To facilitate my own personal study of the words and teachings of the leaders of the church, I’ve been taking a single talk a week from the last General Conference and dissecting it thoroughly. It has cause me to go slower than I normally would, as I have tried to squeeze out every last morsel of vitalizing nutrition.
This past week I had the pleasure of exploring the lessons given by Elder Valeri V Cardon of the Seventies, from his talk, “The Language of the Gospel.” He is from Costa Rica and spoke beautifully upon the phenomenon of “language loss,” the process in which foreigners lose their mother tongue with each passing generation, by adopting the language of the land in which they currently reside.
He then compares this unfortunate event with that of our blindness of where we came from and who we really are as children of God. With each passing generation it seems we, the children of God, as a whole lose touch with the language of our Heavenly Parents and hold tight to incomplete traditions that have been passed down since the beginning of time.
Have you ever played the communication came called “Telephone?” By the time the message reaches the end of the line, it has become so distorted and altered from its original source that it’s meaning is nowhere close to its initial divine design. We all truly fall prey to language loss to the heavenly language of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is why it is so imperative for us to go directly to the source of the truth, that we may know for ourselves what is truth and what isn’t truth.
This talk has really opened my eyes about the dangers of traditions. Like everything else in this world, they must remain pure. When we try to learn the purest form of the language, that is when we will fully understand the people (and in this case Gods/ Elohim) who speak that language.
By yet another perfect placed, and perfectly timed tender mercy of God I began to understand the further glorious lessons in relation to the importance of learning the language of God. The very next chapter in one of the great books I am studying from happened to be none other than “Law Four: Understanding God’s Language.” I do not doubt that my Heavenly Father designed for these two correspondences – the talk and the chapter – to land on the same week so that I could consummately learn all there is about God’s language.
I knew God was directing me to learn about His language. It was a given that this is exactly what I should write about in my next PrisonTemple blog post. However, little did I know how unprepared I was. This divine language is more infinitely incomprehensible than my little mind could bear to process. The grand impossibility of the task did not sway me though, as I knew it shouldn’t.
This is the first lesson I began to learn about the language of God: It can’t be fully learned without Jesus Christ. We are commanded to “live by every word that proceeds forth from the mouth of God (D&C 84:43-44).” To do so I would argue is impossible without the continual grace of our Savior. Although impossible, we should still choose to follow the commandment.
This post is my menial comprehension of this heavenly vernacular. I prepared myself to write this post by going into the word of God and attempted to get a better grasp the endless vocabulary He speaks to us. It soon became apparent to me that God’s language is vast and is included everywhere and anywhere there is light. I also discovered the fact that Heavenly Father loves to speak to us, the divinely orchestrated experiences just as much as, if not more than, when we go to Him in prayer or read His Scriptures. Every moment of our lives God is speaking to us. Literally.
One of the most amazing aspects about God’s language is that He chooses to speak to us on a very intimate and personal level that matches us so perfectly perfect! He does this through analogy, metaphor, paradox, symbolism, types, chiasmus, parables, and patterns. All of this constitutes the language of our Heavenly Parents and is so full of love for each one of us that often time’s life is so perfectly orchestrated for you personally that only you would understand in the very moment He speaks to you.
For example, the other day I ate an orange. This orange made me the happiest I have been in a very long time. Now let’s say you ate an orange at the exact same time I did, right now, in your present circumstances. Would that orange make you as happy as it made me? Probably not, because an orange means more to me than it does to you – I haven’t had an orange in over two years. Plus, oranges were a staple of my childhood, signifying my jungle boy days when I roamed my grandparent’s yard, building forts, and picking an orange off the tree whenever I felt like it. When I ate my orange it awoke within me dormant light that not only provided me with vitamin C, that most people eat oranges for, but also lifted my spirits tremendously. To anyone else an orange may seem so miniscule and incapable of producing such a gigantic load of joy. Only God knew what an orange would do for me.
So you see how God speaks to us on an individual level by using His creations. The smallest “word” can mean so much to us, and miraculously God knows what that perfect “word” is every single time. Frequently God speaks not only to comfort us, but to teach us as well. In my preparation for this post I found countless examples of hidden uses of God’s language as used in the Scriptures. I chose three in which to share, mainly because I find them fascinating!
But first, please realize that we must not try to dictate what God means when He speaks. He knows what He means when He speaks, so who are we to interpret for Him? We aren’t to put a singular finite meaning to anything He says, because often there are multiple levels in everything He says. Our job is to build upon our understanding; being accepting and open, while always striving to seek for truth. Just because truth is so finely cut doesn’t mean it isn’t infinite. So when I offer these three examples, understand that they have multiple levels of meaning and I, in my place in the dust, I’m only uncovering one layer of the onion. They have helped me add more light upon my understanding of the dealings of God and how He speaks to us, so I feel inspired to share them with you.
I. When God says ALL, He means ALL.
Going into my own set of Scriptures this week, I realize that I have circled every one of the words “ALL” and I didn’t even know it. As soon as I recognized this, I was amazed at the power this word carries when God uses it. In my mind I acknowledge that God can’t lie or He would cease to be God. So when He says ALL He literally means ALL.
The definition of ALL: to a full extent or degree. (Webster’s)
ALL is a very faith promoting word. It helps us maintain an assurance of divinity of Christ in His role and purpose. He is ALL consuming. We are ALL His. I invite you to go through your Scriptures and circle the uses of the word ALL and see what glorious truth is to be learned. ALL is not in the Topical Guide of the Bible, or in the Book of Mormon index, but here are some amazing Scriptures to start you out. I will only quote a few, the rest you’ll have to look up yourself:
6 But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen. (1 Nephi 9:6)
9 Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend. (Mosiah 4:9)
7 For thou shalt devote all thy service in Zion; and in this thou shalt have strength. (D&C 24:7)
21 I dwell in the midst of them all; I now, therefore, have come down unto thee to declare unto thee the works which my hands have made, wherein my wisdom excelleth them all, for I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence, over all the intelligences thine eyes have seen from the beginning; I came down in the beginning in the midst of all the intelligences thou hast seen. (Abraham 3:21)
(See Also: Mosiah 29:20; Alma 5:33; John 12:32; D&C 76:70; Moses 6:61-63; 1 Nephi 1:1; 1 Nephi 10:20; Mosiah 4:27; Mosiah 18:9; Mosiah 27:25-26; Mosiah 28:19; Alma 5:21; Alma 7:8; Alma 11:42, 44; Alma 18:32; Johm 13:5; D&C 25:1, 9; D&C 26:2; D&C 38:2-3; Moses: 6:27, 35; Moses 8:29; Articles of Faith #3)
II. Ask If These Things Are NOT True
Dad spoke about this in a past post, but I still find it extremely intriguing, so I’ll put my two cents in. Moroni 10:3-5 is a powerful Scripture that all missionaries rely upon when teaching an ernest investigator.
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. (Moroni 10:3-5)
The part that has stood out to me the most ever since I was a child was how Moroni exhorts us to ask. H tells us to ask if these things (the Scriptures, particularly the Mook of Mormon) are NOT true. Have you ever wondered why? It truly is wonderful to think about. No doubt this was inspired by the language of God himself. This Scripture teaches us the correct way in how to seek truth from our Heavenly Father in our prayers.
It is all in the perspective. The Scriptures are true from the beginning. You are going into the question with the belief that they are already true and all you are trying to do is find the error within (if there is any). All too often we apply the flip side of this strategy with things that are true, we automatically assume they are false from the beginning and then ask to find any truth from within.
Do you see the difference? Because there is a HUGE difference, and I know that for myself I am seeking for truth in the wrong way much too frequently. We must automatically assume everything is first truth and THEN seek for error. Coming at truth from this direction is way more faith promoting. We will progress quicker and won’t get too caught up in everything, especially before the race even begins.
An example of this would be for us to become more like Nephi, upon hearing about his father’s dreams. Personally, if someone were to tell me about a vision, dream or NDE they had, I would first accept it as truth, then I would take that a bit farther and sift through any errors, if it be there. Approaching life in this way is a brighter and more exciting fashion.
This is how children interact with the world. They aren’t so much as gullible as they are just trying to find all the joy there is in everything around them. This is yet another reason why Christ implores us to be like little children.
Can you imagine if Moroni had flipped it and exhorted us to ask if these things are true? It would be like a sure sign that these things aren’t true – assuming on the face that they were false. The world would put the Book of Mormon under much more scrutiny than it already does. Plus, we have tons of people asking if the Scriptures are true without first believing that they are true. No wonder so many investigators don’t get an answer on these things, they’ve first haven’t exercised faith. They’re expecting a handout when they simply ask if it’s true, after first assuming it’s not.
We must stop this incorrect search for truth. Believe first, then ask for error. Again, by doing the opposite. We are shooting ourselves in the foot before the race even begins.
I’m so grateful that through the glory of God’s language I now know how to pray to Him. I can speak His language and better seek ALL truth, by having a believing heart first.
III. ”Knowing Good FROM Evil” Not “Knowing Good AND Evil”
I had always been taught that satan was the father of all lies (Moses 4:4), or in other words, he could not tell the truth. Because “he persuaded no man to do good, no not one” (Moron I 7:17). But then I always read the account of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when satan beguiled Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit by telling her that “she shall be as the gods, knowing good and evil (Moses 4:11).” This has always confused me because I had always assumed this was true. She partook of the fruit and she did in fact know in good and evil, right? So how could satan have enticed Eve to break a commandment of God with truth!? Surely that would frustrate the whole plan.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized God’s language is again at play here, and satan was in fact lying when he said, “You will become as gods, knowing good and evil.” All it took was some searching and I began to understand. I compared satan’s words to everyone else’s. And this is what I found: every instant satan speaks to Eve in the few accounts we have to this interaction, he is always saying Eve will become as gods, knowing good AND evil.
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:5; see also Moses 4:11; 2 Nephi 2:18; emphasis added)
But whenever a true prophet of God explains what really happened to Adam and Eve after they partake of the forbidden fruit, they always specify that the effect allowed them to be free by knowing good FROM evil.
26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given. (2 Nephi 2:26; see also Alma 12:30; Moses 6:55-56; Helaman 14:30-31; emphasis added)
satan was in fact lying. We did not come to this earth to know good AND evil, but to become like God and know good FROM evil. So as I understood this, a deep treasure trove of fascinating truth was awaiting to be learned. The simple mincing of words ties itself in almost all areas of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is imperative that we learn it thoroughly. I will only touch lightly upon what I have begun to decipher. First, is that we need evil to learn about the good. We learn about goodness from the darkness of this fallen world. It is divinely designed that way. What gods understand, though, that we don’t often employ is that once they learn good from the bad, they hastily discard the bad, and keep the good. They do not keep both – the good and the bad – rather they keep only the good.
The word FROM is interesting. It explains origin, but more importantly, it explains what something is NOT. For example, I am FROM Arizona, but I am not Arizona. I am FROM my mother, but I am not my mother. Knowing good comes FROM evil, but good is not evil. Satan’s strategy is to mix good and evil – to put them on the same plane, he would have us know both because he knows even the smallest amount of evil will disqualify us to enter into the presence of the Lord. satan is willing to let us know good, just as long as we know some evil as well. Whereas God would have us use evil to learn ALL good, then drop ALL evil like an out of date iPhone, keeping only the good and becoming like Him.
God’s language is ALL light. It is eternal. It is everywhere, in ALL things. We do not need a Rosetta Stone to become proficient in this heavenly tongue. All we need is a willingness to believe and a humble heart. My hope is that we will all choose to study more closely the words God uses that we can know when He is speaking to us, but also so that we can better speak to Him in His own language. Imagine! Having full conversations with your Heavenly Father. He desires it. Do you!?