In my last post, I discussed how meekness, humility, and charity were the Grand Keys of Discernment. In this post, I feel impressed to discuss how we can get there, coming to a unity of the truth, using the Grand Keys, from a variety of different viewpoints. There is quite a bit of activity going on in the world right now with respect to dreams and visions, not just in the Mormon corridor. Muslims, in particular, are reporting having dreams of the Savior and having Him call them to His ways. We should celebrate such efforts as the Master is going out into the Vineyard for the first time along with His servants, as discussed in Jacob 5.
71 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and alabor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the blast time that I shall cnourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come.
72 And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.
Searching for Meekness in the Message
As discussed in my previous post, whenever we undertake to believe a principle, or do act upon a principle, we should take care to see 1) if it is ratified by the Holy Ghost through a burning in the bosom and 2) If it develops in us meekness and charity, or debasement of our selves in promotion of our fellow man. That debasement opens the path for out hearts to be softened. What happens with a softened heart? Is it not pliable? Is it not open to being taught true principles and correcting false ones? Does it not begin curing unbelief? The application thereof promises that truth seeker personalized evidence, fruits of the Spirit, and even visitation of the Divine. There is nothing dogmatic about this approach, and it can be used in a variety of different circumstances and belief windows, but the inevitable conclusion to such efforts is to exercise enough faith in Christ such as that he comes to gather us out of the Vineyard and unto Himself. Here’s how it can work, whether uncorrelated or correlated Mormon, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, even Agnosticism and Atheism. The principle can still work, insomuch that the end result is that we are all knit together in a unity of the faith.
Learning New Knowledge
Anytime one is taught a new principle, there is a tendency to want to share that knowledge . . . and rightly so. Yet, how often in our enlightenment, do we declare our new knowledge as the “right way,” the “true method,” or the “only way to go?” A humble, pliable, and meek person will see new knowledge with divine perspective. A few feet taller on the sidewalk does not make one understand the mysteries of universe, typically found at the top of the mountain. Meek learning is gentle, does not vaunt itself, entices but doesn’t force, withdraws upon any confrontation, the true understanding of “casting pearls before swine.” If once previous knowledge is discovered to be incorrect, there is never any attempt to alter the incorrect foundations for others. The invitation is always to upgrade! There are times when we are to be courageous and to discuss things “betimes with sharpness, WHEN MOVED UPON BY THE HOLY GHOST,” never in anger or in retaliation. But I find this to be a rare occurrence, and it’s usually limited to abominations of those that take name of the Lord in vain. True meekness is never frustrated or elevated by attacks upon personal character or motivation, but can sidestep such efforts and “turn the other cheek.” A meek person considers all viewpoints, is willing to switch direction entirely, and sees wisdom even in apparent irony. True knowledge is a pearl of great price, never a hammer for the ego.
I’d like to consider a few applications of meekness with differing belief windows.
- Mainstream Mormonism – With the invitation to follow the Brethren as a primary course of action, I would consider seeking out good talks from the General Authorities that teach meekness, humility, discipleship, and charity. Being excited about the “slams” upon others, or the titillating talks that curse your favorite sin to hate, in which you have no struggle, probably hurt rather than help. Talks that deal with your own weaknesses should be a course of study. I find that talks from Elder Scott, Elder Maxwell, President Eyering are ones I have considered that focus on these key topics, but that’s just me. You may think of others. In your attempt to discover where you need to change course, the softening of the heart will cause the Lord to be able to instruct you, as well as to steer you away from incorrect teachings, historical errors, and other cultural inheritances that may cause you to NOT cast off your unbelief or to adjust your paradigm out of institutional safety. You will be more willing to consider the gaps in your understanding.
