“…if thou art not aware thou wilt fall.”
AWA’RE, a. [See Ware and Wary.]
Watchful; vigilant; guarded; but more strictly in modern usage, apprised; expecting an event from information, or probability; as, the general was aware of the enemy’s designs.
WARY, a. [See Ware and Warn.] Cautious of danger; carefully watching and guarding against deception, artifices and dangers; scrupulous; timorously prudent. Old men are usually more wary than the young. It is incumbent on a general in war to be always wary.
WATCHFUL, a. Vigilant; attentive; careful to observe; observant; cautious. It has of before the thing to be regulated, as to be watchful of ones behavior; and against, before the thing to be avoided, as to be watchful against the growth of vicious habits.
VIG’ILANT, a. [L. vigilans.] Watchful; circumspect; attentive to discover and avoid danger, or to provide for safety.
Take your places and be vigilant. Be sober, be vigilant.
Long before the restored church was legally organized in 1830 the Lord gave Joseph Smith the following warning-
“…if thou art not aware thou wilt fall.”
The mystical and ineffable doctrine of AWARENESS is as subtle as it is profound.
It really doesn’t perceivably show up very often in the scriptures and when it does, it is often described using an array of differing terminology and those terms are often hidden in a seemingly larger message.
Not only are there differing terms associated with it, there are also overlapping doctrines that it intersects with.
The doctrine of awareness apparently has to do with being watchful, and vigilant regarding external,
situational events and things in this temporal world around however it also has to doing with being watchful and vigilant with regard to internal things taking place in our mind and heart.
We Think, Reason and Feel In Both Mind And Heart
The scriptures inform us that the human soul has two separate and distinct thinking and feeling organs, with minds of their own.
One mind is contained in the brain.
The other mind is located in the heart.
The Lord has told us that he communicates to us in both of these cognizant, thinking organs and that the Holy Ghost dwells in the hearts of the righteous-
“I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart“. D&C 8:2
The first commandment involves loving the Lord with both of our minds… the mind in our hearts and the mind in our brains.
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30)
While the King James Version of the Bible quotes Jesus as saying
“As a man thinketh so is he…”
The Inspired Version of the Bible makes a profound correction to the translation-
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he…”
Although he brain is always thinking and chattering and and providing thoughts, the heart appears to be listening and observing and having thoughts of its own. Sometimes it believes the chatter coming from the brain-mind and sometimes it doesn’t.
From the above passage in the JST It appears to be the thought conclusions formulated within the heart of man that ultimately constitutes what the man is.
While the brain entertains a myriad of thoughts during the day of our conscious lives, it is what we think in our heart that determines who and what we are in the spiritual realm and ultimately how we will be judged and what degree of glory we will be able to abide in the eternal realm. This is perhaps why it is important that we invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts and allow it to dwell in our hearts.
Scripture also informs us that there are two superhuman intelligences that govern and inspire the world of thoughts that the intelligence of man is subjected too.
One source is often referred to as LIGHT and TRUTH.
Section 93 and other scriptures inform us that all truth comes from God and the Holy Spirit (which, according to Lectures on Faith, is the mind of God.)
“Therefore, in the beginning the Word was, for he was the Word, even the messenger of salvation— The light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men… The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. Light and truth forsake that evil one.” (D&C 94)
The other thought source that provides the opposing force in the universe is referred to as LIES.
Scripture informs us that all lies come from
“the devil.. is the father of all lies“.
If the Devil is the father of all lies, then it is His spirit and thought force that emanates throughout this world darkening and seducing the minds of all men that tell lies.
The Book of Mormon makes the very simple and plain declaration that “There is nothing which is good save it comes from the Lord; and that which is evil cometh from the devil.”
We must be vigilant in watching and aware of what is going on around us externally and we must be vigilant in watching what is taking place in our own hearts.
There are external events that we have been commanded to watch for, such as the events of the second coming, however, during this outer watch of things going on in the external world, we must also watch out for the deceptions that Satan plants in the hearts of men when they least expect it.
