I’ve thought much about our discussion on Sunday. I’ve discovered that I express myself so much more completely in writing than I do verbally, so please allow me to express some thoughts that I failed to express at the time. I offer these thoughts for your understanding of me, of who I am becoming and what motivates me, and also should you come across others who believe similar things.
In our meeting, you lovingly shared your concern that I might become so focused upon seeking the face of the Lord that I would lose my balance and overall view of the gospel. Honestly, I have heard this caution previously from others. I must admit that I have rejected that because the truth is actually the opposite.
I mentioned D&C 93:1 in our talk. You appeared to be familiar with it. It says:
Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;
When I read this, I am actually struck with the way in which these ‘requirements” for seeing his face and knowing that He is encompass the completeness of the gospel. Nothing significant is left out. If one truly seeks to understand and fulfill these requirements, one will actually be very balanced in their understanding and living of the gospel.
D&C 67:10 says:
And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual.
I have spent much time contemplating what it means to “strip yourselves from jealousies and fears”, and it is apparent that the only way to do this is to completely accept the atonement, rise above the influences of “babylon” and rely upon his love. We must learn to believe that “perfect love casteth out fear”, because “fear” is the source of all jealousies. And then, of course, we must humble ourselves before him (and thus before all men) and forsake pride – the greatest of sins.
D&C 101:38 says:
And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life.
I take these scriptures literally, while it has been my observation that too many of us are satisfied to accept them metaphorically. I don’t know how they can be more clear.
The endowment is a representation of our individual journey from His presence in the Garden to His presence on the other side of the veil. It teaches us the things we must do to return to His presence. I have observed that it is commonly accepted that the veil represents death. I don’t believe that. To me, “enduring to the end” means the end of this journey, which is to overcome the veil that was raised after the fall, to pierce it, and one again experience the fullness of his love, even the “fullness of the gospel”. The journey is the same. The requirements are the same. The only difference is that I don’t believe we should wait until death to seek to fulfill these covenants and commandments, and to receive the promised reward.
I read a story once that said that President Joseph F. Smith received a visit from the Savior in which he was told that the people had turned away from Him (meaning the Savior). The accuracy of this is irrelevant – whether it actually took place or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is that, upon reading this, I immediately got on my knees and “cried unto the Lord” that I did not want to be one who had “turned away from Him”. I feel like if I were to fail to seek after this gift (as well as others that are promised us in Mormon 9 and in numerous teachings from Joseph Himself) I would be disrespecting His promises and turning away from Him. If I were to fail to actively seek, knock and ask for these blessings, it would be because of unbelief (Mormon 9). It is that we might receive these blessings, that we might be redeemed from the separation imposed upon us by the fall, that he died. Can any of us truly settle for less?
As I write this I am filled with a profound love for my Savior, and I want you to know that I love Him. I want to be with Him. I want to hold his face in my hands and kiss Him, thanking Him for all that He has sacrificed. This is the fullness of the gospel. This is what I would have shared with you had I said everything I wanted to say. Thank you for your understanding, and thank you for all that you do to serve the Lord. You are a good man – a great example to all of us.