Friday, December 1, 2017

Righteously Seeking God's Mysteries

A recent question was emailed to me this week, and I thought I would share my answer here on my blog, as it might be helpful to anyone else encoutnering the same question.

The question was in regards to my last video message, "When the Lord Knocks." The person expressed her concerns about seeking "outside the box" for spiritual growth.  She added, "I do not have the gift of discernment, and I have learned  that I am often wrong in what I feel are answers and promptings."

My Thoughts

One thing that is difficult for me, is being put in a position to where I am being asked to persuade someone. Unless it is to convince them to buy my children cookies for their school fundraiser, I generally avoid persuasion. I believe that the Spirit should do the convincing. If a person comes to me with doubts or confusion, I tell them to go to the Lord. Pray, ask for the Holy Ghost to be their guide, repent of anything that might be preventing them from feeling the Holy Ghost in their life, ask for wisdom, examine their faith - is it possible their faith is lacking and therefore the Lord is not answering them in the manner that they would like? 

From past experience, I have had friends ask me for what I believe to be true about a certain matter, and then go to another person and ask the same, and then pit our answers against each other. That is not how the Spirit works. When I receive a certain truth from the Spirit, it burns so warm inside of me that I know it is true. When something does not feel right for me, I feel "troubled in the spirit" which is a sensation I feel in the pit of my stomach. I never feel torn, confused, unsure...etc. I just know.  

Because the question that came to me was very sincere and came from a place of desiring to do the right thing, I decided to do my best to share the thoughts and feelings of my heart. 

In my video "When the Lord Knocks" I talk about the importance of having an open mind and an open heart while on the journey of spiritual progression. I also stress that it is vital to have the gift of discernment while on this journey. You would never go on a lengthy hiking adventure into the deep mountains without a compass and a map (GPS). The Holy Ghost is our compass. If we struggle to feel the Holy Ghost in our daily lives,  or we struggle to trust those promptings, as I mentioned in my video - it is much safer to walk the valley trails

Many times, I have used the Apostle Paul's analogy of milk and meat. In Paul's visit to Corinth, he addressed several church-related problems to the people in his first letter to the Corinthians. The main problem was a carnal one, and was evidence of the church members' spiritual immaturity. Some in Corinth had not only aligned themselves to certain teachers (Paul, Apollos, Peter), they were also causing contentions and divisions in the church by arguing which of these preachers was the most spiritual and best to follow (verses 3 - 23).

The heading to 1 Corinthians 3 reads: Milk comes before meat in the Church

1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

The word "milk" in the above scripture (Greek gala, (Strong's Concordance #G1051) means the basic, elemental teachings of true Christianity first learned by new converts. The word "meat" comes from the Greek word Broma (Strong's #G1033) and means "the more solid, complete and deeper spiritual doctrines of the Gospel".

The apostle Paul felt that trying to teach the church the deeper truths of God would be a waste of time so long as they continued to indulge in petty debates over which teacher was the greater teacher.

I see this happening quite often lately on social media. Members of the Church squabbling over which blogs, podcasts, authors, and even church leaders are "on" or "off track". Through their differing of feelings and opinions they become exhausted and overwhelmed as divisions are created. People become consumed in "being right" or by their fears of "being wrong". The fear of being wrong is so powerful that many find it easier to avoid anything all together that is not from a conference talk or the Ensign. 

In my video message and quite often here on this blog, I share a video from called "We Are Not Gods Only People" by Samuel Hislop. His message promotes having an open heart and open mind and being willing to learn from those who are not of our same faith. That they too, have experiences and words that can offer great value to our lives. But again, if you don't have the gift of discernment, how will you know which words, experiences, and teachers are going to enhance your journey? You need that gift to discern what is truth and what is error. What's important that the Spirit needs you to know pertaining to your individual mission and life experience, and what is going to be a waste of your time. Only you can know what the Spirit is telling you in regards to a green light or a red light. It might be the right timing in your life to learn some beautiful truths or mysteries, or you might not be ready and you are feeling something steer you away. 

