Monday, August 13, 2007

The Purpose of Mysticism

The function of mysticism is to heal us.

Those who profess to be mystics, yet have little or no healing or sanctification in their lives, have missed the whole point. So, just what does this healing consist of? We know at the resurrection our bodies will be healed and restored to their perfect frame [Alma 11:43-44, 40:23, Doctrine and Covenants 138:17], but it is the spirit that seems to be the hard part. What makes people act the way we do?

The righteous take no pleasure in the sins of others. The spiritually mature understand the underlying causes of sinful behavior. Behaviors are the physical acts of men, what we see on the surface, but the spiritual roots go much deeper. Why does one person act one way, and another person act in an opposite way, when presented with the same circumstances? It is because their behaviors are based upon their values.

If a person values his family, he will be kind to his family and try to provide for them. Most of us have mixed and competing values. This life is where we sort out what is of value to us. If a person places value on the things of God, he respects God, and Godly things. This valuing of God causes a state of holiness [Holiness: “ According to the O.T. things or places were holy that were set apart for a sacred purpose; the opposite of holy is therefore common or profane…” LDS Bible Dictionary.].or the setting-apart of things, people, places, and time to God. One who puts little or no value in God becomes profane and tends towards blasphemy. If a person beats his children, he has a values problem, no matter what excuses he may proffer. A mystic sees the nature of a thing, and the root becomes revealed.

If behaviors come from values, where do values come from? Values are based upon beliefs. Not professed beliefs, but the true beliefs down in a person’s heart. If a person does not honor his parents, he has a diminished value for them. This diminished value has a source. It springs from the person’s inner-most beliefs. Perhaps the person believes the parent does not care for them, or that the parent is a bad parent. Perhaps the parent mistreated the child, and the child has built a psychological structure devaluing the parent, as a protective device and a copping method. Whatever the thinking is, the person has developed a belief that diminishes the value of the parent. Whatever values we have, they are based upon our true beliefs. We all have a fa├žade that we use to interact with in society, and we have our true beliefs hidden deep. Our actions almost always eventually betray our true beliefs.

Where do beliefs come from? Beliefs come from relationships. In mortality, our first relationships become a type for the rest of our relationships, and the rest of our life. Good, early relationships with our parents can almost not be separated from a happy life. An abusive parent scars a child with wounds that may never be healed in mortality.

(This problem is precisely the reason for the healing that comes through the sealing of people to their families in the temple. Sealing is healing, re-uniting, and bring back of relationships. “ Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children , and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse .” Malachi 4:5&5. Also see Joseph Smith History 1:38-39 “And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.”)

In this life, families are our first relationships and we take what be learn in these relationships and incorporate them as beliefs. This is why it is imperative to forgive all, deserved or not. Until, at least our side of our relationships are resolves we will harbor ill feelings and resentment. These feelings will bring bad beliefs, bad values, and bad behaviors. And since we can’t be forgiven in our sins, we must forgive others to be forgiven.

As we interface with others, including God, we continue our good or bad relationships.

In the most primal level our relationship with our parents become a most overwhelming archetype for our relationship with God.

The nature of sin is a broken relationship with God. When we sin we have broken an allegiance to God and family, and have aligned ourselves with other enticements.

Mental illness results from a person’s inability to reconcile (an-one-ment) two or more, real or perceived, facts of reality. The gospel contains the tools necessary for people to see the truth and reconcile themselves to it. Forgiveness and repentance are the stuff of mental and spiritual health.

This micro-personal dynamic is played out in all facets of our lives. In modern politics there are many influences and pressures that drive the landscape. Underlying them all is personal relationships to God and family, or the lack thereof. How people respond (behaviours) to the calls of action depend on their values (family values, liberal values, conservative values, etc.). These values are based upon individual beliefs, such as what makes right and wrong, the proper role of government, altruism verses self interest, and so on. And all these beliefs are generated from our relationships, God, family, and society. Until these relationships are healed, and people understand and accept their proper relationships, the concept of Zion will never be realized.

