Thursday, November 6, 2014

Apples and oranges

A juice connoisseur visited the local supermarket and asked the head grocer for some fruit of the Tree of Life. 

"Do you know what fruit this is?" the head grocer asked, pointing to a picture of an apple on the wall. "That's an orange!"

"An orange?" the juice connoisseur replied, "That's a pretty remarkable orange! It looks just like an apple! A very good apple, no doubt, but an apple all the same. However, if you say it's an orange...I believe you."

"Don't you know an orange when you see one?"

"How would I know? I haven't tasted it yet. It looks like an apple. But because you say it's an orange, trust it's an orange. I believe it's an orange. I'm even going to join you in calling it an orange. But my calling it an orange won't make it one, you understand. It either is or it isn't. One mustn't judge an orange by its color!"

The juice connoisseur had learned from sad experience that appearances can be deceiving. He had tasted magnificent oranges that had the appearance of mere apples...and had tried several apples (expecting them to be oranges) only because of how they looked, how they were labeled or because others "recommended" them. They were marked "oranges, grapefruit and lemons", after all. Ought they not be citrus?

"Just to be sure, I can't know if it's an orange...until I taste it!" the juice connoisseur reiterated. "Maybe if I could sample some of its juice? Do you have any...from that orange...that I can taste?"

"No," the head grocer admitted, bowing his head, perhaps wondering for the first time why he didn't have any freshly-squeezed orange juice to sell. No one had even asked for it until now! His other customers were perfectly content with the canned stuff! Likewise, no patron had ever questioned his judgment or authority regarding citrus. He was taken aback. What impertinence for asking for fresh juice! This guy doesn't know anything about oranges! he thought to himself.

But the juice connoisseur persisted: "What kind of orange doesn't have any juice?"

The head grocer tried to explain: "Look, the juice is in the orange, see? That's where it stays. You can't taste it or see it for yourself. You just have to trust that it's in there...until you buy it." The head grocer ratcheted up the sales pitch: "These are the only oranges left on earth!", pointing to a display of several nice-looking apples on the wall.

Really? The juice connoisseur wondered to himself. He had tasted several wonderful oranges recently. (Admittedly, they weren't on display in this store because the chain no longer carried them.) Because of his experience, however, he knew those "apples" on the wall couldn't possibly be the only oranges left on the planet, even if they were real oranges. He let the head grocer know where he might find some more.

"Those other 'oranges' aren't real", the head grocer announced. "How can you claim to have tasted of the fruit of the Tree of Life without knowing these are the only true oranges?" he asked with incredulity, pointing to his pictures.

"Whether those are apples or oranges makes no difference to me", the juice connoisseur confessed. "I don't need to know anymore. I've tasted of the fruit of the Tree of Life for myself and I prefer it above all others. That's all I want to eat now! I don't have to 'know' or 'love' or 'buy' this particular fruit you're selling."

The head grocer was displeased by the juice connoisseur's comments. Claims like that could ruin his business! If he lost too many customers, he might even lose his job! He went for the "hard sell":

"Listen, brother, you'll buy...and love...and endorse this fruit...if you know what's good for you!" 

"Don't get me wrong!" the juice connoisseur back-peddled, feeling pressured, but not wanting to offend. "I love citrus juice! Really, I do. I drink it all the time! I share it with my friends and family nearly every day. Full of vitamin C!" The juice connoisseur mentioned several varieties he had tasted recently. Many preserved juices were still sold in that very store!

But because the juice connoisseur couldn't -- or wouldn't -- testify that he "knew" this particular fruit was, in fact, an orange -- a real orange; indeed, the only orange on the face of the earth -- the head grocer banished him from his produce aisle, where he kept what little fresh and canned fruit they had left.


My family and I noted the words of Jacob this morning as we read:
6 And we also had many revelations, and the spirit of much prophecy; wherefore, we knew of Christ and his kingdom, which should come.
7 Wherefore we labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to come unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God, that they might enter into his rest, lest by any means he should swear in his wrath they should not enter in, as in the provocation in the days of temptation while the children of Israel were in the wilderness. (Jacob 1:6-7.)
As to what it means to "enter into his rest", I point the reader to Doctrine and Covenants 84:23-25:
23 Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;
24 But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.
25 Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the HolyPriesthood also[.]
Jacob continued: 
8 Wherefore, we would to God that we could persuade all men not to rebel against God, to provoke him to anger, but that all men would believe in Christ, and view his death, and suffer his cross and bear the shame of the world; wherefore, I, Jacob, take it upon me to fulfil the commandment of my brother Nephi.
Are you suffering the shame of the world yet? (You should try it sometime!)

The people of Nephi did. Even so, they loved their prophet Nephi. They even named their subsequent leaders after him!

But they knew and loved Christ for themselves.

Those who set up men as lights to be followed as if they were God Himself are, in fact, (unwittingly or otherwise) anti-Christ.

We must follow Christ.


