When protected, it is a fortress—with seven doors, doors that can only be opened by your permission.
Happy is the soul who guards those doors wisely.
The first door, the eyes. Your eyes are the proverbial window to your soul. We open our eyes to see a scene, a person, a truth. We let the image in. For good or ill, the image becomes part of your being.
Second, the ears. We listen to others through our ears but also with our souls. At first we may listen without the other person really knowing we are listening to them. We are interested. We are intrigued. We quiet ourselves and listen.
This happened on my mission: I helped teach an investigator in Kirtland, Ohio back in 1978. Nothing happened. Fourteen years later, I saw him again and he revealed to me that he had listened to our testimonies and “devoured” a book we had given him, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder by LeGrand Richards. I didn’t know that at the time. When I saw him that day in the Portland Oregon Temple, he presented his temple recommend to me (I worked at the recommend desk). It was profound evidence that a door to his soul had quietly opened many years before.
The third is the mouth. With trust and confidence gained from eyes and ears, we begin to speak and share. We open up. First, we may share a simple fact from our lives, but as trust grows, we reveal ever deepening avowals. With the people you trust the most, you can share anything without fear; with those we fear, we conceal our essence.
The fourth portal is the mind. We open our thoughts to ponder and meditate. We let words and ideas distill upon us, drop by drop. We think about an experience over and over. It can be our own experience or the experience of another. The mind, of course, is involved from the beginning, but the door fully opens through intentional thought, deliberate meditation.
An example of this for me is the experience of our Savior in the garden Gethsemane, something I’ve pondered for many years. I think of how He felt completely alone, how He begged for relief, and how He yielded. How He did not bleed until He completely yielded. That is my own conclusion; it does not come from the scriptures, but it feels true to me. I will hold it as true until someone convinces me otherwise, but I won’t teach it as doctrine. I offer it only as an opinion that has passed through a door to my soul.
The fifth, the heart. The mind is a pathway to the heart. I am not speaking of the physical heart that pumps blood through our veins. I am talking about something else. I don’t really know what the heart is. It may be connected to the physical heart but it is much larger. It is at the center of our bodies. It glows and vibrates and shines and crackles. We weep and laugh. We may open this door when we are reading a book or writing one or listening to a talk in sacrament meeting or talking to a spouse, a child, a friend, even a stranger or listening to a sparrow or the wind sing, or contemplating a memory or the voice of the Holy Spirit. The heart is the sail of the soul.
The sixth is the spirit. Your soul, your eternal friend, is a union of your body and spirit. It is where the physical meets the spiritual. It is where the past meets the future. It is eternal. It is where we see across a vast expanse, forward and backward, into a time and place we seem to remember but cannot fully grasp. It is a place where we come to understanding or recollection before the mind and heart arrives. It is where we connect with the truth. When we connect with it, when that door is open to it, we forget we are on earth. Heaven is here and now. It is a way to peace, a peace that goes beyond understanding.
The seventh and last is sacred, human touch. This is the door we often open too early. We are anxious to open it. We are desperate to find a soul mate. We think when we open that door that it will throw open all the other doors, but in this we are often disappointed. When physical touch begins so does trouble when that touch comes too early.
My wife and I never kissed until after we were engaged. We had known each other for over three years. To some that may seem Victorian, but really it was reverence for the sacred and reverence helps relationships last.
No door to the soul is more sensitive to timing than human touch. No door is deeper in the fortress. When it is opened in the right way with the right person at the right time, it is a joyful door to open, this final door. But this is why divorce and unstable relationships can be so painful and harmful. We long for the last door to be opened, but when we open it at the wrong time or for the wrong reasons or with the wrong person, it can destroy us.
These are the doors to your soul—our fortress.
Let no enemy enter.