Journey 0001 ~ I Testify

The Spirit of God intervened and drew me out. What has happened since my last writing and this moment is difficult to encapsulate. I have been baptized into the church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints and I am not sure that my mind has caught up to this new reality. I find myself wanting to be still and listen to that quiet but intensely personal voice of the Spirit. Last weekend I went into the Temple and participated in the baptism for those who have passed beyond the veil. The people of this community are invested into one another’s lives and to the service of Christ. I do believe that Joseph Smith was tasked with overcoming the work of Apostasy established in Europe and restoring the reality of the Work of Jesus Christ. There are elements of my family life that have been restored to me. I had been temporarily paralyzed in finishing my schoolwork and I suspected that my Father God desired to grab my attention before moving forward with teaching so that I could remember the purpose behind that calling. What I had not been able to accomplish in three months prior to baptism I was suddenly released to fulfill in a week. I am about to graduate this weekend with a nova burning in my heart ignited by purpose reborn.

So I am driven both as a new Mormon convert and a man devoted to fearless writing in my day to day life to document in this blog my journey in these “days of my probation.” Let’s see how this unfolds. I never imagined myself wearing the white shirt. I testify to the reality of the Holy Spirit’s leading in my life. I also testify to my gratitude for the work of the LDS missionaries and the embrace of the Mormon community in facilitating this connection with my God. I testify this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Word 0002 ~ I, Nephi

Lehi and his people arrive in the promised land - Arnold Friberg
Lehi and his people arrive in the promised land – Arnold Friberg

I have been talking with Mormon missionaries and visiting a local LDS church. They encouraged me to read from the Book of Mormon which they count as guiding authority for their own spiritual path. I fear no new ideas and I am open to all exploration in the world of the Spirit. I have finished reading First Nephi. It focuses on a family whose Patriarch is Lehi and married to Sariah with four sons; Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi, in the order of age. Laman and Lemuel were the constantly reprimanded sons whose faith was often subject to evaporation under pressure. Sam was faithful and supportive of his father and his youngest brother who were both gifted visionaries inspired by prophetic capacity. They were a Jewish family of the tribe of Joseph, with the Egyptian language and Hebrew belief system. Lehi received warning from God that Jerusalem was coming under judgment and facing the coming of the Babylonian captivity. Lehi sought to warn his neighbors in an attempt to alter that fate or extend escape to those who would listen. He came under assault and after prayer, left his riches and residence behind and took his family into the wilderness for refuge. They recovered sacred and administratively important words recorded on brass plates at the direction of God, probably in preparation for their long term departure. Lehi and Nephi have visions of the Tree of Life. They are directed to migrate to a “Land of Promise” that is not Israel. It is the American continent. Nephi received directions to build a ship and off they go. They arrive in the new Promised Land around 590 BC. That is the historical gist of the book as I understand it.

I took an Integrated Arts course in college and we discussed the willing suspension of disbelief in order to enjoy a movie or a story. It is basically necessary to ignite the imagination and explore the creation of other minds. I did the same thing as I began reading in the Book of Mormon. These were the internal critics I had to silence in order to eat the popcorn and watch the story unfold:

  1. The Primary Prophet of the Mormon church, Joseph Smith, lived from 1805 to 1844 in the United States and was the writer of these words. He is rewriting history as prophecy. He synthesizes new testament ideas into an old testament environment. (Missionary Response was that he has faced some doubts himself in younger years but they are no different than problems with the Bible that has come under intellectual criticism. Ultimately it is the reality of what it produces in his own life and how empowering it is for him to face daily living. Good answer, I thought. Thomas Jefferson rewrote the Bible removing some of the “fantastical portions” and Thomas Paine wrote critically of the Scriptures in his book “The Age of Reason.” There are many writings confronting the internal consistency of the Bible. See wikipedia link here.There is also a site called the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible that confronts contradictions in the Bible, the Koran, and in the Book of Mormon. See link here. I will write separately on my own beliefs concerning these problems in a later post.)   ———-
  2. In my social science studies I know of no anthropological studies that support the idea of records being kept on metal plates. (Missionary Response was that there are Mormon authorities who have gathered anthropological information that support the prospect of recording information in such a durable fashion. He said he would find a link for me, but I found one myself. I found it interesting and I could see the benefits of a people given to migration to develop such a system. See link here.)   ——–
  3. The 3 and 8 witnesses that verify the supernatural intervention of the writing of the Book of Mormon had human problems such as vested interests, family ties, susceptibility to magical thinking, and ultimately that all eleven ended up leaving the LDS church. (Missionary preemptive apologetic mention of this problem caused me to check it out. I found a link that confronted this issue. The missionary believed that it was telling that even though these witnesses suffered human problems they never recanted their testimony. Good enough to move on. See link here.)

There are terms in the book I was not familiar with such as “ministry of my people” in Chapter 9. The missionary explained this to be a keeping and promoting of the word of their God. In Chapter 10 I ran into another phrase, “days of probation,” which refers to the fallen state of humanity.

In chapter 11 verse 13 the Holy Spirit appears to Nephi in the form of a human, talking in human speak. When the Holy Spirit says “Look!” the Spirit has disappeared and Nephi’s vision is directed from Jerusalem to Nazareth and sees a Virgin. Now for me, this shows the Holy Spirit appearing in one of It’s many forms but reveals Itself to be the Mother God. The Mormon missionary gave me a bit of a sideways look when I suggested such. So moving on.

The Mormon concept of hell seems to be equipped with a few more chances to evade eternal separation from God including a time in the spirit realm to be taught prior to a final decision. Chapter 14 seemed to touch on the 3 hells of the New Testament, but the missionaries said there is one hell that is hard to get to and you have to really want such a fate. The concept of the Church of the Devil is mentioned but it appears to be something nebulous and not associated with a particular group, unless it is the “everyone else” concept of being a Gentile.

Overall, I gained more from the personologies (see About page) of the young missionaries than the First Book of Nephi.

 

Elect 0004 ~ White Shirts

Mormon Origami - Index Cards with Message on Back - Loved the Creativity
Mormon Origami Index Cards with message on back – Loved the Creativity

The knock on the door to my home jerked me from my routine of maintaining refuge. I opened the door to a couple of white shirts with ties and smiling faces sent from the Mormon Church. For some reason I was open and attracted to the prospect of discussing spiritual things. I arranged to meet them to protect the integrity of the refuge and to provide a comfortable setting for the missionaries to present their story. I was up front that the prospect of me becoming a Mormon was next to nil, but they assured me that it was not necessary that I join the church. The secondary goal of their meeting was to encourage spiritual development. We had the cards on the table and it was time to engage.

Our meetings were held at the local LDS (Latter Day Saints) church. I was given a tour of the church building on our first meeting. For the past three weeks I have attended their church services and every Sunday they partake of the communion with torn up loaf bread and water. I have come to see that this is pragmatic if you take of communion every Sunday. During the course of our private meetings I have seen many missionaries with two that are primary for contact with me. Many are from the American West but I did encounter a South African. I have enjoyed encountering so many different personalities.

I have read the synopsis material they have provided that asserts Joseph Smith a prophet tasked with restoring the Christian Gospel, and their particular take on the salvation message. I was also given a copy of the Book of Mormon and I will talk more of what that reading inspires a bit later on.

I am doing all this to follow the leading of my Gomu. My personology (See my about page) is able to endure and flex with new ideas. The Mormons do not hold to the trinity in doctrine, but in practice I have found that to matter little in daily living. There is the new discussion of a pre-Earth existence and their reality that we as spirit beings planned what we would endure and encounter here on Earth. I like the idea that has the potential to alter life perspective and encourage a relinquishment of the victim’s card in life. Our life is not just part of God’s plan, it is part of our own. How empowering is that!

Another new idea is that the Fall in the Garden of Eden as also part of God’s plan. Without going into great detail I find the overall three pillar plan to be quite resonant. It is resistant to the Roman plan of “In Hoc Signo Vinces.” I like the fact that this church was established in the wet cement period of American history and that it is useful in the perpetuation of the Revolutionary process ignited in this “promised land.”

 

GOMU 0001 ~ Waiting to be Discovered

 

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How very true this has been for me. Thank-you for sharing – you know who you are.

“I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward the consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it-or my observation of it-is temporary?” ― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Spirit 0006 ~ White Buffalo Calf Woman

wbcw-maryselfridge

I do not understand much about the Lakota prophesy concerning the appearance of the white buffalo calf. The story, as I know it, goes like this. Long ago, two Lakota braves where out hunting and they came upon an apparition, a beautiful woman. One of the braves grew hungry with lust and moved to take the young woman, and with the power of a Goddess, struck him dead. The other brave fell to the ground in due obeisance. When She had his attention, She spoke;

Good things I am bringing, something holy to your nation. A message I carry for your people from the buffalo nation. Go back to the camp and tell the people to prepare for my arrival. Tell your chief to put up a medicine lodge with twenty-four poles. Let it be made holy for my coming.

calfwomanmen

After four days, there was a face to face meeting between these native American tribes and their female deity. She instructed them in the ways of sacred service and the Seven Sacred Rituals. The resulting community has a deep respect for women. “When Roman Catholic missionaries first came among the Lakota, their stories of the Virgin Mary and Jesus became associated with the legend of White Buffalo Calf Woman. The syncretic practice of identifying Mary with PtesanWi and Jesus with the chununpa continues among Lakota Christians to this day.” This quote was extracted this day, October 29, 2016, from a website that might tell this story better than I do.

[http://www.crystalinks.com/buffalocalfwoman.html]

This site talks about the White Buffalo Calf Prophesy

[https://nativeheritageproject.com/2012/05/19/white-buffalo-calf-prophecy/]

I bring it up, because many elements, as I understand, have been fulfilled. And because of this event:

(1) bisons from videobuzz on Vimeo.

Spirit 0005 ~ “Live Long and Prosper” says the Shekhina Presence

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—Picture Hyperlinked—

 

SOURCE:  Leonard Nimoy – Shekhina 

Extracted 29 October 2016 [ http://www.rmichelson.com/artists/leonard-nimoy/shekhina/leonard-nimoy-on-sex-and-religion/ ]

This brings me to a spiritual experience I had as a young single airman in the USAF on Robins AFB. It was catalyzed by a particular scene in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

I came back to the barracks in awe, in love, and then asked for a scripture that would confirm that what I was experiencing was real, and heard within, Psalm 127.

I went to my church and this was confirmed in a way that was undeniable to me. It is my story. It is a personal and intimate, a very sacred union.

Spirit 0004 ~ God as a Dove

Matthew 3:13-17 Amplified Bible (AMP)

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan [River], to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to prevent Him [vigorously protesting], saying, “It is I who need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” 15 But Jesus replied to him, “Permit it just now; for this is the fitting way for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John permitted [it and baptized] Him. 16 After Jesus was baptized, He came up immediately out of the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he (John) saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him (Jesus), 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased and delighted!”

The Father speaks, the Son submits, and the Spirit appears as a dove, the feminine aspect of God. El Shaddai.

Spirit 0003 ~ Her Mysterious Ways

Isaiah 55: 8-9

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

The ways of the Spirit on the Earth are filled with fertility, destruction, and a wild embrace. Whatever has been written or thought about women, is infinitely true of the most pure essentially feminine Spirit of God. The El Shaddai.

Inspired by this reality, William Cowper wrote in a popular English Hymn that “God moves in a mysterious way.” Likewise, I think the Irishman Bono of the group U2 wrote about Her in the song “Mysterious Ways.”

I extracted these words from the website http://www.songfacts.com and this is the link to the specific URL.

From Into The Heart by Niall Stokes: “It’s a song about a man living on little or no romance,” Bono says. “It’s a song about women – or a woman – but it’s addressed to him.” Bono talks a bit about theology and about El Shadi – the third and least used name for God in the Bible, which translates as “the breasted one.” “I’ve always believed that the spirit is a feminine thing,” he says. “Mysterious Ways” is not about a particular woman. It is about women in general, and the way they entrance, and often dominate men. Says Bono, “At times I do tend to idealize women. It’s easy to fall into the trap of separating them into angels and devils for the sake of the drama. But there’s no way that there’s ever anything anti-women involved. Our songs are not politically correct. They are written from a man’s point of view. He’s wrestling with different things, there’s a flash of anger and hurt here and there. But I don’t think women come out badly.”

Proverbs 8, 1-2: “Does not Wisdom call, and Understanding lift up Her voice?
On the top of the heights beside the way, where the paths meet, wisdom takes Her stand.”

I believe that God is a balance of masculine and feminine energy, but when you talk about that “Still quiet voice” that guides you, I believe that to be the Infinite Feminine. Of course, our limited and confused views of what is man and woman is going to make it difficult to grasp the strength of this dichotomy. Nevertheless, I find it very useful in my own spiritual journey.

Spirit 0002 ~ “Wherever this Gospel is Preached …” Woman

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I love this Spirit of Truth that the Christ promised would arrive after He departed us.  I have decided to call this female aspect of the Infinite God, Spirit-Lover.  It seems to be the most accurate name I can find.  The others are too distant.  That is, they contain connotations that interfere with the very intimate and real relationship that She has developed in my own personal experience.  When I feel Her with me, everything is all right.  I am comforted and see clear paths through the labyrinth of my anguished soul.  She cares and nurtures but is not an enabler of weakness.  She inspires me.  She co-creates with me.

What is so good about the Good News, the Gospel?  Could it be that it is the eternal union promised with the Holy Spirit, the female aspect of God? It seems that the primary mission of the Christ was to connect us with the Spirit-Lover.  I believe Mary played a role that symbolized the anointing of the Holy Spirit when she anointed His head with oil.

 

MATTHEW 26

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

 

MATTHEW 3

16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove (feminine symbol) and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

 

MARK 14

And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.

But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

JOHN 12

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you,  but you will not always have me.”

I feel Joy Williams has done the best I have seen in portraying the female aspect of God, the Holy Spirit, El Shaddai, the Shekhina Presence, in her song, Woman (Oh Mama).

 

Christ 0001~ It is Better for You that I Go

My paraphrase of the Gospel of John, Chapter 16, verses 1 through 16:

[June 3, 2013 at 1:26 am]
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John 16

Verse 1

I told you these things so that you would not get blindsided when they come to pass.  I do not want the events that are coming to pass to undermine the faith that we have built together.

Verse 2

This is what is going to happen.  They will expel you from their established, mainstream religious organizations.  As time goes on, shunning you into religious exile will not be enough.  The deceptiveness of centralized religion will cause them to believe that killing you is an act of service to God.

Verse 3

In those times, you have to understand that your ability to directly communicate with the Infinite Father, and your continuation of my teachings that are so strange to them, will make them afraid.  They know religion.  They do not know the Father or me.

Verse 4

I have told you about these things before they actually occur, so that you would not see them as some failure in your connection with God.  I did not talk to you about this in the beginning, because I was right here with you to provide reassurance and guidance.

Verse 5

But the time has come for me to go to the One who sent me.  As you have become aware of this approaching reality, you are not seeking to learn more from me by asking me the obvious question, where am I going?

Verse 6

Instead, your minds are consumed with the sorrow of loss, because I am talking openly with you about my departure.  You see only death and not what is beyond.

Verse 7

However, I am being absolutely truthful with you when I tell you that is to your benefit that I go away, not your loss.  If I stay, then I will be in no place to open a portal between you and the great female aspect of God; She who is the great Comforter, Counselor, Advocate, Helper, the Mother Goddess, the Great Womb of the Universe.  When I go away, I will bring you in close relationship to Her.

Verse 8

And whenever She manifests Herself through you or others, She will work to teach all humanity about the sickness of sin caused by the human death intoxication; the empowerment of being true to yourself, that is your righteousness, the key to your immortality; and about judgment, the ability to vanquish illusion and distinguish the eternal.

Verse 9

It will be necessary for Her to focus in on sin sickness, because the religious kingdoms do not trust my teachings and will screw them up in order to insure their priestly thrones keep a place of dominance in society.

Verse 10

She will also teach about righteousness, because I have overcome death and take up residence outside this world of illusion.  I am the first example of the transformative power of my teachings, and she will show individuals how to do the same.  She will lead you into all truth in my absence.

Verse 11

She will teach mankind to embrace judgment by demonstrating the illusion of this current existence, because the spirit-ruler She used to maintain this holographic universe has completed his mission, and the usefulness of the power structure of tyranny has come to an end.

Verse 12

I have so many things I still need to teach you, but you simply are not ready to hear me now.  The lessons I have given you are still incomplete, because of your untransformed nature.

Verse 13

But when She, the Spirit of Truth comes, She will carefully guide you into the necessary all-Truth transformation.  What She has to give is not a new doctrine, but a training to hear the voice of the Infinite Father for yourselves.  She will show you how this is to unfold within you and what She reveals will be specific to you.

Verse 14

She will honor and glorify Me helping you to truly see My manifested form, because She will transfer what I have achieved and put it into you, so that it will no longer be a mystery, as it is now.

Verse 15

Let me see if I can help you understand the significance of what I am telling you.  All the infinite existence that is within the Father is within Me.  She will persistently work to duplicate this manifested eternal infinity that I have achieved and put it into you.

Verse 16

In a little while you will no longer see me as mortal flesh, for I am about to take a form that is beyond this life, and then you will truly see Me.  Maybe all of what I am telling you will make more sense then.