The Grand Key of Discernment

discerment_true_falseOne of the most challenging aspects of this new movement toward Zion is trying to determine which way is the true way and which way is false. This is critically important, because we do not wish to see ourselves following an apostate belief system or idea, for “if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” This is a frequent clarion call against all those who are following the remnant movement and not the authority of the Church. Likewise those of this new movement see deception with those that still place man between themselves and God. Actually, it is more frightening than either of these accusations. Who are the elect? Are they not those that have had their calling and election made sure? They have received baptism, are in the straight gate, and have been baptized by fire and by the Holy Ghost, yet it is THEY that have the warning that THEY can be deceived. This is not a warning to your garden variety mainstream, super religious, super obedient Mormon, it is a warning against those who have qualified themselves even through sacrifice, to obtain the prize. Yet . . . if the very ELECT can be deceived, how much more can we . . . the un-elect (for I put myself in that category), be deceived, whether we are awakened or not, whether we are mainstream LDS, or following a different path. Deception can happen at any step of the way. Imagine how far Lucifer had to have traveled up Jacob’s ladder, only to descend to where he is today. Yet I believe that the solution to discernment works at every level, and is devastatingly simple, meekness and Charity. For “all things faileth, but charity faileth not.”

The Mormon Traditionalist

I have resolved upon the term Mormon traditionalist, or mainstream Mormon for believing members of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints, believing in the sense of the temple recommend questions. As a former traditionalist Mormon, I think I have a good idea of how they define truth. Much of it is still useful for me. When any question is put into my mind, as D&C 9 states, I am to study it out in my mind and in my heart, and ask the Lord, and if it is true, the Lord will cause that my “bosom shall burn.” This has always worked for me as a basic principle, but as we can see later, there must be more to this process. What I have recently learned is that there are four stumbling blocks that the Church teaches that can be roadblocks to this foundation:

  1. Obedience Doctrine – Obedience to the law has a place. It is useful for young people, new converts, and new missionaries. But if we refuse to ask certain questions, or follow certain promptings, simply because it goes against what the line authorities say or ask of us, or even what we perceive in scripture, we could be short-changing the truth-gathering process for ourselves. We set ourselves up potentially, as Nephi states, to be “blinded by the craftiness of men.” Obedience is a great virtue, but when employed inside any system that is flawed, can be used to do great evil. Many Germans were obedient to Hitler and it availed them to no end. Obedience to your own inner guide, when employed with certain measurable outcomes, on the other hand, can be great measure of truth!
  2. Infallibility Doctrine – This is an insidious doctrine. Short of not being supported by scripture, the infallibility doctrine results in a person taking no responsibility for his or her own beliefs or actions, resting accountability upon the Church, knowing that as long as the Prophet says to do SOME thing, and that thing is indeed done, that we can rest assured of our salvation. How many of us have taken the time to even ask the Lord if this is a true principle? My question has led me through scriptures that not only condemn such a thing, but even predict the opposite for the Church in the last days . . . fallibility AND apostasy! But to noodle this correctly for our purposes, if I believe something is infallible, I have no motivation to ask ANY question of the Lord about any direction in my religious life, save one or two (see Domino Doctrine).
  3. Security DoctrinegoodshipzionTeaching that following Priesthood leaders, staying in the Church, “Good Ship Zion,” inflating growth numbers, all to entice followers to stay loyal, is a pernicious way to keep people from asking truth-oriented questions. People are then content to rest upon the greatness of the Church. They infer truth in opulent buildings, Priesthood leaders of high stature, and marketing efforts. They feel content and at peace with things and see no need to rock the boat by asking potentially upsetting questions. They feel that no matter what, the Church will take care of them. Peace is a fruit of the Spirit, but it is also fallible and can easily be compared to comfort. There is never any indication in scripture that feelings of security, comfort, or safety are indicators of truth. In fact, terms such as “lulling them down into carnal security,” or “All is well in Zion,” are used to counter such claims. True peace takes place in the fury of darkness, when one is unsure of where to go, but one feels confident that the Lord will provide.
  4. Domino Doctrine – This doctrine states that if one piece of the puzzle is truth, it must all be true and all the dominoes fall. We use this on the mission with investigators. We ask them to pray about the Book of Mormon. They do. They receive a witness that it’s true. We then say that if the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that all men who have replaced Joseph Smith are prophets, and the Church is true and infallible. Now . . . imagine if we said the same thing about the Bible. If I were to pray about the Bible in 1300 AD, the Catholic Church could make this same claim, because at that time they had a monopoly on the Bible, and since IT was true, THEY were also true. The LDS Church has a virtual monopoly on the Book of Mormon. Now ask yourself, does that mean that all other claims, scripture, processes, decisions, doctrines, leaders, manuals, etc. since 1830 are true because the Book of Mormon is true?

