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Friday, October 24, 2014

Why Seemingly Good People Fail to Obtain Heavenly Interaction



The post that got me thinking about this again: http://timesofthegentiles.blogspot.com/2012/12/believest-thou-words-which-i-shall.html

In a nutshell, why do really good people seem not to have tremendous spiritual experiences? Or, put another way, if _____, who seems as perfect as can be, does not entertain angels, see the Lord, obtain power in the priesthood, etc., then how can a dirtbag like me do it?

Our thoughts are not God's thoughts. His judgment is very different than ours. We may look upon someone and incorrectly assume they are prepared for heavenly experiences. Meanwhile we may look upon ourselves and incorrectly assume we are not prepared for those same experiences.

How do people in the scriptures react when they see God or angels? Shouldn't that inform us of how they picture themselves?

Here are some sections from 2 Nephi 9 that I think address some of these issues.

28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
29 But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.
30 But wo unto the rich, who are rich as to the things of the world. For because they are rich they despise the poor, and they persecute the meek, and their hearts are upon their treasures; wherefore, their treasure is their god. And behold, their treasure shall perish with them also.
31 And wo unto the deaf that will not hear; for they shall perish.
32 Wo unto the blind that will not see; for they shall perish also.
33 Wo unto the uncircumcised of heart, for a knowledge of their iniquities shall smite them at the last day.
34 Wo unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell.
35 Wo unto the murderer who deliberately killeth, for he shall die.
36 Wo unto them who commit whoredoms, for they shall be thrust down to hell.
37 Yea, wo unto those that worship idols, for the devil of all devils delighteth in them.

Who are those who are not prepared according to the Lord for higher experiences?
  • Those who do not hearken unto the counsel of God. What does that mean? Well, for me the most abundant source of God's counsel is the personal revelation I receive from him. The second is his recorded word in the scriptures. Do I set aside promptings? Do I live my life so busily that I never get them in the first place? How often to I feast from the scriptures? How often do I ask God questions about what I am doing in my life and doctrinal applications? 
  • Those who are rich as to the things of the world. Note that if you are rich you are automatically despising the poor. It is not possible to be rich and not despise the poor since there are so many in abject poverty around us globally, and so many ways to help them (liahonachildrensfoundation.org).
  • Those who spend their time and energy amassing treasure and toys.
  • Those who will not open their minds to things that don't jive with their current beliefs.
  • Those who will not seek and and search questions and answers to those questions
  • Those who don't care for the welfare of others.
  • Those who murder, lie, commit whoredoms.
  • Those who consider the latest material good to be more important than service and spirituality.
  • Those who are not prepared to endure the trial of living higher law.
 40 O, my beloved brethren, give ear to my words. Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if ye do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the words of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken.

What is your reaction when you read or hear something you hadn't thought of before, or something that contradicts your current belief map? Do you "try the spirits," as Paul said and Joseph frequently advised? Or, do you summarily dismiss it? Do you dictate what is true to God, or do you allow him to gently peel away the scales from your eyes by introducing things you never before considered, as Moses, just as quickly as you can handle it? Do you question the unquestionable? What is your authority for truth? Is it anything other than the Holy Ghost, right now? Are you apt to extend the answers to your prayers for truth-revealing to things that are not related to the subject of your question? Do you have off-limits topics/subjects/themes on which you refuse to meditate/ponder/question?

 41 O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.

Do you believe that the church or anyone in it holds the power to save you? Do you believe it is possible to divorce the gospel from Christ? Do you act as if the atonement is something separate from Jesus that can operate on it's own? Do you seek Jesus literally? Do you want to see him, speak with him face to face, and know him?

 42 And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.

Do you cast away your riches, or do you persist in ignoring the global poor and put your own well-being before that of others? Do you consider yourself a fool before God, or do you assume you know full well what his commandments are and aren't? Do you recognize how much you don't know? Are you humble?

 43 But the things of the wise and the prudent shall be hid from them forever—yea, that happiness which is prepared for the saints.