Journey 0003 ~ The “Something More” Collaboration

My Father passed away on the 8th of August and I have experienced a period of breathing out my spirit energy. I have been unable to write. I have not been lost in grief because his passing was as it should be. He was surrounded by family on both sides of the Veil in those final moments. He was entirely ready to go. I had time to lovingly release him. I had no regrets because I was able to show my love and respect for him in word and deed.

Now I am getting my footing again.

This blog was a collaborative work between two like-minded individuals born of our connection in AA. The restorative concept of choosing a God of my own understanding brought the two of us together to write. I have since joined the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints – the Mormons. My writing partner is resistant to religious expression, so we have come to a bit of a fork in the road in our own spiritual cohession. We have discussed the possibility of establishing separate blogs. Yet our collaborative work has inspired us both to write.

There are others we work with from time to time and the discussion has been lengthy, confrontational, and yet we all orbit around the idea that there is something more than any of us are seeing. That feeling described in the movie Matrix is something we all grapple with regardless of the divergent paths we have chosen or that have chosen us.

There are now five of us in this team, feeding this blog. J-Endigar is the actual creator of this Temple of GOMU and his writing will retain the black.

I am FQ and my writing will be blue from now own. There are three other writers who have agreed to contribute; GF will write in purple, JE’s words will be red, and DL has chosen green. Our  differing thoughts will probably set us apart as well. 

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Journey 0002 ~ Honor thy Father . . .

. . . and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee (Exodus 20:12).

My mother and Father loved one another during their Earthly union. Prior to her death, Mom was concerned about leaving Dad alone to face the remainder of his days in solitude. I had recently survived the hell of an unexpected divorce. I told her I would love for him to come live with me. Thus began our union of my impulsive creativity with his persistent and hopeful stability. I learned more about his life and the way he perceives family and devotion. He gained the vicarious pleasure of being witness to my adventures, sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic – but never boring. Our last decade together is gold stored away. It is precious.

At the beginning of this year he went to the hospital with double pneumonia and came home diagnosed with an advanced case of COPD. He is on hospice and I am honored to be able to give back a little of what he has given me. Although his strength has improved over the past few months, his breathing is still a challenge.

I am grateful to have finished my graduate studies and to have connected with an Church fellowship before this new normal arrived. We will travel this final stretch together, God be willing.

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.