Monday, April 9, 2018

Questioning Ourselves

You are not excused from writing a statement of principles that I have required at your hands. I forbade my servant David from participating, and again forbid him. But I require a statement of principles to be adopted by the mutual agreement of my people, for if you cannot do so, you will be unable to accomplish other works that I will require at your hands.

When you have an agreed statement of principles, I require it to also be added as a guide and standard for my people to follow. Remember there are others who know nothing, as yet, of my work now underway, and therefore the guide and standard is to bless, benefit and inform them—so I command you to be wise in word and kind in deed as you write what I require of you.

Do not murmur saying, Too much has been required at our hands in too short a time. If your hearts were right, it was a light thing I have asked. You hinder and delay and then you say I require too much of you and do not allow you time, when, if your hearts were right and you prepared yourselves, you could have finished this work long ago. Do you indeed desire to be my people? Then accept and do as I have required.     –
Answer to Prayer for Covenant

A principle is a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior. Online Dictionary

·       What exactly did the Lord require of us?
·       How much should there be in a statement of principles?
·       Should we be as brief as possible or should we elaborate? If a tree was required, would we need to describe the bark, the leaves, etc., or could we just say it needs roots, a trunk, branches, leaves and fruit or seeds? Can it be so minimal that everyone could have their own kind of tree and still be a tree?
·       What is critical for someone investigating this movement to initially hear? Are there things that are nice to know, but that aren't necessary? What happens if we say too much? Or too little? Could Joseph Smith’s Articles of Faith be a prototype of this required statement?
·       Are we required to explain how things are done (a statement of practices) or just state the principles? Does it need to be flexible enough to grow over time?
·       How do we “adopt by the mutual agreement of my people”, or does having mutual agreement mean a statement is adopted?
·       Who are His people? Am I?
·       Is mutual agreement more than or different than what the Lord has defined it as?
·       Once adopted, where is the statement to be added? Does it have to be considered scripture?
·       If “therefore the guide and standard is to bless, benefit and inform them (others who know nothing, as yet, of my work now underway),” is it to be written for them as the primary audience? If it is also “for my people to follow,” is it also to be written for us, or just about us? Is it still a replacement for D&C 20?
·       How can we be “kind in deed as [we] write what I require of you”?
·       “Do not murmur…” Are we murmuring?
·       If the Lord said, “…if your hearts were right and you prepared yourselves, you could have finished this work long ago…,” how do we prepare ourselves? And is that the same as having our hearts right or does “and” mean that there is more to preparing that just having our hearts right?
·       “Do you indeed desire to be my people? Then accept and do as I have required.” Based on results so far, do we really desire to be His people? If so, how do we “accept” what He has required?
·       Should the statement point to where more information can be found than what is stated?
·       Is there anything implied by the Lord's request that we aren’t recognizing?
·       If Denver noted in Phoenix that some of his talk might have been intended to help us with the guide and standard, what might he have been pointing out? Didn't he emphasize individual uniqueness? If the need to explain our principles varies greatly based on backgrounds, countries, languages, religions, etc., would it make sense to allow for that variety? If we are all the same, yet unique, can we preserve individual uniqueness while promoting unity and oneness?
·       Is there a way to minimally state the principles that are fundamental and critical for an outsider or newcomer or observer to know, that informs them of the "what" associated with this covenant people and where to find the how and why? Can it be done in a way to allow for unique perspectives and backgrounds to assist in sharing? Wouldn't a person from a Hindu background do a better job of explaining baptism to other Hindus than one of the Western ex-Mormon Christians? Couldn't someone, free to use their own unique approach, such as employing the Sermon on the Mount, do a better job of explaining our principles to their own friends than by simply relaying an elaborate, correlated explanation? If the spirit needed room to inspire and influence an explanation, wouldn't a lack of extensive, predetermined wording be preferable?
·       How can we say the most in the least amount of prescribed wording?
·       What does a statement of principles that meets the stated and implied requirements, that avoids the issues of previous attempts, and that allows for individual uniqueness look like?
·       If I found this statement of principles somewhere, would it interest me? Would it cause me to want more?
·       How would we, as a covenant people, adopt such a statement? How many would have to voice agreement? Can 93% of 465 voters (the outcome of the largest recent G&S vote – and roughly 27% of those who have registered their baptisms with the recorder) be characterized as “a preponderance” or “a vast majority of the Lord’s covenant people”? Is that 27% sufficient for adoption of a statement? If so, why? If not, what is the minimum required? How do we know if & when we have the mutual agreement of all of God’s covenant people?
·       Is the completion of this process being prevented by the scripture committee? Didn’t they agree to include a guide and standard if one was adopted in Phoenix? If they are willing to publish something, who or what is preventing them from doing so?
·       Having heard in this last conference from those opposing any efforts to date, what are the primary objections that need to be addressed? Can they be addressed? If so, how? IF not, what do we do?
·       Is Christ involved in this process?
·       What are my motives? Is the problem everyone else, or am I the source?
·       Am I following the Lord’s example: “If men intend no offense, I take no offense…”?