Does faith in being obedient to the infallibility of the secure domino theory make one more likely to be meek, humble, and compassionate? Are they more likely to think of themselves less than the dust of the earth? Or are they more filled with the vanity of their own conceit and sure of their own salvation? Are they more like the Zoramites or the anti-Nephi Lehites? Are they more likely to be heading towards the comfort of great and spacious buildings or the tree of life?

I stated that I used a process of asking questions and using D&C 9 as a basic primer for truth claims. One thing I’ve learned is to be very precise with the Lord. Don’t assume anything, and don’t let anybody else teach you that it’s okay to assume anything. You cannot. The best way to begin this process is to take every belief about the Church you have and place it on the floor. It may be helpful to write it out. Use the temple recommend questions to start. Pray, for example, about the doctrine that “Thomas Monson is the ONLY person on the face of the earth with all Priesthood keys.” Do the same thing with Brigham Young and the succession crisis in Nauvoo. Study the process of how he may have obtained them. Read the histories of this process. Inform yourself about LDS Church succession. Then ask the Lord. You may be surprised at your answer.

The Skeptic

The skeptic, agnostic, or universalist argument is a very powerful and pervasive argument today, particularly among the disaffected of the Latter-day Saints. I do not wish to engage in polemics against these sorts of arguments. In fact, much of what they contain IS true and is useful in helping us find the truth, with some adjustments. Let’s take them one on one.

  • Truth must be founded in scientific and rational processes. I believe this is true. The concern I have with rationalism isn’t the premise but the application. Who do we trust to perform rational processes? Many who follow agnostic or universalist thinking have complete trust in man’s scientific and academic procedures to vet such processes, even as they have no faith in religion. They are content with the current scope of checks and balances that assure that what is considered scientific truth is indeed truth. I would gently contend that the skeptic’s logic in the first instance is sound with respect to their distrust of religious institutions because of the fuzzy outcomes of their proclaimed mystical inferences of truth . . . but I say take it a step further. Is it possible that scientific and academic worshipscienceinstitutional processes could be hampered by the exact same line of thinking as orthodox religious persons? The scientific institution may on the surface, seem more rational and less driven by the whims of men, at least that is the stated aspiration. But is it true? Are scientists less apt to be concerned with egos, pecking orders, tenure, financial compensation, being right, simply because they are scientists? Does the institutional processes such as study funding, data mining, publishing, peer review, and scientific journalism control for all of these biases? Does science, faced with strange, completely foreign concepts react with curiosity and a healthy skepticism, or does it often circle the wagons around a protected branch of knowledge that can often have financial and economic repercussions? Are new ideas quickly dismissed as quackery or pseudoscience, or are they thoroughly vetted? When new knowledge is discovered, does the branch of science seem more sure of how the universe works, or do they wonder in awe at the immensity of the universe and how little has been discovered? Is science completely free to come to factual conclusions, or can they be subverted by other controlling forces that don’t like the outcomes, like big business or big government? Can research and conclusions be squelched? Can input data be deliberately incorrect or altered for a more beneficial outcome? I believe that there are all kinds of reactions in science and academia to the human condition, some good, and some bad, just like in any other institution. Unless one has the capability of directly observing the data and outcome of a study, as well as the inferences and inputs into the study, one should be careful at using A study to come to conclusions about THE truth, or even a consensus of studies. I find that consensus can often play victim to digging in the same part of the sandbox, and indeed scientific systems are set up that way. The problem is that there are other areas of the sandbox thousands of miles away left untouched with glittering truths buried underneath. As long as science is part of Babylonian business processes (corporate or academic) the cost/benefit structures combined with risk aversion will play a heavy hand against digging deep. If you combine THAT with the need for many scientists to be the next Einstein, the temptation to dig too deep without the proper tools, skipping steps, or fudging the figures, can all play into scientific fraud. Furthermore, modern peer review has a sort of “trust me” mentality. I’m not sure I can guarantee that a peer reviewer will BE unbiased in his or her review. Finally, I believe that a healthy sense of awe in the universe and understanding that “we don’t know what we don’t know” is the best approach to rationalism and modern scientific processes, in essence, meekness. When we are scientifically meek, we are less likely to simply dismiss spiritual processes as a knee-jerk emotional reaction that has no basis in real truth. We can look upon spirituality as a series of concepts in the universe that have yet to really be touched by science, that we haven’t even scratched the surface, and therefore, we just don’t know. It is an area of the scientific sandbox with extreme potential.
  • Spiritual processes cannot be observed, and therefore cannot be tested – It would be mostly correct to say that spiritual processes are difficult to observe. That WOULD make it difficult to test, at least from a third party observational platform. Most spiritual processes at this time in the world, require a participatory process, empirical and anecdotal. This may not be as robust as an observational platform, but it doesn’t mean that it’s without merit. Science seems OKAY with accepting self-identification processes in human sexuality, and some accept it with aplomb. If we’re going to be fair, we ought to be just as accepting of self-identification processes in human spirituality. We at least ought to be more comfortable in experimenting with spiritual processes until we do have a way to better neutrally observe.
  • Spiritual processes lead to different conclusions, which means that they cannot be trusted to determine truth – This is also true, but incomplete. Not all spiritual processes are made equal. Furthermore, it’s possible the spiritual effects of the processes may be employed by different systems of competing interests in the hidden side of the universe, just as they are on the observational side. Outcomes of spiritual processes are a critical component to comprehending truth by the Spirit, not just the feeling of the Spirit. This is part of the grand key that I will now explain

