Sunday, February 19, 2017

Trusting Jesus

This morning, during the sacrament of the Lord's supper, a memory came back to me, as well as insights about it, and I'd like to share it.

I used to be very afraid of heights. When I was a teenager, I was at Lagoon (an amusement park north of Salt Lake City, Utah) with my sister, her husband, and their two children. We were near the ferris wheel and wanted to go to the other side of the park. Above our heads was a ride. It went from one side of the park to the other, and all you did on the ride was travel from one side to the other, high above the park. My brother-in-law and my 2 or 3-year-old niece were going to ride and my sister was going to walk. My brother-in-law was a big, solid guy.

I was torn. I really wanted to ride so I could see the view, but was terribly afraid to do so. I finally decided to follow my brother-in-law. They put the three of us in one of the seats which, to my horror, had no place to put our feet (I'm sure it was to make it easier to get on and off the ride, as it was constantly moving). I really wanted to jump out and say, "No way, I'm not doing that!" But I kept quiet, and it was soon too late to do anything to escape except jump out, which would have hurt a lot.

I put my arms around my brother-in-law's neck and hid my face in his shoulder. Gradually, after I saw that having no footrest didn't make me fall out, I got brave enough to peek out. That led to slowly looking at the scenery until, about halfway through the ride, I was looking at everything. We saw my sister with the baby in the baby-backpack, the other rides, the concession stands, the parking lot.

The ride became enjoyable. I may have still held on to my brother-in-law's arm, but I was no longer terrified. I wasn't even fearful. (That didn't remove my fear of heights, by the way.)

As that experience was brought to my mind today, this thought accompanied it: Christ is my rock. Jesus is my solid foundation. As my brother-in-law was my rock that helped me overcome my fear during that ride, so Jesus is there to help me overcome all fear. Also, the feeling of safety and security that my brother-in-law filled me with returned with the memory of the incident, and I was shown that I can have that same feeling with the Lord. In everything.

My brother-in-law seemed safe and solid and, in that thing he was totally safe. But he is a man. Mortal. Human. He cannot be my salvation, nor my safety in all things. Jesus is safe. Immortal. Divine. And can be my salvation, as well as my safety, in all things.

I think this was a first real step in trusting the Lord, and I praise him for it. He is ever kind, ever beckoning, ever doing all he can to persuade us to trust him, to persuade us that he is the only place of complete safety. No matter what it is we fear, no matter what it is that has hurt us in the past or that threatens us now, he is the only safe place we can be.

I am sure there are other lessons to be learned from that experience, lessons that would bring me closer to Jesus Christ, my Lord.

In any case, I hope this recollection helps someone who reads this. I hope it helps you draw closer to the Lord, who loves you.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

KM Letter

Okay, this is a lighthearted post, but I don't think the author of the piece would mind at all if any of you decided to actually use it.

I'm sure many of you are familiar with the Kirton-McConkie letter forbidding people from stepping on church property (Will Carter has a copy of one on his blog). It's a form letter. Well, a friend made one, following their pattern, that really blasts open the ludicrousness of it.

So, any of you who have gotten such a letter, if you would like to reciprocate, here is a copy of the letter:

Dear Mr. [insert bishop or stake pres. name],

We are writing to inform you of restrictions placed upon you because of your recent actions.  You have harmed our family, violated your own policies, and caused members of our family to fear for our safety and well-being.  As a result you are no longer welcome to come onto any property owned by [insert name(s)], wherever located.  Your children are welcome to visit our property for personal, confidential interviews provided they remain respectful and obedient to our instructions, provided that you do not accompany them.

We regret the necessity for this action and urge your immediate compliance.  If you or anyone representing you or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints comes onto any of the aforementioned property in violation of these restrictions, you will be treated as a trespasser and will be subject to arrest and prosecution. 

This restriction may be lifted if you can demonstrate to [insert name(s)] that you no longer pose a threat to others.  You must comply with these restrictions for a sufficient time, demonstrate a sufficient degree of humility, and consistently take any medications prescribed by your healthcare provider.  If a change in these restrictions is approved, you will receive a letter from an attorney’s office informing you of any changes.

[insert name(s)]

Sunday, February 12, 2017

More thoughts on John and the new revelation

I have read and am rereading the revelation of John recently shared, and, though I do not know if it is in fulfillment of this scripture:
6  And John saw and bore record of the fulness of my glory, and the fulness of John's record is hereafter to be revealed.
7  And he bore record, saying: I saw his glory, that he was in the beginning, before the world was;
8  Therefore, in the beginning the Word was, for he was the Word, even the messenger of salvation—
9  The light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men.
10  The worlds were made by him; men were made by him; all things were made by him, and through him, and of him.
11  And I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us.
12  And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace;
13  And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;
14  And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first.
15  And I, John, bear record, and lo, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove, and sat upon him, and there came a voice out of heaven saying: This is my beloved Son.
16  And I, John, bear record that he received a fulness of the glory of the Father;
17  And he received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him.
18  And it shall come to pass, that if you are faithful you shall receive the fulness of the record of John.
(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 93:6 - 18)
I am convinced that it (the new revelation) is an expansion, and that the John in the scripture above is John the beloved, not John the baptist.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Questions about the "newly revealed account of John the Beloved’s Testimony of Jesus the Messiah"

I finished reading the document last night, and am rereading it again today, highlighting things in it to help me focus and ponder

I have questions I would like to take to the Lord in regards to some of the things in that document. For example: Peter says he's going to ascend to the deep. Can't be the ocean because that's a descent (even though the current Bible translations have it that he decides to go fishing; I expect the people putting the NT together had no idea what this story was talking about so they edited it to "make more sense").

