Monday, November 24, 2014

Up or Down?

(Doctrine of the Two Ways)
Hugh Nibley: By the very nature of things, there is no third way—as the early Jewish and Christian writers remind us repeatedly in their doctrine of the Two Ways. According to this oldest and best-established of teachings (though quite unpopular with the conventional Christianity and Judaism of our time), there are Two Ways lying before every person in this life, the Way of Light and the Way of Darkness, the Way of Life and the Way of Death; and every mortal every day of his life is required to make a choice between them. Unfortunately for our peace of mind, any compromise between the Two Ways is out of the question, since they lead in opposite directions. As the wise Heraclitus pointed out long ago, "The up-road and the down-road are one and the same." Which one you are on depends entirely on the way you are facing.1
So, for starters, let’s look at the “down-road” as that seems to be the one historically (and currently) preferred, despite numerous directives and lamentations. Here is a sample from God (and His prophets):
▪ Behold, I, the Lord, who was crucified for the sins of the world, give unto you a commandment that you shall forsake the world. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 53:2)

▪ And verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 25:10)

▪ And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (New Testament | Romans 12:2)

▪ And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day; (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 59:9)

▪ Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (New Testament | James 1:27)

▪ Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (New Testament | James 4:4)

▪ Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (New Testament | 2 Peter 1:4)

▪ Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (New Testament | Colossians 2:8)

▪ Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (New Testament | Titus 2:12)

▪ Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (New Testament | 1 John 2:15-17)

▪ For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (New Testament | 1 John 5:4-5)

▪ Seek not after riches nor the vain things of this world; for behold, you cannot carry them with you. (Book of Mormon | Alma 39:14)

▪ If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (New Testament | John 15:18-19)
And though, by these words, it is clear that the way of the world leads away from God, yet:
He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 26:24)

And again, I remember that thou hast said that thou hast loved the world, even unto the laying down of thy life for the world, that thou mightest take it again to prepare a place for the children of men. (Book of Mormon | Ether 12:33)
So apparently it all comes down to one road. Do we go up or down? We decide.

Though from the witness of trivial, vain, and excessive things,2 it seems the majority of us do not really believe in the “Doctrine of Two Ways.” When at last, we appear before the pleading bar3 of God what will we plead? “I didn’t know.” “I didn’t understand.” “I thought I was doing OK—maybe even great.” “Nobody told me otherwise.” “I guess, I didn’t remember it was that important.” “Anyway, the test was awfully hard.” “Everybody was talking mercy and I forgot—justice and judgment.”

Or should we just keep it short and say, “Babylon beguiled me and I did eat”?

And what will the great Judge say? Maybe nothing. Maybe He will just hand us our scriptures.

1. (Hugh Nibley, Approaching Zion, edited by Don E. Norton [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1989], 30-31.)
More Nibley from the same source:
* There is an unbridgeable gap between Zion and Babylon. We cannot compromise on the two ways, because the two ways lead in opposite directions. In recent years, the course of the whole world has suddenly and dramatically vindicated the position taken by the early saints and largely forgotten by their descendants. We are discovering that there really are two worlds; that the one leads to sure destruction written in capital letters on everything we behold, as Joseph Smith put it, fn and only the other offers salvation. This is the ancient doctrine of the "Two Ways" taught in the early church—the way of darkness and the way of light. fn It was impossible to try to compromise between them because they led in opposite directions. (18-19.)
* When we try to mix Zion and Babylon, Babylon has already won the game. It is amazing that any teaching so fundamental and so clear-cut could be so effectively silenced today among people professing to preach and to practice the restored gospel. (18-19.)
2. as in: houses, garages, retreats, lands, estates, cupboards, clothes, closets, storage units, storage sheds, cars, car-less garages, RVs, boats, toys, tools, equipment, devices, electronics, phones, TVs, dishes, furniture, décor (especially Xmas, Halloween, etc.), shareholdings, investments, accounts, etc., etc. If this list offends, well … perhaps it’s just a déjà vu reflex of the flesh! Anyway, to clear the air, not all things of the world are bad, only when we misuse or abuse or become obsessed, burdened, or distracted with them. So once again, I confess, in the near words of Groucho Marx: “These are my [views]; if you don’t like them, I have others.”
3. From The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text edited by Royal Skousen (2009) where he corrects “pleasing bar” to “pleading bar” in both Jacob 6:13 and Moroni 10:34.
» Finally, I bid you farewell, until I shall meet you before the plea[d]ing bar of God, which bar striketh the wicked with awful dread and fear. Amen. (Jacob 6:13)
» And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the plea[d]ing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen. (Moroni 10:34)

More references to “the way of the world”:
(Does repetition count in the gravity of a matter?)