The Grand Key

There are some truths we find self-evident. gutsWe can generally accept as a society that kindness, compassion, forgiveness, charity, and love are all worthwhile things. They are true in that they make mankind happier individually, and better off collectively. There is another virtue I call meekness, that is critical to this list. What is meekness? I define it as humble, teachable, patient, long-suffering, with an eye single to following ideas courageously that are obedient to principles of love and charity. It is the power of Godliness with great patience. We find these fruits beneficial as a society, and I find them delicious to me. That combined testament has allowed me to conclude that this is good and right as a second witness. Furthermore, I can test spiritual processes against those outcomes. Does a belief in an idea make me more meek and charitable, or does it make me more conceited and sure of myself? Does an action on a belief make me more humble and aware of my weakness, or does it set me against my fellow man? Does it make me want to seek control, compulsion,or leadership over others, or merely a sweet desire to serve? As I describe a third way to test spiritual truth, keep this all in mind, because it applies in all the points I have just made and will make.

Spiritual Fuzziness

In the beginning, we discussed D&C 9 as the basic primer for understanding spiritual truth. Yet by itself it has proven to be inadequate. People from all over the planet have felt “burnings of the Spirit” and yet have gone into diverse paths. I believe spiritual feelings come from four different sources, only one of which I think comes from the Good source, or from God. I believe the burning in the bosom, as described in D&C 10 is partly an emotional reaction to a true principle. Because it is emotional it can give us false negatives. Here are some such false negatives:

  • Reaction to what WE want – We dwell upon a concept that will give us what we want, whether it be true love, more money, greater status, comfort, or even simply to be right. When we think about such things, we feel good about them. They can give us a similar feeling to a burning in the bosom. We can feel good, warm feelings in the chest. Yet they can be completely evil and of the devil. They can lead people into grand assurances that justify mass murders and warfare, just as we see with ISIS, or simple ways that carefully lead us to hell, like feeling we are justified in buying that big home on the hill.
  • Reaction to a stumbling block – This is a concept all over scripture. The Jews had this happen to them. I think early Mormonism also fell prey. It goes that when a person asks God for something that God has revealed to them, and the person rejects and asks again, or . . . they ask for a predetermined thing not in line with God’s will, but man’s idea, and they are simply seeking approval . . . God gives stumbling blocks. Moses law was all about stumbling blocks. It’s also called “asking amiss.” Think of it this way as a parent. Your child asks to have ice cream, but he has not had his dinner. Even though dinner first is the better way, parents will often honor the agency of their children and give them what they want, sometimes because the parents are weak in their resolve, but sometime they do it for wisdom’s sake. Some children need to learn the hard way through experience that dessert before dinner can make them sick. The sickness of the experience can make one humble, and turn to the Lord for the true course, which the Lord is happily ready to give.
  • Reaction to truth – When an idea is true, the reaction to it can cut to the core. It has a slightly different feeling than the first two, the biggest difference is that it isn’t always pleasant, it isn’t always expected, and it cuts deeper. It is always accompanied by an increase in intelligence, with a burst of knowledge into the brain. Often, the enjoyable fruits of the Spirit: peace, love, and joy come later AFTER a belief is adopted and tested. This is why the Spirit is often referred to in the scriptures as the “sword of truth.” The trick with this type of spiritual experience is to ask the Lord’s Will, to have Him give it to us straight, frankness, boldness, questioning even the very existence of God with an accurate desire to know and ACCEPT the truth. Preconceptions get us nowhere. We must be open to walking into the dark, changing course, tamping down ego to go in different directions, etc. Only then can we have this sort of feeling in our lives.

Gifts of the Spirit

Enjoying a spiritual test of truth should not be an end, but a beginning. Other gifts that follow are a second witness to truth. Does it grow and swell within you as Alma teaches? Can you start to see possibilities and anticipate fruit, and in the end, can your faith be made whole by the end product, the fruit of knowledge? Seeing faith grow after a test of truth should be accompanied by certain gifts that continue to attest to that truth. These include dreams, visions, angelic visitation, prophesies, miracles, healing, etc. Another great Gift of the Spirit is being able to discern and hear the voice of God (or His servant) speaking to you, first in your mind, and later, audibly. This doesn’t come without practice or work, but it also cannot be rushed. The end result would be to see and visit with God, and have him explain the universe. The reason that’s an expected end result is because others in ancient history and modernity have testified that this was their end result. That’s why scripture is critical because it allows us to study their processes. If it worked for them, we can anticipate it possibly working for us, or in fine, we can have faith in it, if we take the same steps, just like science.

The Grand Key, Part Two

Even after having such experiences, we still must circle back to the grand key. Does such an experience, gift, or visitation cause us to be better to mankind, less concerned with self, even having the desire to condescend the self to exalt another? Does it cause you to be meek? If so, you can rest assured, it is TRUTH! Furthermore, when you comprehend the truth, you are less concerned with being right, even though you have a perfect knowledge that you are. You simply invite! If such an invitation is rejected, you can sorrow over the choice, but you have no ego lost in the decision. No amount of real truth is enforceable. The fact that we have wars over concepts of truth is a testament that those arguments were never true because they did not elevate mankind to the self-evident principles. Christ taught this plainly as “if you wish to know my will, do my words.” This is a very simple way of saying the exact thing I have been teaching in this post.

Beware of Rebellion

black-fistI want to add one more caution, particularly to those that are awake, and it brings us full circle. One can understand and comprehend truth, be correct, and be wrong altogether. Imagine a person who has been abused by the Church, and wanders upon this new movement. It may give them the freedom to leave the Church, as well as to give the Church leaders the proverbial middle finger. I have seen this infrequently among remnant posters. They are angry with the Church. They feel a sense of injustice. They are cultivating a spirit of rebellion. There is a difference between rebellion and courage. Courage is doing the right thing, against incredible odds, and should accompany with that person an increase in love, pity, and compassion for those that do not “see.” Rebellion is the opposite. It is enmity. They wish to see the Church be done harm, to descend into confusion and chaos. Their interest in the remnant movement is more motivated by diminishing the LDS Church, and less about building a better spiritual house for themselves. Rebellion is the spirit of perdition. If one has such a spirit, he is better to remain in the Church and submit himself to abusive authority. He would be better of in the next life to do so.

