Monday, April 29, 2013

Seer Stones

Dear Josten,

Today my scripture study led me someplace really unique, and some big words are sticking out at me.

Last week in the mail, you saw how I received a big box of stones.  They were a graduation gift, and WaWa let me open them up early.  They were a set of 57 massage stones, to be used in a "hot stone" massage.  We were all overjoyed, even though you and your siblings really didn't know what we all so excited about.

Yesterday, when doing some blog exploring, I can across a really interesting site called One Climbs.  The author created an image of what s/he believes the interpreters used by Joseph Smith looked like, when he translated the Book of Mormon.  (If s/he gives me permission, I'll update this post and include the artwork.)  They included "seer stones", and the depiction is quite fascinating.  Made me want to explore the topic some more.

(When I took this pic, I had no idea this post would be written a few days later... or that this would have such a fun connotation to this post!)

So this morning, as I opened up my scriptures, I knew it was time again to do my time tested method of deciding where to read: close my eyes and ask "where should I read today?"  It's been a few weeks since I had the time to just sit and listen to the answer, even though it usually pops in my head before I get to finish asking the question.  D&C 32.

This section is quite short actually.  And some words and phrases impressed me.  It's a revelation given to Parley P. Pratt.  Love him.  (Read The Key to the Science of Theology on my bookshelf, or for free on the Kindle App by clicking that link.  He has some marvelous thoughts on angels, spirits, and dreams, which few contemporary authors have expounded upon.  Love that book.)  Anyways, using the footnotes next to Parley's name, I went to D&C 50:37 and started skimming what was going on there for him.  A few verses down, verse 44 says

Wherefore, I am in your midst, and I am the good shepherd, and the stone of Israel. He that buildeth upon this rock shall never fall.

Did somebody just say stone?  Last night after thinking about the seer stones used for translation, I remember learning somewhere along the way about two of the stones used by the brother of Jared.  When preparing to cross the ocean, the brother of Jared was perplexed as to how there would be light within the barges which the Lord instructed him to build.  The brother of Jared asked the Lord to touch 16 stones so that they would give light within the barges.  After the Nephite civilization was destroyed (whether it be their structure, or their lives in general), Moroni deposited the plates he inscribed upon, along with a breatsplate, the sword of Laban, and the Urim and Thummim.  My understanding is that there were two of these stones, touched by the finger of the Lord, which made up the U&T.

(Not quite like the Urim & Thummim... but close?:)

Back to the verse, the Lord is the good shepherd, the stone of Israel.  It was His light, his finger touching stones, that gave literal light within the barges.  It was these stones, touched by his finger, that allowed for the Book of Mormon to be translated.  If we build upon Him, we shall never fall.

I flipped back to D&C 32, and skimmed the page.  On the right side, I found D&C 33:13.

And upon this rock I will build my church; yea, upon this rock ye are built, and if ye continue, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.

We used to refer to this idea on my mission, when teaching the 3rd discussion.  We would say that Christ was the foundation, Peter the chief cornerstone, and then start building a makeshift church with Dixie cups.  We would end up focusing the remainder of the discussion on the church as a whole, and less on the idea that Christ is the rock.  But for this post, I want to re-focus back on the rock.  What does that mean, really?  If we build on Him?  Feel free to let that sit with you for awhile.  There are lots of references to Him being the rock EVERYwhere.

In some of the random classes I've been to over the years, I've learned some fun properties about rocks.  This year in school you learned all about the rock cycles.  How rocks are forms, how long they take to form, and different things they can/can't do.  In my classes, I've learned how some rocks like quartz are actually some of the best conductors of electricity on the planet.  How interesting that the Source of Light would touch His finger on 16 rocks, at the request of Jared's brother, and those stones would hold the energy from his touch for months while they crossed the ocean(s).

Another thought I saw someone present on another blog's comment thread is that we need to depend more upon God Himself, rather than people, an institution, or even our own intuition.  That last one struck me.  So very true.  I should not be trusting my intuition so wholly as I should be trusting God Himself.  I do not know of any source in the scriptures where I am told to trust myself, but only the Spirit of God within me.  Perhaps that's what I'm getting at, when I say or am told to "trust your/my gut".  Perhaps my intuition is based upon my connection to God, but even my intuition has been known to make mistakes.

Anyways, very long post.  I hope you get the idea.  Run with it!

