Sunday, July 31, 2016

Dirty Carpet

March 3rd 2016

I am very grateful for light, because light allows me to see. It gives clarity to my perception of the world around me. Because of light I can comprehend what really is. The greater the light, the greater my comprehension of what it is I am looking at. Since I began working at my job at the rehab and nursing facility I have walked up and down the same halls thousands of times, never questioning the quality of lighting. However, the other day the maintenance team replaced all the old lightbulbs on my hallway and the lobby with brighter higher-powered light bulbs. So instead of the light fixtures emitting a boring, dull, yellowish glow, the hall is flooded with a bright, exhilarating, white radiance. Now when I compare my hall with the other halls in the facility there is a much lighter, energetic, and happy atmosphere because of the greater lighting. The beauty of the interior, the paintings on the wall, the furniture, the wood floor, and d├ęcor was enhanced because of the lights. Lighting changes everything. I feel so much more energetic and positive at work, and my residents do to! I never want to return to the lesser light.
Then I looked beneath me at the carpeted floor of the lobby and something caught my attention which I never noticed before. The dark brown carpeted floor was filthy, it’s surface polluted everywhere by slightly darker stains. Why have I never noticed the dirty floor before? I pointed it out to my fellow staff and they were equally surprised by the filth! Why have they too never noticed it? It was because it was not an obvious thing to see until the floor was put under a greater light, revealing its filth- revealing the truth.

“..truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come; And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:24–25)

Truth is to know things as they really are, were, and are to come. Truth is what it is. It doesn’t need to be pretty, it can be ugly. It doesn’t need your opinion, justification, ideas, or interpretations to exist. Truth is independent in itself and cannot be created, destroyed, or altered. (D&C 93:29-30) No matter what you do you cannot change the truth. The only thing you can do is to either embrace it, or hide from it.
Light enables us to behold the truth and to see it for what it really is. When there is an absence of light in our life we become blind. That is why we need Jesus who is the light of the word (Alma 38:9, Ether 4:12) to give us sight so that we can behold the truth. He gives His light to all those who love Him and obey His commandments.

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
“He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:28)

We need light in order to see truth. This is why the Glory of God is intelligence, or in other words LIGHT and TRUTH (D&C 93:36)

The Holy Ghost testifies of truth. ALL things, whether or not it is pleasant, can be revealed unto us by it’s power. (Moroni 10:4-5) Many Mormons and Christians believe that the Holy Ghost communicates to us through emotional feelings and that if something doesn’t give us a happy positive feeling inside we can consider that thing false. This precept is false doctrine! The Holy Ghost does not communicate to us through emotions, WE have emotional reactions to the truth that the Holy Ghost bears witness of. The Holy Ghost, and our emotional response to it bearing record of the truth, are two separate things.
Here are some examples of different reactions to the same truth: 

-A teenage girl and a rattlesnake hunter are out in the desert on a hike. Another hiker coming down the path tells them that there is a rattlesnake up ahead. The reactions between the girl and the hunter to hearing the truth of the upcoming snake will be completely different. Whether or not the reaction is a positive one, it does not change the fact there is a rattlesnake up ahead.
-Nephi’s reaction to truth compared to Laman and Lemuel’s reaction throughout the book of 1st and 2nd Nephi.
-Alma’s reaction to the truth proclaimed by Abinidi compared to the reaction of King Noah and his priest in Mosiah chapters 11-17.
-Alma the younger’s initial reaction to the truth of coming into the presence of God in Alma 36:13-17 in comparison to his later reaction in verse 22.

Often times the truth will conflict our traditional beliefs and can cause us to have negative feelings which can cause us to harden our hearts to not believe it, but that does not make it less true.
Here are some example of the truth not giving people “warm fuzzies”:

-“And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord said unto him: Look upon the ball, and behold the things which are written. And it came to pass that when my father beheld the things which were written upon the ball, he did fear and tremble exceedingly”
(1 Nephi 16:26–27)

-After God shows Moses many marvelous things Moses feeling insignificant states that man is nothing. (Moses 1:10)
-Jonah’s reaction to God’s command to go preach unto Nineveh. (Jonah 1)
-The Pharisees’ reaction when Jesus rebuked their religion.
-The reaction of every wicked group of people God sent messengers to preach repentance unto.

Our reaction to truth and the word of God is completely up to us! If hearing or reading truth gives you an “icky” feeling that doesn’t mean that is the Holy Ghost telling you it isn’t true, that just means you don’t like it. That is your personal reaction to the Holy Ghost speaking to you. You shouldn’t seek to hide from the truth or harden your heart to it just because you don’t like it. Doing so will lead you to destruction:

“And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.” (Alma 12:10–11)

Revelation is informational, not emotional. Joseph Smith taught “A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; (i.e.,) those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith pg 151) He also stated, “The first comforter or Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence.” (TPJS pg 149) The Holy Ghost relays information to us, that is why it can be referred to as the “record of heaven” (Moses 6:61) Emotions do not store information, they store feelings. Words store information. That is why revelation is composed of words which the spirit speaks to us through it’s voice. A voice we are supposed to listen to, not feel.

“..he that prophesieth, let him prophesy to the understanding of men; for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be..”
(Jacob 4:13)
“Behold, that which you hear is as the voice of one crying in the wilderness—in the wilderness, because you cannot see him—my voice, because my voice is Spirit; my Spirit is truth; truth abideth and hath no end; and if it be in you it shall abound.” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:66)
“Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God..” (Moroni 8:8)

Emotional reactions do not have the power to edify, enlighten, and expound the mind. Only the truth, which is informative and can only be comprehended by pure intelligence, can enlighten, edify, and expound the mind.

“And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:46)

God is rational and is completely logical. It is us humans who do not have the light to see things as they really are who are the irrational and illogical ones. Because God is good He is willing to condescend to our level of intelligence to reason with us and teach us in our own language according to our own understanding. (D&C50:11-12, 2nd Nephi 31:3) Jesus will fill us with light and truth. Light, which is the power of the Holy Ghost which enables us to see and comprehend things as they really are, and truth, because God is a God of truth.

“The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying: He received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:26)

Jesus is the truth. So to embrace truth is to also embrace Jesus. To ignore truth is to also ignore Jesus. You can’t have faith unto life and salvation if you choose to forsake the truth. Because when you ignore truth, no matter what your belief or opinion may be, there will be a matter of doubt and uncertainty in your mind; and where doubt and uncertainty are, faith cannot be. For doubt and faith do not exists in the same person at the same time. Because when you have doubt you cannot have unshaken confidence; and when you do not have unshaken confidence, faith is weak; and when faith is weak you will not be able to contend against all the oppositions, tribulations, and afflictions which you will have to encounter in order to be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ Jesus; and you will grow weary in your minds, and the adversary will have power over you and destroy you. (refer to Lectures of Faith 6:12)
This is why light and truth forsake the evil one! (D&C 93:37) All truth is faith promoting, because the truth, no matter how ugly some of it may be, allows us to have unshakable confidence in God and in reality. The Holy Ghost will reveal the truth of ALL things unto you, even if that truth will make you, your ancestors, or your church organization look bad. There is nothing God won’t reveal unto us if we come unto Him with a broken heart and diligently seek and ask. Truth is liberating. This is why it is the truth that will make you free (John 8:32)

So when Christ gives you greater light and you look down and noticed the filth of the dirty carpet beneath your feet what will you do? Will you dim the lights or turn a blind eye to the mess? Will you choose to harden your hearts and cower behind your ignorance because the truth is not pretty? Or will you rise up, take initiative, and do something about the filth? Will you have the courage to boldly step into the light and face the truth for what it is?

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