In fact, I think the sermon on the Mount is a perfect way to apply what we in this movement should do with the Church. It is a perfect way to practice principles of Zion-like behavior. When the Church or Church members belittle you, castigate you, shun you, ignore you, and excommunicate you, are you to cultivate the attributes of Christ, what Christ would do? How did Christ react to Caiaphas? To the chief priests? To the soldiers? Do we say in our hearts, forgive them, for they know not what they do? When they take our cloak (or membership) do we return with anger and vitriol, or follow the example of others, who continues to attend their wards and win them over with kindness and service (it’s the attitude, not the attendance I’m talking about here). Do we really understand this movement? Do we understand the principles of the five wise virgins, and the five foolish? Do we understand what it means to be” blinded by the craftiness of men?” Do we understand what our mission would be were we to rise up and be sealed by the Lord to be the Church of the Firstborn? Do we understand that we will be required to do more, not less? If not, we may as well go back to bread and water and temple recommend interviews. We would be better off to have the millstone of the Church hung about our necks, then to subject ourselves to the possibility of perdition.

So be meek, learn charity, and test all ideas against those standards and you’ll be okay!  For it is the meek that will inherit the earth, or in fine . . . Zion.

20 thoughts on “The Grand Key of Discernment”

  1. The first quote was wrong, for “even the very elect will be deceived.”

    What the scriptures actually say are, “IF IT WERE POSSIBLE, they shall deceive the very elect” (JS Matthew 1:22, or Matthew 24:24)

  2. Great article with a lot to think about. I have never has the Holy Ghost upon me without having joy and peace during the power of the Holy Ghost. In other words while the Holy Ghost has been upon me with the power and burning, it has never been fearful dark or dreadful. It’s always awesome and the clarity and knowledge that come with it, no matter the topic are beautiful.
    I believe that when the wicked are cut to the center it is not because they have a witness by the Holy Ghost, but rather the truth pisses them off. It’s like if someone told most people in the church that parts of their canon are not true and didn’t come from God. They will start to get ticked because the truth cuts them. They are too hardened to even consider it, or ask a God about it because they truly feel they know better than someone who would challenge their prophet joseph. That is how the wicked take the truth to be hard. You can point out blatant false doctrine, obvious contradictions, prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the book of Abraham was a fraud and not a translation of anything close to what joseph claimed, and they turn their heads and think the scientists who can prove it are the ones that are wrong. It is interesting that if you take the man joseph smith out from under most LDS people they would feel their whole foundation has been pulled out from under them.
    If joseph smith isn’t the man, they do not know where to turn or where the truth is. It is truly a sandy foundation. Now if you have Christ as your foundation, who cares if moses, joseph smith, david, or anyone else was a con man, it simply doesn’t matter because they were not your foundation.

    1. Actually, more and more Egyptian research shows that JS translation is most plausible.

    2. Good comments. I have concluded some time ago that the Book of Abraham, at least according to what we have in our observation, was not a “translation.” However, also find some very uplifting and challenging doctrines in the Book of Abraham, including some linguistic keys and symbols that defy a simple “making it up” narrative. It feels like a “true” book to me. When I apply the test, it works. I feel more like Christ when I read it.

  3. I beg to differ in this perspective. I do not believe those that have attained the level of having their calling and election assured would be capable to wondering off that reservation. “Concerning this instruction and testimony from Peter, Joseph Smith said: ‘Though they might hear the voice of God and know that Jesus was the Son of God, this would be no evidence that their election and calling was made sure. … They then would want that more sure word of prophecy, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God. Then, having this promise sealed unto them, it was an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. Though the thunders might roll and lightnings flash, and earthquakes bellow, and war gather thick around, yet this hope and knowledge would support the soul in every hour of trial, trouble and tribulation.’ ” (Teachings, p. 298.)
    Personally I think McConkie goes a bit to far proclaiming some sort of guarantee because that infers the possibly of failure. I don’t thing those that have been given this blessing are in a position of failure. That is to say Jesus could have failed. Those this is given to are not going to fail. They have proven to God their hearts are true. In fact I believe these people are transfigured as part of this promise and like the 3 Neiphites are immortal, (sealed up in the heavens), as a consequence of the calling and election.

