I've been thinking on the different kinds of questions I get, and what those questions reflect about the one asking. There are two conditions that cannot be overcome by me or any other person by answering your question. The first one is your insecurities. The other is your curiosity. Your insecurities about whatever is going on in your life will not go away because you received an answer to a question. Your curiosity will not be satisfied by hearing a spiritual experience recounted by another person.
Insecurities are a result of a lack of faith. You deserve them. You have not acquired knowledge yet. You have them as a gift, as a warning that you have not yet received what you need. Nor have you developed faith yet. I've given you a post that repeats very important and true doctrine from the Lectures on Faith. It is a blueprint for how you develop faith. I cannot do it for you. Neither can Joseph or Jesus Christ. Faith comes from within you, developed by the same process through which every man who has ever had faith developed it. There are no shortcuts, no independent conferral by sprinkling something on you, and no method different than what has always been required. To the extent I am able to explain the process, I have done so in The Second Comforter. If you are still insecure, then you have not done what that book teaches you to do. Getting an answer from me, or from any other man, will not replace the hollow feeling inside you springing from the absence of saving faith.
The scriptures are filled with spiritual experiences and doctrine. Adding another account to those already there will not benefit you nor bring you closer to developing faith. It will not fill you. That is why my experiences have never been told. (Only in my testimony of the truthfulness of what I teach have I touched briefly upon my experiences.) The focus of all I have done is doctrine. Teaching correct principles will allow you to both govern and develop yourself.
Asking for details from my experiences will add absolutely nothing to you. Those experiences will only weaken you. It will also weaken me. It will make me seem more than I am. It will cause you to surrender to another the responsibility devolving upon yourself. You will only err in thinking that having another "spiritual story" to retell has made you closer to the Lord. It doesn't happen that way. Get your own spiritual experiences. Then, if you want more, keep them sacred. That is what I do. I teach principles. I do not reveal experiences.
I read many years ago about Abraham being the "friend of God." I read also in the D&C about the Lord calling some early Saints His "friends." As I reflected upon that word ("friend") I thought about what it meant ("friendship"). After pondering the word for many days, and observing the people around me, thinking about what I saw in society, and considered the sermons I heard in church, I reached the conclusion that there wasn't a "friend" of God upon the earth any longer.
As I considered the conclusion, I thought about it from God's perspective. What must it mean to a Heavenly Father who has no friend upon the earth. How must He sorrow over His children who have departed from friendship. The thought grew in me until I determined I would become the "friend" of God; not for my sake, nor for any benefit which may come to me because of it. I thought of it only as a way to honor Him; to show Him that despite earth and hell there would yet be another "friend" of His upon the earth.
I have remained true to that determination from that time till now. It defines the choices I have made, the opportunities I have forfeited, the places I have been, and the doors which have opened. I may not be much of anything in this world, but I do have a Friend whose love I value and whose companionship I cherish. If I were to tell you all the details of that it would do you no good and would betray trust.
Asking about it is the clearest indication that you have misunderstood both the process and what I am trying to do to help others.
For me, what you have written in this post makes perfect sense...however, this particular forum (Blog) lends itself to a certain type of intimacy which many of your readers and students of the scriptures and the teachings of the Prophet Joseph long to receive at the feet of one "who teaches with power and authority", as described in Alma 17:3. This type of closeness to a teacher in GD class or Priesthood/RS classes is all too rare. Your blog lends itself to a much higher level of thinking than that which is presented in our other classes, (which in itself is a very sad commentary on the level of teaching that occurs nowadays).ReplyDelete
There is a closeness and a level of security when like minded individuals converse about or seek the advancement of another's understanding of a Gospel truth...isn't that what teaching is all about? Isn't the goal of a Teacher to assist in enhancing the faith of those who are truly seeking, as distinguished from answering idle questions of no substance?