Update: I really hate this post. Oh, it's somewhat clever and cute and tells a familiar story in a slightly different way that makes, I mean, the juice connoisseur...look good and noble while the "head grocer" (whomever the heck that might be) looks bad and dim-witted...shame on me! For that reason alone, I hate it! 

So why is it still up? 

Because it's true. Because idolatry of the Brethren will damn you.

But here's the twist. "Following the prophet" is good for those who have no one else to follow! The LDS Church, generally, makes bad men good and good men better -- still. It's a great organization -- if you don't "buy" all the b.s. Unfortunately, the "ultimate" b.s. -- that following some man is going to save you -- has become the central tenet of the faith and they kick you out, or deny you entrance to the temple, if you don't cowtow and tow that party line. So, eventually, you reach the end of your rope (if you're tied to the a prophet) and you end up with all those who follow him and not Christ (see Doctrine and Covenants 76:99-101).

But I'm tired of telling this truth. I'm also tired of making other people look bad...especially since they're doing the very best they can...and deserve my support, not my criticism. I deserve to look worse than they do...and I'd rather not be judged negatively, either. (How can I expect to go to heaven if I'm willing to condemn others to hell?) Can we focus on the good points now? (Log would slap me -- spiritually speaking -- for writing this post. I can feel the burning palm print of his "slap down" on my cheek, even now, as I type these words!)

Please be patient with me, Log!

I'm also tired of telling this story. It's "old" news now. Really old. If I hadn't read the Book of Mormon yesterday morning about how the (righteous) prophets and the (righteous) people were always talking about "coming unto Christ" (instead of "following the prophet"), I wouldn't even be bringing this subject up again.

Maybe someone "new" to this blog hasn't heard my "story" before and this will give them a clue. This post alludes to what happened to me. And turns us back to seeking Christ.

I hope all of us find our way back to Christ. He deserves our worship, faith, and total effort. He is our God and, I'm sure, He looks forward to us "sanctifying ourselves" (i.e., preparing ourselves) to come back into His presence. (I've got to keep reminding myself of that. I don't want to give up! I don't want to do this again! By "this" I mean starting at the beginning again.)

Given the right conditions, a seed will "pop" open, seeking light, living water, and nourishment. It's "built in". If it does seek these things, it's a "good" seed.

We are like seeds. God "plants" us in places -- fortuitous circumstances and otherwise -- expecting us to "pop" as we are inclined to do. If we have enough intelligence, we will apprehend and recognize even Him. And, if we are developed enough, we will come back into His presence, be received by Him, and ascend to celestial glory.

But, if not, we go "around" again -- for God's work is "one eternal round", worlds without number, worlds without end. Until we get it right. This is what God does: He brings to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, no matter how long it takes.

Worlds without end.

I'm sick of this world. There isn't one damn thing in it that I couldn't live without. If I got cancer right now and had a death sentence pronounced upon me, I would wonder if I'd even fight it. Why? My only regret -- my only reason for wanting to stay -- is to come unto Christ in the flesh (so I didn't have to start climbing that ladder again from the bottom in the life to come!). 

I may not have what it takes "in" me yet to be like Jesus. And that's a real possibility. I hope I can develop (receive) the gift of faith sufficient to pierce the veil completely before I die. If not, I will consider myself a failure. I don't care about "worldly" accomplishments at all. What better thing could I do than "come unto Christ"? (That's all Log talks about online.) I just keep talking here (and elsewhere) to remind myself to stay focused, headed for the goal: 

Come unto Christ.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Log,

      I'm going to answer your comment above even before I read it. (I've "updated" my post with you -- and what I imagine will be (or, now, is) your response -- in mind.)

      It does no good (that I know of) to point out to anyone that they shouldn't "follow a prophet". Those who do follow a prophet need to and those who don't need to don't need to be told.

      So this particular "doctrine" (to reveal it) may be more destabilizing, dispersing and disaggregating than any "good" that can come from it. In fact, what good can come from it?

      When a seed breaks through the soil of darkness and perceives the light for itself, it doesn't need to be told where to go! And if the "warmth" of a prophet (or "prophet") can steer someone heavenward until he sees the Light for himself, then so much the better.

      The LDS leaders, for the most part, beckon all to come unto Christ. Few endeavor (from my view) to cause others to follow them. And even those who do (as in my case) do so unwittingly, thinking they're doing God a favor by enforcing discipline, decorum, the chain of authority (as they suppose), etc. That just leads us to another stone to stumble over, so let's move on and get over it!

      For those of you who "worship" and "idolize" the Brethren, nothing I say here will dissuade you to do otherwise...and I wouldn't want you to walk away from anything moving. Nothing to see here.

      To those of you who know better, my words are just useless chaff also. I'm just dropping breadcrumbs on the freeway. There are already signs enough posted for those who are looking.

      Now, back to the comment above to see how far I've fallen off the log.

  2. The problem with answermen is they satisfy the lust of curiosity and thereby blunt a good motivation for seeking for oneself, and thereby act like a spiritual crutch. That's how we got a Church in the first place instead of Zion.

    The problem with talking is that talking makes one feel like one has done something - even when one has actually not. What's worse is that people talk about the stuff they've gotten from the answermen as though THEY knew the stuff - when they don't know, but only believe the stuff.

    Oh, but it is ever so much easier to read and talk about what one has no experience of, and so much harder to remain silent, fast, pray mightily, and do good until one has experience.

    And does it make sense to reject one set of mortal teachers on the principle that they are mortal while simultaneously turning to another set of mortal teachers?

    "The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask it from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching." - Joseph Smith

    5 For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.

    6 Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.

    7 And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.

    8 Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.

    9 And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught.

    10 For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will—yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.

    So the way to real answers, through experience, and thus knowledge, is open, but it's not through books.

    114 But great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion;

    115 Which he commanded us we should not write while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not lawful for man to utter;

    116 Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him;

    117 To whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves;

    118 That through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory.

    119 And to God and the Lamb be glory, and honor, and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

    So no amount of reading will do the trick.

  3. Since the Lectures on Faith are in vogue lately, I recommend re-reading lecture 6.

    How are those principles effected in practical terms? Or, in other words, what do we do?

    In your heart, lay aside all your claims to everything you seem to have in this world - spouse, children, property, position, power, career, educational attainments, reputation - and ask of God in sincerity to be made clean, holy, pure, filled with light, love, and that joy which is indescribable and full of glory, and continue in prayer in whatsoever places you may be, even until he receives you.

    Since you're going to lose it all if you don't do this anyways, why not do it now? Why wait until tomorrow? What, your job beckons? What, you have some household chores that need doing before you seek your God? What is more important to you than your eternal soul?

    38 ¶Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

    39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.

    40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

    41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

    42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

    Careful - full of cares, or charges (tasks).

    JST Matt 13
    3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow.

    4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside, and the fowls came and devoured them up.

    5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth; and forthwith they sprung up; and when the sun was up, they were scorched, because they had no deepness of earth; and because they had no root, they withered away.

    6 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprung up and choked them.

    7 But others fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit; some an hundred-fold, some sixty-fold, and some thirty-fold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.


    17 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

    18 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart; this is he who received seed by the wayside.

    19 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word and readily with joy receiveth it, yet he hath not root in himself, and endureth but for a while; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

    20 He also who received seed among the thorns, is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

    21 But he that received seed into the good ground, is he that heareth the word and understandeth and endureth; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundred-fold, some sixty, and some thirty.

    One thing is needful. Cut down the thorns from the heart.

    1. And, remember, you don't have a guarantee of another day. If one believes in multiple mortal probations, one risks another round by delaying.

      So, there's the carrot of knowledge, experience, wisdom, peace, joy, glory, rest, love, light, and purity on the one hand, and, on the other, the stick of more of the same - what one is willing to receive, what one has demonstrated one will settle for - and doing it again and again and again until one gets it right.

      Why not do it now?

  4. Well, your comment, Log, as usual, was apropos and inspired. Much better than anything I could have written and so shaming my mouth is shut. You have quoted the word of the Lord and it is true.

    It really is senseless to swap one mortal guide for another or to supplant the words of God with the words of men. (This is what I meant with my "breadcrumbs" analogy.)

    Really you are absolutely right: talking is -- or can be -- a feckless diversion and damning imitation of actually doing. It satisfies the ego without actually accomplishing anything (it seems). You are careful to quote the scriptures and words of God given to you -- thus nothing you say (for the most part) is useless babbling. Your discipline is exemplary.

    When I do a task that requires my full attention, I sometimes stick my tongue out. (I don't know why.) People sometimes make fun of me. Not so much anymore. With all the dirt flying around here, I've learned to keep my mouth shut!

    Maybe that's an apt metaphor for me to apply here.

    Once again, you've set a wonderful example.

    Please don't discount the ideas and images and feelings that come to the mind and heart, even if they aren't accompanied by "thus saith the Lord" or supernatural experience. We have Joseph's dream of the farm, etc. No "thus saith the Lord" was attached, but many of us feel the "interpretation" is clear. The Spirit speaks in different ways to different people.

    I know that when I turn off the spigot going out, I shut off the spigot coming in. I get distracted doing other things. Is my interest in writing based on arrogance and pride? Must I stroke my ego to pursue Christ? Am I that flawed still?

    Once again, you've given me something substantive to consider.

  5. And if I weren't such a fool, you wouldn't have occasion to comment here...and do us all a favor.

  6. In my experience, Log never slaps, spiritually or otherwise. Log simply does not recognize a "Get out of jail free card" as just or merciful (or even possible). Log's consistency of message and faithfulness to the Word of God has been a tremendous strength for me on my own path, but of course no matter how many people hold up signs pointing in this direction or that, we all still have to walk our own path and would do well to embrace this opportunity we've been given to seek to be changed and to change. I believe it is more of a privilege than I personally understand.