Ascending the Mountain
In Part I, we looked at the wilderness experience of Moses and the Israelites. What we did not discuss was the refusal of the people to ascend Mt. Sinai, the sacred mountain of the Lord. The result of this lack of courage and love of God was that they were not allowed to have the higher priesthood. In the latter-days, Israel is being called from the world (whether by blood or adoption, all are welcome) and are being given the blessing of the higher priesthood. Our leaders are challenging us more and more to ascend the mountain of the Lord.
This website has no official position and does not represent the Church in any way. It is simply a place of encouragement to our readers and ourselves as we all do our best to understand and proceed in that journey. Our goal is two-fold; to grow in knowledge regarding that mountain and the ascension process, and to point out in a general way, the dangers of the counterfeit mountain. Although it is not necessary to deeply understand the temple, knowledge brings empowerment and makes us more effective tools to draw down the powers of Heaven. As we will discuss in our first article, it also brings added glory in the eternities. The first step is to decide to get off our current plateau, take a deep breath and begin the next leg of our journey, as Elder Goaslin has encouraged us:
Many of us have attained a level of obedience in which we consistently keep the letter of the law; we commit no grievous sins. As we look about us, we see that we do no worse than the next family, and we feel satisfied, comfortable. We are compatible with others on our plateau partway up the mountain. We like this scenic ledge where we have all the “do's and don'ts” under control.
(Jack Goaslin, Spiritual Mountain Tops, Oct. Conf. 1995)
Elder Goaslin has challenged us to journey higher. He continues:
It is in the development of our testimonies, in the moving even partway up the mountain and out of our comfort zones, that I think we begin to approach our own personal, spiritual mountaintop where we can receive inspiration and truth as never before.
It is in the development of our testimonies, in the moving even partway up the mountain and out of our comfort zones, that I think we begin to approach our own personal, spiritual mountaintop where we can receive inspiration and truth as never before.
The journey will not be easy as Elder Goaslin warns us:
Satan wants us to fail to reach that mountaintop that will allow us to develop a testimony so powerful that he will be unable to influence us. His work is to thwart our efforts, but the Lord has counseled us, “Fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.
It takes great courage and determination for any who desire to climb that mountain but that is, after all, why we are here. We have been called by the Lord of the Saboath which means, “hosts” and “armies of the Lord” (Bible Dictionary, p. 764). Some are afraid and hide that fear in an attitude of arrogance, pointing their finger in disdain if they perceive a fellow church member who appears to be scaling the steep mountain side. Perhaps that reaction stems from fear of being tested by the adversary, or fear of giving up worldly comforts that keep us bound to earth like a hot air balloon fastened firmly to the ground.
Since we know that only those who are standing in Holy Places will be safe as the last day events unfold before us, we need to understand how to get to those Holy Places. We also need to understand that standing in safety means spiritual and not always physical safety. Elder Goaslin tells us in his conference address where those places of safety are:
Today the Lord provides us with ample space which, in a personal way, Becomes our own spiritual mountaintop where we receive truth and Inspiration. Searching the scriptures, for example, can answer many of the questions of our day by lifting our spirits to clarifying heights. Further, the world is dotted with holy temples which we may enter to receive instruction and inspiration and to perform sacred ordinances.
The cleansing and empowering ordinances that are given to us in the temple can enliven us so that we too, are a holy temple and anywhere we stand, as long as we are true and faithful to the covenants we make there, becomes a holy place. The Brethren have been urging us to move higher to those places of safety in preparation for the coming challenges.
Elijah and the Showdown
A foreshadowing of the church from the apostasy, through the events of the last days, and the second coming can be seen in the life of the great prophet Elijah, whose name means; “Jehovah is my God”. The prophet was hidden in the wilderness by the brook Cherith, and fed by the ravens as one who was dead. There was a famine in the land but the Lord cared for Elijah personally and when he brought him out of hiding, he was sustained at the widow's house through miraculous intervention. The Jews have long waited for the return of Elijah and at Passover they set a place at the table and keep the door open for him. Elijah came to that table on Easter morning, April 3, 1836 in the Kirtland Temple , where he gave the sealing keys to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. The temple represents the body of Christ, the bread and wine of the sacrament. All present that day were spiritually filled.
In later articles we will explore the subject of the year 2012 and the man of Aquarius pouring out the waters of life upon the world. Now we will only allude to the wonderful type of Elijah ascending Mount Carmel for the showdown with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of the groves. After he called the Children of Israel to witness the event, Elijah came to the people, and said, “How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word” (1 Kings 18:21).
First the priests of Baal where given their chance to call down fire upon their sacrifice but they failed. Then, Elijah repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down, (representing the restoration of latter-day temples) cut up his sacrifice and had 12 barrels of water poured out upon the sacrifice. When he called down the fire, the offering, which had been cleansed and purified with water, was accepted and baptized with fire. After that, Elijah asked the Lord to end the drought and the whole land was watered and became fruitful as will the world in the Millenium.
The sealing power that Elijah brought to the temple is made of effect in our lives when we bring our own sacrifices, including a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Those sacrifices will ensure that we are not burned at the Lord's coming but will rise as the sweet savor of incense from the altar to His side. We learn from Shaddrach, Meshach and Abednego that if we are prepared, the consuming fire will not touch us but will burn those who sought our death. As with their experience in the furnace, fire can be purifying and bring us into the presence of the Lord. (Daniel 3:16-26)
In coming articles, we will discuss many motifs that can be applied to us individually and as a church including Elijah's story, exploring topics such as the Tree of Life, water, deserts, mountains and the ascension process of sacrifice and fire, touched upon in the above stories. Using a little science, we will explore why the earth would be smitten by a curse and everything lost at the second coming if it weren't for the hearts of the fathers and children being turned to one another, and from there, the principles of a Zion people. We would encourage our reader to visit our site weekly for our firesides since much of the information will build upon the former discussion, starting with the Introductions.
The adversary may tempt us to push too hard for knowledge we are not ready for. Patience is a key. Sadly, we have watched some led astray by their unchecked curiosity and desire for instant gratification of knowledge. The Lord will reveal all things to those who qualify but in His own time and His own way. Faust, a great scientists, was drawn into a fascination with Hermetic knowledge, secret rituals attributed to the god Hermes and handed down through the ages. He had such a strong desire to understand what holds the universe together that “he decides that the only solution is to take a great shortcut and turn to magic, and, in the most drastic step of all, makes a pact with the devil” (Nibley, T&C, p. 398). For the price of losing his salvation, all he got in the end was “an extravaganza of false Hermetism, make-believe, eyewash, and special effects”.
At times people ask why we can't share and be told clearly all the deeper understandings of the temple. Two reasons come to mind. First, truths found there are like a diamond with many facets. To ascribe one single purpose or explanation to any single part of the ceremonies would limit full understanding. In the economy of the Lord, one action can bring many gifts and teachings. Even more important, since the temple is a school to tutor people to become joint heirs with Christ, we would be ruining an individual's progress to share too much. We can be certain that the prophet and those who work closely with him know far more than we do about the things that really matter. What a comfort it is to look up to them and sit at their feet. Any who believe they know more than the First Presidency and Twelve, have forgotten that one can learn more from looking into heaven for five minutes than a life time of study could provide.
Those who lead this church may not all be scholars (though many are), but they have qualified themselves through obedience, humility, and the ability to listen to the Holy Ghost. The voice of the Spirit is still and small for a reason. If we want to hear more clearly, we move higher up the mountain to better hear that gentle whispering that beckons. If the Spirit routinely calls with the loud beat of the drum, we would feel no need to move from our place up to where the sweet song of a dove bears witness of the Tree of Life. When Christ overcame death, he symbolically changed that dead tree on Golgotha to a live tree. We all have far to go but we can be sure that if we keep our hunger for truth in balance and not push beyond the mark, and live the gospel, He will feed us the fruit that Lehi describes.
When we hunger after the truths offered in alternative paths, then we are in grave danger of succumbing to the pollutions of the world. Often they filter in without our awareness but the pitfalls can prove deadly. What is the greatest difference between the counterfeit methods of ascension and the authorized path? The Egyptian magicians were expert at mimicking most of Moses' miracles, but they did not have an answer for the lamb's blood upon the doorposts. Only the Atoning blood of the Lord, coupled with personal sacrifice and obedience have the power to save. These are the major components missing in mysticism. Some schools of mysticism may offer sacrifices but they are seldom personal ones involving repentance and progression and the sacrifices are not to our Heavenly Father. Israel at times went whoring after other gods and did not live the law of chastity in that symbolic sense.
“They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, To new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.”
(Deuteronomy 32: 16,17)
Sacrifice without the preparation of obedience is wasted. Samuel tells us, “to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22). Yet, even our obedience and personal sacrifices of a broken heart and contrite spirit do not have efficacy and cannot save unless they are centered in the atonement. Humanism is a notion that permeates the mystic world and insists that mankind can save itself. While our actions do factor into the saving process by following Christ's example, He alone has burned the one path that leads from this fallen earth back to the presence of the Father. There is no other way to return. Those who build their spiritual Towers of Babel profess otherwise but it is only a matter of time until those towers come down. Their mountain is manmade.
The One True Way
On this website, we will never be politically correct enough to submit to the labels of intolerance and insensitivity. We will never apologize for, or be backed into a defensive position by the anger of those who insist we agree that all religions are true and people can pick from their favorite on the broad path that leads home. We unequivocally declare that there is only one way to be saved from this telestial, fallen existence and that is through Jesus Christ. We need the saving ordinances which He has restored to the earth along with the authority to administer those ordinances.
It is not surprising that those sacred, tightly held ordinances have been whispered down from time immemorial until a form of them is all that is left in venues throughout the world. They are the skeleton without the flesh of faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. They lack the sacrifice of the Lamb of God that they originally depicted. They do possess an usurped power that can effect real spiritualistic experiences but they cannot return us to our Father. No unclean thing can enter Heaven and even if one does sincerely repent and strive for perfection, it is only through being cleansed by the blood of the Lamb of God that we can escape spiritual Egypt .
Mysticism is defined in Webster's dictionary as: “the experience of mystical union or direct communion with ultimate reality reported by mystics.” Through meditation and other methods, the mystic can reach the astral plain and have out of body experiences, meet messengers and manipulate reality. This does not mean the people doing this are evil. Some who use keys of ascension to travel to different realms do so knowingly under the direction of the devil, but most are sincere people trying to better themselves. Yet, we must understand that spiritual ascension outside of the parameters the Lord has set is extremely dangerous, especially for LDS members. Fallen angels, or Nephilim have been one source of the wrongful use of profaning the sacred:
“Then they took wives, each choosing for himself; whom they began to Approach, and with whom they cohabitated; teaching them sorcery, Incantations…(and) all the secret things which are done in the heavens.”
(Book of Enoch: 6-7)
And herein lies what seems to have been the real sin of the Watchers: to have shared “powerful secrets” with mankind, because “men were not born for this.”
Secret Societies are spreading and we must be especially vigilant since The Book of Mormon directly warns of them. Look up “Secret Combination” in the index for a list of verses. An especially pertinent quote for our time is given by the prophet Ether: “Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up” (Ether 8:24). Although we are not going to cover political topics on this website, we are disheartened when we hear some members of the church point a finger and cry, “fanatic” when they hear someone quote a verse like this which speaks so plainly of the counterfeit path. Some insist that all is well in Zion and close their ears to anything to the contrary. They want to feel good about blending with the world and are not comfortable being a peculiar people.
There is definitely a counterfeit mountain that can be ascended. There are many popular books and movies that illustrate that path. We know many church members who are fascinated with some of those books. Everyone must choose for themselves, but we would strongly warn against their very real enticement. After reading some of the most popular books on mysticism and studying the subject, we believe there are many reasons they are a pollution of the strait and narrow path and are dangerous. The Lord was speaking to members of the church when He said, “And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers;” (3 Nephi 21:16). Soothsayers are rampant. They are on the TV, they are on the radio, in literature. They are sweet, loving, helpful. They are dangerous! They are the whore of the earth because they use the sacred ascension process which can also be understood as a series of spiritual rebirths, without the benefit of the priesthood which legitimizes that spiritual process.
To give an example of one path that we respect and study but do not follow is the teachings of the Pueblo Native Americans. It is rewarding to glean fragments of truths, but it is not okay to take peyote and have an astral experience through a patron animal. Those who participate in these things without understanding that it is a substitute for the priesthood may be quick to recognize the truth in the next life if not before. It may not be surprising to find many gurus, shaman and other “enlightened” seekers progressing rapidly on the other side of the veil if they accept the gospel there.
So basically, while appreciating the truths they bring, we should not be lured into transcendentalism. Many doctrines are perhaps better to leave alone altogether.
The ascension process can be seen in nature in many forms. A great deal of mythology from around the world uses sexual motifs to explain this process. Riding that hobby horse can become dangerous, although a little of it is necessary to grasp Egyptology. The Egyptian usage of that specific motif is not nearly as prevalent as most other ancient cults. The Druids portray many of the same ideas but they are expressed in motifs using trees as does our scriptures, and it is a more comfortable way to study mythology as it relates to us. Druids have their own pitfalls, however, some of which we will look at in the future. The Jewish Kabbalistic teachings of the Tree of Life are also of great value. We can enjoy and learn from them while avoiding practicing the transcendental aspects of their beliefs.
Many topics we will explore will have points that will be only touched on lightly because of the sacredness of the subject. It will be left up to the reader to connect the dots as he/she is prepared and taught by the Spirit and hopefully avoid the flood of counterfeit knowledge that is so easily and quickly obtained. The strongest point that we want to make is that the seeker remember Elijah's warning to Israel to not halt between two opinions. If the gospel is true, then it is only through the priesthood that these sacred rituals can be efficacious and not dangerous to us.
We live in exciting times and if we are prepared we need not fear as President Boyd K. Packer reminds us in our last Conference, Oct. 1, 2006:
“We are not to be afraid, even in a world where the hostilities will never end. The war of opposition that was prophesied in the revelations continues today. We are to be happy and positive. We are not to be afraid. Fear is the opposite of faith.”
President Packard also reminds us that we each have a job to do. It is no time to rest on our laurels:
“Not only are we to maintain the highest of standards, but each of us is to be a standard, a defense, a refuge. We are to “let (our) light so shine before men, that they may see (our) good works, and glorify (our) Father which is in heaven.”
(Matthew 5:16; see also 3 Nephi 12:16)
So, we are each to be a standard. Where should we go to hold up that standard? Elder Packer continues:
“We are as much a part of this work as were those men who untied that yellow bandana from Willard Richard's walking stick and descended from Ensign Peak . That bandana, waved aloft, signaled the great gathering which had been prophesied in ancient and modern scriptures.”
Just how do we get to Ensign Peak ? What does Isaiah have to say about the subject?
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem .”
(Isaiah 2: 2,3)
Then we need to go to the House of the Lord to wave those handkerchiefs. But we do not live at the temple, we live in our homes which can be made into a Holy Place if our feet are “shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15). If we stand as a witness of Christ at all times, waving that handerchief, then anywhere we are, we are standing upon that mountain as we read in Isaiah:
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation: that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth.”
What is that mountain? It is the Salt Lake Temple . Is it only that temple? The ancients taught that the original temple sent out sparks that began new temples and each is to be considered the center place. So, in a sense, every temple is that mountain. Is that all? What is that mountain really? It is Ensign Peak, it is Mount Carmel, it is Mount Zion, it is Mount Sinai. That mountain is any place that represents our Savior as Elder Scott told us this last conference: “Let the savior be your ‘lead” in life. He has said, “I am…the Rock of Heaven…; whoso cometh in at the gate and climbeth up by me shall never fall” (Richard G. Scott, General Conference, Sept. 30, 2006). Elder Scott was teaching us how to safely ascend the mountain. He said: “Obedience to His teachings provides a secure ascent in the journey of life. That takes effort. While there is no guarantee of overnight results, there is the assurance that, in the Lord's time, solutions will come, peace will prevail, and happiness will be yours.” The mountain is Jesus Christ who, through the umbilical cord of the cross, joined Heaven and earth for those willing to climb by the path He authorized. Again, Elder Scott encouraged: “Your progress is accelerated when you willingly allow Him to lead you through every growth experience you encounter, whether you welcome the experience or not.”
