This episode departs from the typical Mormon Matters pattern in that it features a conversation with just one guest rather than a panel. But what a guest! Philip McLemore is a former CES instructor who then served for twenty-one years as an LDS chaplain in the Air Force and then another eight years as a hospice chaplain. During these times he underwent a dramatic spiritual transformation that was instigated and nurtured by a his beginning a serious meditation practice. Ultimately he was ordained within the Kriya Yoga tradition, which was brought to the U.S. and the west by Paramhansa Yogananda, and Phil now teaches meditation (in person as well as online) that is quite typically eastern in the form of his practices, but with the teachings centered primarily on the mystical and yogic path and the resources for it that abound within Christianity and Mormonism.
In today’s conversations, Phil and Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon explore in depth insights from two sources that Dan refers to quite often in Mormon Matters episodes as matches between these and that week’s topic come up. Dan’s interest in both things come from Phil—one is his reading of the Prodigal Son parable, which is better named the Parable of the Two Lost Sons—and the other is a five-stage model of spiritual growth and changing/deepening one’s relationship with God that Phil developed and that draws upon scriptural labels and metaphors for each stage.
Part 1 (Episode 327) overviews Phil’s journey from Mormon convert at age 19 to where his present interests, spirituality, and practices are today, and then does a deep dive on the Parable of the Two Lost Sons.
Part 2 (Episode 328) begins with an exploration of patterns and models found in great religions (including Mormonism) that ultimate culminate in ceremonies and then (hopefully/ideally) transformed lives that find a perfect balance of femaleness and maleness and the energies associated with them. This is preparatory work for the introduction of Phil’s five stage model, which culminates in what he names the “Beloved” stage, a mystical union with God. As Phil states in the podcast, friends share, but lovers unite.
These are powerful conversations with insights that might very well be pointers to “the” ultimate task of life, the kinds of transformations through which we find the divine nature unfolding within us. Let us know what you think! Please share your thoughts and questions and insights through the World Table commenting system below.
Philip G. McLemore, “Mormon Mantras: A Journey of Spiritual Transformation,” Sunstone, April 2006
Philip G. McLemore, “The Yoga of Christ,” Sunstone, June 2007
Philip G. McLemore, “Hindering the Saints: Taking Away the Key of Knowledge,” Sunstone, September 2012
“Meditate with Phil” website (to explore a five-part seminar on meditation and various philosophies and approaches; also to sign up for a monthly subscription with several important benefits)
“The Hymn of the Pearl,” from The Acts of Thomas. (Gnostic Society Library version).
Excerpts from “The Hymn of the Pearl” plus Carol Lynn Pearson’s poem “Within,” a handout prepared by Dan Wotherspoon for sharing in LDS circles.