Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

I had a very nice Christmas get together of my wife's side of the family. We all stayed at the Agate Cove Inn, a bed and breakfast in Mendocino, California (Northern California). This picture is what I saw from inside my room (actually I was a little higher and could see more of the beach). It was great, I can not describe how nice it is there. If you really want a nice get away, go there. Here is their link: Agate Cove Inn

And have a good new year!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mark Paredes (Reminder!)

Just a reminder about Bro. Mark Paredes speaking to a Jewish group 12/20/07 @ 7:00 PM, here is all the information - See you there! (Information)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Hot and Cold Water (Enoch)

A while back I wrote a couple posts about the water that flowed from the Tree of Life in Lehi and Nephi’s visions (Filthy Water). I described how in ancient thought it was understood that the pure water flowed from celestial realms into lower realms (kingdoms or glories). That these waters represent the blessings of God.

That these waters, or blessings include law and judgment, that at some point divide the righteous and the wicked. In-fact the water changes into three levels of purity (or impurity) as it flows into lower kingdoms.

This idea has not always been embraced by every reader. I found a similar idea that may be an earlier text, The Book of Enoch (2 Enoch).

The context is Enoch describing some disobedient “angels” that are punished in a valley where they reside. There is a river or waters running through the valley.

“And in those days shall these waters be to kings, to princes, to the exalted, and to the inhabitants of the earth, for the healing of the soul and body, and for the judgment of the spirit.” (The Book of Enoch, Wizards Bookshelf, 1983, pg. 81)

At one point the waters are flowing, then they turn to ice, then:

“For these waters of judgment shall be for their healing, and for the death of their bodies. But they shall not perceive and believe that the waters will be changed, and become a fire, which shall blaze for ever.” (The Book of Enoch, Wizards Bookshelf, 1983, pg. 82)

Another major homerun for Joseph Smith! How could he have known and used this flexible imagery from the ancient world without revelation?


The Book of Enoch, Translated by Richard Laurence, html: [Link]
The Book of Enoch, [Download PDF]
Related Posts: Ezekiel 1, Revelation 22

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I have been having an email discussion with a fine fellow who describes himself as an “orthodox protestant Christian.” He has nicely taken me to task for the LDS view of reincarnation. He came to the conclusion that the LDS church and I believe in reincarnation because of statements made by apostates like Michael Quinn, and because the Zohar has several references to reincarnation.

First, it is not now, nor ever was LDS doctrine that people reincarnate!

The Zohar makes some references to reincarnation. But I don’t hold to every idea the Zohar teaches. The Zohar is a medieval attempt to record the “oral traditions of the Jews,” in story form, which I think was largely successful. But, it is not without errors. I don’t require things to be pristine to learn from them.

Here are a few statements on reincarnation from LDS leaders.

“Every once in a while believers in reincarnation spring some story about persons who have returned to earth in another body. The Prophet Joseph Smith says that reincarnation is a doctrine of the devil…” (Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, vol. 5, Purported Visions)

“Reincarnation is a false doctrine. Men are born, die, and are judged once.” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, vol. 3)

Here is a story from Joseph Smith's life, from his journal:

“He [Robert Matthews, alias Robert Matthias, alias Joshua the Jewish minister] said that he possessed the spirit of his fathers, that he was a literal descendant of Matthias, the Apostle, who was chosen in the place of Judas that fell; that his spirit was resurrected in him; and that this was the way or scheme of eternal life—this transmigration of soul or spirit from father to son.
I told him that his doctrine was of the devil, that he was in reality in possession of a wicked and depraved spirit, although he professed to be the Spirit of truth itself; and he said also that he possessed the soul of Christ. (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 Vols. 2:307)”

There is nothing in the Plan of Salvation which supports reincarnation.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tragedy and Hope

This site is dedicated to spiritual topics. But I am going to make an exception here. Well, maybe it’s not really an exception because this book helped me form my theological/political views of the last days.

I am talking about the book “Tragedy and Hope” by the late Professor Carroll Quigley, of Georgetown University.

It was hard to find and expensive. But, here it is in an html format (great for searching).

If you want to know what’s really going on in the world you need to read this book.

Here is the link: Tragedy and Hope.

And if you just can’t read such a monsterous sized book, read the light version: The Anglo-American Establishment.

Note: I do not share Quigly's values and I interpret the data differently than he does, he only explained what is happening, and defined who the real enemy is. Do you want to know who the members of the "secret combinations" are? They are not Masonry. Ether said, speaking to us:

"Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get apower and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be. Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this asecret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up." [link]

Here is your chance to understand these verses.
UPDATE: Here are some current links for those two books:

Happy Chanuka!

I think all of Israel, well, the world for that matter, can enjoy the celebration of Chanuka (Hanukkah), or the Festival of Lights.

The eight days of Chanuka represent the rededication of the “Second Temple” in Jerusalem at about 167 BC, when the oil lasted eight days instead of the expected one day.

“Hanukkah, from the Hebrew word for "dedication" or 'consecration', marks the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its desecration by the forces of Antiochus IV and commemorates the 'miracle of the container of oil.' According to the Talmud, at the re-dedication following the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Empire, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, which was the length of time it took to press, prepare and consecrate fresh olive oil.” [Wikipedia]

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Ezekiel 1 - Four Creatures

We had previously discussed Ezekiel 47 and its significance in teaching about the four kingdoms (three of glory and one not of glory). This teaching of the four kingdoms is a the major theme in scriptural books that some might call “mystical” (ie Gen., Ezk., Zac., Heb., Rev., D&C 76, 88 and so on).

But you don’t even have to put a mystical spin on it, it is just plan old Plan of Salvation teachings, and in-fact that’s all true mysticism really is.

We see the same basic concepts being taught in Ezekiel chapter 1. That chapter is worth many books being written about it, but we only have a couple column inches.

In verse 4 we see the common symbol of a “whirlwind,” as in the Sefer Yetzirah it represents the commotion which is the creation, and the continuance of heaven and earth. In verse 5:

“Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.”

In verse 10 we can see the creatures had the faces of a man, lion, ox, and an eagle.

These are the same creature that John the Revelator saw as described in Revelation 4:6. In Doctrine and Covenants 77:3A the prophet Joseph told us what the four creature represent:

“They are limited to four individual beasts, which were shown to John, to represent the glory of the classes of beings in their destined order or sphere of creation, in the enjoyment of their eternal felicity.”

Otherwise known as the degrees of glory.

Both Ezekiel and John began their revelations with a view of the Plan of Salvation, the heart of Jewish Mysticism.

On a future post I will discuss the four creatures and the “wheels” as they turn. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mark Paredes (again!)

There will be a presentation on LDS theology to a Jewish congregation on December 20, 2007. Last time I did not give you much advanced notice.

