Thursday, July 13, 2023

A Hermetic Text (John 21)

NOTE: Several years ago, Denver Snuffer published a version of the Gospel of John called “The Testimony of St. John” (TSJ).  Whether or not you believe Denver Snuffer to be a prophet of God or not, this “newly revealed account of John the Beloved’s Testimony of Jesus the Messiah” is worth reading and studying with an open, meditative, pondering mind and while taking the Holy Spirit as your guide.  To be honest, the Lord has taught me a lot through the writings of Mr. Snuffer – the implication being, for me at least, that many of his teachings are/were inspired.  Having said that, I do not take anything that he has said as truth at straight face value but have taken it to the Lord – which, ironically, is one of the main takeaways I’ve received from Snuffer, and I apply it as much to his ideas as I do to those of the LDS Church leaders or Hindu gurus or Native American medicine men or Buddhist monks, or anyone else I have read and learned from, who purports to have a connection to God.   

I’ve not referenced the “TSJ” directly in any of my other New Testament posts but the 21st chapter of John is another matter.  I have found it to be immensely enlightening to what John might have written as a “hermetic” text.  So, I hope that you will indulge me in this post and read and ponder this “revealed account” with an open mind – and with the Holy Spirit as your guide; but if not, I understand. 

Christ’s Visitation at the Sea of Galilee

READ TSJ John 21:1-3

After this, Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. This is an account of that event: There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael from the city of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others, also disciples. Simon Peter said to them, I ascend to the deep. They responded to him, we go with you. They went forth, and entered into the ark; and they could not grasp anything.

What is a hermetic text?

Hermetic texts use symbols to conceal full meanings from the uninitiated, but which fully inform the initiated.

How might the TSJ translation suggest hermetic language in the traditional translations?

In the traditional translations, Peter and his companions appear to leave the ministry to go back to their work as fishermen; they fish all night and catch nothing.

In the TSJ, while the story could be interpreted the same way with references to the “deep” and the “ark”, the phrase “they could not grasp anything” hints that they are not in a boat fishing.

If they are not fishing, the phrase “I ascend to the deep” does not refer to going out onto the Sea of Galilee in a boat.

To ascend means to go up or climb or to rise through the air; one might descend into the deep on a scuba dive and then ascend from the deep; but to “ascend to the deep” suggests rising up to a “deep” place.

The deep refers to the sea but it could also refer to a deep or “altered” state of consciousness, a place where Peter and his companions cannot grasp or comprehend what they are seeing or experiencing OR they cannot grasp how to attain to that “deep” state of spiritual awareness.

An ark can refer to a ship, like the one Noah used to save his family; it can be something that affords protection and safety; and it was also the sacred chest representing the presence of God to the Hebrews.

It is possible that Peter and his companions are not fishing at all, but rather are attempting to ascend to a place of deep spiritual understanding via a sacred place which represented the presence of God or portal to His presence, but they cannot do it – they are stuck in this world in the darkness, in all its manifestations.

If John 21 is a hermetic text, then the TSJ translation “pulls back the curtain” a bit and more obviously points out that they are not fishing; however, it still leaves the great majority of what they experienced hidden for the reader to seek after and experience for themselves.


READ TSJ John 21:4-8

But at the horizon of the morning star, Jesus stood at the sacred entry; however, the disciples could not recognize it was Jesus for the glory about Him. Then Jesus asked them, Children, have you celebrated the ritual meal? They answered Him, No. And He directed them and said, Approach the veil to the east and you will find what you seek. They approached the veil as instructed, and now they were overcome by the multitude of what was received. Therefore, the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he quickly clothed himself (for he did not wear the apparel) and cast himself into the great deep. And the other disciples came into the ark and parted also the veil (for they were not bound by the limits of this world).

What is the “sacred entry”?

A portal or gate or connection or conduit between this world and the heavens (see JSH 1:16-17, 30, 43; 1 Nephi 1:6; 2 Kings 2:11; Moses 7:3).

It can also be a parting of the veil between the physical world on this earth and the spiritual world on this earth.

What is the horizon of the morning star?

The place on the eastern horizon where Venus, the morning star, rises.