The awesome truth is, everything we need to know for our salvation can be found in the scriptures - there is great peace and comfort in knowing and believing that.The basics of the gospel that we get on Sunday, in church magazines, and from conference talks are powerful. The basics can even be life changing! The gospel is pure & simple and should never be complicated.The basics are essentially the milk. They are all that the Lord has allowed to reveal as a whole to His church at this time. We know that there is much more truth that can be and will be revealed ( ex. the sealed portion).

Elder Richard G. Scott said in October 2007 conference,

"The best way of finding truth is simply to go to the origin of all truth and ask or respond to inspiration. For success, two ingredients are essential: first, unwavering faith in the source of all truth; second, a willingness to keep God’s commandments to keep open spiritual communication with Him. 

Try as I might, I am not able, even in the smallest degree, to comprehend the extent, depth, and stunning grandeur of what our holy Heavenly Father, Elohim, has permitted to be revealed by the scientific method...

... Were we to penetrate further into the mysteries of the most fundamental makeup of creation, we would come to the limit of our current understanding..there are yet more of Father in Heaven’s creations to be understood by the scientific method.

...The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, … and … gave I unto man his agency;

“… There are many worlds …, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.”

A knowledge of truth is of little value unless we apply it in making correct decisions. Consider for a moment a man, heavily overweight, approaching a bakery display. In his mind are these thoughts: The doctor told you not to eat any more of that. It’s not good for you. It just gives you momentary gratification of appetite. You’ll feel uncomfortable the rest of the day after it. You’ve decided not to have any more. But then he hears himself say, “I’ll have two of those almond twists and a couple of those chocolate doughnuts. One more time won’t hurt. I’ll do it just once more, and this will be the last time.”

The Lord knows if we are in a place to correctly and righteously apply the knowledge He gives us. This is known as wisdom. If we are not prepared to receive new knowledge and truth, and we lack wisdom, then it's for our own protection that we refrain. Instead, we should pray that the Lord grant us wisdom and help us prepare for further light. 

John H. Vandenberg said in his April 1978 conference What is Truth,  

"Jesus said, 'Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.' Those who are “of the truth” are those who sincerely seek after it. All of mankind should be seekers after truth for it is the supreme essence of their lives.

...“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."

This reminds me of so many I know who want to seek but are afraid to find. They just don't feel confident in their discernment. Sometimes they catch wind of an interesting truth, but then go shopping for opinions about it. It feels good and right, but they are afraid to trust what they feel. They toss it around on social media or among family and friends to get their take and opinions.They become persuaded by whomever is the most convincing or credible.These members of the church seem to blow with the wind. They aren't tuning in to what the Spirit is trying to teach them. They prefer to be taught by the opinions of man.   

In reference to righteous desires of God's children to seek the mysteries, Elder W. Mark Bassett said in October 2016 conference in his talk For Our Spiritual Development and Learning,

"Jacob’s words teach us that we cannot successfully “pry at the plates” or force the mysteries of God to be revealed unto us. Instead, the mysteries of God are unfolded unto us only according to His will and by the power of the Holy Ghost.

...In order to understand the mysteries of God, or those things that can be understood only through revelation, we must follow the example of Nephi, who said, “Being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father.”6 The Lord Himself further explained that Nephi had exercised faith, sought diligently with lowliness of heart, and kept His commandments.7

Nephi’s example of seeking knowledge included (1) a sincere desire, (2) humility, (3) prayer, (4) trust in the prophet, and an exercise of (5) faith, (6) diligence, and (7) obedience. This method of seeking is in great contrast to my “prying at the plates,” or trying to force an understanding of things meant to be revealed according to the Lord’s timetable and through the power of the Holy Ghost.

In this modern age, we have come to expect that knowledge can and should be obtained immediately; when information is not easily known or accessible, it is often dismissed or mistrusted. Because of the abundance of information, some unwittingly give more credibility to available sources with an unknown origin rather than relying on the Lord’s established pattern for receiving personal revelation." 

If seeking the meat results in evaporating the milk, then we should not be seeking the meat. The milk goes with the meat. When this happens, we have lost balance in our lives. And when we lose balance we let go of what we feel threw us off. I have seen many people who are on this path right now. They sought the meat, while forgetting about the milk. They got carried away in the excitement of learning the mysteries and made that priority in their lives. Instead of asking the Lord what His will was concerning their journey of seeking, they bypassed Him altogether and sought anyways. When they realized their life was out of balance, they felt lost and became afraid and translated that fear into the need to avoid the meat all together. They used their personal experience and fears to translate a general message that all people should avoid seeking the meat for their own protection and safety.

I have not been a fan of this message. I believe with all my heart that what the Spirit teaches one, may not be counsel for another. We are all at different spiritual levels. This was even spoken about by Elder Oaks and Elder Ballard at the recent YSA Face to Face. They said that because all church members are at “different levels of spiritual intellect” they would try to find a middle ground with their answers as to not offend or confuse those who are at a lower level. They asked that the higher spiritual intellect members not be offended by their basic (milk) answers. I found that very interesting as I have not heard general authorities talk that way before.

I could attest to this. From my experience I have come across some mystery seekers who were easily offended by those who opposed their messages. That offense came from a place of fear and turned into a greater fear. Fear that they had made a mistake, or done something wrong…etc. The Lord doesn’t use fear. Fear is a tactic of the Adversary. The Lord gently guides us. The Spirit is a still small voice that beckons us. We feel compelled to learn something, share something, repent, or change, but not from a spirit of fear. We feel compelled out of love and humility. We keep our counsel from the Spirit personal – unless prompted to share with others. Our personal counsel is not meant to be counsel for all the members of the church. It is unique to our own weaknesses and shortcomings.

In my upcoming weekly video message I talk about a sister who contacted me and shared her notes from Elder Bednar who had recently spoken at her stake conference. She quoted Elder Bednar and wrote,

“New things will be revealed that have never been revealed in our time.” Twice during his talk he said,  “For those that have eyes to see let them see, for those who have ears to hear let them hear.” Almost like he was commanding it while he was giving his talk. 

Elder Bednar didn't appear to expand on how these new truths would be revealed but my spirit felt that we can always receive truth individually from the Lord if we ask and if it's His will to reveal it to us. Scripture teaches us that the greater truths have been kept hidden as the Lord's people are not ready for it (as a whole). 

We know from scripture that anytime someone has prayed to know truth with righteous desires, God has always answered. Joseph Smith, The Brother of Jared, Nephi, Enoch, and many others have gone directly to the Lord and asked for more than just the milk. They desired the meat. The meat are the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. The gospel is the good news, the message that teaches us and prepares us to enter into and live in the Kingdom of God. The mysteries are the ways of the Lord and how His Kingdom operates. A wonderful knowledge to behold, but not essential for salvation.

Whether we learn them here in our life (through an NDE, a vision, or dream), or we learn them after we cross through the veil - eventually we are given that opportunity to receive the fullness of that knowledge. Not everyone desires that knowledge in this lifetime, and not everyone is prepared to receive it, and that is okay. If you are continually striving to learn from the milk - it will fill you with life. It is fear that causes digression and spiritual death. Fear of seeking, and learning. It's fear that overrides trust in the Holy Spirit. If we feel prompted to learn something, or seek something, but fear stops us - we are stunting our own growth, and for our own protection will no longer received those promptings if we are not being obedient to them. 

That was the premise of my video message.Through the gift of discernment we can override fear and exercise trust. My blessing tells me I have been given the gift of discernment and that I will be in a position to bring many souls to my Savior. Through my videos and blog posts, the Spirit has been my teacher and shown me what to learn and what to share and what to avoid or not share. It has been a great blessing in my life. I've had the privilege of experiencing many souls come unto their Savior through what the Spirit has led me to learn and share.