Love you!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spirit Sensitivity

Dear Daniel,

I'm DONE!!!  Today I took my final examination required to become a massage therapist.  When I began this blog over a year and a half ago (?), I never expected that this "major shift" would turn me into a massage therapist!  But here we are, and I'm almost done.  In a few days you'll have your mommy completely home again, and we can make as many messes as we want.

(Thank you for the beautiful flowers! xoxo!)

I've missed getting to spend my days with you and Austin.  Sure, the older ones were at school all day, and mostly I'd be here for them.  I hope you and your siblings weren't traumatized by hanging out with your pappy and daddy half the days.  I know lots of people do that situation, where the mom just isn't able to be in the home.  But this decision felt hard for me, despite its rightness, because it didn't make sense in so many ways.  I remember worrying to one of my classmates, saying those exact "I hope my boys aren't traumatized" words.  She said to me, "They'll be just fine!"  Hopefully time proves her right. You seem to be just fine.

There's a magical discovery that happened during these months of school.  There is a power in our bodies that few of us realize, and it is the power of one's spirit.  Generally we neglect, and many even deny, that such a thing is there.  But when we die, it is our ever-living spirit which carries on, while our bodies return to the ground from whence we are told they came.  In practicing massage, I have learned to greater feel my own spirit, and the literal impact it can have on the spirits of others.

I remember several years ago, not quite understanding why my own spirit seemed so unique.  Some situations bothered me more than they would bother the average person.  WaWa always said that I needed to "toughen up" my skin, and not be so sensitive.  At times she's right, but I'm observing that it is my sensitive skin that is in fact a gift.  I don't need to necessarily please other people, or worry about holding up my pride.  It doesn't matter if I'm the only one to ever apologize for doing something wrong, while the other party feels their pride in "being right".  It'll work itself out.  I trust that being sensitive and impacted by the spirits and energies of others is part of who I am, and part of the gifts that God has given me.

Perhaps this might not be that insightful for you, and perhaps it will be.  Some people take offense at things that should not be taken offense at, and it will be up to you to forgive them, and not let their negative spirits cut into your beautiful, sensitive spirit.  You seem to be as easily affected by others' energies as I am, so will warn you that this can hurt, when you are unprepared.  But get prepared.  Take care of your body, and show it respect, so that you appreciate and protect the gift that is inherent in you, as it is in me.

You are my sunshine...
I'm so glad I get to spend more time with you.  It is the biggest relief, to know that I can now be home with you each and every day if I want to.  I hope that with accomplishing this remarkable goal, it will bless your life as you grow.  It certainly has awakened a power I never knew existed.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Alma to Helaman - Psst... by the way

Dear Austin, 

Yesterday I was reading a few of the words of Alma.  I do believe he's one of my favorite prophets, although I almost wonder if he called himself one.

In Alma 45:9, Alma's talking to his son, Helaman, as in the leader of the 2000 Ammonites (aka "Stripling Warriors").  He shares a prophecy with him in a very interesting way.

9 But behold, I have somewhat to prophesy unto thee; but what I prophesy unto thee ye shall not make known; yea, what I prophesy unto thee shall not be made known, even until the prophecy is fulfilled; therefore write the words which I shall say.
10 And these are the words: Behold, I perceive that this very people, the Nephites, according to the spirit of revelation which is in me, in four hundred years from the time that Jesus Christ shall manifest himself unto them, shall dwindle in unbelief.
I've read this more times than I can count.  Certain parts never struck me like they did yesterday and today.

Alma told Helaman something that no one else would know.  He prohibited it, which sharing and prohibition were likely directed by the Lord.  Why did he tell Helaman, and why could Helaman not share it?

These things were known among the prophets, but the general population would not be made aware at all.  I wonder, besides the obvious, why?  There were plenty of leaders warning the people to repent.  And every other time I've read this, I've wondered, "Well duh.  It was prophesied.  Didn't the people hear the voices of warning?  Why didn't they do something?"  But it occurred to me that maybe they didn't know this destruction was imminent at the time of 400 years post-resurrection.  While the true prophets warned, the bulk of the people likely ignored the warnings, and because of it, they ripened in pride and iniquity.

It makes me wonder what prophecies we might be not paying much attention to.  Like what about the warning and condemnation the church members as a whole received in the 1800s for not studying and using the Book of Mormon more.  Do you think we're any better?  Do we know who Aminadab is?  Or Gidgidoni or Lachoneus?  Does it matter?  We may not need to memorize stories, but we should know the words of this piece of scripture well enough that we can recall the stories of these people as well as we can recall the stories of the more commonly known people like Nephi and Lehi.  Just my opinion.

Love you!