Sunday, July 27, 2014

Vision Ten

PROLOGUE
There are at least three stages in the process of restoring knowledge, or, in other words, three ways in which the Lord manifests Himself:

WORD
The first stage is to receive it. This comes by means of obedience to "commandments," or holding to the "iron rod." Progress down this road is sure and strait, and it will lead to the Tree of Life. However, as one being compelled to move forward, the word becomes a rod of smiting. A person must follow the Law to the letter and subdue the sin which is in them, or else they will be overcome with shame and guilt at their own wretchedness. It is a constant process of cleansing and falling, and the individual ever pleading to God to shut the gates of hell continuously.

POWER
It is possible that a man receives something without understanding what it is that he has received. The second stage is to comprehend it. Time and careful and solemn and ponderous thoughts are required to untangle what has been received in order to comprehend what has been given. One must organize and set into proper order the things of God (comprehend the ordinances), and it will mean a lot of frustration along the way. Yet, as hope turns to belief (with plenty of patience), the fruit will eventually grow and ripen.

VERY DEED
After believing and experimenting upon the word, a person accepts that loving God with all their heart, might, mind and strength is sufficient to receive the Lord's grace. They are then "free" to pursue the righteous desire of their heart, which will be to be to bring others to Christ. When it finally does get taught, undoubtedly it will be taught in the manner that Joseph Smith was beginning to work on in Nauvoo that he never finished at the time that he was taken. That is, by ceremony, by symbol, and by covenant.
.............................

There have been many signs that have been given by God, that He was about to do something new, from the time of the death of Joseph Smith until today. But he was taken from us at the incipient stage, because all that he was sent here to do was to lay the ground work, to lay the beginning, to come as an Elias. What will you do when He sets His hand again, the second time?

THE VISION
This experience occurred while vacationing in California:

I dreamed that we were on the beach of Lake Tahoe. We tossed out some bait and started catching crawdads. There was nothing significant about the dream, although it’s the first one I have had about crawdads that I can recall. I remember walking from the shore up to my knees or so and throwing some string into the water with some pieces of meat attached to it. The crawdad grabbed onto the bait and I slowly lured it in. I probably would have forgotten all about it, except for what happened the next day (in real life, not the dream).

The following afternoon, as it happened, we were on the beach of Lake Tahoe. I was lying down, looking up to the sky with my spouse when I watched an osprey, carrying a fish, being chased by a bald eagle. They flew over us for a couple of minutes, and as the eagle drew near the water bird, it dropped what it was carrying into the lake below. The two birds then flew off in different directions opposite of each other (both changing course). IMMEDIATELY after this happened, my son yelled to me, “Hey… it’s a little lobster!” We went over to see, and there at his feet was a crawdad! We pulled it out and played with it a bit, then set it free.

THE SONG

CHORUS:
Oh, for a muse of fire that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention!
And let us, ciphers to this great account,
On your imaginary forces work.
_______________________________________________________________

THE LOWLY sooty crayfish
Rests on his belly in the mud;
Although he seems so firm to us
He is merely flesh and blood.

Flesh and blood is weak and frail,      
Susceptible to nervous shock;
While the soaring osprey can never fail
For it nests upon a rock.

The crawdad’s feeble steps may err
In compassing material ends,      
While the raptor is the sky's affair,
Dancing with his lofty friends.

At singing time the mudbug’s voice
Betrays inflexions hoarse and odd,
But every day we hear rejoice
From The Bird, at being one with God.      

The digger's claws cannot come down
To a sweet and swimming meal;
But flesh of salmon and of brown    
Reward the eagle's zeal.

The osprey snatched his gilded feast
And rushed to hear friends rave.
But in his haste the fish released
Plunging to a watery cave.

I saw the sooty crayfish fly      
Ascending from Washoe's Pond,
And quiring angels round him cry
Praises from the Great Beyond.

Blood of the Lamb shall wash him clean
And him shall heavenly arms enfold,      
Among the saints he shall be seen
Reading from the prize of gold.

He shall be washed as white as snow,
By all the martyr’d virgins kist,
While the osprey still remains below      
Feigning hold of treasure missed.
_______________________________________________________________

CHORUS:
Great is the art,
Great be the manners of the bard!
He shall not his brain encumber
With the coil of rhythm and number,
But, leaving rule and pale forethought,
He shall aye climb
For his rhyme:
Pass in, pass in, the angels say,
In to the upper doors;
Nor count compartments of the floors,
But mount to Paradise
By the stairway of surprise.

Blameless master of the games,
King of sport that never shames;
He shall daily joy dispense
Hid in song's sweet influence.
Things more cheerly live and go,
What time the subtle mind
Plays aloud the tune whereto
Their pulses beat,
And march their feet,
And their members are combined.




VIGNETTES

Bleed Red

Paddling Out

If I Ever Lose My Faith

Styx: Sail Away


Vision 9: Sunday, August 3 (Vision 10 was placed out of order on purpose).

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Vision Eight

PROLOGUE

A Song of Zion

A child wanders into the woods, singing:
An elf sat on a twig, he was not very big,
He sang a little song, he did not think it wrong.
But he was on a wizard's ground, who hated all sweet sound.

Chorus of children: Elf, elf
take care of yourself, he's coming behind you,
To seize you, to bind you, and stifle your song.

Child: Wizard Thu, Wizard, changes his shapes
Crawling along: ugly old ape, poisonous lizard,
A mottled lob spider, wormy glider.

Chorus: The Wizard Thu, Wizard after you.

Child: He's up on the bough, he'll bite through your gizzard,

Chorus: He's close to you now. Elf, elf!

Child: The elf went on with his song,
It grew more clear and strong,
It lifted him in the air, he floated away,
With rainbows in his hair.

Chorus: The wizard comes for you,
The wizard hides under you.

Child: Yet wizard worm from his creep,
Made a sudden leap, fell short. Thu fell down
in a hole. And was eaten up by a mole.


THE VISION

I had just been called as an apostle and  was sent out on an assignment with one of the current apostles to visit a family who was struggling with addictions or something. Their basement apartment was dark and I could tell that they were trying to overcome their problems, but just could not get past a stumbling block. Shortly into our visit, it got pretty ugly, and I knew there were evil spirits among us which were influencing the people there. And so, with a loud voice I declared to the entity that it was not of God, and chased it away. The family was thankful to be at peace again and we departed. As we departed, Elder X  reviewed what happened. In a kind manner, he told me the things that I could improve upon and hinted that it was unbecoming of an apostle to raise my voice like that or to address evil spirits. I appreciated his comments, but was rather confused. “I thought that apostles were to cast out devils in the Lord’s name when they were moved upon to do so. The results showed that the evil spirits left, so why was my approach inappropriate?” With a smile, he said, “It’s just not how we do things now.”

A bit later, I found myself in the elevated stand at General Conference. It was a very weird experience. I felt out of place sitting in the big ornate chairs with the other men in suits, and wanted to take off my jacket and tie, but I thought it would be disrespectful. My turn to talk came and I went to the podium to recite something prepared for me, but to my horror the displayed words were not readable. Taking a second to collect myself, I began to teach about Christ and about repentance, just impromptu. I’m not sure if it was because I taught something specific or the fact that I went off-cue, but I knew the 14 men behind me were not happy with my choice, and I could feel the darts on the back of my neck.

When Conference was over, I was in very tall building on the top floor. I had with me two of the highest-ranking members of the Quorum or the Presidency (I'm not sure which ones) and we were there to chat with a prominent businessman. As we talked I felt pressed to call this man we were meeting to repentance, which I did. I’m not sure what he had done, but the words came right out of me that he should change his ways. The man didn't take very kindly to my rebuke, and dismissed us with the door slamming at our heels. The other apostles with me were livid and started chewing me out, because I had just blown a multi-million (or billion?) dollar donation to the Church. 

I don’t know if that meeting was a final “test” for me or something, but I must have failed it, because a council was held in my absence and I was notified that I had been "fired" as an apostle. Frankly, I was relieved because I just couldn't conform to all the protocols. The only way I knew how to live my life was with my full heart, but I guess that was not what they wanted. To them it seemed more about the “rules” and the “image.”

I was later called (by whom I’m not sure) to be a Disciple. I started meeting in small groups with those who were truly searching. There was no program or set schedule to these gatherings, but we just followed the Spirit and discussed whatever needed to be brought up (I suppose some of those subjects would make a Church Sunday School class squirm). I felt much more comfortable in this position, and truly loved those who I taught, and who taught me. We had no agenda. The people were diverse in their backgrounds, dress, language and even their beliefs. But they were one in heart, and there was a power that wasn't with the other “meetings” I had as an apostle or before. (I’m sorry to say that most of THOSE meetings were boring to me because we read the same thing over and over and over from a manual).