My blessing also talks about the importance of moderation in all things. I believe that many fall short in this area. Many become obsessed with a certain truth or principal they have learned until it consumes them. They eat, sleep, and breath the mysteries and forget about the basics – the milk. They forget to serve, to love, be parents, and to magnify their church callings.

For the most part, people only know me through what they see in my videos or blog. But it's important for you to know that I don’t spend the majority of my day seeking the meat. I spend it playing with my kids, cooking, cleaning, working on fun projects, shopping, and living a normal life. That’s why I also have the family vlog videos, to show people who I am the majority of the time. I record a positive message for my Happy Lady vlog once a week, and its whatever I’m prompted to share. I type up my notes right before I make the video – but that is all the time I put into it. Just once a week. Because of this I find balance in my life and I feel joy and peace.

I feel I am on the right track as I feel so blessed and because what I have been guided to learn has only strengthened my testimony of what I already know to be true. It doesn’t take away from it, change it, or consume me. Many people fear expanding outside of the box because they fear their own weaknesses. They fear they will be led astray, or they will lose their testimony or they will become obsessed. Again those are fears, and fear will never accompany promptings. The Holy Ghost does not operate from fear. Fears and doubts may come later, and I have learned that is a common tactic of Satan. He watches as we receive promptings and new knowledge (line upon line) that will allow us to learn and grow. He always swoops in to put a stop to it by using fear and doubt. This leads to confusion. Confusion is a tool of the enemy. I talk about this is my new video this week.

God brings clarity. When something feels clear, it is of the Lord. When we hear truth, followed by loud doubts and fears entering our mind, we need to ask where that confusion, fear, and doubt is coming from. The Lord gives us clear answers. Yes and no. Move ahead, or stop. He never says “Wait. I’m not sure. Hold on. I’m confused.” He doesn’t change. He is firm. He is absolute. He is the same tomorrow, today, and yesterday.

In the YSA Face to Face, Elder Oaks talks about this. He addresses a question about how can we tell if something is our own thoughts or coming from the Holy Ghost. I highly recommend you listen. 

It’s pretty easy to keep  my messages positive. I try to bring peace, clarity and happiness into all my videos and posts. I don’t speak to a general audience because I feel that the Lord leads those who need to hear my messages to them. I cannot speak for others however, and something interesting I have noticed is that there has been a common occurrence happening among some recent vloggers and  podcasters that has caused many of their listeners to say, "Wait...I am now confused." 

These teachers/mentors are generally very emotional and passionate people by nature. One day they are passionate, emotional and in tears about something they believe to be a new amazing truth that has changed their life and then the next day, they are equally passionate, emotional and in tears about how that same truth was actually deception. It can seem very confusing. Strong emotions can easily be mistaken as the Spirit and therefore truth. This is addressed in the recent YSA Face to Face. When I feel the spirit teaching me truth, I feel peace and calmness and I really hope that translates into my videos.

In the October 2017 conference, Elder Bednar said in his talk Exceeding Great and Precious Promises,

"We easily can be overcome by the routine and mundane matters of mortality. Sleeping, eating, dressing, working, playing, exercising, and many other customary activities are necessary and important. But ultimately, what we become is the result of our knowledge of and willingness to learn from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; it is not merely the sum total of our daily pursuits over the course of a lifetime.

The gospel is so much more than a routine checklist of discrete tasks to be performed; rather, it is a magnificent tapestry of truth “fitly framed”26 and woven together, designed to help us become like our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, even partakers of the divine nature. Truly, we are blinded “by looking beyond the mark”27 when this overarching spiritual reality is overshadowed by the cares, concerns, and casualness of the world.

