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Masculine and Feminine

Having experienced much of what could be termed abuse in my life, I have sought deeply to understand the truth of man and woman that I might heal and have whole relationships.  There are some truths which are hard to hear and some truths which cause rejoicing when heard.  The particular truths I desire to share here, if a person is not ready to hear them, will sound very wrong and hard to hear.  So before you read further, I ask that you pause and consider whether or not you are willing and ready to read my words as I intend them, giving them my meaning and not adding your own on top of them.  If you are not in a healthy space with masculine and feminine truths, if there is bitterness or anger in you, please pause and consider coming back to this post another time.  Otherwise, this post may incite you and cause anger to rise in your heart because you won't be ready to understand the true meaning of these words.

That very long disclaimer said, if you choose to continue to read, I a…

Of Beauty

A treatise on words and creation.

The words we use convey meaning.  Sometimes this meaning is powerful and deep.  Other times this meaning hurts and is painful.  The meanings may fill us with joy.  Still, other times it fills us with dread.  How?  How can words have such powerful meaning?  How do words start and end wars?  How do words make or break relationships?  How does someone not saying a particular phrase bring peace or pain?

Why do we share words with each other?  Is it not, in it’s essence, for connection?  Words help us understand each other.  They propound to others that which is internal and unseeable, unknowable in any other way.  Words are one of the highest expressions because they allow me to convey my brightest or most noble thoughts, my base and shameful feelings, my fears and triumphs, my sorrows and my joys; words allow me to take all of these abstract things which do not exist in reality and carry them forth into a moment and make them known to all who hear me.  W…

Olive Tree - Part 4

Continuing where we left off.

Verse 6
"And it came to pass that after many days it began to put forth somewhat a little, young and tender branches; but behold, the main top thereof began to perish."

As we go through this allegory, it is important to note that what is wild, or perishes, or is spoken of in a negative way is pointing toward our hearts moving away from God.

Verse 7
"And it came to pass that the master of the vineyard saw it, and he said unto his servant: It grieveth me that I should lose this tree; wherefore, go and pluck the branches from a wild olive-tree, and bring them hither unto me; and we will pluck off those main branches which are beginning to with away, and we will cast them into the fire that they may be burned."

First, the master of the vineyard saw it.  In other words, the Lord know us intimately and deeply and personally.  We are not lost from His view or from His knowing.  He eye is ever on us.

Isaiah 49:16 - this is what comes to my mi…

Olive Tree - Part 3

The Olive Tree is symbolic of each one of us.  You are the tree.  And all of this connects back to the symbolism from the Tree of Life we talked about in a previous post.  But that will not be discussed here.  Let's just talk about this allegory for now.

Verses 1-3
"Behold, my brethren, do ye not remember to have read the words of the prophet Zenos, which he spake unto the house of Israel, saying: Hearken, O ye house of Israel, and hear the words of me, a prophet of the Lord.  For behold, thus saith the Lord, I will liken thee, O house of Israel, like unto a tame olive-tree, which a man took and nourished in his vineyard; and it grew, and waxed old, and began to decay."

Here Jacob tells us that they have already been taught this at least once by saying, "...do ye not remember...the words of the prophet Zenos..."  And we know they have been taught because we are told in 1 Nephi 10:12 that Lehi spoke "much" about this prophecy.  Wow.  With Jacob's c…

Olive Tree - Part 2

As we continue on with the conversation of Jacob in preparing us to understand the Olive Tree Allegory, he begins to tell us the real purpose for the truths he is going to make known to us.

In verses 11, Jacob is telling us to reconciled to Christ, that we might obtain a resurrection in Christ, "...and be presented as the first-fruits of Christ unto God, having faith, and obtained a good hope of glory in him before he manifesteth himself in the flesh."  In other words, we are to be reconciled to God through Christ, by way of the Atonement of the Savior.  What do these words mean?  Application and personal receiving of the Atonement into our hearts for sure.  But there is more to it than that.  Jacob goes from speaking of reconciliation to the stumbling of the Jews to being filled with the spirit of prophecy to teaching the parable of the olive tree.  This, it would seem, is the answer to what it means to be reconciled to Christ and to God through the Atonement of Jesus Chris…

Olive Tree - Part 1

The allegory of the Olive Tree is one of my favorite things in all the world.  Jacob, along with the book of James (who is the mortal brother of the Savior), ties for second place in my scripture hierarchy.  As we go through this allegory (which will be broken down into many parts), I hope to adequately represent why Jacob is one of my favorite prophets.

I'm going to just share what I wrote a couple of years ago in my scriptures about these verses as I was studying them.  

In order to give the full understanding of the verses in chapter 5, we have to go to chapter 4 and gain perspective a bit.  So follow along, if you wish, as we walk the paths of Jacob's heart.

The first few verses of chapter 4 tell us why they have written on these plates and that they rejoice in the very laborious process which is part of this gift they have preserved for us.

Then we get into verses 4 and 5.

"For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we kn…

My will.

I recently had a dear friend text me the following:

Question for you about sacrificing our wills: what is the point of God preserving our wills if we just give it up to Him?
It seems like kind of a waste.
For the record I know I need to (submit my will to His).  I'm trying to understand why.


I told him this was a long conversation that required a foundational view of several doctrines in order to understand this doctrine truly.  As I was pondering on the conversation to have with him, I felt impressed to write the conversation here and share it.

First, is my will the same thing as my moral agency?  What is agency?  What is "my will"?

Agency is the right with which we are each endowed to choose according to our will.

Our will is the desire within our hearts.

God preserves agency that we might have the ability to submit our will.  He does not preserve our will - as sentient beings, even God does not and could not tamper with our will without it affecting His ability to go…

"Oh have mercy...that we may receive forgiveness..."

In Mosiah chapter four, we find the people of King Benjamin just after he has taught them great truths about the Savior, His Atonement, the natural man, and many other notable and important doctrines.  They were understanding them with their hearts (whether or not they understood with their heads) for perhaps the first time in their lives.  And their reaction was one of true repentance. 

"And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth.  And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.  And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins and having peace…

Martha's Part

My entire life I remember hearing the story of Mary and Martha.  All growing up we were taught about Mary choosing "the better part" and somehow that was translated into the work of upkeeping a home is not important - or is at least lessor work.  Somehow, someone somewhere said that Martha's work of making food or cleaning or whatever she was actually doing in that moment was far less important than Mary, sitting at the Savior's feet and learning.

Martha became defined as a woman who lacked faith while Mary was a woman of great faith.  Chores became defined as menial tasks which are done by those who are of lessor faith than those who seek out the Lord.

Today, I'd like to explain the way I see what the Lord was saying to Mary and Martha that day when Martha complained that Mary was not helping with the work.

First, the Lord did not say Mary had chosen the better task.  He said she had chosen the "good part."

Let's review the actual words.

"But …

Isaiah 53 - Part 4

"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all."

Each one of us has, rather than choosing the yoke of Grace and the burden of light, chosen to indulge in darkness.  We have turned, each one of us, to our own way of doing things.  We have each maintained our agency and the Lord has taken upon Himself each choice and each moment of living.  This verse again speaks to me, deeply, of the eternal import the role of agency plays.

Now Isaiah is getting into the actual moments of the Savior's life which encompass the Atonement.  These verses were easier for me to understand because they are talked about much more.

"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb before the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he w…

Isaiah 53 - Part 3

Let us continue on with Isaiah's truths.

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

If we see the joy and rejoice, truly, in the existence of Gethsemane as a moment that is and always has been and always will be through the mortal portion of existence, then this verse also becomes more clear.

We esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, afflicted....BUT - or in other words, THAT IS NOT TRUE.

But He was wounded for us.  He was bruised for us.  The things we need to experience in this life that will lead us to really learn to accept peace into our souls are all His to carry.  With His stripes WE ARE HEALED.

If you delight to save, then there is nothing more joyful than a soul who is healing.  Nothing.  His sacrifice only becomes burdensome when we choose to make it burdensome.  We choose to see it as a horrible necessity rather than the joyful culmination of Hi…