The post exploded! Well, nothing so dramatic as "going viral" ─ but relative to the feedback I normally receive, it struck an unexpected chord.
Which surprised me, seeing as I was sitting at the airport chugging Dramamine before my flight; so anything worthwhile in it must be to the Lord's credit.
I wasn't planning on saying anything more on the subject for now; having introduced the principle of abasement, I was excited to return to our long, winding march towards Romans 14 (I can't wait!); so I thought the post was simply a one-off.
But here we are!
Ben commented, "I hope you can make this a series somehow." My reaction to his request was conflicted: I customarily try to avoid sensationalism (expounding on the topic of descent and ascension is bordering close to the shores of "deep doctrine" and the "mysteries" ─ and the further we delve risks awakening the Balrog).
You are all familiar with the admonition:
Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit.
On the other hand, after reading Ben's comment, I found myself showering (yes, where strangely our spiritual senses become enlivened ─ I think Dove Moisturizing Body Wash for Sensitive Skin should be rebranded Dove: The Holy Ghost-Infused Bar for Cleansing Your Mind), when a flood of insight and intelligence came rushing into my mind.
I, the Lord, utter my voice, and it shall be obeyed.
Needless to say, I found myself dripping wet, sitting on my closet floor with a towel draped around my waist, typing into my phone as fast as I could, as many of the thoughts and ideas that had come, before they fled.
(Sorry for painting that image in your mind. Apply Dove.)
The Lord liked to embed His mysteries into parables. Why?
Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
Why does the Lord conceal His mysteries from the wicked? Why does He "seal" them away?
For His children, however, He promised:
And to them will I reveal all mysteries, [what percentage is "all"?] yea, all the hidden mysteries [what percentage is "all"?] of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things [what percentage is "all"?] pertaining to my kingdom.
I think it is good to be wary ("wise as serpents") of people who seem to have "everything worked out." I have come across some pretty "weird" stuff. Now, that doesn't mean I reject it out-of-hand. I'll consider just about anything (this is how I try to remain open to receiving further light and truth).
But some of the color-coded, cosmological charts folks have created (no, I am not talking about the hypocephalus in Facsimile 2; that's black-and-white) give me pause; as if they had dissected the gospel and laid out its constituent parts on the table to create an elaborate concordance, trying to fashion One Great Unified Theory of Everything ─ that sort of thing gives me a spiritual charley horse.
Personally, I do not believe we have the capacity in our current state to comprehend all of God's mysteries (see, 3 Nephi 19:32-34); nevertheless, we are told to seek after them.
And if thou wilt inquire, thou shalt know mysteries which are great and marvelous; therefore thou shalt exercise thy gift, that thou mayest find out mysteries, [which mysteries? Where do we start? How do we know what's most important?] that (1) thou mayest bring many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, (2) convince them of the error of their ways.
Just to be clear: I believe in visions and visitations; I also believe in seers and revelators.
But I don't get too excited every time someone eats bad tuna fish and, after having been escorted through heaven (why are angels always acting like glorified tour guides for Carnival Cruise Lines?), they return to describe eternity in Kabbalistic tones.
I mean, however impressive it is to have seen the blueprints for the plumbing in the devil's chalet down in purgatory, does that help any of us repent? ("Well, Tim, that depends on the plumbing; do alligators emerge from the toilets?")
Do these visions of grandeur help others to seek the Lord with broken hearts and contrite spirits?
I often reflect on Mary's example, who demonstrated a certain sobriety when when she received the word of the Lord:
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
So before we proceed, we need to gauge our motivation. Are we seeking to abase ourselves or to satisfy our curiosity?
Truth Is Here
As we begin our descent into the mysteries, I want to explain something about the Lord's truth. How does the Lord avoid casting His pearls before swine? How does He restrict access to those who are content in their unbelief?
Does He lock His truth away in a sealed chest on the top shelf, out of reach?
No, that's the genius of it! The truths we're seeking are in plain view, and were all along ─ but we weren't prepared to see them. Our eyes were not yet opened.
It makes perfect sense when we realize that, in order to entice us ("come unto me"), Christ's Spirit infuses the spiritual air we breathe with truth, around the clock, all around us. So if someone is sitting in their hotel room in Las Vegas at 1:34 a.m. having dark thoughts because they just lost their shirt at blackjack, they can reach out to the Lord as readily as the Prophet passing by the Holy of Holies.
The only limits are those we place upon ourselves, the horse-blinders we wear fashionably (what Nephi described as "scales" covering our eyes).
It must be part of the Lord's sense of humor to leave these things hidden in plain sight. The secret is not discovering something buried away, but to discover a new way of seeing what's right in front of us.
The secret? Not finding new truths, but finding a change of heart.
The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not; nevertheless, the day shall come when you shall comprehend even God, being quickened in him and by him.
Then shall ye know that ye have seen me, that I am, and that I am the true light that is in you, and that you are in me.
The mysteries are here in front of us ─ right there in the scriptures! But (there's a but) until the Spirit unlocks their meaning to us, we might as well be using our natural eyes to read braille.
Why? Because Truth is known only by the Spirit, through direct revelation. (See Clark Burt's recent treatment of this idea, which I found brilliant).
Here's the problem, though: the Holy Ghost is like the wind; it is evanescent; and like a scent carried upon the breeze, we may lose track of it if we do not follow it when we first recognize it.
This is how the Lord weeds out the merely-curious from the honest seeker. Things that tickle our fancy do not develop into steadfast faith; they do not produce repentance.