In ancient Egypt, there was a tradition that at the rising of the sun, one could enter into God's presence through a portal to heaven which would appear.  The tradition stated that the light they thought was the sun coming over the horizon and lighting up the world was not really the sun but was a gateway into the heavenly realm from which the light of heaven was revealing itself, but that one’s faith (or lack thereof) required it to occur at the horizon during the rising of the sun because that was easier to comprehend; for them to have an experience like Joseph Smith had with Moroni, when the veil parted in front of him and a pillar of fire descended or was revealed would have been too much to take in; the thought is that yes, it was the sun rising but really, if you had faith, it wasn't the sun - it was the veil being parted - and you could walk into it and rise up or ascend to heaven through a conduit of glorious fire or light.

Venus, the morning star, has a connection to Christ. LDS astronomer John Pratt's research shows that when you plot the course of Venus in the sky over time, it makes a pentagram or Tetragrammaton or five pointed star, which is the sign of Christ or Yahweh/Jehovah (as opposed to the six pointed "Star of David" which is a sign of the Father).  So, in John's gospel, it is not the sun but the rising of the morning star that is the portal.  The idea that a man was standing there - especially if it was the sun with all its blinding glory - you would not be able to tell who it was - you would only see a silhouette against the light – and then only if you were not blinded by the light altogether.

What does it mean to approach the veil to the east?

It doesn’t say “approach the veil FROM the east” but TO the east.

Christ is directing them to where a veil or sacred entry is located – to the east of where they are located, at the horizon of the morning star or where Venus is rising above the horizon, to their east.

When He directs them to approach the “veil to the east” another way of saying it might be to approach the “Eastern veil”; if this is correct, it implies that there are at least 4 sacred entries through the veil at each of the cardinal directions; one might ask why this is the case – the reason may be that as there is an archangel at each direction, and each one has different keys, that the individual wanting to part the veil to obtain further light and knowledge would want to inquire at the veil of the angel with the keys to that particular knowledge; although speculative on my part, the topic is informed by the way that Fools Crow (a Lakota medicine man) used to inquire of the “Four Helpers” at the cardinal directions for specific and different aid or knowledge; we do know that heaven is an ordered place and that four angels preside at the four cardinal directions and hold different keys of knowledge. 

What are they seeking?

Again, if Peter and the companions are attempting to ascend to a place of deep spiritual understanding in the presence of God, it makes the answer to this question much more obvious: they are seeking the sacred entry or portal between earth and heaven.

In the traditional translation, the fishermen cast their net on the other side of the boat and cannot draw it up for the multitude of fishes; what does “being overcome by the multitude of what was received” mean?

They wanted to pierce the veil and receive further light and knowledge in God’s presence but what God proposes to share with mankind is so much greater and so different from what mankind is asking for, that it is overwhelming.

We do not comprehend God because we are not enough like Him and lack the light that He/They have, and just as looking directly at the sun is blinding, fully submitting to receive from the Gods what THEY would like us to receive can be “blinding” or overwhelming because the knowledge, blessings and light that God wants to share with us have never even entered into our hearts (see 1 Corinthians 2:9; Isaiah 64:4; D&C 76:10) as Their thoughts are so much higher than our thoughts (see Isaiah 55:8-9).

What apparel did Peter put on and why must he cloth himself?

In the traditional translation, Peter is fishing naked at night in the boat with his friends but when he hears that it is the Lord calling to him, he dresses himself in a “fisher’s coat” and then jumps overboard into the water to swim to shore in his clothes.

In the TSJ, having parted the veil and encountered the Lord, Peter seeks to enter the heavenly realm but is not dressed appropriately (he is not wearing “the” apparel, implying that there is certain apparel he should be wearing to be in the heavenly realm but wasn’t (see Matthew 22:11-12).  There are echoes of the wedding guest who comes to the ceremony without wearing the proper wedding garment.

Several legitimate additional questions might be: why was Peter not wearing the garment if what they were trying to do that night was to find the heavenly veil and part it?  Although Peter was not appropriately dressed, were the others already wearing the appropriate garment?   Is this a physical garment as worn in this telestial world or a garment of light (which can also be worn in this telestial world…) and if the latter, why wasn’t Peter already wearing it?  How does one “put on” such a heavenly garment?  Where does one find a garment like this – is it given or found or earned or created?  Why must one be wearing a special garment to enable them to ascend in this way? 

Does Peter cast himself into the sea?

If John 21 is a hermetic text, then “casting oneself into the great deep” does not mean “jumping into the sea”.

The earlier phrase “ascend to the deep” may give a clue to what it means to “cast oneself into the deep” when combined with information that the disciples also part the veil and ascend.

To cross through the veil and transcend the limits of this world, one may need to “cast oneself” through in the same way that those who practice astral-projection describe “jumping” out of their bodies into the astral plane.

Note: one of the differences between astral-projection and what is being described in John 21 is that when Peter and his companions seek for the sacred entry, they cannot seem to find it or if they do, they cannot open it, and it is not until a guide arrives (in this case it is Christ Himself) and bids them come, teaching them His Ways and Path, that they are able to part the veil and enter into the heavenly realm; astral-projection is usually without invitation from a heavenly guide but is initiated solely by the individual; another difference can be the reason for parting the veil, as the true seeker is searching for further light and knowledge from a legitimate heavenly messenger while the astra-projector is seeking for an out-of-body-experience for its own sake or for their own purposes.

What “ark” do the other disciples “come into” to part the veil?

If the “ark” is something that affords protection and safety and also represents the presence of God in ritual but in this case was something big enough to enter into, it is possible that it is referring to a physical structure into which Peter and his companions went to part the veil, like a small tabernacle or portable “holy place” (as they were by the Sea of Tiberius, which was 75 miles from the Temple in Jerusalem) – either one they had found or been told about (and was the reason they had come to that particular holy place OR it was one they had built or created by making the place they were at “holy” or set apart from the world through some spiritual means.

What does it mean to not be bound by the limits of this world?

We are bound by the limits of this world in several ways: our spirits are housed within mortal, physical bodies; our bodies are confined to the earth and even if we are flying or in a spacecraft, we cannot go too far from the earth’s orbit; we bind ourselves within the confines that our mortal senses and scientific measurement tools reveal to us; we adhere to the cultural values and beliefs that our society espouses, believing them to be an accurate reflection of how people should be and what is right or good.

So, to not be bound by those limits means that: a) one’s spirit can transcend the flesh – meaning that either they are able to see what can only be seen with the spiritual eyes (see Moses 1:11; 2 Kings 6:17) or that their spirits were able to leave their bodies for a time (see Alma 18:40-Alma 19:31; Alma 22:15-22; Alma 35:10-23); or b) with their physical body (albeit transfigured or translated) they can walk through a sacred entry and actually ascend to heaven (see Revelation 3:1-11; 2 Kings 2:1-12; Moses 7:19-21; Isaiah 2:2-3); or c) they are not bound down by the limited set of knowledge that mankind can discern through their own senses and the sciences but embrace revelation from God as the mechanism from which the truth of all things is revealed – including all laws that apply in the natural world as well as the heavenly worlds; or d) the social constructs of what constitutes acceptable behavior, based on what is believed to be real and good by a society, is transcended by adherence to the culture (beliefs, values, and demonstrated behaviors) of what is acceptable in heaven by those living true to much higher levels of Eternal Law.

Note, the physicality of the spiritual realm is real – spirit is element and all element is “material” matter, along a continuum of refinement – and if one is changed to be able to enter the heavenly realm, it is very difficult to tell if one is “in the body” or not during such an experience (see 2 Corinthians 12:2-4); and in truth, it is really a moot question because an experience is no less real if one sees it with opened spiritual eyes in vision versus seeing it with transfigured physical eyes in person.


READ TSJ John 21:9-14

As they ascended, they saw a fire burning at the offering place and the Flesh Offering was upon it, who is also the Bread of Life. Jesus said to them, Rise above the flesh you now occupy, and Simon Peter ascended, and drew the veil open, and there were ministering a hundred, and then fifty, and then three; and for these many who they beheld, yet the veil remained open. Jesus said to them, Come and eat the food of the rising sun. And none of the disciples asked of him, What name is now yours? knowing that it was their Lord. Jesus then served to them His flesh and blood, and they were filled by His Spirit. This was now the third time Jesus ministered to His disciples following His rise from among the dead.

How are they ascending and where are they ascending to?

Either they are literally ascending through a sacred entry or portal, as transfigured beings or their spirits have left their bodies and are ascending or they are ascending in vision, seeing with their spiritual eyes while remaining within their physical bodies.  

They are ascending to the sacred Temple in Heaven.

Is the “flesh offering” being roasted on the altar like the fish and bread was on the coal fire in the traditional translation?

No, the Flesh Offering is Christ Himself; Flesh Offering and Bread of Life are titles for Christ.

