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Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Way Back Home

This is the first of a two-part post which ends a 2+ year analysis of D&C 93:1 and a 6+ month synopsis of the Seven Steps of Ascension (which began here).

The Steps of Sanctification

"Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who
forsaketh his sins and
cometh unto me, and
calleth on my name, and
obeyeth my voice, and
keepeth my commandments,
shall see my face and know that I am;" (D&C 93:1)
In addition to D&C 93:1, the Lord has scattered seven doctrines throughout the scriptures which, when combined, further enhance our understanding of the progressive steps of perfection:
Step #1: Ask
Step #2: Receive Divine Teaching
Step #3: Align
Step #4: Repent
Step #5: Consecrate
Step #6: Obey
Step #7: Express Gratitude
When combined, they look like this:
Ask cometh unto me / calleth on my name
Receive Divine Teaching
Align
Repent forsaketh his sins
Consecrate
Obey obeyeth my voice / keepeth my commandments
Express Gratitude
(the process repeats itself) (the process repeats itself)
I believe both of these sequences illustrate the steps we must take to ascend to His presence. When you:
  1. Ask God for assistance in growing spiritually (you come unto God and call on Him), you eventually
  2. Receive divine teaching which prompts you to 
  3. Align with God and no one else. This alignment should motivate you to 
  4. Repent of your waywardness (forsake your sins) and 
  5. Consecrate to do better. As you do these things, you 
  6. Obey the promptings of the Spirit (obey my voice and keep His commandments) and inevitably become stronger in Yeshua Ha Mashiach, which motivates you to 
  7. Express gratitude to God. This final act -- the expression of gratitude -- unlocks further doors to spiritual growth and development.
Indeed, the process repeats itself; you receive light, and continue in it, then receive more light, and on and on until the ultimate experience in mortality:

"That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day." (D&C 50:24)

Taking More Steps Into Greatness


As stated in "The Characteristics of Spiritual Ascension," the Lord describes the process of achieving perfection in different ways:
  • It's line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little (2 Nephi 28:30; also see D&C 98:12).

    "blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have." (2 Nephi 28:30) 
  • It's "grace to grace" and "grace for grace"
"And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace." (John 1:16)
"And I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us. And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace; And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness; For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace." (D&C 93:11-13, 20)
  • It's "strength to strength"
"They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God." (Psalms 84:7)
  • It's "faith to faith"
"For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17)
  • It's "glory to glory"
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3:18)
So as you can tell, you take the seven-step sequence, then take another, then another, then another. Each time, you receive greater amounts of light, grace, strength, faith and glory.

The Width of the Path That Leads to Eternal Life


Everything I have mentioned so far are has been steps on a narrow path (Matthew 7:14; also see 3 Nephi 14:14, Jacob 6:11, 1 Nephi 8:20, 3 Nephi 27:33, 2 Nephi 31:18-19; 2 Nephi 33:9; 2 Nephi 9:41).

Just how narrow is the path? I may have an idea, which I'll share with you:

Several years ago, I had a dream where I was shown the path. I don't remember much of its characteristics, but what I do remember is (1) I was barefoot, and (2) the path was wide enough to allow me to travel one foot at a time (one foot in front of the other), with a width allowing for about a 3/4 inch gap on both sides of my foot.

As winds howled to get me to fall, it required extraordinary balance.

No mortal could travel alongside me; that was impossible because the chasms to the left and right of me were so deep, I couldn't see the bottoms.

The only way I could safely proceed up the path, and not get knocked down, was to focus my eyes on He who is the Holy One of Israel.

An Eternal Pattern Emerges

  • It's ever-expanding
"blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more..." (2 Nephi 28:30) 
Thus, it stands to reason that if one has faithfully received a few things, then they shall be given more things. If this continues ad infinitum, then the Lord's statement, "Endless is my name" (D&C 19:4,10; see also Moses 1:3, 7:35) is accurate. His glory, dominion and kingdom endlessly expands. 
"Of the increase of government and peace there is no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this." (2 Nephi 19:7) 
  • The "Course" of the Gods
"For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round." (1 Nephi 10:19)  
"Listen to the voice of the Lord your God, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, whose course is one eternal round, the same today as yesterday, and forever." (D&C 35:1)  
"And it may suffice if I only say they are preserved for a wise purpose, which purpose is known unto God; for he doth counsel in wisdom over all his works, and his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round." (Alma 37:12) 
"For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round." (D&C 3:2) 
------------------------

In my next post, we'll combine all of these characteristics into one simple pattern -- a pattern which is imprinted throughout the expanse of a never-ending cosmos.

It is the pattern of sanctification, perfection, of the steps to exaltation.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to share these wonderful truths. I have learned so much from you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you very much for this wonderful post. The scriptures that you used state these steps beautifully. It is a shame that these things are not in any of the manuals of the church and stated as clearly as this has been stated in this post in GC. I know that the brethren are out of necessity simplifying everything. I am not faulting them. Truths, as stated in this post, are the plain and precious things that were removed from the Bible in its original form as sacred scrolls. The Restoration has allowed these truths to be available among us now.

    ReplyDelete