As you can imagine I get all kinds of emails. Most bloggers do. There are many readers who desire to converse about the subject of a post, but prefer to keep the dialog private, thinking what they have to share might have more meaning or make a greater impression in an email. Perhaps they don’t want everybody and their dog commenting on some new and tentative thoughts.
One of the most disturbing private dialogs in which I’ve engaged was with a man who claimed to be in communication with spirits from the other side. Now by itself, such a claim is not all that disturbing, but once he started sharing the conversations, I knew these spirits did not have his best interests in mind. I did not doubt his claims but I was concerned for the safety of his soul.
I’ve seen lots of people who converse with spirits from the other side. Mostly I see them in the streets, shabbily dressed, unwashed, unshaven, pushing a shopping cart heavily laden with all their worldly goods. I’ve met them at gas stations, at entrances to shopping centers, at grocery stores, and on lots of freeway onramps and off-ramps, especially the 405 and Santa Monica Blvd.
Promptings of the Spirit
I’m confident I’ve conversed with unseen spirit beings throughout my life. I can almost always tell what they want by the things they suggest to my mind. An impression will come to review a certain gospel subject, to ponder a gospel theme or read a little more from a book in my library. A quiet voice will whisper to call, email or text someone, or inspire the subject of a new post.
On the other hand, there are promptings, impressions and yes, even voices that respond in less than encouraging ways to things I’ve done or said. I’m sure you’re familiar with the tone of such comments. They are derogatory, demeaning, belittling, or just plain nasty. They seem to be full of accusations and insults, put-downs, patronizing rudeness and especially personal attacks.
The worst kinds of spirits are those who specialize in making bad ideas seem good. They cause you to believe certain actions will bring a special connection to heaven. Such is the case of the man who shared with me a few of his private writings, which he said were from a Godly source. The words from “Jerome” had a form of godliness, but asked him to do some unusual things.
Willing Participants in Deception
I won’t provide details but I’ll give you a clue. Suffice it to say, the suggestions were spiritually damaging. Read George Ritchie’s “Return From Tomorrow,” especially the scenes in the bar. Note carefully what happens when the sailors pass out drunk. There is a reason God gave us a protective energy shield around our spirits. Some people call it our aura. The word fits for me.
Why do otherwise intelligent, spiritually-sensitive people allow such spirits inside their shield? Why would they allow themselves to be used as instruments of deceptive spirits in the things they write or do? Why are they willing to go beyond what the Lord has outlined as the means for communication between God and man? They accept as revelation the whisperings of evil spirits.
I know a thesis should be in the first paragraph, but here’s mine: I believe there are good people out there who are so hungry for spiritual communication, they have convinced themselves it is acceptable to go beyond the safety of the methods God has ordained in study and prayer. I’m not discounting spiritual gifts such as dreams and visions, but do NOT encourage the strange spirits.
Spiritual Gifts and Talents
I’ve worked for a large part of my life at developing what I believe is a spiritual gift in the area of writing. There are so many people who are way more talented than me, but I’m not concerned about that. I got a late start in life, due to a delayed realization – gifts require work to develop. I did poorly at writing in school so I focused on what a subject I enjoyed – computers and logic.
I began to enjoy writing in a college business course. I had to laugh at some of the examples of terrible writing that came from executives of multi-million dollar corporations. I decided then and there I would learn how to write a decent business letter and later, how to communicate effectively in email, which is a whole different animal where less is more, and takes practice.
I focused on business writing – especially proposals, business plans and annual reports – to the exclusion of creative writing. I don’t recommend that for anybody. I picked up creative writing later in life and have enjoyed it immensely. I suppose there is a season for everything but there is a lot to be said for balance. Don’t give up creative outlets your soul needs – writing, music, arts.
Writing by Way of Revelation
Scripture comes by revelation. We can each receive and record revelation. I suggest we keep our own book of revelations where we have studied things out, then gone to the Lord in prayer and asked for understanding – fine-tuned to our way of thinking – that qualifies as revelation. A few of my posts have come precisely because I asked for revelation after reading everything I could.
I don’t know why it has to be that way and maybe it’s not for others, but the only time I feel qualified to ask for revelation is if I have studied something out from every source at hand. At times, the Lord will direct me to a new source, either online or in book form, that will give me the enlightenment I seek. And in the end, the process of receiving revelation is illuminating.
For me, there’s a feeling of safety, and “rightness” about asking for and receiving revelation on a subject after I have studied it out. I study both sides of an issue. I want to know the logic of a question because that’s my background by profession – reducing things to logical components. Oddly enough, sometimes when revelation does come, it can, at first, seem to be a little illogical.
Confirming Our Revelations
That’s why it’s a good idea to take revelation to the Lord in prayer for confirmation. He can give you additional ideas, sources and scriptures to help you understand. I’ve even been directed to go to certain individuals to help me understand what the Lord has shared with me. I don’t always tell them so, but invariably, I come away with a greater understanding of the subject I’m seeking.
