I’ve written a couple times before about the Second Coming, but I’m reminded of it anew. The LDS Church, my former religious tradition, has recently been alleged to have put some charitable donations from its members over the last 22 years into an investment portfolio that may now be worth upwards of $100 billion. That places it as one of the most wealthy institutions in the world.
Why is it “saving” all that money? For what purpose? Ostensibly it is for the Second Coming of Jesus:
According to the complaint, Ensign’s president, Roger Clarke, has told others that the amassed funds would be used in the event of the second coming of Christ.–Washington Post article
The authorities of the LDS Church might think they need the stockpile for when Jesus returns to rule and reign on the Earth. As I discussed this online yesterday, some Mormons think it will be used before the Second Coming, in preparation for it, to build the “New Jerusalem” (Zion) in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, according to prophesies given by Joseph Smith.
But the Church also notes that “the Lord has not revealed exactly when He will come again.” And so the Church is perhaps waiting, saving and waiting, until Jesus gives the word of his imminent return, when they might then use the fund.
I think this is all backwards. A literal return of the historical man Jesus to the Earth I think is a tragic misinterpretation of scripture and the Second Coming, a corruption of true Christian spirituality, and it leads to this kind of squandering of resources in Wall Street investments instead of using the resources for doing good in the world.
I attest that Jesus is not coming. Ever. That is not what the Second Coming means. It is a poor substitution for the real intent of the mythology of the Second Coming. Jesus was a human being that died 2000 years ago, just like you and I will die one day. And human beings don’t miraculously come back from that death. Not literally. That is pseudoscientific, and is contrary to everything we know about biology and the way nature works.
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As I’ve written about before, the idea of a coming “Messiah” or “Savior/Redeemer” is found in nearly every spiritual tradition, East and West. For example, Jews were waiting for a Messiah when some thought Jesus was that Messiah, which began Christianity. And now the Christians are waiting for the Messiah again. Even when the Messiah comes, we still wait for a Messiah. That is an indication that it is something real. It is not a simple fiction that we can wave away with our hand as preposterous.
Messianism is a genuine spiritual intuition, but it is one that points inwardly, not outwardly at literal future world events, or people descending from the clouds (as is depicted in the painting above by Harry Anderson, a common literal depiction of the Second Coming in the LDS Church). It seems to be an archetype deep in the human psyche, at the core of the human condition, and so it reappears again and again in various disparate traditions as mystics and contemplatives of different kinds come to awareness of their deepest consciousness.
Christ, of course, is not a synonym for Jesus, or another name for Jesus. It is a Greek translation of the Hebrew “Messiah,” which actually means “anointed” or “anointed one.” And there were many such anointed “Christs” who long preceded Jesus. Jesus was one among many such gifted individuals in history who came and disrupted the system.
But what does “anointed” mean? In a modern context I suggest it is referring to the pure essence of nondual consciousness itself. Anointing with oil was used anciently in healing situations, to apply ointments and balms to wounds and the sick, and so became a sign of health and well-being. Thus anointing, and its rituals, were used to signal reparation, healing, health, goodness, purity of being, which was also a sign of divinity, or God’s blessing. God’s Spirit was thought to be on one who was healthy in body and soul, and so priests and kings were anointed. Over time it became a sign and good omen, even a blessing, for their ruling in health and according to the Divine will.
Anointing with oil became associated with purity of being, Divine Spirit, a sign of someone who was One with the Gods. Those who were so anointed became the Messiah, or “anointed one,” or perhaps better, the “anointed One.” They were those who contemplated God, who were at-one in God, who knew the Divine Will, and could share it with their fellowman.
What was the nature of this contemplation? What made one so spiritual that they were considered “anointed” by God? What brought the Spirit into them? I attest that it was the realization deep within them of God’s Spirit, of God’s Consciousness, of God’s Oneness, at the core of consciousness itself. They awakened to the recognition of God within, the Ultimate Reality at the center of the Human One (Anthropos). And thus they came into at-one-ment or oneness with that Divine Will within their heart and mind. They surrendered and laid down their own selfish egos, their psychological selves, in order to submit to the Divine Will.
