Luke 4:18-19, 21 BHT, That Day Has Come

15 thoughts on “Luke 4:18-19, 21 BHT, That Day Has Come”

  1. Bryce, your approach (IMHO) seems to be somewhat what in contention with the doctrines and revelations of the restoration. While I’m open to the idea that we still have much more to learn about the economy of the Kingdom, I’m of the opinion that certain foundational elements of that economy have been put in place to lead is in the right direction with regard to gaining further knowledge. I, therefore, give it to you as my opinion that we must allow the scriptures to inform our opinions on the oneness of God and be careful not to over-interpret or even jettison those doctrines that seem to challenge our views on the subject.

    The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants are very clear as to the doctrine of a literal, physical resurrection and the separate embodiment of every individual, including the Father and the Son. We are individuals and will be resurrected as individuals and will continue as individuals; there we must begin. Joseph Smith spoke of having the same sociality in the next world that we have here except — and this is the clincher — it will be coupled with glory.

    Now, I’m certain that I haven’t said anything here that you don’t already know. But I want to point out the fact that Joseph doesn’t unpack what he means by “coupled with glory.” And, IMO, that’s as it should be–because that’s where (as it relates to conversation) the threshold lies to the realm of the mysteries. Both you and I know that the term “glory” in LDS theology is wondrous–and, as it is expressed in Joseph’s statement, it is no small appendage. It’s implications are infinite!

    And, so, as I’ve already said, establishing our individuality is a beginning. And then, as we go from there in our quest to understand the mysteries, we’ll be pointed in the right direction–and we’ll understand more clearly what it means to be one with God and how the Father and the Son are one. But, beyond that I will not venture because (IMO) that will take us into the realm of things that ought not to be spoken.

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    1. Jack, thank you gain for sharing your thoughts. Yes, my perspective is in disagreement with the modern LDS Church’s teachings. I openly acknowledge that. So was Jesus teaching in open disagreement with the Judaism of his time, and Joseph’s teaching was in open disagreement with the Protestantism of his time. What I teach is not informed by any institution. It is informed by my experience in communion with God.

      I think we misunderstand the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants today. We misinterpret them, it seems to me. Yes, the resurrection is literal, and it does involve the physical, but I perceive that it is a renewing of mind and body, a completely new and transfigured perception and conscious awareness of spirit and substance that is forever and ever One. I don’t think it means that our human body will never die, and never return to the dust of the ground. I think denying this reality is a delusion, a deception of ego. Our ego likes to think that we will never die, that the ego will never have a dissolution, but I think that is a lie of the ego, and is untrue.

      Resurrection, I perceive, happens during life, and is synonymous with awakening, enlightenment, spiritual rebirth, atonement, calling and election, the Second Comforter, and even the Second Coming. We come to realize that Christ lives within us, and has always lived within us, as our Life. This is our resurrection, the resurrection of Christ within us. Then we come to know a sociality among all living beings, all humans, even all of creation, that is as One. The Love we have for all being becomes Infinite, because we recognize it as our Self, not as separate or independent from us, but as One with us, in us. This is glorious indeed, beyond words, because we realize our unity with all of creation, even all of the Universe. It is all Me. I am One with it all. It humbles us to the depths of our soul to realize this, and the majesty and mercy of God in it all. We can never truly know this glory if we do not ourselves awaken, have that calling and election, receive the Second Comforter, which is the Second Coming, in my view.

      I perceive that we will never come to know God if we do not lose our sense of individuality. I believe it is that very sense of individuality, separateness, independence, that keeps us apart from union in God. The at-one-ment is Infinitely Oneness in God. There can be no human ego left in that Oneness. We don’t come to know these things intellectually, as in reading a book, or even in reading my words, but through direct experience. We experience these mysteries ourselves, in the deepest and truest religious experience.

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  2. Though each one of us (IMO) will always possess our own unique identity it doesn’t necessarily follow that we won’t achieve oneness with God–we will if we seek it with a pure heart. Even so, it is the reality of the sacred other that makes possible the joy of unity.

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    1. It is my view that we will not always possess our own unique identity. That egoic identity is *precisely* what we must lose if we are to perceive our Oneness in God. Many scriptures note that no human can endure the presence of God, and I think this is why; the human ego is no more in that Presence, it is all God (1 Ne. 10:21; 2 Ne. 2:8; D&C 67:11-12; D&C 84:22; D&C 94:8-9; Moses 1:5; Moses 6:57; Ex. 33:20; John 1:18; John 6:46; Heb. 12:14). The ego must be entirely shed, it must be sacrificed, it must be “crucified,” in order for Christ to be realized within us, even as Jesus did, even as Paul did (Galatians 2:20). Not my [egoic] will, but thine be done. We find our Pure Heart by removing all defilements of ego, even all of the ego itself. The Sacred will be “other” only so long as we remain profaned in our separate and single egos, I perceive. We realized our Sacredness, even the Holy Saint within us, by putting off that “natural man” (Mosiah 3:19). Then God is unveiled in Glory within us, within our Self.

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      1. The Savior, in speaking to his disciples, said that he was the vine (the trunk) and they were the branches. What we get from this imagery is a symbol of both oneness and unification. The tree, as a whole, is one. But it may be divided into its various parts; its trunk, its larger and smaller branches, its leaves and fruit. All of these are identifiable and significant. And, so it is with Paul’s description of the Body of Christ. Christ is the head–there he makes a distinction between Christ and the rest of the Body, though certainly, the whole would be identified as Christ.

        Even our own bodies are the typifying of Christ–and while the symbol is elegant and beautiful and even simple, it is not simplistic. The human body is probably the most complex organism that we know of–it is wondrous and complex beyond our ability to comprehend. So to is the Kingdom.

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      2. There is an old Eastern parable:

        A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: “We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable”. So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it. In the case of the first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said “This being is like a thick snake”. For another one whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk. The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said, “elephant is a wall”. Another who felt its tail, described it as a rope. The last felt its tusk, stating the elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear.

        Were these blind men knowing different separate things and distinct objects, or only one thing? Were there many different animals, or just one animal? Even as an elephant may be differentiated into an infinite array of identifiable parts and features, it is yet only one single animal, so too is God. Yes, we are the body of Christ, parts of the whole, and yet there is only One whole called Christ, and the whole does not exist without its parts, even every part. In fact, the whole exists in *every* part, each and every one.

        A better analogy might be seen in a hologram. If we look at a hologram, it contains one image. If we cut that hologram into pieces, we may still perceive the whole image in every single piece. Even if the hologram is cut into a million pieces, the whole image is still perceptible in each and every piece. No part of the image is lost. So it is with God, which is a Mystery to our Western understanding of logic and rationality. There is no part in all of creation in which the whole of God may not be perceived, even within ourselves. We can realize ourselves in perfect and complete Oneness with the totality of God. There is only One Great Whole, and we are that One.

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  3. What I’m saying is that both are happening–the micro and the macro, so to speak. There is no eternal life without both.
    The promises made to Abraham make that clear, IMO.

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    1. I perceive that the promises made to Abraham are only realized when our separate and single egoic identity falls away. That’s when we realize that our posterity, those that come after us, and even the whole of the human family right now, is as the sands of the seashore. That humanity will come to know of its Oneness in God in the very same way that we have, and realize eternal life in that Oneness, as the One.

      I don’t perceive there is any egoic self that persists after bodily death, since this is a construction in consciousness, made up of the neural networks and wiring of our brains throughout a lifetime of experience. When the brain dies, so does all that wiring, and the ego self with it.

      Only the One Eternal God persists, in my view. We may come to identify with that One, if we will, and this is known as Eternal Life. We cannot serve two masters, the ego and God.

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  4. The worst torment I could suffer would be to learn that my loved ones will not continue as their fundamental selves–and I mean that they will somehow lose that part of them that is peculiar to them alone; their will; their intelligence; their own peculiar “I Am.” I personally do not believe (at this point in my understanding of things) that that fundamental identity necessarily emanates from God. I believe it is self-existent and co-eternal with God. My own sense is that God became our Father by our choosing to enter into a relationship with him by covenant. And, perhaps, at that point we experienced some sort of ontological development from a previous, shall we say, more primal state to a state empowered with greater capacity to progress by means of a preparatory degree of union with God.

    IMHO, we will continue as self-existent identities. But! Depending upon our desires we will ultimately receive that portion of God’s glory that will bring us the most happiness–and I’ll let you unpack the term “glory” in this context. And those who are willing to receive a fulness of Glory will at some point enjoy the kind of oneness that Jesus prayed for his disciples to receive.

    I’m trying to keep my comments grounded in the scriptures–so these things may come across a little clumsy at times. But there you have it.

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    1. I know it is difficult to consider that our egoic selves do not continue on beyond death. The continuance of ego is what most Christianity teaches today, as well as Mormonism, and several other religions too, but I think they are mistaken. It is a comfort to our ego to think that we will live with our families beyond the grave. What we haven’t yet realized is that the nuclear family is not our ultimate Family. The entire Human Race is our Family. All of Life is our Family. The entire Cosmos is our Family. This is what our essence returns to after death and becomes One with once more. We may perceive this Oneness even while we live, when the ego falls away from consciousness.

      Those things that are peculiar to us, our will, our intelligence, our own peculiar feeling of “I,” these all belong to the ego, to that psychological construction of “self” in consciousness. That is not the “I AM” that is spoken of in scripture. When we think of ourselves as our name, knowledge, skills, abilities, experiences and memories, this is not the “I AM.” This is the ego, which all emerges during life, starting in early childhood, and has no existence prior to that, and I perceive will have no existence after death. The true “I AM” is that which is found underneath all of that. It is our essential being, existence, life itself, creation, even the Universe.

      This is what Jesus meant when he said: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). This is a real stumbling block for many, and most misunderstand it. Jesus was not saying that we should not love our nuclear families or that we should despise them, but rather that we should not be so attached to them that we think we will have their egos with us forever. To come to Christ we must detach ourselves from our families, and even our own egoic selves, and realize a much bigger picture. Otherwise we cannot follow Christ.

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      1. Bryce, first let me thank you for engaging in this conversation with me. Even though I disagree with you on some points, it’s been interesting and though provoking.

        I think most LDS who are mature in the faith understand that the family of God — our ultimate family — includes all of God’s children. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that we don’t learn to love our immediate families in a way that approaches the kind of love that God has for all of us. The challenge is, then, to learn how to love all others like we do those who are closest to us–and that’s a good thing to reach for.

        I don’t think we lose everything about the identity we gain here when we pass on. I think we move forward with a sanctified version it–without which we would not be able to receive a fulness of everything that God is willing to share with us. I agree with the notion that the “ego” doesn’t always reflect our true selves–but primarily in the sense that we inherit lies from our fallen condition and surroundings. Because, on the other hand, there are wonderfully positive things that we experience by coming here and taking upon ourselves this coarse material. And these experiences, being new to us, must be part of our development into something “more” than we were before–else, why experience them? And, if by coming into this sphere we learn something that will cause us to become more than what we were before, then why wouldn’t we keep it? IMO, we capture something here that becomes intrinsic to who and what we are–that enables us to move forward with greater potential to become like God.

        Re: Your last paragraph. I fear that you might be falling into the trap of interpreting everything through some kind of grand “unified theory” of mysticism or religion. We have to remember that the same God who tells us to hate our family (in those particular circumstances) also gave the Two Great Commandments.

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      2. Thank you, Jack. I’m glad that we can discuss these things.

        Yes, we learn to love our immediate families in a way that approaches God’s Love for all of us. Our task then is to extend that love to all of the Human Family. For that is God’s Love. In order to at-one with God, we must have that Love for all, otherwise we are not yet at-one in God.

        I perceive we receive a fullness of everything that God has when we realize that we are One in God. That is the moment when we realize that all things are ours, because we are of God.

        I believe we were not less before coming here. There was no ego before our birth. We were God. God became human to experience Life, and will return to God after life. The experiences of life are to experience Life. And God continually becomes life to experience the infinite diversity of Life, eternally. We may realize that we are that God, and this is our development. But I perceive it is not the development of the ego, but a purification of being that reveals what we really are, which is Perfect in God. Be ye therefore perfect, not become ye therefore perfect. As Thomas Merton and other mystics have discovered, we have a virgin point within us (le point vierge), that is absolutely pure and perfect, and is only covered over and obscured by our defilements and impurities of ego.

        I perceive that every great spiritual adept or enlightened teacher who has ever lived has been a mystic, including Jesus and Joseph Smith. Mysticism is where all religions begin, and is true religion. I don’t perceive this as a trap. It is the perennial tradition, ancient wisdom, universalism. God speaks to all nations, and they have written it (2 Nephi 29:7, 12). It is we who fall into the trap of thinking that our own little tradition is the only “right” one. This is the ego.

        In my experience, the Two Great Commandments are really One and the same, which is God’s Love for all Beings, which we must likewise have if we are to realize we are God: https://thymindoman.com/2017/04/26/the-greatest-commandments-are-one/

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  5. A few more thoughts–

    I think your use of the term ego is rather modern. I doubt that someone like King Benjamin thought of the human psyche in those terms. When he spoke of the natural man, IMO, I don’t think he imagined that the individual had to annihilate their identity so much as *sanctify* it–and we do that by receiving the Holy Ghost.

    Also, if we are purely emanations from God then why this experience? Why this life of sorrow and difficulty? What is God’s purpose with regard to the Fall and all it entails as it relates to Himself? And, on top of that, if God is not motivated primarily by love toward another then what is his primary motivation? If we are only a part of Him then what is it about us that causes him to love us so dearly? Why has he done all things for us–the Creation, Fall, and Redemption–what is this all about if it’s not for the good of another, but only Himself?

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    1. You are right that my use of the term “ego” is modern. Our understanding and use of terms, labels, words, and such changes over time, they evolve. We know far more about human psychology today than they did anciently, They did not think of the human psyche in those terms. They used other terms, such as “life,” “self,” “pride,” “vanity,” “greed,” “natural man,” “carnal mind,” “will,” “thoughts,” etc. These all stem from our self-consciousness, our psychological self, our thinking mind.
      I perceive that the way we sanctify our identity is by cleansing ourselves of that which is not fundamental to it. I think this is the reason for the symbolism of cleansing and purification. We are *removing* that part of us that is not really us. The symbols of sacrifice also are used here, that we must “sacrifice ourselves.” Consecration is the *complete* sacrifice of self, which makes the Soul sacred. I think our identity, our true identity, is not our ego. I think ego is a construction, built up over our lives, and is not truly what we are. It is an illusion, a fake, a counterfeit, an imposter, the father of lies, the son of perdition and destruction. We don’t become sanctified by making that ego holy and pure. I think that is impossible. The ego is unholy merely by believing that it is who we really are. It sits in the temple of our minds, believing that it is who we really are, that it is God (2 Thes. 2:3-4 BHT). That alone makes it impure, because it is false, and no unclean thing can endure the presence of God. The “Holy Ghost” burns this ego right out of us, as if by Fire. We watch it dissolve. And then what is unveiled and revealed is our true nature, our true Identity, our true Self, which is Holy and Pure, even Perfect, as it has always been, but has been obscured by our ego. This “annihilation” of the self is known in Sufi Islam as fana. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fana_(Sufism)
      Why this experience? Why life? What purpose does it have? I perceive that God desires to have experience, to live, to love, to cry, to dance, to sing, and even to suffer and die, and so births himself into the Life of the world, an infinite times every day. The purpose of Life is to live it. The meaning of Life is that which we give it. We are the Gods that God has birthed into the world. We are ultimately emanations of that One, and the reason we are here is to live Life, and to know that Life is the reason we’re here, and to know ourselves as that Life, as that God that has given birth as us. We need not suffer if we realize the bigger picture, if we realize it is not about our ego, or this particular temporal body. This particular self is not what matters. Life matters. We are the Life of the world. Why do we hide from Life? We should let our Light so shine, which is the Light of Christ.
      I perceive that prior to the Fall of human consciousness, prior to Homo sapiens sapiens becoming self-conscious, that we lived a much more free and open life, even as most animals do today. They don’t obsess about the past, or agonize over the future. Consider the lilies. They toil not, neither do they spin. Or the birds. They don’t sow crops, or reap, they don’t go to jobs, and they don’t horde material things, being possessive of properties. They just fly. They gather food. They live, as fully as is possible for them to live. They let life flow as life has been granted them. God provides for them, and they just do life, they don’t worry about life. They live Life. It was the emergence of self-consciousness in humanity that was our Fall, I perceive, that suddenly made us so concerned about our lives, and which causes tremendous and needless suffering.
      God is motivated by Love. One of God’s names is Love (1 John 4:7-8, 16 BHT). That’s what God essentially is—Love—which manifests throughout the world and cosmos in a multitude of diverse ways and lives and loves. God loves us because we are of God. Do we hate our arm or leg? Not normally; we love all of our body and being. And that is God’s Love for us. We are God. We are not “another” or “other.” We are not separate. We are One with God already, but we just don’t realize it, and that Oneness is Love. That Oneness is known through Love. That Atonement is the Purest Love of all. It is Christ. It is ultimate, perfect, infinite, eternal Union. Our perception is obscured, our eyes are blinded, our egos are deceived, such that many of us can’t see it. We think only dualistically. We deceive our own selves, not knowing our own Self, even God.
      God does all these things so that Life and Love may exist, otherwise there is no God. For God is all there is, God is all Being, including our Being. Our redemption is becoming aware of this, realizing it, awakening to the reality of what we are. This is the purpose of the gospel, in every dispensation, and in every spiritual tradition, I perceive. A human becomes aware of reality, and then shares how others may also become aware of reality, and this is salvation, exaltation, enlightenment, resurrection, awakening, Second Coming, apocalypse, parousia, revelation, epiphany, liberation, freedom, rebirth, millennium, Truth, Light, Love, charity, everlasting rest, peace, comfort, joy, Second Comforter, calling and election, the promise made sure, the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God, theosis, divinization, deification, actualization, realization, the way, the Firstborn, even Christ, the Buddha, Krishna, Atman/Brahman, Messiah, Allah, Manifestation, the unveiling, etc., etc., etc. It is all of that and more, much more, more than any and all words can ever express in all eternity. It is Infinite, because it is God.

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      1. I appreciate the sense of wonder and praise in your language. But what you describe by way of functionality isn’t enough for me. IMHO, we simply cannot know the depths of love without the Sacred Other. And the deepest love cannot be expressed without the continuation and recognition of others. In fact, it’s my opinion that the underlying principle of maximum joy is the unification of separate entities. We must be aware of each other in order to rejoice in each other’s good company.

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