» Matthew 13:22 ~ He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
» Matthew 16:26 ~ For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (see also: Mark 8:36; Luke 9:25)
» John 1:29-30 ~ The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
» John 12:25 ~ He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
» John 14:17 ~ Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
» John 16:33 ~ These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
» John 17:14-16 ~ I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
» John 18:36 ~ Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
» 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 ~ For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.
» 1 Corinthians 3:18-19 ~ Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
» 1 Corinthians 2:6-12 ~ Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
» 2 Corinthians 4:4 ~ In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
» 2 Corinthians 7:10 ~ For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
» Galatians 1:4 ~ Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
» Galatians 6:14 ~ But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
» Ephesians 2:2 ~ Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
» Ephesians 6:12 ~ For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
» 1 Timothy 6:7 ~ For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
» 2 Peter 2:20-21 ~ For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
» 1 John 3:13 ~ Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.
» 1 John 4:1-5 ~ BELOVED, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
» 1 John 5:19 ~ And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

» 1 Nephi 6:5 ~ Wherefore, the things which are pleasing unto the world I do not write, but the things which are pleasing unto God and unto those who are not of the world.
» 1 Nephi 11:36 ~ And it came to pass that I saw and bear record, that the great and spacious building was the pride of the world; and it fell, and the fall thereof was exceedingly great.
» 1 Nephi 13:9 ~ And also for the praise of the world do they destroy the saints of God, and bring them down into captivity.
» 1 Nephi 22:23 ~ For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet.
» 2 Nephi 9:18 ~ But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.
» 2 Nephi 9:30 ~ But wo unto the rich, who are rich as to the things of the world. For because they are rich they despise the poor, and they persecute the meek, and their hearts are upon their treasures; wherefore, their treasure is their god. And behold, their treasure shall perish with them also.
» 2 Nephi 26:29 ~ He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.
» 2 Nephi 27:16 ~ And now, because of the glory of the world and to get gain will they say this, and not for the glory of God.
» Mosiah 4:22-23 ~ And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done. I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.
» Alma 1:16 ~ Nevertheless, this did not put an end to the spreading of priestcraft through the land; for there were many who loved the vain things of the world, and they went forth preaching false doctrines; and this they did for the sake of riches and honor.
» Alma 4:8 ~ For they saw and beheld with great sorrow that the people of the church began to be lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and to set their hearts upon riches and upon the vain things of the world, that they began to be scornful, one towards another, and they began to persecute those that did not believe according to their own will and pleasure.
» Alma 5:37 ~ O ye workers of iniquity; ye that are puffed up in the vain things of the world, ye that have professed to have known the ways of righteousness nevertheless have gone astray, as sheep having no shepherd, notwithstanding a shepherd hath called after you and is still calling after you, but ye will not hearken unto his voice!
» Alma 5:53 ~ And now my beloved brethren, I say unto you, can ye withstand these sayings; yea, can ye lay aside these things, and trample the Holy One under your feet; yea, can ye be puffed up in the pride of your hearts; yea, will ye still persist in the wearing of costly apparel and setting your hearts upon the vain things of the world, upon your riches?
» Alma 7:6 ~ But behold, I trust that ye are not in a state of so much unbelief as were your brethren; I trust that ye are not lifted up in the pride of your hearts; yea, I trust that ye have not set your hearts upon riches and the vain things of the world; yea, I trust that you do not worship idols, but that ye do worship the true and the living God, and that ye look forward for the remission of your sins, with an everlasting faith, which is to come.
» Alma 31:27-28 ~ Behold, O God, they cry unto thee, and yet their hearts are swallowed up in their pride. Behold, O God, they cry unto thee with their mouths, while they are puffed up, even to greatness, with the vain things of the world. Behold, O my God, their costly apparel, and their ringlets, and their bracelets, and their ornaments of gold, and all their precious things which they are ornamented with; and behold, their hearts are set upon them, and yet they cry unto thee and say—We thank thee, O God, for we are a chosen people unto thee, while others shall perish.
» Alma 60:32 ~ Behold, can you suppose that the Lord will spare you and come out in judgment against the Lamanites, when it is the tradition of their fathers that has caused their hatred, yea, and it has been redoubled by those who have dissented from us, while your iniquity is for the cause of your love of glory and the vain things of the world?
» Alma 60:36 ~ Behold, I am Moroni, your chief captain. I seek not for power, but to pull it down. I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God, and the freedom and welfare of my country.
» Helaman 7:4-5 ~ And seeing the people in a state of such awful wickedness, and those Gadianton robbers filling the judgment–seats—having usurped the power and authority of the land; laying aside the commandments of God, and not in the least aright before him; doing no justice unto the children of men; Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money; and moreover to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills—
» Helaman 7:21 ~ But behold, it is to get gain, to be praised of men, yea, and that ye might get gold and silver. And ye have set your hearts upon the riches and the vain things of this world, for the which ye do murder, and plunder, and steal, and bear false witness against your neighbor, and do all manner of iniquity.
» Helaman 12:4 ~ O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world!
» 3 Nephi 6:15 ~ Now the cause of this iniquity of the people was this—Satan had great power, unto the stirring up of the people to do all manner of iniquity, and to the puffing them up with pride, tempting them to seek for power, and authority, and riches, and the vain things of the world.
» 4 Nephi 1:24 ~ And now, in this two hundred and first year there began to be among them those who were lifted up in pride, such as the wearing of costly apparel, and all manner of fine pearls, and of the fine things of the world.
» Ether 8:7 ~ And now Jared became exceedingly sorrowful because of the loss of the kingdom, for he had set his heart upon the kingdom and upon the glory of the world.
» Mormon 8:38-41 ~ O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world? Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not? Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads? Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer.