The fire burning at the offering place is the glory that emanates from Christ; in one of his four accounts of the First Vision, Joseph Smith described the glory that accompanied the Father and the Son was like an actual fire and that he thought the grove of trees might be burning.

If they have already ascended through the sacred entry, why is Christ asking them to “rise above the flesh you now occupy”?

It is hard to envision what is really going on here without having experienced it oneself or seen it in vision.

Either they have entered through the sacred entry or portal in the flesh and ascended to the offering place but to progress further they had to leave their bodies at that point and part through a second veil – going from the telestial level to the terrestrial in their bodies, then needing to lay aside that flesh to ascend from the terrestrial to the celestial glory.

OR, this is all part of the same experience; they part the veil and begin to ascend through it – and see what is beyond it, but to truly draw the veil open and walk through it, they had to rise above the flesh either by leaving their physical bodies for a time (like Fools Crow would do) or through transfiguration of their physical bodies, implying that the “flesh they now occupy” is “untransfigured” but they were being invited to awake from the deep sleep of the fallen man and arise into a more awakened or quickened spiritual state.

OR, the weaknesses of the flesh are yet with them, even in a transfigured state, and are to be altogether left behind.

What are the hundred, then fifty, then three that Peter sees ministering?

In the traditional translation, 153 is the number of fishes Peter and the companions caught when they had followed Christ’s counsel and cast the nets on the right side of the ship.

In the TSJ translation, the “one hundred, then fifty, then three” are not fish but are ministering angels; they are not seen until Peter draws the veil wide open.

The order in which they are seen is interesting; it is not clear if there are 153 angels who are ministering either from different levels of glory (i.e. 100 angels, 50 archangels, 3 seraphim) or to different levels of glory (i.e. 100 ministers to the telestial kingdom, 50 to terrestrial, 3 to celestial) OR if it describes a timeline (i.e. 100 angels begin to minister, then over time 50 continue, but at the end only 3 remain – either because of their righteousness or the command of God or some other reason).

What does it mean that “yet the veil remained open”?

If it is the heavenly ministers who are the “many” beheld by “they” (the disciples who are ascending), then the veil remaining open means that they (the ministering angels) continue to minister through the veil to those who remain outside of it.

If the “many” refers to the disciples who are ascending (presumably it is “many” because it is a rare occurrence for more than one person at a time to ascend to heaven and here there are seven people), then the veil remains open for them and they are beheld by the hosts of heaven and likewise see them – possibly this points to the veil remaining open after this experience is completed but that is very unclear from the text; the first explanation sounds more likely from the language.

What is the food of the rising sun?

The “food of the rising sun” is the nourishment served or provided by the Risen Son; it is possible that they were served bread and wine (given that the ritual meal or sacrament was mentioned by Christ) of a spiritual or more refined level of element.

Regardless, Christ gives us a clue to the nourishing nature of light or spirit when He explains to His disciples at Jacob’s Well in Samaria that He has food they know not of which comes from obedience to God’s commandments – He is referring to the nourishment and protection offered to Him by “consuming” or having within Him as a “well of living water,” the Holy Spirit (see John 4:27-38).

But reading the TSJ shows that the idea that Christ cooked up the fish that they had caught on their expedition on the Sea of Tiberius is either a hermetic device illustrating that He blessed and served them the ritual mean or is a false addition to the text.

What name is now Christ’s?

He has progressed from grace to grace until He received a fullness (D&C 93:12-14).

Christ is now perfect, even as His Father is perfect (see 3 Nephi 12:48; Matthew 5:48).

He has attained to the resurrection Himself.

He has become exalted Himself (see TPJS 392).

He has saved all those who came unto Him.

The new name that is Christ’s is “Father” or “Heavenly Father”; He has taken the Father’s place and His Father (Ahman) has been exalted in glory to an even higher level (see TPJS 392).

The disciples don’t have to ask “what name is now yours” because they know Him for who He now is to them, having witnessed His ascent and triumph before God.


READ TSJ John 21:15-19

After the meal, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me above everything else? He answered him, Yes, Lord. You know that I love you. He said to him, Take care of my lambs as they are growing. He asked him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me above everything else? He said to Him, Yes, Lord you know that I love you. He said to him, Take care of my lambs as they increase. He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me above everything else? Peter was concerned because He asked him for a third time, Do you love me? And he said to Him, Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you. Jesus said to him, Care for my lambs as they are added upon. In the name of Father Ahman I tell you, when you were progressing, you dressed yourself, and went where you chose to go; but as you approach the end of the path, you will have to let others stretch out your hands and likewise nail you, even if you plead to have the bitter cup removed. This He said to foretell the sacrificial death that is required for endless glory. And then He added, You must follow after me.

Why did Christ ask Peter three times if he loved Christ above everything else?

Peter is right, Christ knows all things including what is in Peter’s heart, so He is asking Peter the same question three times for Peter’s sake (and perhaps ours), not for His own.

He is teaching Peter what it means to love Him – love others enough to “feed them”.

He may be giving Peter a hint about the nature of a “greater” desire, as this conversation leads straight into the discussion of John the Beloved’s continuing mission to minister to heirs of salvation (Christ’s sheep who hear His voice) on earth.

Peter had betrayed Him three times; He may be giving Him a chance to recommit three times.

Three is symbolic of knocking at the veil and the distance between the Father in His Celestial Kingdom and us in our Telestial world.

What is the difference between “growing”, “increasing”, and being “added upon”?

Growing = a lamb is growing when it is maturing from a baby to an adult; it is “growing up”; if a plant metaphor was used, this would be the time between the planting of the seedling and the growth to a mature plant.

Increasing = refers to enlarging or increasing the size of the flock; in the plant metaphor, increasing would refer to the fruit which come from the plant – as many fruit comes from one plant (an increase) and the seeds of those fruits, if planted, will also increase the size of the orchard.

Added upon = to add upon something is to increase its capabilities or make it more than what it was before; the sheep and plant metaphors breakdown a little here unless you think about the sheep and plants that will abide on earth during the Millennium or in the heavens; they are quickened and more glorious than what exists in a fallen world.

What is the relationship between loving Christ and this mission to “take care of Christ’s lambs”; what is implied?

They are intimately connected.

If you love Christ, you will keep His commandments, submit yourself completely to Him, and work to promote His work and glory, which is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of mankind.

This is precisely what Christ did with regards to His Father – it’s how He showed His Father how much He loved Him.

Saving yourself while ignoring or abandoning the rest of the flock will only result in losing one’s life (see Matthew 16:21-26).

What does it mean to “dress yourself”; what is Christ referring to?

The traditional translation uses the metaphor of growing up; when you are a young adult, out on your own for the first time, you “dress yourself” however you would like to be dressed – you make your own choices and experiment with the results and consequences, which hopefully you learn from without too much damage (i.e. choosing to wear shorts and a t-shirt to a job interview will most likely lose you the opportunity to work at the company).

Christ gives additional context to Peter when He says “when you were progressing”; He is saying that during your journey from a small capacity to a great one, from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation (see TPJS 391), you have the opportunity to choose your own path – either obedience or disobedience to eternal law (embodied in God’s commandments) for which you can gain light to aid you in the world to come, if you so choose, but no one is compelled and it is totally up to you (see D&C 130:18-21; Alma 42:27).

In the traditional translation it says “but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not”; what does this new translation reveal about this hermetic metaphor of being “old”?

It explains the metaphor much more plainly; the metaphor of growing up on earth is used to describe the long journey of eternal progression over many eternities – from a “young soul” who will follow his or her own way to an “old soul” who is willing to submit in all things to his or her Father because they truly love their Father more than they love themselves.

What is the relationship between the mission Christ gives Peter and the counsel about sacrificial death?

Peter’s mission is to minister to or “take care of” Christ’s “lambs” as they are growing, and as they increase, and later as they are added upon.

Christ is hinting to Peter that completing this ministerial mission will take additional eternities, culminating in Peter’s willingness to follow Christ onto a cross, not just to die (as he did on this earth) but to redeem those souls (“lambs”) who are depending upon him to enable their progression from growth to increase to being added upon.

How does this scripture inform what it means to “follow after” Christ?

We are here on earth for an opportunity to rise up and become, ultimately, precisely like Christ, who is the prototype of the saved being (see LoF 7:9).

To become precisely like Christ, we must experience precisely what Christ experienced, including draining the bitter cup and offering a sacrificial death.

This translation makes it very clear that as you approach the end of the path to salvation (which is Godhood or endless glory, see LoF 7:9, 15-16), that you must follow Christ’s example precisely, including the requirement to live and then willingly sacrifice a perfect life so that you can attain to the resurrection yourself (see TPJS 391).

