Unbelief: is claiming that our ways… are God’s ways. Examples of this includes when we misread the word “knowledge” to mean acquiring secondary, post secondary, graduate, or doctoral degrees of scholarship. When we define “miracles” as mere happenings that turn out the way we desired them, despite our wicked desires. When we incorrectly connect the “opening of the windows of heaven” with financial prowess and business acumen. These are indicators that we suffer from unbelief.
There are too many examples to list of unbelief, where, we men, try to fit God into our ideas and our ways. God clearly testifies that His ways are not our ways. In fact, God calls this act idolatry. In section 1 of the Doctrine and Covenants we learn that our “human condition” is to walk after our own way, which follows after the image of the world. This means that what is important to the world… is the driving force behind our efforts. Money, debt, fashion, gadgets, ideas, work, images, reputations, status, etc. are all driven by the image of the world. In verse 16, the Lord calls this, “…the image of their own God, the image of the world, which is an idol.”
Recently, I was told of a late night, where a man came to my parents home to visit. In our time this is uncommon, …even rude perhaps, but in another time, this was honorable. He asked my father if he could pound some poi for him. My father, mother and one of my brothers sat with this man as he pounded taro into poi. The entire time he pounded, they conversed. The sharing of conversation was open, and time passed without notice. The man distributed the poi to eat, set some aside for my family for a later time, and then packed-up. Just before he left, he delivered the message he came to deliver. He told my dad, “We miss you …” There was an embrace, and he left. Such a message was carried straight into the heart, without obstacle. What made this message effective? Was it the office of the bearer? Was it his status or wealth? Was it the clothes he wore, or the vehicle he arrived in? Was it his occupation or the gadgets he wielded? Was it the promise of great riches? I think not… It was the message… the only message that matters… the message of brotherhood, of love, of God. I would say that this is God’s ways. In our times, this is not our ways…
When the savior was approached by a man that sought the healing power of Christ for his son, Christ asked the man if he believed. The man responded wisely. He knew something of Christ, but recognized that there were incorrect ideas that needed to be corrected. Then the man said, “ye Lord, I believe thou canst to all things. Help thou mine unbelief.”
What is our our unbelief? Are we of the thought that since we’ve repented, been baptized, washed, anointed, endowed and sealed, that all we must do is continually repent, do our best, and endure to the end? If so, we too would have sought to walk in our own way, after the image of our own God, which is in the image of the world, which is an idol. We seek to save others, the living and the dead, when we have not obtained our own salvation. The reason we have such drastic unbeliefs is because we fail to study intently the scriptures. When we understand the words of Christ, then we have a mark to meet. However, when we do not seek to know the mind and will of God, then we look beyond the mark, the mark being Christ.
Those who chose to forfeit their ways, to know God, are the same people who keep the first great commandment to Love God with all their heart, mind and soul. You cannot claim to love God with all your heart, mind and soul if you are trying to make God fit your ways. You are the one that must bend your will, to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon you, even as a child doth submit to his father (Mosiah 3:19). It is you that must seek to know His word, to learn of Him. You identify yourself as a disciple only when you are seeking to align your will to His. It is only when our will is swallowed up in the will of the Father’s are we ever going to progress to the potential that we came here to obtain. That is the symbolism of bowing.
Bowing is bending to the will of the higher authority, to be one with them.The first great commandment is about one heart and one mind, that is… God’s heart and mind. Thus, we see Lehi, not only bowing, but completely prostrate, lying flat on the ground with his face to the ground, in the vision of the throne of God (1 Nephi 1). His will being completely swallowed up in the will of the Father.
Nephi, in Helaman 10, is told that he has the sealing power, by the voice of God, because he will not ask anything contrary to the will of God. We too are promised the same sealing power, offered by the voice of God, to all who have the same heart and mind as God. The only possible way to obtain the same mind and will of God is to 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.”
If we fail to know the words of Christ, then we too will be categorized as one of the foolish virgins with no oil in the lamp.
However, don’t underestimate the word “know.” To know is not only information based. Remember God’s ways are not our ways. While we might study chemistry, anatomy, astronomy, physics, etc., we are not “knowing” as God describes. To know something is to have a familiarity with something. Family comes from the word familiar. To know the atoms, the stars, the elements, is not about information that describes them, but to actually “know” them- by name!
Christ’s background in healing did not come from a medical school scholarship. Moses did not acquire tutelage in a water bending academy. Wise-men have always become wise by submitting to the will of the Father, and then the Father then introduces them to all things from the beginning of the creation… until the end. Christ literally “knows” all things that was created- by name. Moses was given to know this. After being introduced, Moses said that he never knew “the nothingness of man,” of which thing he had never before supposed. Joseph said that he could gaze five minutes into heaven and know more about it than any book ever written on the subject.
The study of the words that I am prescribing here has nothing to do with scholarship, of holding your understanding above another, of boasting in your own strength. The study of the words of Christ is about “knowing” God the Father and His son Jesus Christ. One can quote scripture upon scripture, drawing near with their lips, but having their hearts far from the God they preach to know. However, an illiterate man, pounding taro into poi late in the evening, has far greater knowledge of God than the scholar. That is an example of knowing the words of Christ. Such acts speak to the idea of “familia-rity.”
That being said, add to the familiarity, or the heart, the doctrines of Christ(the mind), the words that tell you all things that you should do, and you will have all the mysteries of God (the rituals and ordinances of God) unfolded to you. Our baptisms, washings, anointing, endowments, and sealing’s are all given conditionally. It is only made final by the voice of God.
That voice will not come until we first know the correct attributes, perfections, and characteristics of God. Such can only occur through the study of the word and the visitation of heavenly messengers, that we are instructed to seek (by the way, when the angels decide to appear, they’ll be speaking in scripture, so you’d better understand the scriptures… or their words won’t make much sense). Then we must be given the mysteries that are still missing (like the greater ordinances and rituals promised to the saints in Nauvoo in D&C124:40-50). Finally, we can be crowned as kings and queens, obtaining the sealing power for ourselves, because our will is swallowed up in the will of the Father; whereas now, we are only to become such. Then will our ways be His ways! Then will we “know” the heavens, all things beneath the earth, on the earth, and above the earth. Then, we too can cast out devils, heal the sick, create mighty miracles, prophesy, interpret tongues, and speak in tongues. Then we too will be wise men and women.
Conclusion: When our understandings are opened, such that our will is swallowed up in the will of the Father, we will have put aside our unbelief. We will discontinue our dwindling. Entropy, the continual movement into disorder, will be reversed, and we too will have a house of order. We too will become a prince or princess of peace, a Father of many nations. Amen!