I don't think the apostles in the Church knew that I was assembling with these people, but I was sure that they would be upset if they found out because it was against the Handbook of Instructions. I met anyway, because I knew that there were people who I could touch in this manner better than by wearing a suit and tie. Some of them had been offended by the church, some had legitimate questions, and some struggled with personal problems. It seems that they had been pushed away from the Church because they felt judged or that they couldn't live up to the rules. But the sad part was that they tossed EVERYTHING out or developed a bitterness because of it. I really tried to convince them that they had worth and that the Lord was a God of Mercy. I’m not sure if it worked or not, but I do know that we always had a good time when we met and left edified.


THE SONG

Journal entry, November 12, xxxx

I have felt for some time now to record an experience I had years ago while I attended college. The semester was coming to an end, and there had been build up to a "mandatory group assignment" in a class called Modern Problems (where we learned about social issues of world hunger, politics, religion, population, culture, and so forth). Finally, the day came to find out what this mystery test was all about.

We met in a large meeting room one Saturday morning, where the teacher's assistant began by giving us some instructions: "Today we are going to have an activity. To start, I will give everyone an envelope which contains various symbols."

She then proceeded to explain that each symbol had a certain value, and specific combinations gave you higher point assessments. She continued, "The goal of this game is to win. You win by having an accumulated amount of points over a designated number. For the first round, please assemble together to trade your cards. After 5 minutes of trading, all the individuals who have enough points to be 'winners' will leave the room and go meet together to decide the rules for the next round."

With that, she handed out the envelopes, defined the symbol and combination values, then said, "You may begin." I tore the paper, pulled out the contents and did some math in my head. I was already very close to "winning" the game with what I was given. It only took a couple of simple trades for me to acquire what I needed. After that point, I withdrew myself from the bartering and waited for the instructor to call for us.

When the time came, there were 6 or 7 of us (out of about 50) who "qualified" to be on the committee. We left the room and sat at a big conference table filled with tasty snacks, and started discussing how we should conduct the next round, while we helped ourselves to the food. The overriding theme of those who participated in the conversation seemed to be that we needed to be fair; so a system was developed where those of us who had already "won" would still participate in the exchange round (coincidentally, there were no members of the original "counsel" who traded to the point that they were ever excluded in the subsequent turns).

We made some rule changes, such as lengthening the trading time, increasing the value of certain symbols and making ourselves the judges for contested exchange disputes. Finally, after 2 or 3 cycles, there was one person from the ranks who had advanced to our elite winner's circle. I was rather confused by his behavior, though, because he didn't seem at all pleased that he had won the game. What little participation from him came in the form of sarcasm. He called those in the other room "the grunts" and "peons." Most on the original committee, myself included, labeled him as a whiner and ignored what he had to say. It came as no surprise to us when after that point he didn't show up to help plan and administer new policies and rules. (I think he may have just given away all his symbols, which was against the rules, so he was "out").

Following round 6 or 7, the TA made an announcement. "Okay, we're done. The game is over." She, too, appeared quite irritated at us, for what reason I could not grasp. She gathered the "committee" and the residue of people who hadn't won, and started asking our thought processes for this activity. The first question she asked our "winners" group was, "Why did you make the rules in such a fashion?" Trying to be diplomatic, I responded to her:

"It was important for us to be just to everyone, including ourselves. The others had every opportunity to win as we did, so it wouldn't be right to take that away. It's not our fault if we made good trades and they didn't. I saw some people just standing in the corner talking about completely irrelevant things. Why should we reward them for not participating in the assignment? Overall, I thought we were fair."

The TA then put me on the spot. "Did you know that for most of the players, there was practically no chance that they could win? The symbols were NOT distributed evenly, although your group assumed that was the case. In fact, by trading what they did with you, it made it all the more difficult for them to advance, because the key combinations of symbols were mostly held by your group."

I suddenly felt very foolish, but she continued to drive home her point. "Your group had the ability to make any rules you wanted after that first round. Why didn't you say, 'Everyone wins!' and invite the rest of the players into the conference room with you to share the snacks? You could see that there was plenty for all.

"Furthermore, those conversations you overheard happened because people realized that between them, their symbols had little value. So instead of stressing about winning the game, which was obviously not possible for them, they decided to engage each other in friendly conversation."

Feeling lower than the warn carpet, I was relieved when she turned to the rest of the class. "I have done this exercise several times, and invariably it always ends the same. Those at the "top" feel special somehow, yet they talk of being fair to their underlings. No one ever blatantly flaunts their position on the committee. In fact, they often speak of fairness and equality (and sometimes even complain about how 'hard' it is to have to make the decisions and "serve" the others), yet I never see themselves giving up the perks of having won the game."

She did not conclude with any sort of moral to the story or how we could take this into our daily lives. She simply said in a curt tone, "You can go home now. All participants receive full points on your grade for showing up today. It is up to you to decide if this test was of any value."

I have come to the conclusion that out of all the things I learned from college, this simple exercise conducted on a random Saturday morning was the most poignant.  





Vignettes:

Yertle the Turtle

Priesthood Protocols

They, The Pretender

Lead With Your Heart


Next post: Sunday, July 27

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Vision Seven

PROLOGUE
Hearken, O ye house of Israel, all ye that are broken off and are driven out because of the wickedness of the pastors of my people; yea, all ye that are broken off, that are scattered abroad, who are of my people, O house of Israel. Listen, O isles, unto me, and hearken ye people from far.

Thus saith the Lord: In an acceptable time have I heard thee, O isles of the sea, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and I will cause thee to inherit the desolate heritages.

And he sayest uno the prisoners: Go forth; to them that sit in darkness: Show yourselves. Ye shall feed in the ways, and thy pastures shall be in all high places. Thou shalt not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor the sun smite thee; for I have mercy on thee, and shall lead thee, even by the springs of water shall I guide thee. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted.

Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. Thy children shall make haste against thy destroyers; and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee. Lift up thine eyes round about and behold; all these gather themselves together, and they shall come to thee. And as I live, saith the Lord, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on even as a bride. For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants; and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away.

Then shalt thou say in thine heart: Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? And who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where have they been? Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people; and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.

For shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captives delivered? But thus saith the Lord, even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered; for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.

And the Lord is near, and he justifieth me. Who will contend with me? Let us stand together. Who is mine adversary? Let him come near me, and I will smite him with the strength of my mouth. For the Lord God will help me. And all they who shall condemn me, behold, all they shall wax old as a garment, and the moth shall eat them up. Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness and hath no light?

The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season unto thee, O house of Israel. When ye are weary he waketh morning by morning. He waketh mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiter, and I hid not my face from shame. For the Lord God will help me, therefore shall I not be confounded. Therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.

Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; for the feet of those who are in the east shall be established; and break forth into singing, O mountains; for they shall be smitten no more; for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. Awake, awake again, and put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments!


THE VISION
I was walking along the top of a steep canyon. At the bottom was a swift-moving brown river (like the Colorado in the Grand Canyon). There, on the bank of the river was a man, who appeared to have been drowning in the water. I ran down to him, and he was still alive, but was suffering from something… I think it was from swallowing the filthy water. He spoke with a garbled, hoarse voice as if he had been calling out for help.

We (there were others with me) brought him up to the top of the canyon and gave him a blessing, except it was different than any other blessing I had ever given. I think there were 4 of us in a circle. Normally, when I give a blessing, I listen for what I should say, then hope it turns out okay. In this blessing, though, I knew what to say from the beginning. No listening. And what I said was more instructional to the recipient than anything else. I told him that if he did as directed, he would be healed for life, and impervious to that ailment forever. As I said the words, it’s as if they took on a physical attribute… almost like a law (of physics). I don’t know how else to describe it.

The man, who I didn't recognize, yet I loved completely, was skinny, haggard, missing a tooth, and dressed in ripped clothing when I pulled him out of the water. He did as instructed in the blessing and the next time I saw him, we embraced. He was now wearing clean, pressed clothing and was beaming with joy. His face was radiant and glowed with a perfect smile (all teeth intact). I wasn't surprised that he was healed though, because I KNEW it was to be. Also, it seems that he was carrying something with him, but I couldn't tell what.

THE SONG

can you hear the road from this place?
can you hear footsteps? voices?
can you see the blood on my sleeve?
i have fallen in the forest,
did you hear me?

in the loneliness?
oh, the loneliness
and the scream to prove
to everyone
that i exist

in the loneliness
oh, the loneliness
and the scream to bring
the blood to the front of my face againnn

am i here? of course i am, yes
all i need is your hand
to drag me out again
it wasn't me,
i didn't dig this ditch
i was walking for weeks
before i fell in

to the loneliness
oh, the loneliness
and the scream to prove
to everyone
that i exist

in the loneliness
oh, the loneliness
and the scream to fill
a thousand black
balloons with air

fall down, find god
just to lose it again
glue the community together
we were hammering it

fell down, found love
but i can’t lose it again
but now our communal heart
it beats miles from here






Vignettes:

The Marriage of Figaro: Duetto-Sul Aria

Ring of Fire

Bohemian Rhapsody

HELP!

