There is an account in Holy writ were a man named Zeezrom, a corrupt lawyer and judge, who has used his worldly knowledge and educated use of the language to pervert the laws and blind and corrupt the people of his ancient city. There comes to this city a man of God, prophet and High Priest over the land, who at returning a second time after being commanded to do so, having first been rejected and thrown out, is taken in and cared for by another man from this city. The Prophet’s name is Alma, and the merciful caretaker is Amulek.
After a time of Alma ministering to Amulek and his household, Amulek agrees to preach with him to the people of his city. At this time they go before the people and Alma begins to preach the word of God with the scriptures and through the Holy Spirit. All of the evil lawyers, judges and leaders of the people are the first accusers of the two men sent from God, because they are the ones who had caused such evil deeds to be sown in the hearts of the people.
After a bunch of accusations and Alma and Amulek confounding the evil designs of those who lay in wait to deceive, expounding the scriptures and teaching true doctrine, one of the lawyers named Zeezrom begins to feel a piercing in his heart, and the Holy Ghost bears witness to him that these men are from God and are speaking the truth. With this breakthrough, Zeezrom begins to plead with the people saying, “Behold, I am guilty, and these men are spotless before God.”
After many of the people began to believe the words of Alma and Amulek, there commenced a great martyrdom of those that believed being thrown into the fire. Other believers were thrown out and stoned. Those who survived took refuge in the land of Sidom, among whom was Zeezrom. I now quote, “…Zeezrom lay sick at Sidom, with a burning fever, which was caused by the great tribulations of his mind on account of his wickedness, for he supposed that Alma and Amulek were no more; and he supposed that they had been slain because of his iniquity. And this great sin, and his many other sins, did harrow up his mind until it did become exceedingly sore, having no deliverance; therefore he began to be scorched with a burning heat.”
This burning heat is a fever that became so bad, that he lay sick and could not recover. Some time later, after Alma and Amulek had been spared and delivered out of prison by God, they came to Sidom where Zeezrom lay ill. Now, this is where the subject of this post comes into play.
Zeezrom had, over the course of his poor and evil choices, set his mind on the evil and deceit he had subscribed to. With those changes of evil upon his soul, it also took effect on his body, little by little, bit by bit, as he had thought of and done wrong from one thing to the next. At this point in time when we find him in Sidom, his spirit is convinced of the evil and error of his ways, and he has a spiritual change of heart. This change had happened so fast because of the bearing of testimony and pure doctrine, coupled with the fact that Alma and Amulek were given to know the thoughts and intents of Zeezrom’s heart while he was yet contending against them, from which Zeezrom was brought to know the power of God. Zeezrom’s change of heart had come so quickly, that his body did not have time to re-climatize to the polarization of good and righteousness.
The outcome of this was the burning fever upon him, for his body was in contrast to his spirit, good vs. evil, and the carnal body of Zeezrom had been climatized to evil. The outcome of this is that, “when [Zeezrom] heard that Alma and Amulek were in the land of Sidom, his heart began to take courage; and he sent a message immediately unto them, desiring them to come unto him.
“And it came to pass that they went immediately, obeying the message which he had sent unto them; and they went in unto the house unto Zeezrom; and they found him upon his bed, sick, being very low with a burning fever; and his mind also was exceedingly sore because of his iniquities; and when he saw them he stretched forth his hand, and besought them that they would heal him. And it came to pass that Alma said unto him, taking him by the hand: Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation? And he answered and said: Yea, I believe all the words that thou hast taught. And Alma said: If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed. And he said: Yea, I believe according to thy words. And then Alma cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ. And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to walk; and this was done to the great astonishment of all the people; and the knowledge of this went forth throughout all the land of Sidom.”
Yes, God always does provide a way for the sinner to repent and be made whole. Often times it’s the small, everyday changes for good that we do, which allow us to repent, become better, and as we do so, our bodies will acclimate and change accordingly for the good, to where we won’t desire evil in our spirits or our bodies. We have the choice. The climatizing of our bodies for either good or bad.
One of the great comparisons in life I like to look at, are the power of God, and the pseudo “power” of Satan. For an example of this let’s look at the power and energy of light as we know it. For as the semblance of everything denotes there is a God, and in each thing there is a blueprint, or an example of God as He is as Creator and Master, we too can take a look at and study the concept of God, and see Him and His power in all things.
In light is the essence and matter of all the colors in the color spectrum that we have in our planet’s sphere. So when light is shining on an object, the only color that the object does not “absorb,” is reflected back to the eye, and it appears as that color. It is the object then that determines what color not to “accept,” which is then seen by our eyes, and then interpreted back by our brain to what the color’s representation is.
When light is broken down, you can see then that it’s combined complexities consist of all the colors of the rainbow in one. The result is a brilliant and ennobling pure light, white in color. Every color combined in and through the power of God creates this great white light, which helps give order and structure to the world we know around us.
Now let’s look at the adversaries “power.” He can only take of the things God has created and try to use them for harm, or against that for which they were intended or created. He cannot create anything. For an example and metaphor, let’s speak in these terms. Satan will take of the products of God’s creations, such as in this case an artist’s paint. He will take of the pigments of the colors of paint, and try to manipulate them to make something, or to paint a picture to look as though it were something which is pleasing, good or desirable, but of course he cannot deliver. By the very nature of the way Satan uses and abuses what God has created, for his own cunning design, he can never deliver the “promised” result. Satan is not capable one bit of telling the truth, and he can do no good thing. He will take of the colors, put them together and get black.
Only God can create, put His colors together and get a bright white light which gives life place and meaning, for Christ is the light and life of the world.
Many people have often born strong witness of the power of the atonement in their lives with adding somewhere in that declaration that, “I don’t know how it works, I only know that it does.” Recently I had an impression and inspiration of how it does work. I will start off by saying that the Lord did experience everything with us, so this means He’s with you right now. He is with everyone and the thoughts, feelings, experiences and acts they do and go through every day.
When in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus Christ experienced our life as Himself going through it. Of course when He went through it (our life), He expended and sent forth every good and righteousness expression and spiritual act and input into it unto the fullness. As I think of this, I am led to deeply desire to make every acting effort to make use of His powerful love and enlightened enablement which He extended and extends to each of us through His atonement. As we think about our lives and the use of the atonement of our Savior in it, we need to remember this, that we have every power and gift extended and granted unto us through His expression of great loving sacrifice, of both mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, social, and in every other way being wrought, that we need and must take merit and make all use of all of it. For that is it’s purpose.
Yes, Christ literally experienced our lives with us, and for us, that is to say, until we actually started living it out in the flesh as well. Then at that time, we started to experience our lives, and can now come to know our Savior, that He is with us, because of His atonement, for He truly did go with us, and is with us even now. You can even say that as He went through His atonement, He came to know us, and now that we are living our lives searching for Him and using His atonement, we are coming to know Him. He has already come through our lives with the remedies and cure for our lives spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, socially and in every other manner, both in time and in eternity. With some things being overcome in the next life, but all things for sure for the faithful followers of Christ who passionately use His loving atoning sacrificing gift and endure.
So what is the secret to or of life? To learn how to and to readily and actively use the atonement in our lives to the end of our days. This is the only success and measure of a man. To be a man as He, a godly man. So, how do we learn to use the atonement? This is how. The atonement makes it possible for us to mentally seek a higher plain in us, to grow in spiritual maturity and change our natures, or the desires of our hearts. From lust to love, indecency to decency. degradation to nobility. It comes about by our using our agency to yield ourselves to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, or to use our agency to make correct choices and bring our hearts more in line with the truth and love, thus becoming more righteous and pleasing to God. It is truthfully the atonement that even allows and gives us our agency, for without it, we could not choose good, for there would be no influence of good for us to act with.
Following the Spirit and making good choices over time and every time changes our nature to become more sanctified and pure. This is what it means to use our Lord’s atonement. To use the power He has given us by being with us every step of the way, and being the only way. This is the great cause and call to all then, to be the living recipients of the Son of God and His fruits.
Look for more in Part Two
I have thought much about my life and the influence I have to make a difference in the lives of others around me, particularly in the field of missionary work. I have at times been frustrated at how life in general can feel as though I am being encroached upon by the actions of others, not doing what they ought, and how that makes me feel in reference to my spiritual equilibrium. As I have battled that war, and have become victorious, I want to share some inspirational points that may help one make it through these challenges, and better serve the Lord. Since then, I have found myself in the natural flow and current of the atonement, where stuff like previously mentioned doesn’t bother me, because I live with the Holy Spirit guiding my life, and act out of Heavenly Father’s will as a daily experience. In this I feel that He is in me and I in He. This of course came with some significant course corrections and realignment, as well as adjustments along the way. Now I feel I’m doing pretty good, and the prompting and message of this piece, which Heavenly Father told me I ought to finish tonight, is more on the grounds of how to get to the place I’ve found of doing God’s will, from where I was before when I felt I was a victim, rather than playing my role as a good and faithful servant of God, so I could share and spread the gospel.
I have often been drawn in my life, to the analogy of the lobsters trying to fight their way out of boiling hot water. As they fight frantically for a way to stop the pain, there are some who look up for higher solutions. Time and time again we see how the lower creatures pull down on the ones trying to escape over the top and side of the burning pit, making it much harder for any chance of escape. I see this as a true principle in life. Yes, people are going to present themselves in opposition to progress, anytime someone decides to reach for a higher plain. History repeats itself in this way many times, and I have seen this much in my own life.
At this point in my life, I sort of see myself as one who no longer has to deal with this kind of all for one and none for all behavior, because I have already risen to a place where this doesn’t affect me anymore. I just stand up, and do what God wants, because that’s what He said. As a person continues to progress and move up from one thing to another, the ability to do more and better things increases, as does the speed and capacity to do so.
Now for the thought that inspired this post. It is this: To see the sin around me as opportunities to help, serve, and give light and love to others. Wow! What a game changer! As this post’s focus is on missionary work, what better way to utilize ourselves than as ministers of need. So, with this in mind, know that there is a way to get from point ‘A’ (I want to share my testimony and knowledge of the gospel) to point ‘B’ (I am sharing my influence and testimony, as well as serving and teaching others the gospel).
As the Lord has commanded, “Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.” D&C 11: 21 This pertains to having and living the word, for without living the word, you will not have the Spirit, as stated in the above verse. Of course, the word changes us internally to desire to live worthily and keep the commandments, but if we hold on to our sins, or seek to excuse them, we will not have the Holy Spirit with us, and we will be deceived in our gospel learning, even if we do desire to share our gospel light.
A huge part of desiring to share the gospel and our success in doing so is our faithful diligence in living it. We cannot have our bodies full of light if our eyes are not singly fixed upon our Savior who is our divine light and perfect exemplar. My deepest most innermost desire in sharing this with you, is to plead with you, to come, come unto Christ, and be one who battles above the other “lobsters”. Be the one who acknowledges the frailties of men, but then gets right up there and says, “Just because everyone else in doing it, doesn’t mean it’s correct or right. I choose to follow the Lord.” And then go out and do it!
Please don’t rationalize desinsitizing media, or worldly hobbies that take you off your life’s path to God. Yes, everyone else may do it, but when Noah was told not to participate, but to save himself and family, he did! And you should too. Remember who you are. Remember why you are here. “For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.” Alma 34:32
And now I ask, what will you do with your time? How will you work out your eternity? What will you anchor your heart to or set your heart upon, that it may lead you to God, for remember, “…where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34 If your treasures are stored up in heaven, there will your heart be, and your salvation too. If your treasures are of or upon the world, there is your heart, and your reward, namely death and hell, for these are the fruits of a fallen heart.
If you want to abide in the presence of God, not just then and there but now, then live with Him, do His will, and follow His path. You will find the way, He is the way, the truth and the life. The prophets and scriptures teach us how to live and what is real; about the spiritual relms and what faith is. For there are things existing, which though we do not currently see with our mortal eyes, are just as real and substantial, as a broken chair or an umbrella right before our eyes. Our task is to learn how to navigate through these spiritual realities, through learning and understanding the truth as it is, and applying it in all these avenues, and then do it every day, each day coming closer and closer to God, as we find out who we are, and what roles we play.
What a blessing to have the fullness of the gospel restored to us, where Jesus Christ reigns at the head, and a prophet upon the earth in our day. For this I am ever grateful and will always be Heavenly Father’s loving child.
Note: This is an excerpt from my current project “Reflections: An Intimate Perspective of Mind Disorders”, an autobiography I am excited to bring to fruition.
At this point in my writing, I will now add in spiritual experiences I’ve had that I feel are exponentially important to the subject of interest at hand. These I will enter in, as this is the first attempt I’ve ever made to write them out. I will also portray the truthfulness of these experiences, for had these experiences not been true, and given to me by the Holy Spirit and spiritual nature of them, I would have long forgotten them, after these many years which have since transpired from the time that I received them.
As I have mentioned somewhat of the difficulties which I have faced with my mental illness, I have not as yet mentioned the reality of the gross hold which the adversary did once have on me. Although I have always been a good person at heart, and never intentionally evil, despite the fact of all the abuse and pressure upon my soul, I was further wrought upon by the influence of evil spirits, to the fact they had more power over me due to my mental illness. If I have not as yet made myself clear of the unfair advantage that evil can have on persons with mental illness, I will do so here.
First I will need to go into some true doctrines taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are this: We lived before we came here as spirit children of our Heavenly Father. We knew and loved Him, and He us. He presented a plan that would send us here to earth, to provide us with physical bodies, which would also be a part of our test. We are to be stewards of our bodies, and learn to take care of them and make correct choices, thus keeping the commandments of God. Heavenly Father knew that we would need to have these earthly experiences to enable us to become more like Him, and gain the reward of all that He is and has. For this is His desire, work and glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
As part of this plan we would need to forget about our prior life with Him, and learn to walk by faith. All of this to create the proper battle ground to achieve the very best in who we are, and who we are to become. This forgetting is referred to as having a veil placed over our minds, to cover that part of our memory, so that we cannot remember living with God, so that we may learn to have faith, walk in obedience, and earn our reward in heaven. I believe that this veil has two parts. The first is to veil the feelings we had from living with our Father in Heaven, so that we would need to again learn to know Him, and the second, to veil the memories we had with Him there too.
Now I will explain the portion of evil that the adversary had over me. It is true that there is a portion of the veil which is thinner, or less in force, for people with mental illness. It is the portion of the veil which deals with having the ability to feel what we had with Heavenly Father in the world before we came to earth. Satan fully knows this, and has jumped right in to take full advantage of this. This state of having a thinner veil in this manner is really a condition of being able to feel heaven’s presence stronger, or the devil’s presence stronger.
With people who become mentally ill, it is usually because of some abuse they’ve had in life, or drugs, or other factors related to genes passed down from their family. I will not attempt to discuss this subject in any detail here, because there is so much to know, but it will be discussed in another part of this book.
Because of these situations of how and why people become mentally ill, Satan already has some form of darkness to hang over the heads of individuals with mental illness, and he goes full force and all out to stop these individuals from any progression they might have, if they were to realize their ability to also become closer to God through this condition. With this in mind, know that it is truly a miracle which can happen for anyone and everyone who has a mental illness, to go from the death, hell and misery of mental illness, to the ability to be and feel closer to God, through the means previously discussed. As for me, it is a great and treasured privilege I possess, to be able to have a closer, more perfect way of accessing the powers of the Lord and heaven, through this thinner portion of the veil.
It is now time to tell you of the first experience I had of a spiritual nature, which you might not have understood or appreciated, had I not first instructed you concerning the nature of these things. It was at this time in my life, when I had evil doing all it could to overpower me. I must first describe the three levels at which evil can influence us. The first is darkness and temptation, as all are viable to. The second, being what is called possessed by a demon or devil, as was recorded in different places in the Holy Bible, where the devils had a measure of physical and mental control over the individuals. The third, is what is in-between these two. This third, or middle area, is the category I fell into. I know for a fact, that had I been evil in my core, I would have been possessed. It was my good heart and intentions which prevented this from being the case.
In this state of me fighting the evil which sought to ultimately possess me and bring me to destruction, I fought moment to moment, with no time for rest or respite. A time in which it was the devil’s desire to fight me into a place where I would succumb to the evil being pushed upon me, so that they, or it, could have total possession of my body, with me still inside it.
I fought, and fought, and fought, but oh how hard it was, when at every turn they would hamper and influence me toward other stuff, poisonous to my soul, as well as my family’s.
It was during this difficult time in our lives, when I was seeing an LDS counselor, who was in the middle of getting his practitioners license. He had been a convert to the church, and had experienced many great and wonderful things concerning the church, with spiritual experiences and feelings. He had been giving firesides, which is a term for describing an event in which a person or persons would have the opportunity to go to various Wards and Stakes to share their story, experiences, and testimony. He was well loved and highly respected.
It was at this time that I was in a session with him, and because of the evil spirits interfering with my very soul, it was evident that not much progress was being able to be made. At this point the room got very quiet, even in a manner which silenced the adversary which was upon me. Then this good brother commenced, in a noticeable difference of tone and spirit, and he said to me, “Now, let’s try something different. I want to try an experiment with you. Let’s just play a game and say that you can go anywhere you want to. If you want to go to the right, move you hand to the right, and you can go as far to the right as you want.” And he motioned to me with his hand. He then continued, “If you want to go to the left, move your hand to the left, and you can go as far to the left as you want.” He then said, “If you want to go up…,” and as soon as he said this, I moved my hand up.
As soon as I had done so, I literally left my body and went up, up, up into space, where it looked darker, as it would look being above the earth from space, intermittently dotted with the stars of heaven. Once at a certain place I stopped, and there I saw the Lord Jesus Christ appear about 10 feet away. He was not facing me, but was facing sideways, even to my right. It was there that something very significant and spiritual happened.
At this time I need to teach another doctrine taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints so that you can understand what I’m about to discuss. In the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, we are taught that we have always existed as intelligences, and were then born as the literal children of our Heavenly Father. This means that our intelligent spirits were then clothed upon through birth from our Heavenly parents, with an added dimension. This was that our intelligences were then added upon with the ability to feel, have emotions, and to give and receive love. Interesting to know as well, is that both parts of our spirits, the knowledge or intelligence, and the emotional or feelings parts, are both in the image of God, even as we now look. For as the scripture states, we were formed (our physical bodies) in the image of God. We are our spirits, with the ability to learn and feel, now clothed in a physical body, all in the image of God, for He is our literal Father. All three parts of us together are referred to in the church as the soul. We are now living with the veil to help us be tested and prepared to live with God again.
Now for the experience. At this time, as I saw the Lord ahead of me, a part of my spirit separated from me, and went and stood before the Lord. I could not see any form or part of this other part of me, but I knew that it was in the shape of a man, because the Lord reached around and embraced it, and in the same motion, kissed this other spirit half of me on the face, three times on each cheek. I then became aware that this other part of me, the feelings part, began to converse with the Lord. The Lord told it, that He would grant me a gift, any gift I would ask. I was then aware that this part of me asked the Lord for protection from the evil which so easily had influence in me, that they could no longer enter in to torment me. The Lord granted.
This emotion part of me then came back to me, the Lord left, and again united, I moved my hand down so that I began to come back down to where my body was. It was at this time that a curious phenomenon occurred. As I now had my hand moved down, moving back down to again enter into my body from space, my body’s hand was still moved up as previously, to have me go up. As I rejoined with my body, the strangest feeling happened regarding my hand. It was as if moving my hand down when it was already down, for my spiritual hand was already down, and my body’s hand was up. This felt so strange, and it puzzled me to a great degree.
When I again was in the presence of the councilor, he continued on as he was, and he then suggested to me that we say a prayer. He asked if I would have him or I say the prayer. I said him. We then closed our eyes and he began. It wasn’t long into the prayer when he suddenly stopped and said to me, “Shane, do you know that there is fire all around you?” I said, “No.” He said, “Yes, that’s why I stopped praying.”
Then as he continued, I kept sensing something off to my left which was troubling to me. The councilor prompted me and said, “Don’t worry, they are angry, but they can’t hurt you.” I then ignored these evil spirits, and they went away, now having no more power to be in me, or even around me as powerfully as before. With this gift which gladly took place, my recovery was now on a more even playing battleground, and I was able to begin to make some real progress.
I was recently graced by the presence of a young man in a situation where we had the opportunity to have a pretty good sized conversion. While in the interest of getting to know each other, he happened to confide in me of a challenge he faces. That of homosexuality. This young man had been faithfully doing his best to fulfill a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, when his companion stole a peak at his journal, and discovered this about him.
After being sent home, this young man felt frustrated and confused. We talked about this same church’s doctrine of the reality of him having an eternal and divine nature, which includes gender. We have always existed, and have always been, either male or female.
I told him that his spirit, who he really is, is, and always has been male. I helped him understand that this particular trial was not him, but his fallen body.
I exorted him to not let his body defeat him, but to overcome and be victorious. I told him that he, through the atonement of Jesus Christ, could change the nature of his body, so that it wouldn’t trouble him in this way anymore. I also told him that he could have the true desires of his heart, that of family, as he had related to me. I gave him proper praise for choosing not to act out on his bodily trials, and I believe and hope I made a good difference for him.
It was nice to meet this individual’s acquaintance, and give counsel I felt was appropriate. God speed friend.
Have you ever been in a situation where you are feeling happy and content with yourself, when all of the sudden someone who doesn’t even really know you comes out and bitterly insults you right in front of others that you know and interact directly with on a regular basis? This happened to me yesterday, and is actually the inspiration for this post. Yes, this is proof that good is by nature better, stronger, and always overcomes evil.
After this individual’s comment I just basically ignored it and went on about my business working with and interacting with my friends and did what needed to be done. I didn’t add fuel to or even feel very hurt by such a shocking comment by this bystander. I simply knew that I am alright in God’s eyes, and knew that this insinuation was false and a lie from hell. This person then left and went on his way.
My observation is this. Two forces, namely good and evil. In this situation one was up against the other. My findings are as follows. We all have an effect on each other, whether for good or evil. In this situation, my goodness and righteous light came in conflict with this other person’s dark and unhappy form of misery. In an attempt to settle things down for his ends and means, this individual made his remarks, and the two forces met.
As I was in my element, serving my Lord and God, he was also in his unhealthy untrue and unhappy self in sin and Satan, trying to take down goodness and make his mark. The result, I was fine, went about doing my part, and the individual left, and… here is the kicker, the point and reason for this whole post. He was effected. In what way? He was effected for good. He was not just left to go on his “merry” way trying to create misery. He was pierced by the truth, to know that he had lost to a superior power. He had to face the fact that his way had lost, and that it was not the ultimate force as he had been deceived to believe.
My point, don’t give up your light! Hold it up true and bright! It is the stuff love and truth is made of. It is and has the power to defeat all and every aspect of darkness there is. What happens when you turn on a light? We all know this. So don’t be afraid to be what needs to be, do what needs to be done, and say what needs to be said. You will always be victorious!
Joseph Smith was victorious even in death. We are all victorious as we do and follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in spirit and truth. Let’s remember to never leave the path that leads us home. Let us be true disciples, vigorous in keeping the commandments and being true to our covenants. We are on the winning team, not only in the end, but in every single battle, no matter how small or big.
The Lord be with you and your family and life. Peace and blessings.