Jane Doe

24 comments:

  1. Jane,

    I have answers to all the questions you proposed (JOKES!). I think that these questions have been quickly asked and quickly answered by those locking down a document. Where no answer was available, the excuse used is that the scriptures aren’t perfect either, and that God does not expect this to be perfect just as well. I like being put into question, as it represents to me fear and trembling before God.

    I’m grateful for the questions,

    Rob Adolpho

    PS. Thanks for whoever posted the YOUTUBE on Margret Barker “Theosis & Divinization.” With the background on Wisdom from Arizona, I understood so much more. She’s really a great listen.

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  3. These are great questions, many of which have been asked by those involved in the process almost a year ago. However, two questions that have recently come to me that have NOT been answered sufficiently, and that nobody else seems to be asking (possibly because we "assume" we already know):

    1) WHAT IS THE PURPOSE FOR THE GUIDE & STANDARD ONCE WE HAVE IT?
    2) WHERE IS GOD PLANNING ON "GUIDING" HIS PEOPLE TO?

    Don't assume. Ask Him. I think the answers may be surprising.

    Once we have those answers from HIM, it will facilitate getting the assignment done correctly. Hence, it requires us (not Denver) to get revelation.

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  4. I really like these food-for-thought questions, Jane Doe. I feel like you have outlined some things we need to each consider. If I may, I have some thoughts to add. Hope no one minds.

    1
    Denver talked about “clamoring disorder” –the positive effect of being a body of equals. He talked about the importance of hearing contrary ideas and voices, thoughts not correlated or intentionally blocked from being heard and seen. He said “we want to know what others have to say because we might miss something if we don’t allow them the equality of ***standing and saying to us something about which we may disagree.***” (*cough*Rob*cough*) Denver called that “healthy,” “normal,” and how “humans relate to one another.” Everyone seemed to like what Denver was saying, but are we perhaps struggling to live it?

    Look at nature. Is it chaotic yet orderly? Now look at our yards. Would we ever be okay with allowing nature to grow as she will? Or do we apply our learning and reasoning to immaculate landscape designs with manicured lawns that have trimmed edging and perfectly placed flowers and trees? Do we label some plants as unwanted weeds and seek their removal and destruction? Is there a difference between God’s Way and our way? Are we to understand from the parable and prophecy about wheat and tares that we should hate tares? Is that what God said? Ought we to even determine what is tare and what is wheat? Or is that God’s call? We love labels.

    Am I being contentious if I say I dispute with a proposed statement of principles?

    Am I being contentious when I engage someone in a discussion that results in both of us understanding one another better?

    Am I being contentious when I stand in a room preparing to take a semi-concrete vote and express a request to pause, discuss, and give me/us a little longer? To seek the Lord’s thoughts and ways? Would I truly be disrupting anyone’s ability and right to vote their conscience? Or is it possible I am more akin to the arms, lights, and bells at a railroad crossing warning of an oncoming train and potential disaster? Which would be the cause of a crash, the train moving according to natural laws, or the vehicle that did not heed the warnings?

