communication

Truth is truth. It is absolute. I LOVE that about truth. Even if you do not agree with me whenever I express a truth, it doesn’t matter! If it is truth I cannot change it.

We cannot change TRUTH to make it become what we might like it to be. We can attempt to bend, twist and make it convenient or more comfortable for our lifestyle but this still does not make it absolute truth.

TruthIt’s like black and white. Either it is truth or it’s not. I wouldn’t like just a little bit of truth. Been there. Done that. Just a little bit of truth is way too frustrating. I feel stuck. Or confused, I lose sight of the right path.

I’d like it all. Well, as much as I can humanly contain, please!

 

“Opinion? Of course, there is a difference of opinion; but again, opinion cannot change laws or absolute truths. Opinions will never make the earth to be flat, the sun to dim its light, God to die, or the Savior to cease being the Son of God.” Spencer W. Kimball

Truths are discovered. An unschooled four year old may not know that 2 +2 = 4. But it is true, even while he has not yet discovered it.

There was a time when people believed the earth to be flat. Still, this did not change the truth of its spherical shape. Before it was discovered to be so, opinions likely differed, but did not change this solid truth.

Spiritual truths, invisible to our mortal eyes are that much more absolute. Jesus Christ has said, “I am the truth” (John 14:6). That has got to be an absolute truth.

Unchanging. Whole. Perfect.

We are promised that the Holy Ghost- He being Truth will guide us into all truth. On this temporal plane is it possible to know completely absolute truths?

“When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what he hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.” John 16:13

Beginning with the tiniest grain of faith and believing what Jesus Christ has said, is a great start to seeking His guidance. Being led along we are able to increase our own knowledge of the truth little by little. Suddenly one day we shall see plainly that glorious absolute and perfect Truth.

“God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16).

Once Heavenly Father had occasion to shower me with His love and comfort, I went from believing that He is wholly love, to experiencing His all encompassing love filling and overflowing my heart and being until I could not contain it all.

The more times this happened, the more I have been able to learn from, imitate His love and feel a similar warmth, compassion and kindness for others. I am learning to become more like Him according to love.

“For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18:37 (NASB)

Like God’s love, truth works in my life in a similar way.  My first testimony of the true gospel proved to me that the Book of Mormon is true. However, I did not know the absolute complete truth of the restored gospel-yet. It was not fully revealed to me. If it would have been, I suppose my need for faith would have vanished and my progression would have been halted.

“The best way of finding truth is simply to go to the Origin of all truth and ask or respond to inspiration. For success, two ingredients are essential: first, unwavering faith in the Source of all truth; second, a willingness to keep God’s commandments to keep open spiritual communication with Him.”                                Richard G. Scott

Instead, little by little I sought to know and understand more and I learned to ask of the Lord. “The Spirit is truth” (1 John 5:6). He reveals God’s truth when we seek it. I believed that He would reveal His truths, and believed and hoped that He would communicate with me. I was willing to persevere, seeking Him humbly and (sometimes) patiently.

And I had many questions. “Were we truly spiritual beings in the presence of our Heavenly Father before coming to this earth?” “Which is the only true church accepted by Jesus Christ?” “Was this church organized through revelation by the Savior?”

“Was Joseph Smith a true prophet?” “Is Thomas S. Monson the prophet called by the Lord today?” “Is there life after death?”

Some truths were confirmed even without my asking.

 “He has given the key. You may know. You need not be in doubt. Follow the prescribed procedures, and you may have an absolute knowledge that these things are absolute truths.

The necessary procedure is: study, think, pray, and do. Revelation is the key.

God will make it known to you once you have capitulated and have become humble and receptive.

Having dropped all pride of your mental stature, having acknowledged before God your confusion, having subjected your egotism, and having surrendered yourself to the teaching of the Holy Spirit, you are ready to begin to learn. With preconceived religious notions stubbornly held, one is not teachable.