In the same conference, Elder Winkel also testified that the temple, which is the mountain of the Lord's house, is all about the Christ: “I also testify that everything in the temple testifies of Jesus Christ” (Richard H. Winkel, Gen. Conf., Sept. 30, 2006).
Everything we do in there is based on the atonement. We know that we are also supposed to be temples. When we take upon us the name of Christ, and press forward faithfully, we can stand so that anywhere we are is on that rock. Then our feet are beautiful upon the mountain as they are rooted into the holy place.
The most important place to establish that mountain and get up to the top of Ensign Peak is in our own homes as President Packer tells us:
We know that the homes we establish, and those of our descendants, will be the refuge spoken of in the revelations-the “light,” the “standard,” the ensign” for all nations, and the refuge” against the gathering storms.
(see D&C 115:5-6; Isaiah 11:12; 2 Nephi 21:12)
“If a well-worn yellow bandana was good enough to be an ensign to the World, then ordinary men who hold the priesthood and ordinary women and ordinary children in ordinary families, living the gospel as best they can all over the world, can shine forth as a standard, a defense, a refuge against whatever is to be poured out upon the earth.”
(Boyd K. Packer, Gen. Conf., Oct 1, 2006)
Let us begin moving to the top of that spiritual mountain top Elder Goaslin spoke of, so we, the ordinary members of the church can join our inspired leaders in waving our handkerchiefs, or those palm branches that they represent. That is our witness to the world that this church is the oasis where those who thirst can come out of the parched desert to find the waters of life and partake freely. Let us drink deeply ourselves so our roots sink deep and our branches reach to the light of Heaven. Then we will be endowed with the power necessary to stand shoulder to shoulder in the army of the Lord of the Saboath and sing with one voice from Mount Zion .
“It all comes together in this dispensation of the fullness of times, in the which the consummation of all things will be completed and the earth prepared for the coming of the Lord.”
(Boyd K. Packer, Conf. Report, Oct 1, 2006)
In that Perfect Day
One day light will pour
through opened iris curtain
and I will see eye
to omniscient eye.
Together with other
watchmen, I will lift
my own voice and sing,
The Lord hath gathered
all things in one.
in my hands, I will
raise the record
of who I am and
grasp the hand that
spanned the heavens.
When I see as I am seen
know as I am known,
distinct and full of grace,
encircled in safe embrace,
my name will be the same
and I will speak with God
face to face.
Sharon Price Anderson
Definitions: Merriam-Webster OnLine Dictionary
1. relating to or coming from the stars
2. consisting of a supersensible substance held in theosophy to be next above the tangible world in refinement
Designed for or understood by the specially initiated alone
Suitable to be imparted to the public
knowledge attributed to Hermes Trismegastus
Relating to the Gnostic writings or teachings arising in the first 3 centuries A.D.
(the above definition is misleading since ancient societies had Hermetic knowledge believed to have originated from the Greek god, Hermes, long before the Gnostics)
The thought and practice especially of various cults of late pre-Christian and early Christian centuries distinguished by the conviction that matter is evil and that emancipation comes the rough gnosis.
Esoteric knowledge of spiritual truth held by the ancient Gnostics to be essential to salvation
1. a medieval and modern system of Jewish theosophy, mysticism, and thaumaturgy marked by belief in creation through emanation and a cipher method of interpreting scripture
2. a traditional, esoteric, occult, or secret matter b : esoteric doctrine or mysterious art
1. the experience of mystical union or direct communion with ultimate reality reported by mystics.
2. the belief that direct knowledge of God, spiritual truth, or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience (as intuition or insight)
3. vague speculation : a belief without sound basis b: a theory postulating the possibility of direct and intuitive acquisition of ineffable knowledge or power
1. a philosophy that emphasizes the prior condition of knowledge and experience or the unknowable character of ultimate reality or that emphasizes the transcendent as the fundamental reality
2. a philosophy that asserts the primacy of the spiritual and transcendental over the material and empirical
3. the quality or state of being transcendental, especially visionary idealism.
The Scriptures (daily)
Temple and Cosmos, by Hugh Nibley
Abraham in Egypt, by Hugh Nibley
The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri
Book of Breathings
Book of the Dead
Book of Enoch