I don’t know how long it’s been since I wrote a “Spiritual Matters” post—I mean, yesterday’s post aside. Today I woke up feeling quite, quite good for a Monday and I attribute it more to writing yesterday than to the content of the post. Wait, let me say that betterer. I mean, I feel good because I wrote about spiritual matters yesterday, not just because of the specific content (about dealing with pain).
I was pretty tired last night, but I learned another cool thing while I reread what I wrote. I tried to tack it onto the post, but I couldn’t find the scripture I was looking for.
Today I listened to Elder Maxwell’s April 1997 General Conference talk (referenced in yesterday’s post), “From Whom All Blessings Flow.” It’s 6 minutes, 45 seconds long, and well worth listening to. (Elder Maxwell was ill with cancer at the time; he died 21 July 2004.) He quoted my scripture for me, right at the end of his talk.
- “Behold, my brethren, he that prophesieth, let him prophesy to the understanding of men; for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls. But behold, we are not witnesses alone in these things; for God also spake them unto prophets of old.” (Jacob 4:13)
I often read or hear the expression, “Worship the Lord in Spirit and Truth” (not sure if Spirit and Truth are capitalized), and I wonder what it means. Worship the Lord, I get; Spirit, I get; Truth, too. But why put it all together?
Last night I stumbled upon a possibility. Today I wish to add to it.
Let’s pretend I was worthy of worship. You’ve never met me, but you’ve heard a lot about me, and even communicated with me. (Not sure this is going to work out, so be tolerant. I mean, I’m not worship-able.) Let’s say you’ve heard something about me, such as, “Sue is really fond of carrots. She eats them almost every day.” And you start spreading that around. People think, “Ah, that means we should eat carrots every day.” Then it morphs into, “We should eat only carrots,” “if you don’t eat carrots you’re evil,” “we should eat every day whatever we want, whatever makes us feel good; no need to eat carrots.” Well, none of those things are completely true. If you’re going to worship me, I don’t want you preaching (and doing) a bunch of false stuff.
In the Book of Mormon, Alma 31:8-23, we meet a group of people who do not worship in Spirit and Truth—the Zoramites. They have a set prayer full of falsehoods they offer up once a week; the rest of the time they do whatever they want. There is no “presence of the Holy Ghost” in their meetings.
(By the way, Holy Ghost and Spirit—capital S—refer to the same being herein.)
OK, so I’m starting to understand the need for Truth in worship. I mean, if it isn’t true then it’s not worship, right?
We need the Spirit to point us to the truth and we need the Spirit to make it recognizable.
The Spirit helps us see beyond our capacity to comprehend what is right in front of our faces or in our pea-brains. This part is a little metaphysical—and personalized-to-me: The example I used last night was that instead of seeing someone’s remark as hurtful or insulting, I might instead hear the “snip” of the Master Gardener’s pruning shears. I might still feel the pain, but I’ll recognize the opportunity to grow: Experience bitterness now in order to experience betterness as immediately as now, but also eternally.
We could tackle the question, “What is worship?” But, to be short in writing, can we agree on this definition? Worship is to live your life in a manner pleasing to God and in harmony with His will (which, of course, further highlights the need for Spirit and Truth).
The Spirit is necessary to recognize and metabolize Truth: “it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls.” What’s not to love about that?
See also: President Henry B. Eyring, October 2015, “The Holy Ghost as Your Companion”