Your journey is personal, tailored, and even customized. In the midst of learning the doctrine of Christ (the gospel; Christ’s doctrine), you will inevitably be faced with unfamiliar, new content, or just a new perspective which is seeing things in a way you didn’t see before. Admittedly, in my own journey, this can be uncomfortable even very uncomfortable. It can come through scriptures, personal revelation, new readings, and even from other people introducing new concepts to you. However, in each case, you will have to decide whether you are truly open or closed to learning. My personal witness is that in order for you to develop a personal relationship with the Lord–a Master-apprentice-type relationship full of light and truth and glory–there is no other option than for you to choose and embrace “open.”
I have a dear friend who introduced me to a certain nugget of wisdom a while back. Ever since it has helped me to encapsulate much of what my own spiritual journey with the Lord has been like. I’d like to share that nugget with you and also what the Lord has taught me through great personal trial.
“Your own spiritual development and even relationship with the Lord is dependent upon whether you are determined to ‘be right’ or whether you are willing to try and ‘get it right.'”
Everyone has a box. Each box is unique–different sizes and comprised of different gifts of the spirit, learned principles, and embraced doctrines. You live and operate your daily life in your own box. Your current box is all about your “Personal Truth.” It’s where you are now, this instant, in your journey with the Lord. It’s about what you know or understand just right now.
20 Personal Truth is the portion of Eternal Truth that one has actually chosen to “receive” or embrace. Personal Truth is always incomplete. Personal Truth is the sum of one’s current spiritual intelligence or the current sum intelligence of one’s own spirit. A person’s own intelligence is the sum of free or unconditional Eternal Truth received through the Light of Christ plus what additional Eternal Truth that has been purchased by the law which that new truth is governed (conditions)–including but not limited to an offering of a broken heart and contrite spirit, faith, desire, seeking, knocking, asking, and more.
21 Personal Truth is dependent upon both the free will of the individual and the mercy of God. Because God is perfectly just and merciful, God will not force Eternal Truth upon a person. Personal Truth is what a person willfully chooses to receive and apply (Application) from among different aspects of their personal environment…
23 Personal Truth is relative. It is based on a personal relationship with God. Personal Truth is always unique to the individual and not the same as anyone else’s. Because salvation and exaltation are individual, God works with each person to grow their intelligence. God desires to grow our personal intelligence because God is omnibenevolent (all-loving). God is always willing to offer experiences and pure intelligence to prepare context for the next Eternal Truth that one desires and is “willing” to “receive” by purchase (through principles of righteousness).
24 Personal Truth is always correct because it is equal to the person’s purchasing power. Because God is perfectly just and merciful, God would not allow a person to “receive” (comprehend) more Eternal Truth than they are able. Because God is omniscient, God allows a person to “receive” only what is relevant for a person to fulfill their individual mission.
Source: Lecture One, Personal Truth from Lectures on Truth
Thus, you can see that “being right” is about putting solid borders around what you know (your Personal Truth). However, “getting it right” is about dotted lines and willing to seek more from the source of all truth.
I can assure you this is true for everyone with no exceptions–God is no respecter of persons, not anyone (D&C 1:35). This has been, it is now, and forever will be true for me. I even humbly accept that my Personal Truth of the doctrine of Christ has been and will continue to be unfamiliar, new, uncomfortable, or even outright rejected by some despite the fact that it is taught “plainly” in scripture and through the prophets of the restoration (2 Nephi 31:2).
God’s ways are not man’s ways.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
The moment, even for an instant, you believe that you “have it all figured out”, you are damned (halted in your progression). It is not until a person repents and seeks to learn line upon line and precept upon precept and then looks back on their previous experience that they confess they, in fact, knew nothing of what God knows or in the very least they understood it to a very small degree and they did not have the fullness of context.
So how does a person know which camp they are currently in?–“By their fruits ye shall know them” (3 Nephi 14:18-20). So going forward we will look at the fruits of each.
|Willing to “Get it Right”||Determined to “Be Right”|
|A mentality of “abundance“–Here it’s about infinite quantity.
||A mentality of “scarcity“–Here it’s about finite quantity
|Faith–Here it’s about the Lawgiver
||Fear–Here it’s about the law
|The Journey–Here it’s about co-creating in and through Christ
||The Journey–Here it’s in and through an institution, control, or self
Getting it Right
The phrase, “getting it right” will ring true to those that have ears to hear and have eyes to see. It will resonate with those that are motivated to start their own journey or have already started their journey in and through Christ. By now, it should be clear that to “be right” implies finality or that your “receiving” is finished. On the other hand, “getting it right” implies present and future tense. Keep in mind that even if you think you are “getting it right” but you are not actively seeking for greater understanding, direction, and a mentor-apprentice relationship with the Lord, you are not actually in the “present tense.”
“Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion! Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well! Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost! Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more! And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall. Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough! For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost. Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts” (2 Nephi 28:24-32).
The next time you believe “you have it all figured out” and you are defending your ideas, philosophies, personal experience, or even defending your religious institution with someone or on social media just remember you possess Eternal Truth in such a small fraction. However, Eternal Truth is in abundance–even infinite. Your words are only your Personal Truth. The Personal Truth of others will not always connect with yours and vice versa. You are different people with a different journey. Even within a religious institution, each member does not have the exact same personal truth–no two are the same because each person’s journey with the Lord is one hundred percent unique. “The path outlined in Christ’s doctrine found in scripture is the same for everyone, however, each person will have their own unique journey on that path.”