    1. Minorityofone

      The elect seem to be those who are elected in this life to be born of God and saved in that particular lifetime because of who they have become before that lifetime. They don’t have to have been told anything yet in this life. They are the sheep that are numbered. A sheep can be wandering and lost and not have the spirit or be born of God yet, but the Shepherd knows that sheep and the conversion will happen at the preordained time. It is the doctrine of predestination that Paul talked about. Those who have had their election “made sure” are more than just the elect.

  4. Tim,
    I enjoyed reading this post mainly for the thoughts and considerations I drew from it. I agree being able to discern the ‘right’ from the ‘not-so-right’ is a very challenging proposition. As I consider my experience, there have been a handful of times when I have heard the voice and knew it came from the Lord. There have been times when I have felt good about a particular course of action and assumed that I have been given the bosum burn, only to find myself mired in a mess of my own making. I have attributed this to the ‘self-fulfillment’ that you discussed.

    I do like what Paul stated, “Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good.”
    I am an engineer by training so I probably react to situations in a similar fashion to you. There are many who espouse ‘science’ as their religion. There are many aspects in science that take a similar ‘faith’ to what the believer holds for God.

    For example, I have been doing a lot of reading about evolution and the theories that have developed around the appearance of DNA. There is no clear sequence of events that can be demonstrated as leading to the development of the information storage found in our genes. It takes a fair amount of faith to state that science will, someday, find the answer.

    Another currently favorite topic of mine is the fact that if DNA is the ONLY source for information about the construction of our physical body, then that information must be contained solely within our DNA. Every bone and muscle, every cell and organ, must be completely specified within the genome sequence of the original fertilized egg. An an engineer, I don’t think it is possible to construct a living, functioning human being out of the code found in our DNA. But yet, there are many scientists who simply wave their hand and say that we will figure it out one of these days. Does that not require faith?

    At the same time, we see what we want to see. We hear what we want to hear. Each one of us should carry with us a healthy skepticism and drink of it regularly. We all look through the glass darkly…

    In the end, if an action, or thought, or inclination takes us closer the Lord and imbues us with those characteristics that He taught, that of love and charity, then it is right and it is true for us. What other guide is there upon which we should rely?


  5. JST Matthew 24:39 adds this verse to the discussion:

    “And whoso treasureth up my words shall not be deceived.”

  6. Good post Tim. I do have one comment about the “burning of the bosom”. It has been my experience that, for me, that sensation always comes directly from the Lord through the Holy Ghost – Not as an emotion, but always with peace, love, and understanding or intelligence given on something I have been pondering. For me there is a definite difference between that and emotion. Emotion never affects me as the HG does. That’s a gift that lets me know something’s from the Lord or not.
    Others may have a different experience, but that’s how it works for me and I am profoundly greatful for that gift.

  7. I find it hugely encouraging that, just yesterday, I received almost exactly the same understanding. This has been happening a lot lately. The Lord is teaching many the same principle at the same time. This is a sign that something great is afoot. The world will never be the same, and as long as we observe D&C 121, we can be sure that the voices we hear are from the Lord. You have expounded eloquently and shared with hundreds, if not thousands. It is a hugely important and re-assuring message.

  8. I want to clarify my first paragraph. I have no doubt that the elect have a hard time being deceived, if it is at all possible, . . . at least with regards to knowledge. What I was hoping to get across is that the most ultimate deception is pride, or a lack of meekness. If Lucifer is not deceived in knowledge, he is deceived with respect to his own abilities. Was he not “elect?” I would say so.

    There is a sort of post-modernism in all this if you think about it. If a certain course of action makes you a meeker, more loving person, than it is true FOR YOU. Meekness is the opposite of systems and steps that are enforced no matter how lovingly. I have no idea what sort of path will make you better. I have my suspicions that it will be similar to mine and that when we get closer to the prize, we’ll be closer together than in the first instance. I think as long as we can agree on the course of meekness, we can bring Zion. The scientific mind in me believes that salvation is a system of laws and actions in the universe that have structure.

