Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hymn - The Spirit of God

A prophet has said it is our duty, as members of the LDS church, to preach and teach. He also said we should “push the envelope.” I decided to take up that charge and resurrect my blog. The idea for today's post came during the closing song in Relief Society.

The Spirit of God

1. The Spirit of God like a fire is burning!
The latter-day glory begins to come forth;
The visions and blessings of old are returning,
And angels are coming to visit the earth.

We'll sing and we'll shout with the armies of heaven,
Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb!
Let glory to them in the highest be given,
Henceforth and forever, Amen and amen!

2. The Lord is extending the Saints' understanding,
Restoring their judges and all as at first.
The knowledge and power of God are expanding;
The veil o'er the earth is beginning to burst.

3. We'll call in our solemn assemblies in spirit,
To spread forth the kingdom of heaven abroad,
That we through our faith may begin to inherit
The visions and blessings and glories of God.

4. How blessed the day when the lamb and the lion
Shall lie down together without any ire,
And Ephraim be crowned with his blessing in Zion,
As Jesus descends with his chariot of fire!

I love this song. I always have.

I have learned so many things since I last attended a church meeting a month ago, plus I'm in a ward I moved out of over three years ago. I suppose it was a combination of both that brought me to the perspective I had as I attended the block.

The visions and blessings of old are returning,
And angels are coming to visit the earth.

What do we think of when we sing those words? I used to think of Joseph Smith and his era, yet are these not things we should be experiencing today? In the last several months, I have met people who have seen visions, including angels and even the Lord, Himself (their fruits bear record that this is so). I have seen the Lord and angels in dreams, but not in waking visions nor personally. I have met many people who, like myself, have gifts of the Spirit. These gifts are varied and assorted.

The Lord is extending the Saints' understanding

Has our understanding been extended, or do we know less than did those in Joseph's day, though we may tell ourselves that we know more and that there are some things that Joseph just did not understand (even though he gazed into heaven a whole lot more than 5 minutes, and most people since his time have not gazed into heaven at all, especially those who write our lesson manuals)? How is it that we understand more than he? How can that be so if we have not entertained Gods and angels?

Restoring their judges and all as at first.

Judges? Did Christ intend to restore judges? Or was He shooting for an ancient societal order, such as was found in Enoch's day? Was He shooting for leaders we were to obey at the peril of our souls or was He shooting for a patriarchal order, and a society in which each person would literally know the Lord as we know our siblings and best friends?

The knowledge and power of God are expanding;

I put forth that the knowledge and power of God are expanding, but not necessarily in our meetings. Christ, knowledge (actual knowledge, not Mormonese “knowledge” which is, “I really, really believe” at the most) of Him, and the powers of heaven are there seeking us, begging us to put our minds and lives in order, to turn and face Christ and only Christ.

Knowledge: I know my Savior lives because I saw Him. I touched Him. He spoke to me as one person speaks to another, in my own language, using my own name.

Power: That which heals both body and soul; that which enlightens and enlarges; that which literally moves mountains and trees, changes the course of rivers, and calls down fire from heaven.

The veil o'er the earth is beginning to burst.

Truly, it was beginning in Joseph's time. Have we shut the heavens? Do we believe they are open to only an elite few? Or do we understand Joseph's teachings that the heavens must open to all who hope to stand in Christ's presence when He comes? If we cannot stand in His presence now, what makes us think we can stand in His presence when He comes in the glory of His kingdom with the Fathers?

We'll call in our solemn assemblies in spirit,
To spread forth the kingdom of heaven abroad,

I have no idea what this couplet is even attempting to say. Do we honestly know what a “solemn assembly” is? Is it the meetings we have today when we dedicate a temple or sustain church leaders by quorum in a general conference? I'm not so sure that's what one really is. And how do we call these things “in spirit”? What does that even mean? And how is this to spread for the kingdom of heaven abroad? If anyone understands what the author of the lyrics meant when he wrote this, please enlighten me.

Also, the “kingdom” is not the “church” which, today, is a legal corporation consisting of only one person. Everyone else is “collateral” so to speak, but even in this abstract portion that comprise the people who have been baptized into said organization, the church is not really synonymous with the kingdom. The kingdom of God pulls “fish” out of the church, but not all in the church will go to the kingdom and not all outside of the church will be denied the kingdom which is coming. (How can one be baptized into an organization that is comprised of only one person is beyond me. It must be the abstract portion, the portion that has a membership number assigned, that pays tithes and such. Where these people fit in the legal entity of the corporation is totally beyond me.)

That we through our faith may begin to inherit
The visions and blessings and glories of God.

Have we done this? Have many since the time of Joseph Smith? I have begun to know some who claim these experiences (I mentioned this above). Have they really had those experiences or do they just think they have? Well, that's the kicker, you know. It is impossible for us to actually know what another has seen or experienced, especially if we have not also experienced and seen that thing.

Instead of arguing whether Denver Snuffer or this person or that person has actually seen the Savior, perhaps it behooves each of us to search after the Lord ourselves, asking Him what we lack. Studying the scriptures as if we have no clue what they mean (relying on the Holy Spirit to teach us the meaning). Shedding the notion that the Holy Ghost speaks to us through causing us to “feel good.” It is entirely possible for the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit to speak to us through “pure knowledge that enlightens the mind” - it is entirely possible that the warm fuzzies and tears of HeartSell (TM) has nothing to do with the Holy Ghost.

Perhaps we should study the Lectures on Faith which were considered scripture, and which were removed arbitrarily. The people had no choice. They were informed that the lectures were not scripture, and that lie has been perpetuated.

Perhaps we should be willing to sacrifice all to the Lord: our reputations, our “safety,” our time, our preconceived ideas, our false traditions, our money, our friends, our family, our physical belongings, our membership in any and all organizations, our lives (whether by living or dying), our hobbies, our lusts, the sins which easily beset us (it may also be a good idea to discover which things are actually sins and which are not), and our idols (the men that we slavishly follow as if they were God, ignoring D&C 76 which points out that followers of men, even if the men be true prophets, are cast into hell).

Then, verse 4 can come about. By the way, I looked up the words “Ephraim be crowned” and found only three references:

1 WOE to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine

(Old Testament | Isaiah 28:1)

3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet

(Old Testament | Isaiah 28:3)

32 And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim.

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 133:32)

I hope I am not coming off harsh. I deleted my previous blog for two reasons: I did not esteem myself righteous enough to preach and teach, and I did not wish to harm anyone's testimony. I bring it back because I was told that it was a member's duty to preach and teach, and it was advised to “push the envelope” as I mentioned at the beginning of this post. May God bless you – and may God bless me to only preach and teach as I feel directed by the Spirit and not by my pride.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting that the only mention of Ephraim having a crown points out that that crown is pride. The other reference is in regards to someone else receiving a crown, and that crown is glory. Oh, how foolish and how full of pride we are. I pray we repent before we are destroyed, before we go through the hell of destruction that our spiritual predecessors went through (not pioneers. I am referring to the times Jerusalem was destroyed, the destructions of the Jaredites, Nephites, and the pre-flood peoples.