Sacred literature demands the reader carefully engage not only the text itself but great and eternal principles. One simple method of active reading is to utilize the ‘look for’ method.
After many years of such engagement, Jared Demke began to notice specific repeated themes, usually in a certain order. He noticed, for example, that soon after passages where sacred promises and covenants are described, later in the chapter one would find beautiful verses on how those same promises are fulfilled.
He also found that when covenants are introduced, within a few verses one would often find verbiage having to do with how we find ourselves living in and dealing with the trials and tribulations and troubles of a sometimes hostile world. Then later in the same chapter or book, he noticed that the theme was repeated, where instruction was given on how we might overcome the world. He also noticed another related theme having to do with how we should act as one of the Lord’s servants here on earth – effectively drawing down the blessings of heaven.
Jared began to document the pattern of these repeated themes – found in almost every Old and New Testament book, in the Book of Mormon, and in most other sacred literature. He documented six major elements of parallel repeated themes. Sometimes these themes would be direct parallels, for example, themes ABCDEF, ABCDEF. In other cases the second set of repeated themes would be in reverse order – an inverse parallelism, or as it is known among biblical scholars by the Greek term, chiasmus. The themes would begin ABCDEF, but the second set of parallels would be found in reverse order, FEDCBA.
Altogether, we have together documented hundreds of examples and published a couple hundred online. In what turned out to be the last five years of his life, we spent time refining the presentation of the pattern. However, we purposely let our thoughts percolate rather than publish too early. Jared focused even more on his young family. We learned more, read more, and experienced more of sacred things. I was privileged to work alongside him and collaborate with him in this effort—one of the most intellectually and spiritually satisfying (and fulfilling) aspects of my life. It informs all other aspects of my life, my love, my service, and my perspective on life and the eternities and the Divine.
The very center of these chiastic examples (or the endpoint of a six-element parallelism) would usually be a poignant description of Jesus and how he suffered for us; how dearly he loved us; how we can/should identify with Him; and how—most beautifully—one day we would be “encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.” In the 1996 General Conference, Elder Russell M. Nelson described this aspect of the Atonement, thusly, “Closely related is the Aramaic and Arabic word kafat, meaning ‘a close embrace,’ no doubt related to the Egyptian ritual embrace. . . . [Another Book of Mormon passage] proffers the glorious hope of our being ‘clasped in the arms of Jesus.’ I weep for joy when I contemplate the significance of it all. To be redeemed is to be atoned – received in the close embrace of God. . . .” One of the inspiring filters he outlined was to read the Davidic pattern through the lens of Temple Imagery.
Scott L. Vanatter, October 2009
The Mythological Journey Inward
|Description||Key Words||Description||Pairs of Opposites|
|A — Word of the Lord||A – Innocence|
|The Lord speaks his word to his servant.||Hear this, Hearken, Praise, Name, etc.||Our original state of innocence/slumbering: We are unaware, unknowing, and mostly in ignorance of the divinity that is deep within us.||Material / Spiritual|
|B — The Lord’s Covenant||B — An Awakening — The Call|
|The Abrahamic covenant is established.||Promise(s), Inheritance, New Things, Hidden Things, Things of God, Shall Come to Pass, etc.||Inner feelings of being awakened from a deep sleep: and having a great yearning, and desire to approach and explore. If one has the courage to continue on to the potential of something better, there will be overwhelming incredible and sometimes terrifying experiences that changes one’s existing paradigm.||Outward / Inward|
|C — The World||C — The Journey Inward and Backward (Duality)|
|The Anti-Christ is identified.||World, Wicked, Contentions, Apostasy, Satan, Egypt, Babylon, Earth, etc. [feminine]||Inner feelings of being separated, unconnected, fragmented, and alone in the world (error, darkness). Terrifying, dark, chaotic encounters within the pyche. Deep retreat in time and space. The world does not communicate to us and we do not communicate to the world. This “Waste Land” condition (described by T.S. Eliot) constitutes a disassociation of spirit from nature.||Works / Grace|
|D — The Lord’s Servant||D — Connected with Light|
|The Davidic Servant is revealed.||Servant, Prophet, Moses, Truth, Righteousness, Kingdom, Heaven, etc. [masculine]||Inner feelings of being reunited, connected, together with those in heaven. A wholeness manifested (truth, light). This healing can only be attained by the light/spirit of: 1) spontaneous compassion, 2) a passion or lust for life, and 3) enduring sublime love. Everything is accomplished by the impulse of one’s own true nature; nothing borrowed, nothing counterfeited.||Kingdom Out There / Kingdom Within|
|E – Preservation||E — Gnosis (Experiential)|
|The Servant is preserved temporally in trials before his enemies.||Preserved, Salvation, Pillars, Gates, Manna, Wine, etc. [boldly]||Inner feelings of receiving gnosis, knowing, intuition, love. The opposing gates of fear and desire are boldly passed through.||Fear / Desire|
|F — The Suffering Servant||F — Realization (Mind)|
|The Servant is despised and rejected (as a type of Christ), a man of sorrows.||Suffering, Afflicted, Despised, Rejected, etc. [ nobly]||Inner feelings of receiving comfort, grace, beauty, and wonder. “Privation and suffering alone open the mind of a man to all that is hidden to others.” These centering harmonious feelings are reached through the noble experience of joy in a world of suffering.||Abase / Exalted|
|F – Atonement (The Presence of God)||F’ — At-one-ness (Heart)|
|Ultimately receives his anointing.||Oneness, Unity, Embrace, Kiss, Throne, Name, Glory, etc. [nobly]||Receiving the full measure of the stature of Christ (within). The accent is on experience, “an experience of identity with the Godhead.” To then be able to nobly speak and do, “The Father and I are one.”||Suffering in Joy / Joy in Suffering|
|E’ – Salvation||E’ — Intimacy (Passion/Compassion, Comfort/Peace)|
|The Servant is preserved spiritually and receives the Lord’s salvation.||Salvation, Exalted, Preserved, Inheritance, Mercy, etc. [independent]||Becoming perfect, fully confident in one’s standing/relationship with the lord, comforted in all things. Independent of the feelings others place on you; no malice expressed and nor offense taken.||Death / Resurrection|
|D’ — The Lord’s Davidic Servant||D’ — Full of Light|
|The Davidic Servant, as a new Moses, gathers and leads the righteous.||Servant, Prophet, Truth, Righteousness, Kingdom, Heaven, Eternity, etc. [masculine]||Feelings of being full of light with the power and courage to bestow blessings to fellow men. Gratitude and awe of the Infinite. These new powers are experienced both in control over one’s own situation and influence with others. One becomes a creative center of the life/light process.||Kingdom Later / Kingdom NOW|
|C’ — Overcoming the World||C’ — The Journey Outward and Forward (Union)|
|The Anti-Christ is destroyed.||Overcome, World, Wicked, Cut Off, Contentions, Judgment, Destruction, Earth, etc. [feminine]||Feelings of clarity: Living in the present and seeing the world as it really is: perfect, whole and complete just as they are. Our bodies are at one with this world; both of which constitute an “oasis in the desert of infinite space.”||Law / Freedom|
|B’ – Fulfillment||B’ — Fully Awakened — Bliss|
|Covenant blessings are given in full to the Servant.||Fulfill, Restoration, Deliverance, Covenant(s), Promise(s), Inheritance, etc.||A rebirth to life. All desires and all yearnings are fulfilled. We are re-introduced back into the Garden.||Tree of Knowledge / Tree of Life|
|A’ — Salvation Song||A’ — Christ Consciousness (”The Mind of Christ”)|
|The Servant testifies of the truth of God.||Hosanna, Name, Amen, Sing, etc.||Fully conscious, fully knowing, fully creative, spontaneous, and living from the center.||Lose / Find|