Watchtowers & Egos

05 March 2017

Tonight, the three of us are snuggled on the couch reading our books.  Well, Charlotte is alternating between eating an old Sunday School lesson of mine and sucking her thumb.  I spent long hours painting this front sitting room and designing it with the intention of a quiet place for reading and pondering, so it's so nice to have my dreams coming to fruition.

Ryan reads from his favorite political series (The Uncle Eric books.  Libertarianism, anyone?  Amazing stuff) and I am reading Teachings of President Hinckley.  I am finding this book to be so powerful.  It's really putting my heart at peace and calling my spirit to be more devoted to Gospel things.  I like being filled with this type of spirit.

Last week, I got online and was immediately swamped with feeds of criticism towards a female leader in our church.  From friends and other people that seemed respectable enough.  I saw where they were coming from, only meaning that it wasn't beyond the realm of my understanding to see why they stood with dissatisfaction.  But, it still made my heart sink, so I backed away slowly and moved on with my day.

Later that week, I was feeling pretty exhausted, both in body and mind, so I laid very still on my bed and reached for a meditation to take me away.  But instead, I began bearing my testimony to myself; it just seemed comforting enough to try.  I declared to myself truths that I know, and when I came to The Prophet and those called under him, my mind snagged, and I couldn't stop looping around the power and courage behind these people.

There is something that I don't take lightly, and I never have.  Criticism of General Authorities and the female authorities of our church.  That has never rested well with me.  Just like I believe that prophets of old had face-to-face communions with God and angels, I believe that same communion occurs today with our prophets.  Light is given to these people through revelatory experiences that would cause our souls to quake if we knew.

I know that myself, and others, hurt.  And that pain can chide with other voices sharing testimony, or we can feel snuffed under new Gospel policy, or we can feel lonely and forgotten when our experiences are far, far away from the ideal.  But like my bishop once said:  the entirety of this Gospel is like a big puzzle, and if you come across a piece that you can't find a place of belonging, do you throw the whole puzzle off the table, saying, "This is untrue!"  No, you set the piece aside and continue working until you find that piece a home.

And hearing / reading so many critical voices out there, and sometimes seeing that same cynical voice inside myself, I have found it's best to step back and see where other's or my own voice is taking me:

Does this thought, this criticism, this mood towards someone or something make me more loving, more full of the Spirit, more eager to understand?   No?  Is it making me cynical, distant, and hardened?  Then there is something here I need to abandon, to loosen my grip of.  Lay it down.

And if this hardness returns, well then, I'll pray for more awakening when it does.  And I'll keep laying it down until it returns to me, and I able to speak on it with light and love.  People, and myself, do a dis-service to our spirits to clamp down on things that weaken or provoke or dim or annoy us.  And yet, unfortunately, I find myself doing it all the time.  All the time.  The more light and awareness I find in this Gospel, the more I realize how much my ego controls me.  And I do say, to continue on in the dictations of my ego, the suffering is bearable mainly because of its familiarity.  It is that of which we are all accustomed to, because we exist behind the perceptions of our egos minute-by-minute, which cause us to be so co-dependent on blaming and critiquing other people or things for our pain.  "That is the cause of my suffering."  "This is the cause of my suffering."  And we exist in co-dependence with everything around us.  We suffer because we are holding this cycniscm.

Until, one unveils their ego and lays it down.  Then one finds that "in here, is the cause of my suffering."  I am the production of my suffering.  You change the patterns of your mind, and you change your life.

I am not yet my own Master, living without my ego, but I am awakening and rising above it.

So, basically what I am trying to say is, the more I encounter others' egos reigning their eyes and their minds, the more I withdraw.  I am not going to participate in that, nor surround myself with it. Fingers will continually point more firmly outward, causing a more and more co-dependent nature of people slinging their pain at anyone and anything, being critical and cynical.  And unfortunately, our prophets and leaders are going to take increasing hits.  The very people who are communing with our Savior.

But like I always, always say, I cannot push on the side of a ship and make it turn, but I can choose to row my boat in my chosen direction.  And I will continually work on unveiling my ego and letting my co-dependent fingers fall, along with my pride, my pains, my follies.  I will sink into my Master, my faith, the  prophets, my husband, and I will let myself be transformed.  My deepest desire is to be fully awakened and filled with light.  This process will continue until I am well beyond the grave, and in that time, you will never hear me discredit the people on the watchtower.  They are people that I believe are more awakened than I, and I would rather trust in their light and let my own ego be proved fallible.  
When I was a young man and was prone to speak critically, my father would say:  "Cynics do not contribute, skeptics do not create, doubters do not achieve."                                                   -Gordon B. Hinckley
Now, back to our peaceful evening reading :) Upward and onward,

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  2. I appreciate your boldness. I also know you are incredibly loving and understanding of people with differing opinions. The leaders of the church truly are "watchmen [and women] on the tower." They see things we don't see. Following them brings safety and peace. We enter extremely dangerous territory when we criticize their warnings. Brigham Young taught that the first step towards apostasy is finding fault with church leaders and their teachings. It's a dangerous place to venture! Some would say it is blind faith to follow church leaders, but that's simply not true. Gain a witness from God that this is his church, and it's guided by him, and it's not blind faith. I have received that witness from God (after a period of deep questioning and doubt). Church leaders are far from perfect, but God will not allow them to lead his church astray. Church leaders might take us on what I'd call the "scenic route" sometimes (i.e. The blacks and the priesthood might be an example of this), but God won't allow his church to be led astray. I'd rather follow His (Christ's) church, and the leaders He has called, than second guess every policy or word of council they offer that I don't understand. To use references from a few of my favorite conference talks, there are too many "sharks" and "crocodiles" hiding where I can't see them. I'll gladly follow the guides (church leaders) that God has provided. Our imperfect church leaders might take us on a detour that takes us through a mud puddle that was unnecessary. However, God won't let the leaders of His church lead us into sharks or crocodiles! I'd rather not step away from His anointed leaders because I think I can outsmart the "watchmen on the tower" and avoid a puddle, only to find out I walked into a den of crocodiles. This is either God's church or it's not. The leaders of this church are either "watchmen on the tower" or they're not (meaning that they see things that most people can't see). It's up to us to decide for ourselves. But if we decide those things are true, why would we run the risks that come from criticizing leaders and following our own little detours away from the tour guides God has provided us? There is too much risk. Too much is at stake. These tour guides are called by God. I'll leave it up to Him to correct them if they get too far off track. I am an independent thinker. I'm not turning my brain over to someone else. But I also have a firm conviction that God has shown me (and all people) the safest way to navigate the spiritual dangers in life, and that's the formula I'll be following. It's the pattern he's used since the beginning of time.

  3. P.S. I think you're very intelligent, both in your writing style and spiritually. Thanks for the thought provoking post!

  4. I appreciate the analogy from your Bishop about a puzzle-- so true!!
    And Charlotte is so cute sitting on the couch!