As we are wise and invite the Holy Spirit to be our guide, I promise He will teach us what is true. “He will testify of Christ, [and] light our minds with heaven’s view” as we strive to fulfill our eternal destiny and become partakers of the divine nature."

The Lord gives us the basics but it's up to us to "knock and have it opened unto us". The Lord will not force knowledge upon us. The Spirit guides as to what to seek for and where to find it. Elder Bednar said, "But ultimately, what we become is the result of our knowledge of and willingness to learn from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost;...we are wise and invite the Holy Spirit to be our guide," What we become is our exaltation. What we are exalted to after making covenants with the Lord, is a glory based on the amount of  Light we were willing to receive due to our obedience to the Holy Ghost.

Staying on the gospel path should always be our priority and focus. Just like I mentioned, you can't seek the meat when straying from the milk. You need both. The iron rod is the personal revelation in our life. It's the word of God for us individually. We have to be obedient to it. With our gift of discernment we can trust where the Spirit leads us. If there is something we are to learn that will really benefit us on our journey or confirm a truth, we must trust the Spirit. 

The Spirit will not prompt us to learn the mysteries if we have strayed from the gospel path. We must hold tight to the iron rod, in order to receive those promptings. "Outside the Box" doesn't have to mean "outside the church" or "outside the gospel" or "outside the doctrine" - it simply means seeking and knocking with an open mind and open heart and moving higher and brighter line upon line. Trusting where the Spirit might lead you, wherever it may be. We can still move forward on the gospel path but do so from a higher perspective. Our comfort bubble keeps us lower to the ground, it puts limits on us and minimizes our perspective and view. Going outside the box is like putting on stilts and seeing further down the path from a higher perspective. We are still on the gospel path, but that greater knowledge has lifted us to a new perspective that enhances our view and and our experience while on the path. 

An example of this in my own life, are the times I have purchased books from Deseret Book in which I learned mysteries not detailed in the scriptures or doctrine. However, they did not take away from the gospel or doctrine, nor teach anything contrary to it. They added to it. They confirmed what I already knew to be true. 

A specific example of this that comes to mind was a collection of Near Death Experiences I bought in the early 2000's from Deseret Book. The NDE's were collected from people all over the world and from different religions and time periods. They spoke of beautiful things and beings that people saw in the spirit world. They spoke of how things operated in the Spirit wold. Things that would not be spoken of in a conference talk, over the pulpit, nor in a Sunday school or Relief Society lesson. However they did not discount the gospel or knowledge we have from the doctrine. They supported it. That was the premise of the book. How God can uses people's experiences outside of the Church to be an additional witness to the revealed truth we already have. One account from the 1800's spoke of three kingdoms of glory in the brightness of a star, moon, and sun. The man was not a Mormon and this was prior to the Church being restored. It was a beautiful witness. I was left feeling edified and peaceful from my reading.

God's mysteries are available to all who ask and are on the gospel path. He works in mysterious ways and a lot of time exceeds my own expectations. I've learned not to put limits on Him. If he sends me to a book, a YouTube video, a podcast, or a person - I've learned there is usually something in that He wants me to learn. Whether it's one sentence in a book, one experience shared in a video, etc. I feel the Spirit confirm to me what it is each time. We learn many beautiful things in the temple about truth being spread throughout the Earth and one day it being circumscribed into one great whole. The Holy Ghost (our compass) guides us to those truths that a spread abroad through our gift of discernment. 

Lastly, concerning seeking the mysteries, I had been fasting for and pondering a couple days ago about many of the gifts I have been given and some of which have to do with my hands such as my gift of writing which involves typing, and other gifts etc. I was pondering on how I have relied on my gift of discernment to learn more about these gifts and how to righteously use them. I was also pondering on how to best share this message of it being okay to seek mysteries that are aligned with God's will for us. 

While pondering and praying, I began to feel this powerful energy hit my hands and pulsate down through my elbows and back out through my hands. It pulsated back and forth and everything in my hands and arms tingled with warmth. This is the 5th time this has happened to me in the last couple years while pondering on this mystery. 

I asked the Lord, what did this mean? How come every time I pondered on this topic, I feel this energy come into my hands and arms? Insomuch that my thumbs would lock to my fingers like magnets and I cannot pull them apart until the vibrating stops. Have I done something wrong, is there something wrong with me physically such as a mineral deficiency?  Or, is this from the Lord. Is it something good? While asking, I felt peaceful about it and felt the Spirit tell me, "Have patience, and more will be revealed to you soon."

This morning I was awakened at 3:30 am. There was a bright light pulsating in my room. It lit up the entire room. I had this feeling that I needed to go into my prayer closet. So I did. Once there, I felt prompted to pick up where I had left off in my scripture reading. So I did. And as I began to read in Doctrine and Covenants Section 8, I received the answer to my inquiry from the Lord and the final and powerful summary for this blog post message.

The heading reads;

Revelation comes by the power of the Holy Ghost; Knowledge of the mysteries of God... come by faith.

I inserted my name into the scripture and read, 

Lindsey  you [shall] receive a knowledge of whatsoever things you shall ask in faith, with an honest heart, believing that you shall receive...

2 Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.

3 Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.

7 Behold, there is no other power, save the power of God, that can cause this gift of Aaron to be with you.

8 Therefore, doubt not, for it is the gift of God; and you shall hold it in your hands, and do marvelous works; and no power shall be able to take it away out of your hands, for it is the work of God.

9 And, therefore, whatsoever you shall ask me to tell you by that means, that will I grant unto you, and you shall have knowledge concerning it.

10 Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith. Trifle not with these things; do not ask for that which you ought not.

11 Ask that you may know the mysteries of God... and according to your faith shall it be done unto you.

12 Behold, it is I that have spoken it; and I am the same that spake unto you from the beginning. Amen.

I felt warmth cover me from head to toe as I read this. I felt the Lord say, "Have no fear my daughter. You are on the right track. Because of your faith and obedience, you will be given wisdom to prepare you for what I have planned for you. There is so much to learn and so much more good for you to do, but do not be in a hurry. In my own due time I will reveal to you according to your needs and desires, the things that pertain to the plans I have for you. It will continue to come line upon line and the Holy Ghost will  continue to be your compass."

I believe that these words can apply to all of God's children. With righteous desires to seek, God will reveal to us according to His will. I believe it pleases Him when we desire the meat. It pleases Him when we ask. He has so much He wants to share. 

I testify of this in Jesus' name amen.


Beth said...

Good to read your thoughts - I believe we are to be seeking out the meat and mysteries right now too. A few years ago, during the famous Blood Moon of Sept 2015, when so much hype was surrounding it as being a sign (which I believe it was), I took a moment to be alone and pray about it, and felt the strongest answer come that yes, it was significant, and yes, we were entering a new period - but the feeling was so different than what I expected. I expected a feeling of fear, doom and gloom to accompany this new time period, but instead, I felt joy from the heavens - and felt the distinct thought that this would be a time of new knowledge being poured out to God's children. That the heavens were excited and thrilled for this time and what was coming to us. I have often thought of that experience, especially in the past year, as I feel like so much knowledge is being poured out. As I have seen people struggle or leave the church this year, I am amazed at the timing - there is SO much new information and knowledge I am coming across. How are they not coming across it too? I have come to realize that if there is a doubt or struggle, if we turn to the Lord in prayer, he WILL send us answers, in His own time, in His own way. But the answers have always come. I absolutely love the scripture you share here, with putting your own name to it. It has reflected thoughts I have had this week as well. Thank you for sharing your messages and the time and effort you make to record and put your thoughts out there, I appreciate them! :)

Lindsey said...

Thanks Beth and you are welcome! I feel the same way. That scripture is powerful isn’t it? I appreciate your kind words and support. ❤️