» Section 1:16 ~ They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.
» Section 29:4 ~ Verily, I say unto you that ye are chosen out of the world to declare my gospel with the sound of rejoicing, as with the voice of a trump.
» Section 35:13-14 ~ Wherefore, I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thrash the nations by the power of my Spirit; And their arm shall be my arm, and I will be their shield and their buckler; and I will gird up their loins, and they shall fight manfully for me; and their enemies shall be under their feet; and I will let fall the sword in their behalf, and by the fire of mine indignation will I preserve them.
» Section 39:9 ~ Nevertheless, thou hast seen great sorrow, for thou hast rejected me many times because of pride and the cares of the world.
» Section 40:2 ~ And he received the word with gladness, but straightway Satan tempted him; and the fear of persecution and the cares of the world caused him to reject the word.
» Section 50:8 ~ But the hypocrites shall be detected and shall be cut off, either in life or in death, even as I will; and wo unto them who are cut off from my church, for the same are overcome of the world.
» Section 50:41-42 ~ Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me; And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost.
» Section 58:39 ~ And let him repent of his sins, for he seeketh the praise of the world.
» Section 64:2 ~ For verily I say unto you, I will that ye should overcome the world; wherefore I will have compassion upon you.
» Section 95:13 ~ Now here is wisdom, and the mind of the Lord—let the house be built, not after the manner of the world, for I give not unto you that ye shall live after the manner of the world;
» Section 101:36 ~ Wherefore, fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full.
» Section 103:7-8 ~ And by hearkening to observe all the words which I, the Lord their God, shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued under my feet, and the earth is given unto the saints, to possess it forever and ever. But inasmuch as they keep not my commandments, and hearken not to observe all my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them.
» Section 121:34-36 ~ Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
» Section 132:22-23 ~ For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me. But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also.
» Section 134:12 ~ We believe it just to preach the gospel to the nations of the earth, and warn the righteous to save themselves from the corruption of the world:
» Section 135:6 ~ … the reader in every nation will be reminded that the Book of Mormon, and this book of Doctrine and Covenants of the church, cost the best blood of the nineteenth century to bring them forth for the salvation of a ruined world; and that if the fire can scathe a green tree for the glory of God, how easy it will burn up the dry trees to purify the vineyard of corruption.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Divided Soul?

“And the spirit and the body are the soul of man.”
~ Doctrine and Covenants | Section 88:15 ~

Here are some more thoughts sparked upon completing Dr. John E. Sarno’s books, The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders (2007); and The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain(1998).

In short, Dr. Sarno’s insightful thesis is that the unconscious harbors a “reservoir of rage” (and other emotions) that manifest in body pain which has no true structural basis, even though, at times, it may appear to have. The diagnosis is TMS (Tension Myositis Syndrome) and pain relief comes most often through awareness and personal work without the need of drugs or other physical interventions.1

BUT, from a spirit-body (soul) perspective, (instead of a mind-body one), what if:
» the unconscious is the repository of the transrational2 and of all our pre-mortal experience and knowledge that has been veiled for a mortal test3 / sojourn?

» consciousness is the accumulation of knowledge, experience, and increasing awareness during our mortal phase of spirit-body union?

» there is a fluctuating boundary between the conscious and unconscious (subconscious?) where unbearable memories, stresses, confusions, emotions, rage, and conflicts are stashed until they can be dealt with—a zone that moderates between the will of the flesh and the will of the spirit / divine self? (For some background, see the previous post entitled: “The Flesh4)?

» anger, rage (and their frequent suppression / repression), plus frustration, low self-esteem, irritability, inadequacy, etc. are the common lot of most mortals as they deal with the unconscious mists of the Fall, the veil of forgetfulness; the weakness and will of the flesh, the stresses of life, and the “confusing” interventions of the spirit through symbols, dreams, TMS, and so forth?

» the nature and will of the flesh continually presents that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” in the NOW is all there is, and thus, it cares nothing for veiled realms, forgotten truths, transrational purposes, and limitless potentialities?

» the spirit’s animating force and purpose is to overcome5 the telestial-drive of “the flesh” and to convert gross matter (flesh) into a state such that it, in inseparable union with spirit, can take upon itself greater dimensions?

» in order to get the body to pay attention, the spirit pings the flesh, using pain to redirect priorities and purposes, in its mission to move the flesh toward increasing awareness and transformation? (Perhaps just one of various strategies employed by the spirit / divine self?) OR, in the alternative, does the flesh, through the mind, use pain to avoid dealing with things of the spirit?

» there are elements or points of rebellion6 possible in each sphere of matter, e.g., where spirit may rebel against its nature (resulting in loss); or where flesh may resist its nature (resulting in increasing freedom)?
In summary, what if this mortal existence is just Act Two of an incredible, trying, evolutionary process that neither Darwin nor Dawkins (or for that matter, many of us), in our wildest imaginations, could ever fathom because we have chosen the blinding paradigm of Flatland7?

PS: As noted in a previous post, some may think all the above is just another blinding paradigm. They could be right. In the alternative, they could be wrong. Hopefully, at some point, we shall come to know.

1. It is my belief that most people could benefit greatly from reading Dr. Sarno’s books. Here are some relevant quotes from The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain, Grand Central Publishing. Kindle Edition (Kindle Locations noted).
Loc. 259 ~ “The purpose of a defense mechanism (in this case physical symptoms) is to divert people’s attention to the body, so that they can avoid the awareness of or confrontation with certain unconscious (repressed) feelings.”
Loc. 359 ~ “No matter how we react to life’s pressures consciously, another world of reactions exists in the unconscious. Because we are not aware of those unconscious feelings and cannot, therefore, control them, and because they are so threatening and frightening, the brain will automatically induce physical symptoms to prevent the dangerous feelings from becoming overt, and thus becoming conscious. That is how mindbody symptoms come about— and they are universal in Western society. They are not a sign of mental or emotional illness. To look upon them as abnormal or aberrant leads to gross medical mismanagement.”
Loc. 532 ~ “Although awareness of the existence of rage in the unconscious is essential, to focus on it alone is not enough. We must seek to know the reasons for the rage to fully understand the process.”
Loc. 793 ~ “Mindbody symptoms exist to serve a purpose. If you thwart that purpose by taking away the symptom without dealing with its cause, the brain will simply find a substitute symptom or disorder.”
Loc. 1524 ~ “When TMS is the cause of symptoms, there is no rationale for any of the treatments, since they are predicated on a structural abnormality, or an inflammatory process that has never been identified. Complete and permanent elimination of pain depends on an accurate diagnosis.”
Loc. 1904 ~ “The disorders just described under the headings of TMS and its equivalents are without doubt responsible for a substantial proportion of the Western world’s medical ills. Their proper management would alleviate much suffering and reduce the enormous cost of medical care that now burdens modern society.”
Loc. 2174 ~ “… the purpose of the pain is to divert attention from what’s going on emotionally and to keep you focused on the body. In essence it is a contest for conscious attention.”
Loc. 2189 ~ “By changing the focus of attention from the body to the psyche we render the pain useless, take away its purpose and reveal what it was trying to hide.”
Loc. 2457 ~ “… the pain is due to mild oxygen deprivation, since the autonomic system can change the rate of blood flow in seconds if it so chooses.”
Loc. 184 ~ “Awareness, insight, knowledge and information were the magic medicines that would cure this disorder [TMS]— and nothing else could do it.”
See also: ; Norman Cousins, Head First: The Biology of Hope and the Healing Power of the Human Spirit (1989); as well as his Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient: Reflections on Healing and Regeneration (1979)
3. (to determine what degree of powers we can be trusted with?)
4 .
5. ▫ New Testament | Romans 12:21 ~ Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
▫ New Testament | 1 John 5:4-5 ~ For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
▫ New Testament | Revelation 2:7 ~ He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (See also vs. 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 21:7)
▫ Doctrine and Covenants | Section 50:35 ~ And by giving heed and doing these things which ye have received, and which ye shall hereafter receive—and the kingdom is given you of the Father, and power to overcome all things which are not ordained of him—
▫ Doctrine and Covenants | Section 52:18 ~ And again, he that is overcome and bringeth not forth fruits, even according to this pattern, is not of me.
▫ Doctrine and Covenants | Section 63:47 ~ He that is faithful and endureth shall overcome the world.
▫ Pearl of Great Price | JS-Matthew 1:30 ~ And again, because iniquity shall abound, the love of men shall wax cold; but he that shall not be overcome, the same shall be saved.
6. This element of agency and choice—to work with or against one’s nature—could help explain divisions and choices during the “war in heaven”and the adversarial rebellion against God. See:
▫ Pearl of Great Price | Moses 4:3-4 ~ Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.
▫ Doctrine and Covenants | Section 29:36 ~ ... for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency;
▫ Doctrine and Covenants | Section 76:25-26 ~ And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son whom the Father loved and who was in the bosom of the Father, was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son, And was called Perdition, for the heavens wept over him—he was Lucifer, a son of the morning.
▫ Book of Mormon | Mosiah 15:26 ~ But behold, and fear, and tremble before God, for ye ought to tremble; for the Lord redeemeth none such that rebel against him and die in their sins; yea, even all those that have perished in their sins ever since the world began, that have wilfully rebelled against God, that have known the commandments of God, and would not keep them; these are they that have no part in the first resurrection.
7. From the book Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott (1884) ~ summary at . ‘Tis a spot-on view of blinding paradigms. For more thoughts on blinding paradigms see: . And sure, Dawkins et al. may believe in other dimensions (e.g., String Theory), except it seems, that for increasing numbers, not one of those strings can possibly lead to God.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

“The Flesh”

Since reading The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders by John E. Sarno, M.D., I have found myself dwelling upon “the flesh.”

I will comment on Dr. Sarno’s insightful thesis in a future post, but this is what I have synthesized thus far about “flesh” (and “spirit”) from the transrational perspective of scripture:
1. Flesh and spirit are opposites, conjoined for a divine purpose;
2. Flesh is gross matter with a drive toward increasing disorder and disintegration, while spirit is more-refined matter with a drive toward integration, growth, progression, and the transformation of gross matter into an incorruptible, immortal, celestial state;
3. Flesh is at war with spirit, seeking to captivate and enslave, while spirit doggedly tries to persuade flesh that there is more to “matter” than a perpetual recycling to and from constituent elements;
4. Most of mankind (past, present, and undoubtedly future) have been enamored with gross matter and have often resorted to violence when told that their gross choices have consequences and that they need a Savior.
Here is some transrational support:

Synthesis One: Opposites & Purpose
For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, … righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 2:11)

And the spirit and the body are the soul of man. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 88:15)

For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy; And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 93:33-34)

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Pearl of Great Price | Moses 1:39)
Synthesis Two: “Matter” & Opposing Drives
There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes; We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 131:7-8)

Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. (New Testament | Galatians 5:16-26)
Synthesis Three: War & Persuasion
Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit; And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 2:27-29)

Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually. But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil. For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night. For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. (Book of Mormon | Moroni 7:12-17)

For behold, at that day shall he [the devil] rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good. And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell. 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 28:20-22)

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. (New Testament | Romans 7:18-19)

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: (New Testament | Ephesians 2:15-16)

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (New Testament | 2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (New Testament | 1 John 2:15-17)

[As to violence: consider Jesus and His many apostles, prophets, and disciples of scripture; read the latter-day attacks upon the warning voices of these latter-days; let us look in the mirror if the word “repent” makes us froth.]
Synthesis Four: Consequences & a Savior
Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise. Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 2:8-9)

Wherefore, ... reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 10:24)

But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. Therefore, he is as though there was no redemption made, being an enemy to God; and also is the devil an enemy to God.(Book of Mormon | Mosiah 16:5)

THERE is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (New Testament | Romans 8:1-14)

They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: (New Testament | Romans 9:8)

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (New Testament | 1 Corinthians 15:50)

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. ... But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. (New Testament | Galatians 6:8, 14)

But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; (New Testament | 2 Peter 2:10-12)

From observation and God’s continuing laments, it seems that we, in this twenty-first century, are just another déjà vu—our excuse being sophistication and science. Yet the result is the same. We discount the polarity and purpose of flesh and spirit conjoined. The whole divine, incredible Plan is too transrational; the bullying of some scientists too formidable; the world too enticing; the will of the flesh too NOW; and so we live-it-up-'n-down; pretending it’s all less pivotal than it is; that mercy can and will rob justice; and that we’ll manage (by hook or by crook) to be happy-ever-after (if there really turns out to be an after, after all!).

So, how are we doing with this column of flesh and bone—this mindbody; this spiritbody—that we’ve got?

Perhaps it matters more than we can possibly imagine!

Additional transrational support:
▪ Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (New Testament | Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38; John )
▪ Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. (New Testament | John 3:5 - 7)
▪ I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. (New Testament | Romans 6:19)
▪ For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. (New Testament | Romans 7:5)
▪ I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (New Testament | Romans 7:25)
▪ But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (New Testament | Romans 13:14)
▪ Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (New Testament | Ephesians 2:3)
▪ THIS know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; (New Testament | 2 Timothy 3:1-4)
▪ These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. (New Testament | 2 Peter 2:17-19)
▪ That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. (New Testament | 1 Peter 4:2)
▪ FORASMUCH then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. (New Testament | 1 Peter 4:1-2)
▪ ... the weakness which is in me, according to the flesh, (Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 19:6)
▪ ... those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; (Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 22:23)
▪ And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 2:5)
▪ And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy? Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul. Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 4:27-29)
▪ Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more. O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 9:7-8)
▪ O how great the plan of our God! For on the other hand, the paradise of God must deliver up the spirits of the righteous, and the grave deliver up the body of the righteous; and the spirit and the body is restored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and immortal, and they are living souls, having a perfect knowledge like unto us in the flesh, save it be that our knowledge shall be perfect. Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness. And it shall come to pass that when all men shall have passed from this first death unto life, insomuch as they have become immortal, they must appear before the judgment–seat of the Holy One of Israel; and then cometh the judgment, and then must they be judged according to the holy judgment of God. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 9:13-15)
▪ O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally–minded is death, and to be spiritually–minded is life eternal. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 9:39)
▪ 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. And after all this, after working many mighty miracles among the children of men, he shall be led, yea, even as Isaiah said, as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father. (Book of Mormon | Mosiah 15:5-7)
▪ Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God. (Book of Mormon | Mormon 9:28)
▪ And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God. (Book of Mormon | Moroni 9:6)