Tuesday, August 14, 2018

THE BOOK OF MORMON: THE KEY TO THE "IMMIGRATION PROBLEM"





There is a lot of talk these days about illegal immigrants, building walls, and deportation.  Fear is running high and tension is mounting.  What will the United States of America look like in next 20 to 30 years?  Will there be a UNITED States of America or a DIVIDED States of America?  Some say throw out the immigrants while others want an America without borders.

The United States of America is a land of covenant as was the land of Israel.  The Nation itself exists by virtue of a covenant and the willingness of the people to be ONE PEOPLE under that covenant.  Just as the Torah was the covenant document which united all Israel under God we too have a covenant document inspired by God that is meant to accomplish the same thing:

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.




Our willingness to be ONE people under God despite our cultural and ethnic differences is what distinguishes a covenant people of God from the other nations with the goal of securing the blessings of Liberty not only to ourselves but our posterity.  Because of the designs of evil men in high places, this Liberty is in jeopardy.

So how do we "FIX" the problem?  How do we secure the borders of the American Zion while at the same time blessing our brothers and sisters who are seeking the same Liberty with which the American Zion has so generously blessed us with?  As followers of Christ and lover's of freedom of liberty would we not want the same for a brother, sister, or child who is coming to us seeking the same blessings which God designs for all men to have?

ANSWER:  
THE ANTI-NEPHI-LEHIS AKA THE PANIYM NEPHI LECHI


The answer to this problem may be staring us right in the face.  The Book of Mormon documents the saga of a group of immigrants who left their lands because of persecution, potential danger and warfare, and who sought the same liberty to serve God.  Led by their leader King Lamoni and the Sons of Alma (Ancient Son's of Liberty), this large group of immigrants fled to the borders of the Nephites seeking refuge from their own brothers who were trying to subjugate, enslave, and kill them.  So earnest was their desire for freedom and love for God this group was even willing to become the slaves of the Nephites so that they might also enjoy some measure of freedom under God.  But like the United States of Ameria now, the Nephites did not have a system of slavery.  Rather they followed an interesting formula that finds its foundation in the Torah:

1. THEY TAUGHT THEM THE COVENANT LAW OF THE LAND:

"And thus they might go forth and preach the word according to their desires, for the king had been converted unto the Lord, and all his household; therefore he sent his proclamation throughout the land unto his people, that the word of God might have no obstruction, but that it might go forth throughout all the land, that his people might be convinced concerning the wicked traditions of their fathers, and that they might be convinced that they were all brethren, and that they ought not to murder, nor to plunder, nor to steal, nor to commit adultery, nor to commit any manner of wickedness."  (Alma 23:3)

Teachers were sent among the immigrants to teach them history and covenant ideology. 

"And thousands were brought to the knowledge of the Lord, yea, thousands were brought to believe in the traditions of the Nephites; and they were taught the records and prophecies which were handed down even to the present time." (Alma 23:5)

This band of immigrants was first taught the Torah of Israel which contained the the history, laws/commandments.  Just as the Torah provides Oneness with God and with each other so too does our Constitution provide the foundation for Oneness. Those who would be part of a covenant land must be taught the terms of the covenant.  For the United States of America this covenant document is the Constitution. By aggressively educating and converting these immigrants to the history, covenant, and laws we provide them foundation for freedom both civil and religious.

At the end of our United States naturalization process, all immigrants are required to take a public oath of to the Constitution. In doing so they make an oath and covenant to publicly uphold the principles of foundation upon which this nation was established. This oath represents a kind of constitutional allegiance.  Instead of being a mass of immigrants with no shared ethnic identity, religion or culture they become law abiding citizens that uphold the ideology of  that all men are created equal, that they endowed with fixed inalienable rights such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.   


2. CITIES OF DWELLING AND PROTECTION:

In the Book of Mormon, many bands of immigrants were granted cities of dwelling and military protection from their brothers who sought to harm them.  Instead of holding camps, once converted, these immigrants were given cities of dwelling wherein the law of the land was upheld (not Mexican Law, not Costa Rican Law,  Not Sharia Law, etc.) but the Constitutional law of their land.

The gift of dwelling in safety under laws designed to uphold domestic tranquility is an endowment of life. As we take the endowment of life and freedom given to us and extend it to others, the power and salvation of God is Magnified.  In this magnification we fulfill the commandment to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. 

THE PANIYM NEPHI LECHI


As a result of the Nephite naturalization process the Lamanites from the Land of Ishmael ceased to be called Lamanites but took upon themselves the name Anti-Nephi-Lehi's or in Hebrew PANIYM NEPHI LECHI.  In old english the word anti did not mean "against or opposed to" but meant opposite of as someone looking in a mirror. This same expression is captured in the Hebrew word Paniym which means countenance. In this case these immigrants took on the countenance of the founding fathers of the Nephites- Nephi and Lehi.  

The Prophets Lehi and Nephi were the founding fathers of freedom in the land we now call the United States of America.  This freedom was established by their keeping the commandments/laws of God which they carried with them in the form of the Plates of Laban.  The strict preservation and observance of God's law provided them a civilized society upon which life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were established.  This adherence to the terms of the covenant made them a "white and delightsome" people which is a Hebrew Idiomatic expression for "civil and law abiding" people.  This covenant oath to uphold constitutional law is the pivotal difference between immigrant and invader.  Without taking upon themselves the covenant image of their founding fathers and making an oath to live in peace, these Lamanites would have been invaders instead of brothers. By filling their lands with invaders the Nephite civilization would have been short lived.  But in embracing them as covenant brothers, the sons of these people became some of the strongest defenders of liberty.  And during the times of greatest threat, these sons (known as the Son's of Helaman.) stepped forth to defend the Nephite Nation against dangers both domestic and abroad.

Perhaps instead of looking at immigrants as an US versus Them issue, we can look upon them as children of God seeking the same blessings and freedom we ourselves enjoy with the understanding that these blessings are only enjoyed and preserved upon the foundation of our Covenant before God- The Constitution.   It is in the gift of this covenant of charity that this American Zion stands a light upon a hill (a nation of light) as expressed by Emma Lazarus an American Jewish woman descended from immigrants:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”





Monday, August 13, 2018

THE DEATH OF NATION?




" And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity. For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off." (Ether 2:9-10)

This land is a covenant land with covenant stipulations. We can make political and emotional appeals all day, but in the end they may not matter when the terms of God's covenant are broken and the consequences come about on everyone-- gay, straight, black, white, Jew, Gentile.  Often times political propaganda appeals to the emotions and ideals of equal rights, but lawlessness is lawlessness (iniquity) no matter what label it comes under. The results of sustaining any form of iniquity are never good.

The Land of the United States of America is a land of promise.  In a Hebraic context a "land of promise" is a covenant land grant.  As such the conditions for dwelling in the land are very different as all people who reside on the land grand must obey the terms God has set out for residency. The result of breaking the covenant is forever the same--THE CURSES OF THE COVENANT ARE POURED OUT UNTIL THE PEOPLE EITHER REPENT OR ARE SWEPT OFF!


The Point of No Return- The Sorrowing of the Damned


There is a point of no return that is coming in fact it may already be here.  It is the point where it becomes unlawful to recommend the people to God because they sorrow that they can no longer continue in their lawlessness (iniquity) instead of sorrowing unto repentance.  Let's see how we compare to the Nephites in their condition of iniquity (Mormon 2):

10 And it came to pass that the Nephites began to repent of their iniquity, and began to cry even as had been prophesied by Samuel the prophet; for behold no man could keep that which was his own, for the thieves, and the robbers, and the murderers, and the magic art, and the witchcraft which was in the land.


*No man could keep that which was his own-- whether it be through financial impropriety, speculative bubbles, or conspiracy the peoples wealth becomes slippery.  Sounds familiar to American Economy!

*Thieves, robbers, and murderers-- Interesting as in the days of the Nephites the Gadianton robbers had gained control of the Government and the Church.  It is easy for us to accept the robbers controlling the government, but the reality is that they have also gained control of the church (body of believers and their institutions) as well.

*Magic Art and Witchcraft - Spiritualism, Divination, and  other forbidden practices fill our land even as people lose faith.  Those things which were instituted by God are put down even as evil is declared "good".

 11 Thus there began to be a mourning and a lamentation in all the land because of these things, and more especially among the people of Nephi.

 12 And it came to pass that when I, Mormon, saw their lamentation and their mourning and their sorrow before the Lord, my heart did begin to rejoice within me, knowing the mercies and the long-suffering of the Lord, therefore supposing that he would be merciful unto them that they would again become a righteous people.

*Are we seeing the waves of lamentation, mourning, and sorrowing that lead to the demise of our nation?  Right now many are seduced by comfort, complacency, and Apathy.  Remember-- "ALL IS WELL IN ZION!  STAY ASLEEP! YOU ARE SAFE BECAUSE YOU ARE IN THE ONE TRUE _____________________  (FILL IN THE BLANK:  CHURCH/GROUP/RELIGION!)

13 But behold this my joy was vain, for their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin.

 14 And they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die. Nevertheless they would struggle with the sword for their lives.

15 And it came to pass that my sorrow did return unto me again, and I saw that the day of grace was passed with them, both temporally and spiritually...."

Mitigating the Judgment

Like God's judgment upon the Tower of Babel we are about to see judgments of like severity poured out upon our Nation.  Even in the midst of the darkness of impending judgment there is the possibility of the light of salvation.  What will it take--Men and Women who will walk in the Path of Covenant Intercessors like the Brother of Jared.  Rather than choosing death they choose life in taking upon them the name of Christ--they choosing repentance rather than destruction.  Make no mistake the judgments are sure, but an Exodus under the covering of the God of Israel is still available.  Before that day comes though, there must be people like the Brother of Jared who have have walked in the path of God's covenant, interceded for their people under the terms of the covenant, and obtained the Rest of God. I guess in the end the doctrine of the two ways still holds firm as in the ancient days-- Sorrowing unto true repentance or the sorrowing of the damned.  It seems we still have a choice.

Many people are looking to the President, The Senate, The House of Representatives, etc to "save us", but in the end the responsibility resides with the people and the individual effort and choices we make every day.  The cause of Zion is not just a religious matter but the matter of a Nation who upholds God and the ideology:

"ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!"



*The title of this article is called "Death of Nation" intentionally.  The path of repentance and the path of destruction is the same for all Nations with whom God has extended covenant.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Pathways Of The Prophetic: The Knowledge of God




When we practice the presence of God and trust him as being active in our lives we begin to develop the sight to see the presence of God in all that we do and experience.  One of the greatest lessons taught in the ancient schools of the prophets was the lesson that each person could come to experience or "know" God for themselves.  To know God required that Heaven and Earth connect where sacred space was created.  These sacred spaces where God had placed his name were like Jacob's ladder in that at such a juncture people and angels could ascend and descend to partake of and minister light and truth.

These teachings were passed down through various traditions in the House of Israel.  One such master teacher was Rabbi Yisrael Ben Eliezer also known as the Ba'al Shem Tov or Master of the Great Name.  The Ba'al Shem Tov was the founder of the the Hasidic Movement and among his teachings was that soul thus prepared could ascend into the Seventh Heaven and stand before God face to face. He taught that this ascent or "knowing" God could be experienced by anyone willing to make the "effort and sacrifices" to do so. (Teachings of Rabi Yisrael Ben Eliezer)

This same sentiment was expressed by the Prophet Joseph Smith in his famed King Follet Discourse:

"It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another..."

In the Hebraic mind to know something is to experience something first hand.  This same sentiment of experiencing the knowledge of God which is equated with salvation was also expressed in the Lectures on Faith:

"5 For a man to lay down his all, his character and reputation, his honor and applause, his good name among men, his houses, his lands, his brothers and sisters, his wife and children, and even his own life also, counting all things but filth and dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, requires more than mere belief, or supposition that he is doing the will of God, but actual knowledge: realizing, that when these sufferings are ended he will enter into eternal rest; and be a partaker of the glory of God.

6 For unless a person does know that he is walking according to the will of God, it would be offering an insult to the dignity of the Creator, were he to say that he would be a partaker of his glory when he should be done with the things of this life. But when he has this knowledge, and most assuredly knows that he is doing the will of God, his confidence can be equally strong that he will be a partaker of the glory of God.

7 Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things: it was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things, that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has, for the truth's sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice, because he seeks to do his will, he does know most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life." (Lectures on Faith, Lecture 6)

We often think of sacrifice in terms of the performance of great acts or the endurance of events of great suffering.  While sacrifices may be accompanied by great acts or events of suffering, the actual sacrifice is the willing offering or pouring out of life as symbolized in the many sacrifices performed in ancient Israel. If we accept the value of these teachings, then the foundation is laid that through an understanding that we may ALL know or experience God, and that it takes effort and sacrifice, then our labors to bond with God will not be in vain.  This bonding (devekut) with God is the gate to prophesy.  This same teaching was expressed by John in the Book of Revelation:

"And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."







Saturday, July 28, 2018

Joseph Smith's "Jupiter Talisman" and Shivitis




"I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved." 
Psalm 16:8


There are many forces in the world that seek to portray Joseph Smith and the restoration as a product of sorcery, delusion, and folk magic.  Once such often debated matter is an item that was allegedly among the property of Joseph Smith called "The Jupiter Talisman".  The existence and ownership of the item has been a subject of hot debate in both Mormon and Anti-Mormon circles.  In fact it is often used by some to portray Joseph Smith as magician and follower of the dark arts.  The two circles seemingly go round and round never actually coming to any real substantive conclusion as to whether this item supports Joseph Smith as Prophet or Joseph Smith as a wanna be Lord Voldemort.

The item itself, however, is not without precedent in Israel.  There is a practice passed down through various traditions in Judaism that was attributed to find it's source in the ancient Schools of the Prophets.  One such practice was a discipline of training the mind to be attentive to Living Presence of God. Part of this discipline was the surrounding of a person, family, synagogue etc. with holiness and by doing so one aligned one's spirit with the mind of God-the Ruach Elohiym or what Mormon's refer to as The Holy Ghost.

The idea of walking in cleanliness amid the filth of this world was a distinctly Israelite concept-perhaps modernly restated as "Being In The World, But Not Of The World".  This idea of cleanliness in practice in Israel was the cleansing of one's home as well as cleansing one's mind.  Included in this tradition was the using of a simple piece of art known as a Shiviti:













As a work of art the Shiviti can often be found to this day being carried by many orthodox and conservative Jews of varying traditions. As art many sacred parchments, scrolls, prints, and tapestries are still found adorning many homes and synagogues.  Its usage is a literal carrying out of the Psalm 16:18, ""I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved."
The idea is that because the name of God is Holy it brings holiness into the place where the name resides whether it be the home, the synagogue, or the heart.

The purpose of the Shiviti was as a tool of prayer and remembrance serving to assist a person in practicing the presence of God and to remember his commandments. They come in varying forms and are often labeled as amulets and talisman etc, but they are far from "magical" or "mystical".  Their original purpose being an item of prayer and meditation to focus the heart and mind on God, his holiness, and his presence.  Over the centuries many esoteric groups such as Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, and varying practises of folk magic latched onto these practises.  Some groups interpreted the practice in its proper light as forms of artwork and tools for prayer and meditation while others embraced the practice to obtain power from God or power over forces and entities in the spiritual realm.  Whatever their usage evolved into, the original purpose of the Shiviti was to fulfill the word of God that His name and presence is always be before us.

Through the middle ages and even into this century there are those who accuse many Jews of practicing "the dark arts" because of such items.  This is also understandable in that over the centuries there have been those who portrayed and sold this, and other similar items, as a form magical item that brings power and prosperity.  Overtime they became associated with witchcraft and folk magic by many outside Judaism.  The item itself became equated with power and miraculous gifts rather than the persons mindfulness and faithfulness to God and his covenants. What was intended as an item to remind and focus the mind and heart on God and his holiness, soon came to be seen as an item of the magical world.


JOSEPH SMITH'S "JUPITER TALISMAN






It was reported that an item which came to be identified as a "Jupiter Talisman" was found among the possessions of Joseph Smith.  Over the years there have been many Mormon and Anti-Mormon sources alike that attempt to explain the purpose of the item.  From those articles written, the conclusions regarding this "talisman" vary from attempting to explain the symbolism and purpose to articles which condemn Joseph Smith as a practitioner of the dark arts.  That he owned the item appears to be relatively substantiated.  The intent of his having the item, however, has not been fully explored.  Many attempt to equate his possession of the object with  magic and sorcery, just as many attempt to ascribe the usage of the Shivitis to a form of magic or an object of the dark arts.  There appear to be no substantive documents from Joseph Smith documenting his reasons for owning or his usage of the item.

That being said. Ever present in the speeches and prayers of Joseph Smith was the restoration of the House of Israel. An example of this can be demonstrated in his prayer, "I ask God in the name of Jesus, to . . . cause that His word may speedily go forth to the nations of the earth, to the accomplishing of His great work in bringing about the restoration of the House of Israel." History of the Church, 1:451. In addition, he also received the company and instruction of Jews such as Professor Joshua Seixas who was hired by Joseph Smith and his associates to teach them Hebrew.  As such, it could also be just as likely that the object was used as an item of prayer, meditation, and holiness patterned after the ancient Shivitis.

We may never know Joseph Smith's intent with this object. Whatever the source of the object is, whether it be Masonry, Judaism, or Folk Magic, the item itself is not without precedence in Israel and many practises preserved in Judaism to this day.  While there are many who assign the article to the world of satanism, magic, and sorcery these same people also assign many of the practises in Judaism that they do not culturally understand to the same categories. So before grabbing our pitchforks and lighting our torches as we scream, "BURN THE WITCH" perhaps it is also prudent to consider that his ownership of the item may have served the same purpose of the Shiviti or may find its roots in that tradition.

Often times there are those who place a label of evil, occult, sorcery, or witchcraft on things they do not understand.  They bring up arguments regarding the usage of seer stones and other items while neglecting the presence and usage of items such as the Urim and Thummim, The Ephod, Aaron's budding rod, etc. found within the scriptures. These items were used in association with revelation, instruction, and power displayed before all Israel.  Would these same naysayers also condemn the prophets and people who wrote their Bible for having and using many of these same items?

********************************

"And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.

But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?

O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people.

Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?" (2 Nephi 29:3-6)










Saturday, June 30, 2018

Pathways Of The Prophetic- Seeing God In All Things




"A fanciful and flowery and heated imagination beware of; because the things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity—thou must commune with God"
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 137 (25 March 1839))


One of the teachings passed down from the ancient Schools of the Prophets is the need for functional revelation- revelation that provides knowledge that will elevate or transform our world in the here and now.  The pure knowledge or intelligence of Chokmah (wisdom) inspires and the discerning intellect of Binah (understanding) confirms and organizes the pure knowledge we receive so that the fruits of the spirit manifest in the material world. The two together (Chokmah and Binah) form a complete and balanced whole. This was what was known as the ancient secret.

Revelation can be received in a moment.  It only takes a few lessons to begin the art of the prophetic. But like a muscle it takes the hard work of organizing and exercising this divine knowledge so that it becomes strong and capable of having real function.  If we feed and build our minds with the nourishment God provides then we will find that they are not only created but can be recreated in the image of God.

"And blessed are all the pure in heart, for they shall see God." 


In the mind of an Israelite the heart is the center and fountain of all thought.  Focus of the heart (thoughts) is the foundation of all prayer/meditation.  Where the thoughts go the attention will be found.  It was through the purification of the heart (thoughts) that prophetic focus and concentration could be accomplished. For the student who followed the path of the prophetic in the ancient prophetic schools purity of thought comes from the discipline of filling the heart (thoughts) with the words of the Torah (scriptures). This is why the recitation of passages of scriptures such as the Shema (i.e. Hear O’ Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One...) were taught as a disciplined daily practice to all Israel. Purity of heart (thoughts) was taught as essential for one to be able to discern between good and evil both in this world and in the world of the spirit.

Above the level of the word was the power of the image or symbol.  As a picture is worth a thousand words, symbols were also employed as object of focus and attention not because the image of itself had any power but because of the word of God connected with those symbols.  As such, there were divine symbols or archetypes used a points of focus in spiritual endeavors.  Some of these symbols included the tree (menorah, as in the tree of life), a dove, a flame of fire, the star of David, letters if the alephbet, among many others.

No less important was the importance of the environment. Surrounding ourselves in set apart environments whether they be synagogues, temples, withdrawing to the wilderness, or a mountain top, or even a cave served as places of refuge and correction until the the spirit of man was willing and able to submit to the directions of the God. This withdrawal from the hustle and bustle of the world into places of quiet and solace are demonstrated by the Messiah:

"And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed." (Luke 5:16)

As well as the Prophet Enos:

"Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart. And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens. And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed." (Enos 1:3-5)

Our hearts (thoughts) are cluttered with the baggage we carry from the world.  It is often because of our environment that we cannot sit still for a moment to learn to quiet our thoughts and focus before being bombarded from the continual stimulus that comes from television, radio, family concerns, etc. For one to bond or ascend to God means that the individual or group is being filled with God:

"And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost." (3 Nephi 12:6)

If one's heart is already filled how then can we expect for God to be able to fill us with his spirit.  This is also one of the meanings of the Messiah when he said:

"And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better."  Luke 5:36-39)

Connecting or bonding with God is not about what we gain but what we are willing to leave behind. The baggage of the heart (guilt, tumult, pride, envy, fear, etc) must be willingly left behind before bonding with God becomes possible.  The presence of God in all places, circumstances, or conditions of the heart must be acknowledged in all things. It is the natural man who seeks to hide their nakedness before the all seeing eyes of YHVH:

"And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.

And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." (Genesis 3:8-10)

PRACTICING THE PRESENCE


One teaching passed down from Ancient Israel is the discipline of practicing the presence.  This discipline is summed up by two key scriptures Psalm 16:8 and Isaiah 6:3.

"I have set the YHVH always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved." (Psalm 16:8)

This scripture contained the teaching that cleared the heart of all the uncleanness we experience and partake of in this world. It was a practice to place the holy name of God everywhere and to acknowledge his presence both in the light and the darkness, in prosperity and suffering, in the evil we experience and the good.  Knowing the conflict, the chaos, and the contradiction that this earth experience produces causes us to feel the need to hide from the existence of God who sees all things, we often hide in shame. As one placed the name, prayed in the name, and took upon the name of God, they acknowledged his voice among all the trees of the Garden until they experienced the reality of Isaiah 6:3:

"And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory."

It was not sufficient that we simply believe in God.  We must learn to see him and his presence in all things on this earth- both the good and the bad.  In doing so we begin to come out from our hiding places.  In doing so we begin to know God.  This is why both in ancient Israel and even in the history of the restoration, men would mark their homes, their tools, their door frames, etc with the outward phrase, "Holiness To The Lord (YHVH)" or other instruments containing scriptures (i.e. mezuzah) because whether in life or death, sin or obedience, the acknowledgment of the presence of God in all things brought the person out from under the power and shame produced by our adversary and back into the presence of God and the path of true healing and redemption.  By putting up signposts (whether physical or spiritual) we open ourselves to the divine presence- we begin both outwardly and inwardly acknowledge his living presence or eye.  It was not the question of "Why bad things happen to good people" or the declaration that  "Prosperity follows the Righteous", but that the presence of God fills the whole earth in the here and now.  In fact we walk in it daily and with every breath we breathe.

This discipline of practicing or acknowledging that we live continually in the presence of God is also demonstrated by the teaching of the "eye" of God.  The Prophet Jacob declares:

"O, my beloved brethren, remember my words. Behold, I take off my garments, and I shake them before you; I pray the God of my salvation that he view me with his all-searching eye; wherefore, ye shall know at the last day, when all men shall be judged of their works, that the God of Israel did witness that I shook your iniquities from my soul, and that I stand with brightness before him, and am rid of your blood." (2 Nephi 9:44)

and

"But, notwithstanding the greatness of the task, I must do according to the strict commands of God, and tell you concerning your wickedness and abominations, in the presence of the pure in heart, and the broken heart, and under the glance of the piercing eye of the Almighty God." (Jacob 2:10)

The Prophets of Israel walked in the discipline of living/practicing the presence of God.  This discipline was taught to their students as in doing so they began to come out from their spiritual hiding places, experience their nakedness before God, and walk in the path of his presence in this world.  Their acknowledgment of God's presence in their heart (thoughts) and in the world around them was a key discipline by which they lived and governed their lives and in doing so unleashed a fundamental power of transformation.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Pathways Of The Prophetic- Prayer Circles and The Mystery Of The Aleph

"The grand key word was the first word Adam spoke and is a word of supplication...It is that key word to which the heavens is opened." (Joseph Smith, The Journals of William Clayton, June 15, 1844)

The pathway of the prophetic needs to be walked again.  The grand key words must once again be spoken and the throne of God must once again be approached. This calling upon the name after the manner of the ancients will open the way whereby any man or woman may converse with God.   It was taught in the ancient School of the Prophets that words mean things. They are instruments of power and transformation. But, it was not enough that one simply knows a word and has ritual in which they use it.

The first rule of approach was kavanah- sincere intention or direction of the heart.  No prayer or meditation was considered effective without sincere intention and desire. Without this sincere desire, the words would be like having the fastest car on the lot but with an empty gas tank. You may have the best machinery but with no fuel the machinery is useless.  This same rule was also communicated by the Prophet Moroni:

"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."  (Moroni 10:4)

The sincere intention or direction of the heart connected with pure love. When one is property fueled by sincere intention or strong passion they will experience the intense desire to approach God to seek his face and to seek the truth.  This desire to know God is as real and as intimate spiritually as the intimate physical relationship when Adam "knew" Eve.

The Power Of The Group


In the ancient Schools of the Prophets it was taught that a group of ten men formed a prayer group or minyan.  The purpose behind the group was that the magnification of desire, intention, and direction of the heart. It was taught that even if a person's intention is imperfect, if he prays with a group and the group has a oneness of desire or intention then because of the collective intention (however imperfect) the prayers will be heard.  This same principle of collective oneness and desire is also represented by what constitutes a circle of individuals for prayer or a prayer circle. Where oneness of desire exists the eternal fire is stoked and like incense upon an altar the prayers of desire ascend to the Throne of Heaven.   This symbol of desire as the flame which carriers pure prayer or intention to Heaven is what is symbolized by the horned altar before the veil before the Holy of Holies.


When a person approaches heaven with the desire to receive from God to bestow upon others true power is unleashed.  When two or more are gathered together offering to God the desire to receive to bestow upon each other and others outside the group without covetousness, the power of God is magnified exponentially.  This is the true meaning behind the power of the circle or what was termed anciently as the point within the circle- individuals and couples without covetousness offering their purest desire to receive to bestow to the God of Heaven.  When done in sincerity Heaven always responds in kind.


The Mystery Of The Aleph


Praying or meditating upon the names of God was a common practice taught in the Ancient School of the Prophets. The Power of the Holy Names of God is a discipline found within many of the remaining traditions of the House of Israel to this day.  Some choose to meditate upon the name YHVH or El Shaddai as a recitation, repetition, or for lack of a better word a mantra of prayer to focus their prayers of desire through and to God.  One of the most ancient disciplines was the specific meditation upon letters of the Hebrew Alephbet (alphabet) wherein it was taught lay certain spiritual devices that caused the spirit of man to resonate with the Spirit of God.  One such meditation was upon the Letter Aleph in the Hebrew Alephbet:



The Aleph represented the oneness of God, his throne, and reaches into what is termed Worlds Without End (Ayin Soph).  It's expression as a symbol, Aleph represents the organization of order or creation out of chaos. It represents the sacred breath being breathed into Adam and the first expression he uttered. It is the letter upon which when intentionally contemplated and meditated would draw Heaven and Earth together; connecting the worlds above with this world down below.  The discipline of the Aleph Prayer was passed down in some surviving traditions of Judaism and even then only passed on by word of mouth.  It was taught that by employing the prayer or meditation upon the Aleph one's voice of pure desire would ascend to Heaven before the sacred throne. It was considered a part of a very sacred discipline of prayer.

The letter Aleph while one is composed of three elements of letters in its outward representation. Aleph Lamed Peh.  Since man was fallen and unclean he could not enter directly into the presence of God. In order to connect with God the Aleph Prayer or Meditation was by tradition the manner by which fire from Heaven was called down to consume the sacrifice of which prayer was an integral part.   The Meditation or recitation of this ancient prayer was vocalized by praying/meditating/ mantra-ing the outward letters that composed the ALEPH in the reverse fashion as follows:

PEH LEH EL


While there are many who seek for God to hear the words that their mouths produce, it was taught anciently that the Prayer or Mediation upon the Aleph brought about a condition of the heart of oneness with God wherein true connection was established and Heaven and Earth Connected. This discipline among many other ancient disciplines of prayer/meditation were also preserved but were only taught among certain traditions within Judaism. In these traditions, it was taught that the language of God was a not only an instrument of creation wherein creation was sung into existence, but it was also an instrument of transformation, bonding, and unity for man in this world as well.In this state, the mind of God dwelt in the vessel of man and as such the living soul became a living Urim and Thummim.


Rather than treating the discipline like a magic word or ritual, it was seen as a focal point of sincere desire whereby an individual or group of individual could become one with the Spirit of God and create the conditions whereby God's will is completed on Earth as it is in Heaven.  The echoes of this discipline once existed in the restoration and among those familiar with what are termed the Mysteries of Godliness or Temple. Those who have ears to hear, will hear.






Sunday, June 24, 2018

Pathways of the Prophetic- Those Who Know and Those Who Believe



In the schools of the Prophets it was taught that there were two categories of people.  The first category is those who know from first hand experience of God and the world of the spirit.  The second category were the people who believed them but did not have direct, first hand experience of God or the world of the spirit.  The believers were the students or talmidim of those who knew such as the Messiah and the Prophets. 

The difference between one who knows and one who merely believes is that the "knower" is the one who makes the effort and sacrifice to surrender themselves as a vessel to God to complete his will upon the earth.  The believer, however, are those who are still in process of becoming and learning the pathway of God and the prophetic. The main difference being the distance traversed on the path. In Israel, true Prophets were the "Knowers" while their students who did yet have first hand experience were "Believers".

This same teaching is exemplified in the Book of Mormon by the Prophet Moroni:

"And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men. For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.

 And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfil and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him. And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men." (Moroni 7: 29-32)

In Israelite thought the ministration of angels was a direct experience with Heaven.  Those who received their teaching would be considered the Chosen Vessels, Prophets, or "Knowers".  These Chosen Vessels or Prophets would then take those teachings from Heaven and reveal them to the residue of men or "Believers" so that they too could learn and progress along the the pathway of the Prophetic back into the presence of God.   In ancient Israel those Chosen Vessels of Prophets were compared to the Sun while the believers were compared to the Moon.  The Sun as a symbol of a source of light while the moon reflecting the light which it receives from the Sun.

This same ancient principle as taught in ancient Israel was also revealed to Joseph Smith:

"These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.

 And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial, whose glory differs from that of the church of the Firstborn who have received the fulness of the Father, even as that of the moon differs from the sun in the firmament...

And the glory of the celestial is one, even as the glory of the sun is one.

And the glory of the terrestrial is one, even as the glory of the moon is one.

 And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world;

For these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas.

These are they who say they are some of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch;

But received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant.(D&C 76:71-72,96-101)

Here communicated in ancient symbolic language is a pattern of those who experience God directly and those who experience his Chosen Vessels and those who are believers who follow a specific Prophet or "knower".  The Messiah himself demonstrated this principle we he said, "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness." (John 12:46)

The Messiah and the Prophets were considered as lights to the people.  While they were living and among the people they delivered the teachings of bonding and ascending with God and were a living example of walking the path.  Once dead, all that was left are the teachings and the believers.  If the believers have never learned to experience the direct bonding with God they are only a reflector of the light like the moon is to the sun.  After a few generations, the light grows dimmer and all that is left is the skeleton of institutional religion with performances and ordinances replacing the direct experiential knowledge of God. 

As the light dimmed, institutional programs were developed in an attempt to maintain the life and charisma of the original teacher or prophet.  Without the connection with Heaven, the religious establishments of the day resorted to hyper emotionalism as well as hyper intellectualism to control the mass of believers.  While the institution continues to teach some of the original teachings of the original prophet who connected with Heaven, the crucial element of connected-ness is missing and they are unable to accomplish the original work of God.  This slow demise has been experienced by many whether it be Pharisees, Tzadokkim, Christians, etc. Those who were once called by God himself as, "The Apple of his eye" or "The righteous sons" soon became the persecutors of those who sought or displayed the direct connection with Heaven.