- Remnant Mormonism – Many or you consider yourselves “awake.” This may be because of the process I just described above, or it may come from a motivation of pain. I trust that we can cast off the spirit of rebellion and see how the LDS Church still has much truth, and can help people come to Christ through the very same applications that caused YOU to become awakened. I don’t think it’s necessary for someone to stop following the Brethren in order to achieve the unity of Zion. There are enough good teachings (even if the application is in response to a simple obedient rubric) for a person to develop the qualities needed to be a Zion-like people. Many incorrect traditions need not be cast off early, but can survive the delicate process of heart softening until the very end. A good case study is to view early Christianity through the lens of obedient Jews who became Christian yet still retained their Jewish traditions, worship, and religiosity. Most of the early Apostolic leadership maintained such a course, even as it later became evident that such adherence was most likely unnecessary. We in the remnant movement, ought to give enough space to our mainstream Mormon brethren to follow similar paths. There will come a time when choices will be starker and more apparent, but it is for the Lord to dictate, and for us to invite as difficult choices must be made.
- Other Religions – As I stated earlier, many Muslims have been converted by visions from the Lord. This is reminiscent of Joel who stated: “ 28 ¶And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will apour out my bspirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall cprophesy, your dold men shall edream dreams, your young men shall see fvisions:” While I consider this a yet future event, I believe that dreams and visions will accompany the imminent return of the Lord to His people, as well as afterward. As Muslims, Christians, Jews, and even Buddhists focus on core teachings that enhance meekness and charity and the softening of the heart, they will be more available to get instruction from heaven, even unknowingly, and with that instruction, will be able to discern unbelief in their own sects and be more accepting of new teachings from sources foreign. They will be able to discern the works of the Lord in the Book of Mormon and other modern day scripture, just as all of us will be able to discern scriptures not yet given. Even so, such acceptance is only a helpful tool. The Lord can lead anyone, even if they do not have access to scripture. We must be open to such possibilities. So if we encounter someone who does not believe in Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon, or has lost a testimony of such things but has a testimony of God, there is hope for them (as well as for us) to develop a unity of the faith in the most important matters.
- Agnosticism/Atheism – This may seem like a tough one, yet even this is not impossible. Many atheists subscribe to such ideals as “new atheism” or “existentialism” which incorporate aspects of developing compassion for mankind and bettering mankind through acts of charity and service. Devout attention to such acts, with a sense of scientific curiosity and/or allowance for a humility in the face of a vast universe (we don’t know what we don’t know kind of attitude), I believe even such an one can qualify for a unity of the faith. Even their hearts can be softened, and even they can feel stirrings which would point them to the divine. Indeed, I believe that cheerful charity and meekness with one who doubts a higher power cannot help but feel that higher power reach down and touch their hearts in grace at some point. Nevertheless, we should embrace them in what they CAN do in common cause with us for the betterment of mankind. For in reality, if God’s mission is to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man,” existentialism has much that can be embraced even in that statement, because there is a persistent undercurrent of attempting to better the life of man to the point that he may eventually evolve into a better situation, and possibly immortality. Who knows? Maybe this is how the first God in the first universe progressed.
- Politics – I believe we must cast off our political leanings as the first fruits of our identity. We can believe in a party platform, or fight for great causes that mean something to us, but to come to a unity of the faith, we must put the universal virtues first, meekness, and charity. For a Republican, this may mean “denying not the beggar” in our own individual service to the poor, even if we disagree with welfare policy that uses tax dollars. For a Democrat, this may mean understanding that man-driven solutions may be inadequate, and that we need God for real change to take place, in a gentle and non-coercive manner. Frankly, I believe politics is mostly a conceited effort by man to come up with a universal application of policies that follow a certain type of virtue, and believing IT will work, instead of wondering in awe at the complexity of the universe, or even the complexity of each individual situation. Solutions in Zion will be made one-on-one, not through a rubric or systematic application of policy. A person will see the need of another, and feel compelled to fill that need.
It would be my hope that we could all begin to look at Zion through lenses in which we can come in common cause. Ideas such as meekness, charity, and compassion are universal, and can be our foundation, despite any belief window we come from. The only thing hindering us from that is our own vanity and pride . . . wanting to be right . . . more than wanting the betterment of mankind. Let us be so motivated.