Just as “getting it right” allows the Lord the opportunity to work with you on your own journey, so should you allow others to “get it right” through their own relationship with the Lord. They are not accountable to you. You may be an influencer if given the right opportunity, but you are not the author or finisher of their faith–that is the Savior’s unique role.
This is especially notable for ecclesiastical leaders. Often you may believe that your title and position makes you responsible for another’s salvation. There are some religious institutions that believe even ecclesiastical leaders represent the Lord in spiritual matters (correct meaning of “judge in Israel” for a different time). But this is not the case. Again, you may be an influencer if given the right opportunity, but you are not the author or finisher of their faith–that is the Savior’s unique role. Even your counsel or guidance may only be influential if you are using the gifts of the spirit. Your wisest counsel is to encourage individuals to “seek earnestly the gifts of the spirit.” It is through exercising these gifts of the spirit that each person will receive salvation and exaltation. Even if you, as an ecclesiastical leader, are righteously exercising the gifts of the spirit in your counsel, advice or guidance the person receiving it is also responsible for seeking confirmation and further guidance from the Lord through these very same gifts of the spirit. Do not fear–instead, have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that He knows that person, loves them, can heal them, can help them and can do all things for them if they will begin a personal relationship with Him. To fear is to worry about their membership status (active, less-active, inactive); congregational numbers, statistics or goals; what they are reading; who they are listening to, and even what they interpret/discern as their own personal revelation. Stop fretting! You’re an ecclesiastical leader–do you not have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?! After all, if you lack faith in the Lord imagine what they are learning from you about their own potential and possibilities in their relationship with the Lord. If you lack faith in the Lord or lack faith in another person’s gift of revelation, gift of discernment, or any gift of the spirit then why do you not provide classes, courseware and real world opportunities for members to exercise these gifts of the spirit either privately or in a group? What are you afraid of? Do you not have faith in your own discernment of the gifts of the spirit? So what if people get it wrong or they are just getting something different than you. Is your personal truth and your personal relationship more or less important to the Lord than another’s? Besides, how can a person know right without wrong (2 Nephi 2). Instead, empower them, pray with and for them, encourage them even when they are getting something different, but understand your true role is to firmly, consistently and humbly point all people to Christ. Do NOT stand between any person and the Lord. Can you imagine how powerful and empowering a Bishop or any other ecclesiastical leader can be with this type of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?!
In general, be respectful of other people’s place in their own journey and inspire people on their own journey in pursuit of increasing their own Personal Truth by seeking for it from the Lord God. Pray not for them to align their Personal Truth to yours but, instead, pray that the Lord will offer them all that the Father hath just as He offers you, equally, “all that the Father hath” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:38).
Be willing to accept that in some cases you need to unlearn some things before you can learn new things. I will admit and even warn you that this is extremely hard. Truly, things are not as they seem. In other words, your reality (your Personal Truth) is what it seems–to you. And, yes, “things are not what they seem.” In some cases, you will have to unlearn things you have been told by others for much of your life. This is very hard! The good news is that every ounce of new truth is fortified with principles of righteousness and a witness of the Lord or His Holy Spirit. This is the only true security.
If you are faced with something that does not fit your current narrative or a narrative held by an institution, “do not completely run the other direction.” I assure you that the narratives that you are holding onto have many holes in them or are sitting on a very fractured foundation. You have been given the gift of revelation, the gift of discernment, and other spiritual gifts for this exact purpose. “Do not fear”, the Lord is always available to help you confront new or uncomfortable things. If you get to a place where you believe you cannot go on, then shelf it, but do not refuse it in its entirety. Come back to it when you are prompted and directed. I assure you that the Lord will lead you back to it when your journey needs–it’s a really amazing and humbling experience to be led by the Lord in this way. Seek, knock, and ask for clarity on which portion is truth. Again, do not fear. The Lord is trying to help you completely turn your heart and your mind over to Him. He is offering you something that only He can offer you.
Seek for and maintain the spiritual condition of a broken heart and contrite spirit. Be willing to be molded and shaped. It is this prerequisite that will help you to overcome your false traditions. With this spiritual condition, you will find that it is necessary to actually break down your existing spiritual infrastructure so that the Lord can rebuild it for you. This condition will also enable you to see the cracks in your current foundation because in reality your foundation already has cracks in it–it is considered “unsure.” Your foundation cannot be “made sure” until you enter the presence of the Lord, become a personal witness of Him, witness the marks of His atonement, personally receive more from Him and the Father, and are personally taught by Him. Your truth will expand to the degree in which you have a broken heart and contrite spirit.
As you struggle from time to time in your personal journey on this path, always keep your eye single to the glory of God:
D&C 88:66 Behold, that which you hear is as the voice of one crying in the wilderness—in the wilderness, because you cannot see him—my voice, because my voice is Spirit; my Spirit is truth; truth abideth and hath no end; and if it be in you it shall abound.
67 And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.
68 Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.
“Is there any truth that you can receive from another person (arm-of-flesh) that you cannot receive directly from the Lord?”
The answer to this question is an italicized, bold, UPPERCASE and emphatic “NO!” with an exclamation point. So if you are absolutely depending on “good books”, religious scholars, institutional leaders with titles, political icons, social media icons, experts, and gurus without exercising your own principles of righteousness (seeking, knocking asking, etc.) then, unfortunately, you may have missed the mark.
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