Try the Spirits

Testing Those Who Claim to be Special Teachers or Messengers Sent from God


In the Revelation of St. John, in the Bible, John wrote to the church at Ephesus, commending them that they had tested and detected the false teachers that came among them. Most of the following comes from a commentary about the Revelation of St. John, written by JJ Dewey with some of my own comments and observations.

“Thou canst not bear them which are evil.”

This is awkward to interpret in isolation. Many people have different definitions of what is “evil.”  We are clearly told though that the aspiring disciple does not embrace that which he sees as evil or destructive, but is repulsed by it. Apparently he sees true evil for the inner voice acknowledges his intolerance as a good thing.

The next part of the verse identifies a particular evil that must be confronted:

“And thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:”

A particular evil faced by the aspiring disciple are those who say they are apostles and are not. Who are such people? The word “apostle” is generally linked with the twelve disciples of Jesus, but at the time of this writing all of them were dead except for John. Obviously many people surfaced with the claim of being the true successors of the original twelve.

Another possibility, and I emphasize possibility, is Paul or one of his associates could have been the “false apostles”. Paul said that he was an apostle, but was not recognized as such by the Twelve Apostles at Jerusalem. He was never numbered with the Twelve, never sat in council with them, and only met with them briefly. Paul didn’t meet Peter until 3 years after his “conversion” (Gal. 1:18), and he never met with any of the other apostles, except “James, the Lord’s brother” (Gal. 1:19). He never returned the Jerusalem again for another fourteen years (Gal. 2:1). Paul visited Ephesus, taught there, and wrote a letter to the Ephesians. He was in the city for over 2 years — from the autumn is AD 52 to spring of AD 55. ( Paul claims to have been called as an apostle, not “of man”, but “of God”.

When the position of the fallen disciple Judas Iscariot was filled, the other eleven met in council and sought the guidance of God so that through their act of casting lots, God might act through them, to fill the vacancy with the man whom God had called. (Acts 1:20-26). Thus, Matthias was chosen by God, acting through the other Apostles. Paul makes no such claim, other than that he was called of God, and not of men. Paul also has a number of associates whom he terms “apostles”. Paul warns his readers about believing any other gospel other than that which he has taught, yet Paul teaches many unique precepts, which are not anywhere else in the New Testament. There have been volumes written by Biblical scholars, detailing the differences between the teachings of Paul and the teachings of John. And, churches have wrangled for years over the question of “faith and works”, pitting Paul and James against each other. Perhaps, there were deep splits in Christianity even back then, and Paul was seen by the main body of saints as a lone, self-styled renegade, going off on his own and teaching his own brand of gospel. And, perhaps, for this reason, John and the citizens of Ephesus considered him to be one who claimed to be an apostle, but turned out to be a liar.

Regardless of who those who claimed to be apostles were, let’s continue with the commentary.

The problem goes beyond this, however.  “Apostle” comes from the Greek APOSTOLOS and means “one sent forth with orders.”  This implies that such a person has strong authority.

Now let us look again at who the aspirant is dealing with. It is those “which say they are apostles.”  In other words, as the seeker begins the path of liberation one of the first great evils he must confront and overcome are those who seek authority over him to give him marching orders. Where do they get their authority? They only seem to have it because they (or their followers) “say” so.

In order to make his first step of granting himself “permission” [The name Ephesus in Greek means “permission”.] to listen to the inner voice he must free himself from false unearned outer authorities. But note that he does not mindlessly reject an outer authority just because it is there and attempting to instruct or order him about. What does he do?

The Master gives him praise for testing such people and John himself in another scripture talks about the importance of such tests:

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

Speaking personally of myself, I am interesting in finding true messengers from God, especially one who is a true apostle, sent from Christ. Brigham Young, who was one of the first apostles of the LDS church, once said something to the effect that he would walk anywhere, anytime to hear an Apostle of Christ speak on any subject. I agree. But, how do you find such a person, and how do you verify that such a person is who and what they claim to be? The answer is simple: test them.

