Rise Up

We are in the midst of a marvelous time.  A quote from my favorite talk:

“I bear witness of Christ. I have seen Him! I know He lives! I know He is coming in judgment, and I know that before His coming, He has wanted some things to be declared. I have been as faithful as I can be in declaring the things asked of me. I sense keenly my own inadequacy. I beg you to overlook all that and not let me become a stumbling block. Look at the scriptures, look at the words of Christ, look at the explanations we got from Joseph, look at the things that are true, and go to Him in faith believing.

I began with a description of Him. I want to repeat that. The Lord is affable, but He is not gregarious. He is approachable. He is not aloof. He is patient and He is willing to guide and willing to teach. He is intelligent, but He [is] not overbearing. He is humble and approachable in His demeanor, even though His power is absolutely undeniable. Therefore, He is both a Lamb and a Lion. If you come to Him in the day He offers redemption to you, you will be coming to the Lamb. But if you wait for His coming in judgment, you are waiting on the Lion, and you will not like what you will see.

I asked you to remember He is quick to forgive sin. He allows all to come to Him. He is no respecter of persons. I said that when I began, I’m saying it again as we end today.

He is real! He lives! His work of redemption continues right now, just as it continued throughout His mortal life, just as it continued as He hung on the cross, just as it continued in His resurrection in Palestine, and as He came to visit with the Nephites. He ministered to other sheep, and He has called other people. There are, in fact, holy men who ye know not of who still remain on earth.

If there was anything more I could do or say that I thought would convince or persuade you to believe in Him, I would do it or I would say it. But despite it all, I realize some of you are going to walk out of here thinking that I’m just another one of these latter-day blowhards. That is all good and well. Please however, give heed to the scriptures I’ve read, the words of Joseph I quoted, and the fact I do have a witness that Christ is approachable. He is every bit as much alive today as when He was when He walked on the road to Emmaus. He is every bit as willing to come and redeem you from the Fall as He was willing to redeem others before. His work and His glory culminates with your redemption. His success is redeeming you. You think the scriptures give you hope of eternal life. That is true. I have used them today to show you how great things the Lord has done. The scriptures testify what I am saying is true.

If you think, ‘Well, He is aloof and He is distant, and this is an impossible high thing to achieve.’ The fact of the matter is, it is a greater achievement on His end to redeem you, than your end to be redeemed. There is more anxiety, more desire, and more rejoicing in heaven when He redeems someone from the Fall than there is here.

He came, He suffered, He lived, He died, He did what He did in order to lift all of Creation, and you are inextricably connected to Him. Therefore, trust that. Receive Him. It may start very slow, very small, very distant. Act on that, hearken to that, it gets louder. You will never wind up in the company of Gods and angels, if you are not willing to have faith in those preliminary things you first receive. Ask. Then go and do what He asks.

When I first got an answer to prayer sitting in a barracks in New Hampshire, if I hadn’t acted on that I would never have beheld the Lord, much less been taught by Him. But I did, and I do. Whatever He still asks of me, I do. It does not matter how unpleasant I find it, or how reluctant I may be. I go and I do. You need to do likewise. It may not even make much sense to you when you’re going and doing. You may think you are offending when you absolutely do not intend to do so. You may find the people you love rejecting you.

I lost friends and was rejected when I converted to Mormonism. Then I found a new family in the faith I accepted as a nineteen year old. After forty years I was rejected by that new family. I have laid everything on the line for the Lord twice now in a single lifetime. I cannot tell you what sacrifices He may ask of you, but whatever He asks of you, that do you.

Let me end by bearing testimony and witness to you, that the things I’ve been saying, beginning in Boise and going on through Phoenix, the beginning date, the ending date, the content, the fact that there are 10 of them, the timeframe in which they are being delivered, the fact He wanted us to begin on the first day of the 40th year, and He wanted us to end on the last day of the 40th year, those things are not my doing. He is the author of this all.

Hearken to the word of the Lord. End your days on this barren treadmill and rise up. There is no reason to fail when the Lord offers you His word, and even His presence, today. He will not leave you here comfortless, but He will come and take up His abode with you. The idea this is only to happen ‘in your heart’ is an old sectarian notion, and is false. Joseph Smith declared that, and I declare he spoke the truth.”

I was present at this talk.  I have listened to it several times since, as well as the other talks alluded to in the above excerpt.  I have learned so much from it, and my soul rejoices in all the things the Lord has taught me over the past several years through many different people and experiences.  My heart aches to somehow be able to tell everyone I love all of it, and discuss it all with them.  But I have learned that is pretty much impossible, especially unless people ask and want to know.  Agency is so important.

So, all I can do, I think, is share some small bits of things I love.  And if anyone wants to know anything more about any of what I love and think about and believe, they can ask. Please feel free to ask.  And the more I learn the more I realize how little I know :).  So, whatever anyone says, we always have to ask the Lord what is true.  And be open to the fact that what we think, or are even sure is true, may not be true, or may be perceived incorrectly.  Or that we might be conflating true things with things that are not true, and therefore mistaking where the truth actually is. For example, consider that maybe the Church and the gospel are not the same thing.

If our hearts are not soft, if our necks are stiff, it is very difficult for the Lord to get us to see the truth and see our errors.  Because He will not take our agency, to believe what we want, away.

One big thing I have learned is that we damn ourselves, and what that mainly means is we stop learning.  We do that often by thinking we already know.  Either our pride in what we know, or our fear of encountering something that might shake our faith or cause us to doubt, causes us to put up walls (or set up stakes as Joseph Smith put it) around what we think God will do or not do, and around what we will listen to, or read, or study, or even pray about.  And so we stop our own progression, and therefore damn ourselves.  I try not to do that anymore.  But I know it is hard.

J. Reuben Clark said: “If we have truth, [it] cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not truth, it ought to be harmed.” 

Joseph Smith said: “One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.”  

The scriptures tell us to ask, seek, and knock.

I am part of an online group of friends.  We consider ourselves like a family.  Most of us have met in person now, some of us quite a few times, although we live in many different states, and even one of us is out of the country.  We love each other.  When we started, our commonality was a belief in the Doctrine of Christ and a desire to seek truth wherever it could be found, and also a desire to care for each other.  We also have all experienced some level of pain or sacrifice or even persecution for what we believe.  For several years now we have supported each other emotionally, spiritually, and physically – even caring for the financial needs of each other when we have needed help.

I mention this because we are an interesting sort of rabble :).  Aside from the commonality of believing in, or wanting to believe in, the Doctrine of Christ, we pretty much disagree to some extent on lots of issues, and we are not afraid to talk about it.  And boy, do we talk about it :).  We discuss and debate and persuade.  We cite scripture and relate experiences, and we love, and we forgive.  We cry, and we laugh.  We commiserate, and we pray for each other.  We partake of the Lord’s Supper together, and we sometimes chat late into the night about silly or sensitive or even shocking subjects, or what ever comes into our minds.

I mention this also because when I think about it, this amazes me.  It is something that I have not experienced in a group before.  It is not an idyllic wonderland, because we are human and have made mistakes, and sometimes been offended, and gotten mad, and been sad.  But generally we have gotten through that stuff, and mostly we have hung together and forgiven.  And I feel more free there than in any group I can imagine, because the level of judgement of each other is so low.  The goal there is to not judge (again, we do not exhibit perfection, but the effort is great), just to LOVE.  To deal with each other as D&C 121 says, to persuade, and be gentle, and meek, and have love unfeigned, etc.  And everyone wants to learn and to do what the Lord wants, and the level of fear of learning new truth, and finding out we are wrong, is low. I, for one, have learned so much!  Lack of fear and great love is so conducive to learning.