Ascend - go up
Deep - deep space? Someplace deep anyhow

Ark? What ark? Where? A spaceship? A portal to the heavens? If we saw it, would we immediately think "ark" or would we think "elevator" or something else?

Jesus stood at the sacred entry, and it was at the horizon of the morning star that he did this. Were they on the horizon on earth? Were they actually in space? How did they do this ascent on their own? Did Jesus teach them some woo-woo things so that they knew how to leave this dimension and go into another?

They didn't recognize Jesus at first because his glory was so bright. That's probably the only thing in this part that I can almost-fully understand.

Ritual meal I'm guessing is the sacrament. The Lord asks, "Have you had the sacrament?" (so, they could have hung out there for a while with no celestial beings coming around, since they could have had time to have the ritual meal before the Lord got there?) Then he tells them to approach the veil to the east and they'll find what they're looking for. So, what was it they were looking for?

Are they in a temple? They can't be in the apostate Jewish temple because they've probably been excommunicated and, after killing God's son, I expect heaven wouldn't have a "portal" there anymore. The veil is on the east. Is there another one on the west or south or north or all three?

They approached the veil and were overcome by the multitude of what was received. I expect that is referring to knowledge and understanding, probably things that cannot be written because there's no way they'd know how to put it into words.

Then, John tells Peter that it's the Lord who's talking to them. Peter puts on clothes because he "did not wear the apparel." What apparel? The clothing we see in our temples today? If literal, why did he need to put on clothing? Were all of the others wearing clothing? Ceremonial clothing is what I am supposing. But he needed to wear it, apparently, before he could approach the Lord? Where did he get the clothing? Did he bring it with him? Was it just laying around near the door of the ark? Were they already wearing "the apparel," but he took his off?

Peter cast himself into the great deep (remember, this is up, not down), but the others entered the ark and parted the veil because they were not bound by the limits of this world. So, before then, they had not actually entered the ark? Nor parted the veil? And Peter, being impetuous, didn't just part the veil, but jumped in wholeheartedly (somehow, I picture a friend, Daryl, when I see Peter doing this).

Not being bound by the limits of this world they can defy gravity? Or is it entering a different dimension? Or both?
"... they saw a fire burning at the offering place and the Flesh Offering was upon it, who is also the Bread of Life." What does this quote mean? Jesus was upon the fire? He was upon the offering place? He was the fire?

Eat the food of the rising sun, Jesus says, then gives them his flesh and blood. Is it literally flesh? Literally blood? Bread and wine? Something else? Why is it called the food of the rising sun instead of the food of the Rising Son?

This document is so dang deep I can't see why people are so busy arguing about it (especially against it). It seems to me that the most effective use of this thing is to study it, ponder it, and ask God what it's talking about.

I am reminded of Lemuel and Laman who were discussing their father's dream. Nephi brought up the idea that they could understand it if they asked God about it. They rejected that idea, apparently thinking that God would not tell ordinary people like them anything.

Maybe we shouldn't be arguing about this new revelation. Maybe we shouldn't be looking for ways to prove it did not come from God. Maybe, instead, we should be pondering it, trying to figure it out, and be taking it to God. That's my intention, because I'm more interested in understanding it than in arguing about it.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Fulness of the Record of John?

6  And John saw and bore record of the fulness of my glory, and the fulness of John's record is hereafter to be revealed.
18  And it shall come to pass, that if you are faithful you shall receive the fulness of the record of John.
Doctrine and Covenants 93

I've not read the pdf (the quote below is a link to it), but I intend to. It might prove enlightening.

... a newly revealed account of John the Beloved’s Testimony of Jesus the Messiah 

Edited to add: I've been reading this pdf. It is the testimony of John the Beloved, not John the Baptist. Still, there is incredible enlightenment. I had no idea that the Father was so closely involved with us. I was pretty sure that Jesus was and is, but the Father seemed so remote to me. My mind is enlightened, my soul is lifted up to the heavens. I feel within my heart to proclaim my gratitude to God for this revelation, and feel even more desire to serve Him and only Him.

It also is sobering to me to realize that it would have been much harder to listen to a man who says the things Jesus said about himself and about his standing with the Father, than it is to accept a simple messenger from the Lord, a messenger who continually admits he is not worthy of our adoration, but is like us, and is only here, pointing us to the Savior, because the Lord called him to do the task.