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.