By mentioning the bitter cup, Christ takes the opportunity to reiterate the infinite and eternal level of sacrifice required of one who would do the Father’s will (see D&C 19:8-19).

When we speak so casually about inheriting the Celestial Kingdom, we do not begin to understand the cost (see D&C 19:20), but Christ is reminding Peter of what it will take – because Peter, like many of us, was always quick to say “you know that I love you” or “why can’t I follow you right now – I am willing to lay down my life for you”; this is not to suggest that Peter will not be able to accomplish the task that Christ is asking of Him, but to make us think again, in deep humility, of how very much we will continue to need the help of a loving Lord to accomplish His will for us and our brothers and sisters.

What is the nature of the bitter cup Gods suffer?

God desires us to be one with Him, just as Christ is one with Him; to be “at-one” with Him in a loving relationship of peers or equals in this present moment.

To be one with Him is to know Him, and to know Him we must be like Him or we cannot comprehend Him; this is eternal life – and His work and glory to facilitate.

God and each of us has intrinsic worth as beings – there is no proof of worth required.

God loves us because we are intrinsically valuable, as He is.

That means that the nature of the relationship we must have with God is “I-Thou”, as contrasted with “I-It”; in an I-Thou relationship, each of the parties values the other intrinsically and seeks to know them and love them for who they are; in an I-It relationship, we stand apart and coldly judge and exploit the other party as a tool or object to manipulate, to get what we want because the other party is lesser or actually not really human but an object.

In an I-Thou relationship, both parties have intrinsic worth, so both are “Thou’s”; if God desires to have an I-Thou relationship with each of us, then each of us are “Thou’s”; if each of us are “Thou’s”, then we should have the same kind of I-Thou relationship with each other as God wants to have with each of us.

To be fit to be one with God, as the Father and Son are one, we must enhance our capacities to receive light and joy.

An I-Thou relationship must be entered into by both parties voluntarily, or one of the parties becomes an “It”; and if one becomes It, they both do.

As God’s glory is so overwhelming to those who are not yet precisely like Him, to freely enter into a relationship with Him without being coerced requires that God set up a cognitive distance from Him, which permits choice and faith; this distance must be such that even the existence of God is ambiguous or non-obvious to us and it can be denied (it is only a cognitive distance because in reality because our bodies and everything in this universe are intimately connected to God – being created of a unified field of energy which emanates from Him and which He keeps from devolving immediately into chaos or superposition due to His observation and intent or will). 

Only in these circumstances (of thinking we are separate from Him) can we come to know God by our choice, to value Him as a Thou to be encountered, rather than an It that forces itself upon us.

As God wants an I-Thou relationship with us because we are intrinsically valuable, if we then try to earn God’s acceptance by our works, we are saying that we have no intrinsic value that God should love us for ourselves – that our value is only in our works; and because our works are never sufficient, we consign ourselves to the status of worthless objects before God or an “it”.

Having accepted us already, God waits on us to accept Him in faithful love; if we truly love God in an I-Thou relationship, sin does not remain in us because to know God is to love Him, and to love God is to keep His commandments, and God has promised us that He will not reveal any commandments to us that we are not ready and able to keep (which is not to say that we currently have all of the commandments needed to be precisely as God is; in fact, this logic proves that we DON’T have all of the commandments because we have clearly not yet risen up to the level that Christ was at during His mortal life).

Although the I-Thou relationship with God is offered freely, we must accept it through an unconditional commitment – we give God our whole souls and abide faithful in that commitment; only those who have accepted God as He is (not as we want Him to be) and have exercised the faith to believe that God can be trusted because He is inherently loving, will accept the I-Thou relationship being offered to us.

This trust or faith, without having it proved conclusively, is critical because God’s love can’t be proved conclusively to us at this time as we lack the ability to fully comprehend God, so we run the risk of misinterpreting an action on His part that is truly for our good but we perceive it as being harmful.

But God’s willingness to give us the cognitive space needed for us to freely accept His offer of a loving relationship exposes Him to the risks of pain, suffering and loss because we may reject the love that He freely offers us; God experiences true sorrow in the genuine loss of a relationship with us, in comparison with what might have been (see 3 Nephi 10:4-7; Moses 7:28-37) and because He loves us infinitely.

In addition, because God’s light or Holy Spirit, which precedes from Him to fill the immensity of space (and constitutes the sub-atomic energy or unified field of which all elements are composed) and because it is actually part of His being (see D&C 88:7-13), all things in this cosmos are within God’s experience, because all things are Him.

Implied is that all human sin and pain is experienced directly by God, as we use our agency within this cosmos He created out of His own element.

And lastly, God suffers in the redemption of His children from the just wages of sin (which is death) by working out an atonement for mankind with fear and trembling; thus reconciling all of the sins, wounds and suffering that have been caused by our poor use of agency, and enabling a reunion with God.

Why is a sacrificial death required of all who would receive endless glory - why is Christ’s death not sufficient for all, throughout all time and eternity, as it was an infinite and eternal sacrifice?

Christ’s death was an infinite and eternal sacrifice (see Alma 34:8-14) within the bounds of this eternity and within the cosmos created of God’s elements; He has the power to redeem all things that ever were or ever will be created in this eternity.

Christ is the prototype of the saved being and salvation consists in becoming precisely as He is, which requires walking the same path and experiencing precisely the same experiences and trials (see LoF 7:9, 15-16).

Christ progressed to become the Son of God; He did not have the fullness at the first (see D&C 93:12-14, 16-17); but He did have that glory before the foundation of this world because He created it (see D&C 93:7-11).

Each of us, if we are to be exalted, must also learn to be Gods ourselves; like Christ, who is our example in all things, we must progress from a small degree to another, from a small capacity to a great one, from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until we also attain to the resurrection of the dead (see TPJS 390-393).

Implied in these four points is the need for progression or the attaining of a fullness of light through obedience to eternal law (God’s commandments, see D&C 130:18-21) and choosing to accept the loving familial relationship of “oneness” that He offers, both of which must necessarily be done outside of God’s presence (as we understand it) to truly enable our agency.

This requires the opportunity for each of us to experience multiple mortal probations, each within the bounds of their own eternity of time and cosmos of elements.

This would then give rise to the need for the role of a Savior for each of these separate eternities to save those souls who venture down to attempt to gain further light but will ultimately fail and become spiritually dead or permanently separated from God unless one is sent to redeem them; this also helps to explain the fact that Christ saw the Father performing the role of Savior in a former existence (see TPJS 392).


READ TSJ John 21:20-25

Then Peter turned and looked at the disciple whom Jesus loved, who was behind. This was he who was next to Jesus at supper, and had quietly asked Him during supper, Lord, who is the one that will betray you? Peter saw him and asked Jesus, Lord, and what will become of this man? Jesus explained, I said to him, John, my beloved, what do you desire? And John replied, Lord, give to me the power that I may bring souls to you. And I said to him, In the name of Father Ahman I commit to you that because you desire this you shall tarry until I return in my glory. And for this reason the Lord said to Peter, if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you? For he desires from me that he might bring souls to me, but you desire that you might come to me in my kingdom. I tell you, Peter, yours was a good desire, but my beloved has undertaken a greater work on earth. In the name of Father Ahman I say to you that you shall both have what you requested, and you both will have joy from what you each requested. Now, therefore, know that Jesus is the Messiah, the Walker in the Path who has proven for evermore that Father Ahman sent Him into the world to prove His Father’s path. In addition to this account, many other things were done by Jesus, which, if they were all written, that library would fill the entire cosmos. Amen.

What is John’s mission today?

To bring souls to Christ.

To minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation (see D&C 7:6).

To guard or watch over the sacred entry or portal on earth between this world and the heavens, which Elijah guards from Heaven.

Why was John’s request to bring souls to Christ a better desire than Peter’s?

Peter’s desire to by-pass the spirit world and go directly to the Celestial Kingdom to be with Christ (which might include the need to be resurrected earlier?) is everything that a person on earth could hope for – it is the plea of all people who have awakened to the awful situation that we all find ourselves in on earth – it is epitomized in Alma II’s cry to the Lord (see Alma 36:18).

John’s desire is directly in line with Christ’s admonition to Peter to “take care of my lambs”; it is a better desire because it is completely outward facing; it is a prime example of Christ’s admonition to “lose your life”, not for the purpose of “finding” it but for a love for the Lord and His work and glory.

As John’s commitment to Christ to stay on earth and minister until His Second Coming in glory had happened prior to this experience on the shores of the Sea of Tiberius, Christ may have been giving Peter a hint or nudge regarding his choice to go directly to Christ in His Kingdom upon his death vs. John’s mission to stay and care for the lambs as they were growing.