The last such event that I attended was very pleasant. The Rabbi (sorry I forgot his name) at the Wilshire Temple (Los Angeles) was a most gracious host.

The Speakers will be:

Bro. Mark Paredes (link)


Sis. Rachel Vincent, Santa Monica Stake Director of Public Affairs.


TOPIC: LDS Theology
DATE: 12/20/2007 - Thursday
TIME: 7:00 PM
PLACE: The Santa Monica Synagogue (aka, Sha'arei Am)
ADDRESS: 1448 18th. Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404 (Directions)
COST: Free
OPTIONAL: Kosher meals available for $10.

Let’s show up and be gracious guests.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hebrew Book of Mormon

I came across an interesting site for those who love all things Jewish like I do.

Here is the first part of a transalation of the Book of Mormon in Hebrew: Download PDF

Here is the Web Site

And more on the topic here at Common Consent.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Are Mormons Christians?

The Olive Tree represents the Tree of Life. Exactly when that imagery began, I don’t know, but it was a very long time ago. There was an Old Testament prophet only mentioned in the Book of Mormon named “Zenos” (Holy Enos?). This is the earliest use of the olive tree imagery, and interestingly it is also called a vineyard (Jesus is the True Vine), and appears to be the root (or source) of both uses of the imagery in both Book of Mormon and biblical records. This imagery is used in Old Testament, and New Testament times. And in-fact is a major theme throughout scripture.

The olive tree represents the salvation of families, tribes, and individuals (macro and micro).

Olive oil represents the anointing of the Christ or The Anointed One, by it we are healed. It represents the Holy Ghost.

In The Gospel of Phillip we read:

“…it is from the olive tree that we get the chrism [anointing oil], and from the chrism, the resurrection [total healing]… for it is from the word ‘chrism’ that we have been called ‘Christians… For the father anointed the son, and the son anointed the apostles, and the apostles anointed us. He who has been anointed possesses everything. He possesses the resurrection, the light, the cross, the holy spirit. The father gave him this in the bridal chamber… This is {the} kingdom of heaven” [1]

When we call for the Elders of the church to anoint us, it is a re-application of each blessing up to, and including, the Bridle Chamber.

[1 - The Gospel of Phillip, The Nag Hammadi Library, Harper Collins, Pg. 153-4.]

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Great Returning

{Click To Enlarge Graphic}

In Moses 4:30 is says:

“For as I, the Lord God, liveth, even so my words cannot return void, for as they go forth out of my mouth they must be fulfilled.” [Also see Isaiah 55:11]

In the scriptures, and even more prominently in Jewish Mysticism, there is a principle about this “returning” of God’s words. But, what does this mean? How does a word return? And, what is the purpose of this returning?

First, God’s words are commands.

Second, to understand this, we need to understand the Plan of Salvation [Alma 42:5] and the creation. The Book of Creation gives us some good information (from Chapter 1):

“These ten Sephiroth which are ineffable…” Which describes creation, “whose appearance is like scintillating flames…”(Flames… Or lightning. This imagery reminds us of “everlasting burnings.” Joseph Smith, King Follett Sermon, 7-DHC 6:302-317. See Ezekiel 1:13-14.), “have no end but are infinite.[1] The word of God is in them as they burst forth,” [2] This bursting forth is the creation. “and as they return; they obey the divine command, rushing along as a whirlwind, returning to prostrate themselves at his throne.”

This “returning” is part of a whole theological understanding of things. The cabalistic thinking is that God set into motion the Sefirot, or laws, or powers, and they cause the “whirlwind” (from the opposing forces) or motion necessary to bring about Gods work and glory. When the creation is finished, and every man and woman has come to earth, there is a great “returning” to God at which time they (Sefirot) bow before the throne to report. This returning begins with Adam-ondi-Ahman and ends up with Christ presenting the worlds to the Father before His throne.

“Then cometh the end, when he [Christ] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." [1 Corinthians 15:24 & 25]

“At this great gathering, the modern prophets will return their priesthood keys to the apostles and prophets from whom they received the keys. The ancient prophets, in turn, will return the keys to their predecessors until all keys are delivered to Adam himself. Adam, as the Ancient of Days, will then restore the keys to Christ, who will use them to personally establish his kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.” [Victor L. Ludlow, Principles and Practices of the Restored Gospel, Deseret, Chapter 37]

“…before the Son of Man can present His kingdom to His Father. This work has got to be accomplished before the Son of Man can come and receive His kingdom to present it to His Father. Every son and daughter of God will have the opportunity necessary for exaltation and glory, either by themselves or by their friends. ...These and other ordinances are absolutely necessary for exaltation and glory…” [Lorenzo Snow, April 6, 1895, Gen. Conference]

Inanimate mater does what it must, but man has agency. We come to this life to see if we will do whatsoever the Lords commands us to do.

This prostrating themselves before the throne is the final reporting, and the final returning. We will all give a report. While there is a great returning, individually we begin our personal returns one at a time.

[1] Infinite… They, the Sefirot, come from God who dwells outside of time, in the infinite, or in another dimension where time is not a restrictive force. The Sefirot were with God, or Ein-sof , the infinite, before the creation of our current habitation. Part of the creation was the inserting of the power of God into this universe and splitting His power into the Sefirot.

[2] The word of God is in them… As the powers or emanations of God are sent forth from heaven they created this physical existence in which we live. “... [T]he spirit of the living creature was in the wheels [sefirot].” Ezekiel 1:20. They are the laws. Christ is the center (Tef’eret) of this power of creation and sanctification. “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:” Ephesians 3:9, “ In the beginning [pre-existence] was the Word [Jesus, see verse 14], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life ; and the life was the light of men.” John 1:1-4.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

We are in the sixth creative period

Over at The Back Yard Professor (a fantastic sIte), Kerry Shirts was kind enough to give me a plug.

On that posting Ranger Dave also wrote some very kind words. He inquired about my view regarding the creative periods, and the fact that I believe we are currently in the sixth period, waiting for the seventh. But, I realized that that idea is in my book, Mormon Mysticism, but not on a post, so I am posting that short chapter here. I have omitted the footnotes, but you can find them here in my html version [link ]

Many truths of creation are taught in the temple and in scripture, yet many of those teachings are misunderstood among Latter-day Saints.

Jewish mysticism teaches us that the creation is still in progress. But, what does that mean?

Some Mormons walk around with a vague understanding of the creation that goes something like this, with some variations:

God planned the creation (spiritual creation). Then God created the earth through Christ, in six creative periods. Man was created during the sixth period, which ended creation. Somewhere in this sixth period Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden. God rested upon the seventh period. And now here we are.

Superficially this sounds alright, but it is fraught with many logical problems. Besides that, this outline is in conflict with scripture, the temple, and Jewish theological tradition.

