The Importance of Knowledge
(Transcribed from a posted audio)
Somebody was talking about reincarnation awhile back. They said something to the effect that it doesn’t really make any difference whether or not it’s true. We pretty much live our lives the same whether we believe or not. I don’t think that’s exactly true. For one thing here’s a principle. The principle is this: every piece of knowledge, every piece of truth you discover does make a difference. It adds one more puzzle piece to the whole scheme of things and makes the whole picture a little clearer. When we come to the point where we can see the whole picture, then our life will change dramatically. Whenever a significant piece of the picture is added our life undergoes a significant change. Reincarnation is a significant piece of the puzzle.
When I discovered it was true, it turned my belief system upside down and made me look at every possible belief I had previously held with an open mind, as if I were a little child again. A new truth, whether it be reincarnation or any other spiritual truth, can have a tremendous impact on us
One of the criticisms of the belief in reincarnation is that if you’re going to have another life, you can screw around in this one and make up for it in the next. As a matter of fact, some of the common people in the East do think this way to some degree. But when one matures a bit, spiritually, the truth about reincarnation is a very positive thing. For instance, when I found out about it, it didn’t make me want to take the attitude that if I get another chance in the next life I can be lazy in this one. When you think about it, it’s really silly reasoning. It’s like saying, “I’ll go rob a bank and go to jail for five years because I’ll get out in five years and have another chance.” Five years in jail is a tremendous inconvenience. If you screw up your life and have to come back and live another entire life undergoing tremendous suffering and trial and error you’re wasting an enormous amount of time. That’s time that could be well spent enjoying yourself. Once a person sees reincarnation with the true view of things, it actually makes him want to try harder; not try less.
One thing I find interesting is that many of the average religious believers have little concept of time. For example, many Christians believe if they commit certain sins they’ll go to hell and be there for all eternity and burn with fire and be with the devil and pitchforks and tremendous suffering is envisioned. Yet many times when someone with such a belief system sees a person that attracts him, he’ll sacrifice all eternity for a night of pleasure with the wrong person. Now, if this person really had a concept of what eternity was and if he really believed he was going to suffer in some fiery brimstone area for all eternity, he would never sacrifice all eternity for a day. Many people don’t have a perspective on what an eternity might be or they would re-examine the whole idea of burning in hell forever.
So when is a person ready to believe in reincarnation making it a positive thing in life? The answer is when the mind has a true perspective on what time is plus what cause and effect is. For instance, in this life a person doesn’t want to go to jail for even one year and he would probably avoid a night of pleasure to avoid a year in jail. Others who don’t have a perspective on what eternity is would yield a night of pleasure and spend an eternity in the fires of hell, so to speak. That doesn’t make any sense at all. Some people can put things into perspective and live their lives accordingly and others cannot and don’t have any idea of what burning in hell for eternity would entail. Those who are accepting an eternity in hell for a night of pleasure are probably not ready for a lot of truths including reincarnation. If a person does have a little perspective on cause and effect and what can happen to him in reality, then the belief in reincarnation or the knowledge of it is a very positive thing.
When I began to believe in reincarnation it made me adjust my life so the cause and effect in my life was projected into the future. So the things I’m doing now, in this life, are not just for the effects for a year or two down the road. I’m looking at maybe hundreds or thousands of years down the road because it makes you live your life from a much broader perspective when you know you’re going to have effects that are going to take place in the future, even future lives, that will either be to your advantage or disadvantage.
An LDS reader stated that Christ has forgiven his sins and he is at peace knowing that he has a place in the celestial worlds; What more could desire?
So let’s throw this out. Our friend is in a state of peace and contentment in his relationship with Christ. Why do anything else? First of all let me ask you, “Is all you want for all eternity – just peace?” I have peace and that’s not enough. I want more than peace. What more could you want besides peace? How about knowledge?
Joseph Smith said, “It is impossible to be saved in ignorance. D&C 131:6
He also said, “A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world.” TOTPJS Pg 217
For those of you who don’t have a LDS background, bear with me. I’m going to try to answer his questions steering towards concepts that are interesting to everyone and cover basic metaphysical principles. The metaphysical principle here is that knowledge does indeed save us. Save us from what? For one thing, it saves us from ignorance. It saves us from being in a state where we don’t know what’s going on; of what true salvation is or what it isn’t, we don’t know what true atonement is or what it isn’t. There may be a lot of things we think we know. We may think we’re ready for the highest heaven but we may not be. Knowledge of what is and the knowledge of worlds to come and the worlds past, the principle of reincarnation, the principle of cause and effect, all these things can add to the quality of your salvation.
Joseph Smith once said that man is not saved until he overcomes all of his enemies. If a person has peace of mind but hasn’t overcome all of his enemies then he is not truly saved. He said this, “You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, FROM EXALTATION TO EXALTATION, UNTIL YOU ATTAIN TO THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.” DHC 6:306
Now a typical Mormon thinks regular believers attain some type of salvation here on Earth. But they see faithful LDS going to the temple and making covenants that will take them to a much higher station – called exaltation – way better than plain salvation. But in the quote Joseph says you have to go from, not one exaltation, but from exaltation to exaltation. The Mormons think that you are raised from the dead then you are exalted but here Joseph Smith says, you go “FROM EXALTATION TO EXALTATION, UNTIL YOU ATTAIN TO THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.” So you attain the resurrection of the dead after you go through a number of exaltations according to him. An exaltation is far beyond attaining peace of mind through your relationship with the Christ.
Here is Joseph’s interesting definition of salvation. “Salvation is nothing more or less than to triumph over all our enemies and put them under our feet IN THIS WORLD, and a knowledge to triumph over all evil spirits in the world to come, THEN we are saved.” DHC 5:387
What does this mean? He’s really saying the same think DK talks about when he talks about overcoming illusion. Unless we can overcome illusion we can be tricked to believe many things that are untrue and see through a distorted vision until we attain a high degree of knowledge. When we obtain this knowledge we can triumph over all those who are masters of illusion and try to deceive us.
Another interesting scripture given though Joseph Smith is this. “The glory of God is intelligence.” It doesn’t say the glory of God is peace but the glory of God is intelligence. So if you have obtained the peace of God the next step is to obtain the intelligence of God. Remember one of the core doctrines Joseph taught was eternal progression; there is no end to our progression. So suppose we have obtained a peaceful state. Why would we want to stop and rest? The question is then, what is our next step? Is our next step to work on perfecting ourselves in the image of God, by obtaining the intelligence of God, by obtaining the glory of God, by understanding His intelligence and incorporating God within our own lives? How do we do that? We do that by obtaining the Holy Spirit. When we obtain the Holy Spirit and obtain greater and greater communion with it, then our intelligence grows and our knowledge grows and our power of discernment grows also. As Jesus said, “By your fruits you shall know them.” When you have recognized the Holy Spirit, or soul within you can recognize where the true fruit is so you can find where the true knowledge is.
Isaiah gives a good example: “Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he not open and break the clods of his ground? When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cumin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rye in their place?” Isa 28:24-25.
Isaiah tells us that Ephraim and many other religious leaders in the last days will be like the plowman. He just plows his field over and over but doesn’t plant anything. He later tells us about the person who grinds corn over and over, but makes nothing. The religious leaders in our day will be like people who just grind corn over and over and over. Isaiah asks, “Why would you want to do that?” Why would the plowman want to just plow and plow and plow and the grinder just want to grin and grind and grind? Does he not eventually plant his seeds in the fields and cover it over grow the principle fruit? Yes. And does not the person who grinds the corn eventually make something of it? Wouldn’t he make bread or cornmeal or something?
In other words, Isaiah tells us the religious people of this age will be like the plowman who just wants to plow and plow and plow, doing the same thing over but then he says precept must be added to precept. We must add precepts and thinking and intelligence within our life so that we can reflect the intelligence of God and work toward the glory of God.
Again and again in almost all the scriptures of the world, we’re promised to know the mysteries of God, we’re told to seek the mysteries of God and find them out. Study the scriptures, the scriptures tell us, in them you think you have eternal life. Jesus said, “Seek and ye shall find.” He didn’t say, “Find some inner peace then relax and cease seeking.” He said seek and you shall find. Once you find what you’re seeking– if you’re seeking peace, if you’re seeking understanding, if you’re seeking a good relationship — should we then relax? Did He say seek, find, then don’t seek? No, He didn’t say that. He said seek and you shall find. It’s a constant thing that we must do. We seek, then find, then seek another goal and when we find that then we keep on going. We do this (with cycles of rest) for all eternity. This is eternal progression; to continue to stretch ourselves and become what we’ve never been before.
Let me present a thought. All the hundreds of Christian religions have a similar philosophy on salvation and leaning on Jesus yet many of them are under tremendous error. Where does this error come from? The error comes from not understanding the principle and this is the principle taught oftentimes in the scripture. “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm. Jer 17:5 What does this mean? It means that instead of putting ourselves, our attention, our trust in an outward authority we put it on the Spirit within. If we put it on an outward authority we are relying on the arm of flesh. The Bible says you’re cursed if you do that.