Satan Wants To Put A Data Feed Into Your Mind and Heart
The scriptures remind us that we need to beware of Satan and his desire to enter into the inner chambers of the heart of man.
why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost (Acts 5:3)
And Satan put it into the heart of the serpent, (for he had drawn away many after him,) and he sought also to beguile Ev… wherefore he sought to destroy the world. (Moses 4:6)
And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him; (John 13:2)
Suffer not yourself to be led away by any vain or foolish thing; suffer not the devil to lead away your heart again after those wicked harlots (Alma 39:11)
God Created Satan and Controls Him
It is essential for there to be opposition in all things and the creation of Satan was necessary to provide that opposition. We are informed that God actually creates both good and evil and it is the Lord God Almighty that actually created and controls Satan-
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.(Isa 45:7)
O Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven, earth, and seas, and of all things that in them are, and who controllest and subjectest the devil, and the dark and benighted dominion of Sheol— (121:4)
(The 1828 Websters informs us that control means “To check; to restrain; to govern… To overpower; to subject to authority; to counteract; to have under command…. To direct or govern in opposition; to have superior force, or authority over.)
The cares of the world
In the fourth chapter of Mark, we read about the parable of the sower. In this parable the Savior observed that the word of God is like unto a sower who is sowing seed in an array of places.
In some instances the fowls of the air devoured the seed before it could take root.
“And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.”
In other instances it fell on stony ground where it had not much earth. It therefore sprang up because it had no depth of earth. Therefore, when the sun came up it was scorched because it had no root. It therefore withered away.
Some of the good seed fell among thorns which chocked it so that it yielded no fruit.
The seed which fell on good ground yielded fruit that sprang up and increased and brought forth, some thirty, some sixty and some an hundred.
After informing his disciples that it was given unto them to know the mystery of the kingdom while others must be taught in parables, he revealed that the thorns represented the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in.
These cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches and the lusts of other things are what, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
Spirit filled Awareness
When the scriptures speak of the importance of being aware and of watching.. I believe they are speaking about spirit filled awareness and spirit filled watching. In other words, those passages are speaking of awareness and watching in the spirit filled context, not in the level of awareness and watching that takes place in the natural man.
The natural man is an enemy to God because he is unable to access the Godly state of awareness. In a sense, one might define awareness as having the Holy Ghost dwelling in the heart, creating a contrite spirit and broken heart.
The broken heart and contrite spirit takes place during the spiritual rebirth, after we have become spiritually born again.
True Knowledge Is a State Of Being
When Christ said that it was life eternal to know God, he again taught the behavioral principle that true knowledge is a state of being. (Study 2 Peter 1:3–11 and John 7:16–17.)
In this series we will review the importance of being aware externally and internally.
The term aware only shows up in the four standard works about 13 times.
One of these times is in section 121 wherein we are informed that when a person is not in a state of awareness, they are “left unto themselves” rather than being harmonious with the spirit and the will of God-
34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—
36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
38 Behold, ere [BEFORE] he is AWARE, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.
39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.
Another instance we find the doctrine of awareness in Modern Revelation is found in a very personal revelation given to Joseph smith.
It is section 3 of the D&C and it contains an ominous warning to Joseph Smith, informing him that if he is not AWARE, he will fall. Some might argue that the admonition of the Lord to Joseph Smith is more than a warning… that in fact, it was a prophecy.
Despite the personal nature of this revelation and the fact that it was received before the church was even legally organized, the Lord apparently commanded Joseph Smith to include it in the canonized Book of Commandments and the Doctrine and Covenants.
I suspect that the reason for this is that the principles and lessons to be learned from this revelation apply to all of us. Additionally, God wanted the world to know that Joseph, and prophets in general, can fall from grace.
In part two of this series we shall focus on that section. You may want to read it and ponder it before you read part two of this section.