We have some in the group who have seen the Lord, and some have seen angels, and some have heard the voice of the Lord, and some have been taught in dreams and visions, and many have had other great spiritual experiences, and we have all learned from each other, and no one is in charge, and no one is better than any of the rest of us.  And we all know we have so much to learn, and so much unbelief to overcome.

So, this all has to do with the quote I put in this post because it is about being free to seek truth so that we can rise up and be like Christ and actually know Him, and follow only Him.  We can help each other do that.  We have to let go of fear and hold on to love.  The Lord loves us and wants us to find truth.  Truth is delicious to our soul.  Hearing the same thing over and over is not edifying to us.  But learning more and more is progression and is wonderful to us!  But it is impossible if we dam ourselves up behind tradition, and philosophies of men mingled with scripture, and loyalty to false hierarchies, and unbelief (which is believing in wrong things).  Because then we have damned ourselves.  And if we are not learning more, we are losing what we do know:

2 Nephi 28:29 Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!

30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

The rest of the talk excerpted above can be found here: http://denversnuffer.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/07-Ephraim-Transcript-Christ.pdf

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The Testimony of John

Since it is almost Easter, I wanted to post an excerpt from The Testimony of John (John the Beloved’s Testimony of Jesus the Messiah).  I love this book.  If you read the whole of this book, you can see it is about ascension through following in the pathway of Jesus Christ.  The complete text of The Testimony of John can be found here: 

http://scriptures.info/Scriptures/pgp/john/

Here is an excerpt, which is the last chapter which takes place after the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ:

“The first day of the week Mary the Elect Lady went in the early morning while it was still dark to the burial sepulcher. She saw the stone was rolled away from the sepulcher, and two angels sitting on it. Then she ran to Simon Peter, who was with the other disciple Jesus loved, and said to them, They have removed the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we do not know where he is now established. Peter and the other disciple departed for the sepulcher, running together. The other disciple outran Peter and arrived first at the sepulcher. And he bent down, and looked in, and saw the linen burial cloths. But he did not enter the tomb. Then Simon Peter joined him, and he went into the sepulcher and saw the linen burial cloths, and also the shroud that covered his body. It was not lying with the other burial cloths. Instead it was folded and set down alone. Then the other disciple who arrived first, also entered the sepulcher, and he saw the empty tomb and believed. They still did not understand the prophecy that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples departed to return home.

“But Mary stood outside the sepulcher weeping. And as she wept, she bent down and looked into the sepulcher. She saw two angels in white, the one at the head, and the other at the feet where the body of Jesus had lain. They asked her, Woman, why are you mourning? She answered them, Because someone has removed the body of my Lord, and I do not know where he is now. After she said this, she walked away and then saw Jesus standing in the garden area. She failed to recognize that it was Jesus. Jesus asked her, Woman, why are you mourning? Who are you looking for? She assumed he was tending the garden, and answered, Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where he is, and I will claim him. Jesus said to her, Mary.

“She raised her face, recognized him, and addressed him, Greatest of Teachers, which is to say, My Lord. They embraced and Jesus told her, You cannot hold me here. I need to ascend right now to my Father. Go to my followers and say to them, I ascend to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.

“Mary the Elect Lady came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

“Later on that same first day of the week, in the evening, when the doors of the room in which the disciples were meeting were closed and locked because of their fear of the Sanhedrin, Jesus came and stood in the middle of this group, and said to them, Peace be with you. And when He said this, He showed to them His hands and His side to prove it was He. Then the disciples were overjoyed, as they beheld their Lord. Jesus repeated to them, Peace be with you. As My Father has sent Me, even so I send you. And after He said this, He breathed upon them, and said to them, I convey to you the Holy Ghost. Whoever’s sins you remit, they are remitted to them; and whoever’s sins you retain, they are retained.

“But Thomas called Didymus, one of the twelve, was absent when Jesus visited them. The other disciples relayed to him, We have seen the Lord. But he responded, Except I also see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And eight days after this, His disciples were in the same room again, and Thomas with them. Again the doors were locked, and again Jesus came and stood in the middle, and said, Peace be with you. Then He said to Thomas, Reach out your finger and touch my hands. Reach out your hand and feel my injured side. Do not be faithless, but be believing. And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God! Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen me, you believe. Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believe.

“And there were many other signs that His disciples witnessed that testified of Jesus, but which are not contained in this account. But what is recorded is to testify that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, so that you may obtain eternal lives, worlds without end through His name.

“I am the one who has testified in this account. And after the many other testimonies of Him, this is my testimony most recent of them all: I saw his glory that He was in the beginning before the world was. Therefore, in the beginning the Word was, for He was the Word, even the messenger of salvation- The light and the Redeemer of the world, the Spirit of truth, who came into the world because the world was made by Him, and in Him was the life of men and the light of men. The worlds were made by Him. Men were made by Him. All things were made by Him, and through Him, and of Him.

“And I, John, bear record that: I beheld His glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father. He was full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth. He came and dwelt in the flesh, and lived among us.

“And I, John, saw that He received not of the fullness at the first, but received grace for grace. And He received not of the fullness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until He received a fullness. And in this way He qualified to be called to become the Son of God, because He received not of the fullness at the first.

“And I, John, bear record, and lo the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon Him in the form of a dove and remained upon Him. There came a voice out of heaven saying: You are my Beloved Son, this day I have begotten you; for I was there with John the Baptist when he baptized Jesus.

“And I, John, bear record that He received a fullness of the glory of the Father. And He received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with Him, for he dwelt in Him.

“The Father testified of Jesus also on the Mount, when He was transfigured before us, and the glory of heaven was upon Him, and we saw Him enter the heavenly realm. The Father testified also when our Lord prayed for those who do follow Him. And the Holy Ghost has and does testify of Him to all who receive Him. Therefore, we know by irrefutable evidence that Jesus is the Messiah, sent to fulfill prophecy, and to lead all who will follow through the path of His Father.

“After this Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. This is an account of that event: There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael from the city of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others, also disciples. Simon Peter said to them, I ascend to the deep. They responded to him, we go with you. They went forth, and entered into the ark; and they could not grasp anything.

“But at the horizon of the morning star, Jesus stood at the sacred entry; however the disciples could not recognize it was Jesus for the glory about Him. Then Jesus asked them, Children, have you celebrated the ritual meal? They answered Him, No. And He directed them and said, Approach the veil to the east and you will find what you seek. They approached the veil as instructed, and now they were overcome by the multitude of what was received. Therefore the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he quickly clothed himself (for he did not wear the apparel), and cast himself into the great deep. And the other disciples came into the ark and parted also the veil (for they were not bound by the limits of this world).

“As they ascended, they saw a fire burning at the offering place and the Flesh Offering was upon it, who is also the Bread of Life. Jesus said to them, Rise above the flesh you now occupy, and Simon Peter ascended, and drew the veil open, and there were ministering a hundred, and then fifty, and then three; and for these many who they beheld, yet the veil remained open.

“Jesus said to them, Come and eat the food of the rising sun. And none of the disciples asked of him, What name is now yours? knowing that it was their Lord. Jesus then served to them His flesh and blood, and they were filled by His Spirit. This was now the third time Jesus ministered to His disciples following His rise from among the dead.

