Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Story Part I (Searching for The Truth)

Linking Yesterday to Today
It's current events like this that have to make you wonder.

Local television station, KUTV Channel 2, recently aired an 'expose' of the link between "Mormons and Masons" on their 10 O'Clock News Program.

What it turned out to be was nothing but a five minute advertisement for the local lodge and a 'how-to' guide of what you had to do to join.  The Masonic temple enjoyed massive tour traffic last Saturday, the 14th, as locals who saw this on the nightly news took the open tour of the Masonic temple in downtown SLC.

Interviewed was Glen Cook (pictured here to the left), the Grand Master of the Salt Lake Lodge who is also the first member of the Church to attain the title (and he is adamant there is nothing wrong with this).

But did you know at one point in the Church's history there was a mutual membership prohibition between the Utah Grand Lodge and the Church, creating a dichotomy between the men in these groups?  In fact, only up until the mid-1980s were Mormons not accepted into the lodge and masons were not to hold the priesthood in the Church. (More on this here).

Author, Ex-Mormon, Born Again Christian Ed Decker recounted his first runnings-in with his local Scottish Rite Lodge--

"When I began to study the Lodge with a critical eye, it meant that I had to look back at my own father, grandfather and their fathers before them for almost two hundred years. They were honest men, church men who took our faith, our family and our country seriously, fighting in its many wars. Generation after generation, each son followed after his father and entered into membership in the Lodge. That line ended when I stepped out of the DeMoLay to join the Mormon Church.
"The Mormon Church told me that Masonry was a society of "secret combinations" and "works of darkness." I was forbidden to continue membership in the DeMoLay and later, as an active Mormon, I would not seek to follow my father into the Lodge.
"Years later, after I became a born again Christian, while I was at a service in a Baptist church teaching on the LDS Temple ritual, I discovered from an angry church Deacon that the ritual of the Masonic Lodge was the actual foundation of the LDS temple ritual. I knew that if what he said was true, I would have to expose the roots of Masonry to the same light of truth that I was bringing to bear on Mormonism. That was easier said than done."
from An Observation on Freemasonry, Ed Decker -- Saints Alive Ministry Newsletter April 2000

The reason for the recent media attention can only be attributed to the recently published book Mormons and Masons by Matthew B. Brown, a graduate of Brigham Young University and popular apologetic in the FARMS (Foundation of Ancient Research and Mormon Studies) and FAIR (Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research) circles.  I have the book sitting on my desk and I've only had a chance to thumb through it.  It will be the very first thing I review after I get the introductory phase of this blog wrapped up.  Any immediate commentary on this would be meaningless if I do not first establish for you the paradigm I have found myself in (and have a chance to thoroughly read the book).

At Church, I recall Freemasonry had mostly been the subject of off-topic discussions usually started in Aaronic Priesthood/Young Men Sunday school classes.  Not once did I ever get a straight answer when I had inquired who or what the freemasons were and what they had to do with the Church.  All I was told is that both the Church and Freemasons had similar ceremonies that dated back to King Solomon's time and even back to Moses when he and the Jews had the Arc of the Covenant.  These discussions were usually quickly dissolved as the official lesson of the day was given on why the temple is so important, or why paying tithe gives you more blessings.

The truth is that there is no official/formal study or lessons, aside from the book mentioned above, readily available for members of the Church studying Church history discussing the dramatic effect Freemasonry had on the Church in its infancy, especially in Nauvoo.  (Curiously, a simple search of Freemason on results only in an article from the Church's magazine publication, Ensign, from 1978 entitled "Why Did People Act That Way?-- Some observations on religious intolerance and persecution in the American past"Mason only results in a mostly fictional last name used for story lessons.)

This is one of many cases where the Church has hidden its true origins from its own members.  It is one case that we will definitely be exploring further. 

My Story
The following is 100 % a true story.

All my life I've sought after that which seemed impossible to understand.  My earliest memories are of waking up from a dream where I was flying in my backyard; it seemed so real, yet, I did not understand how what was in the dreamworld didn't apply in the real world.  Why were these places so different, yet felt so much alike?  Later on, I remember asking one of my parents, "What if there was nothing?", only to be told by the adults in my life that for there to be "nothing" was impossible.  I didn't understand, though, because my young mind thought that if "something" was able to exist, there had to be a "nothing" on the opposite side, just as there is a darkness in contrast to light.

As a child everything was miraculous in my world-- I think just as much as it is for any other child growing up at that age .  I had a wild imagination that fueled my activities with endless creativity.  I remember going to school on a windy day and I would run down the playing field as I waved my arms and imagined myself controlling the wind and the weather.  I remember learning about molecules and then staring out into the sky and as I lay there I would imagine seeing the air-molecules bouncing off each other.  I felt a strong connection to the natural world during that time and I spent most of it playing outdoors surrounded by nature.

From my youngest memorable age I have been amazed at the world we live in.  The more I learned, the more I wanted to know about what I learned.  I thought I could get the answers to the universe by going to Church; being born and raised in the Church, my entire paradigm was centered on everything I had learned there.  I was fully convinced in "God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost..." and the rest of the Articles of Faith. (Articles of Faith 1:1–13)

But the universe had different plans for me.

You could say I was blessed with an open-mind, a big heart and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, but more so, I have been continually blessed by many synchronistic miracles which have guided me to where I am today.  You could call it fate or even destiny, but I see it as more of a fruition of my connection to that which is eternal.  My parents always told me, "You came here for a reason," but I never really understood what they meant until I journeyed through my mind's shadow and discovered what I really am.

That journey took me to the edge of insanity.

This is my story of how I realized life was an illusion and that this world is not as it seems.  This is how I broke my bonds, turned to discover the puppet-masters and made for the light at the end of the tunnel.  This is how I adjusted my eyes to the ever increasing light of reality.  Now, here I am, learning about the world around me, and I am earnest in helping those who are in a sense "behind" me, tracing my footsteps.

As I recount key events in my life so far, I will share with you the things life shared with me in order to bring me to true consciousness.  What I have written at the beginning of this post is an example of how I will submit to you the people, places and things I've ran into through-out my life that started a thought process that lead me to more information, more people, places and things.  I may or may not conclude based on what I have presented.  It is very possible that I may simply ask you to make your own conclusions.  Either way, it is an absolute honor to be able to do this for you and I hope it will serve to poke and prod your mind in ways you may not have thought before.

We are all here on a spiritual journey for the truth.  I know that not everyone is looking for the same truth and not everyone has a desire for knowledge at the same time.  I am not here to give you the ultimate truth as I believe such a thing is meaningless, but I am here to put out questions, thoughts and ideas that will nudge your paradigm.  Only you can find your own truth because the truth is not "out there".  The truth is in YOU.

To Be Continued...
I may occasionally post recommended reading/viewing/listening at the end of a post.  I urge you to check it out!

For later:
Republic by Plato, Book VII aka "The Allegory of the Cave"

(Commenting will not be available for this series until the last post. Please stay tuned.)