Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Latter Day Levitical Learnings

I keep reading Leviticus, which as you know, everyone quotes all the time while bearing testimonies and it's the book everyone inserts into their prayers in the church (not really).

Though the book of Leviticus doesn't seem like it applies to Christians or Latter Day Saints specifically, I've actually found a lot in here that I draw a lot of strength from.  I get to see the completeness of the law and the perfection of the ordinances that the Lord put forth. What has seemed like some mysterious, irrelevant, ancient, forgotten part of the law, instead is coming alive to me.  I get to see the beauty that my Jewish Brethren and Sisters revere today in the same God who will reclaim them to us as well.

We have ordinances today in the temple that are different than these ones put forth in the Book of Leviticus.  We don't read about the endowment ordinances in the temple though - why?  Well....if they are as a sacred then as they are now - heck you weren't even to say the Lord's name anciently - then I wouldn't expect the endowment to be written in the standard works.  Nevertheless we see parts of the endowment and similar truths in religions around the world - a testament to the existence of these ordinances anciently and the apostasies and scatterings that occurred anciently.

But - if you've attended the temple at all in its ordinances and how they are required to be perfect and correct - then you may be able to appreciate the completeness of the ordinances in Leviticus. 

That and I *LOVE* my Savior - though I am imperfect - and I get to read a law that I know He Himself personally wrote, and then he kept. 

In Leviticus I find I understand more of what He was living in His liftime, why He did some of the things He did - it just rounds out my world and testimony so much more. 

We are told the Law was "dead" and hear it over and over again through the Book of Mormon and that perfection didn't come by it.   Yet a close look at the ordinances therein we can see a perfection that only could come from God himself.  

A close look at today's ordinances and we will see the same perfection in them both, indicating the same God wrote them both, and see a correlation between both the Mosaic ordinances and today's all sending the same message: God has atoned for us and we can be washed clean and we can become like him and we all have to submit to the same laws - including the Lord.

In Leviticus we read:

23 And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there:
24 And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place, and put on his garments, and come forth, and offer his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people, and make an atonement for himself, and for the people. (Leviticus 16). 

A few things jump out at me here: 

One is that he's not wearing the ceremonial garments when he's presenting himself to make an atonement for everyone - the act of being washed is one that is a bit more humbling in an acknowledgement that we aren't worthy before the Lord so I wouldn't expect us to be wearing our finest clothes during the ordinance but rather something more humble as is described here. 

Further - the priest wasn't exempt from an atonement being made for himself - it was to be offered for him and for the people.  It acknowledges that he too was imperfect and in need of atonement - not a detail is missed yet here. 

We know from the scriptures that the Priest or Prophet is to be to the people as the Lord is - to them
he stands in the place of God (under the Lord's direction). 

So why would the priest need to be cleansed from his sins?  

Well...go further....why did Christ need to be baptized?  He didn't. Not to wash away sin, anyways. Yet he said that it was needed to fulfill all righteousness.  And here, just as the priest in the tabernacle went to make an atonement for himself, we see the Savior also participating in the same ordinances that are expected to make us clean.   The Lord was subject to the Law as well, and set up that symbolism in the tabernacle (and later, the temples) to represent this as well.  We are all subject to the Father. 

And as Christ said, 19 ... Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. (John 5)

The father set the example for Christ, who set the example for us, who gave us ordinances to bring these things before us that we might learn to be like him - both in the temples anciently as well as today.  They are the same God who gave them both, and those who kept those ancient laws are as whole as we are by keeping the modern ones - and Christ keeps and kept them as well.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

"An Issue of Blood"

Now that I'm reading my scriptures daily, from the beginning....I'm in....LEVITICUS!

The book where testimonies are forged, sustained, built and maintained!...if....you're Jewish?

I don't know that Latter Day Saints actually draw a ton of inspiration from Leviticus....nor have I ever heard a talk given from it in sacrament or anyone speak about it in my 20+ years being LDS.

But, reading Leviticus has given me new insights into the New Testament that I never have had before....

For example:  There's a lot of coverage on the issues of menstrual blood in Leviticus (as well as the "seed of copulation" for the males)...basically anything reproductively oriented....

I don't yet understand all of why everything was done, I just know what's written at this point.  But for a woman who had an "issue of blood" we read:

19 And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.

20 And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean.

21 And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.

22 And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.

23 And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even. (Leviticus 15). 

Great!

Now what does that have to do with anything? 

Well....for one, there was a woman in the New Testament who we read: 

43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,

44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. (Luke 8). 

She was healed!  

From touching the Savior's garment!

...which would have made him unclean....

So she defiled the Savior....

...but didn't because she was healed.....

...but was willing to....

...to be healed...

...and had faith in him....

Immediately after, he asked "Who touched me?" - I don't think he was asking because he wanted to know and didn't know - no more than God didn't know what Adam did in the garden with the forbidden fruit - yet in both instances they gave people a chance to make an account of themselves.  But also there was the issue of him being "unclean" now - and yet he did not say that's what he was - only that a virtue had gone out of him.  Clearly he was not unclean because he continued to preach and do miracles....so his own ongoing cleanness as well was another miracle.

But at any rate, thanks to Leviticus, suddenly a story from the New Testament becomes much more than just about the miraculous healing power of the Savior's garment and the faith of a woman to touch him.  There's an added layer to this story where even the law of Moses was - at least on the surface, physically - transcended and fulfilled by the God who wrote it, and now was fulfilling it in his divine mortal mission.  Both to this woman, and to the rest of creation.

She could now not only be healed, but also become by the law clean to make an offering to the Lord, and it came from being willing to touch that which was holy - the Savior - which might have made him unclean but did not. 


Monday, April 10, 2017

My Thoughts, God's Thoughts

Going back to the preceding post on the differences between Satan's promptings, and the Lord's - namely that I'm able to articulate the difference finally - I've also become able to articulate and identify some of the differences between recognizing when thoughts are mine, and inspiration comes from Heavenly Father.

First, I tend to be a cynical / negative / pessimistic thinker by nature.  Part of learning to try to anticipate the worst-possible-outcome in a lousy world before I would get hit with things.  Being a police officer didn't help this thinking any, and probably one of the reasons I never got hit during a fight: saw it coming.

That being said, God...is not a cynic.  He's not pessimistic.  He's not negative.

When I go to the temple, I get answers.  There's directions there.  And there's peace.

When my brain starts spinning wondering if I'm doing things wrong, there isn't direction, there aren't answers, and there isn't peace.

Today as I walked into the chapel, my brain was spinning with life's concerns, and as is so common for me, my mind wanders down a negative track. 

Doubt.

Fear.

Worry.

But no directions.

No answers. 

No peace.

Nevermind I've gotten answers before, replete with total-peace, and directions, even worded answers, on the very thing I'm obsessing about.

Isn't that the way it goes though?  You get an answer and then you question it later afterwards? 

Maybe that's just me.

Let questions arise, but never doubts, was the instruction recently given in a general conference.

But the trick for me is to recognize, I have been given answers.   Answers come much faster when I'm just listening and am calm and accepting, I've noticed.    Doubting?  That doesn't come from God.  He will give clear directions and a sense of right-ness even in a time of danger where fast action is required - but all the other noise and static?  Well....they aren't coming from God, so either don't listen to it, or recognize when it's being done and stop doing it. 






Friday, April 7, 2017

The Difference Between the Holy Ghost and Satan's Promptings



All Latter Day Saints should recognize the spirit.

Peace, love, joy, longsuffering.... 

But the adversary likes to deceive and counterfeit.

I've noticed that the adversary likes to put out a feeling of "something's not right" in terms of causing unease and getting us to react without taking a definitive direction.

The Holy Ghost however gives us a warning and will give us specific directions when things aren't right and wants to lead us in paths of safety, not having us just react and flail about spiritually.

The adversary had fun getting Adam and Eve to quickly react and run from the Lord.

The Lord, on the other hand, will tell us things not to do and there's a feeling of "rightness" to the warning, rather than just dread and uncertainty and even fear that accompany the adversary.

Using the Aaronic Priesthood to send the ministering of angels is extremely helpful in sorting things - angels do a good job squashing opposition. 

Maybe I'll add to this later, but I thought I'd just share this now and put it out.

Kinda important.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Humble and Hopeful

I'm always reflecting on the counsel of my patriarchal blessing. 

Perhaps at least once a day if not more.  

Honestly.

I was told when I received it to read it, pray about understanding it - and I do - and it changes so so often in terms of the depth and inspiration I receive from it.  Lately it seems I've missed some inspiration from it that I've not entirely understood.

It seems I've fallen on my face so much in life that sometimes I feel like I've fallen more times than most I know have climbed or tried to - not putting myself above any of my fellow man - just saying....I've fallen a *lot*.

Mostly in the professional world it seems.

And more often than not as opposition seems quite unlimited in this world, I feel like I've got a target on my back - actually I know I do - and it comes seemingly most-often from the embodied hosts of satan's minions in this world who, wittingly, or unwittingly, love to bump and slash and dig pits for those around them - either in the name of corporate policy, or "just doing our job" (irony).  But for as often as I've tumbled, I'm become accustomed to waiting for the next rug to be jerked out from under me and yet another spectacular free fall.

I've faced the future, fearful and doubtful as to the winds of fate, just waiting to slip, or my fingers lose their grip one last time...wondering what exactly the Lord has in store for me...


As my confidence has flagged over the years and miles, I've discovered I'd been aiding  the opposition more and more with my growing cynicism, pessimism, fears and doubts all in an effort to feel like I had some control over life and was correctly anticipating how the world really operates - the point where they've paralyzed and consumed me and left me maxed out and my capabilities diminishing so it seemed....

 Now as I've reflected on my patriarchal blessing, I've realized such an attitude is not what the Lord has asked me to have and now I wonder whether I've created my own situations (perhaps to some extent) or if there really is a plan and I've been missing out on it.

Either way, I've not had faith in the Lord or his plans and I've really short-changed myself of a lot of things that require my own effort and spiritual exertions.

one of these jumps....I swear....
So what to be?

I think humble.

Humble is a combination of not prideful, but also confident, and yet willing to submit to whatever happens good or ill, and optimistic that things are going to be okay.

Makes me wonder what exactly kind of being I think God is if this is how I've thought for so so long.

At any rate...how to be?  Humble and hopeful.

For now that's the direction I think I need to take myself as it's much better than hopeless and helpless and faithless....I pray I do this and it becomes second nature.....

As for the rest.....set it down and focus on what's happening next....

Just a late night thought.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Feminist Convert to Mormonism

I appreciate the struggles of the feminists over the years.

Having read some of the writings of the early feminist movements I understand the thinkings of it early on, though I'm not much of a feminist supporter and I actually oppose much of what the movement stands for nowadays and is doing.

I think that "humanism" - an advocacy for the advancement of the human race working together rather than focusing on one or the other gender would be better for humankind than feminism or male-chauvenism.

The genders simply don't operate without each other - they can't.  They don't.  They never have.  You won't ever advance one gender by pushing the other down or asserting it's equal - you'll only advance it by showing how they work together so they can get ahead of where they are TOGETHER.

BUT if a feminist in this blog entry can be considered to be one who is aware of the differences of men and women, and is focused on helping women maximize their potential and divinity in this life....then here is a wonderful reflection by a feminist, and a Ph.D., who converted to the LDS church.  She noted that there is a difference between the doctrine and the culture in the church, but that the LDS are the only ones who truly see women as equals with men with an equally divine destiny.

I hadn't thought of the symbolism of the woman's bodies as they relate to the priesthood and their function - but even the ordinance - and yes it is an ordinance - of lactation to feed the life she created is similar in some ways to the administrations of the priesthood.

 At any rate....as one interested in truth, and sometimes truth is revealed by perspective changes, this is an amazing article that helps me understand truth about who we are. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Right but Still Wrong

Recently, on March 9th, I attended the temple and had my father and step-mother's sealing done.

While in the temple, having taken care of the matters of eternity that are so critical, having heard them from beyond the veil agree to the work that was done there...and even the Sealer paused the session to ask about my father and the ordinances out of all those that were done...all the nonsense of the world drifted away and I knew the rest of the worldly things just weren't that important.

As I had to come back to the mortal world from where heaven and earth meet....all the nonsense of the facebook world just seemed so shallow....and politics....well....they couldn't have any power at all except it was given to them from above.

And several days later a family feud over a facebook fight that became political started with several family members actually ganging up another family member (they need to make amends and say sorry - it was that bad) while we're 400 miles from family, rarely see anybody and then the one form of keeping up together  gets used to rip people over what?  Politics?

I'm not the person to be throwing stones on this.

This was my moment of my own self reflection to realize: I've done this in one form or another.

My reasons for my opinionatedness and fire come from the military where I saw liberalism unchecked that killed people - I have very little good to say about it.  My past feelings have been that I'd go to war to fight against it and am all for opening fire on it except....God has called me elsewhere.

And then after sitting the temple, my father is finally sealed to one of his wives from this life who he loved dearly, I'm putting my family together for the first time in eternity and then down here it's being ripped apart over....politics?

I've....been correct on political principle but it's not worth costing family.

And lobbing firebombs over politics?....well....I can think of nothing Satan would love more.

I'm not taking a political flag to heaven with me, but my family I hope - NEED - to take with me.

There isn't anything more important.

We take care of the eternal things then the political things take care of themselves. 

Otherwise we can jump on the bandwagon politically and win the battle yet lose the war that we came down here for.

Just a thought.