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  • Writer's pictureMandy Brooke Green

Christmas In Isaiah


The Mother of the Lord: Vol 1: The Lady in the Temple

BY Margaret Barker

1 Ne11:8 And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me: Look! And I looked and beheld a tree; and it was like unto the tree which my father had seen; and the beauty thereof was far beyond, yea, exceeding of all beauty; and the whiteness thereof did exceed the whiteness of the driven snow.

9 And it came to pass after I had seen the tree, I said unto the Spirit: I behold thou hast shown unto me the tree which is precious above all.

10 And he said unto me: What desirest thou?

11 And I said unto him: To know the interpretation thereof—for I spake unto him as a man speaketh; for I beheld that he was in the form of a man; yet nevertheless, I knew that it was the Spirit of the Lord; and he spake unto me as a man speaketh with another.

12 And it came to pass that he said unto me: Look! And I looked as if to look upon him, and I saw him not; for he had gone from before my presence.

13 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.

14 And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: Nephi, what beholdest thou?

15 And I said unto him: A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.

16 And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God?

17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.

18 And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.

19 And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!

20 And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.

21 And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?

22 And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.

23 And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.

LeGrand Baker's Website:

We began by observing that each of us live in three worlds. The most obvious is the world with other people in it. We have discussed that largely as an ideal, but that world is not ideal. There are all sorts of people in it. There are friends who share our concerns and defend our interests. There are enemies who would support whatever proposition that is not in our best interests. There are people who do not care about us. What is important to us never plays into their decision making. Often, we are about as interested in them as they are in us. However, it is they who may have the greatest impact on our character and our sense of Self.

They are the non-people we pass on the street, the store clerk we hand money to as though she were a vending machine. We do not listen to her when she says “have a nice day” in a voice that carries no meaning. She is an alien. We live is a world of aliens. Being surrounded by non-person aliens is lonely and depressing. I went into an office supply store just before it closed and asked the young lady where I could find something. She walked me to the rear of the store to show me where it was. As we walked we also visited, mostly about her interests. When I thanked her for her help, she looked me in the eyes and said, “Do you know, you are the only person who has been nice to me all day.” It was lonely for her to spend the whole day being a non-person.

I was no one special but I had learned from the great Jewish philosopher Martin Buber how to overcome that oppressive loneliness that comes from being a no one. In his book, I and Thou, he observed that we treat some people as though they were only two dimensional, stiff and flat like cardboard. {2}

Some people insist on presenting themselves that way, but that is their choice and need not impose itself upon our acknowledging them as real people. Buber says that as we look upon the rest of humanity as three dimensional living people, and treat them that way, we free ourselves from the unhappiness of living in a cardboard world. If we acknowledge other people as real then we can be real too.

Several years before I talked with the young woman in the office supply store my realization of what Buber meant stunned me when I realized I was treating a person the same way I would I would treat a vending machine.

At that time I regularly went to a grocery store and frequently got in the line of a somber check-out clerk. Each time, when it was my turn I would ask, “How are you?” And she would tell me!!!! I listened, but inside I responded, ‘Hey, that’s a greeting not a question.’ She answered it as a question, as though I had actually wanted to know.

I had read Buber and knew the drill, so I would smile and listen as she bagged my groceries and took my money. Then, one day I slipped off a ladder, hit my foot on the concrete sidewalk, broke my ankle, and did not go shopping for several weeks. When I did, I saw that hers was the shortest line, so I reluctantly went there. When our eyes met she said, “Hello, I haven’t seen you for a long time and I have missed you.” I was devastated! I smiled, said something pleasant, and listened again as she told me her troubles. As I stood there, Hamlet’s words echoed in my mind like an accusation. “One can smile, and smile and be a villain.”

That conversation was one of the most important in my life because it hurt so much. I was pretending to treat people as though they were real while being cardboard myself. It was a kind of emotional imprisonment that precluded the freedom to be my Self and therefore it precluded the possibility of my being at peace.

There is the world where we interact only with our own thoughts. To be at peace in that world we must be comfortable in our own minds and in our own skin.

As in the Hymn of the Pearl and several places in the Book of Mormon, one cannot be clothed in the robes of righteousness until one first removes the filthy clothing by which one is defined in and by this world, thus becoming “naked” before God. “Naked” does not necessarily mean nude. To be naked is to be stripped of the insignia by which one is defined, as when a court-martialed general is cashiered. He is stripped of medals that denoted his honors and rank, but he is not disrobed. He stands naked, but not nude. So Alma asked:

28 Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life. 29 Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? I say unto you that such an one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come; for such an one is not found guiltless (Alma 5:28-29).

An apocryphal writing reports that Jesus’s disciples asked, “‘When will you become revealed to us and when shall we see you?’Jesus said, ‘When you disrobe without being ashamed and take up your [clothes] and place them under your feet like little children and tread on them, then will you see the son of the living one, and you will not be afraid.’” {3}


Peace is the power to be one’s Self.

{1}Lady McBeth in Shakespeare’s McBeth, Act 3, Scene 2.

{2} Martin Buber, I and Thou (New York, Scribner, 2000).

{3} Gospel of Thomas in James M. Robinson, ed., The Nag Hammadi Library in English (San Francisco, Harper & Row, 1988), 130-37.

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