However, it is difficult to find a person these days who teaches and bears the kind of apostolic witness that one would expect to hear from a modern-day Peter or John, let alone Paul. There are those who claim the title “apostles”, but rather than bear personal eye-witness to the resurrection of Christ, they speak about the evils of the lottery and the importance of active church membership. There are others who appear to speak or write with the power of an “apostle”, but they, too, fail to stand up under the kind of testing that John proposes.

Now the question arises as to how the seeker is to test such people. The next verse seems to give a simplistic answer:

2 “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

3 “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

(1 John 4:2-3)

Here is another translation of this passage, given in modern English:

1 Beloved, there are many false prophets going out in the world, and there are many false spirits guiding them and would gladly guide you if they could. Do not believe every spirit or every teacher who comes to you, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God.

2 Here’s the test to determine the true Spirit of God: Every spirit that teaches the words of Christ which you have already received and who testifies that Jesus Christ, (who came and who will come in the flesh), is of God, is a true Spirit sent from God.

3 But, any spirit which does not bring you these same words and does not bear this same testimony is the spirit of antichrist, a substitute for Christ, which you have heard should come; and even now already is in the world.

4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome these evil spirits and false teachers: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

5 They who are of the world have been overcome of the world: therefore they speak about the world and the things in the world, and the world gladly listens to them.

6 We are of God. He who knows God listens to our message, but he who is not of God will not listen to us. And this is the way to tell the difference between the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

(1 John 4:1-6)

We return to the commentary.

So is that all there is to the test? If they confess that Jesus came in the flesh then we know they are of God, right?

I need to interject that “confession” is more than mere profession of belief, but to confess is speak from a deep personal knowledge and conviction. The word “confess” comes from the Greek homologeō. This is a legal term, used to describe testimony or witness in court. To testify falsely, which is to testify of the truth of a thing without actual knowledge of a thing, is subject to the crime of perjury. There are many who profess “belief” in Christ, but do not exercise faith (belief in action) in the works or words of Christ. Still, others commit an even greater error when they profess to having received knowledge through the Spirit, when they have received no such knowledge, and are merely parroting a popular mantra in order to gain social acceptance in some religious circle.

Not quite. First we know this is not correct based on observation alone. Many tyrants and people of great evil have confessed such things. Cortez and other Conquistadors confessed the coming of Jesus in the flesh and forced thousands of Native Americans to also make such a confession or die.

If this common interpretation is not correct then what is? To understand let us examine the verse more carefully. The key to the meaning is found in the phrase:  “Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.”  We have previously covered that the name Jesus Christ means “anointed to deliver” and applies not only to the Master in Galilee, but to all who successfully follow in his footsteps and seek to assist those who tread the path of deliverance.

“Is come” is from the Greek ERCHOMAI and is the middle voice of a primary verb used only in the present and imperfect tenses. Here it is used in the imperfect tense which implies a thing that is in the state of progress or happening in the now, whenever that now is occurring. If we take this into consideration then what is the verse really telling us? Who are those that pass the test?

The orthodox version reads:  “Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:”

A more accurate rendering as far as the meaning is concerned would be:

“Everyone who confesses in spirit that the name of Jesus Christ is manifesting in the flesh of all who will receive is of God.”

This agrees with another scripture written by John:

“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” (Revelation 14:1)

The name given of the Father is Jesus Christ and is written in the minds and hearts of all true followers.

What then is the test of the true apostle? The seeker must search him out and discover this one thing. Does he see himself as a representative of Jesus Christ in a way that you are not or could not be if you so chose? Or does he see you and himself as equals in the opportunity of manifesting the Christ within our fleshly tabernacles? Does he allow you to speak the words of your innermost soul and allow you to follow them without trying to place his outer authority over you, above your own inner authority?

