I spent my Sunday just past with an extended part of my family, namely, members of the family of the man who married, later in life - after a divorce and considerable family-raising for both of them - one of my nieces, daughter of my brother. He died many years ago, and, after helping out his widow and young family for awhile in the wake of the tragic accident (including that he had no life insurance, and in fact had left them destitute after spending many years, and a lot of borrowed money, attempting to raise the money to make a film about the Book of Mormon; about which, more below), and ending up living overseas for the most of my adult life, I have ended up living with said niece and a number of her brood, which includes not only a couple of children from her previous marriage, and one son (briefly) of her now-husband’s, but plus (now-teenaged) twin girls as lovely fruit of their own relationship. One of this man’s sisters’ sons was speaking at a Church event in a nearby town - they are ‘Mormons,’ as are my side of the family (excepting me; read on) - about his time on a (stateside) Mission for the Church, and the sister was holding an Open House for extended members of the family at her house afterwards. This category now includes me, and, though the brief trip to their place of residence was going to include going to the Church service beforehand, I went along to the day’s whole event. When in Rome, etc.
The service - which was what the ‘Mormons’ call a Sacrament Meeting, at which the Christian memorial sacrament, in the ‘Mormon’ case of bread and water, is/was served - brought back memories for me. I was born into the ‘Mormon’ faith,(1) and though my mother, who divorced the father of my (older) brother and me when I was still in diapers, and with whom we then went to live (after an intervening period; another story) after she remarried, dropped her membership in the Church (for whatever reason never fully explained to me, although hinted at years later),(2) she still sent us kids to its Sunday school.(3) The ‘Mormons’ have a policy - belief, rather - of having the young male members of the families bless and serve the Sacrament, as part of their priesthood duties, and though I never engaged in that activity (for whatever reason that I can’t recall at this time; somehow I missed ‘the call’ at that time), and even though I have not been a member of said Church for many years now, and am in my dotage (I am 85, and counting), I found myself able to mentally recite the blessings by heart, along with the young priesthood members doing their duty at that official Church job.(4)
After the service we traveled the few miles to said home, for a buffet, where the mother of the man who is now married to my niece, and with whose family I am now living (trying, as I am, to help you keep up, dear Reader), cornered me for an in-depth discussion regarding religious things, with particular regard to the ‘Mormon’ religion, and my lack of membership therein. I had met her before, a couple of times, at the house where I am now living with my niece and her eldest son (got it by now??), and in the course of our brief conversations she had learned that although I had been born into the Church, I was no longer involved in it. And not just by inactivity. Which totally rejected ’category’ obviously piqued her mission-like attention.(5) Long story short: She challenged me to read The Book of Mormon. With much patience - I give such true believers a lot of credit, for their sincerity - I explained that I had read a fair bit in that tome, and “as a consequence of my research” -
“Don’t go by ‘research,’” she admonished me, a bit sharply. “Go by whether it has truths in it or not.” And she proceeded to ‘enlighten’ me as to how Satan works to lead people off the proverbial path,’and how she is part of a group who are working with various critiques of the Church, and how to answer those, in effect, Satanically-inspired critiques. Feeling myself getting a touch ‘short’ regarding her ‘true-believer’ position and imposition, I asked her how one is supposed to know whether The Book of Mormon is, quote, “true” or not.(6)
Put it to the test of how it makes you feel inside, was her response, and she then told me an anecdote about a woman, not at the time a believer in the Church, who still felt/said that she did indeed believe the Book of Mormon to be, quote, “true.” So I was being set a challenge by this earnest believer: to put it to the ‘heart’ test. But with our time of departure pressing on the conversation, I felt the need to explain to her my position, that brought up a fundamental inability for me to believe in the ‘truth’ of the BoM, or in Christianity itself - but with one caveat.
First, the inability for me to believe in the truth of Christianity in general, let alone in the ‘Mormon’ Church in particular:
the subject of reincarnation. I mentioned how there was considerable evidence in by now, from various sources, of the truth of reincarnation.(7) And therefore, there had to be something wrong with the Church’s idea that couples can be ‘sealed’ “for time and all eternity,” with their current offspring, as family units. (The ‘Mormons’ believe in a pre-existence, but think of it only in terms of that pre-existent soul choosing to enter into a particular family unit, without understanding the larger idea behind such a pre-existence: that we all have incarnated before, time after time, in various ‘family’ groups and otherwise, learning lessons along the way. Along the Way of becoming as God.)(8) But I ended my contribution to the discussion with the “one caveat” that I had no explanation for.
That involves - as I explained to her briefly and quickly, before we went to the front door to put our shoes back on and leave - a discovery in around 1941 by a team of archeologists from the National Geographic magazine around 1941, when doing some work in southern Mexico or northern Central America, I forget which, of a large carved stone in situ, like a marker of some sort, that they reported on at the time in a publication, and which information lay dormant for many years, until an enterprising researcher in such matters came across it, and somehow recognized it as likely to be of some interest to the ‘Mormons’. Why? In particular because it depicted an old bearded man sitting against a tree. The operative factor here is the beard. In Central America? He somehow knew that the ‘Mormons’ believed that some people of Middle Eastern descent had come to live in the area many years before the Christian era; and one thing led to another in that relatively current-time interaction. Including the fact that many details in the carving precisely matched a report of a dream or vision that an elder, patriarchal such Middle Eastern man in that Central American setting had as described in the BoM.(9) Our discussion ended at that point, with me giving her something to think about.
Her parting thought to me, as she quickly processed my points, was to wonder if Jesus Christ could still be the elder Son of God. My off-the-cuff response to her was to acknowledge that something like that could still possibly be the case. But what my response also included was a reference to all the reading that I have done over the years, and especially since returning to my home town in Southern California upon my retirement from my adult lifetime spent in a spiritual community in Scotland, that there were many such god-men talked about in those long-ago days, who preceded the figure of Jesus in our recorded history.
So. My conclusion, at this point:
Time will tell.
As Truth outs.
In many areas of our life. As we face
a whole new Era.
Including a new monetary system. As we get rid of the Babylonian system that has kept us captive of our erstwhile masters for long enough. Thus - and in conjunction with a level of technology just waiting to be ilmplemented - to allow us to experience Abundance on this beleaguered planet.
Facing, now, its release from the Dark forces that have run things -
as I say -
for long enough.
(1) i am putting the (widely-used) word ‘Mormon’ in quote marks for a reason, which I will get to in due course.
(2) Very possibly as terms of the divorce. Just trying to keep facts straight. As part of the very spirit of this blog.
(3) Okay, not to leave it hanging, as a footnote to the purposes of this blog: She told me once, when I was in my late teens or just above, and during a period in my life when I was not going to that (or any) Church, for whatever all reasons at that time, that the Church’s Temple ‘ordinances’ were copied after Freemasonic such rituals, and she believed (or possibly more accurately had been made to believe) that Joseph Smith, the Founder of the ‘Mormon’ Church, had simply copied them from Freemasonry origins. Which undoubtedly was part of why she went to all the trouble to get a Temple divorce from our birth father, in believing by that time in her life that there was something not of truth about the Church.
My personal journey in and out of the Church over the years was not in any way affected by her journey in life. I had my own reasons to have my own doubts about the truth of it. But to continue, for now.
(4) I had ‘attained’ the rank of the junior priesthood in the Church, called the Aaronic priesthood, before I dropped out of regular churchgoing. The higher rank being called the Melchizedek priesthood. It was to prove to be not for me, as I ‘moved on’ in my life at that stage, and don’t swear to any particular ‘benefits’ or powers by said junior priesthood ‘attainment’. Just my own powers of discernment.
(5) At this latter-stage time in her life, she is very active in Temple work ‘for the dead’ - that is, conferring ‘ordinances’ including baptism for one’s ancestors in particular (although in her words we are all the children of God, with the same Heavenly Father, and Only Begotten Son, the Lord, Jesus Christ), so that they can join other members of their family in the highest categories of heaven. Too long a story to go into here, that reference. Here, just to clarify that she believes that said ancestors have ‘free moral agency’ - the Church’s wording for the belief-category of free will - to accept what has been done for them by proxy.
I have concerns about that belief, since free will is a feature of this 3D life, of Choice, of Duality, of the presence of the Dark (for personal growth purposes). But our conversation had more important things to ‘quibble’ about, so I let that particular issue go.
(6) At this point, let me clarify why I have been putting the word ‘Mormon’ in quote marks. It turns out, from my interlocutor, that the current Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has ‘announced’ that the Membership should no longer call themselves ‘Mormons’. Why? It apparently has to do with these, er, Latter Days, and is involved with the idea of emphasizing for the world not the idea of an ancient prophet in Central America known as Mormon but rather the true focus of the religion, that of acceptance of and belief in ‘Christianity’ - and more clearly than perhaps before, of the role of The Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ And apparently even calling themselves ‘LDS’ is now, er, verboten.
Fair enough. Because I think these are, indeed, ‘latter days’. But perhaps not quite like any Christians are thinking of them to be.
(7) I didn’t mention them. But they include the likes of in-depth studies of examples of such reports, NDEs, and books & videos of the stories of people - often children - who have had verifiable memories of having lived past lives.
(In the interests of the subject of ‘truth,’ I will include here that I did briefly tell her, as an example, of a book about a very young American boy who told his parents that he had a memory of having been a fighter pilot in WWII and was shot down by the Japanese and died in his plane crash, where he remembered his name and that of his ship, as an example of the genre.
She made no comment. We pressed on.)
(8) The ‘Mormons’ have a belief that goes: ‘As Man is, God once was; and as God is, Man may become.’ Well; yes. Since we incarnate souls are all facets of our Creator Source, we contain that potential, as ‘chips off the old block’. And so are creators; and need to recognize that aspect of ourselves, and get on with The Process of unfolding that/our potential. But it is a process. As I told her briefly, as we prepared to leave the discussion behind: We can’t possibly do that job in one go at this 3D classroom, with its tests and exercises - its growth potential. Saying that Karma is not about Judgment, rather is about achieving Balance, from experiencing the consequences of our actions. That we need well more than one life in this free-will classroom in order to graduate from this school; and thew in a few more words along that line. And so - my point - the ‘Mormons’ are - and Christianity itself is - in error, in believing that one has just this one experience of this realm of Choice, of Duality - the play of the Light and the Dark - to grow in, and by, and instead need to be ‘saved’ by a Savior god figure. Of which there were numerous referred to at the time of the birth of Christianity.
(See in particular the works of D.M. Murdoch.)
(9) I quickly explained to her that quite a few years ago, in my research into ‘truth’ about the Church, I had gone to the trouble of spending some time in the stacks at Brigham Young University in Utah, investigating research reports regarding the early days of the Church, and at the same time visited the Archeology/Anthropology Dept. at the University to take a look at a facsimile of said stone, the story about which I had come across previously and which had by then become known as the Lehi stone, after the patriarch depicted on it. It was, indeed, a perfect replica of the passage in the BoM.
I have no answer to that conundrum to this day.