“After the meal, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me above everything else? He answered him, Yes, Lord. You know that I love you. He said to him, Take care of my lambs as they are growing. He asked him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me above everything else? He said to Him, Yes, Lord you know that I love you. He said to him, Take care of my lambs as they increase. He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me above everything else? Peter was concerned because He asked him for a third time, Do you love me? And he said to Him, Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you. Jesus said to him, Care for my lambs as they are added upon. In the name of Father Ahman I tell you, when you were progressing, you dressed yourself, and went where you chose to go; but as you approach the end of the path, you will have to let others stretch out your hands and likewise nail you, even if you plead to have the bitter cup removed. This He said to foretell the sacrificial death that is required for endless glory. And then He added, You must follow after me.

“Then Peter turned and looked at the disciple whom Jesus loved, who was behind. This was him who was next to Jesus at supper, and had quietly asked Him during supper, Lord, who is the one that will betray you? Peter saw him and asked Jesus, Lord, and what will become of this man? Jesus explained, I said to him, John, my beloved what do you desire? And John replied, Lord, give to me the power that I may bring souls to you. And I said to him, In the name of Father Ahman I commit to you that because you desire this you shall tarry until I return in my glory.

“And for this reason the Lord said to Peter, if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you? For he desires from me that he might bring souls to me, but you desire that you might come to me in my kingdom. I tell you, Peter, yours was a good desire, but my beloved has undertaken a greater work on earth. In the name of Father Ahman I say to you that you shall both have what you requested, and you both will have joy from what you each requested.

“Now, therefore, know that Jesus is the Messiah, the Walker in the Path who has proven for evermore that Father Ahman sent Him into the world to prove His Father’s path.

“In addition to this account, many other things were done by Jesus, which, if they were all written, that library would fill the entire cosmos. Amen.”

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My Favorite Talk

I have heard many wonderful talks in my life.  Almost all of the best ones have been in just the last few years, when life has been very difficult, but also very exciting.  It has been exciting because of the things the Lord has been teaching me and helping me to understand.  I am so grateful to Him.

The talk I have loved the most is one I attended personally a couple of years ago.  It is called Christ: The Prototype of the Saved Man.  It is by far the most beautiful exposition on the Savior I have ever heard.  It is long, about 3 hours to listen to, but so worth taking the time.

I am going to put a few excerpts, but these are just a tiny glimpse of all that is in this talk.  I hope you will want to take the time to listen to the whole thing, or at least read it.  At the end I will give links to the audio and written versions.

When I heard this talk the Holy Ghost bore witness to me that what was being spoken was truth.  That the message was from the Lord through someone He asked to give it.

Here are the excerpts with page numbers, so you can find them in the transcript:

I want you to keep three truths about Him in your mind as we begin today. Those truths are:

-He is quick to forgive sin,

-He allows all to come unto Him,

-and He is no respecter of persons.

In most cases it is our disrespect for ourselves that impedes coming to Him. We tend to think we aren’t good enough. However, because He is quick to forgive sins, it really doesn’t matter if you are not good enough. One of the first orders of business when you come into His presence is that He forgives you. He cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, but He has the capacity and the ability to forgive sin. Therefore although your sins may be as scarlet, He can, He will and He does, make you white as snow,  no longer accountable for your limitations. Therefore you needn’t fear, but you can approach boldly, our Lord. (p.2)

If you will receive it, faith in Him comes by hearing the word of God. Not by a pretender, not by someone guessing, not by someone offering up their theory of how the scriptures ought to be understood. Faith does not come by hearkening to someone citing you a bibliography. Faith comes only by hearing the word of God delivered as He would have it delivered, by whomever it is that He may choose to deliver it.

If you receive God’s word sent by someone He sends, then you might have faith, and that too in the Son of God. Then you also might receive Him. But if you will not, if you will harden your hearts, if you will blind your minds, if you will not receive what He offers from His mouth in your day, then you do not have faith in Him. You will fall short of that faith required to become His son and His daughter.

It is that way, it has always been that way, it will always be that way. There is no other test. (p.49-50)

I only offer you the Lord. I ask you to give heed to Him. I will tell you no man can be trusted for all men are weak.  Even Peter, the night of the Lord’s trial, was a broken reed. If you put your weight on that, it would pierce your hand. That is what men are, but not who our Lord is, for His course is straight. He does not even cast a shadow to the right or left, for His course is true.

He was “despised and rejected of men,” and that will always be true of both Him and His word! That will be true of whoever follows Him! They, like their Lord, will be despised and rejected of men.

He was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” It was necessary for Him to be so, that He might know how to understand us. He grieved because He knew what He offered mankind, and none were (or are) willing to receive it. It was necessary for Him to experience sorrow and be acquainted with grief.

“We hid as it were our faces from Him,” that is, we turned from Him. We will not give heed to what He offers. We prefer vanity to truth, pride to humility and we refuse to repent and return to Him. 

“He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” The only person who has ever lived who deserved respect, and we “esteem him not.” Still today we do not value what He offers to us. We prefer worldly success and proof that “Zion prospers” to satisfy our pride. We think only the respectable and prosperous can be true. Therefore we have no regard for what He offers.

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” See He was, “smitten of God,” because He was cast out of the synagogue. They were looking to stone Him. Why would they have expected God would honor a man who had been cast out of their synagogue? How could they know when He departed salvation likewise departed from them?

“Smitten of God and afflicted, But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Do not think you can follow that Master and be spared His path. He will let you understand what it means to follow Him. That understanding will come through experiences to help you relate to, and understand our Lord. You will endure affliction to know Him. If you are comfortable, He will make you uncomfortable. Then come to comfort you. If you are certain, He will make you uncertain. If you think you have it all figured out, He will offer up a contradiction, and leave you to struggle. Then when you can bear the contradiction no more, in the agony and anguish of your uncertainty He will delay the answer a little further still. He will delay until your heart is finally soft enough to come to Him in meekness. Then He will speak to you the words you need to hear. Sometimes, only just in time.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” All those variances we have taken off of the correct path, He paid the price to forgive. (p.57-58)

This is the Son of God about whom the scriptures speak. This is the Lord who is asking you to come to Him. He is not aloof and He is not distant. . . . He will speak to you, every one of you. What He has to say to you is far more important than anything I can say. But I can bear testimony of Him, and I can assure you He will not leave your petitions unanswered. I can also assure you today is once again a day of salvation, and He has set His hand again.

No matter how unlikely it may appear, no matter how much reason there is to be skeptical, no matter how many more signs you think may need to be fulfilled, I’m telling you He has set His hand again. The heavens are opened for business, and the question is whether you are interested in becoming a customer or not. (p.61)

What was the Fall of man? It was to be cast out from the presence of God. What is the redemption of man? It is to be brought back into the presence of God. Today is the day of redemption. Today is the day of salvation, if you come back into His presence.

Look at Ether chapter 3 beginning at verse 13: “When he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.”

This is the gospel of Christ. What is it you must know to have eternal life? You must know Him. “And this is life eternal that you might know Him.” This passage in Ether affirms that because the Brother of Jared knew these things, Christ came to him. Christ returned him to His presence. Christ redeemed him from the Fall “Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall.” This is Christ speaking in the first person. He is defining what it means to be redeemed. Who is better qualified to define what it means to be redeemed than the Redeemer? Reconciliation comes through Christ. Reconciliation comes with Christ. Reconciliation is by Christ. And Christ has the power to redeem you all. (p. 67-68)

He is real! He lives! His work of redemption continues right now, just as it continued throughout His mortal life, just as it continued as He hung on the cross, just as it continued in His resurrection in Palestine, and as He came to visit with the Nephites. He ministered to other sheep, and He has called other people. There are, in fact, holy men who ye know not of who still remain on earth. (p. 76)

Hearken to the word of the Lord. End your days on this barren treadmill and rise up. There is no reason to fail when the Lord offers you His word, and even His presence, today. He will not leave you here comfortless, but He will come and take up His abode with you. The idea this is only to happen “in your heart” is an old sectarian notion, and is false. Joseph Smith declared that, and I declare he spoke the truth. (p.78)

 

Here is the link to the audio:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgSsTk8ORyg

Here is the link to the PDF transcript, which is where the quotes above are found by page number: http://denversnuffer.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/07-Ephraim-Transcript-Christ.pdf

For other formats of this talk, you can go to this link: http://denversnuffer.com/40-years-in-mormonism-lecture-series/

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Are We Not All Beggars?

Rock Waterman published a blog post today that has moved me deeply because of the subject. The subject is one that I have wanted for a while to write a blog post about, for a few reasons at least. The things Rock said in his post are my sentiments, but expressed much better because he is such a good writer.

Here is the link to his excellent post. I hope you will read it, since I agree with it, and it pertains to what I plan to write:

https://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2016/06/the-refiners-fire.html

One of the things Rock experienced during his years in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was never hearing Mosiah 4:17-18 taught. Here are those verses, with surrounding verses which pertain to the same thing:

Mosiah 4:16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.

21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.

22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.

23 I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.

24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.

25 And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.

26 And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.

According to King Benjamin, who says he got his words from an angel, if we do not impart of our substance to others (or if we are not able, we feel that we would if we could), and if we judge them, then we are condemned, we will perish forever, and our substance will perish with us, and we have no interest in the kingdom of God.  He also says if we want to retain a remission of our sins we must impart of our substance to the poor.

To me, this is one of the most powerful and beautiful passages in scripture.  I believe I have heard it taught in Church, but in thinking back and trying to remember when and in what circumstance, I can remember myself teaching it or bringing it up in lessons, but I don’t know if it was ever actually the official subject (like in the lesson manual) of any lesson?  And I honestly don’t remember if anyone else taught these verses specifically.  I hope that they did.

What I do remember is that every time I brought these scriptures up, in my lesson or someone else’s, someone would say, “But . . . .”  There was always a “but.”  There was always a reason or a circumstance brought up by someone to illustrate why we really shouldn’t always do what King Benjamin taught.  A reason why we really should judge, and perhaps not give.  My memory is that generally I would finally concede the point that, yes, we have to be guided by the spirit, and maybe the spirit might tell us in some circumstance not to give.

It is interesting to me that with any other commandment talked about at Church there was generally never a discussion of all the reasons and circumstances under which we should not follow it.  That pretty much only happened with this subject.  So, I would end up conceding that it could be possible that the spirit would tell us not to give to someone.  After all, if we believe God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, then God could conceivably ask us to break any commandment, but why did that “out” always come up with this topic of giving to the beggar?

I was called as Relief Society President in three different wards.  The callings were spread out over the span of well over two decades, so hopefully the incidents I mention here will not be able to be clearly identified with any certain people.  All the bishops I served under were good men who I loved and admired.  I am grateful for that, because I know from talking to others that that is sadly not always the case.  My Bishops also all gave me great latitude in welfare matters, and trusted me, and as I remember probably always deferred to my opinion in those matters.  I learned a lot in those callings.  For those who might not know, it is generally the Relief Society President who determines the amounts (in consultation with the people getting the order) and fills out the food and commodity orders for those families in the Ward who need help.

I can remember years ago riding in the car with two Priesthood leaders going to some sort of training meeting, and I don’t remember the specific circumstance, but they brought up some circumstance where we should not give.  I remember bringing up the above scriptures from Mosiah, but I also remember being quickly shot down (in a kind way).  They had reasons why those scriptures should not be applied in whatever the circumstances were.  I backed down, mainly because they were a bit older than me and in positions of authority over me.  But I do remember thinking the almost heretical thought that they were wrong :).

I had one Bishop who I know had to fight the Stake President to keep giving food to members of our Ward.  My memory is that only 2-3 families at any one time were ever getting those orders, but still the Stake President would say the Bishop was allowing too much.  He was particularly upset that one person was on continuous help.  Our good Bishop stood his ground and continued to give that direly needed help anyway.  The person receiving the help was terribly poor, an elderly widow in very poor health living in extremely humble circumstances.  I would put her groceries away for her, and the incredibly meager amount of food or anything that she had made me so sad.  I was so thankful that Bishop fought for her.  But why should he have had to?  She was helped until she passed away.

I did see families/individuals who were told they could not continue to get help if they weren’t active.  And some were cut off because of that.  That was the policy.  I truly often hate “policy.”  I realize the Church institution cannot feed the whole world, but I know they could help much, much, much more.  I think of King Benjamin saying everything we have is the Lord’s anyway, and I think that applies to institutions as well as people.

In one Ward I was in, I know that an elderly woman was told she had to sell the one item she had that was worth anything (and it wasn’t worth much), before she could have any more help with food.  I wasn’t RS President at that time, so only know part of the story, but I did talk to her and see her crying about it, and it did break my heart.

I went to many training meetings during those callings.  One I remember I liked the best was one where we were taught that we should actually be seeking out those in our Ward in need and making sure they got help, not just waiting for someone to come to the Bishop in trouble and desperation.  I was sitting next to the Bishop at the time in that meeting, and we were both very excited by that!  It was like a beautiful bit of freedom to be encouraged to actually actively look for people to give to!  But sadly I don’t remember us following through very actively on that for very long.  Mostly people had to still gird their own loins and get the courage to come ask, which was mostly embarrassing for them.

At one point I was trained that I was supposed to go into people’s homes and actually look in their cabinets.  We were told it was to make sure that they really had a need, that they weren’t asking for too much.  I was also supposed to make them make up a menu plan and show it to me, so that they would only ask for what they really needed for the two weeks that the order was for.  I couldn’t do it.  I could never do it.  I knew that would humiliate me, and I couldn’t humiliate others that way.

These kinds of things affected me a lot.  I want people to know that I also was blessed to see much sacrifice, kindness, and service done by individual members.  Much service, sacrifice, and help was given to me and my family over the years by the Church and individuals.  I saw good and even heroic things happen, not just the poor policy driven or “judgement of the beggar” driven decisions.

As I look back on all those experiences, I realize that the Lord was teaching me much, and probably by far the most important thing that I now realize He was teaching me over and over during those callings was that the Lord thinks of this very differently than we do.

This happened to me over and over:

First of all, when I would talk with people about their needs, almost invariably they would ask for less than I thought they needed.  Sometimes much, much less.  Almost everyone was very careful not to take too much, because we are all taught over and over we should be self reliant (and these people probably invariably thought they were at least a bit of a failure for needing help, including me when we needed help), and we are taught that this is the Lord’s money, the Lord’s food, and we had better not be taking too much!

I felt a great responsibility to do the food orders according to the Lord’s will.  So, I would pray, so many times during the years of those callings, I would pray, “Heavenly Father, are they getting enough?”  or  “Are they getting too much?”  or “I feel I should give them a few more cans of this or that.  Is that right?”  And this is the amazing thing to me, that I think about over and over.  Never once did I feel they should get less.  Always I remember feeling this joy from the Lord that His children were getting help.  Every single time I remember hearing “Yes” to giving them more.  This was a bit surprising to me.  I remember wondering at the time if somehow I was letting my own feelings get in there.  Because it seemed strange to me that the feeling I had was that the Lord wanted extremely liberal giving, every single time to every single person, no matter their situation!  Even to the inactive people, even to the drug addict, even to the man who smoked and whose family seemed totally unappreciative, even to the small minority who seemed to be getting quite a lot for their situation.  I never sensed any restraint from the Lord.  It seemed amazingly clear to me that He didn’t care about any possible waste, or whether the people were coming to Church, or what sins they were committing, or if they were mean, or even whether they really needed it.

I can remember going to the Bishops to have them sign the orders, and saying, “I felt they needed a bit more of this or that, so I added it.”  I am very happy that they always agreed and signed the orders.

Remembering that feeling I had when I prayed about those things even now makes me feel great joy.  I learned the Lord is not like us at all.  This is His policy:

3 Nephi 12:4But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you; 4That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good.

So, I fear for us.  I fear because I want Zion.  I want to be in Zion, and I want everyone I love, and even everyone in the world to be in Zion.  Zion requires no poor:

Moses 7:18 And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.

I think Satan tries very hard to get us to find excuses, supposed righteous reasons, why we should not do what King Benjamin said, because it will stop Zion.

D&C 78:6 For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things;

4 Nephi 1:And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.

D&C 49:20 But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.

We mostly all want heavenly things.  We want to have experiences with those in heaven, like others have.  But we are so very far from being equal in earthly things, that we cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things.  I wonder if this is a key we are missing?

Several years ago we had some dear friends, who we love like family, come and live with us for about a year and a half.  We all learned a lot during that time.  It was difficult and very wonderful.  We were supposed to be together during that time, and we all knew it.  However, some people accused us of trying to be “Zion.”  Stake leaders were even brought in to give talks or lessons in our Ward on not trying to be Zion until commanded by the Church leaders.  It was distressing.  Many things were said that made us and the people living with us feel very badly.  There was big opposition to what we were doing, even though all we were doing was having beloved friends live with us while things were financially hard for them.  I became extremely ill during that time, and needed them, too. We all needed each other.  And the hours and hours spent discussing the gospel, the blessings given to each other, the things we learned from each other and through the experience were invaluable.  But the opposition to anything that even has a whiff of Zion about it is strong, even from those who think they believe in Zion.

Anyway, there is much more to be said about this topic, but I just wanted to tell a few experiences and some of my thoughts, even though some of it is a bit disjointed.  I know that I want to be someone who could be in Zion.  But we all live in Babylon.  I do believe that the Lord is not going to go POOF, now you are all ready to be in Zion.  I think this is a time of learning and testing.  Personally, I think the two main tests right now for those actively striving for Zion are: 1. Quit judging each other, and 2. Really take care of the poor among you, and don’t let the beggar put his petition up to you in vain.

If we truly believe this scripture:

Hebrews 13:Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Then we dare not really ever judge a beggar, because who knows whether they are an angel sent to test us.

And if we believe that an angel would never appear as a dirty beggar with a cardboard sign on a street corner, then I think we need to examine what kind of stakes we are setting up for God, what kind of box we are putting Him in.  Human beings are historically not very good at recognizing heavenly messengers.  It is always only a few who believe.

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Joseph Smith and the Restoration

For those of you who might not have heard, yesterday DNA results were reported that showed that Josephine Lyon was not Joseph Smith’s biological child.  I believe that is the last person suspected to be one of his biological children that it is possible to DNA test any descendants from, to see if it is possible he is their father.  None of those tested for have proven to have been his children. It has been proven through DNA that he fathered children with Emma, but not proven that he fathered children ever with anyone else.  It is a very interesting finding with implications for the LDS Church and the stance they have taken, as well as for those who have left the Church and argue that Joseph Smith was an adulterer and worse.  It puts both groups in a situation where they will have to try to explain away some things, which they are already doing, of course.

But that is an aside to this post.

I believe Joseph Smith was a Prophet.  By the term Prophet I mean that I believe he actually did see and converse with God the Father and Jesus Christ, and that they (and other ministers from beyond the veil) did teach him and ask him to teach and to do certain things, including translating the Book of Mormon, which I believe to be a true book.

I also believe that almost immediately things began to go off track, which they almost always do when the Lord sends a messenger or prophet, or even the Savior.  We almost never get Zion, where everyone knows the Lord for themselves.  Not “know Him” in some esoteric “I have a feeling” way, but actually know Him personally, as in “have seen Him and conversed with Him and learned truth directly from Him.”

That is always the goal.  Joseph Smith taught of it often.  I believe it is the main message of the Book of Mormon.  That teaching has been mainly lost, or at least it has become obscured, in the LDS Church.  Correlation has had a lot to do with that, I believe, because when I first joined the Church in 1973, it was talked about much more often.

Here is what the Lord said in 1832: D&C 84:52 And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me. 53 And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now. 54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received— 55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. 56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.

The Lord said then the Church was under condemnation, a condemnation which has never been lifted, and has never been said to have been lifted by any LDS leader as far as I know.  President Benson said the LDS Church was still under that condemnation.  They are told in the next few verses of Section 84 that they have taken lightly the Book of Mormon, which is full of people knowing God and how they got to that point.

The previous verses in Section 84 are also talking all about that, about being invited to actually see God in this life and to know Him, and how when people reject that, the greater things are taken from them.  We look down on the children of Israel who had Moses taken out of their midst and who were given a lesser Priesthood, because they did not want to go up the mountain and see God for themselves, they wanted the Prophet Moses to do it for them.  We must ask ourselves: are we the same?  Are we really progressing more and more, or are we regressing?  When things are changed or removed, is it really because of greater understanding and revelation, or because of lesser understanding and loss of revelation?  Are we learning more and more, or have we lost knowledge? Who really are the wheat, and who are the tares?  Could we think we are wheat, but actually be tares?  Are we closer to Zion?  How many people do we know who actually testify of seeing the Lord, of knowing Him?  Have we seen Him?  Have we conversed with Him face to face?  Is all really well?

2 Nephi 28:21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.

Joseph Smith had an important dream or vision just before he died.  He didn’t live long enough to discuss its meaning, but I think its meaning is clear.  I don’t think I have ever heard this dream talked about in any Church meeting.  Perhaps because of what it seems to mean.

Here is the dream or vision:

“I was back in Kirtland, Ohio, and thought I would take a walk out by myself, and view my old farm, which I found grown up with weeds and brambles, and altogether bearing evidence of neglect and want of culture. I went into the barn, which I found without floor or doors, with the weather-boarding off, and was altogether in keeping with the farm.
“While I viewed the desolation around me, and was contemplating how it might be recovered from the curse upon it, there came rushing into the barn a company of furious men, who commenced to pick a quarrel with me.
“The leader of the party ordered me to leave the barn and farm, stating it was none of mine, and that I must give up all hope of ever possessing it.
“I told him the farm was given me by the Church, and although I had not had any use of it for some time back, still I had not sold it, and according to righteous principles it belonged to me or the Church.
“He then grew furious and began to rail upon me, and threaten me, and said it never did belong to me nor to the Church.
“I then told him that I did not think it worth contending about, that I had no desire to live upon it in its present state, and if he thought he had a better right I would not quarrel with him about it but leave; but my assurance that I would not trouble him at present did not seem to satisfy him, as he seemed determined to quarrel with me, and threatened me with the destruction of my body.
“While he was thus engaged, pouring out his bitter words upon me, a rabble rushed in and nearly filled the barn, drew out their knives, and began to quarrel among themselves for the premises, and for a moment forgot me, at which time I took the opportunity to walk out of the barn about up to my ankles in mud.
“When I was a little distance from the barn, I heard them screeching and screaming in a very distressed manner, as it appeared they had engaged in a general fight with their knives. While they were thus engaged, the dream or vision ended.” (Recorded 27 June 1844)

Joseph Smith was the messenger chosen by the Lord to restore the gospel and the knowledge of these great things: a main thing, maybe THE main thing, being that ALL are to know the Lord.  The restoration of that concept has been obscured, downgraded as unimportant, and even talked about as being wrong to seek for by some.  The truths of the restoration are almost lost.  I believe if Joseph Smith showed up today, he would be treated by the majority who claim to believe what he taught as he was by the men in the barn in his last dream/vision.

Rather than repeat what he has written, I will link to a blog post that says much of what I want to get across in this post.  If you have read this far, please read this, too, to get more of the point I am trying to make:

http://anonymousbishop.com/2016/06/10/do-we-still-believe-anything-joseph-taught/

Do you believe Joseph Smith was a Prophet and here to restore what had been lost?  Then those of us who believe that, or think it might possibly be true, need to actually read and study what he actually said and what he translated. That is often a bit difficult to do, since many of the statements attributed to him, that are quoted in manuals and lessons and talks, are likely not true statements of his.  There are people who have studied some of the actual origins of those statements, so that is a help, but we still must be wary.  Even parts of the D&C are being shown to have been changed after the fact by the Joseph Smith Papers project, although even then it is hard to find the changes, since you have to delve through it all and compare original pages with what was later written.  I have to rely on others for that.  And I also have heard of a couple instances where pressure has been put on from higher up to leave out or change even some of the things in the Joseph Smith Papers project, to put a better light on things, which, if true, makes me super sad.

We cannot fear truth!  Fear is not from the Lord.  Restricting what people read and where they get their information is the tactic of cults.  We must trust what the Lord wants to tell us.  We must not fear deception and therefore not learn or listen.  We have to expect opposition in all things, so that we can learn to discern.  When true messengers come, their message is usually not lovely to our ears.  Because they almost always come to declare repentance.  Telling us over and over the same things we already believe we ought to be doing or not doing is not the same thing.  When a true messenger comes, he/she will likely make us uncomfortable in our ways.  Telling us not to steal when we already believe we should not steal is still speaking smooth words.  We already agree, even if we realize the need to improve.  Telling us that some of what we believe is wrong and that we need to awake and arise is hard on us, and so we would rather sleep.  Waking up is rough, and it requires sacrifice.  We have to be willing to sacrifice.

All this really underscores the absolute need for each and every person to seek for a personal relationship with the Lord, because much truth will be hard to find or discern otherwise.

Let me just say here at the end of this post that there are people who are rising up and seeking the Lord and finding Him.  Actually coming to know Him personally by speaking to Him face to face in this life.  Some of them are my personal friends and acquaintances.  Some of their accounts can be found here:

http://latterdaywitnesses.com

Elizabeth Jenson, in particular, is a good friend of mine.  I love her experience.  There is a new book out by an anonymous man who has seen the Lord.  Here is a link to it:

https://www.amazon.com/How-Have-Your-Second-Comforter-ebook/dp/B01G7B1B12/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465766812&sr=8-1&keywords=How+to+have+your+second+comforter

I am almost half way through it. I am really enjoying it.

Denver Snuffer whose website is below has also seen the Lord, and has been asked by Him to teach some things.  Here is his web site:

http://denversnuffer.com

I was at all of the ten talks given in the “40 Years in Mormonism” series on that web site.  They are all about preserving the restoration.  I believe the messages in them are from Christ, as well as the messages in the books Denver has written.  I believe the Lord wants us to listen to those messages, and not avoid them out of fear of deception.  Will we listen to and and really hear and heed the Lord’s voice, wherever it is found.  Will we recognize His voice?

If you love me or care about me, and think I am deceived, then listen to the 10 talks, and then persuade me (as it says to in D&C 121) that I am wrong about them being truth.  They are actually all one long talk, so should all be listened to in order, if you want to get the whole picture.  If you have not heard them, how can you know they are not true?  And what if you miss truth out of fear?  That would be a tragedy.  We can trust the Lord to tell us through the Holy Ghost whether things are true.

I have not seen Him face to face.  But I am asking, seeking, and knocking!  I have had some profound experiences the past few years, some of which I have talked about in previous posts, but I still seek and ask the Lord for more, and will continue that even after I see Him face to face.  We have to ask.  We cannot be content.  We can have peace, but must continue to strive for more knowledge.  It is vital that we awaken to our awful position.  To preserve our agency, we must ask before heaven can give. There is always so much more to learn and understand!  The vastness of what the Lord wants to share with us in this life is almost incomprehensible!
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A Conference and a Testimony

Here are links to a couple of things I want to let my family and friends know about.

A Conference is being held this coming Sept. 10th and 11th in Boise, Idaho.  “This conference is open to all people, everywhere, who wish to meet together in fellowship and worship of Jesus Christ.”  Here is the link for more information about it. We intend to be there:

http://www.doctrineofchristconference.com

Today I listened to a great testimony from a man whom I have met and know a bit.  His name is Matt Crocket.  He was interviewed, and in this interview he describes the events and experiences he has had throughout his life that have led to him seeing the Lord.  It was wonderful to listen to, and I learned a lot from it.  It is long, but I really hope my family and friends will take the time to listen to all of it.  It is in two parts.  Here is a link to the audio:

http://latterdaywitnesses.com/interview-with-matt-crocket-shares-his-personal-witness-of-jesus-christ/

 

 

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Easter

Today is Easter!  It also happens to be the anniversary of the day Vaughn and I got engaged, March 27, 1978.  One of the most important days of my life, but that is another story :).

I wish I could somehow convey perfectly how I feel about Jesus Christ.  But more and more I am frustrated with the limitations of language.

I love Jesus.  And I can sense and feel His love and concern for and feelings about me.  I can sense His personality.  And, as I have written about before, I can sometimes hear His words directly to me.  I believe what the scriptures say about His life.  At the Easter season we remember the events surrounding His last week or so of life in this mortality.

I want my children and grandchildren to know what an eye witness to some of those events says about the events.  So, I am going to quote some here from a man who has seen those events.  Here is his account of the events in Gethsemane:

“I knew a man in Christ about four years ago, who, being overshadowed by the Spirit on the 26th of February, 2005, had the Lord appear to him again. And the Lord spoke to him face to face, in plain humility, as one man speaks to another, calling him by name. As they spoke the Lord put forth His hand and touched the eyes of the man and said, ‘Look!’ The man had opened before him a view of the Lord kneeling in prayer. It was in a dark place. The air was heavy and overcast with sorrow. The man beheld the Lord praying in Gethsemene on the night of His betrayal and before His crucifixion. All the Lord had previously done in His mortal ministry by healing the sick, raising the dead, giving sight to the blind, restoring hearing to the deaf, curing the leper and ministering relief to others as He taught was but a prelude to what the Lord was now to do on this dark, oppressive night. As the Lord knelt in prayer, His vicarious suffering began. He was overcome by pain and anguish. He felt within Him, not just the pains of sin, but also the illnesses men suffer as a result of the Fall, and their foolish and evil choices. The suffering was long and the challenge difficult. The Lord suffered the afflictions. He was healed from the sickness. He overcame the pains, and patiently bore the infirmities until, finally, He returned to peace of mind, and strength of body. It took an act of will and hope for Him to overcome the affliction which had been poured upon Him. He overcame the separation caused by these afflictions and reconciled with His Father. He was at peace with all mankind. He thought His sufferings were over, but to His astonishment another wave overcame Him. This one was much greater than the first. The Lord, who had been kneeling, fell forward onto His hands at the impact of the pain that was part of a greater, second wave. This second wave was so much greater than the first that it seemed to entirely overcome the Lord. The Lord was now stricken with physical injuries, as well as spiritual affliction. As He suffered anew, His flesh was torn which He healed using the power of the charity within Him. The Lord had such life within Him, such power and virtue within Him, that although He suffered in His flesh, these injuries healed and His flesh restored. His suffering was both body and spirit, and there was anguish of thought, feeling and soul. The Lord overcame this second wave of suffering, and again found peace of mind and strength of body; and His heart filled with love despite what He had suffered. Indeed, it was charity or love that allowed Him to overcome. He was at peace with His Father, and with all mankind, but it required another, still greater act of will and charity than the first for Him to do so. Again, the Lord thought His suffering was over. He stayed on His hands and knees for a moment to collect Himself when another wave of torment burst upon Him. This wave struck Him with such force He fell forward upon His face. He was afflicted by this greater wave. He was then healed only to then be afflicted again as the waves of torment overflowed. Wave after wave poured out upon Him, with only moments between them. The Lord’s suffering progressed from a lesser to a greater portion of affliction; for as one would be overcome by Him, the next, greater affliction would then be poured out. Each wave of suffering was only preparation for the next, greater wave. The pains of mortality, disease, injury and infirmity, together with the sufferings of sin, transgressions, guilt of mind, and unease of soul, the horrors of recognition of the evils men had inflicted upon others were all poured out upon Him; with confusion and perplexity multiplied upon Him. .  . .  The man saw that the Lord pleaded again with the Father that ‘this cup may pass’ from Him. But the Lord was determined to suffer the Father’s will, and not His own. Therefore, a final wave came upon Him with such violence as to cut Him at every pore. It seemed for a moment that He was torn apart, and that blood came out of every pore. The Lord writhed in pain upon the ground as this great final torment was poured upon Him. All virtue was taken from Him. All the great life force in Him was stricken and afflicted. All the light turned to darkness. He was humbled, drained and left with nothing. It is not possible for a man to bear such pains and live, but with nothing more than will, hope in His Father, and charity toward all men, He emerged from the final wave of torment, knowing He had suffered all this for His Father and His brethren. By His hope and great charity, trusting in the Father, the Lord returned from this dark abyss and found grace again, His heart being filled with love toward the Father and all men. . . .

After long inquiring into the things which he had seen, the Lord, who is patient and merciful and willing to instruct those who call upon Him, again appeared to the man on the 20th of December, 2007. He made known unto him that the waves of torment suffered by the Lord came in pairs which mirrored each other. The first of each wave poured upon the Lord those feelings, regrets, recriminations and pains felt by those who injured their fellow man. Then followed a second wave, which mirrored the first, but imposed the pains suffered by the victims of the acts committed by those in the first wave. Instead of the pains of those who inflict hurt or harm, it was now the anger, bitterness and resentments felt by those who suffered these wrongs. From each wave of suffering, whether as the one afflicting or as the victim of those wrongs, the Lord would overcome the evil feelings associated with these wrongs, and find His heart again filled with peace. This was why, in the vision of the suffering of the Lord it was in the second waves that there appeared oftentimes to be injuries to His body. The greater difficulty in these paired waves of torment was always overcoming the suffering of the victim. With these waves, the Lord learned to overcome the victims’ resentments, to forgive, and to heal both body and spirit. This was more difficult than overcoming the struggles arising from the one who committed the evil. This is because the one doing evil knows he has done wrong, and feels a natural regret when he sees himself aright. The victim, however, always feels it is their right to hold resentment, to judge their persecutor, and to withhold peace and love for their fellow men. The Lord was required to overcome both so that He could succor both. In the pairing of the waves, the first torment was of the mind and spirit, and the second was torment of mind, spirit and body. The Lord experienced all the horror and regret wicked men feel for their crimes when they finally see the truth. He experienced the suffering of their victims whose righteous anger and natural resentment and disappointment must also be shed, and forgiveness given, in order for them to find peace. He overcame them all. He descended below them all. He comprehends it all. And He knows how to bring peace to them all. He knows how to love others whether they are the one who has given offense or the one who is a victim of the offense. In the final wave, the most brutal, most evil, most heinous sins men inflict upon one another were felt by Him as a victim of the worst men can do. He knew how it felt to wrongly suffer death. He knew what it was like to be a mother holding a child in her arms as they are both killed by those who delight in their suffering. He knew how it was for ambitious men to rid themselves of a rival by conspiracy and murder. He knew what it was to have virtue robbed from the innocent. He knew betrayal, treachery, and abuse in all its worst degrading horror. There was no cruelty, no offense, no evil that mankind has suffered or will suffer that was not put upon Him. He knew what it is like for men to satisfy their ambition by clothing their hypocrisy in religious garb. He also felt what it was like to be the victim of religious oppression by those who pretend to practice virtue while oppressing others. He knew the hearts of those who would kill Him. Before confronting their condemnation of Him in the flesh, He suffered their torment of mind when they recognized He was the Lord, and then found peace for what they would do by rejecting Him. In this extremity there was madness itself as He mirrored the evil which would destroy Him, and learned how to come to peace with the Father after killing the Son of God, and to love all those involved without restraint and without pretense even before they did these terrible deeds. His suffering, therefore, encompassed all that has happened, all that did happen, and all that would happen in the future. As a result of what the Lord suffered, there is no condition – physical, spiritual or mental – that He does not fully understand. He knows how to teach, comfort, succor and direct any who come to Him seeking forgiveness and peace. This is why the prophet wrote: ‘by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.’ (Isa. 53: 11.) And again: ‘Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.’ (Id. v. 4–5.) He obtained this knowledge by the things he suffered. He suffered that we might avoid sin by being obedient to His commandments. None of us need harm another, if we will follow Him. He knows fully the consequences of sin. He teaches His followers how to avoid sin. .  . . 

He can bring peace to any soul. He can help those who will come to Him love their fellow man. He alone is the Perfect Teacher because He alone has the knowledge each of us lack to return to being whole and at peace with the God and Father of us all after our transgression of His will. He is wise to what is required for each man’s salvation.” Snuffer Jr., Denver C. (2010-12-24). Come, Let Us Adore Him (Kindle Locations 2797-2891). . Kindle Edition.

It is vital that some who see and know bear testimony of that.  In Lectures on Faith, Lecture Second:56 it says: “We have now clearly set forth how it is, and how it was, that God became an object of faith for rational beings; and also, upon what foundation the testimony was based which excited the inquiry and diligent search of the ancient saints to seek after and obtain a knowledge of the glory of God; and we have seen that it was human testimony, and human testimony only, that excited this inquiry, in the first instance, in their minds.  It was the credence they gave to the testimony of their fathers, this testimony having aroused their minds to inquire after the knowledge of God; the inquiry frequently terminated, indeed always terminated when rightly pursued, in the most glorious discoveries and eternal certainty.”

From the same man who was the eye witness to the atonement quoted above:

“. . . the Lord requires that some must bear testimony so that others may read or hear, and be edified by them, that faith may increase among mankind. If none of those who receive these things were ever permitted to make them known, then mankind could not come to their Lord and be healed. It is not important to know why the Lord chooses to make these things known to some and then instructs them to testify of them to another. It is only necessary to understand that the Lord is the One to whom all should look in their trials and afflictions for succor. He is mighty and able to save. You do not and will not suffer from any affliction, any dilemma, disappointment or pain which He does not already understand. He has overcome it all. He is worthy to be trusted with your burdens. Come to Him and be healed! Come to Him and be understood! When all others move away, He will come to you! There is nothing wretched that you must confront that He did not first confront and overcome! Take your burdens to Him!” Snuffer Jr., Denver C. (2010-12-24). Come, Let Us Adore Him (Kindle Locations 2899-2906). . Kindle Edition.

The Lord has told us we have to have witnesses, so that we even know of the possibilities for ourselves.  As the Lectures say, in the first instance we must have human testimony of the Lord, and from those testimonies we know that we can also inquire after the knowledge of God.  And we can also know that since all are alike unto God, and He is no respecter of persons, that we can also have this same kind of knowledge of Him.  We inquire of the Lord directly for that, because the witnesses are not in between us and God.  We are not to put other people between us and God.

“If I have a witness of the Lord’s resurrection, certainly you can have the same. There is nothing significant about me. Further, I cannot compel you to believe me, but can truthfully testify of Him. Believe His promise to come to you and comfort you, and take up His abode with you. (John 14: 18–23.) Believe Him, because everybody is equally dependent upon Him for their hope of salvation. Never put your eternal salvation in the hands of anyone other than Jesus Christ, who paid to ransom you. Belief based upon the testimony or witness of another should never satisfy you. You should press forward and obtain your own witness of your Risen Lord. Move into action, grow beyond belief, act in conformity to the things He has asked you, and develop faith. Use that faith to develop knowledge of Him. We proceed from belief to faith, and from faith to knowledge, by following the pattern of everyone who has seen Him. The conditions are no different for any of them and are no different for you. My earlier book The Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil is a description of the path these others have followed. If you are interested in taking that same journey, that book describes it. Let me end this brief retelling of His resurrection with my own witness: He lives! I have seen Him. These testimonies of those who have had the opportunity to see Him are not fables, they are all true. I do not ask you to merely believe my account. Instead, I invite you to go obtain your own directly from Him. You, like the many witnesses referred to in this chapter, are entitled to come and know these things for yourself. Then you will not be dependent upon anyone else for knowledge which will both save you and assure you eternal life.” Snuffer Jr., Denver C. (2010-12-24). Come, Let Us Adore Him (Kindle Locations 3471-3484). . Kindle Edition.

This account of the atonement of Christ is amazing.  When I first read it a few years ago, I thought it was one of the very most wonderful things I had ever read, even though it is devastating to think of how awful it was for the Savior.  What He did for us is so overwhelming, and so glorious.

A while ago I had a dream that gave me a glimpse of some of what is described in this account.  In the dream Jesus was with me, and I was reliving some of the events in my life that were very painful, beyond painful.  I won’t say what those were, but what was happening was I was being shown the events, feeling what I felt during them, and then being shown by the Savior how the other people in the event felt, or other things about the event I hadn’t realized at the time.  And throughout that He would show me how to overcome any negative feelings or pain I still had about each event.  This went on for a long time, and I know I can’t remember all of it at all, but as I was waking up, I remember asking for it to continue, even though it was super hard on me.  It was almost totally overcoming me, but I knew it was also helping me.  But I was told it would be too much for it to continue then, and it ended.  I believe at some point, I will be able to learn about everything in my life from that point of view with the Savior showing, teaching, and helping me.

I tell you this because it corroborates for me what this man’s testimony is of how the atonement was, and the knowledge Jesus gained through it.  I believe what he says about it.

Since Easter Day itself is supposed to be about the resurrection, here is a bit about that:

“I hope you will pardon the personal nature of this chapter. When it comes to a discussion of the resurrection, I cannot avoid bearing personal testimony of Christ. When I saw His resurrection, I was surprised to see it was still dark. I had always thought it occurred at sun up, as the return of daylight symbolized the return of life. But it was dark. The Gospel of John is the only one which records the darkness of that morning. Even so, it never registered with me that Christ rose in the darkness of that early morning. In the spring of 2009, I went in the early morning while it was still dark to the Jordan River Temple to attend a session for one of my ancestors. As I walked from the parking lot toward the front of the building I noticed how the birds were all singing. It was dark, so they remained on their nighttime perches inside the trees providing them cover. It would have been dangerous for them to attempt flight in the dark, so they remained motionless. But they sang. All of them were chirping, whistling, singing out with such a combined chorus that I had to stop and listen. It was striking. They seemed so joyful, even enthusiastic. I stood there on the northern sidewalk adjacent to the Jordan River Temple and took in this loud, joyful sound. I wondered why they were so filled with song while it was still dark and they were still confined to their trees. ‘Perhaps,’ I thought, ‘it is because they knew another day was coming. And, after all, if I could fly every time daylight returned I would be happy to awake and contemplate the coming flight.’ As I mused over the birds it struck me – this was the time of morning when the Lord rose from the dead! This was the moment, when it is yet dark, but the day will soon break forth, when He returned to life! This morning chorus coincided with that event. I thought it is certainly true that, as Moses wrote and Joseph Smith restored: And behold, …all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me. (Moses 6: 63.) Since that morning outside the Jordan River Temple, I have not heard the birds sing out in an early morning, while it is yet dark, without the instant recognition and conviction they are bearing witness to the moment at which the Lord arose from the dead. He did rise from the dead. We rejoice because it is true. As so many others have done before, I can add my own witness that He rose from the dead. I was shown it. It happened. He who died on the cross rose from the dead and He lives still.” Snuffer Jr., Denver C. (2010-12-24). Come, Let Us Adore Him (Kindle Locations 3220-3243). . Kindle Edition.

And more.  He has just recounted some of the Biblical accounts:

“The accounts differ in the details. All four are set out to allow us to consider their similarities and differences. They are universal in the fact that Christ was seen by the women (or woman) first, and not by His Apostles. The last account, quoted immediately above, records that Christ told Mary: ‘Touch me not.’ In the Joseph Smith translation the words are changed to read: ‘Hold me not.’ (JST-John 20: 17.) Joseph’s change of the text was warranted. When Mary realized it was Jesus, she embraced Him joyfully. She did not timidly reach out her hand, but she readily greeted Him with open arms, and He, in turn, embraced her. It is difficult to describe what I saw of the incident, apart from saying the Lord was triumphant, exultant, overjoyed at His return from the grave! She shared His joy. I was shown the scene and do not have words to adequately communicate how complete the feelings of joy and gratitude were which were felt by our Lord that morning. As dark and terrible were the sufferings through which He passed, the magnitude of which is impossible for man to put into words, these feelings of triumph were, on the other hand, of equal magnitude in their joy and gratitude. I do not think it possible for a mortal to feel a fullness of either. And, having felt some of what He shares with His witnesses, I know words are inadequate to capture His feelings on the morning of His resurrection. He had the deep satisfaction of having accomplished the most difficult assignment given by the Father, knowing it was a benefit to all of His Father’s children, and it had been done perfectly. Mary and Christ embraced. There was nothing timid about the warm encounter she had with Him. Then He said to her, ‘Hold me not’ because He had to ascend, return and report to His Father. Joseph Smith was correct when he revised this language. I then saw Him ascend to heaven. I saw the golden heavenly light glowing down upon Mary as she watched His ascent. All this happened while it was yet dark on the morning He rose from the dead. He has shown this to me and I can testify to it as a witness.” Snuffer Jr., Denver C. (2010-12-24). Come, Let Us Adore Him (Kindle Locations 3307-3322). . Kindle Edition.

The book, Come Let Us Adore Him, is by far one of the greatest books I have ever read.  It is all about Jesus.  I hope that all my children and grandchildren will read it.

Jesus lives!  I believe that.  I love Him!  I look forward to witnessing these things that Denver describes for myself.  I pray the same for my children and grandchildren and all those I love so dearly.  The Lord has blessed me so much.  I am so grateful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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