Truths and Spheres
All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. (D&C 93:30)
There was a time in my life when I was not allowed to touch a knife. I don’t remember a specific indecent but I am sure there was a time when my mom or dad said “no – no” as I reached for the shinny object. Touching a knife at that stage in my life was strictly forbidden.
At some point I am sure there was a distinction between a butter knife and a knife such as a steak knife. I was allowed to touch one but not the other. And so the progression goes. At some point I could touch a steak knife, but only to put it on the table for those who were able to actually use the knife. Eventually I could use one at will and after some time of this stage I have ended up at a sphere where I am now placing and enforcing similar laws upon my own children.
What is clear to me is that my development and my progression determined the law that I was under. And after going through this experience now as the law giver, it is evident that not all children are under the same law. For instance, a child who is totally dependent, lacking teeth to chew and height to reach, is in a way very innocent and not bound by the “law of the knife”. However, a child who has the ability to get a hold of a knife but isn’t familiar with how to use it properly, they have a law which is independent within its own sphere. This sphere is individual. The laws are not absolute for everyone and when the laws are similar, they do not always occur at the same time.
One child may be able to use a knife at age 10 while another is able to use the same knife at age 8. Each child has different strengths and weaknesses. Laws are given, or should be given, to serve as a schoolmaster (Galatians 3:24). They should be intended to teach and assist in progression. If a child has progressed and developed the strengths necessary to use a knife at a young age, they should not be bound by the same law which is intended to develop those strengths.
On my journey there was a portion of time where I operated under the assumption that laws and truth were absolute. I assumed that there was only one way. And to some degree, it is true. There is only one way and there is only one gate. However, my understanding concerning the gate is much different than it once was. Now I understand sphere’s sufficient to know that I should not judge another persons beliefs or convictions.
I have often heard people express the idea that when two or more people are testifying of a spiritual witness regarding things that are in conflict with one another, one of them must be mistaken. The statement is something like “the spirit cannot testify of opposing truths”.
I do not believe this. The spirit can testify of supposed opposing truths because each person is in a sphere that contains truths and laws which are independent of other spheres. Each person has a unique perspective and the spirit is able to testify and witness of truth regarding that perspective. For instance, take a look at this illustration.
Do to our nature, we have a perspective that is based on our location in time and space. We are not able to see all things at once. In this image, pretend that you are looking at the shadow that forms the circle. And pretend that I am looking at the shadow that forms the square.
The spirit testifies to you that the shadow you see is a circle. This might lead you to believe that the object casting the shadow must be a circle or a sphere. I however receive the witness that what I am seeing is a square. This might lead me to believe that the object casting the shadow is a square or cube.
Both of us are receiving a witness from the spirit that testifies of truth based on our perspective/sphere/law.
How about this illustration:
Neither individual is completely wrong or completely right. In order to see the truth you have to see all of the perspectives circumscribed into one great whole.
Are you familiar with what is called the “visible light spectrum”? Well, maybe its not called that but that is what I am going to call it.
So here is the thing, our eyes are limited in their vision. Not only are they limited by distance, they are also limited by wavelength. The way vision works is that light rays reflect off of an object and enter the cornea of the eye. The cornea bends these rays through the pupil and the light goes through the lens. The lens focuses the rays on the retina. The retina has light sensitive cells which convert the light into electrical impulses. Ultimately these impulses are sent to the brain where the image is “seen”. [Find a better source other than me if you are searching for a more knowledgeable explanation]
Our sight begins with light at a specific wavelength and we define much of our reality by our sight. However, this spectrum of light is limited, thus our reality is limited.
There is a lot of light out there. A lot that we don’t see. In fact, there are sounds we do not hear and matter we do not feel. The reality that we define based on our physical senses is very limited. The truths we are able to receive are limited. This defines a sphere. There are many spheres.
This is particularly interesting to me when it comes to the things of heaven. Heaven, something beyond the telestial, should not be expected to confine itself to the realities of such a small and limited spectrum. Heaven is too big to fit into our reality. We must expand our reality in order to receive heaven.
What I found is that God is much bigger than the box I had created for him. Truly, God is in me and I am in God. Truly the elements are the tabernacle of God. Truly we are created in God’s image. The image is the same regardless of the direction you look. You can dive to the very depths of your being and you will find galaxies and creations innumerable. You can fly to the very expanse of the heavens and you will find the exact same image. It is all one. A reflection of God viewed from a unique perspective.
This idea can go further, and even further than I am able to express.
Our definition of God and the reality we try to place God in, is so tiny. God is omnipresent. Present everywhere at the same time. In this sense, God is NOT like us.
You are probably familiar with the concepts and principles contained in the image below. These are a few of the different dimensions.
There are many dimensions. We typically place ourselves as 3 dimensional beings or 4th dimensional beings considering we live in time. But God is apparently not confined to the law of time.
Now whether there is more than one time appointed for men to rise it mattereth not; for all do not die at once, and this mattereth not; all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men. (Alma 40:8)
We interact and observe a 3D world regularly. However, our sight is actually 2D. If you think about it, the image you are seeing right now is a flat surface. We know it is 3D because we see light reflecting and shadows being created. We know it is 3D because of other entities or items and their relative size/proportion to the object we are observing. But really, we see 2D.
