D&C 121:34-46 BHT: The Ego and Spiritual Influence

A translation of Joseph Smith’s insights, about the power of spiritual influence, and how it can easily be lost by ego.

An addition to the BHT from Joseph Smith’s letter on March 22, 1839 while he was a prisoner at Liberty Jail, Missouri, also known today as partly Doctrine & Covenants 121. This insight regards the spiritual influence (traditionally known as “priesthood” authority) that comes through contemplative consciousness, and how it can be lost through egoic behavior and neglecting contemplative practice.

Since this is a translation from English to English, my attempt is to help clarify the contemplative nature of this insight in modern times, and in our terminology and forms of understanding today, always taking into account my own contemplative experience.


34 Please listen: many people are invited into unitive Christ Consciousness, but relatively few are selected to stay there. And why don’t they stay?

35 Because their egos are attached so much to the material things of this world, and they pursue the praises of other egos, that they do not learn this one lesson—

36 That the key to having spiritual influence is inseparably connected with contemplation in unitive nondual consciousness, and that contemplation cannot be had nor shared except upon principles of genuine goodness and oneness.

37 We may have a glimpse of it, it is true; but when our egos seek to cover up our errors, or to find pleasure in our haughtiness and our selfish desires, or to exert control or supremacy or force upon others, with the slightest degree of injustice, you will surely see that contemplation come to an end. For that Spiritual consciousness doesn’t endure the ego; and when contemplation ends, it is also the end of that person’s spiritual influence as well.

38 You’ll notice, before they even know it, they are left to their ego self, causing their own suffering, abusing and oppressing those most holy, and fighting against Reality itself.

39 We have learned through our own sad experience that it is the very nature and condition of almost all humans, as soon as their egos think they have a little power or influence, they will immediately start to exert unjust dominance over others.

40 Consequently, many are invited into Christ Consciousness, but very few end up staying there.

41 There is no power or influence that can or ought to be maintained through spiritual adeptness, except by wise persuasion, by tremendous patience, by gentleness and forbearance, and by sincere Love;

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42 By kindness, and pure gnosis, which immensely enlarges one’s circle of identification, without pretense or artifice—

43 Criticizing on occasion with fiery passion, when so inspired, but then afterwards demonstrating an even greater Love toward those who you have criticized, so they don’t think you are their enemy or opponent;

44 That they may know that your contemplation is stronger than the sorrows of death and destruction, which only seek to tear down.

45 May the depths within you be full of Love towards all humanity, and to the Body of all faiths, and let goodness grace your consciousness forever; then your trust will grow ever stronger in awareness of God’s continual Presence, and the understanding of spiritual influence will be attracted to your being like the dews from heaven.

46 Contemplative consciousness will be your continual state of mind, and your influence will be a timeless influence of truth and right. Your identity will be an eternal identity including all things and beings, and without any force or effort at all it will flow to you for time and all eternity.


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