Workshop - The Holy Word
Verbatim transcript of a short talk given by Rhondell
at Lake Whitney, TX – 1979
[Clarification notes by transcriber italicized and in brackets.]
It would be interesting to take a few words, and consider what the message does for us. So this morning, we have decided to talk on what pure religion is. Now, there’s many people talk about religion around the world, so we’re takin’ it straight from the scripture as to what religion is.
This is from the book of James, the first chapter, and starting at verse 27 (and is only the 27’th verse.)
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit the
fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unspotted
from the world.”
Now that seems rather simple, and maybe most people could live with that, regardless of their other ideas and affiliations. Now, “undefiled” is the first word that we will look at in it. ‘Undefiled’ is from a word that something is defiled is trampled under foot. So this says, “Pure religion and undefiled,” which means it hasn’t been trampled under foot – it is simply what it is. When we trample things under foot is when we start building our own ideas, putting our own ideologies and our own thinking onto something and then make it like we think it ought to be.
Now, most of the scripture is spent by many people trying to ‘interpret’. Now, I’m not going to interpret any, because scripture and spiritual writings are instruments devised by very wise men to have an effect on the person. They really are instruments. And they do have a decided effect. Now if one takes these instruments and attempts to take them apart (which we ordinarily call “interpretation”) we will take it back to exactly what we had when we came to it, because we’re gonna interpret in the light of the ideas that we already hold to be true. And so, we will take it apart, analyze it, and get it down to what we already had. And that is called “defiling it” because we’re tramplin’ it under foot of our conditioning and education.
Now if we just leave it alone, we will find that very shortly, that that material which we just read [present tense] has a decided effect on us. Now there was one little book that was mentioned yesterday here that was called Life’s Word. Well, I’ve run into people who’s attempting to interpret it. And as long as they interpret, they wind up with what they had before. They’re defiling, trampling it under foot. And if it’s just read, and not try to interpret it or analyze it or do anything about it, you will find it has a tremendous effect on you. If you will read a chapter of scripture, or even a verse or a few, or a little parable, and don’t try to analyze it, but just let it alone, it will have a tremendous effect on you. The Truth works on us, not the other way around.
Now, if we start with our preconceived opinions and our viewpoints, and attempt to analyze or interpret, we are working on a very precious, a very holy instrument. And we take it apart and, of course, it doesn’t work then. And that’s called “defiling”. So if I may offer a little brotherly suggestion, whenever you read spiritual material, you just read it. And don’t analyze it. Now, you’ll find there’s something in you that jumps up and wants to interpret and analyze. But just let it alone and get away from it – put it down, go do somethin’ else. And in a very short time, you’ll find that this instrument, which we refer to as ‘scripture’ or ‘spiritual writing’, has had a decided effect on us.
Now as it says here, “undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction.” Yesterday, we talked about that our Purpose and Will were separated in most cases. ‘Cause as soon as we were born, everybody went to work on us to tell us what we should do, what we ought to do, what we must do, and as far as I’m concerned we’re still being told that ever day. And of course, that Will is then left off by itself and it’s called a “widow”… and “orphan” because it doesn’t have its Father with it which is what the purpose of the living is all about - what the purpose to do. So it is called “the widows and orphans”.
Now, we’re obviously not discounting here that the man may be speaking also of literal widows and orphans. But we don’t see too many of those in our particular society that’s in decidedly a state of affliction. They’re usually gettin’ along pretty well these days. In fact, investment groups go to them to get the money to put in their schemes. So, usually that isn’t it.
But definitely we could look at the Will is laboring under a tremendous odds – trying to do what it ought to, should do, and must, and never allowed to do what it really wants to do. So then we would look within ourselves (which is to visit the fatherless, the widows and orphans), would look within ourselves and see that the Will is out here strugglin’ away with all kinds of ideals of what we should do, ought to do and must do. And to visit that is something very awakening to an individual. And one begins to see that one’s purpose has been totally ignored and so rejected that it is such an orphan off by itself that we don’t even know what it is.
When you ask the person, “What would you like to do?” they can’t answer. Now if you say, “What would you like to have?” yes, they can come up with answers but having is the outcome of our doing, if you will notice. So we don’t have to worry about what we want to have. Cause I tell people I want everything – just a little bit at a time. I want some of it now and some of it then. But when you wanna ask me what I want, I want everything. Let’s face it. But what do I want to DO is rather selective. And the way one feels one wants to express oneself at this moment, and what do I want to do, the outcome of one’s doing is of course the having. So that is visiting the fatherless and the widows in their affliction.
And it says to keep oneself unspotted from the world. The world is the world of conditioned ideas, conditioning that the whole purpose of living is to be non-disturbed – by gaining and escaping which leaves us forever in a conflict and a struggle trying to gain pleasure and escape pain. And we go to great lengths to gain certain pleasures, and very quickly it’s no longer a pleasure anymore… it becomes a bore. And it does usually produce a decided amount of pain while we’re strugglin’ to get it. And we want 100% of other people’s attention. Well, obviously, we’re not gonna get that. We have plenty of it, but we don’t have any monopoly on havin’ all the attention in the world directed towards me, and so then the person will feel that in some way they’re ignored or rejected. Now, nobody is - I’ve never found anybody. I think there was at one time a punishment used in China called “Ostracism”; it was considered to be a death penalty. When somebody in the community violated the rules of the community, the greater number of the community got together and agreed that this person (we’ll say “Joe”) is ostracized. And so nobody would recognize that he exists. He’d go in a restaurant - he was ignored; if he went into a grocery store he was ignored; if he walked down the street he was ignored. He become a “no-entity” and this was considered to be a death penalty cause nobody could stand it. So apparently, we all require a bit of attention, but we don’t have to have a monopoly on it.
