The following is the result of years of study and pondering and learning from the scriptures as well as, most recently, the books “A Course in Miracles”, “The Aquarian Gospel”, and Max Skousen’s discussion on Moroni 7, among countless other inputs along the way, including 20 years of prayer and teaching from the Lord. What I have discovered is that these sources, some of them canonized and some not, do not contradict each other. The non-canonized sources do, however, often shed new light, providing a new perspective on the canonized scriptures. This new light and perspective can be perceived as being in contradiction of how we have been told to interpret the canonized scriptures, but the correlation between all of these sources, canonized or not, is, in my mind, readily apparent when all are taken together. This essay, then is the result of me questioning the traditional interpretation of the canonized scriptures as manifested in most all widely accepted Christian bodies of doctrine. In other words, this is me questioning the “…philosophies of men, mingled with scripture”.
There have been some few among us who seem to think that because I share and discuss these things, I have mastered them or fully implemented them in my life. Such is not the case, and I have never claimed that it was. I’m just trying like everyone else to reach a little higher every day. Continuing on, then:
What if, when The Lectures on Faith teaches that it is essential that one acquire “…an actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing is according to his will”, it actually means that the course of our life is by default according to God’s will, and that we must gain knowledge of this truth if we are to gain eternal life?
What if, again from Lectures on Faith, having a “…correct idea of his character, perfection, and attributes” reveals not a judgmental, rules-based God, but a God filled with love and charity; a God who is forgiving, understanding, patient, and kind; a God whose “perfection” extends to His creations and who, in His love, did not create beings who were destined or even likely to fall short of the “measure of their creation”?
What if gaining this knowledge of God’s true character, and of the fact that our “…course of life…is according to his will” is what is meant in John 17:3: “and this is life eternal, to know thee the only true God…”? (emphasis mine)
What if, in thinking that we can or must force, or will, or discipline ourselves (and others) to choose to be good, and righteous, and loving, we are actually denying our own endowed nature, denying His nature, and creating a society that contradicts the very nature of God’s creation?
What if truth is that we are perfect as we are. What if truth is that the path we are pursuing is always as it should be – that even in the event of what appears to be rebellion against God, we are merely Gods learning what it means to be gods? What if truth is that we are all saved, and we will all eventually learn to be like Christ, to be Christ, because such is the measure of our creation?
What if, even though we say we desire peace, we really don’t know what to do with it, so we tend to sabotage peace in our lives. What if we actually fear peace because, without some sort of opposition or contention, our ego – the natural man – would no longer be able to control our lives; the ego could no longer validate its necessity or existence? What if this is at least part of what is meant by “the natural man is an enemy to God” – an enemy to peace, addicted to fear and opposition?
What if we’ve been lied to for millenia? What if “commandments”, as we perceive them – a checklist of dos and don’ts – represent a “lower law” for those of us who desire to be told what to do and what not to do; who are still clinging to the original lie that knowledge of good and evil makes us as the gods? What if commandments are for those of us (all but a very, very few of us) who don’t understand simply that He awaits, only needing for us to recognize Him for who He really is – our friend, our brother; indeed the prototype of the saved man because HE discovered the truth and embraced it, even glorified it? What if love is the only truth, and all else represents lies and illusion?
What if the principle of sacrifice is a lie? What if we only think we sacrifice because we place value on something but still choose to relinquish it to the cosmos? Would Christ really even ask us to sacrifice something that had real value – eternal value? What if, instead, we recognized that anything that is not eternal has no real value, and losing it, or giving it away, is really no sacrifice at all? What if sacrifice is an illusion, or what if sacrifice is merely an exercise in learning to recognize those things that have true value? What if, even worse, sacrifice far too often degrades into an attempt to bribe the Lord, to force Him to accept us, to redeem us, to sanctify us – all by giving up something whose value was illusory in the first place?
What if the only things that have value are things that, if we give them away, we still have them; their presence has not been transferred, but instead has been multiplied? In other words, if I give you something, and I no longer have it, then it does not have true value – it’s value is carnal and ego-driven. If, on the other hand, I give you something – share something – and I still have it, then that thing has value. I speak of things such as knowledge, love, and kindness. Unfortunately, the same thing applies with things of what we might call negative value. If I give you hatred, or lies, or fear – I still have them, but now you have them too (if you choose to receive them) and their presence has still been multiplied.
What if “partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil” is a metaphor for establishing standards against which WE are able to judge ourselves and others; thereby perpetuating a separation between ourselves and God (when we judge ourselves against God we create or perpetuate separation), and between ourselves and others (judging ourselves against others, whether favorably or unfavorably)? What if we cling to this method of judgment because we think we we are in control of how it is applied? I repeat from above; what if Satan lied to us when he said that, having knowledge of good and evil, we would be like the Gods? What if having all that knowledge of good and evil, and applying it, actually just separates us from God?
What if partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil sows the seeds of Comparison that guarantee that we will never ascend to a state of peace and love because we will always be separated from God and from each other?
What if Comparison leads inexorably to Competition, which leads likewise to Contention, which results in exercising Control over the choices, actions, and lives of others, or, conversely, surrenders control over our own sacred agency to others?
What if these “4 C’s” comprise a perpetual cycle that ensures that we will never be able to abide the presence of God, because we remain sinners, polluting each others’ agency, acting in the absence of love; sustained by fear, relying on our knowledge of good and evil rather than the grace and goodness of God…forever incapable of obeying the two great commandments – Love God and Love your Neighbor? What if, furthermore, these forces – these “4 C’s” – are the antithesis of God, completely contrary to His nature? Can we then ever, as long as we cling to these things, have a true understanding of His “character, perfection, and attributes”?
What if, while Jesus was a man, he discovered, acknowledged, nurtured, and glorified the Christ within Himself, (thus becoming Jesus Christ or Jesus the Christ, receiving grace for grace) and that the way in which we become one with Him is by discovering, acknowledging, nurturing, and glorifying the Christ within us? What if the binding unity that we seek – oneness in Christ, even being of one heart and one mind in Zion – is actually that very Christ within us?
What if “Christ” is the love of God, or the power, the goodness, the perfect nature of the universe; love, integrity, righteousness; and Jesus the Christ was gloriously the first man who discovered and, in turn, manifested that Christ in mortality, showing us the example of all that we are created to be – again acting as the prototype of the “saved” man? What if salvation is actually the result of discovering and manifesting the Christ within us?
What if “Faith in Jesus Christ” means to have faith that this man, Jesus, was who He said He was, that he did what He said He did, and that He showed us what we must do, indeed can do, if we are to know Him and become one with Him and thus fulfill the measure of our creation and have eternal life? What if this is what is meant by “…If you love me, keep my commandments”?
What if forsaking the 4 C’s and glorifying the Christ within us is the ultimate meaning of repentance? What if everything else is just fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and is either only good as a stopgap measure to lead us to true repentance, or as a sure-fire way to prevent us from every arriving at true repentance? What if repentance is recognizing who we are, rejecting the lies perpetuated through the tree of knowledge of good and evil; seeking to accept everyone else for who they are, where they are, and ceasing to fear; and ceasing to fear because we have faith in the very nature of our loving, perfect creator?
What if this harsh, judgmental, competitive, contentious world that we live in – a world largely defined by our competitive relationships with each other, is itself an illusion – an illusion created by us – by the ego or natural man – in order to perpetuate the ego’s existence, creating opposition as a tool to ensure our individuality and separation (the ego)? What if we are participants in our own damnation or separation from God, and we don’t even recognize it?
What if, as one begins to transcend these principles of babylon, of our fallen nature, of life lived clinging to the knowledge of good and evil, we get really lonely, because no one understands us? What if our relationships with people start to seem shallower and shallower, because there’s just no way we can explain what we’re learning, and how we’re trying to live our lives? What if we begin to sorrow in our alienation? What if we begin to discover that only Christ understands us, because He’s been there?
What if, as we begin to truly repent, we start to come across people, each one like a new, bright star in Christ’s constellation, who do understand, and who are learning the same things? What if this happens very slowly, because such people are very rare, but when it does, you are immediately attracted to them, simply because they understand, and nobody else does, and because they, too, have discovered that Christ is the one that truly understands (because He’s been there), and that they, too, now truly know Him, because they, too, have a correct understanding of His “character, perfection, and attributes”, and have begun to discover the Christ within themselves.
What if Zion is actually an organic gathering of these people who have truly repented (forsaken these “4 C’s”) and have exercised faith in the Christ in Jesus and within themselves; a gathering of people who, as a result, truly know Christ (…all shall know Him) and have ascended or transcended this fallen existence into what we might call translation or a terrestrial state; a gathering that happens naturally,, simply because it’s a lonely, lonely world when nobody else understands you or the forces that define your existence?
What if this is all the Lord’s plan? What if this will all unfold perfectly if we will simply love Him and our neighbor, as He has commanded us, and otherwise let Him do His work? What if the Lord really means it when He says, as He has told me multiple times, “Trust me. Relax.”?