Wednesday, October 27, 2010

3 Nephi 14: 6

"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."
This is a preamble to what immediately follows. It is a caution about how to weigh what can be said, and what is to be kept private between a person and the Lord.
Almost without exception, people who are unable to keep sacred things which are most sacred will never receive exposure to the most sacred. The Temple ordinances are an elaborate test of ones trustworthiness. There are a variety of things designated as "most sacred" which are then "guarded by covenants and obligations" that require they not be revealed "except in a certain place" which will always be limited. The material then revealed is to be kept as "most sacred," though in truth, it is a test where symbolic information is imparted to allow the spiritually mature to learn by symbol some hidden meaning and mystery about God. To the immature, the material is worthless and meaningless. Nothing of value is gained. It is a symbol without an interpretation. It can only be an idol to them as they mistake the symbol for underlying meaning.

When a person treats the information in an appropriate way, they "prove" themselves (Abraham 3: 25) worthy of weightier information to be given them. (D&C 132: 20-21.) Then they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart, only according to the heed and diligence which another should give to the word. (Alma  12:9.)
What is holy belongs to those who make themselves holy through their repentance. It does not belong to the unclean, who are "dogs" and unrepentant.
When the price is paid, the person trusted, and the mysteries shown them, they possess pearls of great price. Such things do not belong to "swine" who are unclean and unrepentant, unwilling to do what is needed to qualify for the Lord's presence, unthankful and unholy.

Entrusting the things that are in truth "most sacred" to those who are not qualified will arouse their anger. They will "turn and rend you" because you have shown them something which excites their envy, jealousy, hatred and fear. They know you have something they lack. They resent you because of what they cannot easily obtain. Therefore, you must measure carefully what you give to others. The final arbiter of the decision to impart is not made by you, it is made by the Lord. 

Those who are eager to share with others any tidbit of information they learn about the sacred are not helping anyone, and may forfeit things themselves. Why would they do such a thing? Is it to make themselves look good; therefore vanity? Is it to try to help others? If it is to help, then the information should not be shared; the manner in which the information is gained should be shared. Teaching another the way to receive sacred information for themselves is charitable.  Showing off sacred information is worse than foolish, it will bless no one, and destroy both the unprepared audience and the unwise speaker.
I have tried to be an example of this principle. First I learned something, then I began to teach it. When teaching, I have carefully measured anything I have taught against the Lord's cautions and limitations. I have affirmed in the fewest words that the promises made by the Lord are true, and that I am a witness of their truth. But I have not shared anything beyond the process, which I have taught so others may learn how to proceed. It has not been about me, or about anything I may know. It has been about the Lord and the process to know Him. It is clear that some people are completely uninterested in anything other than some new disclosure, some new mystery unfolded. They are not interested in anything other than to be titillated. I cannot help them. I have nothing to offer. But if someone wants to approach God, then I may be able to teach something of value in what I've written. But not if they are unwilling to start at the first and proceed through everything I've written in the order they were written. Jumping to the end of the process is worthless. Gathering tidbits is unwise as it gives you only enough information to be dangerous. It is the path to follow Christ that matters.

Getting to know the Lord is the definition of salvation. (John 17: 3.) Getting to know me will save no one. It is foolish to consider anything or anyone more important than learning the means to come back to the Lord.