22 May 2016

"May We Bless Your Home?" - Matthew 10:13

I hope I don't alienate too many of my readers in addressing some thoughts that came out of The Things that Constitute A Good (Religious) Visit blog post and various scripture "jags" posts. I am a priesthood leader in the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, so I blog about insights that come from my work there alongside more quasi-secular things like The Psychic Proximity Principle. There is significant value in perspectives gained in one area of endeavor that can be applied to another, so I always hope my non-Mormon readers can find these posts of some value.

In chapter 10 of the book of Matthew in the Bible, Jesus gave his twelve apostles priesthood authority and sent them out to preach and do the miracles that they had seen him perform.  As part of his instructions, he told these disciples to do the following as they visited the homes of believers as they traveled:

Matthew 10:13
And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.
I am a descendant of Aaron, the brother of Moses, who was ordained, along with his male progeny called the kohenim, to lead the Levitical and Aaronic priesthoods. My resulting family heritage includes the reciting of the priestly blessing in certain settings.  At its conclusion, this blessing states this:  "May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace..."  I personally connect these "peace" references together - if you are in a worthy house, or are visiting a worthy family (I interpret this as being welcomed in the home and the family being accepting of your spiritual message), you should leave "your peace" (or your priesthood blessing) with them.

As a home teacher, priesthood holders are commissioned by the local bishop and the quorum leader to serve their assigned families. This service is meant to keep each family diligent to their covenants, help them to progress toward exaltation, and to bring the power of the priesthood into their lives. As part of that service, bearers of the priesthood should leave their blessing ("your peace") wherever they visit. You holders of the priesthood should always offer to leave a blessing on the home and the family before you leave a visit.  As a bearer of the Melchizedek Priesthood, it is your duty to bless the homes you enter as permitted by the head of the household.

Here are my suggestions on pronouncing a blessing on a family and their home:
  • Seek inspiration in what words of blessing to give.
  • Respect the head of the household. Offer to give a blessing and accept their choice regarding this. If they request specific blessings, honor that request within the inspiration you receive.
  • Personalize the blessing to those you bless and their circumstances.
  • State that this is a blessing and state your priesthood authority, similar to the way you would do so in an ordination.
  • State that all blessings are contingent on faith and worthiness.
As I have personally done this, I have found my power in the exercise of the priesthood has increased and I have be inspired with the words of blessing that the LORD desires to be said. I have also found that the families that I bless are strengthened in their desire and ability to obey the commandments of God and grow more worthy of further blessings. I know that you will also have needed inspiration as you prepare yourself to receive it and share it more often in the form of a home teacher's blessing to those you serve.

17 May 2016

Personal Radio and Randomized Inspiration

For those of you seeking to apply the Psychic Proximity Principle, I provided the example of long and quiet walks that help a person feel "weak magnetism" and listen to the heart.  Today, I provide a more interesting way to open yourself to inspiration:  personal radio.

Many years ago, I set up a server at my house to publish web pages and sites for myself and some friends. I didn't feel like the server was well utilized, so I rigged up a small FM transmitter to the server's sound output and create some scripts to play sound files that could be heard through the various radios in the house and out in the yard.  Nothing fancy at all.

I "broadcast" old radio shows, Celtic folk musicnews and philosophy podcast episodes, and "talks" from the general conferences of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS).  Before I got fiber internet, I had service that was spotty at best, always living on the fringes of Internet coverage.  Therefore, it was often necessary to actually download my radio content and store it locally so that there weren't breaks in the broadcasting schedule due to bad connectivity.

Late at night and on weekends, the schedule turns predominately to the LDS Church general conference talks, which are kept in a folder on my server and played randomly.  If you don't know, many of the speakers at LDS general conferences are prophets of God and apostles of Jesus Christ, men who give their lives in connecting people to the divine and sharing what God wants them to say.  Like the Psychic Proximity Principle, you don't necessarily have to apply a religious spin to listening to such men, but the effect will be there: these are men of experience and insight with very inspired things to say. During the quiet hours of the late night and early morning and on weekends, my radio puts out speeches from these men, again, randomly. In the process, I have noticed something very interesting.

It seems that themes begin to emerge from the random sorting of these talks. For instance, I often get "music jags" where several hymns, usually interspersed between talks in the original broadcasts, come out the radio in bunches! It is almost as if "someone" is scheduling the programming for me.

We don't have the radio on all the time, but it always seems that when I am listening, there is some insight being talked about that applies to my life or helps me with some challenge I'm facing. Of course, inspiration is everywhere if you look for it, just like the Psychic Proximity Principle says, but it is just another example of that weak magnetism between us and where we need to be. It just seems uncanny how a random playlist can produce what I need in the occasional moments that I access it!

As usual, I figure that it is God pulling the strings as I permit it. As I leave more opportunities open for him to take the driver's seat in my life, I find that the most amazing things happen for my good.

You can do something similar to my radio station to give inspiration a chance to reach you better and more often:

Put a folder or inspiration talks or music on your phone or mp3 player. I choose those conference talks, but you may have other sources. For uplifting things to come to you, however, you need a folder of uplifting things - weak magnetism doesn't attend low entertainment. That done, you set up your player to present things to you randomly. Then, you listen.

If you have an experience like mine, from day to day, you will hear words that you need, presented to you in the times when you need them.  Sometimes, they will be words that make you think or indite you.  Other times, they will buoy you up during difficulties.

The point is to give God, your heart, the wisdom of others, or whatever you choose to call it, better opportunities to communicate with you.  Whether it is long, quiet walks or listening to a "radio" that can be influenced by the Psychic Proximity Principle, either will open you up to the weak magnetism that will lead you to your best potential!

Happy Journey!

27 April 2016

Spending our Strength and Losing a War

As a culture, America has turned a very sad corner and seems hell-bent on destroying itself in the name of unfettered selfishness. I hope to provide a few examples of this and what needs to be done to bring ourselves as a people back from the brink of irrelevance.

For all of its terror and brutality, I think groups like the Islamic State embrace a few social traits that strengthen their chances for survival and success beyond our own:
  • They marry women to their most loyal men permanently.
  • They get these women pregnant by their husbands early and often.
  • They indoctrinate their children into their worldview and religious convictions.
  • They demand that their members sacrifice many of their personal desires to serve the requirements of their culture and its success.
I am not any sort of fanboy of ISIS nor do I approve of their methods, so don't turn me in as some traitor in our current hysterical climate! I am also not comparing any religious dogma in particular here, say between Islam and Christianity.  Everything I am talking about is sociological in nature and points to the fact that a group that inspires as ISIS seems able to do is going to outlast the possible collapse of Western civilization.

If we "Westerners" don't re-discover the traits that build and perpetuate a society, we will continue to become culturally weaker. At some point, we will be unable to withstand groups that simply out-breed and out-"culture" us. Ultimately, I see Americans either being supplanted by, or more likely assimilated into, cultural groups who better know and embrace "social success traits" that we have chosen to abandon.

How are we accomplishing our own decline?
  • Women are in a hateful competition with men that denigrates both genders and ruins marriage and family - those who don't want to fight it out with the opposite sex in our current climate are presented with the now lauded societal option of avoiding the battle by choosing to be "gay".
  • Children are either unborn or birthed outside of natural families. Many are forced into circumstances riddled with developmental disadvantages like systemic poverty and missing parents, robbing them of things needed to thrive and succeed.
  • Our public "education" of youth has become a huge social laboratory for any will-o'-the-wisp cultural re-definition scheme that happens along in the name of "non-discrimination" and "inclusion".
  • Fewer and fewer people are taught or choose to sacrifice momentary personal pleasures and a single-minded quest for material wealth in favor of the propagation of some higher cultural standard.

Spending Our Strength with "Harlots"

As you have observed in our own society, we are setting aside all the culture-promulgating bullet points above as antiquated foolishness. As an example, let me shine a little light on the current Western "love affair" with LGBT practitioners.

Judeo-Christian/Islamic tradition has the concept of the "harlot". This is a person who traffics in sexual distractions, often for money. One can always find a market for this because sex and things like it are very physically pleasurable. The LGBT movement can be viewed most basically as an "open-source" avenue to a cornucopia of such pleasuring "harlots" - you can get your sexual distractions without spending much money on it! If prostitution was a taxi service, the LGBT movement would be like Uber.

Sadly, every young person now has to struggle with questions about their gender and its role in their lives. They are encouraged to do this by profiteering harlots in media and popular culture by spending vast amounts of time and energy exploring the rat-hole of their personal sexuality. LGBT converts spend themselves on "pride" marches and politicizing their supposed "discrimination" to gain wider acceptance. They often co-op the natural love of parents, siblings, and friends, getting them to support their "cause" as well by marching beside them, all in the service of a libertine sexuality that discourages natural marriage, encourages divorce, produces no children, and "spends" our cultural strength.  If you don't support the LGBT community, you will angrily be branded as a bigot by those who just want to be loved and accepted. All of this harlotry is fought for in courtrooms and legislatures, ignoring more challenging matters, because some people want respect for their open desires for unfettered sexualized pleasuring.

If people gave as much concentration to, say, income generation as they do to the such navel-staring, its public promotion, and other rat-holes of societal time and energy, there would be far less poverty and we would have more resources of all sorts available to contribute to solutions to far more deserving issues. Unfortunately, the harlots demand our strength and we have becoming very willing to forgo things like family and society to appease them.

Losing the "War"

Let me be frank, I think we are totally losing this "war on terror" with our amazing weaponry, our willingness to use them at the slightest provocation, and our willingness to throw away our remaining values in the process. We are using the wrong tactics and weapons. Our enemies, possessed of little more than their devotion to a God that asks for a higher standard, will easily dominate us at some point unless we come to our senses! Groups like ISIS will not win because Islam is necessarily superior. Such a people will win because they have chosen to embrace the pillars of societal strength like family and childbearing and child-rearing that we are spending our strength in banishing from among us.

24 April 2016

Your "Religion" as "Devotion" to Your "God"

As you know, I take issue with people who profess to be "atheists". I know it is very trendy and "intellectual" to disbelieve in God or, more likely, to consider oneself above the need for something like God. It brings to mind a quote from Star Trek: First Contact where Jean-Luc Picard evokes his supposed "evolved sensibilities" that didn't include things as low as enjoying murder or revenge. Many people, hoping to look sophisticated, claim to have likewise "evolved" beyond a low belief in and devotion to things like God or religion, but I see this as a terrible self-delusion.

I hope you have learned that I acknowledge a God in my life. If you hadn't yet noticed, The Psychic Proximity Principle, as expressed in my Feeding the Soul of Steve Jobs booklet, is simply a way of accessing the wisdom of God in relation to yourself and your relations with others. Such things work because I have found that my loving God will always share his farsightedness with those willing to act upon it. For me, facing someone who militantly decries the existence of God is like listening to someone who preaches that they don't require oxygen to live - it's hard to hear such arguments when both my God and air have been such active participants in my on-going life!

In the end, I see the argument of atheists as a rationalization to embrace some "evolved sensibility" against a "devotion" to the predominate Judeo-Christian/Islamic God. Humorously, to "embrace" atheism is simply another example of devotion, which such people waste their time trying to convince themselves and others that they have "out-evolved"!

I'm sorry to break it to you, but human beings are hard-wired toward devotion. It can be a positive thing directed toward spouse, friends, a military "band of brothers", or other worthy causes. It can also be directed to various rat-holes, such as a favorite television show, the collecting of possessions, the navel-staring of sexual perversion or "gender confusion", or the single-minded acquisition of wealth or fame. The real "evolved" path is not the (impossible) effort to rise above devotion, but to make sure that our inescapable devotion is well placed.

There is also another truth about devotion - you can only really have one. You can like a lot of things and do a lot of things, but only one thing can command your true devotion.  Christians can read the pronouncement of Jesus on the subject in Matthew 6:24. This one devotion and your efforts to honor it constitute your "religion". I know that is a hateful word to a lot of people, but they need to get over their hatred - we all practice a religion, whether we call it that or not.

For instance, if you are devoted to the teachings of the prophet Muhammad, Islam is your religion. If you are devoted to quasi-sexual pleasuring with someone of your same gender, "homosexuality" is your religion. If, like me, you are devoted to the Christ as revealed through the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, Mormonism is your religion. If you are devoted to all-terrain quasi-military vehicles, either Jeep or Hummer is your religion. Hopefully, I get the point across - your religion is defined by your devotion.  Since we are all hard-wired for devotion, we are likewise all practicing a religion as we support our devotions and spend our time with similar devotees.

Do you have a problem with God, hate the God of those around you, or choose to believe there is no God? Again, you are being a bit self-delusional. The thing that you put your devotion into, the object of your devotion, is your "God". Be it Allah, Money, a Vehicle, Christ, a Gun, a Person; just as much as you are hard-wired for devotion, you are similarly attached to the object of that devotion, like it or not. You have a God of your own choosing, every second of your life.

Are you confused about what your devotion and God might be?  Here is a little quiz to help you realize where your devotion is, what religion you practice, and what God you worship:
  • What do you spend the bulk of your free time doing?
  • What do you spend the most effort coercing your family and friends into doing to share time with them?
  • If you are facing a great loss, what things would you be most concerned for?
  • Leaving aside short-term infatuations, what things have motivated your actions long-term?
Take your answers and analyse them.  If you are honest with yourself (a tricky pursuit) and dig deep, you will end up with one thing that best answers all these questions. It may very well be a devotion/religion/God that you had really hoped would be more impressive or more aligned to a group to which you really want to belong.  If your devotion/religion/God turns out to be a bit embarrassing to you, I suggest a dose of The Psychic Proximity Principle, its inherent soul-searching, and perhaps a course change!

Just like you really can't have two devotions (God and mammon, for example), you also can't honestly practice two religions or serve two Gods. One will always take precedence and the other will be eventually tossed aside in a crises. Again, it is simply the way we are wired.

Let me give an example.

Mormon missionaries are an interesting lot, known throughout the world. I was once such a missionary, as was my wife. One of my children has served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) and another is doing so right now. We have a constant procession of missionaries over to the house for meals. I know a thing or two about these folks!

On occasion, one of these (typically very young) people will come for lunch or dinner and make some pronouncement over what is being served like "I am a vegetarian", which just bothers me. I don't want to be a bigot, but I have to question the devotion of such people to what they are meant to be preaching when such things are said.

I usually reply with something along the lines of "so, what is your real religion?" and they often become confused or offended.  These young people think they can follow the tenets of two religions, Vegetarianism and Mormonism, and get away with it! You don't think that vegetarianism qualifies as a religion? If someone comes to my house to partake of free food and then turns their nose up at what is served, barring allergies, they are preaching more of eschewing meat than they are of embracing a Christ. They can't effectively follow both, so which one is honored (talked about) and which will eventually be cast aside?

Let's wrap up.

We will all have a passion (our devotion), embodied in some object or person (our God), which we will pursue with vigor (our religion). You have all three: a devotion, a God, and a religion. If you think you don't, you need to stop deluding yourself. If you don't like your current version of the three, you have the power to redirect your devotion to a God and religion that is more to your tastes. Personally, I have found a God that I find worthy of my devotion and I am striving to follow the associated religion. I hope you find your own "three" worthy of your devotion and acknowledge your own God and religion.

14 April 2016

How to Get the Inspiration You Desire

Imagine yourself as one of my devoted fans.

"Jason, I find The Psychic Proximity Principle really intriguing and read your Feeding the Soul of Steve Jobs booklet through a hundred times!  I am really mad, though. You talk all about how important it is to pay attention to inspiration and follow your heart, but you never told us how to actually get inspiration!"

Well, I really didn't intend to put everything in one booklet.  I do want to write others, maybe even on the same subject! However, because I want to be helpful and not make anyone pine away, let me expand on something I talked about a little in the booklet and hopefully fulfill someone's request.

I talked about walking in the mornings.  I would go either up the big hill and around an elementary school in one town, or the five miles to work in another. I took anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half with me moving at a pretty stiff pace. At first, I did what any first-world dude would do when faced with a lot of quiet time - I rigged my cell phone as an MP3 player with earbuds and entertained myself! I am not much of person for back-to-back music, so I downloaded podcasts from interesting people and subjects.

No long into these daily walks, I found myself running out of anything interesting to listen to. I know there is a LOT of material out there on the Internet, but I could only come up with two or three hours a week of material I consistently liked, which left me several hours of walking without listening material.

Now, let me reveal a bit more about myself - I do recordings.  In addition to walking, I have traveled a lot in a car alone commuting and doing field work for several years. That made even more "alone" time beyond the available entertainment, so I would turn on the sound recorder on the phone and talk. Talk, talk, talk. I tried to act like I was broadcasting, but I fear I'm not very good at it.  You can listen to years and years of recordings of mine on my home server, but I think it would drive anyone, including me, insane!  To top it off, I would start thinking about something and there would be long stretches of nothing being said - a terrible waste of bandwidth!  I still do it to this day, but if I were you, I wouldn't spend much time listening unless you just want to hear what I sound like on a bad recording.

Back to the walks!

I found myself spending more time recording than listening over the months and years. I also spent increasing amounts of time not talking at all. As I was trudging along silently, my mind would seem to empty and I wouldn't be thinking of anything much at all. It was predominantly during these times that impressions would come to me.

Things I need to do at home.  What I should say to my wife when I often made her upset. An impulse to wave at a passer-by who I didn't know. When my mind seemed occupied with breathing and putting one foot in front of the other, especially on a cold or stormy morning when it was more difficult, my heart seemed to open up more to impressions of things I needed to know or needed to do. It is nearly inexplicable except to put yourself into such quiet situations and feel the effect yourself.

That is just one example of how I put myself in the position to feel the "weak magnetism" of the Psychic Proximity Principle and to hear what I have come to call the "voice of God". As usual, choose the descriptive words you like to communicate what comes to you at such moments, just as the Feeding the Soul of Steve Jobs booklet explains.

I think the most important part of getting inspiration is to eliminate as many distractions as you can. Our modern world seems stuffed with noise and passive entertainment to the point that most of us can become nervous around quietness that is so foreign to us. There is always something to watch or listen to, some distraction that can occupy our mind, at least partially. When we can get away from these things, like when I would take a hike in the mountains or walk on empty early morning streets, we are able to hear softer things and feel that "weak magnetism". We can hear the quiet inspiration that flows from God.

So, "how to actually get inspiration"? Get away from things. Take time to avoid mental distractions. Put yourself in situations where it is just you and your heart.  Inspiration is a shy thing, but it will come as you give it some undivided attention!

12 April 2016

The Things that Consitute A Good (Religious) Visit

I have been a religious leader for thirty years, both ecclesiastical and administrative. I have worked with all sorts of people in all kinds of capacities and have enjoyed both sides of religious work.

Of course, you already know that I am a Mormon and we are increasingly known for our "Home Teaching" program, where our priesthood holders visit Latter-Day Saint (LDS) families in their homes with spiritual messages and encouragement to live better lives and attend to their religious duties. A good friend of mine of another faith, who doesn't think much of Mormon doctrine otherwise, did say that Home Teaching was inspiring to him and he wished his own church had the resolve to do something similar. Pretty good program, yes?

As an LDS priesthood leader, I collect statistics on family visits made and report them to regional (stake) and the general leadership.  The question often comes up of what can be "counted" as a proper visit, as many attempts just simply don't rise to the level for administrative purposes. It may seem a little strange for religious people to get weird about statistics, but we are very concerned about being effective ministers and really helping people - good record-keeping is a part of that!

For my part, this is what constitutes a good priesthood visit with others, no matter the intended purpose:
  • Always take someone else with you.  Never make visits alone.
  • Pray beforehand and listen for inspiration. Follow any promptings that you get.
  • Prepare a spiritual thought to present. You may be prompted not to use it, but have one ready.
  • Before you leave, offer a prayer and blessing on the home and family.
  • No matter the stated reason, always record a contact that includes these elements, which should always be done, as a home teaching visit.
I think anyone, even those who shun religion, can find good principles in this list to use and enjoy uplifting visits with family, friends, and acquaintances. Everyone likes to be around people who bring a pleasant "spirit" with them and leave whatever "blessing" or well-wishes feels good, no matter who is offering and what position they may hold!

11 April 2016

Selling Your Soul for Easy Money

I recently published an intriguing little booklet called Feeding the Soul of Steve Jobs, which is about finding the sort of life and success that Steve Jobs enjoyed. It dove-tailed so well with my popular blog-post about The Psychic Proximity Principle that I used it as the framework for the booklet, giving all of you a wonderful case study in putting the power of weak magnetism to work!

As I was writing, I went off on a tangent about the evils of acquiring money for its own sake. I was going to use it as a bonus chapter in the booklet, but I decided against it.  I still find it useful, so I decided to put it here for your "fun and profit"!  Enjoy!

For those of you who have no interest in realizing your potential beyond a low money-grab, I will happily share two legal and honorable methods for becoming "well-off".
I and several friends have used these two methods to become financially "set".  Either will provide anyone with enough money to get the playthings shallow people seems to desire and "the good life" as far as our modern "easy path" society defines it. Regardless, I am here to help you accomplish this small goal.

Before I begin, the best advice I have for the money-motivated (and everyone else as well) is to never get into financial debt or get out of it as soon as possible. Dave Ramsey or any number of personalities can be found on the Internet to help you eliminate debt. It is a good thing to do no matter your personal attitude toward money as it frees you from bondage and provides you the resources to act independently. You can't really accomplish much if you are a slave to creditors!

Following either of the routes below, you should be financially set in a surprisingly short time. Hopefully, after you have the money you want, you might find a way to discover your soul and make use of The Psychic Proximity Principle, though it may be a huge course change.  Until that transcendent day, here are two simple and proven routes to financial security:

The "Hot Job" Route

  1. Get the current list of "hot" jobs and choose between either the first or second job on the list,
  2. Get low-level work in a bigger company hiring people in your chosen hot job (even as a janitor to begin with) and develop relationships with the hot job holders and their managers.
  3. Get the education needed to get your chosen hot job (the company will often help you do this), and
  4. Take any advancement opportunity you are offered toward the hot job.

This route also works with the traditional professions, such as medical doctor, lawyer, MBA, etc.

The "Military" Route

  1. Join your national military or local military reserve unit,
  2. Serve for an enlistment or two (or if how you spend your days doesn't matter to you, stay through retirement),
  3. Secure work with a military contractor,
  4. Take any advancement opportunity you are offered.
This route requires no real planning or formal education but lots of diligent effort. It works best if you are enlisted as contractors don't need many former officers.

There will always be money in the professions, hot engineering roles, and the military. The point is to get in the front door, rise to the needed requirements, and work hard. Money will readily flow as a result.  As always, I suggest you pursue The Psychic Proximity Principle first to protect yourself from the "empty soul" disease of the money-grab.