If he respects your inner voice as he does his own and if he allows you to manifest Christ with the same authority that he does for himself then he is of God. But if he seeks authority over you for the sake of glorifying his ego then he is not of God — no matter what words of support he gives to Jesus.

The seeker at this stage is thus praised by the Master’s voice. He has seen the deceit behind those who sought to control him and direct him toward their own ideal rather than that of the inner Christ.

Be Still and Know

Be Still and Know

by John Crane, Živorad Mihajlović Slavinski, Ouran


What is Gnosis?

Gnosis or Enlightenment or Mystic Union is The DIRECT EXPERIENCE OF TRUTH. It is the goal of all mystical, occult and (truth be told) religious systems and teachings. Its quintessence is the disappearance of differences between subject and object. They merge and become ONE. From that moment on the human being is changed forever.

Why we have to strain to get it? The reason is very simple. From the early childhood we have only indirect experiences. The main characteristic of indirect experiences is some process between subject and object. For example, you read this text; between subject, that is you, and the object, that is this text, there is the process of reading, the process of seeing and the process of understanding.

When someone speaks to you, there is the process of listening and the process of understanding. That way you get the experience of what that person wants to convey to you. When you watch some picture, there is the process of seeing as intermediary between you and that picture which is the object of your experience.

It would be very easy to be in Direct Experience of Truth all the time if we don’t have our mind. Our mind is the only barrier to that. And the best definition of mind is this: The MIND is totality of all our misunderstood experiences, our traumas, unpleasant experiences, unfinished cycles, uncommunicated intentions and unfulfilled desires. As soon as we want to experience something, instead of Direct Experience of that something our concrete mind is reactivated.

“Oh, that’s just like…” “It’s a …”

This might be fine on a survival level, but, when we want to experience ourselves, when we have a question upon our mind “Who am I?” instead of Direct Experience of ourselves, we get all things we learned from our parents and other members of family, all things we learned in school or read in books, all things we heard from other people or learned from authorities…We get all kinds of indirect experiences.

Thus the only way to get Gnosis or Enlightenment or Direct Experience of Truth on the eternal question “Who am I” is to empty all contents of our mind. When we attain that emptiness, Direct Experience of Truth happens spontaneously and naturally.

Why is Important to “Know how to Know”?

Here is a little Q&A about this subject, given in the same style as Lectures on Faith.

We are told in the D&C if we have “an eye single to the glory of God”, our whole bodies will be “filled with light”.

What is the glory of God? “The glory of God is intelligence, or in other words light and truth.”

What is truth? “Truth is knowledge of things as they were, as they are, and as they will be.”

Why is it important to know the truth? “A man is saved no faster than he gains intelligence [i.e. no faster than he knows truth].” “Salvation is the ability to triumph over one’s enemies.”

Therefore, we are able to triumph over our enemies no faster than we are able to know truth.

Who are our enemies? Death and hell.

What is death and hell? Hell is the Telestial world, or the world in which we now live. For by Adam, all die, but we are punished from our own sins, not for Adam’s transgression.

The Savior through the Apostle John taught that “he that hath the Son hath [eternal] life, but he that hath not the Son is condemned already”.

As Lecture Fifth points out, it is the Father’s good pleasure to bestow upon us the same Sonship as he bestowed his Only Begotten. As John, again, points out, “unto us He gave the power to become the Sons of God”.

Now we come full circle. How can we give glory to God? Know the truth and apply it.

Obtaining the Keys of Knowledge

Joseph Smith restored the idea that the truth is knowable. He also restored or reemphasized many keys of knowledge. JJ Dewey is teaching the Keys of Knowledge. What is a key of knowledge? I have given a couple of examples above: “The Glory of God is intelligence” is a key. So is the answer to the question: “Who or what are you?”

A key is a seed thought, which when meditated about, prayed about, or contemplated over, leads to the knowledge behind the key. Then, when the knowledge is obtained, the key can be a shorthand reminder of the knowledge obtained. It is important to distinguish between a key of knowledge and the knowledge which the key points to. You could have the key to my house, but the key is not the same thing as my house. However, possessing the key to my house, provided I gave it to you, or you obtained it by other legal means entitles you to obtain the blessings and benefits that my house might provide.

Knowledge of a truth is a goal, but know, itself, is a process, A Key of Knowledge can be used to trigger further meditating and contemplation and lead to increased knowledge.

Unless we ourselves obtain the knowledge that the key points to, the knowledge is not knowledge to us; it is but a belief or a second-hand knowledge. Unless a person “turns” the key, he/she does not obtain the knowledge, and the key becomes little more than a substitute for second-hand knowledge.

Here are the steps necessary to go from receiving a Key of Knowledge to obtaining the knowledge which the key unlocks. Please understand that this is a continuing process.

1. Receiving the key.

2. Knowing that you have received the key.

3. Knowing the significance of the key.

4. Knowing how to apply the key.

5. Knowing that you have applied the key correctly.

6. Knowing what the result is of having applied the key.

7. Knowing that you have received the result of having applied the key.

8. Receiving and applying the knowledge that the key points to.

9. Teaching points 1-8 to others.

This list presupposes the ability to know. The type of “knowing” that I am talking about is another term for what JJ calls listening to the voice of God within us all. It’s the same thing. Believe me, if you are attuned to that still small voice and have learned to discern it from all other voices, and learned to listen to it, and learned to trust it, that in and of itself is valuable knowledge, but not only that, it is the source of all other knowledge. So we are really speaking about the same thing. JJ is emphasizing the “what”, and I am emphasizing “how”.

By the way, I don’t know if I will ever go by a nickname. If I went by my first two names, it would be “JR”, but that has bad connotations to TV viewers. If  I were to go by “JC”, some people might think I was being sacrilegious.  I do answer to the name of “John”, but unlike the fictitious character, I am quite real, and I am quite for real.

The remainder of this document will not go any further into obtaining specific keys of knowledge, but will instead be devoted to obtaining knowledge itself.

Historic development of techniques of Enlightenment

In ancient times Enlightenment demanded the devotion of the whole life of a human being: Severing connection with everyday living, with family, rejecting the goals and ambitions. The best example is Buddha. He got Enlightenment after eight years of persistent meditation. His Enlightenment was all-inclusive, he got Direct Experience about himself, another human being, life, everything…

Many centuries latter, the Zen school of Buddhism came into existence. They discovered that it was easier to get Direct Experience on one particular segment of reality then on whole of life. Thus their followers meditated on particular koans or questions and their Gnostic Experiences were narrower, but reached Enlightenment faster.

A koan is an action, a little story, and or an especially insoluble verbal problem, so as: “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” The purpose of a koan is to force one to order to break out of normal consciousness and perceive more than the apparency.

The essence of Zen is the destruction of the automaticity of the thinking mind and with it the destruction of being a separate self-existing as a small single viewpoint. This frees YOU, the spirit, to know more DIRECTLY. There’s a hell of a big difference between thinking and knowing. Zen koan technique seems to have its roots in Buddha’s replies rejecting four questions asked of him, which translated from the Sanskrit form the following pattern:

I am.
I am not.
I both am and am not.
I neither am nor am not.

The above contradictions all held equally and simultaneously, tie the thinking mental computer into knots, short-circuits it. It is intended to allow the spirit (you) to free itself from name-and-form, subject and object, self and the thing viewed.

In traditional mystical schools they did not pay attention to the time needed to attain Gnosis or Enlightenment, because they considered time as illusion anyway. But for us, people of the 21st century, the time needed to attain anything, even Direct Experience of Truth, is most important.

So in the middle of last century some people discovered that it is more efficient if people work in pairs and groups then individually. Two human beings would alternatively meditate and communicate to each other. The logic of this conclusion is very simple: When working in pairs, we have two consciousnesses against one unconsciousness. Others discovered that the most efficient method is combination of meditation with communication, because such method empties the contents of the mind most rapidly.

