Saturday, February 6, 2016

Live in the Valley by the Map you Made on the Mountain

I think we are supposed to learn how to be transfigured. Transfigured means to "transform into something more beautiful or elevated." When we are elevated, we can see more and more clearly. From the top of a mountain, I can see the whole valley. So to be transfigured means to become a seer. The way we often talk about being transfigured is that a person is changed so that he or she can endure God's presence. If the Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead, then to have His presence would require transfiguration. That means that if the Spirit is present in me, I must have been changed to a higher state. Therefore each experience I have with the Holy Ghost is at least partially a transfiguration. I am momentarily changed from a natural man with natural eyesight to a spiritual man with the gift of seership. Like Nephi and so many prophets, I am carried away by the Spirit into a high mountain.

From this mountain I see the world differently and many of the blind spots, questions, and challenges that I struggled with down in the valley become clear to me from my mount of transfiguration. I can see the solutions to the problems I have been facing.

The Lord says that while I am on this mount, I must make a map of the valley below and make commitments to follow my markings. When I return to the valley, my eyesight will again become dim, I will not see things so clearly and life will become more confusing once again. I have to trust the map I made while I was a seer. I believe this is how covenants work. We see the valley from the mountain, then we bind ourselves to act in certain ways based on what we see. For example, each week we go to sacrament meeting to be transfigured by the spirit. While there we bind ourselves to take His name upon us, always remember Him, keep His commandments and have His Spirit to be with us. That is a covenant we make in an edified setting, having sung, prayed and pondered together. 

I think that in addition to the saving ordinances and covenants, we can also make personal specific covenants. Studying the scriptures, praying, family home evening, service. All these are opportunities to climb the mountain on a regular basis so that we can see the day or week or hour more clearly. From this position, having my bearings straight, I can live an inspired life because I have seen it from above. 

So the challenge of life is to live life in the valley based on the vision you had while on the mountain. I think President Packer said that we go to the temple to make covenants and we go home to live them. I heard someone the other day mention Elder Bednar's teaching that our morning prayer should be a Spiritual creation of our day and that our evening prayer should be a review and report of how well we created what we had envisioned from the mountain top.

I may not have the same feeling of clarity that I did when I made the commitment, but that's exactly why I made the commitment. I knew I would be returning to the valley with its confusion and blinding fog. I knew when I returned that I would doubt my own memory of the mountaintop view. This is why I made a clear and direct commitment to follow the map I made when I could see more clearly. 

We must learn to live by what we have seen even when the clarity of seeing it has passed. We must live based on the power we have felt even when the feeling of power is no longer with us. As we do, we will strengthen our faith and our independent will and become better able to act on our surroundings based on true principles rather than have our surroundings act on us.

Teaching Ideas: take children, youth, students to a mountain peak, high building or other high place.  Help them recognize how much more they can see. Have a discussion about the Spiritual principles.

Possible concepts to emphasize: the Holy Ghost, edification, spiritual vs. natural eyes, prophets/seers, the purposes of covenants, church meetings, scripture study, prayer, temples, FHE.

Possible Scripture References
2 Kings 6:16-17
1 Corinthians 2:14
D&C 43:8-9
D&C 93:24-31

Moses 1 (or any story of prophets in mountains)

Please respond with additional insights, experiences, connections and references.

Introduction

I am a guy with a tie. I am also a teacher, a student in grad school, and a husband. 

We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This is not an official site of the church, but you can check out LDS.org and mormon.org if you're interested in learning more about what we believe. We share what we believe because we find peace and hope in the gospel of Christ and His teachings. His words and love have helped us get to where we are today. We know that God loves all of His children. We want to share the gospel with others because it brings peace to our lives in a troubled world.

My purposes for this blog are really just to supplement my gospel study, have a way to precipitate my thoughts into something concrete, and maybe spark some thoughts and discussions in others. My hope is that those who read will be generous with their own thoughts, ideas, correction, insight and experience so that I can learn as much as possible.