In previous posts, I have speculated on the identity of the Holy Spirit. I think it very likely that our current conception of the Holy Spirit as being male is incorrect. Furthermore, I believe that viewing the Holy Spirit as female -- as, in fact, Lady Wisdom Herself -- provides one of the strongest bits of evidence in support of the divine origin of the Book of Mormon available. In the Book of Mormon, the Father, the Holy Spirit of Lady Wisdom, and the Son are seen as One God, unified in intention yet separate in body. Far from the traditional Christian lens through which the BoM is too-often interpreted in, it is actually a preservation of the ancient Wisdom tradition. The oft-repeated claim that Joseph Smith's so-called "Nauvoo theology" represents some sort of philosophical break with the Book of Mormon is faulty; it is the Nauvoo theology which finally caught up with the Book of Mormon.
To summarize this view very briefly:
The Tree of Life is represented in many ancient cultures as being related to the Goddess. In the Old Testament, the Tree is associated with Asherah the Queen of Heaven, and Shaddai (the title often translated as "Almighty" in the King James Version) may be a Goddess epithet also related to Asherah as well. In Proverbs, Lady Wisdom is also associated with the Tree of Life, just as the Spirit of Wisdom is in the New Testament, most spectacularly in the vision recorded in John's Revelation about the Tree and the Queen of Heaven. Additionally, the Spirit is associated with both the Dove (an extremely common Goddess-symbol) and with Baptism by immersion and Rebirth, which is obviously a feminine office.
While I am not, by any means, even an amateur linguist, I strongly suspect that the translation of the King James suffers from preconceived ideas of the Trinity -- a conception which, unfortunately, has conditioned our reading and comprehension of the text. While parakletos and spiritus are grammatically masculine and pneuma is a neuter noun, ruach, the Hebrew 'Spirit', is feminine. While of course grammatical feminine is not in itself conclusive evidence for a physically-feminine referent, neither does it preclude it. From this perspective, the very few references in John to a masculine Spirit might simply be an error of incorrect assumptions. Moreover, conceptually, the symbolism of the New Testament is considerably clarified if the feminine view of the Spirit is adopted.
As Margaret Barker has shown quite convincingly, the Deuteronomic reforms of Josiah were disastrous for the older Temple theology. This has a great deal of import for our reading of the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price. Many of the criticisms of the Book of Mormon have in the past derided it for, among other things, a pre-Christ Christology. With the shifting paradigm offered by Barker (and even, in some ways, Hugh Nibley, in Message of the Joseph Smith Papyric, Abraham in Egypt, and One Eternal Round) the reconstructed Temple-centered religion of the pre-Josian religion is shown to have far more in common with Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price than with the Old Testament as it is traditionally understood.
Specifically, Lehi journeyed away from Jerusalem because the Vision conveyed by Lady Wisdom (the Tree of Life) was being taken from the Temple, transforming it into a great and spacious building bereft of the Holy Spirit. "And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance." -- 2 Nephi 28:4
Jeremiah, who is often read as an anti-Temple, anti-Queen of Heaven polemicist, actually acknowledges the switch -- if we read more carefully, he is condemning neither the Temple nor the Tree of Life, but rather the fact that they have been used to cover up avaricious practices, making them ritual forms without meaning. When the people deride him for Prophesying against them, he acknowledges that they have performed the rituals correctly, noting that the women were baking cakes to honor the Queen of Heaven as they should have. That was not the problem -- the problem was that they were doing so insincerely, as an empty ritual, using it like magical spells and blaming their troubles on the fact that they had been prevented from performing them. Indeed, Jeremiah compared the attempt on his own life with the destruction of the Tree.
The Book of Mormon has long been known for its stunning revelations relating to the Tree of Life. Just as remarkable is the feminine personification of the tree found in the Book of Jacob:
5:54 And, behold, the roots of the natural branches of the tree which I planted whithersoever I would are yet alive; wherefore, that I may preserve them also for mine own purpose, I will take of the branches of this tree, and I will graft them in unto them. Yea, I will graft in unto them the branches of their mother tree, that I may preserve the roots also unto mine own self, that when they shall be sufficiently strong perhaps they may bring forth good fruit unto me, and I may yet have glory in the fruit of my vineyard. And it came to pass that they took from the natural tree which had become wild, and grafted in unto the natural trees, which also had become wild. And they also took of the natural trees which had become wild, and grafted into their mother tree.
60 And because that I have preserved the natural branches and the roots thereof, and that I have grafted in the natural branches again into their mother tree, and have preserved the roots of their mother tree, that, perhaps, the trees of my vineyard may bring forth again good fruit; and that I may have joy again in the fruit of my vineyard, and, perhaps, that I may rejoice exceedingly that I have preserved the roots and the branches of the first fruit.
In a patriarchal polemic against the Mothertree which Jacob wishes his family to be grafted into, Genesis and the post-apostasy Hebrew Bible distorts the eating of the fruit:
"And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life." -- 3:17
The Pearl of Great Price restores the correct context, in which taking the fruit of Wisdom is a desirable action.
Additionally, in the Book of Mormon, the Tree is everywhere associated with the Holy Spirit of Wisdom -- Lady Wisdom from Proverbs, who is known as a Tree of Life and therefore possibly Asherah and Shaddai.
The Book of Mormon was dictated to scribes who recorded it in the best language that they had available to them (in their weakness, after the manner of their language) As such, there were countless errors in the manuscripts which have been corrected over the years. However, the corrections themselves were still based on the weaknesses of the language. Mormons have long been criticized for refusing to hold to an inerrant view of the text; yet far from a drawback, this is actually one of the most vital points of the Restoration.
One very important area where this can be highlighted is the use of titles. If an office-holder's title is named for an attribute (as is often the case in the ancient world) yet the corrector does not realize this, then it simply will not be capitalized, leading to a subtle misreading.
For instance, if Emma Smith or Oliver Cowdery or any of the scribes did not recognize the many parallels and quotes from Psalms and Proverbs in our Restoration scriptures, she or he would not have made the connection between Lady Wisdom and the lower-case "wisdom" often mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Through mere punctuation, the word becomes an attribute, rather than a person with a title named for that attribute. Yet if we look at the surrounding context in which the word "wisdom" appears, we are often justified in thinking it might be referring to Lady Wisdom Herself.
1 Nephi 10:22 And the Holy Ghost giveth authority that I should speak these things, and deny them not.
("For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round." -- 1 Nephi 10:19)
In the Book of Moses, the Spirit reveals mysteries of the Earth to Moses; the Spirit cries out to Enoch from the bowels of the Earth which is Her home when Her children descend to violence. This is clearly the ubiquitous motif of the Earth-Mother Goddess.
If the "fertility goddess" found in so many religions seems unforgivably "pagan" or "heathen", remember that the word "pagan" is not even found in the Bible, and Nephi says that "God remembers the heathen." "Heathen", meaning merely "not Christian or Jewish", probably pertains to one inhabiting uncultivated land -- not a condemnation of their religion as such, even if we ignore the Genesis story in which all the families -- and therefore religions -- in the world sprang from a common root.
In common parlance, "fertility goddess" is of course all-too-often bandied about with a sneer, as if the speaker is above such "primitive" concerns -- and yet, fertility is the root of life, the great gift which God granted Abram and Sarai. With the embodied human nature of deity, we are all, in effect, fertility Gods and Goddesses in embryo.
The word "create" just means "to make, bring forth, produce, beget." It's related to crescere, which is to "arise, come forth, spring up, grow, thrive, swell, increase in numbers or strength," from the Proto-Indo-European base ker-, meaning "to grow", as in the name of Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, or creare, "to bring forth, create, produce;" or the Greek kouros, "boy," or kore, "girl". We "create" our own children by following natural laws, initiating a process in which we cooperate in a complex symbiosis with other material to form new tabernacles for spirits, and yet the Uncreated Intelligence which we bring to light from darkness is eternally Free, an uncaused cause being initiated into the Temple of their body.
And as the Book of Mormon itself testifies, it is only when the testimony of two nations is allowed to run together that the truth of Godliness is made manifest. This revised view of deity, in which both male and female humans are capable of divinity, opens up a remarkable vista of comparative religious studies, in which we are not constrained to view the old "primitive myths" with patronizing Victorian disdain, itself conditioned by a post-Apostasy view of a disembodied Greek-philosophy view of God as Ontologically Unique First Cause rather than Individual Free Agent. (The human hand reaching out of the cloud in the gloriously enigmatic Book of Ether is a particular favorite of mine. Joseph Smith said that our happiness was only possible in a tabernacle; his view of an endless deified family is breathtaking for the sheer humanistic love it expresses.)
