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Thursday, February 19, 2015

06. Spiritual Ascension Step #3: Align (How To Stay Aligned with God)

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the sixth examining the phrase "keepeth my commandments".

OK, pop quiz!

Hypothetical Situation: You go to sleep tonight. About 4:30am, you awake to find a man who's about 6'1" standing at the end of your bed. He is glowing white, like a light is within him. His feet are not touching the floor. You're startled, but the surprise quickly dissipates as he calms you and brings you glad tidings from the throne of God.

Now, in this instance, do you feel like getting up out of bed right then and there and committing some kind of sin?

Of course, your answer is an unhesitating "No!"

"Silent Notes Taking"

Then how is it that we mortals can go throughout our days and sin while knowing that "angels are silent notes taking"?
"God has spoken, and I know it, because I have heard his voice, and know the voice of the Good Shepherd, and am thankful that I have felt his power. Do I know that he has given this authority to use his name? Yes, gentlemen, I know it; and not only so, but I know that there are heavenly messengers that are now near me, as near as brothers Watt and Long, who are taking notes as faithfully as they are, and more so. The natural eye cannot see them, but they are here, and by our acts and our words shall we be judged. Yes, and these messengers transmit our words and our acts up on high, which are registered there in books; and by-and-by, when the dead, small and great, shall stand before God, these are the books that will be opened, and the dead will be judged out of the things that are written in the books. Then let us be careful what we do and what we say. The sacred writings on earth contain the law, but the records above contain the facts." (Orson Hyde, JD 8:24).
Conversely, we understand that whatever God has created, Satan has counterfeited.

So, if angels are "silent notes taking", it would be reasonable to assume that Satan and his minions are, too.  If angels discuss what can be done to inspire and motivate you to draw closer to Christ, it shouldn't be too far a stretch to think that others are planning an opposite trajectory for you as well.

I recently watched an eye-opening Ted talk (here:  In it, Christopher Sogohian describes how western companies sell special software to governments that allow them to hack computers and cell phones and hear, read and watch everything you do.  The software is so good, governments using this software can turn on your webcam without the light coming on, can read your texts or listen to your phone calls without you ever knowing it.

I believe Satan is no different. I wouldn't be surprised if, with thousands of years (and perhaps more) of experience, he and his associates can most likely read you like a book.

I've often wondered how they do it.  Now, this is just my imagination running rampant here, but I can just imagine them hacking humans by not only recording every word we speak and everything we see (and for how long), but they also watch our eye and body movements, correlate our responses with pupil dilation, heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. If so, I’ll bet the dossiers on us -- composed of records, notes and recordings -- are detailed and well-presented. I wouldn't be surprised if they bring in specialists who know exactly how to evaluate, exploit, attack and amplify pinprick-sized vulnerabilities in our spiritual armor and make them bigger so that our ability to enjoy the sweet, subtle intimations of the Holy Ghost are blurred, obscured and eventually compromised.

Of course, that’s my own theory.  I have no idea if that’s how it actually happens.

But I do know one thing:

The battle to keep you tuned in -- or not tuned in -- to the Spirit is raging all around you.

The Beginnings of Spiritual Dissonance

Several years ago, my family and I took a long road trip. On our way back, in the late evening in our vehicle, my wife and I found a radio station program that was really intriguing. We were amazed that for the longest time, the radio signal was crystal clear, despite our being several hundred miles away from its originating city. Then we took a turn through a mountain pass, and BAM! The signal was gone, and remained so until we got back on a level, non-mountainous area.

So it is with you. You may be able to go quite some time being able to converse with the Lord and with Father. Then, a few hours, days or a week later, you'll start to notice that your "receptivity" (for lack of a better term) isn't what it was a few days ago. You may even trace your actions back to some harsh words you said to another, blowing off a prompting to read the scriptures or perhaps driving past that disheveled man or woman standing on the corner by WalMart holding a sign that says, "God Bless You".

Then, as you "Return and Report" to Father at night, you review your day and discuss what you did wrong. You repent, and look for ways to turn the aforementioned weakness into a strength.

Now, let's rewind this whole scenario. Let's start over again with a couple of truths which may have prevented that sin from emerging and increasing the distance between you and God.

Avoiding Temptation In The First Place

Can the righteous actually avoid yielding to (or withstand) temptation?

I believe so.

Christ, our Exemplar, showed us the way. Of Him it is written,
"He suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them." (D&C 20:22)
Can we mortals do the same? Yes.
"Now Amulek said: O thou child of hell, why tempt ye me? Knowest thou that the righteous yieldeth to no such temptations?" (Alma 11:23)
"Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart; teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ." (Alma 37:33)
So right now, let's start casting off those preconceived notions that we are so flawed as mortals, that there's no possible way we can avoid sinning. Scripturally, Christ confronted such doubters by saying, "Get thee behind me, Satan." (Matthew 16:23)

It is possible. Together with Christ, you can develop the ability to anticipate Satan's attacks and dodge them.

How is it so? How can a person avoid temptation and, therefore, sin?

We'll examine some strategies in Part 2 of this post...

In the meantime, here's a nifty little video...

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind.
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side.
The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine.
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side.

1 comment:

  1. Love this song so much. Thank you for posting it. Love it! Love it! Love it!