Friday, October 16, 2015

Paradise and the Pit

Suppose that you were woke up one day in the midst of a maze, a labyrinth.

When you wake up you see a sign that tells you the following:

This maze has exactly two exits.   
One exit will drop you into an inescapable pit of spikes that will wound you and cause you excruciating pain.   
The other exist will admit you into a place where all your physical needs will be met and you can spend your days learning and growing without the distraction of having to provide for your needs. 
At the end of the day, the maze will be emptied.  All maze occupants who have not reached an exit by the end of the day will be ushered through the exit nearest to them. 
At various places in the maze, starting here, you can find guide books prepared by some who have successfully navigated the maze.  You can use these guide books or disregard them, as you choose.  Some who have passed through the maze have disregarded the guide books and written their observations on the walls.  You may ignore or heed these as you choose. 
You can also make verbal appeals for guidance from the creator of the maze.  But you may not agree with or understand all his answers.  Instructions for making appeals to the maze creator are found in the Guide Book.

On the wall beside the sign, someone has scrawled the words, "The guidebook is a fantasy."  Another says, "The maze never ends."  And a third hand has written the words, "There is no pit. There is no maze creator.  Do what feels good."

So, here you are, stuck in the maze.  What do you do?  Do you heed the writing on the walls?  Do you follow the guide book?  Or, do you ignore both and strike out on your own?

While this may seem like an academic exercise, it is actually a pretty close analogy to the life we are in. We are born into this world with no memory of what went before and how we came to be here.

While all of us aspire to be happy and have our lives reach a pleasant end, we are confronted with a variety of advocates who try to tell us what we need to do to be happy and to have a good end to our journey.  Also, when our day is done, whether we want to leave the maze or not, we will be removed (we die) and face a conclusion to this journey.

The Bible, The Book of Mormon and The Doctrine and Covenants all contain accounts of people who have died and returned to visit mortals and instruct them in what lies beyond and what they need to do to have a happy ending.  

In the Talmud and the Old Testament, Adam, Enoch, Abraham, Jacob and Moses all had face-to-face conversations with the Creator, which they characterized as a man speaking with his friend.  

In the New Testament, Peter, James and John saw Jesus conversing with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9).  And after his crucifixion Jesus appeared to the Apostles and other disciples, and upwards of 500 people in an incident that is referenced, but not recorded (1 Corinthians 15:5-6).  In addition, the Bible records that after the resurrection of Jesus, the graves of many were opened and saints who had "slept" arose and went into Jerusalem and ministered to many.  

In The Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 11), Jesus descends from heaven in the sight of a multitude in the Americas and they are allowed to feel the prints of the nails in his hands and feet and the wound from the spear in his side and they testify that he appeared as a resurrected person to them.  In addition, they mention that after the resurrection of Jesus in Jerusalem, people in the Americas rose from the dead and ministered to the living.

Lastly, in The Doctrine and Covenants, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were ministered to by a resurrected John the Baptist, and later by Peter, James and John (D&C 128:20).  This is in addition to Joseph Smith having stated that he had dealings with Moroni, a resurrected  man who had died some where around 400 AD and had seen the resurrected Jesus (Joseph Smith History).  And in Section 76 of this book, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon assert that they also saw the resurrected Jesus.

In spite of having evidence and solemn testimony of various people spanning more than 6,000 years of  written history recorded in our "Guide Book" we have those who write on the wall that, "The Guide Book is a fantasy."  And the basis for their cavalier dismissal of the information in the Guide Book?  

Their dismissal of more than sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction in court stems from:

1) The fact that the Guide Book contains some accounts of extraordinary events which, given the few facts around the events, cannot be adequately explained or understood with today's technology or man's reasoning.  And,
2) the dismissers have not personally experienced an acquaintance with a resurrected person or with the Creator.

And, the bases for dismissal are ardently defended in spite of the fact that Guide Book gives pretty clear instructions on the exact steps needed to find out the truth or falsity of the instructions of the Guide Book (see Alma Chapter 32 in The Book of Mormon for the clearest version of the steps of the experiment).

So, here you are in the maze of life.  God offers a Guide Book.  Do you follow it or do you ignore it and rely upon the limited views provided by your fellow maze travelers?

For my part, I can say that I know that the Guide Book is accurate.  I have tested it using the experiments that the book says will validate it.  I far prefer to have a map, a guide, and the advantage of having conversations with the Creator to guide me through the more murky parts of this life.

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Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM). The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein. 

The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein.

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