What exactly is heaven, and how do we experience it? What is it that makes heaven, heaven?
Certain things affect us in certain ways. There’s a relationship between vibration, sound, frequency, light, and spirit, which influences our thoughts, feelings, and actions. This is an eternal spiritual truth.
Take music for instance. Music is all vibration. Different songs vibrate at different frequencies. They make us feel differently. Next time you’re skipping songs in Spotify, or are changing a playlist because it’s not “the mood,” you’ll be able to identify this principle. Certain songs will clash with the way you feel because you also vibrate at a certain frequency. When the external frequency doesn’t match your own internal frequency, it can feel uncomfortable, like two notes that don’t harmonize. Sometimes, you’ll find a song that seems to match exactly how you feel; that’s a point of harmony or alignment.
Feelings and emotions are captured in music and re-expressed every time the song is played. Have you ever noticed music change your mood, for better or for worse? If you were bothered about something, perhaps certain songs which matched your feelings amplified that bother into out-right anger. Or perhaps, you found something that distracted you, changed your mood, calmed you down, etc.
There’s certain music we say “invites the Spirit.” There’s certain music that does not. I’ve been in situations void of the Spirit where the right music changed the whole ambience and feeling in the the room. I’ve also been in situations where the Spirit was present, but certain music or conversation gradually made it feel more casual, like everything else – or even directly offended the Spirit.
For this reason, listening to certain music on a regular basis will affect not only the way you feel, but the aura all about you.
There have been some fascinating studies about how sound can affect the way something is ordered or organized. The picture to the left here shows grains of sand on a vibrating table, each at a different frequency. When the frequency of the table changed, so did the patterns of sand.
There are some Jewish traditions that maintain God sang creation into existence. I really like that idea. He ordered chaos by the sound of His voice. “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear” (Genesis 1:9). With this visual above, you can almost imagine it. As God speaks, creation obeys. His voice vibrates, and matter follows suit. We read in the scriptures that all things are governed by law, as it is declared by the Lord (D&C 88:13; cf. D&C 133:21-24, Isaiah 2:3). In this sense, you can visualize how His “word” or voice literally is the law by which all things are governed.
In a similar vein, we have been created and ordered according to a certain vibrational frequency (or law). Now, that doesn’t mean you could accidentally listen to a song that would melt you like Raiders of the Lost Ark, but there is an important principle to be learned here. Because everything is governed by law, there is an order (or pattern) to creation (think of the picture above). When we sin against God’s word, we deviate from that order. Once we’re dislodged from the order we immediately start to decay and atrophy – like a branch cutting itself off from the rest of the tree. That was the effect of the fall, for example (hence they were cut off from the tree of life). That’s why the Savior says “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), and “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). As we align ourselves back to the word of God through Christ, we rejoin the order of creation and life.
The order of creation and the order of Heaven are one and the same.
Because of sin, we are all by default in a state of atrophy and death. Even spiritually, people are born without a knowledge of who they are, or who God is. Hence, we’re all dying. We do things to fight it, like eat, work, take medicine, undergo surgery, etc., but eventually it gets most of us. This is not the state of those who are aligned to the order of creation, hence resurrected and translated beings don’t need any of those things.
There’s a point to all this, I promise.
Our realignment to creation must take place spiritually before it manifests physically. The spiritual portion of this will happen by degrees as we repent and are sanctified by the gift of the Holy Ghost. As we continue to repent, we receive a greater and greater portion of the Spirit. The more Spirit we have, the more life we have (and consequently priesthood power, but that deserves its own post). The less we have, the further we are drifting into chaos and spiritual death.
The Great Search and Quest of Religion
I once woke up to this impression: “As spirit sons and daughters of God, we all crave light.” We want to feel that we are being ordered according to creation. We want to fulfill our purpose, even if we don’t know what the means. Religious or not, we all sense we are in a state of death, and crave life (both physical and spiritual). Not only do people want to live, they want to feel happy and deeply fulfilled.
Thus begins the great search for life. Every religion, ideology, philosophy, social cause, idea, etc., is an attempt to discover and live the order of heaven. Whether or not people even realize it, this is what motivates everything they do. Some people try to find it through various philosophical considerations, meditation, yoga, religious ceremony, or the wisdom of ancient and modern sages. Others through politics, excessive academic achievements, building their own empire/business, or self-development. Others through alcohol, sex, video games, beauty, dieting, food, status, adrenaline, idolizing a celebrity – you name it. Everybody has a religion, and they’re living it.
Unfortunately, none of the things we come up with accord with the order of creation, and will always leave us wanting. We inevitably realize that our “religion” is lacking. It leaves us feeling empty, incomplete, and unfulfilled – which is to realize that we are in a state of atrophy and death (both physical and spiritual). Some people will move on to a new “religion” that they hope will give them what they didn’t have before. Some people will deny that what they have is insufficient for fear of death being the only other option. Some people will unfortunately give up altogether and embrace death.
How do we get heaven on earth? Whether or not they realize it, this is the question everyone asks themselves every morning. The course they choose to pursue throughout the day is their answer back to themselves. I think once most people realize this is the game they’re in, they start aiming higher. But even for all of our best efforts, the world today is evidence that heaven is not on earth; the world is not living after the order of life.
To circle back to the principles outlined above, every religion, idea, and activity has a certain vibration about it. When you accept, internalize, and act out a certain belief system, it has a certain effect on you – the same way music does. The scriptures frequently refer to this effect as the “fruit” an idea bears in your life. Whether it’s a worldview like Marxism or Buddhism, or simply a belief as small as “I must be the best at everything,” it will bear fruit in your life. It will cause you to “vibrate” on a certain frequency. Fruits can be tasted when you internalize and act out a certain belief system firsthand. They can also be observed by noticing them in the lives of others.
If a belief or idea is in accord with the order of creation, it will bring forth life. This is what we’d consider “good fruit.” If it is not in accord with creation, it may stand for a season, but will always result in death. This is what we’d consider bad fruit. As John the Baptist warned, “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Matthew 3:8-10); and as the Savior commented to the Nephites, if someone is “built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire” (3 Nephi 27:11). If a “religion” is not aligned with creation, it will ultimately perish.
Christ taught us to test prophets – and by extension, religions, ideas, and practices, by their fruit (Matthew 7:15-20). What kind of spirit is about them? What kind of fruit is born in the lives of those who embrace their ideas? What kind of vibration do they carry? Is it the Spirit of life? Do you experience a sensation of pure light? Does it enlarge your soul? Does it cause your heart to burn within you (Luke 24:32, 3 Nephi 11:3, D&C 9:8)? Is it a vibration of heavenly peace? Does it bring you into harmony with creation? Does it fill you with love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5:22-24)? Does it urge you to set in order your own life? Does it inspire you to turn outward and desire the well being of others? Does it enlighten your understanding? Do their ideas expand into eternity, or are they finite and limited? In other words, do they fit inside a larger pattern of life and creation? Do you see fractals of those principles on smaller and larger scales, or are they limited to one arbitrary explanation? Therein lies the difference between life and death, creation and decay.
Good fruit is the essence of heaven, life, and creation. It is a feeling and vibration of the highest order and frequency. It’s unparalleled by anything else this world has to offer.
Knowing how to identify it is one thing – but at this point we’re still left to wonder how we get into our lives, and eventually into the world. Every form of religion and ideology is an attempt to discover the order of heaven. While almost every religion/ideology has fragments of light and truth (which is what usually draws in its adherents), almost all have failed to establish the order of heaven here upon the earth in its fulness.
The Superiority of the Name of Christ
Throughout history, God has worked through a select portion of the human family to establish the order of heaven on earth. It began with Adam, though many of his children turned against him. It continued down through Seth, to Enoch, to Noah, to Melchizedek, to Abraham, to Israel (skipping a few generations). With each passing generation, more and more of the family of Adam drifted away from this call and invitation. The family of Israel delayed this invitation for several hundred years before receiving the law from God through Moses. The Jews today revere the law as the word of God, and blueprint to the order of heaven. Unfortunately, they failed to rise up and keep it. Because they would not adhere to light and law, they were disorganized and scattered. God promised that in a future day, He would write His law upon their very hearts, and that the order of heaven would be established in all the world:
“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:33-34).
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God” (Ezekiel 36:26-28).
“And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live” (Deuteronomy 30:5-6).
These changes were to be brought about by a future Messiah-king who would gather and restore Israel, and elevate them to their intended glory as heaven-on-earth, the light of the world. From thence, the law would go forth, and eventually cover all the earth (Isaiah 2:3, Isaiah 11:9).
Jesus is called “the Word” (John 1:14) because he perfectly embodied the word of God. He’s similarly called “the law” (3 Nephi 15:9) because He perfectly embodied the law of God. If ever there was a living person who lived the order of heaven on earth, it was Jesus Christ. For this reason, we can be reconciled to the word of God through Christ. He is exactly what He said He was: “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). No man or woman will align themselves back to God, heaven, or the tree of life, except by Him. There is no other way than the way Christ showed: by living the law of God. Because He suffered more than any person can or will suffer, descending below all things, His victory in keeping the law caused Him to rise above all things. He then became the law and the end to which we look – the very object of our faith. No longer was the order of heaven just a written law, but now a living person. Because He suffered the cosmic price to redeem all creation, all creation becomes subject to Him. He commands us to love God with all our hearts, and to keep His commandments (Deuteronomy 6:4-5; cf. John 14:15). As we obey Him we are filled with His light, which is a frequency in tune with all life and creation.
To believe Jesus is the Messiah is to believe that He is the way, truth, and life. It is to believe that His way, His life, and His teachings highlight the order of heaven. It means, after considering all of the various ways listed above people attempt to get heaven on earth, we accept that His example and teachings are the only path that will lead us to life. His “name” (a Hebrew idea meaning his manner, mode of being, etc.) is the only name whereby we can be reconciled to creation. He is the great prototype of heaven on earth (John 3:13), and in order for any of us to experience heaven here we must live the way He showed. In essence, we must be like Him. Now, while no person will ever amount to being all that Christ was, there is a way we can perfectly aligned to creation in Christ, and this by obedience to His voice. As we do so, He promises to change our very natures, the vibration of our beings, into something inclined towards living the law of heaven. We gradually begin to feel life flowing back into us, as our state of being grows into harmony with creation.
The process of being grafted back into the tree of life is the process of becoming one with Christ. He is the vine, we are the branches. As we “abide” in Him by aligning ourselves to His will and command, we bring forth good fruit (John 15:5, cf. John 5:24-30). For this reason, Christ prayed to the Father that His disciples would become one with Him: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:17-21).
The essence of the Savior’s mission was to reconcile all who would come to Him to God and life. Whether or not we realize it, our deepest need is for the joy that comes from being in a state of oneness with God. The dissatisfaction and insufficiency we sense in everything else is evidence enough that we are not fulfilling our deepest purpose or desires; the things our soul craves and thirsts. The Savior promised, “whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).
All of these ideas and concepts fit together to form a beautiful mosaic. What’s even greater: these are more than just ideas or abstract concepts, they are real. Incorporating these things into your life will actually yield the fruits of life – at first spiritually, and eventually physically.
How Do We Align Ourselves to His Order?
So how do we obtain these things? The order of heaven is the order, manner, and pattern of the Son of God. Another scripture labels Jesus as a “priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:6), which is another way of expressing the same idea. This is an order Christ invites His followers to participate in – this is where heaven can be had on earth. Little (if anything) is understood about the order of Melchizedek by mainstream Christianity. Apart from three verses that make reference to Melchizedek in the Bible, the true nature of this order is otherwise shrouded in mystery. Perhaps more would have been preserved by the early Christian church had they not suffered persecution at the hands of Rome, a pagan distortion of Christ’s doctrine, and an internal corruption among their own ranks.
Loss of a knowledge regarding the order of Christ resulted in the atrophy of the early Christian church. Though they did not dwindle in numbers, they strayed from the extraordinary power that came from living after the manner of Christ. Reformer John Wesley (1703-1791), founder of the Methodist sect observed,
“It does not appear that these extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit were common in the Church for more than two or three centuries. We seldom hear of them after that fatal period when the emperor Constantine called himself a Christian and, from a vain imagination of promoting the Christian cause, heaped riches and power and honor on the Christians in general, but in particular on the Christian clergy. From this time, the extraordinary gifts almost totally ceased; very few instances of the kind were found. The cause of this was not (as has been vulgarly supposed) ‘because there was no more occasion for them,’ because all the world had become Christian. This is a miserable mistake; not a twentieth part of the world was then even nominally Christian. The real cause was that the love of many, almost all Christians, so called, had grown cold. The Christians had no more the Spirit of Christ than the other heathens. The Son of Man, when He came to examine His Church, could hardly find faith on the earth. This was the real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit were no longer to be found in the Christian Church: because the Christians were turned heathens again, and had only a dead form left.” (Sermon 89, “The More Excellent Way”)
As they slowly turned away from Christ’s order, they lost the divine power that comes from living it. With no power, they degenerated in knowledge regarding the fulness of His gospel. Without a knowledge of the fulness to pass on to future generations, Christianity at large was left with a partial picture regarding Christ’s mission and ministry. Because neither Jew nor Gentile kept God’s law, what came of their religions was death and atrophy. They gradually lost the truths and divine power God intended for them to have. For over a thousand years, history moved on, and the world remained seemingly unredeemed; Jews and Christians alike had failed to rise up to God’s invitation to bring down heaven on earth.
In an opportune season, when Christians of early America were seeking a return to original Christianity, God responded to their faith by calling a prophet to restore lost knowledge of Christ’s gospel – especially the Holy Order. The revelations that came through Joseph Smith largely expanded on these things. If you want to learn more about that, I highly suggest reading the series linked here.
Through Joseph Smith, the order of Christ was revealed anew, and God restored the covenant from which the world had strayed. The invitation to enter in and participate in this Holy Order has been renewed. You will not find the knowledge or the spiritual power of Christ’s gospel anywhere else. By accepting the invitation God has restored, and by learning and living the pattern of Christ revealed anew, you will be filled with life and light. You will begin to bring forth the good fruit of the tree of life in a way otherwise impossible. I invite and implore you to accept the invitation Christ has renewed in our day. Your soul will be enlarged. You will be filled with a greater love for God, others, and all creation. Your mind will be expanded and enlightened. You will see and understand existence with greater clarity. You will feel your own spirit renewed by the very essence of the universe – by Life itself. You will bring forth good fruit.
Now as a quick sidenote, I’m not saying that other forms of Christianity (or even other religions) won’t ever do any of these things for you – but what we’re after is the order of heaven in its purity. Inasmuch as a religion or idea contains truth, it will have this uplifting effect. However, inasmuch as truths and principles are not ordered to fit inside the larger pattern of creation, they are limited. What the restored Gospel has to offer is the pure word of Christ, which is capable of totally and completely aligning you to the order of heaven, and filling you with eternal life in every sense; it is the entire map as opposed to a distorted one.
Test These Things
I urge you to employ the test of Christ for yourself. If Joseph Smith was a false prophet, his ideas, teachings, and practices will produce evil fruit as you begin to believe them. They will produce death and damnation, and drag you downward rather than heavenward. Observe the fruits of this “restored” gospel in the lives of those who actually live it. Read the Book of Mormon with the intention of identifying the spirit about it. Like music, or other ideas, what kind of “vibration” does it carry? Is it high and holy? Is it pure? Is it light? What kind of effect does it have in your life as you act out what it says? Does it cause you to love more? To have greater faith and trust in God? Does it motivate you to be a better person? Does it bring you closer to God?
I assure you any honest seeker of light and truth will sense about it the spirit of life, creation, and heaven – the Spirit of Christ.
American Historian Richard Bushman once commented that a religion that works must be taken seriously. I love that sentiment, because not only is the restored Gospel true, but it works. It works as much today as any time it was upon the earth in generations past. It brings forth life, good fruit, and all of the blessings, gifts, and miracles had among the ancients.
I can tell you from my own experience, and the experience of many others, that it truly offers access to life, light, clarity, purpose, faith, love, and heaven itself to anyone who will try it. As the Savior organized His church among the Nephites in the Americas, he counseled them, “if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it” (3 Nephi 27:10). The same is true for us today; inasmuch as we are built upon Christ’s gospel, as its been restored in its purity, the Father will show forth His works in us. The signs and gifts that followed those who believed Christ’s pure gospel in His day accompany all those who believe it in our day (Mark 16:15-18). Not only will we be filled with new life, love, and purity as we live after the order of heaven, but we will experience miracles, revelations, visions, dreams, healing, divine visitations, and every form of spiritual power available to those in harmony with the light and truth of God. Any person who today abides the law that is kept in heaven will receive, here and now, the spirit and blessings of heaven in their life, even though they are surrounded by a world of sin and evil.
To get back to where we started, what is heaven? Simply put, it is to live after the eternal order of the universe. It is to obey the word and law of God, as does the rest of creation. There’s a Christian worship song that captures this sentiment that I enjoy:
It is to live in harmony with the holiest and highest vibrations. It is to live after the order of Christ; to be full of grace and truth, as He was. It’s to be connected to the source of life, no longer to decay. It is to find fulfillment, satisfaction and joy. It is such an attainment for which every living person seeks, but only few find (Matthew 7:13-14). Though many religions, belief systems, ideologies, etc. strive to achieve heaven on earth, it is only to be found in the pure word and order of Jesus Christ. The word of God is law, and it is truth. Truth is reality (Jacob 4:13). If we live according to anything other than truth, or things as they really are, it will result in spiritual death.
Whatever it is you seek, the pure, restored, gospel of Jesus Christ will give it to you, and more.
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