For a good portion of my life I had allowed someone or something to be placed between me and the Lord. It was not intentional. But, unfortunately I was allowing myself to be acted upon instead of acting. It may not have been worshipping a golden statue but it certainly was idolatry.
I might not be able to blame myself seeing as how it was just the culture I was immersed in. Sometimes in that culture it was very explicit as an expectation. Other times it was more subtle and immersed into conversations, lessons, songs and prayers. Regardless it was accepted, validated and reinforced over and over again countless times.
It validated me as I was accepted for doing it. It pacified me because it required me to do very little. It filled me with pride being told I was part of an elite association. It was comforting being told I just simply had to follow those someones and somethings.
Then the Lord awakened my soul. The Lord filled my soul with a portion of His glory. I was humbled to say the least. I knew I had to repent. Then, the power of the Lord broke me. Yet, His light filled me, healed me, lifted me and loved me. Then, the Lord revealed to me who I was.
I knew that my identity existed only in relation to who the Lord is. It’s only who He is that defines who I am. It’s only who He is that enables me to do. It’s only who He is that enables me to become. Our relationship has always existed. Now renewed, it was my responsibility to take ownership of it. In a similar way, this occurred for my wife. I will share a portion of her witness later in this post.
As I have stated before, the path outlined in Christ’s doctrine is the same for everyone. However, each person will have their own unique journey on that path. Your spirit is very old. You are the composition of spiritual gifts and countless experiences, relationships and eras that are unique to you. The identity of your soul is 100% unique. Your relationship with Deity is 100% unique.
The doctrine of Christ requires you to “work out your own salvation” “in and through” a very personal and customized relationship with the Lord. This is your “journey.” Your journey is a creation. You are a co-creator with the Lord in your journey. He has all the knowledge, truth, power and glory and therefore you are dependent upon Him to share those things with you in the form of gifts of the spirit in order for your relationship to thrive. Your thriving is spiritual progression or ascension into eternity in a way you can’t fathom with the mortal mind. You have to pierce the veil to learn who you really are—your eternal identity, your new name.
Sharing Another Witness
This post is part of a series and personal assignment titled, “Unveiling the Covenant Path in the Book of Mormon.” The true covenant path in scripture is known as “the doctrine of Christ.” In this assignment, we have revealed the Book of Mormon for what it really is. It started with featuring the Savior’s own witness of the doctrine of Christ in the Book of Mormon. Then starting from the beginning, we have demonstrated how other Book of Mormon prophets have taught and shared their own personal witness of the doctrine of Christ.
Today, I will share yet another witness of the Doctrine of Christ but with a bit of a twist. This witness is from Nephi in 2 Nephi chapter 4. My purpose in highlighting this chapter is to point out that the doctrine of Christ is not just another checklist of principles and saving ordinances. It all encompassed in a relationship. Like any relationship, it is a means of give-and-take. Principles are the keys to enabling access to the relationship. We give certain things to the Lord like a broken heart and contrite spirit, for example, and the Lord gives gifts of the spirit (power, truth) and sanctification (saving ordinances) in return. 2 Nephi chapter 4 is an example of the kind of (nature) relationship you will need to thrive in your own personal relationship with the Lord.
I will always invite you to first read the assignment (2 Nephi chapter 4) on your own first and use the spirit of the Lord to help you see the doctrine of Christ with new eyes. Then feel free to supplement your own reading with mine if you would like. There is so much to comment on in each chapter, but I will try to limit my comments to only those things that are relevant to the doctrine of Christ and this specific project. I invite you to seek the spirit to teach you their meaning. If you have the proper context of the doctrine of Christ, it should be easier. Use the spirit to discern any of my personal messages. My comments are only there to help clarify the simplicity and beauty of Christ’s true saving doctrine.
The Witness of Nephi
My purpose is to accomplish three things:
- Help people begin to see the very real, honest, vulnerable, hopeful, faithful and tender relationship that Nephi and the Lord had created together.
- It is also my purpose to help anyone on this path realize the type of relationship that is required to help your spirit ascend.
- Realize how unique anyone’s relationship is with the Lord. To do this I will share some insights directly from my wife about her relationship with the Lord and I will also share some insights about my relationship with the Lord. I think you’ll find this interesting to see just how different it can be even varying by gender.
2 Nephi 4
1 And now, I, Nephi, speak concerning the prophecies of which my father hath spoken, concerning Joseph, who was carried into Egypt.
2 For behold, he truly prophesied concerning all his seed. And the prophecies which he wrote, there are not many greater. And he prophesied concerning us, and our future generations; and they are written upon the plates of brass.
3 Wherefore, after my father had made an end of speaking concerning the prophecies of Joseph, he called the children of Laman, his sons, and his daughters, and said unto them: Behold, my sons, and my daughters [male and female], who are the sons and the daughters of my firstborn, I would that ye should give ear unto my words.
4 For the Lord God hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence. [To prosper in the land is both a temporal and spiritual reference. The condition is to keep the commandments of the Lord which is personal revelation. The complement to prosper is to be blessed spiritually even to the point of being in the presence of the Lord. The Lord wants His people to prosper so that they can be at peace and be able to focus on their relationship with the Lord which includes seeking for the presence of the Lord. Keeping the commandments of the Lord (personal revelation) is the foundation of a personal relationship with the Lord.]
5 But behold, my sons and my daughters, I cannot go down to my grave save I should leave a blessing upon you; for behold, I know that if ye are brought up in the way [“the way” is a term used by Nephi and even the New Testament that is synonymous for the doctrine of Christ] ye should go ye will not depart from it [think “straight and narrow”].
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.John 14
[This is literal that Jesus Christ is “the way.” It is only “in and through” Jesus Christ can you be saved (receive salvation). In the scriptures you will find references to “the way” that depict beautiful symbolism of the Lord bringing people out of bondage or captivity into freedom and salvation. We invite you to study it.]
6 Wherefore, if ye are cursed [stopped in your progression on “the way.”], behold, I leave my blessing upon you, that the cursing may be taken from you and be answered upon the heads of your parents.
7 Wherefore, because of my blessing the Lord God will not suffer that ye shall perish [spiritually]; wherefore, he will be merciful unto you and unto your seed forever.
8 And it came to pass that after my father had made an end of speaking to the sons and daughters of Laman, he caused the sons and daughters of Lemuel to be brought before him.
9 And he spake unto them, saying: Behold, my sons and my daughters, who are the sons and the daughters of my second son; behold I leave unto you the same blessing which I left unto the sons and daughters of Laman; wherefore, thou shalt not utterly be destroyed; but in the end [last days] thy seed shall be blessed.
10 And it came to pass that when my father had made an end of speaking unto them, behold, he spake unto the sons of Ishmael, yea, and even all his household.
11 And after he had made an end of speaking unto them, he spake unto Sam, saying: Blessed art thou, and thy seed; for thou shalt inherit the land like unto thy brother Nephi. And thy seed shall be numbered with his seed; and thou shalt be even like unto thy brother, and thy seed like unto his seed; and thou shalt be blessed in all thy days.
12 And it came to pass after my father, Lehi, had spoken unto all his household, according to the feelings of his heart and the Spirit of the Lord which was in him, he waxed old. And it came to pass that he died, and was buried.
13 And it came to pass that not many days after his death, Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael were angry with me because of the admonitions of the Lord.
14 For I, Nephi, was constrained to speak unto them, according to his word; for I had spoken many things unto them, and also my father, before his death; many of which sayings are written upon mine other plates; for a more history part are written upon mine other plates. [another reminder that Nephi’s sole purpose in these records were the spiritual things that would be later compiled and preserved by divine direction to Mormon:]
3 And it mattereth not to me that I am particular to give a full account of all the things of my father, for they cannot be written upon these plates, for I desire the room that I may write of the things of God.
4 For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved.1 Nephi 6
15 And upon these I write the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children. [Does your soul delight in the scriptures? The Book of Mormon is sweet to my soul.]
16 Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard. [Visions and the voices of the Lord and His angels; This is a regular part of Nephi’s relationship with the Lord. This should be so inspiring for each of us. Thus the reason Mormon selected it.]
17 Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works [visions], my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. [There is a point in which we each realize our own humanity/mortality. Nephi is no exception. Nephi’s relationship is very real and very human. He had lows, weakness, temptation, and sin. This should give us each hope. What is important to note is these are his feelings AFTER he has received all these experiences. We should be able to identify with Nephi’s mortality a lot.]
18 I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.
19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted. [This is a very interesting paradox. To feel low because of personal sins but to be elevated because Nephi has turned his whole heart over to the Lord. He has experienced first-hand the works of the Lord and he knows that there is no other person or thing that he can ever trust in.]
20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
21 He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh [this is an immense physical stir that is generated by the power of the Lord activating your soul. It is the transformation of your telestial second estate soul (natural man/woman; flesh) to a redeemed third estate soul through a baptism of fire and Holy Ghost].
22 He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.
23 Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time. [The Lord had filled his life with the gifts of the spirit—something available to each of us.]
24 And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me. [This is not your casual prayer practice. This is to have the utmost confidence in the Lord. It is to be bold enough to converse freely with the Lord as one friend converses with another. This is to boldly call upon angels to minister in any given situation and to expect them to be there. This is a relationship of true intimacy. “Mighty prayer” is to “cry unto the Lord” with fervor, immense hope in the divine nature of God, and desire to be the Lord’s servant.]
25 And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains [this is to be lifted up and to visit the spirit realms above the earth]. And mine eyes [spiritual eyes] have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them. [Things that are too great for telestial souls to comprehend. A person will have to ascend spiritually to be able to comprehend them. There is a safety measure in place here to protect you.]
26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions? [“I have experienced so much and been so blessed and received so much from the Lord! So why does this have to be so hard? Why do I still struggle from time to time?”]
27 And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy? [“Why do I struggle from time to time? Why do I have to experience the opposition of the evil one?”]
28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul. [If you have studied the four R’s in The 3 Voices of Personal Revelation Study Guide you will see all four R’s expressed in these last two verses.]
29 Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions. [Both enemies and affliction are never any match for the Lord]
30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation. [Is there any question of where Nephi trusts and knows how to overcome opposition?]
31 O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?
32 May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road! [Complete submission with a broken heart and contrite spirit is the sacrifice required to receive all from the Lord.]
33 O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! [A very intimate phrase and metaphor. Similar to a hen that wraps her chicks under her wing.] O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy.
34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.
[The spirit directs me to a plain teaching and understanding of the type of relationship that a person must learn to have within their journey on this path:
And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.Moroni 6:4
And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.2 Nephi 31:19
I have had criticism for saying that “in and through” your journey the Lord must become your Prophet, Priest, King, and Judge. I can only assume that a person is offended by this because they love another prophet more. This is the offense that the children of Israel were guilty of. These two scriptures are very literal so do not dismiss them. Nephi did not use his words frivolously. Any person not named God is “arm-of-flesh.” Nephi did not waiver in his devotion, worship, trust, confidence, security, safety, welfare, hope, and more. Yes, mankind in all their best interests or intentions can lead people astray. To be “led astray” is to be led “away from the Lord and even a personal relationship with Him.”
I invite you to break your false traditions which are the manifestations of unbelief. If you are not willing to make the Lord your Prophet, your Priest, your King, your Judge, the Rock of your Righteousness, your Wonderful, your Counselor, your Almighty God, your Everlasting God, your Everlasting Father, your Prince of Peace (2 Nephi 19:6)—your relationship will be limited and your ascension will be damned.
35 Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen. [Nephi is not your casual believer. He has first-hand knowledge and leaves a powerful witness just for you.]
The Nature of the Journey (Relationship)
Journeys are documented in the scriptures as types or shadows of the personal journey that each of us must make in mortality. You are being spiritually “called out of darkness” right now. Like the children of Israel and even Lehi’s family that left Jerusalem, at some point in your journey you will have to answer the call by leaving your false traditions, idols and temporal comforts behind in pursuit of a spiritual promised land. On that journey, yes, you will have to travel in a spiritual wilderness. It will challenge you in every way because your false traditions and idols have left you weak, apathetic, dependent, temporarily unprepared, and even fearful.
Prepare yourself for the emotional roller coaster as you try to transition away from this spiritual baggage (false traditions, idols and temporal comforts). Some days you will feel like Laman or Lemuel and other days you will have the spiritual strength of one hundred men like Nephi or Jacob.
You will know when you are on the path when you experience emotions like loneliness—feeling like you are the only one. But the truth is that now it really is about you—you and the Lord. This relationship should be the most important thing you will possess. The Lord should become your guide in all things. You are co-creating with Him and fulfilling your customized plan that He has spiritually awakened you to.
Your perspective should change about previous habits, activities, friends and even family. With a broken heart and contrite spirit you will be humbled more than ever and driven to pray more than you have ever fathomed. You will do anything to hear the Lord’s voice. You will hunger for it and “feast upon the words of Christ” (2 Nephi 31:20).