Clearly, God's visits in which He can speak to men face-to-face are rare. With innumerable garden-worlds to tend, he cannot spend overmuch time in our particular vineyard. But He has given us what we need to know to live well: to willingly take part in the Atonement, the Reconciliation of all Uncreated Intelligences. This record of the Atonement is found in scripture:
Moses 6: 5 And a book of remembrance was kept, in the which was recorded, in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration; and by them their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled. Now this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also. Now this prophecy Adam spake, as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost [ie, Lady Wisdom], and a genealogy was kept of the children of God. And this was the book of the generations of Adam, saying: In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; in the image of his own body, male and female, created he them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created and became living souls in the land upon the footstool of God.
As usual, the Holy Spirit provides inspiration for language, writing, and fertility to "male and female" alike, with Priesthood being bound up with genealogy and the Book of Life -- all of which immediately calls to mind the Neolithic cultures in which Goddesses were worshipped just as strongly as the Gods. "Adam" is an archetypal name given to the fecund ancestors; the Holy Spirit "called their name Adam".
60 "For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified. Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to [W]isdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment. And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me. And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water. And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man. And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost."
This is a beautiful example of "primitive" religious ritual, in which the fertile Goddess gives birth to humanity.
It's even continued in the New Testament, in which Christ acts as a Restorationist, bringing back the Temple theology which Josiah had expunged and offering a "renewing" of the Holy Spirit of Wisdom. He is baptized with the sign of the Dove; it is women who know of his resurrection first; Lady Wisdom is paired in verses with the Father (Matthew 11:19) Christ brings back Light (Luke 1:79), the Tree of Life, the Lampstand to guide the way to peace, which is in His At-one-ment, the Reconciliation of all Uncreated Intelligences into one adopted family. The Apostles are given power at the coming of the Holy Spirit upon them in the first chapter of Acts; this power is often related to language, speaking in tongues. Corinthians equates the Holy Spirit with the Wisdom of God in order to compare it with the Wisdom of the world. When we are "inspired", we are given eloquence by hearing the words of the Breath of Life which was breathed into Adam and all his children, the Comforter, the Mother who promises immortality by bearing the Light of Christ to us, guiding the generations of the family tree of this world towards the Savior's Atonement.
So where does Priesthood fit into all this?
The Book of Abraham
Nibley has shown at length in "All The Court's A Stage" the confusion occurring when the Egyptians tried to claim Patriarchal authority through a Matriarchal line. Thus the usual gender wars ensue, in which we are asked to play the Devil's Dilemma of choosing between Gog or Magog as if either was preferable to the other.
The point is that it should never have gotten to that point to begin with.
In this book, Abraham becomes a High Priest, a title which had been conferred upon him descending from the Fathers from before the foundation of the world. This should not, if we are fair, preclude High Priestesses; in fact, he desired to be a Father himself, and therefore needed a wife as holy as he - "Sarai" means "Princess".
His fathers had "turned away from their righteousness, and from the holy commandments which the Lord their God had given unto them, unto the worshiping of the gods of the heathen [which were the mute idols they had turned from commemorating the gods to being the gods themselves], utterly refused to hearken to [his] voice." (1:5)
Specifically, they "turned their hearts to the sacrifice of the heathen in offering up their children unto these dumb idols." (1:7)
Pharaoh's priest "had offered upon this altar three virgins at one time, who were the daughters of Onihah"; these "virgins were offered up because of their virtue; they would not bow down to worship gods of wood or of stone, therefore they were killed." (1:11) It was not their virginity which made them holy, but their faith in God as they chose to refuse to bow down to the established Priesthood of their land.
The land of Egypt was "first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus." "When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land." (1:23-24)
Note that the race is not a product of the curse; their branch of the family tree has rather not been blessed by Noah regarding the Priesthood. (To "curse" is not a supernatural magic power - in Ecclesiastical terms, it is to ban, censure, or pronounce anathema. But we still have some who claim that it really was their neighbor, the old witch, who cast a spell on the cows so they wouldn't give birth.)
The pertinent fact to note is that this appears from the text to be a policy which is nowhere said to be based on a Revelation from God.
Similarly, the patriarchal government was "after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal." (1:25) This was not divinely ordained, it was a policy of men. As Marija Gimbutas, Riane Eisler, and Elinor Gadon, among others, have shown, the patriarchal waves of invasion disrupted earlier, more egalitarian societies (though to be sure, they were hardly Utopias either!). It hardly matters that it is justified by an appeal to rhetoric emphasizing a claimed holiness - a similar sacralization of racially-motivated prejudice was seen, for instance, in the American South during the fight over slavery.
