Monday, September 03, 2007
Exodus from Homer
I hitched into Anchorage today, waiting for my flight to Portland tomorrow night.Life continues magical, but has also had tragic moments. My cousin,Annie and her twin sister's daughter Megan came into Homer weeks ago. Annie was planning to take us to Denali for a camp-out, but Megan's dad suddenly died, and they had to fly back to San Francisco. Megan was totally torn up, of course. Since last writing, I spent most my time in Homer, not doing much. But it was good, cuz I was having a usual bout of chronic fatigue.
The day before I left, 3 young guys were unnaturally friendly and offered to buy me coffee. I knew right off from their insincerity they had a religious agenda. Sure enough, they were with "Youth With A Mission." I like talking religion, if it's real. But it rarely is. Those boys seemed cool & likable enough, but I wasn't talking to boys, I was talking to a "YWAM," a system. The majority of interaction in this world these days is not human, but with systems, either corporate or religious. Imagine loving for the sake of loving, without ulterior motives!
That was my cue to leave Homer. I got a couple rides in the back of trucks, then a ride with a couple from Grand Junction, Colorado (where I went to high school, & part of my family is), then from a guy named Terry, who brought me to Gerdwood (37 south of Anchorage). So I stayed in Gerdwood for a while. A charming town, awesome scenery, nice people, & luscious berries.
Shelter & Food Just Keep Coming When I Need Them
A little problem was I was back in mosquito country. Last time up here I was tormented by 'em all night long. They even bite through my sheet-bag, PLUS a layer of clothing! I have refused tents before, because I prefer a simple tarp - easy put-up, easy take-down. But this time I thought a tent would be nice. In the evening, walking the bike path, I noticed a pile of free stuff. With a Northface tent, almost new. So not even a night in mosquito land without a tent.
Even then, my faith was going through a usual slump, also despite that I'm coming on my 7th anniversary of being moneyless, without a full day hungry. Dumpstering is hard in AK. People don't throw out as much! Maybe it has a lot to do with bears, too. So I had the notion of leaving Gerdwood. I spent one day all day hiking the backcountry. I started fatigued, but then started gorging on berries galore. My hunger & fatigue vanished. In fact, I felt better & more energized now than anytime before this summer. I got back to my camp, feeling content, satisfied. But my mind kicked in, saying, "You should get some carbs." So I went to a Pizza place & found pounds of fresh dough. I cooked it & ate it, even though I wasn't even hungry for it! But it was addictive. I was full. Then, ironically, fatigue & craving set in! This isn't right, I thought.
I thought how I spend too much time thinking about food, searching for it. Yet it comes when I stop searching, stop thinking about it. Both Jesus and the Zen sage Eihei Dogen (who brought Soto Zen Buddhism to Japan a thousand years ago) say not to search for food or clothing, that it comes if you seek first the Kingdom of God (says Jesus), seek first the Buddha Way (says Dogen). Who believes this??? Certainly not your usual professed Christian or Buddhist.
So I resolved to stop searching. Next day I went to find water to bathe. I found a creek, and it was full of spawning salmon. Too fast to catch. Nine years ago it took making a good spear & hours to spear a river salmon. But I noticed many fish were dying, energy spent. So I stepped into the creek, and an energy-less fish passed right under my right-hand grasp, like it gave itself to me! Now that's beautiful, I thought. Then I reached down my left hand and grabbed another. Dinner & Breakfast!
Granted, the fish didn't taste too good - energy spent & unhealthy skin. I went back a couple days later and discovered I could catch healthy fish if I passed up all the fishermen, who wait all day with their lines & hooks, and just be still. Small creatures see time more slowly than large. If you move slowly enough, you are like an clock's hour hand to the fish. So I found I could creep right on them and gently grasp them at the gills. It's so easy it's funny. I even went to the river and tried the same with the really big salmon. So easy!
So I've been living off the land, so at ease, chowing on berries & fish, without nary a tool but a knife to cut the fish. And I feel more splendid than before! I've had a bear's diet! And my poop has become black as the ace o' spades, and full of seeds, just like the bear poop.
Who On Earth Believes Their Own Religion?
Now the burning question: could all the sages of every culture be wrong? I'm going to leave off with some quotes from sages of various cultures, all testifying to the same thing:
"Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. . . For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you" (Jesus Christ, Luke 12:22, 30-31)
"Students of the Way, do not worry about food and clothing. Just maintain the Buddha's precepts and do not engage in worldly affairs....
Those who truly study the Way have never practiced with the priority of providing for their livelihood....
Moreover, I have never red the collection of all the Buddhist scriptures of a single Buddha or Ancestor, who transmitted the Dharma in the three countries, dying of starvation or cold. In this world, inherently each person receives a certain amount of food and clothing as a gift. It does not come by being sought after, nor does it stop coming by not seeking after it. Just leave it to Fate and do not worry about it. If you refrain from arousing the mind of Awakening in this life, excusing yourself on the grounds that this is the degenerate age, in what life will it be possible to attain the Way?" (Eihei Dogen, 1200-1253 AD, from his Shobogenzo Zuimonki)
"Heaven and Earth give themselves. Air, Water, plants, animals, and humans give themselves to each other. It is in this giving-themselves-to-each-other that we actually live. Whether you appreciate it or not, it is true." (Zen Monk Sawaki Roshi)
"The world in which people give and receive things without saying "Give it to me!" is the truly beautiful world. It differs from the world of scrambling for things. It is vast and boundless." (Sawaki Roshi).
"If your heart is pure,
Then all things in your world are pure.
Abandon this fleeting world,
Then the moon and flowers
Will guide you along the way." (Zen Sage Ryokan)
"I have been young, and now am old;
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his descendants begging bread." (Psalm 37:25
"Do not forsake Wisdom [Hakmah], and She will preserve you;
Love Her, and She will keep you.
Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get Wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
Exalt Her, and She will promote you;
She will bring you honor, when you embrace Her.
She will place on your head an ornament of grace;
A crown of glory She will deliver to you."(Proverbs 4:6-9)
"He who trusts in his riches will fall,
But the righteous will flourish like foliage." (Proverbs 11:28)
And remember the Sunday school stories of manna from heaven (Exodus 16) and Elijah fed in the wilderness (1Kings 17:6-16)?
"As for those who worship Me,
thinking on Me alone and nothing else,
ever attached to Me,
I bear the burden of getting them what they need." (God, Baghavad Gita 9:22)
"Be really Whole
And all things will come to you" (Tao Te Ching 22)
There are droves more quotes of scriptures, and also Muslim quotes, from Sufi sages, which I don't have on hand, as well as Christian Rhineland and Bahai sages. And for Mormons, the entire book of Fourth Nephi couldn't state it more beautifully.
