Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Doctrine and Covenants 88

Years ago, I was powerfully impressed by the book, The Power of Intention, by Wayne W. Dyer. Dr. Dyer described an energy he called intention that we could call upon to achieve goals, to become better people, to make things happen that we needed to happen. He had researched the writings of great teachers from all walks of life, through all ages of time, in many different religions, and found the same power described. He called it “an invisible field of energy.” He said this power is only accessible as we give up ego, stress, and self-will, and he provided instructions for its practical application in daily life.

Quoting him: 

“My writing now emphasizes a belief that we can find spiritual solutions to problems by living at higher levels and calling upon faster energies. In my mind, intention is now something much greater than a determined ego or individual will. It’s something almost totally opposite” (Wayne W. Dyer, The Power of Intention: Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way, 4).

As I read, I realized Dr. Dyer was describing the Light of Christ! Since the book contained “the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture,” I read it again with my scriptures in hand to see where they agreed and where they diverged. It was remarkably aligned with our scripture. I marked up the book with references from the prophets and the scriptures, kept the parts that matched, and marked out the parts that didn’t. 

D&C 88:11-13 reads, "And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understanding, which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space--the light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed..."

Now note this statement from the book: "The answer to Where is this field? is: There's no place that it's not because everything in the universe has intention built into it...The Source, which is intention, is pure, unbounded energy vibrating so fast that it defies measurement and observation...This field of intent can't be described with words...Intention determines everything in the universe and is omnipresent..." (Dyer, 6-8). 

Here is what Bruce R. McConkie wrote about the Light of Christ: "There is a spirit...the Light of Christ--that defies description and is beyond mortal comprehension. It is in us and in all things...it fills the earth and the heavens and the universe. It is everywhere, in all immensity, without exception; it is an indwelling...ever-present...spirit...It has no agency, does not act independentaly, and exists not to act, but to be acted upon" (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 257). 

I found it fascinating that people who didn’t even know Jesus Christ could see His power and find ways to align themselves with it by using precepts of a gospel they didn’t even know. I found it soul-stretching to realize that God in His great wisdom and love, would impart to people who did not have access to the fulness of the gospel, knowledge about how to increase His Light in their lives.

We are blessed as Latter-day Saints to have access to even higher manifestations of this power or energy because we have the priesthood and the Gift of the Holy Ghost, but every person on earth has access to the Light of Christ

Section 88 of the Doctrine and Covenants is an awe-inspiring treatise on the Light of Christ. It is a guidebook for understanding God’s power. It’s a revelation that can be read over and over, and each time something more can be learned. It is an introduction to the School of the Prophets, which was the precursor to the temple. This section is a glorious promise of light, power, and joy after the depressing and frightening section on war just received. It contains two revelations that were received over multiple days. It instructs the Kirtland saints to form a School of the Prophets, and learn of God together.

Be sure you read the Revelations in Context link at the top of your electronic scriptures. Here is the link for convenience.

Here are some simple but profound truths from Section 88:

Eternal life = the glory of the celestial kingdom (v. 4)

Glory of God = light of truth (v. 6)

Light of truth = light of Christ (v. 7)

Light of Christ = law by which all things are governed (v. 13)

Law by which all things are governed = power of God (priesthood) (v. 13) God’s power is not magic that materializes out of nowhere; God’s power is law. Miracles use natural laws of the universe that we just don’t understand yet. God has always had an "internet," He has always had a "cell phone," He has always had an "MRI" machine, He has always had the ability to heal, to create, to move, to change things. We as humans have a hard time believing in miracles until we "invent" or discover the means to them. Once we understand them, they no longer seem like miracles; they seem like science. 

            Just imagine how many more things we will be able to do as we learn what God desires to teach us!

Celestial glory = the presence of God the Father (v. 18-19)

And we get one further clarification much later in the revelation:

Joy of Christ’s countenance = the light of the countenance of the Lord (v. 52-58).

Simplifying these concepts even more:

Glory = Light = Truth = Law = Power = Presence of God = Joy

These words are all describing the same thing, just from slightly different angles, uses, or perspectives. Whenever we come across one of these words in scripture, we can substitute one of the others as a synonym in order to understand it better. For example, for many years I have wondered exactly what glory is. As I’ve looked online, I’ve found that this word has eluded many theologians. But by using these synonyms in Section 88, I can see that glory is actually extreme joy. I know what Joy is. It is the highest emotional energy. When I have experienced the power of the priesthood through a blessing, I have felt overwhelming joy. When I have learned a new truth, I have felt joy. When I have experienced God’s love for me, I have felt powerful joy. When I have united myself with others in a righteous cause, I have felt great joy. When I have aligned my will with God’s, I have been filled with joy.

Find a good scripture that contains one of these words and substitute another that you feel you understand better and see if it makes it more clear to you.

For practical understanding, it may be helpful to use other synonyms at times:

Power = energy

Unity = synergy

Joy = highest emotional energy

An additional point I find fascinating: 

God is not glorified by himself. He is glorified in us; we are glorified in Him (v. 60). We must be in each other's presence. Unity is required for glory! This is apparent when we realize that: 

God = Love (1 John 4:7) 

Love is another suitable synonym for the Light of Christ.

If you want to feel joy, unite with God. If you want to unite with God, fill yourself with love. As you actively love people, circumstances, projects, work, animals, and the very earth around you, you elevate your energy level to align with and access more of the Light of Christ. 

Make "I love [whatever you see around you]" a regular part of your vocabulary. 

Every day you can increase the Light of Christ in your life through your choices. If you are feeling the gravity of human life--sadness, anger, confusion, disappointment--find something to love: the room you are in, the people you work with, the color of your chair, the beauty of a flower. Your emotional energy will rise. Your inner light will increase. Your brain will actually have more clarity. You will be able to connect better with people. You will be able to learn. You will be able to hear the still, small voice. And one day, you will truly unite with God and Zion and receive a fulness of joy, the highest energy. That is the object of our existence. (See 2 Nephi 2:25.)

Photograph by Bob Brown, used with permission

During this pandemic, while you wait for your temple to reopen, or for your turn to come to attend the temple, enroll yourself in the School of the Prophets. Study Section 88 over and over. Read and follow the words of our Prophet: 

"The heavens are just as open to women who are endowed with God's power flowing from their priesthood covenants as they are to men who bear the priesthood. I pray that truth will register upon each of your hearts because I believe it will change your life... You have the right to draw liberally upon the Savior's power to help your family and others you love.

"Now, you might be saying to yourself, 'This sounds wonderful, but how do I do it? How do I draw the Savior's power into my life?'

"You won't find this process spelled out in any manual. The Holy Ghost will be your personal tutor as you seek to understand what the Lord would have you know and do. This process is neither quick nor easy, but it is spiritually invigorating. What could possibly be more exciting than to labor with the Spirit to understand God's power--priesthood power?"

He continues:

"I entreat you to study prayerfully all the truths you can find about priesthood power. You might begin with Doctrine and Covenants sections 84 and 107. Those sections will lead you to other passages. The scriptures and teachings by modern prophets, seers, and revelators are filled with these truths. As your understanding increases and as you exercise faith in the Lord and His priesthood power, your ability to draw upon this spiritual treasure that the Lord has made available will increase. As you do so, you will find yourselves better able to help create eternal families that are united, sealed in the temple of the Lord, and full of love for our Heavenly Father and for Jesus Christ" (Russell M. Nelson, "Spiritual Treasures," General Conference, October 2019).

To read more of my research and testimony about priesthood, particularly as it applies to women, please go to https://findmynotes.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/women-and-the-priesthood/

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