Yet, "Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of [W]isdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood." [Emphasis added]
Here Priesthood is explicitly decoupled from the organizational social-strategy of the order of Patriarchy. Priesthood and Patriarchy are quite explicitly not interchangeable; it is said that while Pharaoh righteously imitates the Patriarchal order, as yet he does not have the Priesthood. It was the "fathers" who "instituted [this order] in the days of Adam" and caused it to come "down by lineage" (D&C 107:41); "the order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son." (D&C 107:40)
Yet the Celestial Order we aspire to was, before the Fall, one of a marriage between equals. It wasn't until man sinned that woman was subjugated.
Note that it is never said "the fathers" had it by Revelation; it was merely something like a "Policy" had after the Fall, when the Celestial law in which Men and Women were Gods was not present. Many such policies have been changed in the past (such as Priesthood restrictions on blacks). As Joseph Smith taught in the King Follett Discourse, it is only when we come unto the Lord willingly that he starts to meet us; "when we are ready to come to him, he is ready to come to us." Those who say that the Church must wait until after death for women to be Priestesses are merely pushing that day farther away, when we should be grasping for it now.
Pharaoh was blessed with the blessings of the Earth and Wisdom (the Egyptian Ma'at), yet it was a practice by Noah (again, not necessarily inspired) which cursed him from the Priesthood. (As the D&C so ruefully acknowledges, we know well that good men are not assured of infallibility - we see the example of David, and emphasize that if the works of Justice are destroyed, Gods cease to be worth worshipping as such) As Moses 8:22 says, "God saw that the wickedness of men had become great in the earth; and every man was lifted up in the imagination of the thoughts of his heart, being only evil continually. [Again, one is put in mind of the Indo-European invasions which placed men higher than women]
By not extending our Priesthood to women, are men acting unfairly, without kindness, meekness, patience and long-suffering? Do the Heavens withdraw themselves and denounce the legitimacy of our Priesthood when we exercise unrighteous dominion and withhold it from an entire group of people, justifying our actions not with revelation but rather the philosophies of men mingled with scripture?
Yet, God also offered in Moses 8:24 that if he "Believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, even as our fathers, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost, that ye may have all things made manifest [the full priesthood, ushering in a full at-one-ment?]; and if ye do not this, the floods will come in upon you; nevertheless they hearkened not."
It is the concept of Priesthood, "Elderhood", which is important, not the gender. The Creation was made known to the Fathers by the Holy Spirit of Wisdom (1:31); [after "the Lord ordained Noah after his own order (Moses 8:19)] yet by sad experience, we have learned that as soon as men get a little authority they exercise unrighteous dominion.
3:18 states that "If there be two spirits, and one shall be more intelligent than the other, yet these two spirits, notwithstanding one is more intelligent than the other, have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end, they shall exist after, for they are gnolaum, or eternal."
All intelligences, "male and female", "Jew and gentile" are alike unto God who is "more intelligent than they all." (3:19) Since we have all existed forever, we are all equal. Thus, there is no basis for restricting the Priesthood based on gender.
The Gods are our parents, who adopted us before the foundation of the world, whose Son volunteered to bring knowledge of the At-one-ment after we have come down to experience mortal trials in order to become more like them.
4:1 "And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth. And the earth, after it was formed, was empty and desolate, because they had not formed anything but the earth; and darkness reigned upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of the Gods was brooding upon the face of the waters."
This vital scripture restores the idea that God the Father and God the Son are not only two separate beings, they were joined in their vast project of Creation by a Divine Council, which included the prominent Spirit who hovered and brooded over the waters, Wisdom who danced before the foundation of the world, who is possibly the Asherah, "She who treads the waters". The staunch trinitarianism of mainstream Christianity which is found nowhere in the Bible is done away with - everyone can get in on the act, if we live up to our divine potential. (See the Sermon in the Grove for the Plurality of the Gods.)
4:26 "And the Gods took counsel [we might say held Council, a sort of General Conference] among themselves and said: Let us go down and form man in our image, after our likeness; and we will give them dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So the Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they him."
They are both to have dominion of the earth; the man is not without the woman. But it is not the dominion emphasized by those various waves of apostasy in the Jewish and Christian traditions, which followed after the lusts of their hearts and sacrificed "every man woman and child", justifying their actions in later redactions to blame God for their sins. No, the "dominion" in the Garden stories from around the world was that of a Gardener, a man and woman who replenished the earth and bore children to take part in their work.