This post led me to search out something I remembered Joseph to have taught:
TPJS: Section One 1830-34, p.11
"Search the scriptures--search the revelations which we publish, and ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, to manifest the truth unto you, and if you do it with an eye single to his glory nothing doubting, He will answer you by the power of His Holy Spirit. You will then know for yourselves and not for another. You will not then be dependent on man for the knowledge of God; nor will there be any room for speculation. No; for when men receive their instruction from Him that made them, they know how He will save and learn what portion of them belongs to you and the people of the nineteenth century."
I'm distinguishing between questions which are good, appropriate and I try to answer on the one hand, and questions which essentially want to know about things which could not be of any of any benefit to someone on the other hand. Hearing another "inspirational story" is NOT what people need. They need to obtain their own inspirational, profound and intimate knowledge of God. They need to develop capacities within themselves which the Gospel requires everyone to develop.ReplyDelete
I will answer questions which I think will help people, elevate them, and bring them closer to God. I will not entertain or profane by putting something on display with is purely personal.
The idea that spiritual messages were all meant to be shared with everyone, all the time, has somehow become associated with me. I have been one of the most discrete teachers in the Church. The subjects about which I write may be sacred, even holy. But I do not discuss them in an inappropriate way. I know the difference and never cross the line.
Questions which ask for answers which would be over the line show that some who ask here simply do not understand the difference. This post was intended to help them become aware such a line exists. Maybe they might then go back, pay more attention, and discover what and how it is I teach.
I am trying to be of benefit to others. That is succeeding in a few cases. But it is not understood by another significant number of people. Hopefully things become more clear as they read more.
This is just my opinion, but I believe that the Lord has many friends still on earth. I see people all around me who serve and serve and serve, always tending to the needs of others -- people who are selfless and humble, kind and generous. They may or may not be Gospel scholars in one sense, but they surely are friends to Him that made us all.ReplyDelete
A "friend" to the Lord has a more personal meaning. How many friends do you have that you don't want to speak with face to face? If I have a friend, I want to personally get to know him/her. To converse often.ReplyDelete
Service to others is definately part of the path to being a true, intimate friend with the Lord whom we seek. But don't let that water down what it truly means to be friends with Him.
That there wasn't a "friend" of God around you is very interesting. From your studying, what are some of the qualifications of a true "friend?" I like the above post, but wonder what else there is to say on the subject? I will study it on my own, but in the meantime I would like any thoughts on what this means.ReplyDelete
John 15: 14ReplyDelete
14 Ye are my afriends, if ye do whatsoever I bcommand you.
John 15:14 ... and apparently you can't fully do what He commands you with scriptures alone. "We have a Bible and have enough of His words" is the false cry of those who think they are friends because they bought their new quad with cross references. The Lord elevates the worth of scriptures but stops it short of becoming an object of worship when He says "search the scriptures, for in them ye THINK ye have eternal life." There seems to be a bit of humor in that phrase, although it mainly delineates the true place of recorded words of God. It implies that THINKING you have eternal life, or IMAGINING it may be an early step towards it, but it is most definitely NOT the same thing. The same goes for temple ordinances that are still simply practice, but have powerful effects upon the mind and emotions. Just remember, as Jesus said, no matter how powerful the spiritual experience through scripture and the ordinances, they are still merely THINKING you have the real thing. When you have the real thing, you know independent of what you think about it. Some-One else champions your status and short of sabotaging it, you can't change the fact that you have the promise of eternal life (when you actually have it) by changing your opinion about it. Some-One else's opinion remains the same and you can be reminded about it as often as you need that comfort. Merely understanding, however powerful the emotion, what eternal life means in detail is not the same as being told what rung of the ladder YOU are on. But you have to know what what the ladder looks like in order to recognize being told where YOU are at on it, so scriptures and ordinances are important in that regard. Deeper understanding usually accompanies being "there" on a particular rung because you actually see from that higher vantage point things you couldn't consider by merely reading about or practicing that level, even though the practice motivated you to climb there, and may've been part of the climb itself.ReplyDelete