The Lord has promised repeatedly that he will give you a knowledge of spiritual things when you have placed yourself in a proper frame of mind.

He has counseled us to seek, ask, and search diligently. These innumerable promises are epitomized by Moroni in the following: “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (Moroni 10:5)

What a promise! How extravagant! How wonderful!”  Spencer W. Kimball

I love the clarity of truth. I love the feeling of expansion in my heart, in my mind and soul. I thrill that our hearts and minds are created to recognize truth.

If there was no such thing as truth, how could there be a right and a wrong?

I’m grateful for our loving Father in heaven who promises to reveal His truths and faithfully does so in remarkable ways. I know that once a person knows absolutely the truths of the gospel, even upon threat of bodily harm or death, it will not be denied. That perfect assurance is what I love about Truth.

Every so often I’ll read a passage and suddenly my understanding is further enlightened. I wonder how I possibly could have missed it the other times I read that same scripture. Does this ever happen to you?

For many years it has been apparent to me that throughout the scriptures Heavenly Father communicates His love and desire for our peace, joy and well being. In return, He desires us to love Him with all our being. What does that truly look like? Great communication.

In this chapter of only 21 verses. words denoting communication are used a minimum of 32 times! Hear, hearken, look, heard, declare, spoken, tell, speak for example. There is a lot in 1 Nephi 20!

At the very start it is stated in the heading, “Compare Isaiah 48”. They are almost word for word. As I studied it further I found some differences, however the message is identical.

The fact that this passage is found twice in our Standard Works tells us that this message must be very important for God’s people to ‘get’.  He is addressing the converted.

I’ve listed most of those expressions and then I marked how often they are mentioned in each of the chapters for your convenience.

Expression

1 Nephi 20

Isaiah 48

Hearken

3

2

Hear

2

3

Thou hearest not

2

2

Ear not opened

1

1

Thou hearest

1

1

I showed them

5

3

Hath declared

3

2

Seen

1

1

Will not declare

3

3

Sing

1

1

Tell

1

1

Utter

1

1

Say

1

1

Thou knewest not   

2

2

I have spoken

4

1

Not spoken

1

1

 

A minimum of sixteen expressions of communication are mentioned by the Lord, some, several times within those 21 verses. We certainly get the picture of how important communication is seen from His point of view! I’ve not even included a few others like “mention”, “teacheth” and “leadeth”.

Forming this list I noticed a pattern of sorts->

  1.  7 times we are exhorted to receive God’s message. (hear, hearken, look)
  2. Our Lord clearly makes known His counsel 12 times in 1 Nephi, 6 times in Isaiah. (declares, show, spoken)
  3. We are commanded to share His message 7 times. (declare, tell, utter, sing, say)
  4. Our Lord admonishes those that do not share His message with others.  (Because we do not hear, know, or speak) 6 times this is mentioned.

God makes promises to those who do share the Lord’s messages->

  1. “The Lord hath loved him” (I believe this means that person will  feel/know the love of the Lord)
  2. “He will fulfill His word which He hath declared”
  3. “He shall make his way prosperous”
  4. “teacheth thee to profit”
  5. “leadeth thee by the way thou shouldst go”

He gives 5 more promises in verses 18 & 19, if we listen to His commandments->

  1. “thy peace as a river”
  2. “thy righteousness as the waves of the sea”
  3. “thy seed as the sand”
  4. “offspring like the gravel”
  5. “name not cut off or destroyed”

I love the Lord’s thoughts regarding peace and righteousness-perhaps because I love water so.

And yet more promises to His redeemed people->

They:

  • Thirst not
  • Are led through the desert
  • Waters flow out of the rock for them (revelation)
  • Claves the rock and the waters gush out
  • The Lord does all this and greater also

I recognize a progression here very much similar to my own experience that began the day I received the gift of the Holy Ghost -from simply feeling filled, and led through experiences with revelation on to the promises of “the Lord does all this and greater also”.

I doubt you will dash off to your scriptures and study these chapters. 🙂  However, if you come across either and discover more morsels, I’d love to hear from you.

Do you understand these chapters differently?

Have you discovered anything else I’ve not mentioned?

I once met an engineer from England. He felt impressed to share his story with me. I appreciated it and wish now that I’d be able to give you more details. Agnostic as a younger man 35 years ago, he was investigating our church and not receiving the assurance he sought.

Fasting for a day, he went into the bush to kneel and pray and asked God five questions pertinent to his life. Nothing happened. No answer from the Lord. Disappointment.

Some days after this while he was driving, abruptly all five of his questions were answered in succession. He pulled over by the side of the road and sobbed. When he got home his wife greeted him and noted he was ‘white as a sheet’. He shared with her that he knew the church was true.

Unbeknownst to him, she already had her testimony and had been waiting for him to learn the truth for himself. That happened over 30 years ago, yet as he related his experience, a tear rolled down the cheek of this humble and gentle man.

Each of us has something divine within us, in our core, which draws and connects us to God.  We long to be reunited with the Divine. Even more so, God longs to reunify with us. But we have the freedom to choose-to accept or to dismiss.

I and many individuals believe that communications from the Divine are meant to be the common experience of mankind. However, we don’t get to choose how, when or where He will meet us.

“if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God that in that day He shall manifest Himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks-And harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God, …they shall be a blessed people” 1 Nephi 14:1-2 (BOM)

There are steps we can consider when we are investigating the church. We are promised that if we ask Heavenly Father in the name of Christ with a sincere heart and with real intent He will manifest the truth by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Once He has confirmed the truth of the Book of Mormon, of the restored gospel, and we commit our lives to living it, our learning does not stop.

Heavenly Father desires that each of us continues to progress-that we keep asking and seeking in order to receive ‘higher education’. How to go about this took me way too long to get and lately has been impressed on me again.

“For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds;
and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” Matthew 7:8

We continue to ask, seek and knock if we would like to learn more from Him. The method of approaching God with our queries does not change, though it may not be easy to implement consistently.

  1. Pray– Begin by praying.
  2. Believe-Reach a point where you say “Heavenly Father, I want to believe”.
  3. Ask– Ask your question. (It is not unusual to begin to believe, and then it can take awhile and some effort before getting an answer.)
  4. Wait-The Lord will meet you and proceed to soften your heart.
  5. Receive– Your softened heart enables you to believe our Father.  And enables you to receive His message.
  6. The Answer-An answer comes into your mind and into your heart. This answer to prayer is going to lead you to do something.
  7. Do– Once you do receive an answer, it is important to do what you have been instructed to do. Your behavior then harmonizes to what you believe to be God’s will. This will lead you to know it was of God.

An authority I am not.  These ‘steps’ have been helpful in my experience. They may or may not be as helpful for you. I wouldn’t have minded if someone had clarified this process for me. And then, perhaps I was meant to learn it “line upon line”.

Note:

Answers from our Heavenly Father are not always our only spiritual encounters. We are all acquainted with both light and dark influences. There is the deceiver- and forces that would like to mislead and delude. You must plow through that-keep pressing on- before receiving further Light and Truth.

“Behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask Me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong” D & C 9:8-9

For a long spell, during the times that the Lord did indeed connect with me and soften my heart, I knew His love and comfort, but had not considered this a part of my progression at the time. And I sure didn’t understand #4-“wait”, patience seeming to be the biggest hurdle in my life.

“Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart” Moroni 7:48 (BOM)

What did my engineer friend do? He prayed. He wanted to believe (he fasted).He asked. He waited. He received an answer. His heart was softened. (Okay…a little different order.) And he did ‘do’.

I know that our Heavenly Father is perfectly faithful.  When you believe enough to be able to accept His answer and when you act on that answer, great things will unfold in your life.