The Helix nebula has been nicknamed the “Eye of God” and is one of the most stunning photographs captured by the Hubble telescope. It very much looks like a giant celestial eye in 3-D staring right back at us. We might liken the Hubble telescope to our mind, that when properly tuned in, we can see things that are afar off and bring them into focus.
Three times in the Book of Mormon we read phrases about an “eye of faith.” What does this mean? How do we see using faith? What does it do for us?
In last week’s study topic which covered dwindling in unbelief, we saw the devastation that can come to individuals and nations that don’t obtain a personal belief that God not only performed miracles for others, but can and will perform them for us individually.
In another previous topic, we examined having an eye single to the glory of God and what that meant. In short, it involves creating an unbendable connection to God such that our motives are to bring him glory in all that we do.
In this study topic, we want to examine what the eye of faith is, and how to access it to build our belief.
Start off opening a search pane in Scripture Notes and searching for:
This finds all verses that contain both words. Now create a collection note (CN) from these verses. Name it “Looking Forward with an Eye of Faith” and tag it with these: Eye of Faith, Sacred Imagination, Trial of Your Faith, Spiritual Creation
With the five search results, click on the reference for Ether 12 to open the chapter and drag verses 5 and 6 into this collection note. You will now have 7 verses in this CN.
It will help illuminate the other verses if we first come to terms with the verses in Ether 12. Look at verse 5:
5. And it came to pass that Ether did prophesy great and marvelous things unto the people, which they did not believe, because they saw them not.
Without physical proof, the people refused to believe the things Ether was telling them. They were filled with disbelief and doubt.
6. And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.
Now Moroni explains that manifestations come after two things:
1) a hope for something unseen (by our physical eyes)
2) a trial of your faith (a test that by overcoming grants the hope – for an example see my post on Seeking the Gifts of the Spirit)
But the big key to unlocking this is in verse 19.
19. And there were many whose faith was so exceedingly strong, even before Christ came, who could not be kept from within the veil, but truly saw with their eyes the things which they had beheld with an eye of faith, and they were glad.
This is huge. Moroni tells us the people first saw things with their eye of faith, and then they became manifested to them. Their faith is rewarded by first visualizing the event in their eye of faith, and then having it come to pass.
We know the Lord created all things spiritually before he created them physically (Moses 3:5). We are being taught by Moroni how that works.
Everything created is first imagined in the mind. It is spiritually created by the faith of the individual, if not with faith in Christ, at least with faith in themselves to be able to complete what they envision. Mankind imagines something, and a plan starts to form. They go about gathering the needed raw materials, infuse their labor into it, and create something of value to themselves or others. The things we envision to create don’t have to solely be in the physical realm. We can create spiritual events that manifest themselves as well.
Sometimes these things are done on the first attempt. Other things take thousands of attempts such as Edison’s experimentation with the light bulb. He didn’t give up just because the attempts failed. The range of mankind’s creations is nearly infinite, from a piano masterpiece that took hundreds of hours of practice, to building a pinewood derby car, to creating a better relationship with a friend. We envision, then we manifest it. Even animals acting solely on instinct (the light of Christ acting within the animal kingdom) create beautiful works of art that defy description. Here’s one I love – the Japanese puffer fish: (https://www.pbs.org/video/pufferfish-f7eual/).
The eye of faith has other terms that go along with it. Some have refered to it as the “third eye” or our “sacred imagination”. It’s where we see things BEFORE we see them manifested in the physical world. It’s a hope for those things that motivates us to bring them about.
The scriptures sometimes talk about our mind or our heart being blind. This is perhaps another way of saying we have closed our eye of faith. We have ceased to hope for things we haven’t seen yet. It’s another way of saying we suffer from unbelief. We have given up hope that something will turn to our benefit and manifest itself in our lives. Yet the Lord is so willing to give us good things as the scriptures abundantly state. We just need to see those things with an eye of faith by hoping for them, and then experiencing some trial of our faith to bring those things into our lives. Depending on what we are trying to move into our lives, this could be simply the effort to build it through the simple oppositions of life (time constraints, energy, etc…). Naturally, the bigger the vision, the bigger the effort and trial to bring it about.
There are a couple things you might try to help with this. I’ll share one now, and one next week in part 2.
This first is a vision board. I’ve only recently become aware of doing this and I can already see the value in it. You can find various information about this technique online, but I like the training Kirk Duncan does. In this video he shows how we can spiritually create something and put our minds to work to figure out how to bring it into reality. By making it a point of focus (and hope), we put our heart, might, mind, and strength into it.
I’m going to touch on this more below, but lets open up another search pane in Scripture Notes to continue the study topic and do a search for variations of the word imagination. It’s a word you might not have realized was even in the scriptures, but surprisingly, it’s there 50 times. Do this search:
There are various ways the word is used, some positive and some negative. Save your search as a collection note and tag it: Eye of Faith, Sacred Imagination, and Imagination.
(If you want to combine these CN’s you are welcome to. It’s up to you. You could drag the verses from CN1 into this one since there aren’t that many verses.)
Note the ways people spiritually create their outcomes for good or evil in your master note. Write down the questions that come to you and the insights you gain from these verses. I posted a list of questions at the bottom of this article.
For example, consider this verse in Alma 5.
16. I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?
Close your eyes and picture the Savior reaching out to you saying, “come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth.” Doesn’t that fill your heart with joy? Don’t you want to create that scenario and have it come to pass? Spend a couple minutes visualizing this scene. What does it look like? How does it feel? What would you sacrifice in this life to make it real?
There are other verses that talk about using the eye of faith without using variations of the word imagination. You’ll find these phrased differently but talking about this same concept. You may want to add these to your collection note.
Now I’d like to give you a couple exercises to try out:
1) This week, create a vision board right by your bedside so you are sure to see it prominently when you wake up and go to sleep. Kirk mentions a simple way to get started is to get some blue painter’s masking tape from the store and make a 2’x2’ box on the wall by your bed where you can tape pictures and short text blocks of what you want in your life. It’s cheap and easy to get started this way and the key is to get started. Grab some masking tape or sheet of poster board or twine and thumb tacks. Block off an area to get started.
2) Make some visuals and text of things you want to bring into your life. Vision boards can contain anything, physical or spiritual. It’s purpose is to help you focus your desire for a couple minutes a day and remind yourself of what you are seeking. They can focus on your business, family, things you need, things you want, spiritual gifts, spiritual experiences, etc… There is no limit to our desires. As long as it’s for a righteous intent (the why you want it), you can put anything on the board and I encourage you to put both temporal and spiritual things on it.
3) Every morning when you get up and at night before going to bed, look at each item on your board and visualize and emotionalize yourself receiving that thing into your life. What does it feel like to have it? The stronger your experience, the better. Watch yourself exercise the gift of charity by replaying a poor experience in your mind as if you had acted differently. Feel the emotions of joy as you imagine the veil parting and seeing angels and the Lord as you receive your baptism of fire. Picture yourself taking the family on a vacation adventure and building positive memories together. By spiritually imagining these things, and asking the Lord to let them happen in reality, we exercise our creative powers. It shows the Lord where our heart is and heaven helps move them from the spiritual creation into reality.
4) Here’s one other exercise. Have you been endowed in the temple? Do you ever pray and picture yourself clothed in your temple clothing, kneeling at an altar, and praying to God as if he were right there? Try praying this way for a week. In your mind’s eye, see yourself taking a moment before you pray to mentally enter your temple, change into white, dress in your temple clothing, approach the altar, and kneel to praise and petition God for his blessings. You are the temple of God, remember? If you haven’t been endowed yet, you can similarly do this exercise by dressing in white and kneeling at an altar. Picture Christ and Heavenly Father and Mother near you. Reach out and feel their presence. Bask in their warmth and love.
1 Chron. 29:18. O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee:
How does heaven help move spiritual creations into reality? When we show the Lord where our desires are (focused in the heart), and that we are serious about those desires and have made them a focus of our lives, heaven sends us promptings about how to create the things we most desire in righteousness. The spirit helps bring us into alignment so that those things begin to manifest physically. We just have to do the work and follow the promptings heaven sends us to move that thing into the physical realm. It’s how Scripture Notes came into existence and a bazillion other things people have created.
This doesn’t mean it’s easy, because when we truly desire something Satan doesn’t want us to have, there will be trials thrown up to slow or stop us, but as we put forth effort to follow the promptings of the spirit which will surely guide us toward righteous ends, we can overcome those trials and see the manifestation of our faith and be glad.
Share below an experience you have this week with your vision board or sacred imagination. It may surprise you what physical and spiritual gifts the Lord is willing to give you. Man is that he might have joy. That includes some of the pleasures of life when we want to use them for good purposes.
What is my eye of faith?
Where is my eye of faith?
How do I develop my eye of faith?
What limitations are on my eye of faith? (Philippians 4:13)
How does using my eye of faith help me overcome unbelief?
Part 2 next week will cover a method to expand on this skill: meditation.
(Featured image – allexxandar @ 123rf.com)