Intelligence and Voices

A while ago I posed the question:

if God speaks to me “after the manner of [my] language”, how do I know that it is His voice that I hear, and not my own? (Recognizing the Voice of God)

I realize now this is the wrong question. It is not the voice that matters, and here’s why.

God communicates to us through the Holy Ghost. He speaks, and we “feel pure intelligence flowing into [us], it may give [us] sudden strokes of ideas” (TPJS pg 153). In other words, God does not speak in words. He speaks in ideas, and our feeble brains try to translate those ideas in to concepts and words that our finite minds can grasp. So of course the words sound like our words, because it is our brains doing the translation.

But as I’ve written recently, the voice speaking the words is irrelevant. The only pertinent information is the information itself. What matters is the idea being conveyed, not who is conveying it. It does not matter if it is our voice, or someone else’s voice, or even Satan’s voice. If the message is a true message, we ought to heed it.

A Conversation

I had a conversation with God yesterday, and this is part of what He said to me:

Just as the stone is scared of the chisel, or the wood of the knife, or the ore of the fire, all these things have purpose in the hands of the artist. If you allow me, I will be the artist of your soul and will fashion you into a blazing jewel that will be unique among the stars. The process is not an easy one, but I will be with you through all of it. I will guide you and shape you and form you into a being that has no comparison… I will always be here, because I love you and want to see you become all that I know you can be.

He will make the same promise to you, too.

God will make up for it?

Saying “In the end, God will make up for it” is nothing more than a cheap and dirty way of not wanting to take responsibility for the consequences of your actions.

“God will get you a spouse in the afterlife” means that you don’t have to figure out how your religion acknowledges single adults.

“God will give you children in the next life” means that you don’t have to figure out how your religion copes with infertility.

“They can accept the Gospel in the next life” means that you don’t have to figure out how to persuade others to come unto Christ, because the spirit missionaries will knock on their spirit door anyway.

I believe that God will make up for things, but I also believe it is evil to use that as an excuse to hurt others, whether that hurt comes consciously or not.

The Glory of God

If we truly believe in the idea of exaltation and that we will inherit God’s throne and become like Him, then we are explicitly saying that we believe that we must learn orbital mechanics, cellular biology, theories of computation, and advanced mathematics. For these are among all the tools that God uses to ordain His kingdoms. And if we are to be like Him, then we must understand and use these tools as well. 

Limiting God

A couple of weeks ago, I had an interesting conversation with a man named Jonathan. We got talking about religion, and I proclaimed myself a believer of the Book of Mormon. He was happy for me, but proceeded to say that all we need is the Bible, and quoted Revelation 22:18:

… If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

To him, this was proof that all we need is this Bible, because no one can “add” unto “this book”, and he interpreted “this book” to mean “the Bible”.

(Never mind the fact that the Bible didn’t exist until a couple hundred of years after that was written, but whatever.)

But this got me thinking. In our conversation, we had talked about how true religion was the love of God, and that all religions are trying to experience that love. People tend to leave those religions when they realize that the love of God is larger than the limitations imposed on it by their church. The God they believe in is “too big” to fit in the box their church prescribes.

I absolutely believe this. But after we ended our amicable conversation, a thought struck me:

We had just talked about the infinite love of God, and how God places no limitations on that love. If we accept that premise as true, then wouldn’t it follow that the manifestations of His Love are also infinite? Why then would we limit ourselves to only experiencing His Love by means of a single compilation of books?

To take this even further, why are we saddened when our friends, family, and colleagues decide to leave their church? If they truly believe that they have found another (and perhaps for them, better) way to experience God’s love, ought we not to rejoice with them?

Why do we place limitations on what God can and cannot do? He is an infinite being. Is it not conceivable that He might know what’s better for us than we do? We should trust in Him, and not in the short-sighted policies of man.

How firm my foundation?

I have a special place in my soul for the hymn “How Firm a Foundation”, especially the latter verses. I think we sing this absent-mindedly, and don’t recognize the significance of this hymn. This is one of a handful of hymns where, instead of us speaking to God, God speaks to us. It is beautiful and humbling to contemplate His words:

Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed, for I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

 When through the deep waters I call thee to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not thee o’erflow, for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless, and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, my grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply. The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

E’en down to old age, all my people shall prove my sov’reign, eternal, unchangeable love; And then, when gray hair shall their temples adorn, like lambs shall they still in my bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes; That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!

Recognizing the Voice of God

Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding. (D&C 1:24)

The manner of my language is different from the manner of my spouse’s language. My language is different from my mother’s language and my father’s language. In fact, my language is unique to me. The phrases I use, the idioms I use, the very order of the words themselves, are all unique to me. That is my language, and it is as individual as are my fingerprints.

But if God speaks to me “after the manner of [my] language”, how do I know that it is His voice that I hear, and not my own?