One safety check we can always employ is by comparing what we receive with the scriptures, especially the words of Joseph Smith. It’s also best to compare them to original revelations where possible. That’s why I’m so grateful for the Joseph Smith Papers project. I’ve learned quite a few things have changed over the years in the editions of the Doctrine and Covenants.
I’ll offer a word of warning. If you feel you have been given a “special” angel who gives you – and only you – revelations about what to believe or do, you might want to think twice. I’m not denying we have guardian angels, nor am I suggesting the Lord won’t answer your prayers through the ministration of angels – He does. Just please confirm such revelations with God.
When Denver wrote his post on Strange Incense the other day, he elaborated on the extreme result – death – that can come from changing the ordinances of the House of the Lord. There is a reason things are just so and we don’t always know the reason unless we ask. Even then, the answer may be “here is wisdom and it remaineth in me.” In other words, trust God and obey.
We are at a new season in the work of the Lord. The Christmas Day post contained much joyful news of multitudes who have been baptized anew. Accounts were shared of communities using tithing to meet the needs of the poor among them, a sure sign of Zion to come. Conferences are being called and men are rising up in the authority of God to perform the necessary ordinances.
In the December 22nd post on Strange Incense, we read, “Vanity, pride, looking beyond the mark, self-will, arrogance, and reckless enthusiasm all proceed from a lack of gratitude to God for what He gives us. Instead of accepting in gratitude and practicing it with patience, we demand more, insist we can improve on His ways, and charge ahead into the pass to be destroyed by the beast.”
The Beast In the Pass
Remember, Denver has no spokesman. I’m not trying to interpret anything for anyone. I’m just sharing a few thoughts about what I felt was a warning in that post. One of those warnings had to do with charging into the pass. If you wonder to what he is referring, you can find it toward the end of the 2012 Temple Fireside. He has referred to the beast several times since that fireside.
The beast attacked those who were impatient. They were brought to a certain point – the pass – and told specifically to wait for the return of the Lord. Seeing the glory of the fathers in the distance, they went on ahead and were killed or maimed by the beast. The point of the vision, as I understand it, is even if you have received the Lord, wait for Him to lead you further ahead.
Strange Incense referred to additions to temple rites. In our day, perhaps we can interpret this to be adding things to our conferences and worship services beyond what the Lord has authorized. I suppose that’s one of the risks of not having a correlated source for our conferences. All I know is I felt a warning voice in that post, which to me, had to do with added activities in conferences.
Trust No Man or Woman
Another warning recently offered: “You must assume the burden of distinguishing light from darkness, truth from error, and pretenders from those sent by the Lord with counsel from Him. Trust no man. Go to God and ask Him about everyone who teaches and everything taught.” This can be a new and difficult responsibility for those used to checking everything with the Brethren.
Just because a post appears on my blog from another author does not mean I endorse or agree with everything found in the post. I believe in revelation. I believe in inspired writing. I also believe individuals can be 100% convinced, converted and confident they are correct in what they declare, sometimes even in the name of the Lord. You still should check with the Lord.
The same goes for everything I write. Sometimes I am convinced I am correct on some point of doctrine only to discover, sometimes years later, I am in error. I appreciate correction. That’s one of the reasons why I blog. I appreciate the public comment and the private emails. This truly is a new day. We are ploughing new ground. We may make mistakes. Verify everything with God.
The House of the Lord
Contained within the Dec 22nd post we find these words: “There is no accepted House on earth today wherein God dwells. We are therefore free to observe whatever we think will please God in our individual houses of worship.” My home is my house of worship today. Within my home I strive to remember the things I was taught in the house of the Lord. In other words, I practice.
I practice remembering. I practice ceremonies in private. I administer the sacrament. I pray. I worship the Lord before my altar. This was something commonly practiced in the early days of the Mormon faith. If you desire, I can share a copy of an unpublished monograph describing the practice of the home sanctuary in great detail. It contains keys to receiving heavenly answers.
I look forward to the day when the House of the Lord will be built. I still give credence to the words of my patriarchal blessing, which I believe was uttered by an inspired man. I received it in a day of fasting and prayer. In it I am promised I will be able to contribute to the building up of the Kingdom of God here upon the earth preparatory to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I seek to do all I can so God can fulfill that promise. I pray I’ll not hinder His efforts in any way. May God bless each of us to wait patiently at the mouth of the pass until He leads us by the hand to the glory of the Fathers. I am not ready for that day. I have much work to do. Repentance is always in order as are the practices of service, patience, humility and submissiveness to the Lord.
Beware of Strange Incense, no matter the source. You may even find some on my blog either in the posts or in the comments. I haven’t said much about Mother in Heaven. I’ve prayed about it and have felt to keep my thoughts to myself. I’ve only added one comment to the post on Mary. It was from one of Denver’s posts about the identity of the angel in the Garden of Gethsemane.
I hope and pray you each had a blessed Christmas holiday. There is a lot of symbolism in that old Christmas tree. Look up Axis Mundi and think about the Pillar of Fire or Pillar of Heaven. The day will come when that Pillar of Fire returns to dwell. The Lord will appear there. He will send angels to visit and open a fiery corridor between heaven and earth. Will we be ready for that day?