So the interesting thing I see is that many people are relying on the man, Jesus. When the person relies on the man Jesus, or the figure of Jesus they have in their mind, they are relying on the arm of flesh. Jesus Himself acknowledged when one time a man came to Him with a question. He said, “Good Master.” Jesus responded and chewed the man out, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God” Matt 19:17 So Jesus didn’t like the idea of this man relying on Him as a person of flesh and bone, as an individual entity above the spirit of God which you can find within yourself. As great as He was, He tried to direct this man’s attention away from Him as an individual to the universal God.
The problem with many of the Christian religions is that they want to have a personal savior. They use that word again and again and the phrase is not even found in the Bible. In having a personal savior they have a flesh and blood, individual man they can rely on rather than merely relying on the spirit of God within.
So how do we take upon ourselves the name of Christ and rely on the name of Christ as the scriptures say? Do we just say I accept the name of Christ? If I accept Baptism, will that do it? No, these are just symbolic gestures. They don’t really do anything. What really does it is when you take upon yourself the actual meaning of the name of Christ. The name of Christ, or Jesus Christ, means “anointed to save.” To take upon yourself the name of Christ you must be anointed to save.
What does it mean to be anointed to save? In the old days, in the Old Testament Bible you’d have oil poured on your head and you were anointed to be like a king or have a certain position. The oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. The name Jesus means to save or to lift up or to deliver. So what the name basically tells us is that if we take upon ourselves the name of Christ we are anointed by the Holy Spirit and it will come within us to the degree that we will reach out to our brethren who need help and seek with all of our power and strength to deliver them and pull them up to where we are. For those who have not progressed to where we are, we reach out a helping hand and pull them up and help them.
Jesus once said, “Who will be found on my right hand? He who will be found on my right hand are those, who, when I was in prison, came to me. They gave me drink. They gave me food and they gave me help when I was in need. These are they who will be found on my right hand. Those who are on my left hand are those who refused to deliver such a person.” When we take upon ourselves the name of Christ, we reach out and we help those less fortunate or less advanced than ourselves and we pull them up to where we are. If we say that we have the name of Christ, that we have taken upon us the name of Christ, but then we pass by those who need help, or we do not strengthen ourselves so that we can help, then we have not really taken upon ourselves the name of Christ. Perhaps I should say Jesus Christ because the whole name implies this meaning that I’m talking about.
After the reader says he must put his whole trust in Christ he says, “That’s what I’ll do for awhile until He tells me otherwise. I will still read and keep an open mind.” Well He’s actually told you otherwise already. He once said, “What type of man should you be, even as I am.” And what kind of man was Jesus? He had a tremendous thirst for knowledge. He knew a lot more than anyone else around Him. So, if we’re supposed to be as He is, we’re should seek the glory of God which is intelligence and learn everything that we can about true principles.
As Joseph said, “We must go from one small degree to another; from a small capacity to a great one, from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation until you obtain the resurrection of the dead.” One small capacity to a great one – wherever we are right now it’s a small capacity compared to what we will be sometime in the future. So we need to go from where we are now to a greater capacity, to a greater knowledge, to a greater understanding of principles and not be as a plowman who just plows over and over. The scriptures given to us in the Bible, the Mormon scriptures and all the other scriptures in the world are good but if we do nothing but read them over and over and over we’re like the plowman. We must move on and not ignore what we’ve learned but to take what we’ve learned then move on to greater things. From a small capacity to a great one, from a small knowledge to a greater knowledge and this we do as long as we are in the three worlds of human endeavor.
Jesus, Himself says, “Does a man light a candle and put it under a bushel? Let your light so shine.” Light is, of course, knowledge. There are many people who put down the principle of learning more knowledge. Why do they do this? Because it takes a lot of effort to gain knowledge and understanding. You must go from a small capacity to a great one to do this. On the whole, people are kind of lazy. We want to do things the easy way. We want to do one thing and have everything taken care of so we don’t have to do anything anymore.
So the religious leaders of the world would have salvation come in just one big lump. When you’re there you don’t have to do anything anymore. You just have it made. This is the lazy man’s way to salvation. The true seeker will go from a small capacity to a great one and continues in the process of eternal progression. It’s a struggle and there is no end to it, but there are tremendous rewards. We reach our reward, we reach our goal then we can rest for a period of time and savor our victory and our strengths. Then we begin a new project with new learning.
Copyright By J J Dewey
May 19, 2002
JJ’s Amazon page HERE
Gather with JJ on Facebook HERE