In my American Heritage class at BYU I don’t remember much, but I seem to retain an image of the back of the chair of George Washington. The symbol was that of a horizon. The debate the professors got into was the question of wether it was a rising sun or a setting sun. I know to most that sounds ridiculous, but for me I keep coming back to that question, “is it rising, or is it setting?” Since that American Heritage class I have noticed this image on our temples (Salt Lake and Nauvoo). The image in stone above is from Nauvoo. As I began looking into the facsimiles of Abraham, again the same image keeps popping out. Taking a closer look I have learned that symbolically the setting is the rising and the rising is the setting. Let me explain.
The rising sun is a symbol of birth and the setting sun a symbol of death, but both are one in the same. Our birth through our mothers womb (liquid- like unto baptism) into this life came as we left the preexistence (death/parting). The rising of the sun in one world is the setting of the sun in another. Likewise we travel through the waters of baptism to take on a new life (birth) as a disciple of Christ, and we bury the old body of sin (death/parting of sin). The rising of the sun in the world of discipleship is the setting of the sun in the world of sin. Weekly we partake of the sacrament to renew our covenants, to be reborn, and to put to death the sinner within us. Eventually we will all die, but become reborn and resurrected once again. The symbol of the rising and setting sun at the horizon has always been what the temple points our minds to- the idea of continual progression to greater and greater horizons.
What do horizons have to do with you? Our ability to see beyond into eternal horizons limit our ability to sacrifice all things and leave us wandering in the dark in the perceptions and philosophies of men. The short sited mind cannot see beyond the current horizon. Therefore the immediate gratification is more fascinating and enticing. But such limited foresight produces instability, corrosion and utter decay and disintegration in the end. The more horizons we are able to see beyond is an indicator of greater stability, order and exaltation and eternal life. The purpose of revelation is to give each of us greater sight into more horizons. Eventually we are promised to have the grand vision, like Moses, Lehi, Nephi, etc. where we see all things from the beginning to the end. We see all intelligence’s as if they were before us (present).
Lets put this idea of horizons into context with an example we can all relate to- exercise! The short sited horizoners take on the new diet or workout, with grand resolutions, high hopes and expectations. The beginning is strong, stringent, consistent, hard working, no pain no gain attitude. Each day they choose to check off their workout with pride before the setting of the sun on their daily horizon. But because the choice must be made every day, the priority scales are always brought out to answer the work-out question for that day. Sooner then later, on the other side of the scales, life puts something bigger than your desire to work out (tired, no time, money, work, children, etc.). None of these reasons are small at all, otherwise they wouldn’t be considered. Each reason is justifiable. This is when the work outs become far-and-few-in-between and P90x becomes P14-why?
However, the long sighted delayed gratification horizoners, make the rock solid decision once, with such compelling reasons, and never ever turn back. The reasons, rather than the results, make the work out a must, a life and death scenario, a never quit never surrender mindset. Once this choice is made, their life adjusts around the choice. Now the commitment to work-out is so great that they are willing to pay any price to achieve it. If your day didn’t work out just the way you planned and you get home at midnight, your workout ends at 1:30 am. Sometimes you find your work out ending at 3:30 am and your next day begins three hours later at 6 am. This is the price that short horizoners will not pay. Obviously you too cannot continue to pay this price for very long either, so you choose to rethink and shift your entire life to make room for the choice you’ve made at the beginning. The choice was made, so the life that must change to make room, to adjust, to keep the choice rock solid!
A wise friend of mine told me that he learned long ago that all the blessings of heaven were his if he was willing to pay the price to obtain them. Then he confessed that he knew that he wasn’t willing to pay the price. I will add to his words by saying, we all fail to see what lies beyond the distant horizons, and that is why we are not willing to pay the price.
Our sights are set on the immediate horizons before us. Our eyes are on the ground just ahead of the next step, that we cannot seem to see the forest from the trees. For this reason we suffer from Satan’s weapon called RELATIVISM. Relativism is a sight problem. Satan’s greatest carriers of this horrific disease of relativism is distraction, glory of men, diversion, entertainment, and the things of this world. Just like the work-out scenario above, relativism magnify’s our focus to the here and now, and we keep pulling out that priority scale again and again. We continue to make obedience a choice. Now the choice is based on a matter of perception, results, immediacy, and not principles. Life doesn’t adjust around the principles, principles become flexible and adjusts around the life we choose, until principles disappear altogether. Soon scripture study is out-prioritized by… you can fill in that blank (after all we always do.)
God has provided prophets with special looking glasses that look into deep and distant horizons to cure us of the disease of relativism. Those glasses are called Urim and Thummim (or lights and perfections, or perfect-light). Also, each of us who are “overcome by faith” are promised a tool to look into the distant horizons, called seer stones.
“17. 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 hidden mann, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” (check the cross references if you’re skeptical)
But for the rest of us who are just figuring these things out for the first time, the prophets in the Book of Mormon liken the words of Christ to seer stones. Using the words of Christ provides us with depth of sight to see beyond the horizons of this world, even into the eternities. Peter says that he saw into the third of seven heavens. Joseph Smith said he saw into the seventh heaven. Joseph also stated that he could gaze five minutes into the heavens and know more about the subject than any book ever written. For Joseph, his experience, his sight into the heavens gave greater understanding to why he was willing to adjust his life to fit his vision. Joseph’s life, like Abinidai’s, like the Anti-Nephi-Lehi’s was a little price to pay in comparison to the horizons they were shown. Joseph Smith stated:
Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith 6:7
“Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.”
It is my belief that our failure to sacrifice is due to the fact that our reasons are insufficient to change our lives, because of our short sightedness, because we cannot look beyond the immediate horizon of our earthly day. We cannot see beyond the immediate horizons, so we suffer from relativism and perceptions, or the philosophies of men that are mingled with our scriptures (they have a likeness of truth only- D&C1:16). The gospel or the “good news” is God has given us the opportunity to see beyond this world through
- the words of Christ,
- then the Holy Ghost,
- next heavenly messengers,
- and finally by meeting up with Christ himself (what the Egyptians call the Horizon) and becoming at-one with him.
We will find that as we are able to see through the seer stones given, we too will be able to become long-term-delayed-gratification-horizoners. And that is what will produce order in the midst of chaos, a firm foundation in an earthquaked world, a solid foundation to stand on in the midst of the storm tossed seas. And we will be willing to sacrifice all things immediate and hold nothing back, because the price will seem so little. Then we will realize the real power that we have to crush the head of the imitation/false/serpent. All because we have improved our vision by using the word as compass to see through to the most distant HORIZONS- eternal life.
Harrah for Israel!!!!!