Some who tell of other-world or near-death experiences have said:1
1. [Communication] was completely through thought…. There was no mistaking what either of us was saying— there was no possibility of misunderstanding.”So, the plaguing question is: How can we be sure of the full meaning of anything God or His (inspired) spokespeople say when all we have are the words, unless we have some further encounter with the mind of God? An example is the recurring tussle over the word “one,” as in “one God.”
2. [I]t was communication of thought. When he spoke, words were used, but I can't tell you what they were. It was more a conveyance of knowledge.
3. “Telepathy is the purest form of communication,” [my guide] said. “There could not possibly be any misunderstanding this way. If I were to send you a message telepathically, you'd see it exactly as I saw it, as I sent it. For instance, if I told you that I wanted to meet you in the park, you'd want to know what park, where in the park, an exact location. I would use words to describe everything the way I understood them. You might not have the same definition for the words I chose. Therefore, a misunderstanding. But, if I sent a message telepathically to you of the same park, you'd see the exact spot as well as the park I had chosen. Therefore, you wouldn't misunderstand because of the different definitions for the words we use.”
4. “That's why it's the purest form of communication,” [my guide] said. “You not only see what I see, you also experience the emotions I feel at the time. Therefore, it's as if you're actually experiencing the message yourself.”
What was the “one” imagery, when Abinadi said:
I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people. And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son— The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son— And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth. And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people. (Book of Mormon Mosiah 15:1-5)?Or when Nephi wrote:
And they must come according to the words which shall be established by the mouth of the Lamb; and the words of the Lamb shall be made known in the records of thy seed, as well as in the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; wherefore they both shall be established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth. (Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 13:41)Or with Mormon:
And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen. (Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 31:21)?
And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end. (Book of Mormon Mormon 7:7)?Or Joseph Smith:
As well as those who should come after, who should believe in the gifts and callings of God by the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and of the Son; Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end. Amen. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 20:27-28)?Can the following quotes concerning “one” give us some clue as to how “one” can be both one and many at the same time?2—an attempt to convey imagery in words?
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Old Testament Genesis 2:24; see also New Testament Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:8; Ephesians 5:31; Doctrine and Covenants 49:16; Pearl of Great Price Moses 3:24; Abraham 5:18)These type of questions kept cropping up for me as I read Daymon Smith’s A Cultural History of the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1: Setting, a foundation, of stones to stumble over. As I’m re-reading it, I keep wondering if our beliefs, biases, preferences, and theories are as much about mezza-communing as meta-texting? In other words, we start with half-communion3 (the words without the defining imagery) and proceed to elaborations and conclusions (meta-texting).
And thou shalt make fifty taches of brass, and put the taches into the loops, and couple the tent together, that it may be one. (Old Testament Exodus 26:11)
Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. (Old Testament Ezekiel 37:19)
And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one. (Old Testament Zechariah 14:9)
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. ... That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: (New Testament John 17:11, 21-22)
And he gathereth his children from the four quarters of the earth; and he numbereth his sheep, and they know him; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd; and he shall feed his sheep, and in him they shall find pasture. (Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 22:25)
Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; (Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 2:11)
And the branches of the natural tree will I graft into the natural branches of the tree; and thus will I bring them together again, that they shall bring forth the natural fruit, and they shall be one. (Book of Mormon Jacob 5:68)
Father, I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me out of the world, because of their faith, that they may be purified in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one, that I may be glorified in them. (Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 19:29)
For a trump shall sound both long and loud, even as upon Mount Sinai, and all the earth shall quake, and they shall come forth—yea, even the dead which died in me, to receive a crown of righteousness, and to be clothed upon, even as I am, to be with me, that we may be one. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 29:13)
Behold, you have had many afflictions because of your family; nevertheless, I will bless you and your family, yea, your little ones; and the day cometh that they will believe and know the truth and be one with you in my church. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 31:2)
I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on my name, that they may become the sons of God, even one in me as I am one in the Father, as the Father is one in me, that we may be one. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 35:2)
Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 38:27)
And let every man deal honestly, and be alike among this people, and receive alike, that ye may be one, even as I have commanded you. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 51:9)
That seems to be one of the great gaps between here and there, especially in comprehending prophecy. When God (through an inspired prophet) says: “Zion,” which one of the several is He picturing? What about other words like Israel? Jerusalem? Egypt? Assyria? Babylon? Even, “Restore all things”?4 and so forth. Can these “words” stand as shifting archetypes—with layer upon layer of historical imagery and déjà vu attached—and thus be brilliantly applied in a different time, to a different entity by virtue of the imagery in the mind of the Speaker?
What if the “Joseph” pictured in the mind of God and referred to in Doctrine and Covenants 113:4 is an entirely different “Joseph” from the one God pictures in verse 6? such that the “rod” descends of one Joseph and the “root” descends of a subsequent Joseph?
What if imagery in the mind of God is the master key to distinguishing and understanding all the “words”? What if, without the revealed imagery, it’s all meta-texting about words, words, words?
A relevant observation from Joseph Smith (added here October 5, 2014):
“Oh Lord God deliver us in thy due time from the little narrow prison almost as it were totel darkness of paper pen and ink and a crooked broken scattered and imperfect language” (source5).--------------/
Note: In a future post, I intend to explore some questions I have about Daymon Smith's apparent view (if I am reading him right) that the Bible has become so corrupted by the loss of plain and precious things (Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 13 & 14) that it should not be used. Might such a rejection also constitute meta-texting?
1. See Crowther, Duane S., Life Everlasting, Cedar Fort, Inc.. Kindle Edition (2006-01-01). Chapter 6: “The Amazing Capabilities of Spirit World Beings”, section titled “Telepathic Mind Communication” (Kindle Locations for quotes (Q) are at: Q-1: Locations 5396-5397; Q-2: Locations 5403-5404; Q-3: Locations 5431-5435; Q-4: Locations 5440-5441.
2. See also: New Testament Romans 12:4-5 ~ For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
New Testament 1 Corinthians 10:1 ~ For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
New Testament 1 Corinthians 12:11-14, 18-20 ~ But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. ... But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body.
Book of Mormon Jacob 5:74 ~ ... and they became like unto one body; and the fruits were equal; and the Lord of the vineyard had preserved unto himself the natural fruit, which was most precious unto him from the beginning.
3. The greater accuracy is probably half of that half (or less) since we humans have a tendency to favor those scriptures (as well as other things) that confirm our already established preferences; and miss or discount what doesn’t confirm our biases.
4. New Testament Matthew 17:11 ~ And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 77:9 ~ And, if you will receive it, this is Elias which was to come to gather together the tribes of Israel and restore all things.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 77:14 ~ Q. What are we to understand by the little book which was eaten by John, as mentioned in the 10th chapter of Revelation? A. We are to understand that it was a mission, and an ordinance, for him to gather the tribes of Israel; behold, this is Elias, who, as it is written, must come and restore all things.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 132:40 ~ I am the Lord thy God, and I gave unto thee, my servant Joseph, an appointment, and restore all things. Ask what ye will, and it shall be given unto you according to my word.
Doctrine and Covenants Section 132:45 ~ For I have conferred upon you the keys and power of the priesthood, wherein I restore all things, and make known unto you all things in due time.