Most of my life I viewed the gospel taught about in the scriptures, and the one we are living in the latter-days as somehow being different. It seemed as if the ancient faithful had a greater gift, more miracles, more prophets and prophecies, and more access to the Lord. I just didn’t see the grand events of scripture (like Elijah’s fiery chariot and Moses’ dividing of the Red Sea) happening today. I wondered why the Lord was so willing to talk to Nephi and his people, and I had yet to recognize a single peep from the heavens.
It wasn’t until the Spirit taught me what the whole gospel plan looks like that I could understand how those of ancient glory had arrived at the blessings and miracles that defined their lives in scriptural history.
The value of the graph below is that it demystifies the miraculous process of walking the path the ancients used to obtain their great blessings. The ancient righteous were not born to spiritual greatness, they fought for it, sought it, paid the price for it, and having obtained, they recorded their lives, probably without ever suspecting their words, and their journey would become a part of scripture.
Seeing their path makes it easy to realize that theirs was the same as ours. There is only one way to obtain these blessings, and it has always been the same. These glorious things must be accomplished sequentially, one by one, line upon line, until we have traveled as far as our obedience qualifies us. It generally is not possible to skip a step, or to seek for a blessing when there are lesser accomplishments between us and the ones we think we want.
The principles and ordinances are listed along the bottom of the graph below. You will recognize your own life in this list. These are the things you have done since childhood, and to this day. If you are a seeker of righteousness, you are somewhere on this path.
The spiritual effect of participating in those ordinances, and applying those principles, and the associated blessings, are listed along the top. These things are some of the blessings which we desire most to have. These are the outcome of our walking the path laid out along the bottom.
The blue graph between indicates the degree of sanctification we have obtained as we progress. This graph could also be thought of as the degree of truth, light and Spirit which we possess. You will notice that most of our life’s journey is spent with slowly increasing spiritual power. We travel a long ways before our spiritual strength begins to progress steeply upward, which begins somewhere around having one’s calling and election made sure and rises exponentially from there.
The vertical dashed line is approximately the limit of what most Latter-day Saints believe is possible for them to personally obtain. It is, in a real way, the veil of unbelief. These things beyond are the “greater things” which are very available to us, but which many people cannot see because they just don’t believe it is possible for themselves to participate in these things.
Referencing the graph, we may surmise that if in our lives we are receiving revelations and seeing visions, then we have been born again, received temple covenants, begun the process of consecration, and are approaching having our C&E made sure. Using this means, it is easy to evaluate your own progress – and thus plot a course to greater things.
© August 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.