Wednesday, March 28, 2012

“Countless seeds of good and ill”

Background 2012

▪ March 20-27: Reading Steven Pressfield’s: The War of Art and Do the Work1
▪ March 25: Sang LDS hymn # 216: “We are Sowing” (“We are sowing, daily sowing Countless seeds of good and ill, …”)
▪ March 25: Taught RS sisters from Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s, October 2011 Conference address: “You Matter to Him”
▪ March 25-27: (1) Applied my mind to all the above; (2) Listened to the mind-chatter of a sower (me)


If “We Are Less Than We Suppose” (antidote to pride); and “Greater Than We Suppose” (antidote to cipher-syndrome); and if these are opposites, then humility is not the opposite of pride, but the way of balance between pride and cipher-syndrome.

Pride is to think that our talents, gifts, skills are ours by merit; that we have earned our money, fame, power; “that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men, but every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; [that] every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime” (Book of Mormon | Alma 30:17); that every woman/man is entitled to be a law unto themselves.

Cipher-syndrome is to think we have no gifts or skills; that nothing we do is good enough; that God does not know or care who we are; that He has abandoned us; that we are so insignificant, so sinful, so flawed, so weak, so unforgiveable that the atonement can have no application in our life; that we are a nobody.

A Paradox of Man: If, as Elder Uchtdorf says: “This is a paradox of man: [in that] compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God… [and if] “The great deceiver knows that one of his most effective tools in leading the children of God astray is to appeal to the extremes of the paradox of man” (Nov. 2011 Ensign, p. 20) then wo/man is going to be a battle ground of whispers in the mind and heart2 and whispers in the ears3.


So in coalescing all the above: what were the whispers I entertained since Sunday? What are the seeds I (allowed to be) sowed since Sunday? How does the song-parable apply to my unremitting mind-chatter?

AWARENESS is a grand key. Paying attention. Being present. Seeking help.
Thou who knowest all our weakness, Leave us not to sow alone!
Bid thine angels guard the furrows, Where the precious grain is sown.
Till the fields are crown’d with glory, Filled with mellow, ripened ears,
Filled with fruit of life eternal From the seed we sowed in tears.
(Verse 4: “We Are Sowing”, LDS Hymn #216
1. Herein HIGHLY recommended; can be found in Kindle Books or perhaps your local library. (Thanks to my sister, BYS, who directed me to these Pressfield books.)

2. And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. … (Book of Mormon Words of Mormon 1:7) Yea, thus saith the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things, … (Doctrine and Covenants Section 85:6) And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul—(Book of Mormon Helaman 5:30) And it came to pass that there came a voice unto them, yea, a pleasant voice, as if it were a whisper, saying: Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world. (Book of Mormon Helaman 5:46 - 47) Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God? (Doctrine and Covenants Section 6:23) Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 8:2) … I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy; (Doctrine and Covenants Section 11:13; bold emphasis added)

3. And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. (Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 28:22; bold emphasis added)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

More (déjà vu) Isaiah

(from 700s BC & from the Isaiah translation by Avraham Gileadi, 1988)

Do we (whatever our land or nation) recognize any of our latter-day culture, mores, law, politics, religion, economics, government, armed forces, markets, etc. in any of Isaiah’s descriptions?

Your silver has become dross,
  your wine diluted with water.
Your rulers are renegades,
  accomplices of robbers:
  with one accord they love bribes
  and run after rewards;
  they do not dispense justice to the fatherless,
  nor does the widow’s case come before them. (1:22-23)
Their land is full of silver and gold
  and there is no end to their wealth;
  their land is full of horses
  and there is no end to their chariots.
Their land is full of idols;
  they adore the works of their hands,
  things their own fingers have made. (2:7-8)
It is you who have devoured the vineyard;
  you fill your houses by depriving the needy.
  What do you mean by oppressing my people;
  humbling the faces of the poor? (3:14-15)
[There are] those who join house to house
  and link field to field till no place is left, …
[There are] those who go after liquor
  as soon as they arise in the morning,
  who linger at night parties, inflamed by wine [and drugs]! …
[There are] those drawn to sin by vain attachments,
  hitched to transgression like a trailer, …
[There are] those who suppose what is evil to be good
  and what is good, evil!
They put darkness for light
  and light for darkness;
  they make bitterness sweet and the sweet bitter.
[There are] those who are wise in their own eyes
  and clever in their own view! …
[There are] those who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
  but deny justice to the innocent! (5:8, 11, 18, 20-21, 23)
The leaders of these people have misled them,
  and those who are led are confused. (9:16)
[There are] those who enact unjust laws,
  who draft oppressive legislation—
  denying justice to the needy,
  depriving the poor of my people of their right,
  making plunder of widows,
  mere spoil of the fatherless! …
  … a godless [KJV: hypocritical] nation … (10:1-2, 6)
… whose traders are princes,
  whose merchants the world’s celebrities? (23:8)
The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants: (24:5)
These too have indulged in wine
  and are giddy with strong drink:
  priests and prophets have gone astray through liquor.
They are intoxicated with wine
  and stagger because of strong drink;
  they err as seers, they blunder in their decisions.
For all tables are filled with vomit;
  no spot is without excrement. …
… taking refuge in deception
  and hiding behind falsehoods … (28:7-8, 15)
… these people approach me with the mouth
  and pay me homage with their lips,
  while their heart remains far from me—
  their piety toward me consisting of commandments of men learned by rote— (29:13)
… drawing up plans, but not by me,
  for making alliances without my approval,
  only adding sin to sin! …
  who say to the seers, See not!
  and to those with visions,
Predict not what is right for us:
  flatter us; foresee a farce!
Get out of the way; move aside, off the path!
  Cease confronting us with the Holy One of Israel! (30:1, 10-11)
[There are] those who go down to (X) for help,
  relying on horses,
  putting their trust in immense numbers
  of chariots and vast forces of horsemen,
  but who do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
  nor inquire of the Lord! (31:1)
… Their heart ponders impiety:
  how to practice hypocrisy and preach
  perverse things concerning the Lord,
  leaving the hungry soul empty,
  depriving the thirsty soul of drink.
And rogues scheme by malevolent means
  and insidious devices to ruin the poor,
  and with false slogans and accusations
  to denounce the needy. (32:6-7)
You bathe with oil for the king
  and increase your perfumes;
  you send your solicitors far abroad
  and debase yourself to the depths.
Though wearied by your excessive ways,
  you have not admitted despair;
  you have found livelihood,
  and therefore have not slackened. (57:9-10)
… your lips speak guile, your tongue utters duplicity. …
They rely on empty words, deceitfully spoken;
  they conceive misdeeds, they beget wickedness. …
  they manipulate injurious dealings.
Their feet rush after evil;
  they hasten to shed innocent blood.
Their thoughts are preoccupied with mischief; …
  integrity is not within their bounds.
They have made crooked their paths;
  none who treads them knows peace. …
… perversely planning ways of extortion,
  conceiving in the mind and pondering illicit transactions. (59:3-4, 6-8, 13)

BUT, there are many promises in Isaiah, too, when, in a day of repentance, return, and reconciliation, God shall be entreated:
In that day there shall be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. Assyrians shall come to Egypt and Egyptians go to Assyria, and the Egyptians shall labor with the Assyrians. In that day Israel shall be the third party to Egypt and to Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth: The Lord of Hosts will bless them, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance (Isaiah 19:23-25).

A point to ponder in light of Book of Mormon: 2 Nephi 29:11–12 and Alma 29:8* — IF Isaiah, a prophet to and of Israel, sometimes refers to God as the Holy One of Israel, is it not possible that a prophet to and of “X” (meaning some other nation) might not, in truth, speak of the Holy One of [X]?

* Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 29:11–12 For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written. For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it (bold emphasis added).
Book of Mormon Alma 29:8: For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true (bold emphasis added).