Caelum

The Windmill


Next post: Sunday, July 20

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Vision Six

PROLOGUE
Section 124 tells us that if the Saints did not have a place to restore that which was lost—the fullness of the priesthood— to a completed temple in time that their baptisms would remain efficacious, but their vicarious work for the dead would not.

The irony presented here is that the vicarious work which now needs to be done IS FOR THOSE WHO REJECTED THE COVENANT TO BEGIN WITH. In other words, the children’s children of these Saints (who hated the Lord) need to repent for the folly and abominations of their fathers. By doing so, it is assumed, this action will free them from their bondage and make the work that they should have done in the first place have power when it is resumed.

Baptisms for the living needed to remain condoned so that the 3rd and 4th generation children could have standing when they repented. Their repentance then would give their ancestors the opportunity to be deemed again (“re-deemed”). The job to find the remnant of Lehi’s seed and all of Israel still rests with that group. What we should be doing today is repenting in their behalf.

People may or may not think that one person can repent in behalf of another. Of course, if the “other” one has not done their own due diligence, then their baptisms are moot anyway. But perhaps we should believe the Lord at His word when He says:

But if the children shall repent, or the children’s children, and turn to the Lord their God, with all their hearts and with all their might, mind, and strength, and restore four-fold for all their trespasses wherewith they have trespassed, or wherewith their fathers have trespassed, or their fathers’ fathers, then thine indignation shall be turned away; And vengeance shall no more come upon them, saith the Lord thy God, and their trespasses shall never be brought any more as a testimony before the Lord against them. Amen.

What exactly, then, does it mean to "restore four-fold for all their trespasses wherewith they have tresspassed"? I would suggest that it has to do with these follies:

•         Unauthorized plural marriage
•         Corporatism/Priestcraft
•         Correlation
•         Idolatry

I could also add disobedience to Christ’s “new law” (given in Bountiful) and selfishness (not seeking the greater things to take to the Remnant). They all intertwine like a Gordian knot, so it’s hard to talk about one without seeing the others present.

Those who call themselves “awake” make the assertion: “We need to establish Zion.” I would say that is true, in a sense. But they have gotten way ahead of themselves. Zion’s establishment is left for the House of Israel, and the Gentiles might be so lucky as to assist. Even finding the remnant is not their job right now. That belongs to those who were originally commissioned to carry out the work and received the associated promises. Our job is to repent. That’s it. By doing so, it starts a chain reaction which will lead to the other prophecies being fulfilled.

The reason why we have yet to see great miracles in this marvelous and wondrous work is that we are stepping into the wrong shoes. It has a lot to do with pride, and that goes back to the above listed abominations. We should also repent for taking on the commission of someone else (feigning authority) while we are at it.

THE VISION

I found myself in some sort of village with my family and a few others. There was a flood coming and I could hear the alarm sounding. Others were scrambling for safety as well but they didn't seem to know what to do. There was a nearby building, about 12 stories tall, and I led my group to the roof.

When we got to the top, I knew we weren't high enough. I could see a tall chain link fence surrounding some power equipment, so I climbed to the top and helped everyone up. Just as we all got to the highest spot, I saw coming over the mountains a HUGE flood of water. We all held onto each other as the deluge gushed just below our feet. Had we stayed on the top of the roof (like many others did), we would have been swept away.

The water quickly receded and we went back to the streets. They were completely empty now, except for mud here and there. I sensed there were others around us, perhaps even inside the building we were just standing on, and determined that we were going to go out and find them.

THE SONG

An old silent pond…
A frog jumps in the water.
Splash! Silence again.
_________________________________________

The flood is coming.
We must ascend above it.
Find a tall building.

Family is here
At the roof of the structure.
I see the rapids.

We must go higher.
I will pull you to the top.
Water at our heels.

The deluge has passed.
Walking in the muddy streets,
We are not alone.

I hear their voices:
"Has the Master forgotten?"
Promises invoked.
_________________________________________

An old silent pond...
A man walks on the water.
The frogs croak no more.




Vignettes: