Have you ever spoken with the tongue of angels? Have you opened your mouth and said things you didn't understand, but as soon as they vibrated the air, you knew they were true?
In January of this year I met a friend in the temple to discuss some things. The conversation did not go as I expected. Even in the temple, my friend seemed to be under some awful power of darkness and I could see with my physical eyes the struggle and the shift between the true self and something entirely different. I found myself speaking many things with authority that I didn't know I had. One of the things I said was "we have covenanted to do certain things together in this life and even though we don't remember them, that doesn't let us out of the obligation?"
I didn't know what I even meant. I just knew I was being guided by God. You see, even though for many years I felt God directing my path, I never thought the path was pre-determined. As Latter-day Saints we don't believe in fate or pre-destination. Or so I thought.
For the next few months I didn't think much of this until I had a vision. It came while driving, so it was not something I saw with my eyes, but with my spiritual sight. I had an awareness of that same friend and I in some spiritual realm, pre-birth, making promises to each other. It was an unusual promise, or so I thought, but I had adamantly agreed that I would do it. The friend made promises in return. I wasn't sure if this was real. I questioned it for a time. It was very hazy. Not like other visions I have had. Plus I had never heard of this sort of thing. Or so I thought. After that, many things showed me I could trust this inner guidance.
For the last month, every time I have done a "hookum" (a random opening of the scriptures or other spiritual book to see what message God has for me) I opened to Romans 8. There are lots of great things in chapter 8 (especially the part about nothing separating us from the Love of God, which is in Chist), but the predestination part kept nagging at me.
"Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." (v.30)Romans chapter 9 is an even bigger conundrum. Especially this scritpure:
"Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth." (v18)
The cross referenced scriptures tell of Moses and Pharaoh. Do you remember how many times Moses asks Pharaoh to let the people go? The Pharoah decides to let them go several times but then changes his mind because the Lord hardened his heart.
"And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had spoken unto Moses." (Ex 9:12)
Some have pointed out that the JST says that Pharaoh harded his own heart. But there are many other examples of this in the scritures, and the foot note in Romans clarifies that He "leaves them to hardness."
Meaning that he doesn't intervene and soften their heart. Because we know he can do that. So, why some and not others?
This idea baffled me. Also the idea that a person can be predestined from the womb. Or that God could love one and hate another.
11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to aelection might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
12 It was said unto her, The aelder shall serve the younger.13 As it is written, Jacob have I aloved, but Esau have I hated.
But Jacob and Esau aren't the only two who seemed fated from the womb. In D&C 84:27-28 we learn a little bit more about John the Baptist's pre-destiny.
Recently a whole bunch of strange pieces have come together and I begin to understand. I hope I can make it clear to others. Usually my blog posts are about 6 months behind my actual epiphanies, but with this one, you are right here with me. And I am just a baby.
For a little while now, lots of near death experience (NDE) literature and pre-birth experience (PBE) literature has been coming across my path. I don't seek it out; it just finds me. Many of these stories (and they come from all different sources--LDS and non) have similarities. One is the idea that we are prepared to come to earth in a kind of school setting, but we choose what classes to take and ultimately we choose the way in which we would like to grow and progress on earth. We can progress slowly and steadily or very quickly through pain and disease. Many eager young spirits sign up for the hard things because they want to grow quickly. But it is all volunteer. Not everyone, however, is allowed to sing up for some things. Some challenges are too big and only the Noble and Great Ones can volunteer for them.
Whether all of this is true or not, I can't say. I haven't seen it. But after thinking over my life story and my personality which has been characterized by an impatience to learn everything possible, I bet I'd have signed up to learn and grow in the fastest way.
Death of loved ones? Abandonment? Carrying the weight of all my ancestors unfinished business? Sure! Who knows what I signed up for.
The idea was a little annoying. And yet familiar. But it only raised more questions than answers. Such as, why does God harden someone's heart and at other times, soften it? How is that free agency? Why must we forget everything?
Finally, I got the clarity as I began reading Carolyn Myss's book Sacred Contracts. Carolyn Myss is a best selling author and medical intuitive. Her book has helped millions realize that there is a life before this life, and in it, we agreed to do certain things, for our own spiritual growth, for others, and to forward God's work. For example, in one NDE-PBE I read, the man saw Joseph Smith in the pre-mortal life and saw many covenanting with him to help him restore the church.
Myss has assembled lots of evidence from all kinds of scriptures and myths, that such contracts exist. One interesting and literary story is the Story of Er, which is in the 10th book of Plato's Republic. In Plato's story, Er is a Greek soldier who died and returned to consciousness 12 days later on the battlefield. The story of what he saw while suspended between life and death corresponds to many near death experiences."Part of the contract requires that you discover what it is you are meant to do. The Divine, in turn, promises to give you the guidance you need through your intuition, dreams, hunches, coincidences, and other indicators." (Myss, p. 47)
He is in a kind of way station. Some were waiting to be judged, while others are preparing to go to earth. These souls drew lots to see who went first and then the first got the first pick from a "sample of lives." There were lives of every animal and of man in every condition, including tyrants. Lives of fame, beauty, disease, health, every class and station. Once they chose, the choice was ratified by God, then they had to march through the Plain of Forgetfulness and drink from the River of Unmindfulness.
"Let him who draws the first lot have the first choice, and the life which he chooses shall be his destiny." - Plato.
Her idea is that it is a kind of template that we choose, not a fully written story--how we play it out is up to us--how long it takes us to get there is also up to us, but it is a kind of pre-destiny none-the-less.
Knowing that our agency was involved, and that Christ or his assigns, may have laid their hands on our heads and ordained us for our mission before we came to earth answered many questions for me. I'm not saying any of this is doctrinally true, but it has helped me.
One big question I had been struggling with was cases where it seemed like people didn't really have free agency, which we put such a premium on in this life. For example, in the case of mental illness that is genetic or caused by some trauma. How much choice does a person really have when they are in a psychotic mood swing triggered by outside forces? Or in the case of some heavy legacy of ancestral garbage (such as a person who is born with devils from the womb) because of their parent's choices. If they were never really free from the beginning, how is that agency? These are the questions I have been asking myself and God for the last 6 months.
But I realized that just as John the Baptist or Samson were ordained from the womb, there may be people who were ordained for another kind of life, or incarnation if you will, perhaps more for others growth than their own.
Myss believes that the reason for forgetfulness is simple. It is to give us free agency. If you knew ahead of time what was going to happen to you, actually living it would be super boring. And,
"How would you ever bring yourself to begin a relationship with someone who you knew would lie to you and abuse you, yet from whom you needed to elarn a valuable lesson? How would you be able to bear counting the days when your loved ones would die?"Read that again if you want. Yeah. Wow.
I realized she was right. How could I? In the last six months, I have been through what some would call a "dark night of the soul." What that means is that I have been through a super-accelerated period of growth that included leaving behind the known world, having all my worst fears realized, approaching death's door many times but choosing to stay, and in exchange, having a huge increase in intuitive powers, and about 20 years of spiritual, mental, and emotional growth in a 6 month time frame. It felt a little like dying and being born at the same time. I wouldn't so much like to do it again. But it has qualified me far better than anything to be a teacher and prophetess.
There were many times during these past months that I begged God for some knowledge of what was to come. Though it was dark, I was never alone. I was attended by so many angels that they often they fogged up my car windows (I'm not kidding). And God did give me knowledge--but only a few inches ahead of me at one time. I am glad for this now. I don't think I could have bore it all at once. The events have apparently worked their purpose (and still are) and I am still happily on the right path much further along.
There is nothing quite so empowering as living in accord with one's contract, and nothing so peaceful as the knowledge (or just the hunch), that others, though they may seem to be hardened, hurting others, or hurting themselves, may just be living their contract, and it may be all a act of pre-arranged self-sacrifice to help me grow and prepare me for what's next. Anyway you look at it, I have had choice, both before and now, and it is in the harmony of these choices that I feel the fulness of joy.
It is not love but choice that is our greatest power. Because one chooses first to be loving and to love.
Myss suggests that for our own good, each of us needs to find out what our mission is. The details of how we live our lives accumulate. Little traumas accumulate. Scar tissue accumulates. "The further we stray from our true mission in life, the more frustrated will become, and the more out of sync our energy will be... When you working well with your energy, you are also making the best expression of you personal power."
There are many clues and guides to help us figure out what our missions or various contracts are (I believe we make many). I will be writing more about this in the future, but for starters, there is always prayer and meditation. Speak, and listen. Vibrate the Cosmos, and the Cosmos will vibrate you back.
I'd love comments and feedback.