And what was that Will? For all humans to recognize the same Oneness within, that we all share the same Divine Being deep in us, that we all belong to the very same Cosmos or Absolute, and thus we should act in Love towards one another, knowing that we are each manifestations of the very same Ultimate Reality. We share the same Being in our soul, in pure consciousness, in Life itself.
This is the “Christ” that is here and now. Jesus does not have to return, which is a good thing, because I think it is not in the cards of possibility. Christ is already deep within us, as Jesus said, not “lo here” or “lo there,” but within you (Luke 17:21). Christ is an archetypal reality that we share in our collective consciousness. It is not synonymous with Jesus, or with any other singular person or individual. It does not equate with any religion or church. It is the condition of one and all, deep inside of us. When we pierce through the ego-mind, this veil over consciousness, we come to witness directly who we truly are, in Reality.
This is the true Second Coming.
It is a radical awakening that happens within you, when you come to know God, or Ultimate Reality, in the ground of consciousness. You realize that you are at-one in God, and always have been, and always will be. You are actually God in manifestation, an expression of God’s own Being, God’s own Self, God’s own Incarnation in time and space. Your true Self, your essential nature and consciousness, is at-one in God, and is thus the Christ, that anointed consciousness. It is in you, even right now, but you do not know it (John 1:26; D&C 38:7). It is consciousness itself, life itself, reality itself.
Do not seek God in outer space—Your heart is the only place in which to meet Him face to face.—Angelus Silesius (1624-1677), German Catholic priest, mystic, and poet
When the mystics say things like this, find God in your “heart,” it can sound saccharine and sentimental, ooey gooey, but not practical, not real. How could we meet God face to face in our heart? It doesn’t sound logical, it’s not reasonable. No one meets another person in their heart. It’s stupid, we think, meaningless, mystical mumbo jumbo.
But that is all thinking from the logical, rational, analytical left hemisphere of our brain, a hemisphere which has especially taken over human cognition in the last several centuries (see Iain McGilchrist’s work). Everything has to conform to a literal practical reality in the outer world. We have lost touch with the intuitive holistic abstract nature of our right hemisphere, which reveals insights about our own nature that we do not know.
Meeting God face to face in your heart is a metaphor, a symbol. It does not mean that you literally walk up to God in your heart and see God’s face like a human face. That’s the literal interpretation of these words, which is always tragically mistaken.
Some simple people think that they will see God as if he were standing there and they here. It is not so. God and I, we are one.-Meister Eckhart, Christian mystic and theologian
Your “heart” is your deepest nature, your most central substance, your inner being, the ground of your consciousness, the source from which you come, from which you (your ego and finite body-mind) emanate, that which gives you life and breath. It is the most inner sanctum of the sacred being that you are, the Holy of Holies in your body-mind temple (see 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19).
We “meet” God there, because that is where we come to know our Source, our essence, our deepest truest nature, deep in consciousness, the pure ground of being, the fount of our life, prior to all our egoic thoughts. We come to know our Self on the deepest level, and when we arrive in that sacred inner place, we come to know God.
We meet “Him,” but this is not a male human person that somehow pops into consciousness that we talk to, with a human “face.” No. If that happens, it is a projection of our mind, a subtle dualism that still needs to be overcome. Rather we commune in and with the deepest essence of our own true nature, our divine nature, which is the same true nature of all beings. It is the One, the nondual truth of the totality of Reality, including our Self.
We see God “face to face,” realizing our own original true face, as in a mirror. The Face we see is the Face of all things, the Face of all Being, the true nature of all things, including our own.
We must think beyond the rational literal interpretation of things, using our right hemisphere of the brain. This often involves clearing all deliberate conceptual thought that arises in the left hemisphere, which in the East is called the “monkey mind.” Contemplative practices such as meditation or centering prayer (or for Mormons, perhaps the Ahman Prayer), help to train our mind to let go of this kind of thought, so we can see through its veil, its obscuration, into that inner Holy of Holies, and to recognize the Whole picture, and that we are at-One in that One Great Whole, at-One in Ultimate Reality, reality as-it-really-is.
This is theosis, divinization, deification. It’s not an attainment of superpowers, it is a realization of what we really are and have always been, beyond the ego personality and subjective self-aware mind.
