A Stream of Consciousness

At this point in my public life, I’m a sort of vague unassuming lds member. I’ve found that church is a miserable slog through a hell; as the years pass I’ve come to accept Robert Smith’s (of Upward Thought) assessment that the church does more harm than good due to pervasive false traditions. Despite the fatigue I experience through the lds church, I continue to attend. I don’t make ripples because I’ve found it a completely fruitless effort.

I recall an incident that shaped me deeply. During my first year at BYU, I came to the conclusion that the church was not true. I was angry. Tangibly so. One time I was arguing with my mother about some things that Boyd K. Packer said. My final point was basically, “Why can’t Boyd K. Packer just be wrong on this point?” It was frustrating to be arguing with a brick wall – one that placed the scriptures in a subordinate position to tradition. My mother made it clear after my statement that she didn’t want to discuss it any further and the phone call ended.

I felt isolated at BYU. At that moment I felt isolated from my own blood – my family. I realized I was alone. I didn’t just feel alone, I was alone. Emotion and pain consumed me in the seconds after the call ended. I had a total emotional breakdown. I was living in a dorm setting at the time and I quickly scurried to the public restroom as I held back tears. I didn’t want my roommate or anyone to see me so I locked myself in a bathroom stall and cried. It was a pathetic scene. I hate reliving it in writing.

I did come out of that stall comforted. I learned that my reliance had to be on Jesus and “no other name under heaven” (Acts 4:12).

Most other interactions in the church have been similar negative experiences, though not as dramatic. I argue from a fundamentally different perspective than the church accepts as authoritative. The best way I’ve found to articulate the idea is to use a tree as a model: The lds church (an some others) view truth as the fruit of the tree of authority. I believe that authority is the fruit of the tree of truth. The lds church assumes if something stems from proper authority it is true. I assume that things that whatever is authoritative is derived from truth. “Between us . . . there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence” (Luke 16:26).

My perspective is a difficult one, by what criteria do we discern truth without an “authority”? The other perspective has an answer to that question, therefore it is satisfying to many. I see why it is appealing to adopt; it solves my dilemma and frequent source of pain – searching for truth.

So where is the truth tree?

All this reminds me of an interesting little quote from Joseph Smith: “Had I inspiration, revelation, and lungs to communicate what my soul has contemplated in times past, there is not a soul in this congregation but would go to their homes and shut their mouths in everlasting silence on religion till they had learned something.” (13 Aug 1843)

Apparently, Joseph Smith didn’t think his congregation had learned anything. Also, he seems to indicate that this “learning” was not something that could be communicated person-to-person. It was not obtained in a church, nor a general conference, but at home in silence.

I really ought to learn something about religion. And maybe I should abandon this little stupid blog and seclude myself to monastic vows of silence on religion.

Recently, I’ve become somewhat infatuated with Jordan Peterson. I was watching a video recently where he said something that comes as close to an articulated truth as men can conjure up in language. I jotted it down:

Straighten out what you can straighten out and stop saying things that make you feel weak.”

Over the last eight years (particularly through a crash course of necessity at BYU) I learned to stop saying things that make me feel weak. However, because of that same dogmatic environment I never learned to replace that speaking untruths with truths. I’ve confined myself to “silence on religion“. I can tactfully avoid saying things I disagree with and dance around with my words. I know the church is imperceptive to my lack of affirmation of basic lds doctrines. I was able to serve a 2 year mission and never say any form of “I know Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God”.

It reminds me of a discussion with a religion professor at BYU, where she talked about how she had to speak the language of her department in graduate school to please them. Her school assumed that there was nothing “true” about the New Testament and treated it through that lens. Her personal opinions and beliefs were divorced from the things she spoke or wrote.

She learned to satisfy their biases. I have done likewise within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Over the last 6 months I have seriously considered giving up on the lds church. I’ve been convinced for a while (say 2013) that I would one day leave. While serving my mission, I had a dream where I was in a church trial for my beliefs. I was excommunicated. I interpreted this as the spirit of prophecy and it brought me peace. No directive has come through inspiration to distance myself from the church. As such I don’t feel at liberty to leave or remove my name from the records of the church. Jesus lived 30 years in a corrupt religious environment and did not make waves until his time had come. But I am tired of waiting.