Adam found himself at a point of a broken relationship with God when he was cast out of the garden (which is a pattern for every person’s life). This broken relationship brings bad beliefs, bad vales, and bad behaviors.

These are the wounds of mortality. The at-one-ment restores the relationship, and this is the only true healing. It is therefore appropriate that one of the final acts of at-one-ment process (The “returning” to God portion of the creation) is the final embrace between father and child.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting post. I'm intrigued by the idea that values come from relationships. It seems to make sense, but I need to think on it a bit.

One of the problems I find with the idea of putting so much emphasis on eternal families is the fact that most people, unlike myself, did not get to choose their significant other. We're pretty lucky that we get to pick the person who we will be with forever. But, what about all the people who were put together in arranged marriages often without even meeting their partner? It makes the idea of eternal families much less appealing when you didn't get a choice in the matter.

More on topic - you say that sealings are for "healing, re-uniting, and bring back of relationships." What if a persons relationship with their family is in no need of healing? What if things are already ok? Then, is a sealing still necessary?

David Littlefield said...

Mystic Monkey:

Great points.

Yes there are many people who did not have a chance to pick their mates. One of the fundamental principles of the gospel is agency, or choice. There are God given rights, and choosing a spouse is among those rights, but we see that families, cultures, societies, and nations wrongly deprive people of this and many other choices. These deprivations (and the consequences that stem from them) are among the many wounds of mortality.

In the final scheme of things, as part of the healing, we will all have our agency restored. We can accept or reject any sealing (the Holy Spirit of Promise is only given for sealings that we embrace, D&C 132: 7, 18-19, 26) Eph. 1: 13 D&C 76: 53 D&C 88: 3)

And, many people make bad choices. They will have all of the wounds of mortality healed, made right, or corrected.

In Malachi [Joseph Smith History 1:38-39] it refers to the “promises made to the fathers.” This is describing the covenants made in pre-existence that created the “Plan of Salvation,” or the “Plan of Happiness” in which we could come and learn certain lessons, and see what law we are truly willing to live [D&C 88:20-24].

In that covenant Christ was anointed (Messiah) to pay for all sins, and heal all the wounds of mortality if we would accept Him. All others become son’s of perdition [D&C 88:32].

Mystic Monkey asks: “What if a persons relationship with their family is in no need of healing?”

David responds by quoting Matt 9:12: “…They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.”

And I would suggest that we all need the Great Physician, we all need to be healed. We all have (or at least had if we have already been healed to a celestial level) a fallen and sinful nature that needs to be healed. We live in and add to a fallen world. As we sanctify ourselves, the poison in our souls become more and more revealed.


David Littlefield said...

Mystic Monkey said:

“What if a persons relationship with their family is in no need of healing? What if things are already ok? Then, is a sealing still necessary?”

David says:

In the pre-existence we lived as children of God, part of a family. When Adam came to earth he sinned and broke the allegiance, and the family chain. When we sin we break the family chain (2 Nephi 2:16).

This family chain consists not only of immediate family and forefathers, but more importantly the linking of our family back to the family of God.

When we sin by our actions, or even by our attitudes (rebellion, hatred, resentment etc.) we demonstrate that we have a relationship problem with God. Our actions/attitudes are bad because we have a values problem (we don’t see or value our position in the plan of salvation or our relationship to God). Our values are messed-up because we have some wrong/perverted beliefs about our relationship to God, our families, or even mankind.

So if we sin, we need healing. In-fact our sin creates a relationship problem with God. We in-fact can see it from both directions; sin causes a relationship problem with God, Or, a relationship problem with God causes sin. Take your pick, it’s the same thing.

In short, by Adam and our own sins we are separated from God, we must be sealed, or at-oned.


David Littlefield said...

Sealing = At-One-Ment

Anonymous said...

How does one repent?
What of addition ? weakness?
mental capacity or incapacity?
Back sliding? Once saved always saved?
Pre-ordained to Good and Bad?
Fore-ordained to Good and Bad?

David Littlefield said...

We largely chose to understand or not understand, again playing out our underlying pathology.