In our Articles of Faith, we state that "we believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. [...] We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Joseph Smith was endowed with knowledge in a Sacred Grove. Like Christ, he instituted a "renewing" of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, asking for the Wisdom to set him on the path which would lead him to Restore the knowledge of the hieros gamos, the Sacred Marriage, in the Temple of God, wherein men and women would be sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise in order to be fruitful and take part in the Creation.
With this in mind, we might fruitfully reread the Joseph Smith History, though with a little variation from the way it reads in our version:
1:10 "In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it? While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack [W]isdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth him not; and [She] shall be given him."
"Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed [W]isdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know."
1:73 "No sooner had a I baptized Oliver Cowdery, than the Holy Ghost fell upon him, and he stood up and prophesied many things which should shortly come to pass. And again, so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy, when, standing up, I prophesied concerning the rise of this Church, and many other things connected with the Church, and this generation of the children of men. We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our salvation."
"Oliver Cowdery exclaimed: "Nor has this earth power to give the joy, to bestow the peace, or comprehend the [W]isdom which was contained in each sentence as they were delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit!" (JSH, footnote)
1:26: "So far as the sectarian world was concerned ... it was not my duty to join with any of them." [The most fundamental sects out in the world are not based on superficial political or religious ideology, but rather on the artificial split we impose between men and women, despite God's command that we be one with all, men and women. As the New Testament says, there are no divisions between males and females when all are united under Christ's teachings.]
"At last, the work could begin; in 1:26, Joseph Smith had finally been assured: "I had found the testimony of James to be true - that a man who lacked [W]isdom might ask of God, and obtain, and not be upbraided."
I would describe D&C 121 as another "olive leaf […] plucked from the Tree of Paradise, the Lord’s message of peace to us”, just like section 88, because it so emphatically states: "God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, that has not been revealed since the world was until now; which our forefathers have awaited with anxious expectation to be revealed in the last times, which their minds were pointed to by the angels, as held in reserve for the fulness of their glory; a time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods, they shall be manifest. [...] According to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was."
Some pertinent scripture:
1 Enoch 94.5. And hold fast my words in the thoughts of your hearts,
And suffer them not to be effaced from your hearts;
For I know that sinners will tempt men to evilly-entreat Wisdom,
So that no place may be found for her.
The Wisdom of Ben Sirach 7:19 "Forego not a wise and good woman: for her grace is above gold."
"The world's greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus Christ." - James Talmage Daughters in my Kingdom page 3
Acts 7:51 "`Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and in ears! Ye do always the Holy Spirit resist; as your fathers also ye.'"
"I thank God that I have got this old book; but I thank him more for the gift of the Holy Ghost. I have got the oldest book in the world; but I have got the oldest book in my heart, even the gift of the Holy Ghost." -- Alma P. Burton, Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 343-344
"We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true Mormons." -- Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 316
"A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; [that is,] those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus." B.H. Roberts, History of the Church 3:381
"I have said these things because I fear dictatorial dogmatism, rigidity of procedure and intolerance [in the Church] even more than I fear cigarettes, cards, and other devices the adversary may use to nullify faith and kill religion. Fanaticism and bigotry have been the deadly enemies of true religion in the long past. They have made it forbidding, shut it up in cold grey walls of monastery and nunnery, out of sunlight and fragrance of the growing world. They have garbed it in black and then in white, when in truth it is neither black nor white, any more than life is black or white, for religion is life abundant, glowing life, with all its shades, colors and hues, as the children of men reflect in the patterns of their lives the radiance of the Holy Spirit in varying degrees." - President Stephen L. Richards
Proverbs 6:20 My son, keep your father's commandment; Do not forsake your mother's teaching.
Matthew 15:4 "For God did command, saying, Honour thy father and mother."
Sirach 4:23 "And refrain not to speak, when there is occasion to do good, and hide not thy Wisdom in Her beauty. For by speech Wisdom shall be known."
John 20:21 Jesus, therefore, said to them again, "Peace to you; according as the Father hath sent me, I also send you," and this having said, he breathed on [them], and saith to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."
When we give to all men and women liberally and deny none, we can finally be at peace with each other in the full blossoming of the At-one-ment: "And the Dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off." -- Genesis 8:11
Edited by JeremyOrbe-Smith, 01 March 2012 - 07:01 AM.