Words have meaning. We are taught that the heavens and the earth were created in six days. These days are creative periods, not twenty-four hour days. Trying to determine the age of the earth is beyond the space available to use here, but it most likely is billions of years old. Some will reject this proposal, so, for our purposes here, let’s use a lower number (because our point is still made with a fraction of the billions of years). We won’t even use millions of years. Let’s use a thousand years for each creative period. The creative periods must be close to being equal periods, otherwise the description of days becomes non-sense. If one period is a million years, and another period is an hour the description of “days” has no meaning.

One problem is; if Adam was created in the sixth period, and was expelled from the garden during the sixth period, then the thousand years of rest happened (seventh period), then the mortality of the rest of us begin (when Adam left the garden), how do we reconcile that with the life-span of Adam (Adam was less than a thousand years old)? It does not work.

Starting in Abraham chapter three, verse 22, God shows Abraham the pre-existence with the spirits. Abraham is then shown the spiritual creation and the planning of the physical creation, as ordered by God. The above spans from Abraham 3:22 through 5:5. This process was seven periods long, in the likeness (or pattern) of what was going to take place in the physical creation. At the end of these seven periods there was still no physical creation, as the scripture states there was no “rain upon the earth” because there was no earth yet, and God had not yet “formed a man.”

Then in the remainder of the Book of Abraham Adam’s spirit is placed into a body, and then he is introduced into the Garden of Eden.

Which means we have a more detailed description of the spiritual creation and planning. This is a pattern that the physical creation would follow. Then when describing the physical creation the description is truncated, we just jump to the point where Adam is in the garden. And we see that Adam and all the children of Adam will be created before the end of the sixth (physical) creative period.

“[And] thus we will finish the heavens and the earth, and all the hosts of them…” before the seventh period of rest begins. The “hosts” of heaven are the children of God that come to earth.

In other words, all the children of God that are going to come to this earth (Adam included), will come during the sixth creative period.

These seven creative periods should not be confused with the seven thousand years of the temporal existence of the earth (that starts with Adam leaving the garden at about 4,000 B.C.).

We now live in the sixth creative period. When all the spirit children of God that are coming to this earth (and most likely many earths in this eternity, since the creation described is of heaven and earth or perhaps earths) have processed through mortality, been resurrected, and have entered kingdoms of glory, then the sixth period will come to an end. And then there will be a seventh period of rest.

You live in the sixth period of creation, and the creation is continuing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Power of Godliness

Are the ordinances of the temple really necessary? Could we not just conform our lives to good principles and achieve the same ends?

Let’s start in the 84th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 19:

“And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.” [D&C 84:19]

The “key of the mysteries” is the right [keys] to administer the mysteries, meaning, the right to administer the ordinances. Hugh Nibley said:

“…but that is what Christ meant by the mysteries of the kingdom. He meant ordinances, which were necessary; and these he revealed to the apostles during his very confidential teachings of the forty days after the resurrection.” [1]

If you accept what Nibley is saying, Doctrine and Covenants 84:19 is equating the ordinances with the ability to know God. As is plainly stated in the next verse:

“Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.”

What is this “power of godliness” that is given in the ordinances? Power to do what? Verse 22:

“For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.”

If we ever wish to see God, the ordinances must be done, because that is where the power is manifest. That is where the pre-earth covenant is renewed, and salvation is dispensed.

[1 - Hugh Nibley, Temple and Cosmos: Beyond This Ignorant Present, Deseret Book, pg. 28.]

The Tree of Life in the Book of Revelation

Continuing on with the discussion of the four kingdoms (three of glory, and one not of glory), let’s discuss the Tree of Life in the Book of Revelation. With the understanding that the New Testament Books are not in chronological order, it is interesting to note that the Bible begins with the Tree of Life in Genesis, and ends with the Tree of Life in the Book of Revelation.

We see the image of the water with the source being God and Christ, which is associated with the Tree of Life:

“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” [Revelation 22:1-2]

We see that the tree (the leaves) was for the “healing of the nations.” And, in the next verse we see this is all somehow associated with the removal of the curse that was put upon man in the Garden of Eden at the fall. This is the healing of all the wounds of mortality (the role of the Anointed from the pre-earth life Plan of Salvation) .

In verse 11 and 12 we read:

“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”

Or, four divisions of men:

1.) Holy
2.) Righteous
3.) Unjust (the description of telestial beings)
4.) Filth (Son’s of Perdition)

“Filthy still” is a perfect description of the Son’s of Perdition.

“And another trump shall sound, which is the fourth trump, saying: There are found among those who are to remain until that great and last day, even the end, who shall remain filthy still.” [D&C 88:102 also see 88:35]

There is no getting around it, whether we are reading from the Old or New Testament, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, or the Peril of Great Price, a major theme is the Tree of Life, and the kingdoms of glory.

This imagery is the icon of salvation and sanctification (like a symbol to the entire plan of salvation). Understanding this will bring many other parts of the scriptures alive.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mark Paredes - What Makes A Mormon - 11/13/07

I am attending today (November 13, 2007) a presentation by Mark Paredes (invited by The Center For Religious Inquiry) at a Jewish Temple.

The topic is, “What Makes A Mormon.”

If you love all things Jewish, like I do, this should be good.

Hope to see you there!

Date: 11/13/07
Time:7:30 PM
Address: 3663 Wilshire Blvd. , Los Angeles, CA
COST: $10
Link: 11/13/07
Map: Click Here For Map

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Temple and The Tree

Click To Enlarge Kircher's Image

We discussed in a recent post that in Ezekiel’s temple the water running from under it into, or even creating, the three kingdoms of glory, is the same imagery that Nephi used, but Nephi exchanged the Tree of Life for the Temple.

In ancient Hebrew thought, they were the same thing (another home run for the prophet). In Jeannette Miller's paper she says: "I will equate the tree of life with the temple." [Link]

Click to Enlarge Image

If the imagery of both the temple and the Tree of Life are depicting the same thing, could we overlay the two images and see a pattern?

Actually the bottom row of three sefira on the second image should probable be outside the temple, being law (which creates creation) and agency (man’s interaction with creation) is not redeemed creation. It is not until justice and mercy are mediated that we enter the court, or the telestial kingdom.

The Great Pyramid - Cheops

Click to Enlarge Graphic

Here are a few points about Abraham and Cheops, you decide.

1.) Abraham went into Egypt after he received his ascension ritual.

2.) At the time of Abraham, the Pharaoh was a descendent of Ham, and not then eligible to hold the priesthood. [1]

3.) The Hyksos (Shepard kings) ruled Egypt part of the time, and were kin of Abraham (if not Abraham himself and/or his descendents). As such they were candidates to hold the priesthood. [2]

4.) To at least a great degree, the Egyptians had knowledge of the ascension ritual at some point and passed it along, in degrees of corruption. To the degree of the corruption that was passed-on, I will leave to the reader to decide.

The Great Pyramid (of Pharaoh Cheops) was built sometime around the period that Abraham was in Egypt. The pyramid was permanently closed with a plug, and there was never a body interred there.[3] The pyramid included all the necessary symbolism for use in ascension rituals. It had three basic levels. At the bottom, which was subterranean (representing the telestial kingdom), is found a pit that could have been used to store water for washings. The next level up is called the Queen’s Chamber, representing the terrestrial kingdom. It was higher in the structure and larger. You then ascend to the King’s Chamber (representing the celestial kingdom). It is larger and grander. There are two basic sections. The first could be used for teaching and initiation, then, as you go through a section meant to divide the two rooms, the final room is entered. There was a box (or ark) in the room. It does not take much to assume this ark contained the law, and that the initiates would kneel at this ark or alter.

[ 1 - Abraham 1:27]

[2 - See Joseph of Egypt, Elder Mark E. Peterson, Deseret Book, The Land of the Nile. See Improvement Era, 1923, Elder J.M. Sjodahl, Tut-Ankh-Amen and Sun-Worship.]

[3 - “Two air vents (M, N) passing through the entire body of the Pyramid ventilate the King's Chamber. In itself this is sufficient to establish that the building was not intended for a tomb.” Manley P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages.]

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Filthy Water?

Building upon my most prior post, The 4 kingdoms of Ezekiel, I will here discuss the waters flowing from the Tree of Life in Nephi’s vision of the Tree of Life.

It has long puzzled Book of Mormon readers how first the river running from the Tree of Life is pure, then later in Nephi’s vision these waters are recognized as the “filthiness” of the world. [1 Nephi 15:26-27]

How could this be? Were there two rivers? Nope! Just one.

Why are these living waters later, or farther down the river filthy? In short, because they run through lower worlds.

The symbolism of the Tree of Life spans the three degrees of glory, and so the blessings that emanate from the celestial kingdom, they flow like water through the terrestrial kingdom, and on into the telestial kingdom. This is the stepping down of the powers of God, to the inhabitants of each kingdom of glory. In each descending kingdom the manifestation of the blessings are coarser and weakened. Clearly the waters become less pure as they travel through this telestial world. As man defiles the world with sin, he pollutes the very blessing (waters) God pours out to him. The blessings of God become the “depths of hell.”

The Tree of Life has ten sephiroth or emanations/powers of God, and that among these is justice (Din or Gevurah - resulting from law). Nephi describes how the filthy water works as an “awful gulf” between the wicked and the righteous, he tells us that the “ justice of God did also divide the wicked from the righteous.” [1 Nephi 15:28-30]

This would be all very apparent to an ancient Israelite, but is a little harder for us to see.

A little more on the Living Waters can be found here.

The 4 Kingdoms of Ezekiel

In Ezekiel chapter forty-seven, the prophet is shown what is believed to be the millennial temple in Jerusalem.

The imagery is of water proceeding from under the temple, and flowing to the Dead Sea, and healing the sea. This is often thought to be a literal event to happen. I submit that focusing on a literal event, correct or not, can cause us to miss the more important imagery.

The Temple is like the Tree of Life, it is the love of God. It is the symbolism of thePlan of Happiness.

The water is measured at one thousand cubits from the temple and the depth went to “…the ankles.” Then at another thousand cubits the water came to his “loins.” At the next thousand cubits the waters were so deep they “…could not be passed over.”

Finally the river flowed into the sea. And eventually even the sea was healed.

I suggest the following:

Each of the three levels correspond to the three degrees of glory which exists in all true temple imagery. These are levels of salvation.

That the sea represents the non-redeemed (the world), those who are dead, not alive in Christ. When my Hebrew becomes a little more proficient I will discuss this more with the Hebrew "MM" (or mem), including John’s use of the sea imagery in Revelation 13:1.

This is the same imagery Lehi and Nephi saw of the river. Ezekiel saw the temple, Lehi and Nephi saw the Tree of Life, which in ancient Hebrew imagery are the same exact thing. And, that Nephi said the waters and the Tree of Life both represented the same thing. Or, you might say the waters are how salvation is extended to man, or flow to him.

These ideas all depict the ascent of man. They correspond to Jacob’s Ladder, and Paul’s Sun, Moon, and Stars.

That a study of the thousand cubits in Hebrew imagery could be an interesting study itself (how 1,000 cubits separate each glory – Abraham’s 1000 yr solar boat).

More on this to come!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Da’at or not?

Anytime I make any adjustment to the sefirot of the Tree of Life historical organization, I get attacked. But these same attackers fell perfectly free to pontificate upon the sefira of Da’at.

Da’at is known as the eleventh sefira. Here is a link regarding what Da’at is suppose to represent: WIKIPEDIA.

This has never made sense to me. The oldest (and presumably the purest) source of Kabbalah and the concept of the ten sefirot is the Book of Creation (Sefer Yetzirah). But, the Sefer Yetzirah has a very specific prohibition against an eleventh sefira:

“Ten are the numbers of the ineffable Sephiroth, ten and not nine, ten and not eleven. Learn this wisdom, and be wise in the understanding of it, investigate these numbers, and draw knowledge from them, fix the design in its purity, and pass from it to its Creator seated on his throne.” (Sefer Yetzirah, Wescott, Chapter 1:4).

If the very source of Kabbalah tells us there are not eleven sefira, but ten, why do so many inject Da’at into the mix?

And if we use eleven sefirot, perhaps we miss other important understandings of the number ten. Here is a link to a discussion I participated in over at that illustrates the importance of maintaining the pure symbolism.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


There is a science based upon eternal truth called astronomy. The science of astronomy is correct to the degree that is conforms to truth. Abraham, Moses and many other prophets have seen the heavens beyond what mortals usually see. Thereby they learned of the magnificence of God, the smallness of man, and the place of man and this earth in the plan of salvation.

A fanatical offshoot of astronomy is astrology. Small minds lacking the intelligence and revelation necessary to comprehend the heavens produced a counterfeit astronomy. This counterfeit claims that the movements of heavenly bodies determine the actions of men.

Yes, the heavens have been put into place, and heavenly bodies are acted upon. The earth revolves around the sun because of gravity, the moon likewise revolves around the earth. We know that the moon affects the tide. So in this respect, the heavenly bodies affect man. But these heavenly bodies are things acted upon, they don’t have agency. The moon does not decide each day if it will make its revolutions. It is acted upon, and it does what is must. But man was given agency. He can chose what he does within the physical reality, which he exists. The heavenly bodies exist to bring structure to mortality, it is the framework of our existence, but it does not control our choices. The interaction of men, and the choices we make determine our lives. If heavenly bodies determine human behavior we would have no agency, then there could be no sin. If there be no sin there would be no punishment. If there is no sin and punishment, there is no righteousness and reward.