  9. lizzievalentina

    I really like this: “Even after having such experiences, we still must circle back to the grand key. Does such an experience, gift, or visitation cause us to be better to mankind, less concerned with self, even having the desire to condescend the self to exalt another? ”

    It seems to be a true outcome of living closer to the Lord and truth.

  10. Did denver say something about how the only person we have to meek to is God? This is a third hand quote to the best of my memory.
    I agree with the idea. Spiritual meekness comes when we know the power and greatness of God, and our nothingness in comparison. We become meek to God when we submit to God and we learn to only care about what God thinks and developing our relationship with God.
    A truly meek person may come off as very prideful, arrogant, narcissistic and self centered. Can you imagine the meekness it would take a humble person to say that he is was the bread of life and the living waters, or even to say “I am meek and lowly of heart…” Of course one in that position would know that hearers would think that the person was a prick, but to submit to God in all things, even at the expense of reputation and the mere appearance of humility and righteousness, is what true meekness is.
    The truly meek and holy will not be recognized by many at all, in fact most people may see them as conceited and unloving, intolerant and deceived. Like Laotzi said. Good words are not beautiful, beautiful words are not good. Sometimes we look for the pleasing, passifying words, or the extraordinary or sensational, because the truth would just be too hard to accept.

  11. Tim’s Blog June-11-2015

    Thank you TZ, for sharing and taking the time to write.

    Science has the same goal as religion, if a different scope right now, and that is to discover/learn and understand the truth by observation as well as validate it by experimentation. The hard sciences focus on the physical/natural world because we can measure and verify. The softer sciences get a little mushy but try to document the patterns. The disciplines that get closer to the human mind and spirit get really squishy, because we cannot find the demarkation line between the body, spirit, and soul, for example. We measure brain activity and associate it with thought and dreaming, etc., but we cannot get to the source of thought or life. Temporal/observational science tends to run up against these brick walls where we cannot take measurements and/or design reliable experiments.

    There is a science to spirituality, too. We’re all scientists of a sort, though many wouldn’t care to admit it – did not most of us fall/descend/come down here to learn by our own experience (experiment)? And we all tend to learn many truths by reasoning and extrapolating from basic/foundational truths. This can be problematic, as we’ve all observed and experienced, when we come up with a logical construction that has flaws we don’t detect, like “if the Book of Mormon is true, then etc…” Eventually we have an experience which unravels our extrapolated “truths” and we experience cognitive dissonance – the disappointment and discomfort of learning that what we thought was truth was not. This is part of the plan and the test. If we adopt some idea so strongly, so implacably, that we think it is bedrock, if we lose our childlike teachableness because we’re pretending to KNOW things that we really only believe, if we become hard instead of soft, we cease to learn new truth. We become the learned who think we are wise, supposing we know of ourselves. And at some point, sooner or later, our illusions and delusions will be dashed. But we can stay blind for entire lifetimes if we choose it.

    I’m only sharing this in hopes that it blesses and helps anyone else who may be similarly positioned in their spiritual journey and climb. For myself, I have decided to trust the Spirit of God, the power of the Holy Ghost. The same which Moroni famously invited us to experience in the last chapter of the Book of Mormon we presently have: He/God will manifest the truth of it unto us by the POWER of the Holy Ghost, and by the power of the Holy Ghost we may know the truth of all things; and whatever is good is just and true, and acknowledges that Jesus is the Christ; and we may know that He/Christ is by this same power of the Holy Ghost. Paul also said that we cannot declare that Jesus is the Christ but by the Holy Ghost. Well, long story short, I’ve tested these invitations and found them to be true. I’ve learned how the power of the Holy Ghost is manifest to me – I would describe it as a spiritual as well as a physical feeling of love, joy, peace, light, accompanied by a sort of electrical/vibrational resonance-like “fire”. I’ve talked with others who have felt similarly. Fairly recently I sought the Lord to verify this specifically by asking, “Please manifest the power of the Holy Ghost unto me so that I may know how to recognize truth from Thee,” which was answered with this same power. I also tested this by declaring aloud, when I was alone, “Jesus is the Christ! Jesus is my Lord! Jesus is my Savior and Redeemer!” Words to that effect. I’ve repeated this experiment and felt the power of the Holy Ghost each time. If this is for you, go and ask God.

    I’ll share one final sort-of spiritual science experiment. Some of you are going to scoff at this and think it is weird, or “sign seeking” perhaps, but I’ve found the Lord to be very tutoring, un-upraiding, or rather accommodating in teaching me. I’m calling it the coin-flip test and I think of it as akin to casting lots from the old days. Casting lots was kind of like rolling dice – it was an act of randomness, but it was also an act of faith, in this way: the person doing it believes that God is the Creator and Governor of the Universe as well as all its micro and macro fundamental forces; he/she commits the outcome of the random act into the hands of the Almighty and is ready to act on it, however they tie it to reality. So, for example, Nephi and his brothers, when they were on their errand to try and retrieve the plates of brass and they got to Jerusalem cast lots to decide who the Lord selected to approach Laban first. Laman was given the first shot. Anyway, this is a very ancient tradition/practice that is founded on faith in the Almighty to control the outcome of normally random events. Okay, now combine this with trying to discern the Spirit of the Lord and revelation from the Lord versus all other sources, whether it be of God, men, or of devils (if you haven’t read David Whitmer’s Address to All Believers, you really owe it to yourself – if you feel so inclined: So, sorry for the length here, I’ll try to be more succinct. In short, God knows the future, perfect foreknowledge, etc. The false spirits and devils do not, and they lie a lot. If I flip a coin, God knows the outcome before I even attempt it. The Lord can read quantum uncertainty and all that – it’s pretty flipping amazing if you think about it. I’ve done this with a real physical coin and I’ve done it with a Random Number Generator app on my phone (which gets really crazy, because then it’s really quantum stuff). Bottom line is, the Lord knows. So I ask the Lord to tell me what the outcome is going to be in this way, in the name of Christ, “O Lord My God Almighty, please manifest the truth unto me so that I can learn to better discern the truth from Thee (i.e. this is not for a sign, I already believe in Them, I just don’t trust myself to hear and receive as well as I should!) and please let no other power interfere, etc. If I flip this coin in my hand (or tap this app on my phone, or whatever, but be sort of specific), which side will turn up next when it lands and comes to rest, the head inscription or the eagle inscription (on an older typical quarter)?” Then I try to tune in and feel which answer is being manifest and I settle on an answer in my head. Then I flip. The outcome is what it is, it is the truth, and it’s fairly immediate and obvious whether I was right or wrong in the answer I thought I got. I’ve learned that the Lord is trying to speak to me when the power of the Holy Ghost is upon me. For example, I might be asking a follow-up question before I flip (while I’m tuning in) like, “Will it be the head?” and I feel the power of the Spirit but the voice is saying “No, it will be the eagle” or something like that. Try it, don’t try it, as you will.

    I won’t share my results with you. But I will share this: the odds of successfully predicting 10 coin tosses in a row is 1 in 1024; the odds of predicting 20 in a row is 1 in 1,048,576; the odds of predicting 30 in a row is 1 in 1,073,741,824 (that’s over 1 in a BILLION folks) – go to 40 tosses in a row and it’s over 1 in a TRILLION. As you can see, the odds of successfully predicting consecutive 50:50 (1 in 2) random events goes up by a power of 2 with each additional event. I’ll just say that it can’t be luck and I KNOW with a fairly high degree of certainty (“statistically indefensible” might be the term) that the Lord God Almighty in Heaven DOES KNOW the future, even to a simple seemingly inconsequential experiment, and is willing to teach and suffer a fool such as myself. I love and trust/believe the Lord. I’ve also learned I’m not 100% reliable in getting the truth every time – this is really humbling, brings meekness/gentleness, lowliness of heart, a desire to learn and improve – it brings the power of the Holy Ghost.

    Anyway, I hope this helps someone, anyone, try and test the spirit of revelation that you’re listening to. I’m a nobody, but the Lord gave me permission to share all of this, in my own words – if there are mistakes, they are the mistakes of me. 🙂

    Love and Peace.

  12. Nathan Quigley

    Thank you, Tim, for your excellent article and your timely warning! I think you have spoken truth and I appreciate it. You have helped me examine whether I am acting in a spirit of rebellion or spirit of courage.

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