Imagine that, all the civilizations of the world claim these sages as their foundation, as their very heart, yet none believes them, yet all are wallowing in materialistic greed and worry and strife. I myself am thick-skulled, still coming to believe these sages, who are really only One Sage, One Way. Keep your eye Single, One, and all else falls into place.
Again, to Christians, I still repeat: before you start harping again on the falseness of other religions, I challenge you to first believe your OWN religion, and then you will see whether or not I am blowing hot air.
Friday, August 10, 2007
I'm in Homer, Alaska, now! My flight back to the lower 48 (Portland) isn't till Sept 5th.
A lot of people haven't been getting my mass emails, & maybe not my private ones. I'm not sure if there's bad internet connection up here, but I haven't gotten a single answer to any emails for weeks. Still... here's another (which I hope to add to the blog zerocurrency.blogspot.com) :
ALL WE NEED STILL KEEPS COMING IN SYNC
Fishing ended, & my sea partners are already back to Utah. I decided to stay in main Alaska before heading back in Sept.
Ray & Stephen & I said our goodbyes at the Anchorage airport. They feel like family. Though I kept refusing it, Ray gave some cash as we parted ways. I started to try to use it, but couldn't bring myself to, so I got rid of it. It's really no big moral dilemma. It just would spoil my fun to keep it, & I truly feel way more fulfilled & free without it. Honestly, things don't come when I need them if I don't give up control.
Anyway, I decided to walk the rail - see if I could hop a train to Seward. Several trains stopped, but no cars were rideable. So I walked out of Anchorage, by the bay.
Near the beach & tracks I found my manna from heaven - wild peas galore! So peas have been my staple. I threw a bit of oats or rice I carried with me (until they ran out) into the peas to complete the protein. I'm also eating tons of berries, dandelion greens, & some wild mushrooms.
I eventually went to the woods to hike a trail paralleling the highway. But the straps & zippers on my little pack kept breaking. The pack was finally beyond repair - unusable. Now what'll I do? I thought. Then I reminded myself: all has come as needed when needed for 7 years - so why fret now? I walked some 20 yards and there was another backpack lying in the mud! So I cleaned it & transferred my stuff. Out with the old, in with the new. Why, after 7 years of this, do I still keep doubting???
So you won't get the idea that I think I'm special, I should add that this stuff happens to everybody, but when you think you have to control everything, it shuts your eyes to the magic before you. And when your hand is grasping possessions, it is not open to receive the constant blessings. Let go of one rung to grasp the next. All true religion - whatever brand or culture - is about giving up control, fully submitting to What Is, Who Is. Yet institutional religion, the Trickster, is about controlling everything, killing all faith, yet calling it faith.
HITCHING TO HOMER
I was planning to live off the land on the Resurrection trail across the Kenai Peninsula again, like I did 9 years ago, but then decided I wasn't energetic or equipped enough now, so after a few days I headed to Homer instead. A friendly 50ish man from Seward, with Parkinson's, gave me a ride. He talked about how his body was falling apart, how short his time was, how we gotta accept what life gives us. He dropped me at the Homer turn-off, at a picnic area. It started pouring rain for a couple days, soaking my gear. So I set up home in a little outhouse, which was barely used & without odour. A few salmon were going up stream, but I didn't feel the need enough to get motivated to spear them this time - so more peas it was. Guess I've taken way too many salmon this season. Some peas are green, some dried (which take longer to cook, though more proteiny & substantial). I also cooked up a batch of french fries somebody had thrown out - & they turned out delicious. I was feeling full & good. The rain finally ended I decided to hitch on, & got to Homer in 3 rides. One was a devout Christian with cancer, who talked about how short his time was, how we gotta accept what life gives us with joy. Joyful he was, too. Then I rode with a smiling Mormon just getting off from church. Really nice guy, &, like the Evangelical, didn't try to push his beliefs on me, which was refreshing. Then a friendly woman from Soldatna took me all the way to Homer. She was heading to a Chopin concert, meeting some girlfriends, there.
HERE I BE, PROCESSING THE PAST COUPLE MONTHS
So here I am. I'd forgotten how spectacular this peninsula is. Craggy mountains & glaciers tower across the bay.
I'm not sure what's next. My cousin might be coming up in a few days, but, like I say, I seem to have lost contact with everybody.
I'm still very tired from the Bering Sea adventure. Can't believe I still find myself waking up at night feeling like I'm bobbing on the waves.
I'm processing my whole fishing adventure. It was something I surely wanted to do & had to do, & I'm so glad I did. It was fun & not fun, like all the grand adventures of my life. But I've learned what i needed to learn & feel no need to do it again. I also don't think I can bring myself to work for any kind of market again, or put myself under a boss again. I needed to do it to remind me of a working world I left, to not lose understanding of it. I needed to do something "a-moral" because often "do-gooder" work does just the opposite, giving us a sense of self-righteousness, bloated ego. Doing something like fishing and yet not taking payment for it has been a really bizarre experiment. I could tell it put Captain Rayburn in an awkward position. But I think it was good for both of us. Being free from markets & bosses has been a big part of why I live moneyless. So why else did I put myself under that? Many reasons. Maybe I'll talk about it in later email when I process it more. Many things are crystallizing. But I never know what I'm supposed to do with it all. The whole world is under chronic illness, and is it a good idea keep telling the world it is chronically sick? But we gotta have an alternative to the money system. We must, for sanity's & survival's sake - for peace of mind, if anything.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Life on a small fishing boat with 2 other guys on the Bering Sea has been good & bad & easy & hard - as expected - all part of the grand adventure.
SEA SICK SEE SAW
We've spent almost the entire past month at sea, with just a few short visits back to Port Moller. Our first 3 days at sea were our Big Baptism into Aleutian fishing. The weather was crazy ragin' with big ocean swells & the salmon were out in droves. Stephan & I, greenhorns we were, got so sea sick we blew chunks & liquids & things in-between, & we lost all desire for food for days. And the nets were packed & we thought we were in hell on earth (or rather at sea) trying to master staying on our feet, much less picking fish & maintaining a boat. Captain Rayburn was worried these first impressions would ruin it for us, cuz the weather & sea aren't usually such thrashers & the fish weren't running so much this time of year. But, masochists we be, Stephan & I were loving it in a weird sorta way - all part of the grand adventure.
Our health & appetites returned (tho Ray sometimes wished not, cuz we were ravenously eating him out of house & home... er boat & cabin.
ETERNAL BEAUTY & FICKLE FORMS
We've been fishing a lot right near the beach. Ray's favorite fishing spot is at Ilnik point, near the massive volcano Wiaminof, north of Pt Moller. Between here & there is an old abandoned Russian church where there used to be a settlement, by a Bear River. And beyond that there's a cape where zillions of walruses hang out, meetin' & maten'.
Yeah, lots of craggy volcanic snowy mountains & glaciers inland (like it forgot winter was over). Today we saw one volcano smoking. Who can describe the beauty here?
I find that beauty is overwhelming & disheartening if I am in the wrong mind - the mind that wants to possess. Then my new Mind realizes beauty is neither created nor destroyed, but eternally goes from one form to another, and only beauty's forms vanish, like flowers! This is when I realize that Heaven is ever at hand. But the greed mind, the mind that wants to possess & capture in picture frames, thinks that the forms are it. So the greed mind grieves when the forms pass. Yeah, we ourselves are all fickle forms, ever passing, ever dying, though our own beauty ever remains, if we but realize it.
STRUGGLES & TRIUMPHS
The hardest part of this has been living under such restriction, especially since I haven't had "gainful" employment & nor a boss for the past 7 years. My life has been under the captain's authority 24-7 - for this is how a boat must run. The first few weeks were really hard for me, like I had reverted to bumbling childhood & adolescence again. And we've gotten little sleep, in shifts at sporadic hours. But the fish are slowing & we it's getting mellower, with us getting used to it, too.
But the 3 of us get a long and work amazingly well together. Part of why this is, I think, is we aren't afraid to tell the other to bug off when they get annoying. And part of it is simply that our chemistry works well together. All 3 personalities are so very different, yet there's something amazingly in common among us - can't put my finger on it.
My other issue has also been the ethics of the whole fishing market industry, as all market industry, encouraging us to take way way more than we need. But, I am thankful that the fishing industry is highly government regulated to be sustainable, & fishing rules are strict - otherwise, if not, I can guarantee all fish would be gone by now. There's good & bad government regulation. But I'll save discussing ethics & fish carnage for later.
Ray says of course I can leave any time (ah the advantages of not getting paid!), but would like me to stay at least till the start of August. I'm game for more, feeling like a real fisherman now. I might decide to delay my flight from Anchorage to Portland & explore mainland Alaska more for a bit. We'll see.
Blessings to all of you from the North
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Mass e time again. I'm in the Alaskan Aleutian chain now, in Port Moller, on the Bering Sea side, out in the middle of nowhere!
My friend, Ray, has a fishing boat & has been asking me to come up here to be his deck-hand for months, and I've always wanted to go to the Aleutians since a kid. What was holding me back was I didn't wanna spoil my moneyless venture. But, adventure junky I am, my desire to see the Aleutians superceded all & I said yes, but I didn't want to be paid. However, pay or no, I have also had misgivings about plunging into & supporting such a market industry. That's something to talk about later. (But I can tell this is so good for me, to keep my feet in all worlds, to understand all facets of life, all points of view).
Later, Ray told me a third person, Stephan (pron "Stefan") was coming. I was also having misgivings about spending 3 mos. on a small boat with somebody I'd never met. I'm with 2 total heteros who work construction together in Moab. But it turns out the 3 of us are like 3 p's in a pod. I liked Stephan when first meeting him, but my doubts totally left when we flew into Anchorage and Stephan's luggage was totally lost. It didn't even phase him. He was cheery as ever, taking it as part of the adventure. I then realilzed what a high-quality human b he was, & he's very philosophical under the surface.
We've been in Port Moller for days now, but haven't launched to sea yet. Takes a while to prep the boat, especially after the hard Alaskan winter. We've been sleeping & cooking in the boat - giving us a taste of life on the water. All 3 of us have been having so much fun & getting along together so well it amazes me. It's almost mystical, like Ray intuited that we would could be so compatible. So far. And we couldn't ask for a better skipper than Ray. He's totally easy-going, non-hierarchical, yet has our total respect and we feel we'd do anything for him.
Port Moller is near the end of the Alaskan Peninsula, not quite an island. It is on a fairly flat area with big snowy mountains & a couple active volcanoes nearby. It's been around 60 degrees F in the day, & the dark night is only a couple hours long. The sun pokes out a few times during the day, but there are always clouds, & it often drizzles.
Huge brown bears & foxes roam freely everywhere, especially in the evening. They like the dump, and they come around the boat yard daily, as do the foxes, looking for scraps. For some reason, brown bears are called grizzly bears in the interior, but not on the coastal areas, though they're the same species, & no less dangerous. Some of the foxes here are red, and some black & grey, with black "boots" on their legs. I'm not sure what kind they are, yet. But the foxes have no fear and come really close to us.
Bald eagles & seals are everywhere, too. I found a dead bald eagle near the beach the other day, which Stephan & I hiked out to again last night.
We have the boat all loaded up with food & have been taking turns cooking. We have a small stove in the cabin that runs off the engine diesel, & a bbq grill outside. Ray likes to bbq a lot, so that's what we eat most of. The salmon is heavenly. We've been getting fresh veggies now & then from the port store, but will have to do with canned while out to sea. Ray likes his red wine & Stephan likes his beer, so we're going through it fast, so we'll probably have a "dry" boat while fishing. My body chemistry can handle drinking only now & then.
The adventure is just beginning, & you probably won't hear from me again some time since I can only e while we're at port, & e time is limited.
Oh, yeah, we're likely here until September, at which time I have a return flight to Portland, OR.
Have a glorious summer, where-ever you are.
Friday, April 20, 2007
I decided to move out of my squat in an abandoned building in the town area and to set up camp in the wetlands, when I'm not in the canyon cave. It's been glorious. But today I took a step down in glory and have started a new house-sit, which means time to infect the cyber-world with more viral musings.
As you read on, don't get me wrong. As I point out the absurdity of religion (I'm doing nothing genius, because it's so obvious), know that at the core of religion is the most profound truth (not so obvious).
Idolatry of Diamonds, Money, Gold
A couple weeks ago, I saw the movie Blood Diamond at a friend’s house. Really violent.
War, bloodshed, poverty, and anxiety – over what? Make believe. Imagination.
Blood Diamond shows that the value of diamonds is somebody’s make-believe. Some corporate trickster decided diamonds are valuable. Now we fight over this thing that nobody can eat or use or enjoy.
Once in a while it dawns on us that money is totally make-believe. It is nothing. Then, some say, “yes, money isn’t backed by gold anymore,” not realizing that gold is no less make-believe. Make believe backed by make-believe backed by make-believe, ad infinitum. Make-believe is the foundation of world civilization, “Babylon.”
We worship images of silver and gold and paper, images that cannot hear, see, smell, taste, or speak.
And we become what we worship: deaf, blind, sterile, tasteless, speaking nothing but hot air.
Idolatry of Words and Numbers
Words are make-believe. Numbers are imaginary. Words and numbers are judgements. All words and numbers are myth. Name and number come from the same root.
Over 500 years ago, when Columbus and the Conquistadors invaded this land in search of make-believe (gold), killing and conquering for it, the natives asked, “We don’t understand white man’s obsession with this yellow substance nobody can eat or use, except as petty trinkets.” And these Europeans put the label of “Jesus” and “Christian” and “Bible” on their bottle of greed. To this day, these labels still make us swallow this bottle’s poison pills. We tack the whole Bible onto our poison pharmacy, and the masses swallow it and the masses get sicker and sicker.
Our wars, our genocides, our anxieties, our mental illnesses, all come from our make-believe.
"Joe is worth two million dollars," we say. That makes Joe worth more of our time than, say, Fred on the street who is penniless, though we know absolutely nothing about either Joe's or Fred's character. "Akhmed is Muslim," we say. Already we see him as an antichrist, though we know nothing of who Akhmed is. Names & numbers.
Imagine if we started seeing people and things as they are, not as words and numbers. Imagine if we took on the infant’s mind, the Zen mind, not seeing the world through the blindfolds of words and numbers. Imagine if we stopped judging.
I was raised to see everybody as sects and denominations. The first thing we learned about people was their label. When we moved into a new neighborhood in Denver, we immediately learned the family across the street was Catholic. Already we knew they were likely headed for hell, and we told them so, regardless of what decent people they were. “People are saved by faith, not works,” was always the answer to the question of why decent people go to hell. Gandhi was going to hell because he didn’t use the right vocabulary. The fruit of his faith mattered not. Faith, in our minds, meant words: labels, not reality. We learned the woman next door to our Catholic neighbors was a Wiccan. Way creepy label! Definitely gonna burn in hell! Even our Catholic neighbors agreed. We never found out more about her, because we wouldn’t go near her house. I had aunts & uncles who called themselves atheists & agnostics. We hardly ever saw them. I envisioned them with invisible horns. When I got to know them years later, I was astounded how much more Christ-like they acted than we. They never talked about how evil everybody else was like we constantly did. Their lives weren’t constant witch-hunts like ours were. Their secular Christ-likeness threatened my faith, my trust in words, labels, images of the mind. Their realness threatened my whole world, world of imagination, idolatry.
I was curious the other day about what separated Eastern & Western Christianity, so I looked it up. A main factor was three simple words,“and the Son” (called the filoque clause ), in the Nicene Creed! The Western Church made it part of the Creed, and the Eastern Church did not. These three words caused major battles. Make believe. Idolatry.
We still don't get it. We've forgotten the sublimity of monotheism: Worship only one Name, the Name that can't be named. Cling to only one Word, the Word which can't be spoken. Name above every name, Word beyond all words. We've replaced it with a monotheistic idolatry, which spews bigotry & kills everything it touches.
In the Image of Satan
Once in a while, somebody comes along and shows that words and numbers are okay if we stop idolizing them and see them for what they are: imagination. Imagination is fun, when we know it's not real. These folks bridge the gap between imagination & reality, bringing the joyous luster to life again. They take the costume of myth off of the ancient dummy and clothe it onto Living Reality, imbibing myth with life. They have fashion sense. Like rain on dead earth, they infuse long-dead scriptures with new life, or else they move beyond scripture. The possibility of fashion is endless. They confess the Word become Flesh in the Now. They are called sages, prophets, seers, mystics. But they are, ironically, the great threat to the old religion whose language they speak, because they strip the hollow dummy and show it for what it is: an idol.
Babylon comes tumbling down, because there is no more imaginary Satan out there for her to fight against. World civilization doesn't want you to know life is meant to be joyous. World civilization wants life to be addictive, seductive, a continual striving for a future reward that never really comes, which I call the siamese twins of money and religious dogma.
My friend Phil and I were once talking about our religious upbringing, and he said something profound: “Satan is the whole reason for existence for Fundamentalism, whether Christian or Muslim or whatever. If you question Satan, Fundamentalism goes more ballistic than if you question God. Why? Because if you take Satan away, Fundamentalism knows it will vanish. Satan is its faith.” Take away our labels and numbers, and there is nothing more to fight – nothing but a hollow dummy.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
I am a Nothing. I am not a Christian. I am not a non-Christian. I am not a Buddhist or a non-Buddhist. Yet I am all of them. But even “Nothing” is a label, so I’m not even that! People want me to join their churches. People want me to join this or that, believe this or that. Over the years, some folks have even told me to start an organization or even a new church! Get me pegged down, labeled! “Join,” the World keeps saying.
Only ego can say, “I am Orthodox” or “I am Catholic”, or “I am Christian”. Truth cannot utter these phrases. Anybody who is truly Orthodox or Catholic, truly Christian, would not have to say it. They could not say it! It would be self-evident.
If I am Nothing, then I am Everything. The only way anybody could say "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" is if they were Everybody, Everything, All of Us, "All, and in All." [Colossians 3:11] Otherwise, they could not be anything but egotistical lie. You know this. Yes, you.
You don't have to be around 2000 years ago. All proof is Right Here. You know because the True Scriptures are written in your heart. They require no historical proof, no textual evaluations, no debate, no literacy, no IQ! They are the Living Word come in the flesh, called Present Experience. They are the inspritation of the written scriptures (which are decaying and passing away with all heaven and earth).
I like to attend Quaker meetings, because Quakers make the Holy Spirit within the Final Authority, not any written creed or scripture, not anything corruptible. I like how Quakers wait, and watch. And, paradoxically, in so doing I see that they confirm your written creeds & scriptures!
Yet, I am not a Quaker, and I refuse to become a Quaker “member”. Yes, Quakerism is still an “ism”. The only thing that rubs me wrong about Quaker meetings is the talk about “We Quakers” or “ We Friends”. Labels are ego, and we love to roll labels around on our tongues for their addictive high. We love to distinguish ourselves above other humans. Pride is Label is Ego. “I am this”, “I am that”, we say until we bow to the dust at our death and discover we are really nothing. We bow at our death, as every creature must bow, to the Name un-nameable.
“…there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or "I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or "I am of Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Corinthians 1:12-13)
When we tack labels on ourselves, we do not know “the Name above every name” that the Bible refers to, and we do not know “The Name which cannot be spoken” which both the Tao Te Ching and the Guru Granth Sahib speak of.
So wouldn’t our church institutions, as we know them, collapse if we dropped all labels, all creeds, all possessions? Yes! Hallelujah!
They would surely dissolve if we practiced Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which is why no church organization dares pracice it! Who would not lose everything if they “give to everyone who asks.” Then our blindness ends and we see the Real Church of No Spoken Name that has Always Existed.
Yes, what would happen if humans just congregated automatically, in instinctual communion, as Buffalo and Geese and Mayflies and Ants do, “with no overseer or ruler” [Proverbs 6:11], without possession of creeds or labels, symbols, and of course no money incentive? What if every bite we ate and every drink we drank were Holy Communion, literally the Divine Body, freely given and freely received, as was always intended?
Erase all possession and money, all label-attachment, and watch it happen. You can see vestiges of this miracle at random gatherings – like in the streets, in neighborhoods, in the country. I see it a lot at Rainbow Gatherings. It’s called pure Love. Love is motivated by nothing but Itself, in the Present Moment. It’s about being Open to All.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Visiting My Parents, My Earthly Roots
I just returned to Moab from a bicycle trip to Fruita, Colorado to see my parents & brother. It was nice seeing them and my brother's 2 boys also. The bike trip was splendid, too. I did part of it on Kokopelli's trail, which kinda follows the Colorado river. I saw 3 different herds of pronghorns, and the weather was perfect for riding.
My parents and I talked a lot about the Christian walk and the Bible. I'm often astounded at how accepting they are of my chosen lifestyle. It is about getting us to face the teachings of Jesus, after all. Growing up, Christianity was the center of our home-life, so was always the center of conversation - and still is. When I went through years of clinical depression, with bitterness about the hypocrisy of Christianity, there was a lot of silence when I visited my parents. Then I realized there can be no Divine Peace until we find reconciliation with our roots, and, in fact, find reconciliation with every particle of the universe.
This time, looking beyond the political & religious disagreements, I learned profound things from my parents, could see their spiritual authenticity shining through.
The Middle Path Between the Two Extremes
The path of Truth is a razor's edge, the Upanishads say. It's the narrow way, so Jesus and the Tao Te Ching tell us. It's the Middle Way, the Buddha declares.
Yes, the Middle Way, between the Two Extremes, the Buddha says. YHWH between the Two Cherubim, the Torah states. Truth does not, cannot, take sides. On the one side I have Christianity and my conservative upbringing - my family and conservative friends. On the other side I have Secularism, other religions, and my liberal ("progressive") friends. It's like I'm a child of divorced parents, searching for reconciliation between the two. Both try to manipulate me to take their side.
When I see the profound truths of secularism and non-Christian Religion and do not speak it for fear of what Christians might think, I am not a servant of Truth. When I see profound truths in Christian thought and I do not speak it for fear of offending non-Christians, I am not a servant of truth. Find the truth in EVERYTHING, and leave the rest. ALL truth is One Truth. When we know truth and don't speak it for fear of what somebody thinks, are we worthy of having a spine and walking upright?
For years I have basked in the light of secularism and the non-Christian world and Eastern Religion, because I saw that it had more integrity and honesty in it. But all this time I have seen layers upon layers of profound truth in Christianity, and profound wisdom in Christians, including my parents. But I have been afraid to speak it for fear of being categorized with the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons and the Crusades and the we're-right-and-everybody-else-is-wrong mentality.
Jack Kerouac and Dharma Bums
Jack Kerouac's Dharma Bums is so popular you can rarely find a copy in the library that's not checked-out or stolen. I've found that when I just talk about wandering moneyless and my ponderings in Eastern religious thought, people out there lap it up. But as soon as I relate it to the teachings of Jesus, I lose one audience and gain another - the Christian audience. Seems to be an either or. Then I get attached to my new audience and find myself in fear of losing this Christian audience, so I keep the profound truths of Eastern Religion under my hat. Yet I know in my deepest heart that Enlightenment or Salvation or whatever you want to call it is exactly the same thing in Hinduism as it is in Christianity. Exactly.
Now a funny thing I've discovered is if you really want to turn off everybody, talk about Mormonism's deep truth. I have been astounded to find the most profound truth in the Book of Mormon. When I speak it, it goes over like a lead balloon. The rarest gems of all are the most hidden, least recognized - and most lost in hypocrisy.
Back to Dharma Bums. A couple years ago I read some published pages from Jack Kerouac's personal journal while he was on the road. They were all musings over New Testament passages, mainly Jesus' teachings. These were his main preoccupation! Yet we hear nothing of this in his books for the public. In his books for the public, it seems his main preoccupation is Zen Buddhism. He was divided, and I totally get why. Both Eastern and Western Religion are my constant preoccupation, because both are One. But to the public I become divided. But I am fairly certain that Jack Kerouac would not have died a lost alcoholic if he could have found the courage to state ALL of his mind, to not waste energy in trying to please one side. We must find reconciliation with every particle of the universe, leaving nothing out, if we are to find Divine Peace. It comes down to this: do we prefer popularity or Divine Peace?
Omnipresent Means Omnipresent
To Christians I will keep repeating: if you truly believe your own Christ, you will believe the Buddha, you will believe Krishna, you will believe Lao Tzu. If you do not keep Jesus' teachings, then you do not believe Jesus, and your "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" business is meaningless hot air. To Buddhists I will keep repeating, if you truly believe your own Buddha, you will believe the Christ. "Here, O Israel, YHWH your Elohim is One YHWH." Every Hebrew student knows that Elohim is plural, meaning Gods. Literally, Gods is One.
Evangelicals want to evangelize, proselytize. Really, that means all Christianity is evangelical - because that's its nature. But I have learned that to evangelize means Jesus' Golden Rule: "Do unto others what you would have them to do unto you," which more often than not means keeping your mouth shut and learning from others, not teaching. How do you feel when a Muslim tells you your religion is bullshit and his is the only right way? Don't you think he feels exactly the same when you tell him his religion is bullshit and yours the only right way? If you don't think Islam has something profound to teach you, you are not worthy to talk to a Muslim. It is Spirit we are spreading, not words. Spirit is Love. Buddhists and Hindus have taught me the depths of my own Christianity.
If God (Truth) is limited to one religion, then God is not, cannot be, Omnipresent. This is the common sense of all common sense.
Whoever you are - conservative, liberal, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Animist, Atheist, Agnostic - my only challenge to you is to speak and act the truth that you know. Are you afraid to speak and act what you know because of what people might think? Are you afraid it will get you crucified? An atheist who speaks the truth as he knows it and gets nailed to a cross for it knows the Divine, though he thinks he doesn't. In Jesus' parable of the 2 sons, one son has the actions and not the words and the other has the words and not the actions. Which do you think is a child of the Kingdom of God? (Matthew 21:28-31). The goats think they are righteous and are not, while the sheep think they are not righteous and are (Matthew 25:31-45).
Here is the Gift of the universe: when you speak and act what you know, what you do not know becomes revealed to you.
Buddha means Awakened
Jesus the Buddha
Awakened from Sleep
Resurrected from Death
When one is Awakened
All are Awakened
Saturday, March 03, 2007
It’s the Catholic (and Eastern Orthodox) time of Lent, now. Mardis Gras kicked it off. Check out this painting I did for the Mardis Gras fashion show bash:
However, when it boils down to reality, Protestants do exactly the same thing with the idea of the Penance Cross. So we Protestants didn't believe in the debauchery of sensual naughtiness. But we believed in the even more heinous debauchery of greed and war. Though we called ourselves “Christian”, we excused our rejection of Jesus' teachings by saying that Jesus paid all Penance on the Cross. Jesus' Crucifixion was our Free Ticket to Heaven, and therefore we didn't have to do anything, not even keep Jesus’ teachings! If you've been raised Evangelical, you know exactly what I am talking about. You don't realize how twisted it sounds till you step away from it and look at it.
So I'm finally facing my karma, facing the reality that I have to speak first to the Christian, and in doing so, also to the non-Christian. I can't be content any other way but to follow my own karma. It's either follow my karma or be thrown into the sea and swallowed by a fish. If every religious person in the world followed his or her own religion (Taoism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, etc) Politicians & Bankers & Corporations would have no more power, and would collapse. And I dare say poverty would collapse with them.[[Though I'm first talking to Christians, it bothers some folks of Eastern faiths or New Aginess that I speak of good and evil. Yes, Christianity, too, like Buddhism, teaches "to the pure all things are pure". And, like Hindu scriptures, the Bible also says God creates both night and day, good and evil. On the lower level, my instinct tells me that my own poop is bad and I should bury it out of sight. But my higher self tells me that poop is good and pure, part of the cycles of life. To a fly, it is nectar. But if my lower self calls poop good and touches it or eats it, then I get sick. If my lower self calls poop good, it is denying the Law of Nature, and therefore really calling poop Evil by denying poop its natural role. So I am a fool, denying the goodness of all things, if I call rape good or if I burn down my neighbor's house. I must not let my left hand know what my right hand is doing if I am to realize the pure goodness of both. I must let my left hand believe poop is evil and my right hand to believe it is Good, if both are to be Good. If the lion weren't bad to the antelope, the lion would be Bad on the higher level and the evolution of the antelope herd would cease. This is the mystery of the Cross, the Eternal Sacrifice of the Purusa (Divine Person) of Hinduism.]]
So What of Mardis Gras and Lent, Excess and Penance? What of Creditor and Debtor?
In the Spiritual Path, the Believer fuses with the Believee in Devotion, the Future fuses with the Past in the Present, the Debtor fuses with the Creditor in Forgiveness, Negative fuses with Positive in the Neutral, the Four Branches of the World fuse together in the Center of the Cross. The Wave Crests become One with the Wave Troughs, stilling to a Sea of Glass, as our turbulent thoughts calm into the Perfect Peace of Zen. As Mary and the Jewish prophets state in the Bible, the Mountains are lowered and the valleys raised. The the Cycles of Time (Karma) cancel each other out at the End of Time, called Eternal Present, called Yahweh (Jehovah). By bowing totally to the Divine Other, the profane self fuses into One with Him. In the Spiritual Path, the Goal becomes the Path. Male and Female fuse into One, perpetually. As a Jewish rabbi said (in my paraphrase), "Of course the Messiah is coming! Perpetually."
Am I talking (gasp) Universalism?
Universalism is the Big Satan to Evangelicals & Fundamentalists of all shades in all religions. But I say this to my fellow Evangelicals: Please do not follow any other faith but your own. I wager that if you TRULY follow your own faith to its deepest core, with all your heart, you will also TRULY be a Jew, and you will TRULY be a Muslim, and you will TRULY be a Hindu, and you will TRULY be a Buddhist, and you will TRULY be a Taoist. Be TRULY yourself and no one else and you will realize you are TRULY everybody. You will then understand the Way, the Truth, and the Life, that it is Omnipresent, not finite, not limited to your petty little cash box possession.
When I say you, I mean me.
"Love is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No person can come to the Source except by Love."
This is exactly what your own Bible says, and your own conscience knows it.
Love, and no thing or no one else, is God-incarnate. Humans come and go, but Love is Ever Present, Ever Eternal, Ever come in the Flesh, Ever Dying, Ever Resurrecting, Ever Humiliated, Ever Glorified, the Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever. Love never fails. Become Love.
Don't be fooled by the thrill of thinking you understand these words. Rejoice only when you live these words, perpetually.
When I say you, I mean me.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
I'm getting ready to go to the Ritz this evening, which is like a prom for adults, put on by the women's shelter as a fundraiser. All the rich people go to it, and I get to schmooze with them. I usually get a free ticket, but this year I'm going as a volunteer, to bus tables. They told me I need a white shirt & black pants.
The last time I went, a couple years ago, I borrowed my friend Pennie's tux, which fit perfectly. But I didn't have a shirt to go with it, but I figured something would come up. The night before the Ritz, I still didn't have a shirt. Then I went walking by the City Market dumpster and noticed a box of clothes sitting right by it. Right there on top was a white shirt. Not only was it a white shirt, it was a fancy tux shirt. Not only that, but it was laundered, starched, and neatly folded. Not only that, it fit me perfectly.
This year I asked Pennie if she still had that tux. Yes, she said, but she had lent it out and thought maybe that tux shirt was missing. I went to her house last night and she was gone. Hmm, maybe I won't get a tux this year. No prob, I don't have to be so fancy this time since I'll be bussing tables. So I wandered over to the thrift store. Yes, last night, the night before the Ritz, I found, sitting on top of a pile in the thrift store dumpster, the second white, button-down dress shirt I've ever found in a dumpster. Okay, it wasn't so funny as to be a fancy tux shirt this time, and this time it had spaghetti sauce on it. But it was exactly what I needed and fits perfectly. So this morning I went over to the women's shelter resource center and bleached it.
I already had my one pair of pants, black, but they look pretty grungy. So I decided to go back over to Pennie's to see if she had those tux pants. She was there and talked me into taking the whole tux, plus polishing my shoes to look brand new. "It's so rare anybody gets to dress up, you might as well go all the way," she said.
So the grungy bum transforms into a dandy again & gets to hob-nob with the upper crust. No pumpkin coaches or glass slippers... but we can't get too carried away with this, can we?
Who says the Universe doesn't have a sense of humor?
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Hopefully you won't be able to tell if I am praising Mormonism or defaming it, speaking Good of Joseph Smith or speaking Evil of him. Hopefully you won't be able to tell if I am praising all religion or defaming all religion. Hopefully your mind will be blown beyond thought.
A few weeks ago some Mormon missionaries came to talk to me. Of course we talked about the Book of Mormon. I also spoke of the truth in all religions. So far we all agreed. Eventually they said that, despite truth in other religions, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Only True Church. This is when I shooed ‘em away.
The late Joseph Campbell pointed out the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City as a prime example of how the place of worship used to be the central and highest point in most any town or city in the world. But in modern times, he points out that the financial institution has become the center of devotion, dwarfing the temple. MK Gandhi observed that you see no greater reverence & devotion than on the faces of people in banks.
People like to joke about the Brigham Young statue turning his back to the LDS Temple, outstretching his hand to the Zions Bank building. Yes, it was Brigham Young who founded Zion’s First National Bank in 1873.
Joseph Smith's Question
In the early 1800s in New England, an adolescent name Joseph Smith questioned why there were so many religions, each calling itself The Only True Church. So he asked God for wisdom. Eventually he saw visions telling him none of these churches were right. Then came the Book of Mormon. It caused a big stir. Mormonism was born. Later Mormonism split into sects, each calling itself The Only True Church. The largest sect of Mormonism is called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), the brand we get here in Utah. Now we have another Only True Church added to the pot, playing with more adolescent heads.
Organized religion is Ego. Collective Ego! Droves of Collective Egos the world over each call themselves The Only True Church. I grew up in a Collective Ego called Evangelical Christianity, again calling itself the Only True Church. The Only True Church I belonged to literally called the Mormon Church “the Synagogue of Satan.” The Only True Church hates the thousands of other Only True Churches.
People tell me that Buddhism is not bigoted like Christianity. It definitely has very little bigotry compared to Christianity. However, about 7 years ago I spent time in a Theravada Buddhist Monastery in northern Thailand. Here I heard a sermon by a prominent monk. He said the Way was taught by the Buddha and only the Buddha. This Way, he said, was passed down in direct lineage from the Buddha to monks like he himself. And only this Way could bring us salvation (Nirvana) and that all other religions missed the mark. I had flashbacks to being in a Christian church.
Then there is the ongoing war in Sri Lanka, where the right-wing Buddhist majority, with the wealth and political power, has been persecuting the Hindu minority for centuries.
And when I visited near Dharamsala, India and taught English to a Buddhist monk, he assured me that the Theravada Buddhist Way in Thailand, unlike Tibetan Buddhism, missed the mark. However, I did attend talks by the Dalai Lama near Dharamsala, in which he advised most us Westerners to stop grasping for truth in other religions, like Tibetan Buddhism, and find the truth in our own. This was the first religious leader I'd ever heard try to encourage folks to grow where they are planted.
Again, I spent time hanging out with Hari Krishna Devotees. Like the Mormons, they at first made themselves seem open-minded, saying that all religions teach truth. But their agenda eventually came out. They told me the Hari Krishna movement is the Only Pure Faith, that the Hindu scriptures, especially the Bhagavad Gita, are the only purely God-inspired scriptures. Prabhupad also says this in his comments in his translation of the Bhagavad Gita.
The Ego is a clever Snake, eh? Clever, but ridiculously not self-aware.The Snake Called Ego
Ah, the Grand Practical Joke! Each Collective Ego, Each Religion, ironically states that Ego (Pride) is the source of all evil. “Ego comes before fall,” the Bible says. Each Organized Religion in the world indicts itself. Ego’s manifestation is materialism, greed, love of money, attachment to Credit and Debt – all called idolatry. Could it be more obvious?
The Snake chomps its own tail - perpetually!
An ancient, common myth you've probably heard in some form is that of a Serpent who guards a treasure, coiling around it. This Dragon himself cannot enjoy the treasure, and he won’t let anybody else near it. Then some Hero, like Siegfried, Saint George, Heracles, or Baal slays this Dragon and everyone rejoices. Jesus alludes to this idea, talking to the Religious leaders of his
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against people; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” (Matthew 23:13)
Jesus said, "Woe to the Pharisees! They are like a dog sleeping in the cattle manger: the dog neither eats nor lets the cattle eat." (Gospel of Thomas 102. Here Jesus quotes Aesop’s Fable of the dog in the manger).
And It Came To Pass
Anyway, back to Mormonism. I once had a Jack-Mormon boyfriend who told me a great secret: "Joseph Smith was a Trickster." This intrigued me.
Over the years I tried many times to read the Book of Mormon. But I couldn't help but see it as the silliest book I’d ever read. I couldn't get past the first few chapters. And I couldn't get past my view of the LDS Church as one big Financial Corporation posing as a religion. But I live amidst Mormon culture, and millions of devoted people feel deeply about the Book of Mormon. Just out of simple Golden-Rule respect, I must see through their eyes.
So just a year ago I picked up the Book of Mormon again. This time I resolved to take on the Zen mind, the mind of no judgement, the mind of the infant. Forget about everything I’d heard about the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith or the LDS Church! Read it with a soft heart, an open mind.
Lo & Behold, I heard the Eternal Laughter of the Universe burst forth!
The silliness of The Book of Mormon is its Divine Genius! The silliness is its Gargoyles, its Nagas, guarding the Temple, the Cherubim guarding the Tree of Life: only the ego-less mind can enter! The silliness is the Serpent coiled around the treasure, the blind Church of Greed sitting in the manger – you know, the one that calls itself The Only True Church!
A big point of ridicule of The Book of Mormon is that folks feel it is poorly written, in Old English, and it repeats whole tracts of scripture, usually word-for-word, from the King James Bible. It especially repeats the phrase “it came to pass” to the point of absurdity. “It came to pass” is the laughingstock of the Book of Mormon. It keeps respected scholars away.
Just a few weeks ago I found a new translation of the Book of Mormon into plain English, Modern Revelation, translated by Thomas Johnson, a non-Mormon pragmatist, actually published here in Moab. He simplified its verbose-ness and deleted “it came to pass”, condensing it to a very small book. Mormons don’t approve of it. Strange, but in my deepest core I agreed with them: I felt its strange mystery had been stripped away.
Then one day I got an epiphany:
“And it came to pass”
Could it be that “It came to pass” is the very theme, the Holy Mantra, of the Book of Mormon?
I followed my hunch. I picked up the Book of Mormon again, focusing on this most common phrase. By “chance” I stumbled upon the clue in 1 Nephi 20:3, which quotes Isaiah 48:3. After pages of “and it came to pass” ad-nauseam, why, all the sudden, would Nephi delete “and they came to pass” from Isaiah 48:3? Look:
I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. (Isaiah 48:3)
Behold, I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I showed them. I did show them suddenly. (1 Nephi 20:3)
The mystery deepens. Every sub-book in the Book of Mormon is saturated with “it came to pass” – but then it is mysteriously absent in the last sub-book, Moroni! Not a single instance of “it came to pass” in Moroni! Why? The mysterious answer is there, if you look.
The words of Zen Poet Ryokan came to mind:
If there is beauty, there must be ugliness;
If there is right, there must be wrong.
Wisdom and arrogance are complementary,
And illusion and enlightenment cannot be separated.
This is an old truth, don’t think that it was discovered recently.
“I want this, I want that”
Is nothing but foolishness.
I’ll tell you a secret:
All things are impermanent!
Then, the words of Zen Master Eihei Dogen:
Lack of firm aspiration is caused by being unaware of impermanence. Ultimately speaking, we die moment by moment, not residing even a little while. (From Shoboghenzo Zuimonki)
“I die daily” (Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:31)
"If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
Why does the universe exist?
Heaven and Earth shall pass away,
With our possessions, our possessiveness, we fool ourselves into thinking that it came to stay, that we came to stay. We trick ourselves into believing our petty edifice is the Only True Church Eternal -
One is the way that leads to Possessions,
"There Are Only Two Churches"
“But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.” (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 26:31)
Yes, the Book of Mormon states what the Christ and the Buddha state:
“One way leads to wealth. The other way leads to Nirvana.” (Gautama Buddha, Dhammapada v. 75)
“No one can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Jesus Christ, Matthew 6:24)
Yes, we have the answer to Joseph Smith’s question about which is The Only True Church:
Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw. (1 Nephi 14:10)
This is a direct reference to the Whore of Babylon in the 17th and 18th chapters of Revelation in the Bible: the Whore who is the Religion of Commerce. The Book of Mormon states that the Whore Church is dominant, huge, & universal, not limited to any single culture or denomination. And we see that the One True Church is small, yet also universal, not limited to any single culture or denomination. If the Book of Mormon is true, the huge, wealthy, and powerful LDS institution simply cannot be the One True Church that it says it is!
If you look up the words whore and whoredoms throughout the book of Mormon, you see that whore always refers to greed mentality. Throughout the Bible, too, greed is spiritual adultery, called whoredom. Yes, Joseph Smith’s question is answered in the Book of Mormon. One is the Church of Greed and the other is the The One True Church. The church that loves to call itself the One True Church cannot be the One True Church:
For it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other: Behold, I, I am the Lord’s; and the others shall say: I, I am the Lord’s; and thus shall every one say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord . . . . They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up. They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone stray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men. O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell! . . . . But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof. (2 Nephi 28:3-18)
This Whore Church is characterized by greed, by deleting the teachings of its own Jesus from its doctrines:
…the Gentiles do stumble exceedingly, because of the most plain and precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, which is the mother of harlots…” (1Nephi 13:34)
You Can't Get Around It:
Because the LDS Church is The Bastion of Capitalism, it blew me away when I read passages like this:
And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift . . . . There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. . . . And now I, Mormon, would that ye should know that the people had multiplied, insomuch that they were spread upon all the face of the land, and that they had become exceedingly rich, because of their prosperity in Christ. And now, in this two hundred and first year there began to be among them those who were lifted up in pride, such as the wearing of costly apparel, and all manner of fine pearls, and of the fine things of the world. And from that time forth they did have their goods and their substance no more common among them. And they began to be divided into classes; and they began to build up churches unto themselves to get gain, and began to deny the true church of Christ. And it came to pass that when two hundred and ten years had passed away there were many churches in the land; yea, there were many churches which professed to know the Christ, and yet they did deny the more parts of his gospel… (4 Nephi 1:3-27)
The above passage is a direct reference to these two verses in the New Testament, ingeniously showing them as One Single Concept:
Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. (Acts 4:32)
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:28)
Yes, Nephi speaks the Profound Message: there can be no unity, no one-ness, with possession. With possessiveness comes duality and divisions, the separation of male and female, the birth of “isms” and “ites”.
But it came to pass in the twenty and ninth year there began to be some disputings among the people; and some were lifted up unto pride and boastings because of their exceedingly great riches, yea, even unto great persecutions; For there were many merchants in the land, and also many lawyers, and many officers. And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches. Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God. And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up; yea, insomuch that in the thirtieth year the church was broken up (3 Nephi 6:10-14)
Notice how eerily similar the the above words are to the words of the Lakota Sage Lame Deer:
“Before our white brothers came to civilise us we had no jails. Therefore we had no criminals. You can’t have criminals without a jail. We had no locks or keys, and so we had no thieves. If a man was so poor that he had no horse, tipi or blanket, someone gave him these things. We were too uncivilised to set much value on personal belongings. We wanted to have things only in order to give them away. We had no money, and therefore a man’s worth couldn’t be measured by it. We had no written law, no attorney or politicians, therefore we couldn’t cheat. We were in a really bad way before the white man came, and I don’t know how we managed to get along without the basic things which, we are told, are absolutely necessary to make a civilised society." (Lame Deer, from John Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions)
The Book of Mormon, like the Bible, like the Quran, promises that wealth and blessings come to the spiritual seeker. Seek first the Buddha Way, Zen Master Dogen says, and all that you need comes to you. Seek first the Kingdom of God, Jesus says, and all you need shall be added to you. "Yippee" say the John Osteens, Gordon B. Hinkleys, Pat Robertsons, Jerry Falwells, and George Bushes as they build their own coffins. Religion, which denounces greed, is twisted to justify greed.
3 Ne. 22: 16 “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.” (quoting Isaiah 54:16)
In the prologue of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith states in his testimony:
…that my name should be had for good and evil among nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.
Simple observation shows that it is the Organized Religion (whether called Catholic, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Mormon, Evangelical, Muslim, whatever) that promotes greed, war, hypocrisy, genocide, bigotry, environmental destruction, extortion, nationalism.
Yes, there are only two religions in the world: One is the Church of Reality, the other the Church of Illusion, servant of Mammon. The Church of Illusion is so good at illusion it can disguise itself as thousands of religions, each calling itself The Only True Church. Each seems in conflict with the next; but don't be fooled - they all work together pefectly as one single destroying machine.