A few days ago, I was out with the missionaries teaching. Of the three “teachers” I was constantly trying to direct the conversation into the scriptures while the others sort of parroted general mormon doctrines. I don’t much care whether anyone joins the lds church, but my presence is interpreted as supporting the church program. Maybe my “silence” is just as bad as “speaking untruths”, it certainly makes me feel weak.

I remember the frustrations that I felt as a missionary and would like to ease the burdens of the lds missionaries, though we have different yokes. If I were to leave the lds church, I’d be left with no outlet for charity. There is no one in my area who shares my views, who I could fellowship with. In my circumstances leaving doesn’t seem to be a productive route. Like Adam in the garden, I am confused at seemingly contrary directives; I grow restless and desire to take things into my own hands and eat fruit out of season.

Would that the Lord send direction. Maybe I missed it. That thought crosses my mind frequently. I am not who, what, where I could be in some alternate world. I feel like one of my alternate selves stumbled on better choices and has entered the rest of the Lord. But he isn’t me. And for some reason, I am not him. And that “some reason” would be good to know.

Jesus is Lord.

I Am not.

I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me. (Alma 29:3)

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The Earth as a Scroll

I am reading a fun little book.

In it, I came across a quote that got one of two cogs moving.

In the iconography and statuary of the ancient world, starting from the time of Zarathurstra, knowledge of the secret doctrine of the Mystery schools was denoted by the holding of a rolled scroll. As we shall see, this tradition has continued into modern times, and today the public statues of the world’s towns and cities show how widely it’s influence has spread.” (Mark Booth, The Secret History of the World, p. 22)

Immediately on reading this, I thought of a prophesy that has always eluded me: the earth being rolled up as a scroll (“Behold, will ye believe in the day of your visitation—behold, when the Lord shall come, yea, even that great day when the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?“, Mormon 9:2).

If secret doctrine is represented as a scroll, the earth being rolled together as a scroll at the future coming of Christ suggests that this mortal life and a history of man as we know it will be hidden. Just as our prior estate is shrouded and unknown to us, our current estate will become a mystery to the future fortunate spirits liberated from death and hell.

I like having a least one potential interpretation, as opposed to none. A second interpretation may be useful if this one is wrong.

Earliest Manuscript Scriptures for Snufferites

An interesting announcement and maybe a worthy project: Link A and Link B

It is interesting that the Joseph Smith Papers announced a separate and similar volume just 2 days ago. I don’t think Snufferites are large enough to cause such reactionary waves, but the timing is extremely curious. Mainly it puts a slight grin on my face to feed my conspiratorial mind  or to think that the universe really is conscious and molding to the wills of unseen forces.

I’d argue that the D&C needs a complete and total overhaul. After a healthy debate that is. Should D&C 136 or 138 go? Others? Various journal recordings of things Joseph Smith (i.e. D&C 130)? Maybe a genre formatting as is present in the New Testament? Sections for Lectures, Word of the Lord Revelations, Speeches, Epistles? What about other revelations that are currently not present in any D&C but now published by the JS Papers Project?

That would be quite the undertaking.

I’ve also given my opinion in the past that The Book of Moses should extend to JST 9: here.

Personality types and organizations (read: churches)

[Note to my 2.5 readers: I apologize for posting less frequently. That is just an extension of trends in my life; I’m continuing through a bout of depression which has caused me to withdraw from social interactions. At times I wonder if this blog has run it’s course. I have considered reorganizing/reformatting/rewriting the material I’ve written here and making it into a short book. That would be a time-consuming project and I’m not sure I’m willing to sacrifice the time needed. Back to the actual post.]

I recently had a probing interview my bishop. I brought up an idea I was exploring. His reaction was less than supportive. I had been thinking about personality types and the church. The church as an organization cannot appeal to all personality types. For example, people with more introverted or analytical personality types have more trouble fitting in with the larger church.

He acknowledged this problem but indicated that when people (*me*) find dissonance between their personality type and the larger church, they should just confirm to social norms. Don’t cause ripples. Don’t stir the pot. Just do what we tell you. Smile while you do it. The church has no responsibility to care for my needs, no imperative to comfort me when I stand in need of comfort. Discomfort those in need of comfort.

This was one interview in a painful series. This bishop may think he did good. He certainly got the results he wanted: conformity. His intrusion actually caused harm for my relationship with the church. I keep trying to make it work. I keep getting bitch-slapped. Disregarding truth claims, it has been an abusive force in my life for the past 7 years. It has caused me distress.

As I have branched out and attended other gatherings outside of the LDS church, I have noticed similar dissonance between my personality and the larger group. I am not sure my personality lends itself to group worship. That is a sad thought to confront and wrestle with.

Correlative data: https://www.16personalities.com/articles/religion-and-personality-type
Correlative data: https://www.16personalities.com/articles/religion-and-personality-type

Brought by the hand of the Lord

Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.” (2 Nephi 1)

Trump has been on my mind. And on tvs.

Is deportation counter to the will of the Lord? Is a “wall”, physical or otherwise, blocking not only immigrants but the hand of the Lord?

3 Nephi 16: 10 as a sequential prophecy

This should be straight-forward, see title above. The dates provided are for convenience, but don’t represent absolutes. For example, while 1890 is used as a marker for the end of polygamy, the practice continue for around 20 more years in secret. Likewise, arguments over succession did not end (and have not) with the RLDS church. The dates chosen simply represent (as I see them) significant milestones. History as we know is very complex.

3 Nephi 16:10

And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.

  1. Filled with all manner of lyings/deceits/mischiefs/hypocrisy (1833): After being driven out of their would-be Zion, the Lord declared “concerning your brethren who have been afflicted, and persecuted, and cast out from the land of their inheritance – I, the Lord, have suffered the affliction to come upon them, wherewith they have been afflicted, in consequence of their transgressions . . . Behold, I say unto you, there were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them; therefore by these things they polluted their inheritances.” (D&C 101:1-6)
  2. Murders (1844): Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith were betrayed by intimates and killed by a mob.
  3. Priestcrafts (1844-1860): Following the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum, several members of the lds church set themselves up as lights during the succession crisis, prominently Brigham Young, Sidney Rigdon, James Strang, and later (in 1860) Joseph Smith III.
  4. Whoredoms (1852-1890): Contrary to counsel in the Book of Mormon, Brigham Young made polygamy official doctrine of the church and a requirement for exaltation.
  5. Secret abominations (1959-): The lds church, starting in 1959, ceased disclosing its assets. As a result of the “secret” aspect of this one, I don’t think we can make any pointed criticisms. How much did something like City Creek cost? Maybe just a fraction of the billions and billions spent on charitable giving? Maybe far more? Who knows?
  6. Reject the fulness of my gospel (?): What is the fulness of the gospel? What would it require to reject it? Could it have happened recently? Is it eminent? Perhaps, the (real) sealed portion or the record of John comes out and the lds church rejects it, because it didn’t come through the Lord’s mouth piece.
That and Depends.

Your body is a temple, ladies

I’ve contemplated whether I should post this or not for a while.  Steve Reed over at One Climbs kind of beat me to it. A sort of Alfred Wallace and Charles Darwin situation. I suppose I am cast as Darwin in this proposal.

For Steve Reed’s longer and less weird posts (and I’d argue better), check out these links: Mother is There and Mercy and Mother.


 

The female reproductive system is the natural temple we all exit to enter into this material world. Like Israel’s temple, there are two veils. The cervix is the veil between the material world and the holy of holies — the uterus.

The holy of holies represents the presence of God. Like Israel’s temple, the throne room is flanked by two cherubim, two winged discs, the ovaries and fimbriae.

The holy of holies was deemed “most holy” in Israel’s temple meaning it imparted holiness. Latter-day saints understand that birth is itself sacramental:

. . . inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten . . . (Moses 6:59)

Children come from the uterus with imparted holiness and innocence. The Book of Mormon emphasizes this concept. And condemns those that suppose that little children need baptism.

And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins. But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world. (Moroni 8: 11-12).

Within women is a very real temple which provides us an opportunity to regain the innocence we lost at some point prior to this existence.

Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God. (D&C 93:38)

We, as Adam and Eve, are cast out from God’s presence. But must return again. We must be born again as Jesus taught:

Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)

Nicodemus understood the image we take for granted, but did not comprehend the interpretation.

Nicodemus said unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born? (John 3:4)

The womb we must re-enter is synonymous with heaven or the presence of God. So called “born again” christians mock these symbols in ignorance, claiming a status beyond what they typically possess or understand.
 
However, it would be wise to suppose my (our) beams are larger than their motes.