And further, we want to have all the approval in the world – we want a monopoly on approval. We’re not gonna get that either, but each of us here gets enough approval in a day to get by with. It’s like havin’ a hamburger or two through the day – you know, you get enough. And then of course we all want to be appreciated and we want a monopoly on appreciation. But obviously, we all appreciate many people so we can’t give any one person a monopoly on it.
Now the world says, “I’ve gotta have it all,” and it says, “If I don’t get it, I will complain.” And that “spots” us a little bit accordin’ to scriptures – that we are now spotted. We have spots on us like a leopard because we’re goin’ around complainin’, tryin’ to get 100% of these little things. We want 100% of pleasure. And we can’t have any pain whatsoever – we go into a panic. And then, we stick up for our rights, which is another little spot. And we do blaming. And then we go through the struggle that I’ve got to please everyone. And that I have to do, believe as I’ve been told by the authorities I’ve run into through my life. And that I have to be different. Now all of these together makes up what’s called the “World”. And of course if one lives by them, one lives in constant agony because there’s two camps of ‘em: one says complain, stick up for your rights and blame; and the other one says, “You musn’t do that. You must do what you’ve been told by your authorities and you must please everybody whether you like it or not, even though they’re jerks. And you’ve gotta improve yourself until where you don’t have ANY desire of your own. You have no purpose.” Now that is trying to make a robot. And that is what is called being unspotted… and to keep oneself from being unspotted from the world which means that we can give up conditioning. I no longer have to have it in order to get along. And when we see that – that this is in some language called “invasion by demons” because they do gain great power over people, and they do exercise great control over people. And we begin to see them for what they are. We recognize another statement in scripture that says, “The devil has no truth in him.” In other words, he cannot ‘pronounce’ anything. So when this thing comes up and says, “Complain,” it’s about a lie – isn’t anything to it.
So when I begin to recognize that I’m listening to lies, attempting to direct me in my way in the world, one doesn’t listen to them anymore. You know if you discover that someone you’re working with is totally incapable of tellin’ you a fact, you wouldn’t believe anything they say. We even have little fables about that like the little boy that ‘hollered wolf’ so he’d have company out guardin’ his sheep. Pretty soon after many attempts, the people discovered that he was a little fibber and they weren’t goin’ out to listen. A wolf really came by one day and eat the little boy up. Then he didn’t cry wolf anymore.
And so this lays down that we are to be unspotted – we have no arrangements with, we have no communication with devils, with demons which we refer to as not-I’s (we’re a little more polite about it, but never the less the description fits exactly the same.) Conditioning raises up its attempts to direct us and we call that a not-I, and of course they were formerly called demons. But we have no communication with them – we recognize that anything they say is a lie. So one comes along and says, “Well that so-and-so treated you terrible - you have ever reason to go clobber him!” That’s a lie. He tries to tempt me to do that – he wants me to blame him for all my difficulties, he wants me to blame somebody for my present state of affairs. Now if I will listen to that, I am having my entire being totally spotted by these lies, which I recognize as lies, but I’m acceptin’ ‘em as being true because we have since childhood.
And here then would be truly a religious person – one which would give no credence to any not-I, any bit of conditioning flying through itself. Now we can’t keep it from comin’, cause we say it’s a not-I, therefore I have no control over it but I don’t have to believe it. I can’t keep him from talkin’. That’s his own prerogative. He can talk but I don’t have to believe it. So I can be unspotted from the world. I can see that I can get my Purpose and Will together without harming anyone or any person. But I can be doing what seems that my purpose is. And each of us are unique so we can’t all have the same purpose obviously. It will be expressed in as many ways as there are each of us in this world. And now we are truly a religious person. It doesn’t say you have to profess to believe this or believe that or believe the other thing… that you have to go through this ritual or that ritual. That you are free of all rituals and regulations and do’s and don’ts, that you are your own being. And that with being aware of conditioning, and what you are and where you are, what’s goin’ on and what you can do, you will be truly a religious person. You may express it any way you desire.
So if we would be interested in being a religious person, which is another word for saying today that you are a spiritual person, it is very simple. It is said here in one little verse of scripture. I think that’s most amazing because most ideologies that want to set up a theology (which is not religion) write great books and manuals of what you must do, must not do, what ritual you must perform, what you have to say you believe and do not believe. But the scripture comes back and simply says in one simple verse: “Visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction and keep oneself unspotted from the world,” - the world being the world of conditioning. May we have a moment of silent prayer. [silence follows and then Dr. Bob says the following prayer]
Father we thank thee for the beautiful day, for having the privilege of reading from thy holy word. May we take it to our hearts and let it work upon us. Amen.