Here is the essence of a question I received: Would it be accurate to say that some of the scriptures approve lying or deception?

Jesus, the prophets and many sincere spiritual teachers have warned us about eternal punishment, hell, fire and brimstone yet you and others say that any punishment or torment that we endure will have an end – that such language was used to frighten people into changing their lives.

Joseph Smith wrote that the punishment was called eternal and endless because God is eternal and endless, but is not endless at all.

It does not seem right that God would let us think that suffering could be endless when in reality it is only called endless because God is endless.

JJ: The words of some of the scriptures do cause some deception, but are not lies.

Notice the words of Jesus. He said that Satan was “a liar from the beginning.” The word “liar” was used by the Master rather than “deceive” or “deceiver.”

He used this specific word for a reason. The word “liar” pinpoints the difference between the accepted methods of the Brotherhood of Light and Dark Brotherhood. Both sides allow and expect that a certain amount of deception will follow their words and teachings.

How is it you say that God could allow deception to accompany the words of His servants?

The answer is that it is impossible to avoid for both God and man as long as the power of mortal words is used. The fact that there are hundreds of different interpretations of the words of Jesus himself illustrates this truth.

Let me explain. Suppose you ask me what my favorite color is and I answer that it is blue.

I did not lie and you take me for my word. Then, for a present, you buy me a light blue paint for which to paint my house.

To this I respond: “It is true that blue is my favorite color, and I like almost all of its varieties of shading, but this particular shade of blue I do not like.”

Now the person asked a simple question and was given a simple truthful answer, but because “the whole truth” was impractical to give at the time, the person was deceived through no fault of my own.

We see this problem occurring all the time, not only with true words related by average people, but even the very words of Jesus indirectly cause deception beyond belief to the extent that there are hundreds of religions with hundreds of different deceptive interpretations of what he meant.

So, if the words of both light and dark bring deception to the people then what is the difference between the two – as far as teaching is concerned?

Answer; There is a big difference and that is in the intent. Remember that Zion is the gathering of the “pure in heart?”

Like gathers like and when a teacher of light speaks or writes he gives out words with the pure intent of shedding more light and of bringing the student to a higher understanding of that which truly is. Every word he speaks is literally true and has not a lie within them, even though it is recognized that many students will not have the understanding to avoid being deceived on their part.

On the other hand, a teacher representing the dark side will have deception incorporated into his intent. Instead of having a goal of bringing the student to higher understanding he seeks to darken their understanding on crucial items through the use of outright lies if necessary.

Since the scriptures use “eternal,” “endless,” “forever and ever” in relation to torment and damnation the question here is not whether the teacher deceived, but did the author(s) of the scriptures lie or deceive? That is assuming that there is a beginning and end to any torment.

We have to look at several factors that come into play with even the greatest of us, such as Jesus.

First, are the imperfections of communicating with spoken or written language. Two people can hear the same words and come away with two different interpretations.

Secondly, even the prophets were human and could have spoken from an incomplete understanding.

Thirdly, the meaning that seems apparent today could have been different to the people of ancient times.

For instance, when Jesus is said to have used “eternal damnation” (Mark 3:29) we find the a more accurate translation from the Greek somewhat different. Instead of speaking of something that would last forever, he was saying there would be no redemption until a turning point at the end of an eon of time. And the suffering many would endure could very well be their own making and nothing to do with some action taken by God.

Because of wrong translation and the fact that the Bible seems to present the idea of eternal damnation it is possible this influenced the teachings of many sincere people in this age.

Indeed, a case can be made that many of the scriptures approach a gray area between right and wrong as far as deception goes, even though a case could be made they are literally true, but misunderstood.

The same is true of the doctrine of reincarnation. The scriptures often make it sound like there is only one life when there are many. The purpose of this again is to get us motivated to and make some progress.

Was Adam to die in the day when he partook of the fruit? Not in a day as we know it but in a day of the Lord, perhaps, or it could have meant he passed into a mortal state in that day.

I believe that this tactic of dual meanings was used by the teachers of light with more primitive people in times past, but now we are capable of greater understanding the correct move is to present all truth with as much clarity as possible.

Many are self-deceived by teachings from both light and dark. The one key we can ascertain for sure is that the teacher of light will not actually lie whereas the dark bother will.

If a teacher claims he had a visit from a master, and did not, then this would be an outright lie and a definite tactic used by the dark side.

If a teacher puts forth his words and does not say for sure where they originated the students could draw wrong conclusions, but the teacher may be telling the truth in every word he relates.

If the teacher receives from an over active imagination and believes he receives words from on high, or a master, then he is self-deceived and deceives others. His deception is caused by lying to himself.

If a person represents the Lords of Darkness, then sooner or later outright lies will be revealed – and the motive will be to darken and deceive in order to empower his ego.

In conclusion we can say that we live in a world of imperfect human beings who use an imperfect language in which to communicate. The problem will persist until the student achieves soul contact and accurately registers the inner voice. After this he or she will be able to discern the error from the truth or the one who lies compared to the one who is sincerely trying to communicate the highest truth available. When student and teacher both touch the Spirit they will see eye to eye despite the imperfections of the language.

A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject. Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)

May 7, 2005

Copyright by J J Dewey 

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