    Was Christ being contentious when He identified certain rulers of the people as serpents and a generation of vipers, which Denver equated to Him saying, “You sons of female dogs”?

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    1. 2
      Do we have a tendency to get so attached to an idea, a proposal, or an outcome that when someone suggests an alteration in wording, a change in steps, an addition or deletion of words/ideas, we are unwilling to accept and submit to one another? What if I receive a nugget of coal as an idea but need all you good folks to help make it a diamond of an idea? What if we have been missing out on gaining a lot of diamonds because we are not open enough to each other’s suggestions?

      I wonder if we are not still attempting to recreate the only tradition we have ever known…rather than seeking earnestly to God for how to create something we have never known.

      I desire to stop accusing or blaming others for my discomforts. No one is my enemy unless I accept him/her as such. No one is causing me indigestion unless I believe it so. No one is blocking *my* way to Christ. Ever. I am always free in my mind and in my heart, even if I am physically in bondage. I alone choose what to think, what to feel, what to believe. If I do not bother to test the spirits, in other words, question my thoughts and emotions, seeking to identify their sources, then I am the one with the problem, not anyone else. That is because if I have given my agency to another, I have given them the power to control and influence my mind and heart.

      I do not feel held hostage because I choose not view myself as a victim and a hostage.

      I do not feel held back or as though others have given me an ultimatum because I choose not to view others as doing that. If you want to go vote, go vote and I will still be here waiting. If you want to add a particular statement to your scriptures and you feel the Lord is smiling upon that decision, then you go do that. I won’t judge you or think less of you and hope you can offer me the same kindness. I won’t expect you to wear the same outfit to church that I do.

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    2. 3
      Part of our LDS traditions is that we are accustomed to correcting each other via Sunday talks and pre-determined lessons. If I’m doing such and such, then you probably should too, because I was told by the Spirit and that must mean it is what everyone else should think, say, do, believe. Right? Wrong. Who among us likes to be told what to do, how to do it, when and where? Me neither. I’m going to make mistakes, but that is how I learn and Christ corrects me. Not always fun, but honestly I would rather He correct me than someone else.

      When Christ said in His Answer to us that we should use the scriptures to correct ourselves I took that personally, meaning I understood Him to mean *I* need to use the scriptures to correct *myself,* not others. I hope to learn how to do that well. Like “unconditional parenting” (book), I have a lot to learn about balancing looking inward to correct while looking outward to serve, bless, and love.

      There is a lot going on in this world, even among us, that we must make ourselves aware of and learn who and what we are truly supposed to contend against. NC Ephesians 1:25 (KJV 6) Also study out the words “cast out” or “cast off” in scripture, praying for understanding. I believe we allow the adversary more influence than we ought. We literally make his work easy for him. Christ seeks for us to love one another and not to have contentions *among us.* If there are contentions, who is the source of that and what have we been taught we can do about it? Hint: We are not to cast one another out.

      Some books I would recommend: The Marketing of Evil and How Evil Works by Mark Kupelian (Denver recommended in an early blog post), Mind Programming by Eldon Taylor, and Conquering Spiritual Evil by Doug Mendenhall. There is also T&C 147, Try the Spirits.

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    3. 4
      There is also the issue of getting an idea and immediately acting upon it rather than taking time to study the matter out, try the spirit, and see if it is truly of Christ. Then one must also have correct understanding about the what, how, when, where, and who. I am still guilty of jumping before I take a good look, hence I fall down a lot. I appreciate Denver’s teaching on the matter in “That We Might Be One” talk. Again, I tend to jump before looking so need help in that area as well. Oy.

      Much of what is said here on this blog, maybe we could each make a more concerted effort to take a gander at and not take personally?

      Do we perhaps struggle to listen to each other in a sincere, open, non-offended manner? (I’m at the top o’ the list for this one too. Geez. Why am I here? Oh, must be to learn, which means y’all get to suffer through my lessons. I am so sorry!) Denver also addressed that in the “That We Might Be One” talk. Words only have the power we give to them.

      Have we been so attached to an idea, a proposal, or an outcome that when someone suggests an alteration in wording, an addition or deletion of a step we are unwilling to submit?

      I am in agreement with the idea it would be good to start anew, afresh. Maybe even have a big bonfire where we burn all that has gone before and make S’mores. I believe we could do that, but I am uncertain if all are willing to do that. My apologies for those of you who just cringed inwardly at the thought.

      But I also believe in supporting a person where he/she is, just as I hope you are able to do for me. That’s why I can support joining my faith in fasting and praying this weekend. I feel like the matter of a G&S has become so convoluted that I would have an easier time navigating through the sewer system of Paris (Les Mis reference!) than understanding exactly what we are to do at this point. God bless, y’all!

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  5. Something to consider:
    What is it that we are trying to achieve here? It is to produce a document that can have enough information to guide someone to what they need to do to follow God's direction and a standard to rally behind.

    What we have found is that over the past year, these two things mean different things to different people. However, if you look at the dozen or so Guides and Standards they all contain the same ingredients. It is as if we are building a house and everyone recognizes that the house needs bedrooms, bathrooms, and a kitchen but we disagree on the color of the paint and the type of tile we should use. (This makes sense since we are all different people and see the world differently.)

    Has the project change? Is the purpose now different? I would actually say yes. Since we all agree that we need a house (Guide and Standard) and rooms, bathrooms, etc. (details related to the doctrine of Christ, priesthood ordination, etc.), then the new objective it how to agree and be persuasive without being "like Peter and Paul." I came to this conclusion by reading Christ's words in the Answer to the Covenant. There are 10 pages of Christ speaking in first person, 3-4 of those pages are dedicated to contention and learning to speaking with kindness and wisdom.

    What do we do now?

    Perhaps we shouldn't be looking for what God is doing next. That can be addressed when he is doing it and when there is enough revelation to support it. Perhaps we need to simply create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This minimum viable product needs all the components; e.g., doctrine of Christ, etc. (the rooms, etc.). Since we agree on the minimum the document needs, perhaps we need to learn how to agree and better communicate with each other. It is like we are standing outside the frame of the house and are debating too much about the details to get the first version completed. We need to move into this basic, minimum viable product house and see how it works.

    While we are in this house we can change carpets and paint colors as need arises. In your own room (your own personal G&P), you can change that all around to fit your needs and wants.

    Hopefully, as we complete this "light thing" God will reveal to all of us more of His plan. This may instigate adding new rooms, accommodating a new reality or require us to build a completely new house. Or maybe it is not a house at all and something we've never even considered. However, I believe there are steps to take and should consider the next one. Until then, can we agree on a minimum viable product?

    Personally, for me, I don't see a lot of difference in all the G&S. The more that have been produced the better they get. As an MVP, I could support Jeff Savages, Aug 3rd, Lots version, the Adolphos, and probably all of them.

    The question is, what does an MVP look like? Do we already have one (or many) that qualify? Is there support for one (or many)?

    If you can't answer positively to these questions, what is your recommendation for remedying the negative response? Do you have a suggestion? Is there a pathway forward which would put mutual agreement as the main target (Since Christ spent 3-4 pages talking about that.) Since we agree on the components of the minimum viable product, perhaps mutual agreement is the most important factor now.

    Bryce Bartel

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  6. Bryce,
    Im not sure why you want to insist that we have a document. We don't. Are you talking about the document our fellowship developed before the June 10th meeting? If so, you are excluding others, when you call it the Adolpho's document. If you want to call it something, call it the BBPD.
    Q

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  7. 1 of 2
    It seems clear to me that this dream that I had is meant for this group, so I'm sharing it here.

    Morning of 11 Apr 2018 2:50am
    I just woke from a dream. In the dream we (as fellowship members) had died (or transitioned). There was a female spirit and I had a guide (also female) who cautioned me about her. She could bring me down if I were not careful. We needed to be on guard or we could become corrupted by the darkness of her spirit. We learned that she had lost a finger, and when one of us loses a finger it indicates that they cannot progress as we do. We can move up but they cannot come along. One could regain their finger by cooperating in some kind of activity. We had compassion on this individual. There were several of us who had lost a finger. One of these was Lori (I've never met Lori, but in the dream she had dark hair and a round face). We agreed as a group to play a game of basketball. This would allow us to cooperate together and thus those who had lost fingers could regain them. Judging and accusing and condemning would keep one from being able to regain the finger and thus progress. Lori did not like basketball, she was not good at it. To her this was a stupid competitive sport. I, along with others, tried to work with her and persuade her to play along, as by learning to cooperate she could regain her finger. (continued...)

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  8. 2 of 2
    We tried to reason with her that It wasn't about winning the game, but about engaging in the activity and learning to have fun with it. Flow with it and you will soon learn to enjoy the game. I observed her countenance was darker as she looked downward and I encouraged her by pointing out when I noticed that she was judging or accusing. We all mutually understood these were things that held us back, so she was not offended at being corrected. She understood these corrections as sincere attempts to help lift her spirits. It occurred to me that we could choose to find an activity other than basketball that Lori more enjoyed. The spirit of the dream had shifted from avoiding the darker spirits who could bring us down to cooperating as a group to try and encourage and uplift them. There seemed to be a balance between being cautious about engaging with a darker spirit so as not to become influenced by them and drag myself down, and trying to encourage them with love and lift them up.

    I discovered that with my fingers intact I could raise myself up higher and that when I did I seemed to be immune from the effects of those darker than I. At one point, while interacting with someone who had lost their finger, I raised myself up to the ceiling and actually removed a ceiling tile and went up into the interstitial space above. It was dark and I had a sense that I did not belong there, and seeing the light below in another place above where the individual sat (who I had been interacting with) I descended back through the ceiling to where she sat to try to encourage her more.

    I wish I could recall more. This dream seemed so informative.

    When I shared the dream with my wife she suggested that when you lose your index finger, you lose the ability to point (as in accuse). I told her that in the dream the finger that was lost was the ring finger. She then observed that symbolically the ring finger is associated with connections to the heart.

    Jay Ball

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    1. In dreams persons can be symbols. I'm sure this isn't meant to single Lori out (et lux). My interpretation is that she represents the dialog that is going on here.

      Lori, I do not consider you dark or accusing in any way. If anything I consider your presence in the dream a representation feminine wisdom of willingness to be open and help bring the peace of the heart to our dialog here.

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    2. I've always understood people in dreams to represent aspects of myself. Through our dialog here, in a way, Lori (as with all who have posted) has become part of me.

      I hope posting the dream here is not pre-mature. I have not attempted to try to interpret the dream. I just felt it came from a higher source and that if there is any insight it may give, it's worth sharing.

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    3. Interesting.

      Was Jared (log) in your dream?

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    4. Jay, firstly, I thank you for sharing your dream. I am not at all horrified by how I was symbolized in the dream. I do not feel a desire to defend or correct the portrayal of myself.

      As I read through it the first time I was in shock, thinking it a joke. But then I began hearing a very loud thought, an interpretation, in my head, and understood why I was used in your dream. Then I didn't know whether to laugh or cry so I did a little of both. I will still probably cry more as I take in what is being shown to me.

      Your dream is true and has light to teach those who will perceive it.

      I accept the rebuke, the correction, and the representation. I am grateful for the Light by which I can see myself.

      Christ is so good to us, to me. He is offering us something here in this dream. For my part, I am willing to face my sin and be corrected publicly. God forgives and God is willing to forget, but not without confession.

      “Behold, he that has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I the Lord remember them no more. By this you may know if a man repents of his sins, behold he will confess them and forsake them.” T&C 45:9; D&C 58:42-43

      I am without a ring finger, not literally but symbolically. How could you have known that? I did not even know that before you shared your dream. And just as you saw in the dream, we can be made whole through Christ's atonement and a willingness to confess and repent, and as regards our task, work together. When Christ, in His Answer, said there were some who are easily persuaded, He was not talking about me.

      On Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement, Ancient Israel was commanded to make an offering of two he-goats. One was to be sacrificed, to atone for the sins of Israel. The other was to be "blessed" with the burdens and confessions of Israel's sins, then sent out into the wilderness. The choice of which he-goat would atone and which one would become the "scapegoat" was determined by lots.

      In this dream I am a scapegoat of sorts. Jay, you do not know my heart or my personality, but Christ does. He gave you the dream and knew exactly how I would receive it, respond to it, and understand it. I should feel horrified I suppose but my heart is swallowed up in rejoicing because I understand Christ’s mercy and condescension and willingness to forgive me/us.

      I desire to let Christ carry my burdens and our collective burden, for He is the source of our Atonement and Purification.

      to be continued...

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    5. Thank you, Jay, for sharing this dream. There is Wisdom why you were given this dream and I was portrayed in it. We, all of us in this moment, are not supposed to be working singly or in segregated groups. We are to unite our hearts as one and go forward as one. Are we willing to do? We each have gifts to contribute that are meant to be used by Christ to create a beautiful tapestry made of many colours and intricate stitches, the final Image will be One we lack the vision and hearts at present to imagine. He will have it no other way.

      We do not comprehend the level of meekness and humility required to be “His people.”

      I have placed a copy of the Guide and Standard known as the lots document in the notes section of my family’s copy of the Teachings and Commandments.

      My home has not blown up, I have not been struck by lightning, and I have not felt Heaven withdraw. Sorry, I don’t mean to be cheeky, but I have feared all along displeasing my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by “choosing” the wrong document and I had a laundry list of reasons why I should expect something “bad” to happen if I did. I feel a deep sense of gratitude and peace mixed with sorrow that I have wasted valuable time when there is so much of His work I desire to do. I pray He will find me willing and worthy.

      To all of you who have cried tears over my contributions here or felt deep frustrations over my antagonism, I sincerely apologize. I hope you will forgive me and accept me with warm embracing. Like Olaf in the movie Frozen, “I like warm hugs.” :)

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    6. We need to collectively confess our burdens and give them to the "scapegoat," Who will carry them off for us. Christ is willing to bear the burden of all negativity, disputes, disagreements, accusations, blaming, judging, etc. but we have to give them to Him--whatever it is that is preventing us from uniting our hearts--He wants us to give that to Him.

      Love one another. Love one another. Love one another.
      Forgive. Forgive. Forgive.

      That is all.

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    7. Lori,

      Thank you for your insights. I almost regretted having posted the dream, but chose to leave it rather than delete the comment. I am grateful that you were able to read it in the spirit that it was given. I posted it as it had come to me rather than changing what I had written or removing your name from it. Again, I feel the dream is not directed at you personally at all. In the dream you symbolically represent each of us as we struggle with our own challenges of judgement and accusations (we all have these weaknesses). I loved how, in the dream, we all recognized this in each other and accepted the corrections from others without taking offense.

      Another insight about this dream has come to me from a member of our local fellowship who has a gift with language and finding meaning in words. The word "game" comes from Old English and German root "gamen". Broken down, the etymology of "ga" indicates association or togetherness. It can also indicate completeness or wholeness. The second half of the word, "men" is associated with "mankind" that comes from one of the names of God, which was "Manis". Thus coming together or being strengthened together as children of "Man" or "Man of Holiness". Thus, "game", or "gamen", is where we all become one with each other or one with God.

      There is another word that goes along with "game", which is "play". Play. Have fun. Be happy. That is what little children do. We are supposed to be like little children. In English that was the word for exercising and growth. Exercise is for what? In Old English "play" represented how we grow and learn. Are we having a good time? Is it a game where we are becoming one with God? Are we happy? A lot of times we're focusing on the darkness, but when you focus your mind on something you get what you look for (think James or Lance in the forest). What is it that we really want? We may need to walk out into the darkness but if our mind is full of light the darkness goes away and we can have fun. And we play!

      The dream had beautiful imagery of these words woven into it. I was also struck with the imagery of the feminine in the dream where the spirit guide was female as were the main characters.

      There are other insights I could point out, but I will close with my feelings of gratitude for your persistent expressions of love throughout the dialog that has taken place here on this blog.

      Thank you, Lori. And God bless.

      Jay Ball

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  10. Jay,
    Are you referring to Lori AKA et lux? Lori out of all us has tried to be understanding and supportive. I guess your dream is confusing to me because I don't recall Lori ever pointing a finger or accusing anyone. Maybe you are talking about a different Lori.
    Take Care, Q

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    1. Jay,
      That makes sense, thank-you for clarifying. I do believe the work He is doing now, is an internal work and not an external work. The LDS church focused on the external (outside actions) and not the internal (heart). My experience has been that I need to "flow with it", allowing Him to refine me. Take Care, Q

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    2. Thank you Q. The dream has insights for me on many levels (see my response to Lori above). I'm sure you will identify with some of what I said there. God bless.

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  11. "He defines mutual agreement, as used in the Answer to Prayer for Covenant,  this way: “As between one another, you choose to not dispute.”

    Is step one perhaps "[a]s between one another, [we] choose to not dispute[...ever?]

    Perhaps that is the purpose of our task and why Christ wisely required mutual agreement? To help us see the need and importance of choosing no contention? If we never cast such a thing far away from us, how will we ever be able to accomplish future tasks?

    Are we willing to let this be the generation that chooses to have NO DISPUTATIONS, NO CONTENTION, NO CONTENDING, NO ANGER ONE WITH ANOTHER? Are we willing to lay such things on the altar as a sacrifice, understanding from Lecture on Faith Sixth we are to make a covenant ***by*** sacrifice? Is the world waiting to see a group of Christians who understand and show how to do away with all contention?

    "And there shall be ***no disputations among you***, as there have hitherto been, neither shall there be disputations among you ***concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been***.

    "For verily, verily, I say unto you, ***he that hath***the spirit of contention***is not of me***, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

    "Behold, this ***is not my doctrine***, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another, but this is ***my doctrine, that such things should be done away***.

    "Behold, verily, verily I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine. And ***this is my doctrine***and it is the doctrine which***the Father hath given unto me***..."

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  12. I recently discovered a newly published book titled "Everybody Always" by Bob Goff. You can download the prologue and first chapter for free at the link below. Here is an excerpt from the prologue, which if the book is as good as this, I look forward to reading the entire book. I thought about us here, and figured I'd share the author's message. It has the feels of what we hope to become.

    "A number of years ago, a friend of mine quit the megachurch
    he pastored in Southern California and moved to the inner city of
    San Francisco. He wanted to build a community among people who had experienced tremendous failures and setbacks. He’s a humble guy, is generous with his time, loves his family, and really loves God. Rather than spend only a few minutes each week with
    the thousands of people at the big church he pastored for years,
    he decided to go deep with a small number of people who had faced some tough breaks. He and a few friends started a restaurant staffed by guys who needed a fresh start and also a home for women who have confronted some of life’s biggest challenges with courage and hope.

    "These amazing people spend their free time loving people in the housing projects near the restaurant. They give away love like they’re made of it. Like my friend, they do this because they have developed completely unrealistic ideas about what their faith can do in the world when it’s expressed in love. They decided to spend more time loving people than trying to game the system by just agreeing with Jesus. You see, they wanted to follow Jesus’ example; instead of telling people what Jesus meant, they just loved people the way He did. The housing projects are difficult places. They’re dark and scary and filled with beautiful, scary people. They are full of guns and violence and fights and theft. They are also full of love and compassion and generosity and hope.

    "These brave men and women seek out people who have felt forgotten and overlooked. They pursue the wrongdoers and disadvantaged and discouraged, and they love them Jesus-style—
    with extravagant grace."

    --excerpted from the prologue of "Everybody Always" by Bob Goff

    https://info.thomasnelson.com/p/everybody-always/#home

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