3 dimensional beings see things in 2 dimensions. We are currently 3 dimensional beings. God however is not. God can observe in true 3D. God is omnipresent, seeing the end from the beginning, the top of the earth and the bottom and every angle of observation in between.
Not only are we limited in our perception in relation to space but we are also limited in our perception to time. We act as if we are living in the “now” but we are actually living or experiencing the “past”. We see based on light reflection which is processed and manipulated in our eyes and transferred to our brain and interpreted as “sight”. There is a time delay in this process. The same with hearing, feeling, smelling. Time delay. Our “reality” is based in the past.
Have you ever tried to move a pencil on your table without touching it? Or maybe some other object? You focus really hard. It actually creates a sensation when you try this. You focus and focus and try to move the pencil. But nothing happens. Why? Because the pencil you are observing is in the past. The pencil you are observing is a reflection of light in the past. Remember the time delay? Are you able to change the past?
Try this, use that same focus and energy and try to move your own finger. I can’t do it. Can you? Are you using the same energy, focus and observation as you did with the pencil? My guess is if you are doing it the same as the pencil, the finger didn’t move. But if you change the way you approach the action, you can move your finger. Move your finger as you regularly would. What is different here? Are you more ONE with your finger than you are with the pencil?
So we live in the past and we see the past in a 2 dimensional perspective. Wow! Is our observation limited or what? Truly our “reality” is not real. Why do we think GOD is something we can observe in this telestial sphere in the form of a visitation? 3D and 2D beings can not see or comprehend a being which is 4D or above. Why is that? Its because GOD lives in the “now” which is actually not bound by “past” or “future”.
Christ wasn’t “I WAS” or “I WILL BE”…Christ is “I AM”. God is in “now”. Because God is “now”, God is omnipresent. God can move the pencil. Christ can walk on water. Planets can be created. The universe can expand.
God is in you and you are in God. We are actually multidimensional beings who have fallen to a 3 dimensional realm. Don’t expect things beyond this reality to present themselves the way you perceive your reality. Step out of the box. Take a different perspective.
The closer we get to living “now” the closer we are to being ONE. The closer we get to living “now” the closer we get to God.
Now I am sure that there will be some who will say “God is something we can observe in this telestial sphere. Joseph saw God in the first vision”. This is interesting to me and I believe this idea is an example of looking at the shadows on the wall and defining a reality that isn’t fully understood.
Joseph had a VISION. Is a vision different than a visitation? What are the laws or rules of visions? Can you think of an account of a vision in the scriptures that you believe is obviously symbolic and not literal? Is is possible that this “first vision” should be treated differently due to its nature as a vision?
I once experienced a vision and what I saw reminds me of an experience Moses had:
Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the Spirit of God.
And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore.
And he beheld many lands; and each land was called earth, and there were inhabitants on the face thereof.
And it came to pass that Moses called upon God, saying: Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them?
And behold, the glory of the Lord was upon Moses, so that Moses stood in the presence of God, and talked with him face to face. And the Lord God said unto Moses: For mine own purpose have I made these things. Here is wisdom and it remaineth in me.
And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth.
And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.
And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.
But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them. (Moses 1:27-35)
Have you ever had an experience that was hard to describe? Have you ever listened to someone else try to describe the same experience and somehow you know what they are trying to say but it is only because you experienced the same thing? Its as if there are keywords or codes and those who have experienced whatever the event might be are able to recognize what is being shared. Those who have not had the experience are only able to understand a limited sliver of what is actually being shared.
I have experienced this with becoming a father. I remember being younger and fathers would describe to me the change that happened to them once they had a child of their own. I remember thinking “oh yeah, I get it”. They would tell me that “you don’t really get it until you experience it”. I didn’t really believe them. I know better now. I had no idea what they were talking about until it happened. Their words were limited. The truth they were sharing was beyond my sphere. I couldn’t comprehend what was being shared even though I thought I could.
This is similar to what happens when the prophets testify of experiences with heaven. As a reader, we think we get what they are describing, but until it happens, until we experience it, we are only seeing one shadow. We think it is a circle. The spirit tells us we are seeing a circle. But if we could ask the question “is it a circle” the prophet would tell us “well, no… kind of. It is also a square if you look at it this way. But really its a cylinder”. Us, in our limited perspective would say something like “how can it be both… and what is a cylinder?!”
Moses saw something beyond description. Moses saw that which is beyond time.
Imagine for a moment that there is ONE single point of light. We will call it “source”. Imagine that you and me and every other thing are a part of that “source”. Now imagine an explosion. Every individual thing spreads out from the original point. A better way of saying it might be that everything separates from “source”. Some things are closer than others, but everything is separate.
A 2D symbol of this idea might look something like this:
Notice how each individual is separated from the source and the “distance” of separation is different. Not only is the “distance” different but the path back is different. Some paths are very close to one another. Some seem completely different. But what we will find is that when an individual is aligning themselves with the path back to source, the closer they get and the closer another individual gets, the closer the two individuals become.
Remember the “law of the knife”? That idea can be applied here. Each individual progresses through spheres/laws as they journey back to source. Lets look at what it looks like for one individual:
Notice how the spheres/laws have a progression that leads back to source. Also, notice the overlap from one sphere to the next. This is important because there is a period of transition. A transition between two spheres/laws. The transition contains a few components that might be illustrated like this:
At some point in our current sphere/law we will be presented with a law that is closer to the law of source. As we progress we will experience a test regarding the new law. This is a transition point. We will have to make a choice. Are we willing to let go of an old law and embrace the next? For some this transition is exciting and seems natural. For others this transition is a period of major discomfort. Transitioning from using a butter knife to a steak knife might be exciting. A drivers permit to a drivers license, maybe exciting. Transitioning away from a tradition, maybe tough. Transitioning closer to heaven, usually difficult. It requires losing ones self in order to find ones self. It requires pruning. And pruning can be very offensive and uncomfortable for the thing being pruned.
If we continue to follow the path back to source we will find ourselves closer and closer to others.
Here is what it might look like:
Here our spheres/laws/truths begin to correspond and overlap. We are not only closer to each other, we are closer to source. Does this help in seeing how we can see God in others? Does this help in understanding why we are drawn to different people at different times? Does this help in understanding why and how the spirit can testify of truths to your neighbor that might seem contradictory to the truths the spirit has testified to you? Does this help us not judge our neighbor? Does this help us “believe all things”? (A of F 1:13)
Eventually “all truth may be circumscribed into one great whole.” An overlap at Source.
Until that point, the spirit will testify to each and every person “different” truth that is specific to them and the sphere they reside in. Each of us are separated from God in different ways and thus the journey back has a different course/trajectory/bearing/etc. By recognizing this principle we are better able to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are able to see the “God” in them and encourage them on their journey. We are able to cast off judgments and pride.
The closer we get to God, the less we focus on “doctrine”. Doctrine is created for man to facilitate progression. Without progression, doctrine is dead.
The principles in this post were illustrated in a 2D way which is a very elementary way to view the idea… perhaps even pre-schoolish. Take this a bit further in your mind and imagine a 3D view. Now imagine that you have already connected to God. Time is only an illusion measured unto men or in other words “all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men”. (Alma 40:8)
On our journey we might reach a point where we will say “the closer I step to source, the further I feel from those I love” or something similar. Maybe you will say “the closer I feel to Christ, the further away I feel from my wife” or maybe “the closer I get to God, the further away I feel from my siblings”.
I am familiar with this perceived separation. It is uncomfortable and it can be heart breaking. Contention can arise and conflict ensue. Surely this is not what we want. So with this idea concerning the separation we feel while we should be feeling closer to each other, I want to share why those feelings are true, but how they end up being false once we reach what we are striving for. Here is an illustration of this principle:
When we start our sincere and conscious journey to Christ, we are often in a place (sphere) very similar to the people we associate with the most. We have the same values, the same beliefs, the same practices, the same language, etc. This sphere is shown by the small circle in the image above. The journey or path to Christ is the larger dashed circle. (Very symbolic reason why the journey back is shown as a circle)
As we follow this path we find two things happening. One, we are discovering more of a connection with Christ. Two, we start to separate from those who are in the sphere we have left or are transitioning out of. Remember that transition image? This is/can be a very painful transition. It seems contradictory to the desired goal. However, there is a turning point to look forward to. Here is what happens:
As we progress we can see the separation. The discomfort hasn’t peaked at this point. It is almost “hidden” from those who are still in the other sphere.
But the progression continues. Eventually the separation is clear to everyone… not yet peaked but no longer “hidden”.
This is were a “tipping” point occurs. We are now open about the separation. Contention is probably high. Everyone is very uncomfortable but YOU are not able to deny the increased connection with Christ so you continue on the journey.
The peace we desire doesn’t happen at this point. We continue on and eventually reach a point where we are about as far away from those we love. We feel like the closer we step to Christ, the further we are from them. And up to this point it is true. 180 degrees of separation.
Right here is where things have the chance to get really awesome. How soon this happens will be different for everyone. Some people might not allow themselves to get here. But here is what can happen. We continue our progression and slowly we discover that we are closer to those we previously felt total separation from.
A turning point occurs. Our connection to Christ increases but the distance from those individuals decreases. It is awesome when we start to notice this change. It is pretty amazing internally even if there is still conflict and contention. The other individuals might not notice anything different but we notice it. We are less judgmental. More compassionate. More understanding. We start to become a justifier rather than an accuser. It is awesome!
As we continue along that trajectory… we eventually receive Christ. And believe it or not… we have a sort of reuniting with those who are in the sphere we left so long ago.
Receiving Christ involves receiving everyone… regardless of sphere. Christ not only rises UP but also condescends BELOW.
This might be a mystery to you (maybe not though) but it is an experience for me. Receiving Christ does this. It is a dramatic change on the inside and it permeates in our lives in every aspect.
So… while it seems that we are separating from others along our journey to the fullness we are actually being prepared for: