My Little Narrow Prison

Joseph once called writing a “little, narrow prison” of words; “total darkness of paper, pen and ink—and a crooked, broken, scattered and imperfect language.” That sentiment speaks to me more with each passing day. As I’ve come to understand greater mysteries, seeing the deep coherence and beauty of the gospel, I find it near impossible to reduce these things to words.

It’s not that I feel I know a lot – just that what I do know is beginning to transcend my ability to explain it. Language, sentences, and words are linear; these truths exist in grand patterns and arrays. Putting these things in words is a lot like trying to describe a painting to someone who hasn’t seen it, or tasking a stranger with picking out my friend from a crowd, just based on my description. I recognize and comprehend it when I see it, but struggle to capture its fulness in words.

Like Moroni, I sense my weakness in writing (Ether 12:25).

Like Joseph, Moses, and Enoch, I am slow of speech, “but a lad, and all the people hate me” (Moses 6:31).

I feel increasingly inadequate, relying on the Spirit to distill upon the hearts of the penitent the truths I cannot put in words – ever cautious that I don’t, “by any means, get shaken from my firmness in the Spirit, and stumble because of my over anxiety for you” (Jacob 4:18).

I also understand with increasing clarity why the Lord has said, “Say nothing but repentance unto this generation” (D&C 11:9). It’s impossible for others to receive greater truth from God if they ignore what He has already given them. We all have access to the same light and Spirit of truth, and any person who will give serious attention and heed to that influence will attune themselves to the melody of creation, and thus be empowered to see and understand all truth (Moroni 10:5).

“But great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion; which he commanded us we should not write while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not lawful for man to utter; neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him; to whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves; that through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory” (D&C 76:114-118; see also Moses 1:2-11).

This same gift and power is accessible to any person in any age of history. Whether it’s our day, or Joseph Smith’s day, or Peter’s, or Nephi’s; it is the same Spirit, available to everyone. This is why, not only did the early converts to the Church feel the same Spirit and power in the Book of Mormon that is felt today, but the same eternal truths that were understood by Joseph Smith were understood by Peter (and vice versa); they were animated by the same Spirit.

As Nephi said:

“And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.

“For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him. For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round” (1 Nephi 10:17-19).

My hope is in the fact that despite my weakness, these things can be understood by any person who will give heed to the Spirit, and diligently seek to know the mysteries of God.

I pray we all do, and that my words inspire faith to pursue that course.

Jonathan Pageau’s Testimony of Mormon Doctrine

Admittedly, the title of this post is a bit tongue-in-cheek.

Jonathan Pageau is an Orthodox Christian, professional carver, writer, and public speaker. He specializes in symbolism and traditional Christian art. I’ve recently been profoundly impressed by many of the conclusions he’s come to through symbolism.

Though I’m not endorsing all of his conclusions, his testimony of scriptural patterns supports many unique doctrines Joseph claimed to have received by revelation, which were largely opposed in his day (perhaps with the exception of the first one). And yet Joseph got the pattern and archetypes right every time.

If this post floats into his orbit, I’d love hear his reaction to the symbolism and archetypes of the Book of Mormon. I think he could mine out greater value than many.

The New Jerusalem Emerging from the United States

“We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory” (Articles of Faith 1:10).

“And that a New Jerusalem should be built up upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph, for which things there has been a type. For as Joseph brought his father down into the land of Egypt, even so he died there; wherefore, the Lord brought a remnant of the seed of Joseph out of the land of Jerusalem, that he might be merciful unto the seed of Joseph that they should perish not, even as he was merciful unto the father of Joseph that he should perish not. Wherefore, the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built upon this land; and it shall be a land of their inheritance; and they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord, like unto the Jerusalem of old; and they shall no more be confounded, until the end come when the earth shall pass away” (Ether 13:6-8).

Pre-Mortal Life

“Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be” (D&C 93:29).

“The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is co-equal [co-eternal] with God himself… I am dwelling on the immortality of the spirit of man. Is it logical to say that the intelligence of spirits is immortal, and yet that it has a beginning? The intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither will it have an end. That is good logic. That which has a beginning may have an end. There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are co-equal [co-eternal] with our Father in heaven.

“Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a self-existent principle. It is a spirit from age to age and there is no creation about it. All the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement…

“The first principles of man are self-existent with God. God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with Himself, so that they might have one glory upon another, and all that knowledge, power, glory, and intelligence, which is requisite in order to save them in the world of spirits” (King Follett Discourse).

“And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all…

“Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; and God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.

“And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; and we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abraham 3:19, 22-25).

A Council of the Gods

“In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted [prepared] a plan to create the world and people it. When we begin to learn this way, we begin to learn the only true God, and what kind of a being we have got to worship. Having a knowledge of God, we begin to know how to approach Him, and how to ask so as to receive an answer” (The King Follett Sermon).


This is really only a foundation for the logical conclusion and bigger picture Joseph Smith shines a light on in the King Follett Discourse.

“Here, then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power” (The King Follett Sermon).


The first part of his explanation I cover at length here.

“Behold, I say unto you that ye would be more miserable to dwell with a holy and just God, under a consciousness of your filthiness before him, than ye would to dwell with the damned souls in hell. For behold, when ye shall be brought to see your nakedness before God, and also the glory of God, and the holiness of Jesus Christ, it will kindle a flame of unquenchable fire upon you” (Mormon 9:4-5)

“For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence. But this cannot be; we must come forth and stand before him in his glory, and in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion” (Alma 12:14-15)

“Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness” (2 Nephi 9:14).

“A man is his own tormentor and his own condemner. Hence the saying, ‘They shall go into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone.’ The torment of disappointment in the mind of man is as exquisite as a lake burning with fire and brimstone. I say, so is the torment of man” (TPJS p. 357).

Podcast Announcement!

I’m excited to announce that I’ve started a podcast!

While religion is largely criticized today, there‘s an increasing longing for spiritual things. This podcast re-discovers the depths of spiritual truth found in scripture, both ancient and modern. It will give you a new perspective on religion, scriptural patterns, and a connection with the Divine.

The first episode, “Oh Say, What is Truth?” can currently be found on a couple platforms, and I’m in the process of expanding that. I’ll update the links on this to reflect the options as they become available.

I’ll also update the “Podcast” tab on this site. To my understanding, they’ll be directly playable from that page.

Apple Podcasts:

Google Podcasts:


Amazon Music: