct and edify each of us.
The Gift of the Holy Ghost
In December of 1839, while in Washington, D.C., to seek redress for the wrongs done to the Missouri Saints, Joseph Smith and Elias Higbee wrote to Hyrum Smith: “In our interview with the President [of the United States], he interrogated us wherein we differed in our religion from the other religions of the day. Brother Joseph said we differed in mode of baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. We considered that all other considerations were contained in the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 97).Read Full Post
The idea of ‘renewing’ a covenant seems initially kind of strange when I think about it. A covenant is a contract so if you break the terms of the contract isn’t the contract null and void? Why do we have to keep renewing a promise that we have already made? Or how about this: Why would God make a covenant with man, if he knows that every single one of us will break it?
I was thinking back to the era of the Law of Moses. God made covenants with Israel, yet they still had these sin and peace offerings that they could make from time to time as needed. So what exactly is going on here with the covenants we make today? When doctrinal issues seem a bit muddled, it’s always best to go to back to the source and break everything down into digestible parts.
Let’s examine the sacrament prayers themselves for more insight on the covenants we make.
The blessing on the bread:
“O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he has given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.”
First, we learn that we are eating the bread in remembranceRead Full Post
After an Institute of Religion class, my teacher and I were having a discussion in his office. He asked if he could show me something; he grabbed a book and took his seat across the table from me. He asked me to close my eyes and focus on envisioning what he was going to be reading to me. What he read was a very descriptive narrative of a climb to the top of a mountain that was meant to be imagined from the perspective of the reader.
This simple narrative was amazingly effective at teaching a few important principles that I will cover later. With a few words, my paradigm had been shifted concerning how I approach my Father in Heaven in prayer.
Below is the text that was read to me and since you can’t read this with your eyes closed, I suggest possibly having someone read this to you or for the time being, read it slow and try and project what you are reading into your mind’s eye. Do your best to clear your mind, find a quiet place and simply focus; if you simply skim it, you will getRead Full Post
You can tell a lot about someone by their titles. We all carry many titles that say volumes about who we are. Some of the titles I carry are: Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Cousin, Friend, Home Teacher, Elder, Designer, Developer, Artist, the list can go on and on. Think of how many titles you have; you might be surprised.
Below is a fairly comprehensive list. Some might be missing and others might not belong, but here they are nonetheless for you to observe and ponder upon. Some of the titles really make you think.Read Full Post