Accessing Divine Truth through the Word

January 28, 2023

Get ready for some computer science history. And bear with me: I have a spiritual point to make at the end.

Have you ever heard someone talk about “booting up” a computer? This is a term almost as old as computing itself. It refers to a sequence of steps a computer takes to go from an inert pile of circuitry to a functioning, “computing” machine.

You see, everything a computer does it does by running a set of instructions called a program. But how does it know how to run programs at all? That’s where the operating system comes in. The operating system is a lower-level program that all the application programs run on. It is responsible for managing the computer’s physical resources (memory, storage, input, and output devices, etc.) as well as for executing the instructions within individual application programs.

But before the computer is turned on, the operating system isn’t loaded into memory. This creates something of a circular problem: the operating system is how the computer knows how to run software, but it is also itself a piece of software that needs to be loaded and executed. Effectively, it wakes up to the world like a newborn child, or maybe more aptly like an adult with amnesia. The central processing unit (CPU) has nothing to work with, and so nothing can happen.

To solve this problem, computers have a section of their memory called a “boot block” that stores very simple instructions for loading and then executing the full operating system. Usually, a boot block is the very first “track” in the computer’s memory or storage. (Note: I’m simplifying things here, but this is the gist.) It’s called a “boot” track, and the process of having the computer load its own operating system into its memory is called “booting” because this is short for “bootstrapping”–the act of reaching down, grabbing the straps of your boots (you have straps on your boots, yeah?) and lifting yourself off the ground. Physically impossible, but a cute analogy for what the computer is doing inside its own head.

So…what’s the point in all this? I tell you this because this is also how we access divine truth through the Word.


According to Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture (50-61), we need three things to properly perceive divine truth: the science of correspondences, doctrine, and enlightenment.

Correspondences help us “decode” the symbolic representations in the literal stories of the Word into higher concepts, like stones into truths, or gold into love. Enlightenment is a gift from the Lord that opens our perception in response to our sincere love of truth and life of good according to it. And finally, doctrine is instruction, thinking, and synthesis of ideas about what the Word is trying to say to us and how we understand it.

But there’s a catch. According to those same passages, the Word cannot be understood without doctrine, and yet doctrine must be drawn from and also confirmed by what is written in the literal sense of the Word. Seems like a closed loop, doesn’t it? So how does the Lord get us around this problem?

Well, while much of the Word is a collection of stories, genealogies, wild visions, poems, chronologies, and such, it also has here and there throughout simple statements of pure, genuine teaching/doctrine. It can be tricky figuring out what the divine truth is within the story of David numbering the people, for instance, but when the Lord straightforwardly says, “Love the Lord and love your neighbor…upon these hang all the Law and the Prophets”, it doesn’t take any work to see what He means by it.

Some of these “boot block” passages aren’t quite as obvious at first glance, but many are. If you want to see an example of this process of starting with a simple doctrinal statement in the Word and using that to unlock and “boot up” additional doctrine, read through…well…Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture. It uses this method extensively to teach us how to read the Word.

So, if you want to perceive real Truth, and you are armed with a knowledge of correspondences and are living a life of charity that the Lord can infill with enlightenment, then you just have to read the Word. But don’t forget to boot it up: start with what the Word plainly teaches as doctrine, and then read the rest of it in light of that. As you go, you will discover more and more doctrine, which, if put into action, will lead to more enlightenment, and enrich your life in a never-ending cycle. For eternity.

Truly, the Lord is good.

Rev. Mac Frazier

January 25, 2023

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