You will hear and listen to the words of all others but you will now ponder and discern every word. More and more you will see other’s words more as the philosophies of men and many times not even mingled with scripture. You will be more and more honest with yourself about your false traditions, idols and comforts that are keeping you from a personal relationship with the Lord. The gaps in your own religious culture will be exposed and it will not compare to a personal relationship with the Lord. Your new spiritual eyes will expose pride throughout your self and your social circles. It can even test every comfort you had previously developed security in—having been told your whole life to do this, this, this, and these checklist items and you will qualify for a celestial glory. You will begin to see these works as “dead works.”
As you transition from false traditions, idols and comforts to the Lord you may struggle to figure out where your self-esteem and value will come from. You will do this because you will realize that previously you were relying so heavily upon these dead works for your spiritual validation. This will bring out all sorts of emotions.
But understand, please understand, this is “the way.” This is not just a journey of a lifetime, it is a journey of eternity. There is no comparison. There is nothing on this earth and no person and no leader of mankind on this earth that will ever compare.
My words are only a few of the experiences you will have on this journey—there will be so much more that I cannot explain here. However, the point is that you will have to change your loyalties. Your new loyalty will have to be to the Lord—at all costs. That cost is a sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit. It is the pre-requisite in order to receive all things “in and through” the Lord.
You have seen me use “in and through” repeatedly. It is not by accident. It is very literal and describes the nature of the required relationship with the Lord. It is “in the Lord” because the relationship should always be active in the present tense. This present tense is filled with personal revelation in all things. It’s keeping the Lord’s commands (revelations) that you will be constantly guided to more. It is “through the Lord” because only He is authorized and capable of both offering and bestowing the divine to you.
And now, ought ye not to tremble and repent of your sins, and remember that only in and through Christ ye can be saved?Mosiah 16:10
Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.2 Nephi 2:6
And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness.Alma 38:9
Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.2 Nephi 10:23-24
And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent. For behold he judgeth, and his judgment is just; and the infant perisheth not that dieth in his infancy; but men drink damnation to their own souls except they humble themselves and become as little children, and believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.Mosiah 3:17-18
How do you think you will receive all things divine and spiritual? Where? Do you think you conjure this? Do you still believe you can earn it by participating in your rituals, even temple rituals?!? Do you earn it through your attendance record at church?!? Through your religious institution membership status (e.g. active, less-active, in-active)? Do you earn it through your seemingly good deeds and even acts of service? Through a magnification of your assignments? Do you earn it through your checklist-religion-culture?!? I prophesy in the name of the Holy Messiah and boldly declare to you, “Nay!” These works are dead! This is not the doctrine of Christ! This is unbelief—a major curse highlighted in the Book of Mormon and a major reason why the book was preserved and restored to you in the latter and last days. [See also Which Path Are You On?]
62 Yea, and I will also bring to light my gospel which was ministered unto them, and, behold, they shall not deny that which you have received, but they shall build it up, and shall bring to light the true points of my doctrine, yea, and the only doctrine which is in me.
63 And this I do that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention; yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them.
64 Therefore, I will unfold unto them this great mystery;
65 For, behold, I will gather them as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if they will not harden their hearts;
66 Yea, if they will come, they may, and partake of the waters of life freely.
67 Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.
** WARNING **
68 Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.
69 And now, behold, whosoever is of my church, and endureth of my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
70 And now, remember the words of him who is the life and light of the world, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Amen.Doctrine & Covenants 10
And this warning from the Lord, Himself:
38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name [fulfill the doctrine of Christ], and become as a little child [broken heart, contrite spirit], or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God [receive salvation].
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.3 Nephi 11
Repent of your false traditions, idols, and temporal comforts. Instead, come unto Christ. Seek Him. Come to know Him. Have sufficient hope in His divine nature. Feast upon His words and have faith in His personal commandments. Harden not your heart. Pray that your heart will be broken and your spirit contrite. Do not trifle with the doctrine of Christ. His hand is mighty and swift. Yet, He is merciful unto those that seek Him and His eternal mercy.
Yours is Unique
Now, as I collect myself, I want to transition to some very personal words. As I have stated before, the path outlined in Christ’s doctrine is the same for everyone. However, each person will have their own unique journey on that path. Your spirit is very old. You are the composition of spiritual gifts and countless experiences, relationships and eras that are unique to you. The identity of your soul is 100% unique. Your relationship with Deity is 100% unique.
One way that your relationship can differ from others is by gender. My wife and I have experienced this ourselves and have realized the differences that can exist between each of our relationships with the Lord. Regardless, we support one another’s journey, encourage one another, and talk about our experiences in our journey all the time. As a result, there is a oneness that occurs that is unique to us.
Right now, we’d like to share a small sample to help illustrate how each journey can be different or unique. We hope that these samples might be helpful in some way to a person seeking the Lord through their own journey (relationship with the Lord)—realizing that it really is different for everyone and it is what you co-create with the Lord.
My wife—one female perspective:
The Lord often teaches me through signs and symbols, quite often in stories and archetypes. Sometimes it comes in visions or dreams, and sometimes in living experiences (such as when I’m working outside in the garden, interacting with living animals, or observing nature, even gazing out of windows). The Lord knows I love all these things, and so He speaks to me in my own language.
Sometimes it comes when I am reading about a woman from history that I connect with and learn about her incredible strength, her suffering, and her wisdom. Words come with understanding that tell me to pay attention to something about her journey that is important to mine.
I need mentors in my life that show me what is possible, and it gives me questions to take to the Lord. The Lord knows that, so he often presents those examples in remarkable ways. He lines up people at just the perfect time for me to meet. He places a book in my path that may seem arbitrary, but turns out very providential. He whispers thoughts—go see that movie, read that blog, read that book, listen to that song, look at that flower, take notes, look up what that symbolizes, see what your child is doing, notice what those birds are doing, pick up that shell, speak the truth, testify of me, share that scripture…open up your eyes, close your eyes, see what is not seen.
Sometimes I find the Lord in a poem, in a picture, in my husband or children—the words tell me to have patience, to listen, to repent, to hold space in my heart, to trust more. And all of those times are serious. But sometimes, He communicates with an incredible sense of humor. I am learning just what it means to have Christ as my friend.
Sometimes God speaks to me and I feel a huge desire to create—the words flowing out in amateur poetry meant only for my eyes for now, but is fairly profound that I catch myself wondering how I could have come up with that without some divine help. Sometimes God speaks through art—other’s works, but also things that I create with my own hands.
There have been great times of revelation when I have been washing the dishes or taking a shower. Water is so symbolically a feminine symbol. Words come when I am open and the water reminds me of the soothing and purifying quality of being washed clean. It is as if water has memory of Mother—of being connected to something long forgotten, but that my woman heart needs to hear because I can’t seem to be soothed by a masculine perspective.
And, of course, I can’t say enough about music and dance. My soul delights in the pure tones and positive words of beautiful music and movement that worships the divine.
All of these kinds of things really connect with me and give me a deeper meaning—more than just words on the surface—more than just reading scriptures or attending a meeting or listening to a lecture.
When I seek for the gifts of the spirit, I see things in symbols, and it often communicates a message that can be felt in my inner soul. Perhaps a resonance or vibration that washes over me and transmits both words that are spoken and words that are felt. The best way to describe it is that it comes as a “wash”–like pure, clear, warm water washing over my head and pouring down my face, neck and arms to my chest and filling up my entire body. It is an actual physical sensation that tells me to pay attention–and it is beautiful. I typically ask what is meant and ask for confirmations. I don’t have a burning sensation like my husband does, and I have to smile–the way we feel it is as different as fire and water.
Me—one male perspective:
Because my wife mentioned symbols and they definitely are very much part of her journey/relationship, I thought I would demonstrate some contrast by saying that physical symbols are not features in my experience. What I mean by that is that they don’t stand out. If there is a symbol that has personal meaning where the Lord is trying to communicate or teach something to me, the Lord really has to make it obvious or stand out. However, I don’t know whether there is a huge difference between symbols and metaphors but I will definitely say that metaphors are a major form of teaching that the Lord gives to me. I can be reading something and metaphors open up in my mind in visions. This is how the Lord brings things to life for me and makes them very real and very tangible. He knows I am very visual and these metaphors are a trigger for my visions.
When the Lord wants to get my attention, He will cause a piercing to occur in my left breast. Sometimes it can ache so hard—but in a good way. My heart really does ache. If I am not too distracted, I will recognize it swelling within me. This is not the voice of the Lord though. All of these physical triggers and attention-getters pale in comparison to the real communication from the Lord which is pure intelligence (words) that comes into my mind, visions, and more. His “voice” is the words from yes/no, to short directives, to full sentences, to complete downloads, to visions.
My favorite are the downloads of pure intelligence. These downloads fill me up. Sometimes they are very inconvenient—very late at night when I want to sleep or need the sleep. Other times, it is in the morning and even woken out of what was a comfortable deep sleep. It used to be more active in the mornings but the Lord knows I have had to adjust my schedule to evenings—mostly late evenings. But whenever He speaks, I have learned to write as much down as possible. What might be interpreted as inconvenient downloads always end up being important to something that I will encounter a short time later. These download sessions are my favorite memories because everything about the words of the Lord are perfect, clear, filling and sooooo comforting.
There are other things that are more longer term for me too. For example, the Lord set me on a track to learn something and document it. At one point, I thought it was just for me and that it would become insignificant down the road but to my amazement, the Lord used that learning for amazing purposes even years later. Even as I write this, I am shedding tears—He is so amazing!
Something important on my journey is that I have come to learn what gifts of the spirit I have been given. At one point, I did an inventory. I studied as many gifts as I could and then identified each gift for me as a strong gift, weak gift or a gift not yet realized. What a helpful exercise for me. The Lord taught me much about myself but mostly great reminders of how much He has been, is and will forever be part of my mortal experience.
I can look back on my journey and definitely say that it has such a heavy emphasis on knowledge. It’s in this way that my wife and I complement one another. I (male) am knowledge. She (female) is wisdom. We learn so much from one another and it’s all patterned after the way things work in the heavenly realms.
I am learning to appreciate different ways of connecting with the Lord. For example, where music was not ever part of my journey, i am slowly learning to appreciate meditation music. It calms my soul. I forces me to ponder the majesty of the Lord in the heavenly realms—to open my spiritual eyes to the glory of God and all of His works (creations). While I don’t connect with music in general, this has opened up new means of praise and worship for me of the Lord.
In my go-to moments I can listen to and sing the following song. It is an independent arrangement where the lyrics are a paraphrase of 2 Nephi 4 that you have just studied. The Lord directed me to it in a miracle fashion and means a lot to me:
Not too long ago, I illustrated the journey in and through the doctrine of Christ (above). It won’t win any awards, I know, but maybe it helps you to see how things build upon one another and how each person really does have to experience eternal principles and saving ordinances.
Nephi is so merciful to document the feelings of His heart (2 Nephi 4) toward the Lord and give us insights into the very human, real and sensitive relationship He has with the Lord. Mormon was so inspired to include it into the formal Book of Mormon record.
Nephi’s witness is an insight into the type of relationship that opens the heavens and allows a person to receive all things “in and through” the Lord. Nephi’s relationship is one of complete loyalty and devotion to the Lord and none other.
Your relationship with the Lord is everything. It will resolve everything you will be faced with on your journey—even the times when you are feeling lonely or fearful. Turn to the Lord. You cannot be saved by any other means—none!
Awake. Repent. Commit today to do away with your false traditions, idolatry and temporal comforts. These are barriers to your thriving relationship and personal ascension. If you cannot remove them, you will be damned. Ask the Lord how and He will guide you. Make an offering to the Lord by placing these roadblocks on an altar as your sacrifice and a witness of your devotion and loyalty.
Unless the Lord has personally revealed it to you, do not be so prideful as to think or believe you have already received something which you have yet to receive (2 Nephi 28). Come unto Christ—the Holy One. He is the only one that can make you holy—for He is the only one with the authority, the means, and the glory, in fact, to make you holy. The Lord is amazing!
For more understanding of this covenant path and its milestones taught throughout the scriptures, you are welcome to begin your personal study and your own journey in and through the doctrine of Christ through The Doctrine of Christ Study Guide. Also, to help you increase your confidence in personal revelation and develop your own gift of discernment, I invite you to study The 3 Voices of Personal Revelation Study Guide.
JourneyDoctrineOfChrist.org is based on free, online study guides to help you learn, believe, live and teach the Doctrine of Christ. The Study Guides invite any and all to see and know this truth for themselves that the Savior, Jesus Christ, has, in fact, introduced His doctrine and He personally invites all to receive personal redemption and to even literally receive Him while in the flesh (mortality).
Blog posts are only intended to supplement the Study Guides. Per all blog posts, seek the understanding and confirmations from the Lord in your own personal revelation. Study guides are intended to point you to both the Lord’s written word and His voice (personal revelation). These study guides will help you uncover what the Doctrine of Christ is and other essential topics that will help you in your journey to literally “come unto Christ” while in mortality. All study guides are available at JourneyDoctrineOfChrist.org.