Why would Peter waste his “wish” on “coming to Christ in His kingdom” upon his death; aren’t all who inherit the Celestial Kingdom going to receive that blessing anyway?

The short answer is yes, all who inherit the Celestial Kingdom will receive the blessing of coming to Christ in His Kingdom.

However, it is the timing of that blessing that is the issue; the fact that Peter wanted to come to Christ in His kingdom upon his death is mirrored by the desire that 9 of the 12 Nephite disciples had – the language in the Book of Mormon to describe this desire modifies it slightly to “speedily come” (see 3 Nephi 28:1-3); they do not want to wait in the Spirit World but want to go directly to Christ (permitting an immediate resurrection).

But why waste a wish on a few years’ difference?  Part of the answer is found in the fact that a spirit feels a long absence from his or her body to be a bondage (see D&C 45:17), which is a reason that the devils afflicting the man at the tombs begged to be cast into the bodies of swine, rather than becoming again disembodied spirits (see Matthew 8:28-32).

Another part of the answer may be that it will be more than a “few years” for those who are stuck in the Spirit World; a clue to this may be found in the account of Christ’s visit to Spirit Paradise after His crucifixion in D&C 138:16-17; in that revelation, Christ promises the faithful Saints that they will be resurrected and receive a fullness of joy; He also appoints messengers from Spirit Paradise to bridge the chasm between that world and Spirit Prison and commissions them to go forth and preach the Gospel; therefore, the very same spirits who rejoiced at their deliverance from the grave were then left in the grave to preach (see D&C 138:30-32); what they rejoiced at was not their actual time of deliverance but the declaration of the promise, from Christ, that He had won the victory over death and that resurrection would be theirs in time; the  Saints who were resurrected at the time of Christ (see Matthew 27:52; 3 Nephi 23:9-13) were limited to a direct line back to Adam who were sealed together by the Holy Spirit of Promise (Christ) as a House or family of God – it includes Adam, the seven patriarchs who were with him at Adam-ondi-Ahman, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and a some others (see D&C 132:37); the coming of the Lord in the future will likewise not bring an immediate resurrection but this is the reason that Elijah must come again from Heaven to facilitate the turning of the children on earth to their fathers who are in heaven, to whom have been given the promise of exaltation (see TPJS 360; 371-374; 380-384); this is further discussed in the post on the Law of Adoption (see post about D&C 132 published on August 8, 2021:

If John petitioned Christ to do a “greater work” than Peter, what is implied by the fact that they both will have joy from what they each requested?

Each of us receive the light or intelligence promised to us by abiding by the specific eternal laws we adhere to in mortality, so we are all at slightly different levels of light.

But if we fulfill the measure of our creation, we will receive the commensurate reward and find joy in it; for example, the mission or “measure of creation” that Christ came here to perform is orders of magnitude different from what we came here to accomplish, but that doesn’t mean that, thanks to His grace, that we won’t find great joy in keeping all of the commandments He gives us, safe in the knowledge that He will not give us a commandment we cannot keep – and may, for that reason, withhold certain commandments from our knowledge during this life, as we have not the capacity now to live them.

So, it is possible that John had the capacity to do a greater work than Peter because John was on a slightly different level than Peter; incidentally, this is a great example of how the things that mortals use to differentiate and judge each other, like Church callings, are not used by God – given Peter was the “senior Apostle” and leader of the Church.

But just because John had a greater work, “what is that to you, Peter?”  Peter will still be richly rewarded for optimizing this mortal probation and fulfilling the measure of his creation by keeping the commands that Christ has given him personally.

What does it mean that Christ is the “Walker in the Path” and what is that to us, as He was and is a god while we are so far from that state?

The “walker in the path” metaphor reminds us that this is a long journey with many trials and opportunities for experiential knowledge gathering and skill building, interspersed with nightly stops to camp or stay at an inn to refresh and plan for the next day’s journey; the fact that it is a path and not a trackless wilderness speaks to the fact that others have walked it before, that it was planfully created as a best route to the final destination, and that it is clearly marked but that it is not a broad super-highway populated by many other travelers.

Christ is our example in all things; He walked the path that we must each literally walk if we are to become precisely like Him.

The fact that we have been told numerous times that He is our example in all things adds one more invitation to the many already given to us, to awake and arise to who we really are and what we can (must) really become.



Due to some recent work and life changes, I'm taking a hiatus from the weekly blog.  I will leave the blog up for anyone who would like ...