Here are some techniques, which you can practice alone, for quieting one’s mind and perceiving reality directly.

  • Spotting objects in space. Quietly sit in a chair, or take a walk outside. Spot an object. Don’t look at it; just spot it. Don’t think about it. Don’t evaluate it. Don’t compare the object to anything else. Don’t assign any meaning to the object. Just take the object as you see it. Then, acknowledge that you have spotted it. Then, spot more objects. Continue until you have a major realization or cognition.
  • Anchor points. Sit or lie in a relaxed position in a room, close your eyes, and, without thinking, spot two corners of the room. Just hold that for as long as possible. See these points as your anchor points in space. See yourself occupying that space. Most people can only to this for 30 seconds. If you can hold it for as long as 2 minutes, you’re doing well. After a little practice, try it with more points, until you have all 8 corners of the room.
  • A new moment in time. Knock on the table three times. Did you hear the same knock three times, or did you hear three distinct knocks, each in its own moment of time?

Here are some general guidelines for these and other practices.  Don’t enter into them lightly. Do them with serious intent, or don’t do them at all. Don’t leave a process unfinished. Keep working at something until you have some kind of major realization. If some fear or pain comes up in the process, keep running the process. What turned it on, will also, if continued, turn it off.

Why do we need to quiet our minds?

Our minds have been compared to a computer, but whereas most computers are excellent at number crunching, our minds excel at pattern recognition. There has and probably never will be a computer developed which is as proficient as the human mind in being able to recognize all handwriting (for example), with a bare minimum of clues. Some computer programs can recognize speech, but they need to be trained to “listen” to the voice of one speaker, specking in clear distinct tones, and only speaking a few selected words. The human mind can recognize speech by speakers one has never heard before. The speech could be colored over by a thick foreign accent, a drunken slur, spoken through sobs or laughter, etc. and still be recognizable without training or programming.

In order to survive in the physical universe we need to be able to rapidly recognize a situation and handle it. Try driving to work without this ability!

However, in dealing with realities from higher worlds, especially the mental plane and above, recognizing patterns and assigning meanings and significances does not serve us well. As spiritual beings we have the innate capability of direct experience, but our existence on the physical plane has trained us to rely exclusively on concrete mental abilities. We need to develop the ability to choose the right tool for the job: to use our higher mental spiritual perceptive abilities when the need calls for it, and to use concrete reasoning and pattern recognition when the need calls for that.

How does Direct Experience affect our lives?

The only goal of practices, drills, or processes is Gnosis, Enlightenment or Direct Experience of Truth. There are no other goals. Many people feel good after achieving gnosis, but the goal is not to feel fine. Some people have better relationships with friends, partners and members of family. Sometimes people experience telepathy, precognition or ecstasy. None of these are goals. The goal is Direct Experience of Truth!

The most important consequence of Gnostic Experience is this: From that moment on the human being advances more rapidly in all systems of psychological and Spiritual teaching, meditation and self-development. Why? For the first time he/she has the stable point of consciousness inside himself/herself. Now he/she meditates, he/she learns and teaches others. Before that Experience, maybe it was his/her desire to look good in other people’s eyes, or his/her inferiority feeling or whatever…

Gnosis will enable you, as complete your life’s journey to create your own love, fulfillment, creativity and peace; you will bring light into dark parts of yourself. You will be able to make decisions yourself and not the blind forces inside you, which you are unconscious of.

The Bible advices: “Be still and know that I am God.” It might just have easily said: “Be still and know that you are God.”

The theme of this article has simply been: “Be still and know.” Once you have recovered the freedom of knowing how to know, your freedom of choosing what you want to know, and hence, of becoming that which you choose to become is thereby restored.

In compiling this article and in my own personal quest for Direct Knowledge, I found these websites helpful in explaining this process. Zvorad and Ouran are both masters in teaching and practices of this technology. Much of this article was excerpted from their excellent writings.