Follow the Leader

In all that is going on in the world I have come to realize that in a village of blind men, the man with one eye is king. There is a constant mindset of relativism. The purpose of this blog is to identify the purpose of this life in clear terms.

As a boy I enjoyed late Friday nights with my dad watching “Black Belt Theater.” It seemed like it was always the unlikely character that became the hero in the end. My favorite scenes were always the training scenes, I call them the Rocky scenes. It is in training that the boy becomes a man. Notice how the training is always different from what everyone else is doing, it’s hard, it doesn’t produce the things of worldly glory, and it’s not popular at all. Most times this kind of training is done in ridicule or in seclusion- interesting to think about.

In each show it was easy to know who was good and who was bad depending on the leader they followed. And… it is no coincidence that the good leader was a master- the best. But in reality, finding a “Master” seems to be relative!

We glorify financial masters, academic masters, artistic masters, athletic masters, even religious masters. We read about them, watch movies about them, study their film, attend their firesides, take pictures with them, quote them, and idolize them. The masters we glorify only identify ourselves and what we worship. They are masters of relativism. I’ll say it again:

“In a village of blind men, the man with one eye is King!”

“No man can serve two masters…” (3 Nephi 13:24). The reality is, there is only one master that we are to follow. Many are confused when they say that there is a right way and a wrong way… The words of Christ say that there is only one right way… and then… there is everything else! Christ is the way, the truth and the light. No man can come unto the Father, but by Christ.

2 Nephi 9:41

“41. O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.”

The invitation given to us by Nephi, and every single prophet for that matter, is to “come unto the Lord, the Holy One…” What does it mean to come unto the Lord? The meaning to that phrase gets lost in translation when we look to other men (the men with one-eye) to define it for us, instead of searching the word of God. What was Nephi telling us to do? I suggest that he is telling us to physically come back into the presence of Christ, while in the flesh. The next few scriptures can give you an idea of what Nephi was trying to tell us.

D&C 97:15-16

“15. And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it;

16. Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart shall come into it shall see God.”

The traditional line that I’ve always been taught was that this means that “his spirit will be there and will fill the immensity of space, and you… will just know it in your heart.” That explanation never sat well with me. It seems like those who enter will see God in the flesh.Those who believe the traditional line of thought haven’t read the scriptures, because the scriptures say something completely different. I’ll share another scripture to illustrate.

D&C 93:1

“1. Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;”

If that wasn’t clear enough, this is what Nephi says:

2 Nephi 32:6

“6. Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.”

Nephi is clear that he will manifest himself in the flesh! But someone might think that he is talking about at the resurrection. To that argument I’ll respond with the end of the verse. If it is in the resurrection and the judgement is complete, then why would we need further instruction?

1 Nephi 2:16 is normally known for identifying the largeness in stature of Nephi. Most of us have never really read that verse for themselves. We have heard it from someone else so many times that when see the verse ourselves we tend to glaze over the rest of the verse. We are blind to the part of that verse where Nephi states,

1 Nephi 2:16

“16. …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; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.”

And then, before Nephi is told to go back and get the plates from his dad, we read:

1 Nephi 3:1

“1. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, returned from speaking with the Lord, to the tent of my father.”

Nephi was somewhere speaking to the Lord, in person before going to the tent of Lehi. All of this happened to Nephi before he said the famous lines, “I will go, I will do the thing the Lord commands…” (1 Nephi 3:7).

The point is that Christ has never changed the way. There is still only one right way and it is still the same way today, tomorrow, and forever. The problem is that we have strayed. The more we stray, the less we receive. You can identify how far you have strayed by what source you receive the words of Christ. Count how many steps apart from Christ you are from receiving his words directly from his mouth. It usually goes from Christ, to the prophet, to the apostles, to the seventy, to the stake president, to the bishop, to the teachers, to your friend- who actually listens in class, to you. That’s how I remember it happening for me. Your experience might have a shorter distance.

So… how does the Lord want us to receive his instruction? He desires to speak to us individually, in his presence, face to face, and in the flesh! We are instructed to “hear the voice of the Lord.”

However, our ears are stopped by our hard heartedness. The tradition from a village of blind-men have always been to follow the man with one-eye. But such a tradition is insufficient and is not what Christ instructs us to do. He desires that our eyes be opened by him. He desires that we allow him to remove our scales of darkness. He desires that each one of us reach up and connect to the heavens. The heaven to earth and earth to heaven connection is shown in the symbol of the star of David (two overlapping triangles, one pointing up (earth to heaven), and the other pointing down (heaven to earth)). When our arms are raised to the square, that too symbolizes a contract from earth (the horizontal arm), to heaven (the fore arm pointing upwards)- similar to the steeple on every chapel.