What is salvific about this, you might ask? How is this “Christ” the Savior? How does it redeem us? How does it destroy evil and wickedness, and bring peace and unity? When we awaken to this deepest One within our own consciousness, we recognize our true nature in this cosmos, that we are at-one with it all, with all beings, with all souls, with all life, with the Earth, with the sun, with all, the All in All. We transcend the separate self of the ego-mind, that which divides, separates, alienates, cuts off, isolates, and brings harm to ourself and others in the world. All “sin” is a result of this dualistic separation and division deep in the mind.
When that dualistic self is transcended, we come to know the One who we really are, all of us. We are saved from our egoic self, our false self. The true Self of “Christ” in us saves us from that divided, broken, imperfect self. As Joseph Smith once said soon before his death:
You have got to learn how to be a God yourself in order to save yourself… the same as all Gods have done before you…-Joseph Smith, King Follett discourse
Your true divine Self saves you from your false egoic self. This is a paradox.
Christ is not a literal other person, a human being, that comes to save you. It is you, your Self, your true Self, your divine Self, your true nature in God or Ultimate Reality, which when you come to recognize it, saves you from all the weaknesses and errors and doubts and problems of the false egoic self that we normally think we are. God saves us in our true Divine Self, from our fallen finite limited relative broken body-mind self.
It won’t be Jesus that comes to save us, or any other particular human Messiah or Savior. Waiting for that “coming” is futile, and in vain. It is the misunderstanding of the ego-mind, a corruption of genuine spirituality. As one LDS contemplative Philip McLemore has said:
I have a Second Coming warning for you. And it’s not that it’s coming next week. It’s that it’s here now and you’re missing it.—Philip McLemore, 2018 Sunstone Symposium
We are not waiting for God to return, God is waiting for us to return to God, for us to realize Ultimate Reality, the Absolute in which we are a relative participant. God is closer to us than we are to ourselves, because God is the very basis of our nature, the foundation of our being, the source of our being, and we remain utterly unaware of it, ignorant. We are alienated from others in the world and become tribalistic because we think we are our own separate being apart from them. We lack Love because we do not know who we really are. If we knew our Self, we would know that there is no “other.” We are One! What you do unto the least of these, you do unto me. Do unto others as you would have them do unto your Self.
The LDS Church is saving up for a day that will never come. If they genuinely knew the Christ then they would be that Christ in the world, and use those funds to alleviate suffering wherever it is found. That is what Christ does. Christ heals, Christ repairs, Christ loves, Christ unifies, Christ brings salvation to our soul, because it is our soul. Our soul is at-one in God, it is the Christ, it is the Divine. So long as religious authorities lack this contemplative-mystical awareness of unified Being, infinite Love and Oneness, they will act demonically, or in other words, from ego.
They will bury their talents in the ground of investment, giving more capital to Wall Street, big corporations, Jeff Bezos, private equity, the wealthy, the rich, and forfeit their opportunity for doing good in the world. The Parable of the Talents was not about investing in rich bankers and earning interest, despite all literal interpretations (Matthew 25:27). Quite to the contrary, it was about actively and productively using one’s means in the world to do good, to alleviate suffering, to use the resources that God has given one to make the world a better place, not burying them in the sand out of fear for the future.
We can see this clearly when juxtaposed with the Parable of the Rich Fool.
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”-Luke 12:13-21
The LDS Church is that rich man, greedily “saving” the abundance of its possessions, storing them, building bigger and bigger barns to stash perhaps $100 billion dollars, for a future day, plenty of grain laid up for many years, just in case Jesus comes. “Now life is easy!”
You fool! The Second Coming is now, and you are missing it. Your life will end, and then what will become of all that you have stored up for yourself? You are not rich toward God. You do not know the God within you.
Christ is here and now, if we will realize it, if we will turn inward and recognize the One that stands within, the One we do not know, the One who is our Source, the One who Loves us and is Love, the One who is our essence, the One who is our divine nature, the One who birthed us into its Self, the One who incarnated its Self as us in this cosmos, the One who is Christ Consciousness, pure consciousness, Krishna consciousness, Buddha-nature.
Wake up to this One in you, and you will know the Christ, you will know the “Second Coming,” it will be a First Coming in you, it will be You coming to You, a cosmic homecoming, Reality waking up to its Self, the unveiling of your true messianic salvific Self in God, and it will be here and now, in this Present moment, this Parousia of the eternal timeless Present now.