Hello! Shalom! Aloha! Mabuhay!

If this is your first visit to Modern Apocrypha, I have only two recommendations for continuing on with minimal confusion:

1) Please begin with the first introductory post (found HERE) and work your way forward. Almost all the posts on this blog flow chronologically and will make more sense with the background and context of previous ones. Jumping in anywhere might be disorienting.

2) Please read along in the texts posted off to the right. I try not to summarize too much in the commentary and discussion, and being at least somewhat familiar with what we're discussing or I'm commenting on will be most beneficial and edifying for all involved. Plus, going along with the theme of this blog, any hidden truths to be brought to light will be found within the text itself and not necessarily within my ramblings.

Okay, fine, three recommendations:

3) Please read with an open heart, mind, and spirit. See what truths you can find in these works--ones which speak to you. Namaste : )

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Elisha asks the simple, yet critical, question for seekers of truth: How will we know? And the Lord gives a simple, yet critical, answer: The Spirit will show you. This is supremely important to understand. The search for truth is a personal matter, so the Lord leaves quite a lot of that process up to us--the desire to learn more, degree of investment in the search, openness to new truth, humility to accept it, sincerity of heart and purity of motive, relationship with the Spirit, familiarity with its promptings, faith to act on them, and so on. The key to remember is that the Spirit is constant, true, and always willing to impart revelation; it's our responsibility to get to where it is and tune in to it, not the other way around. As we strive to become its constant companion, it will be ours (see D&C 121:45-46).

"Ask and ye shall receive" is the most common promise given by the Lord (and in all of scripture). Yet how often do we--does anyone--actually take Him up on this promise in the pursuit of truth? Oftentimes, we can get complacent about our state of knowledge--that we know enough or have achieved the minimal requirements for salvation--or, on the other hand, that we aren't personally capable or even allowed to know more. Each of these perspectives betrays a flawed comprehension of God, self, and the relationship of the two. We aren't much compared to God, as Moses discovered (Moses 1:10); however, the great paradox is that we are everything to Him--we are His children and He is our loving Father. And as such, Christ taught that God will give us spiritual truth as we ask for it (Matt 7:7-11; Luke 11:9-13). The mysteries of God are not untouchable, and it's no punishable offense to seek for them. Rather they are spiritual truths only understood in the process of asking and receiving through the Spirit (Matt 13:11; D&C 42:61, 65; 63:23; 84:19; 107:18-19). However, the search for truth is, and should be, an endless pursuit, not just a once-in-a-lifetime event. Joseph Smith taught:
Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. (D&C 130:18-19)
And so the Lord doesn't give Elisha a long discourse on how to come to know truth. His answer is short and sweet: Follow the Spirit. But He makes an interesting and key distinction between physical and spiritual truth and teaches that physical truth can only be determined through physical means and spiritual truth can only be determined through spiritual means. This epistemological dichotomy is central in the so-called faith and religion v. science and reason debates. While I'm optimistic in the efforts to bridge this divide, it's really a collision of two distinct paradigms or worldviews with some slight overlap. However, Christ teaches that--at least at this point--there's something to this division: logic, reason, and the scientific method will only be able to deduce physical or natural laws and truth, whereas spiritual laws and truth will only be able to be ascertained through spiritual means--faith, obedience, revelation, etc. Yet even still the Lord is patient and merciful toward those who can't quite grasp things spiritually; He will eventually provide them physical means to accept His spiritual truths. This is exemplified in His encounter with the apostle Thomas who'd said:
Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. (John 20:25)
Then after Jesus allowed him a physical witness to help his faithlessness and unbelief, He taught:
Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. (29)
Despite Thomas' difficulty believing the witness of the Spirit and others, Jesus still provided a physical means for him to accept the spiritual truth of His glorious resurrection. Yet He notes that we are better off gaining spiritual knowledge through spiritual means than physical ones.
The Lord continues on this theme of giving us what we need in order to believe in the subsequent segment, but breaks from it for a moment to give Elisha another command concerning the record he will translate. Elisha is to read Ezekiel 40-48 and include it at the beginning of the Aklatan. The Lord says this is "for a special purpose" but doesn't say what that would be. That phrase should remind LDS readers of the experiences and teachings of Nephi (1 Nephi 9:3-6; 19:3), Mormon (Words of Mormon 1:7) and Alma (Alma 37:2-18) concerning the wise and special purposes of the Lord regarding His records. We'll explore these Ezekiel chapters later, but they comprise a vision that Ezekiel had of the temple of the Lord in the last days where he gives a description of its construction and the goings-on within. The "special purpose" more than likely will have something to do with preserving and teaching about the temple and temple worship.

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