How great shall be your joy if you bring one soul into the kingdom of my Father? That is the question Christ asks. But the question you must ask yourself is, “who is that one soul?” We fool ourselves into thinking we are being instructed to spread the word, talk to your non-member friends and convince them to be baptized and join the members of the Kingdom of God on the earth… and and then to believe that this is the joy spoken of. In this case the one soul is considered to be “the new convert” to the church (I don’t think that is what it means).

We stand from the pulpit (a sort of rameumptom) on the first Sunday each month and express how grateful we are to have the “true church, a true prophet, and the priesthood.” In Sunday school and priesthood we discuss ways in which we can get others to be just like us, wearing collared shirts and ties, dresses and heels, reporting our numbers, saying a similar prayer and preaching a similar sermon. And we thank God that we are in the true church and not Catholics, Protestants, Jehovah’s witnesses, etc. And we pray that the hearts of the non-members will be softened… so they can be like us. The Zoromites did the same:

Alma 31:22

“22. Now, from this stand they did offer up, every man, the selfsame prayer unto God, thanking their God that they were chosen of him, and that he did not lead them away after the tradition of their brethren, and that their hearts were not stolen away to believe in things to come, which they knew nothing about.”

In our Mormon language we too have repetitious prayers and consider ourselves chosen. We express gratitude for not being of a different denomination. We are even so bold as to express gratitude that we are not swayed by things that we no nothing about. Of course you won’t be swayed by things you know nothing about, otherwise you would know something about it…

The first great commandment out of the two great commandments upon which hang all the laws and the prophets is to “…love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, might, mind and strength…” Someone who has done this, as shown in the previous scriptures quoted, will have entered into the presence of Christ, in the flesh, and face to face, in this life. That is what I believe is meant by bringing “one soul unto me.” That one soul is you. This is the journey we are on, the purpose of this life, to give our trust to Christ. Once we have kept the first great commandment, then we can work on the second, to love our neighbor as we have already loved ourselves, by brining ourselves back into the presence of Christ. That is when we seek to teach others the path you took to enter into the presence of Christ, so that they too can do the same. Then how great shall be your joy if you bring many souls into the Kingdom of God.

We are so blind that we depend on one-eyed leaders to instruct us, instead of seeking messengers (real angels) from our Father in heaven on how to return. We are not to trust in the arm of flesh. We are instructed to trust in God and lean not unto our own understanding. This requires that we pierce the vale of sorrow to receive instructions about the one and only right way. We can aways identify when a message comes from God only if we know the words of Christ.

2 Nephi 32:3

“3. Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.”

We must follow Christ and no one else. Let us repent to eliminate the distance between us and Christ (the ratio of 1 day to God = 1,000 years to us is only due to our distance from the Father, our disobedience, our wickedness). Let us discover the words of Christ for ourselves through serious reflection of his words. Let us break through this vale of sorrow and into a far better land of promise (Alma 37:45) by following the word as a compass. Consider the promise made to those of us who are the literal descendants of blood Israel:

2 Nephi 30:5-6

“5. And the gospel of Jesus Christ shall be declared among them; wherefore, they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers, and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which was had among their fathers.

6. And then shall they rejoice; for they shall know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God: and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a pure and delightsome people.”

Turning our hearts to the fathers seems to carry more weight here then genealogy. Being restored to the knowledge of Christ, “…which was had among their fathers…”, gives me the impression that we are to seek the face of Christ by turning our hearts to “The Fathers,” in other words, the men who were able to “…bring save it be one soul unto me…” (D&C 18:15). These men have walked the path back to Christ and seek to help you do the same. Our one-eyed leaders haven’t walked that path, thus they cannot assist you walking it. We must seek masters that have done it. These Fathers are trying to convince you and me to bring our souls unto Christ, by giving us hints, maps, directions, and instructions in the scriptures. “Jacob’s ladder” is one of them. The beatitudes is another. Abraham’s facsimiles are another. The scriptures are riddled with the words of Christ, through the Fathers, that bring us back into the presence of Christ in this life, in the flesh! When we follow the counsel of the Fathers, that is when our hearts are turned to them. That is when they turn to us. If their joy is great having brought one soul unto Christ (themselves), then how great shall be their joy if they bring many souls (you and I included) into the kingdom of our Father. It is in their interest to connect to you, to instruct you, to deliver instructions from Christ. It is our privilege to be a part of this great work, but it all starts with you seeking Christ and not some one-eyed man (no offense if you have only one eye).

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