Astrology (as a divination) is contrary to the agency of man. The heavenly bodies are inert matter that makes no judgment of man. They do not decide what we do, they are not our gods. Astrology is a haven for lazy, weak, and diseased minds. Astrology has no value to the seeker of truth.

There is no moral problem for man to organize his study of heavenly bodies into the zodiac or some alternate format. It is the claim of some control over the minds and actions of men that is problematic.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hamblin on the Heavenly Ascent

I had read this before, but stumbled upon it again. The well-respected LDS scholar William Hamblin Phd. wrote “Temple Motifs in Jewish Mysticism.” Which I think is the best, short introduction to the topic of this site.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Draw to Ourselves

We can see in scripture that people prepare themselves to approach God or to do thing they are called to do. Moses was told to remove his shoes. People kneel in preparation for prayer. People fast, and so on. We do this to draw to ourselves holy power, or holiness, to be purified.

Regarding those who wish to be holy the Zohar says:

“Therefore when a man wishes to be purified, he receives help from above, and the help of his Master encircles and protects him. He is then called 'holy'.”

You could say that by a person’s preparation he or she arouses the influences or powers of heaven.

The Zohar teaches about people who wish to do witchcraft and sorcery. It teaches us that “Whoever is drawn here [practicing witchcraft] becomes defiled.”

But more than that, evil practitioners do evil in order to defile themselves in preparation of spells and other such activities.

“If a man wishes to be defiled, several groups of lights of Klipot are waiting for him. They all hover about and around him. They defile him, so he is called unholy. They go before him and proclaim, Unholy, unholy, as it is written: "And shall cry, 'Unclean, unclean'" (Vayikra 17:45). They are all connected to the primordial serpent and are hidden in the deeds of the people of the world.”


“Moreover, one should be impure to cast a spell. One has to draw upon oneself that side of the unholy spirit.”

I wonder if we “draw upon” ourselves holiness, or impurity, by the small things we say and do?

When confronted with a problem, do we say a little prayer, or do we say a little curse (ie “oh XXXX”)? Which one prepared us to meet the challenge?

Jesus said we would be judged by even our idle words.

Some ancient Jews would add an oath to saying yes and no, but Jesus taught them not to do that.

Do we need to add heck (or worse) to “yes,” or “no?”

I think this is a part of holiness, and is a big problem in the lives of some, and a smaller problem is the lives of other.

[All of the Zohar references above are found HERE or The Zohar, Matt, Vol II, pg. 216]

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Oil of Gladness

The word “Christ” is a Greek word meaning “the anointed.” Also, the word “Messiah” means “the anointed.” One is the Greek and one is the Hebrew/Aramaic version of the same meaning.

So how is Jesus of Nazareth the “Anointed One?” When was he anointed? And, for what purpose?

We have a few biblical references about His anointing:

Isaiah 61:1-3 Luke 4:16-22 Acts 4:27 Acts 10:38

Bishop Cyril of Jerusalem gave us some more insight regarding the anointing with the “oil of gladness” during his temple prep classes (I have taken the liberty of “Mormonizing” the text):
Having been baptized into Christ, and put on Christ, ye have been made comformable to the Son of God; for God having foreordained us unto adoption as sons, made us to be conformed to the body of Christ's glory. Having therefore become partakers of Christ, ye are properly called Christs [Christians], and of you God said, Touch not My Christs, or anointed. Now ye have been made Christs, by receiving the antitype [symbol] of the
Holy Ghost; and all things have been wrought in you by imitation, because ye are images of Christ. He washed in the river Jordan, and having imparted of the fragrance [goodness] of His Godhead to the waters, He came up from them; and the Holy Ghost in the fulness of His being lighted on Him, like resting upon like. And to you in like manner, after you had come up from the pool of the sacred streams [places of washing], there was given an Unction [anointing], the anti-type [symbol] of that wherewith Christ was anointed; and this is the Holy Ghost; of whom also the blessed Esaias, in his prophecy respecting Him, said in the person of the Lord, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me. because He hath anointed Me: He hath sent Me to preach gladtidings to the poor.

For Christ was not anointed by men with oil or material ointment, but the Father having before appointed Him to be the Saviour of the whole world, anointed Him with the Holy Ghost, as Peter says, Jesus of Nazareth, whom God anointed with the Holy Ghost [Acts 10:38] David also the Prophet cried, saying, Thy throne, O God, is far ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom; Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God even Thy God hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows [Heb. 1:9]. And as Christ was in reality crucified, and buried, and raised, and you are in Baptism accounted worthy of being crucified, buried, and raised together with Him in a likeness, so is it with the unction [anointing] also. As He was anointed with an ideal oil of gladness, that is, with the Holy Ghost, called oil of gladness, because He is the author of spiritual gladness [joy], so ye were anointed with ointment [oil], having been made partakers and fellows of Christ. But beware of supposing this to be plait [plan] ointment [oil]. For as the Bread of the Eucharist [sacrament] after the invocation [prayer] of [by the power of] the Holy Ghost, is mere bread no longer, but [symbolizes] the Body of Christ, so also this holy ointment [oil] is no more simple ointment, nor (so to say) common, after invocation [the prayer], but it is Christ's gift of grace, and, by the advent of the Holy Ghost, is made fit to impart His Divine Nature. Which ointment [oil] is symbolically applied to thy forehead and thy other senses; and while thy body is anointed with the visible ointment [oil], thy soul is sanctified by the Holy and life-giving Spirit.

And ye were first anointed on the forehead, that ye might be delivered from the shame, which the first man who transgressed bore about with him everywhere; and that with unveiled face ye might reflect as a mirror the glory of the Lord. Then on your ears; that ye might receive the ears which are quick to hear the Divine Mysteries [ordinances of God], of which Esaias said, The Lord gave me also an ear to hear; and the Lord Jesus in the Gospel, He that hath ears to hear let him hear. Then on the nostrils; that receiving the sacred ointment ye may say, We are to God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved. Afterwards on your breast; that having put on the breast-plate of righteousness, ye may stand against the wiles of the devil. For as Christ after His Baptism, and the visitation of the Holy Ghost, went forth and vanquished the adversary, so likewise ye, after Holy Baptism and the Mystical [sacred hidden] Chrism [anointing, making you a Christ or Christian], having put on the whole armour of the Holy Ghost, are to stand against the power of the adversary, and vanquish it, saying, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Having been counted worthy of this Holy Chrism [anointing], ye are called Christians, verifying the name also by your new birth. For before you were deemed worthy of this grace, ye had properly no right to this title, but were advancing on your way towards being Christians. 6. Moreover, you should know that in the old Scripture there lies the symbol of this Chrism [anointing to become a Christian]. For what time Moses imparted to his brother the command of God, and made him High-priest, after bathing in water, he anointed him; and Aaron was called Christ or Anointed, evidently from the typical Chrism [anointing]. So also the High-priest, in advancing Solomon to the kingdom, anointed him after he had bathed in Gihon. To them however these things happened in a figure, but to you not in a figure, but in truth; because ye were truly anointed by the Holy Ghost. Christ is the beginning of your salvation; for He is truly the First-fruit, and ye the mass; but if the First-fruit be holy, it is manifest that Its holiness will pass to the mass also.
To learn more about Cyril’s letters click here.

And from what tree does the oil come from?

There are some things to be learned here!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Right and Wrong

I have come to believe and appreciate something about the Book of Mormon that I think is of staggering importance.

If you do away with the chapters and verses and see the Book of Mormon as a set of separate (yet related and complementary) parables, motifs, events, and sermons, and you line them up and abbreviate them, a picture emerges, at least for the first few books.

You might see it like this; 1.) Lehi departs Jerusalem. 2.) Tree of Life. 3.) Apostasy & Restoration. 3.) Olive Tree. and so on.

I believe the events were ordered so the record would reflect the basic principles that people need to learn, then principles that build upon that foundation. For example, one of the first things we learn is that there is a God and He speaks to man (1 Nephi 1:8). This is first principle of the gospel.

Next, and the point of this post, is what makes something right or wrong. This understanding is critical to a mature saint, not to mention a true mystic.

When Nephi cut off Laban’s head he hesitated because he knew murder was wrong. But, Nephi also knew what makes something right or wrong is whatever God says is right or wrong. That is the definition.

There is no moral code above God. A selective or conditional agreement to accept God’s commands, because they may be wrong (you disagree with them) betrays a number of things including:

1.) A lack of faith in God (because he may do wrong) [Lectures on Faith Section 3].
2.) A rebellion against God.
3.) You have become a law unto yourself, deciding what is right.

These are not principle that will save, exalt, or unfold the mysteries. When we get our hearts inline with the Plan of Salvation, we seek His will in carrying out this plan, whatever the cost.

Whatta say, how about joining the cause?

The Templar Papers to be Released.

My friend Nancy brought this link to my attention: Knights Templar Papers.

The Knights Templars were a military order of the Roman Catholic Church that is surrounded in intrigue and was recently made popular by the book and movie The Da Vinci Code.

The Masonry buffs will certainly want to read these.

That’s Two Down!

I know I have been slacking a little on my posts lately. I have been out of town. I delivered one of my son’s to the Missionary Training Center this week. He will be serving in South Carolina.

This means I will have two sons out at the same time. My other son is in New Hampshire, to return in ten more months. One more will be ready in two years.

Click to Enlarge - Courtesy of Jamie

For those of you who have done it, it is a hard thing. While I always considered my children as on loan from God, the MTC parting really signifies a handing over of a child back to the protection of God.

And it feels like a sacrifice, but like most sacrifices, they are a blessing. It just takes the faith to see it that way.

I have a lot of posts in my head, they are coming soon.


Monday, October 1, 2007

The Bahir

I recently read The Bahir, also know as the Sefer Ha-Bahir (Sefer = book, Ha = the, Bahir = brightness). I had neglected reading this pillar of Cabala for sometime.

The Bahir was first published in the twelfth century, in the south of France. Most believe Rabbi Yitzak Saggi Nehor is the author, but there is some disagreement.

I was expecting a cabalistic delight, but I was disappointed.

Now, when I first read the Zohar, I found it to be a most unbelievable feast. I could not put it down. It imparted many insights into gospel principles. This is what I was expecting from the Bahir.

I can see how some people are not prepared to read the Zohar and could read it and walk away empty. So, perhaps The Bahir is the same way, perhaps I was not ready. Be that as is may, that’s the way I see it.

Here it is in Hebrew: Bahir in Hebrew

Download a PDF version translated by: Aryeh Kaplan

The Seed of Faith

In Jewish Mysticism and LDS thinking there is a Tree of Life motif that is played-out in the macro, meaning the creations of the heavens and earth, along with the rest of the Plan of Salvation.

In the micro, the same principles are applied to each man and woman. Each person is thought of as having the same principles at play within him, each person is a small Tree of Life microcosm.

Alma was playing on this theme in Alma 32 where he compares the words of angels to a seed that is planted in the hearts of men and women. This "seed" is for a tree, and this tree is none other than a Tree of Life:

“And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life. But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.”[Alma 32:40&41]

Within each of us are the three pillars, on one side the principles of law, and justice. On the other side within us is choice and mercy. Who we are is how these forces are played-out, because we largely have control over that theater. Nephi said:

“Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.”

The Zohar clearly teaches that ideas generate within us from various places. From one side stimulated by the principles or forces of law and justice, or from the other side stimulated by agency, and mercy.

But, beyond what side our thoughts and ideas come from, the degree or elevation of the tree within us is also important. Do our thoughts generate from lower spheres, or higher spheres?

We can examine our thoughts and determine where we live, which kingdom we currently belong to. The Zohar calls this which rung we “cling” to.

Happy climbing.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

4 Worlds

Building upon my last post, we see the idea of four worlds or glories being well established in Jewish thought, and in LDS theology,

In the language of the Cabbalist we have:


In the language of Mormons we have:

Outer Darkness.

So, I ask can these worlds or glories be reconciled into one understanding? Does Atziluth correspond to the Celestial kingdom?

By understanding this correspondence we can better understand the great body of Jewish thought on kingdoms of glory and the ascent of man.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I'll Take Some Bread Please!

For Latter-Day Saint the benefit of books like the Zohar is not so much that there is some new doctrine to be learned, it’s more that of gaining an added perspective on already established LDS doctrines. Take the following for example:


“There was a man who lived in the mountains. He knew nothing about those who lived in the city. He sowed wheat and ate kernels raw. One day he entered the city. They offered him good bread. The man asked “What is this for?”

They replied, “it’s bread, to eat” He ate, and it tasted very good. He asked, “What is it made of?”

They answered, “Wheat.” Later, they offered him thick loaves kneaded with oil. He tasted them, and asked, “And what are these made of?”

They answered, “Wheat.”

Later they offered him royal pastry kneaded with honey and oil. He asked, “And what are these made of?”

They answered, “Wheat.”

He said, “Surely I am the master of all these, since I eat the essence of all of these: wheat!”

Because of that view, he knew nothing of the delights of the world, which were lost on him. So it is with one who grasps the principles but is unaware of all those delectable delights deriving, diverging from that principle.” [1]


Break this down and it is pure LDS doctrine.

It says that things can be learned on four different levels.

These levels of understanding correspond to the four levels of man (three of glory, one without glory).

A stone exists on one level, it is hard and solid. On another level we can also understand that it is made of atoms mysteriously held together by a force. Then we can understand it is mostly just space with spinning particles within the atoms. Then we can understand that it only exists as strings from another dimension that vibrate to bring it into our existence.

The Doctrine and Covenants dovetails nicely here:

“All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.” D&C93:30]

I am planning some posts that will build upon this idea. I think it is important to understand things on every level we can grasp.

[1] The Zohar, Volume One, Daniel Matt, Stanford University Press, PgXXV (introduction) (quoting: Zohar Vol. 2, pg 176, a-b).

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Salvation is free

I thought the Plan of Salvation was taught in the missionary discussions or in primary, then we moved onto the meatier things of the gospel. But that is not the case, as I continue to learn from many discussions with people who are otherwise fairly familiar with LDS doctrine. A recent posting over at Faith Promoting Rumor caused me to think on this topic. I have seen a misunderstanding of this topic run people out of the church.

I submit that:

Any of the three kingdoms is salvation, or heaven.

That, salvation comes only through the acceptance of Christ (principles and ordinances).

That mere acceptance of the Plan of Happiness brings salvation.

That anyone who is saved receives a complete remission of their sins. The kingdoms are not assigned to anyone based on how much sin remains on them, because there is no sin remaining on them.

That when someone is saved, they are saved from sin.

We are saved through grace.

That we can never atone for our own sins. That those who “must suffer even as I” are the Son’s of Perdition. Sin causes endless separation from God and only an eternal sacrifice can meet the demands for justice. That only Christ can relieve us of sin. There are not two paths to salvation, one by Christ and the other by suffering for our own sins.

The Plan of Salvation was the promise that when we came to this encapsulated thing we call earth (actually earth and the spirit world), if we would but accept the atonement all the wounds of this world would be healed (this is why we must forgive).

That what determines where a person dwells forever more is what law they cling to, live, or are willing to live:

“That bodies who are of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever; for, for this intent was it made and created, and for this intent are they sanctified. And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom. For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory. And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory. And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.” [D&C:88:20-24]

Understanding these principles helps to keep us from falling into the many doctrinal errors that plague man.


Monday, September 17, 2007


By it's very definition, the world seems to have lost the idea of the “holy.” When something is holy it is set-apart to God, it is sacred. There can be levels or degrees of sacredness. There may be things that are appropriate in church but not at the temple. The profane can’t tell the difference.

We can take the temple itself as a model. Solomon’s Temple displays the typical ascension imagery. Within the temple walls (salvation) there were three levels, the first outer court was outside, and it represented the telestial world, where we live today. Telestial ordinances were appropriate there, but only there. Then one would enter the “Holy Place” which represented the Terrestrial level, it was higher, and holier. Then there was the “Holy of Holies.” Or the Most Holy Place. Here only Celestial actions are permitted.

It is absolutely amazing how seemingly righteous people use the name of deity in not only in casual, but also in utterly profane discussions. Many feel fine about adding personage of deities to silly or vulgar jokes.

I am convinced that a lack of holiness is the reason many cannot grasp gospel concepts beyond an elementary level.

A true mystics prepares himself with a deep respect and fear of God, this is the beginning of wisdom.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” [Prob. 9:10]

HERE IS A LATE ADDITION: " The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever." [Psalms 111:10

Why I Apostatized

I am creating this post as a lighting rod. There is no longer any reason to spread unrelated anti-Mormon propaganda throughout this blog, you can put it all right here. This will allow those who wish to read the comments of a posting to not have to read through un-related comments.

I will be moving some prior comments from other postings into this section. Now, least anyone think this is free reign, it’s not. If I deem anything over the top, I will delete it.

Here is your chance to tell the world why you apostatized, why you hate the church, and fight against it.


Friday, September 14, 2007


Since there seems to be an interest in the topic of Christmas that has crossed into a number of post on this blog, I decided to give this post to centralize the comments.

I don’t really have a lot of interest in this topic, but I see that some do.

I think I understand the possible origins of Christmas, the pagan influences upon Christmas, and why different people celebrate Christmas. I also understand why some don’t like it.

Personally I like Christmas. But I don’t give religious significance to it. I view Christmas as higher than Halloween, but lower than Thanksgiving.

What say ye?

See: Santa Claus

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Ten Sephirot

I have received some requests to explain what the term “Sephirot” means. So this posting will work as a reference for future postings regarding this term.

In short, in Kabalistic thinking, God created the heavens and earth from another dimension known as “Ein Sof.” And He did this either:

ONE: By pulling back his non-diluted power and light in three (actually four) differing degrees, what remained created the three degrees of glory.


TWO: God inserted the Sephirot that created the three degrees of glory, carrying with them all the laws that exist. Either way, it’s the same thing.

Sephirot just means numbers or counting. This term originates from The Book of Creation (Sefer Yetzirah) and is one of the two primal components of creation (along with the 22 letters of creation).

They are thought of as existing as stages (veils, doors, levels, or degrees) on the Tree of Life (as spheres). Or, as rounds on Jacob’s Ladder. They are the wheels that Ezekiel saw.

The Sephirot represent the laws, powers or influences of God. Understanding them helps us understand how God’s powers influence us. For example, Gevurah (Justice) is on one side of the tree, and Hesed (Mercy) on the other. Between them balancing them is Tiferet (Beauty – reconciliation - Christ). This situation is what Alma was speaking about.

The Sephirot can be thought of as the leaves or the fruit of the tree of life.

Here is a Wikipedia link for the ten Sephirot.

It is “Sefirah” in the singular. Other spellings include Sephiroth and Sefiroth.

Happy Climbing!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Atheistic Mysticism

I recently had an online debate with some fine folks who are atheists, but consider themselves as mystics.

First, let’s define some terms:

Mysteries: “Mysteries of God are spiritual truths known only by revelation. God reveals his mysteries to those who are obedient to the gospel. Some of God’s mysteries are yet to be revealed.” [LDS STUDY GUIDE] & [also see NIBLEY]

Atheist: “…is the position that either affirms the non-existence of gods or rejects theism.” [Wiki]

As Christians we need to have genuine love and respect for all people. Atheists are just people who haven’t crossed over the river yet. They can be good neighbors and friends. So no one is preaching hate here.

That being said, as stated in the definition above, mysteries have to do with “revelation” and “God reveal…[ing] [H]is mysteries” to man.

Mysticism is ascension. The Zohar has the Tree of Life as its backdrop (a symbol of the temple). The same for the Book of Nephi (if not the entire Book of Mormon), The same for the Bible (it begins and ends with the Tree of Life). And of course The Pearl of Great Price.

Nephi saw only one path to the Tree of Life, not one for believers and anther for non-believers.

Jacob saw one ladder. Elijah one chariot. Ezekiel saw one river. Moses went up one mountain. Solomon’s Temple had one center path.

There is one ascension pattern for all people. There is no ascension without Christ. There is no secular, evil, or atheistic ascension.

We ascend by keeping the principles and ordinances of the gospel. We learn truth upon truth until we know all things.[D&C 94:27-28]

Monday, September 10, 2007

Stone of Israel

Abraham stopped at Bethel and received his ascension ritual, which is currently known as the Abrahamic Covenant.

Later, Jacob also stopped by Bethel. When he went to sleep he put a stone under his head. That night he saw a vision which was his ascension teaching.[1] He saw the heavens open and a ladder into heaven. This ladder represented the children of God descending (the fall), and ascending (redemption) on the ladder, following Adam’s pattern.

This pattern is before us all. Perhaps as a ladder, a mountain, a tree, a river, or maybe a chariot (more likely the temple). The purpose of this life is to see if we will do whatever the Lord commands us, this is how we climb the ladder of sanctification.

Paul spoke about the three kingdoms, and the Prophet Joseph said these kingdoms were the main rounds or rungs of the ladder that Jacob saw.

“Paul ascended into the third heaven, and he could understand the three principal rounds of Jacob's ladder-the telestial, the terrestrial, and the celestial glories or “kingdoms, where Paul saw and heard things which were not lawful for him to utter. I could explain a hundred fold more than I ever have of the glories of the kingdoms manifested to me in the vision, were I permitted, and were the people prepared to receive them.”[2]

If you are not climbing the ladder, you are wasting your life.

Many claim that stone can be found today in Scotland (The Stone of Scon).

[1] Gen 28:11-22
[2] Joseph Smith Jr., Messages of the First Presidency, vol. 1, James R. Clark, The Prophet's Discourse from II Peter, May 21, 1843, Deseret Book.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Word, Twenty-Two Letters of Creation

In the last couple posts (Circumcision & Wind, Water, and Fie) I wrote about how, in the Book Of Creation (The Sepher Yetzirah) the creation is typified in the “Macrocosm” by the “Universe”, and the “Seasons.” It goes on to describe a “Microcosm” being illustrated in the soul of man.

There is another element to this creation; the very letters of the Hebrew alphabet are described as being used to create the heavens and earth.

“Ten are the numbers, as are the Sephiroth, and twenty-two the letters, these are the Foundation of all things…” [1]

The “Ten are numbers” is referring to the Sephiroth or the power and emanations of God, we discussed previously.

These “letters” are the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The Hebrew alphabet is a hieroglyphic account of the creation of the heavens and earth, and the salvation of man. They represent the states that man and things exist in as they are enticed, influenced, or acted upon.

Again, in John chapter one, Christ is written of as being 'in the beginning with God", that all things "were made by Him," and that He is the “Word.”

The first time our ears hear this, it usually makes no sense. But, to a learned Jew it made perfect sense.

In Ancient Jewish thought, the creation was brought about by the ten numbers of God’s emanations, and combining Twenty-Two states of things (letters). In Jewish mysticism words are things, and things are words (In Hebrew things are called davar and word are called dibur).

This is what is being address when we hear that God spoke the world into existence.

As we look for the building blocks of existence, we find energy from another dimension vibrating to create our physical world. How our world looks is based upon the differing states or combinations of this energy.

Science now describes many, if not endless dimensions of space. These dimensions are calculated and described by String Theories. Again, as we search for the building blocks of matter, we go way beyond atoms to things called strings . Unbelievably small strings that exist in another dimension, energy or light that act in another dimension of space, that vibrate to bring about matter in our three-dimensional existence.

The vibrations of these other-dimensional strings determine all the laws of the known universe. Law is the power of creation. Is this not exactly how scriptures says this world was created? This world was created first spiritually, and that that spiritual creation is the mold or template for temporal creation? How these laws or powers (ten Sephiroth and Twenty-Two letters) interact in different combinations creates the dimensions in which we live.

Both Abraham and Nephi relate all of this to Christ.

[1] The Sepher Yetzirah 1:2

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


In my most recent post Wind, Water, and Fire I described the “microcosm” of creation, man himself. The Sefer Yetzirah describes the center of man; his head corresponding to the fire of the universe (Shin). Man’s belly corresponding to the primeval waters (Mem). And between them man’s chest, corresponding to air (Aleph). These represent the manifestation of creation in their three degrees of glory.

But that’s not the end of the story. Father Abraham adds another dimension. He describes the fingers of the body, five on each side:

“…the ten fingers (and toes) of the human body, five parallel to five, and in the centre of which is the covenant with the only One, by the word of the tongue and the rite of Abraham.”[1]

These fingers are an illustration of the Sephiroth, or emanations of God (His Powers). These are mediated by the tongue (mouth, speech, air), representing the Word, or Christ. The Sefer Yetzirah describes that this speech (represented by the tongue) corresponds to the “covenant.” What Covenant? The Covenant of the “Plan of Happiness” from the pre-existence. Understanding this explains why when Nephi spoke of Christ he spent so much time on the opposition in all things, and the Mediator.

But, the Book of Creation also mentions “toes.” And that they are mediated by the member of circumcision. Circumcision is the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant, which is the Plan of Salvation. When a person is circumcised they renew their covenant, when we go to the temple we renew this same covenant. Christ is both Creator and Mediator.

[1] SEPHER YEZIRAH 2:2, Kalisch

Wind, Water, and Fire

In The Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation), the author, believed by many to be Abraham, tells us that four things correspond to each other: These are:

The Creation (and I submit it is referring to the spiritual creation) – The Pattern.

The Universe (physical creation) – being a Macrocosm.

The Year (the seasons of earth) – another Macrocosm.

Man – (his body) – Being a Microcosm.

What this great book is teaching us is that the creation was done in a certain way, and an illustration, or example of that pattern can be seen in the universe.

We read regarding the physical creation how dimension was added, and the elements were inserted and divided:

“These are the ten spheres of existence out of nothing. From the spirit of the living God emanated air, from the air, water, from the water, fire or ether, from the ether, the height and the depth, the East and West, the North and South.” [1]

This is the creation of the “Universe” or the “macrocosm.” Created first as air, the air divided-off water (mud), which created fire. Fire and mud, with air mediating between them. Just like the seasons, hot and cold with medium between them.

In the Microcosm:

“…in the Soul are fire, water, and breath. The head is created from fire, the belly is created from water, and the chest, created from breath, decides between them.” [2]

These three regions of the body can be thought of as corresponding to the three degrees of glory. People live their lives from the belly, their hearts, or their minds.

“We have learned that when the blessed Holy One created the world, He formed the lower world on the pattern of the upper world, corresponding entirely to one another, and this is His glory above and below.”[3]

Don’t our very lives correspond to water, air, or fire? Or, a Telestial law, a Terrestrial law, or a Celestial law?

[1] Kalisch, Chapter 1:9
[2] Scholem, Chapter 3:5
[3] The Zohar, Daniel C. Matt, Standford University Press, Vol. III, Pg. 261.