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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Patient

Just a short post to say I think we should be much more patient with each other.  Patience is hard for me.  I love peace, and am impatient when my peace is disturbed.

But we all disturb each other’s peace, even when we don’t mean to.  Even when we just mean to show love.  So, I think we must be patient with each other, as we all are trying to figure things out.

And I think the most important thing we are here to figure out is love, and what pure love is and how it acts.

And being patient with each other is a way to show love, and to learn more about each other, and therefore be able to love each other more and more.

To my children: Be patient with the young. Be patient with the old. Be patient with yourself.  Be patient with the ways God chooses to teach you, because at the end you will see it was all for you.  And forgive me my impatience whenever I have displayed it in your life, please!

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To Answer a Question

A dear friend of mine asked me a question about my last post, and I am going to try to answer it here.  There is a huge, long answer that I could try to give, involving all kinds of things, including the history of the temple, how Joseph Smith handled it, commands given by the Lord about it, changes made to the ceremonies and ordinances, experiences and revelations the Lord has given me about it, etc.  I probably will want to post about at least some of those things as I go along with this blog (some I have already discussed a bit in earlier posts), but it is too much at the moment, so I will try to give the short answer (short is relative for me, as most of my posts fall into the “too long, didn’t read” category, I am afraid🙂 ).

First of all, let me say that I believed I understood the Baptism of Fire before the experience I related in my last post.  But what I understood, from what I had been taught in the Church for almost 4 decades was much more nebulous than the truth of it.  And, as I mentioned, I didn’t call the experience a Baptism of Fire for a long time.  My understanding of it was certainly unclear, until after I had experienced it.

The very short answer to the question of why, if the experience came related to me going to the temple, do I “participate in activities that will deny you the blessings of the temple,” is that the experience really had nothing to do with the physical building we call a Temple.  Also, I take exception to the assertion that I “participate in activities that will deny you the blessings of the temple.”  But that is because I view the whole question of the Temple and it’s purpose much differently than most members of the Church.

When I had this experience in 2011, the physical Temple building was a very holy place to me.  I went often.  The drive from my house then to the Temple was close to 5 hours one way.  I occasionally made the trip alone, but at the time I was quite ill with Lyme disease, and it was extremely difficult for me to do that.  I also often went with friends to the temple.  But during this particular period of time, when I was so very focused on doing the Lord’s will, I did have such a strong desire to be in a holy place, that I went whenever I could.

The Lord works with us where we are.  He speaks to us in our own language, which I don’t think only means the actual words we use, but also through experiences we are familiar with and in a way that will help us understand within the paradigm we are in at the moment.  He can only break us out of false paradigms, if He first meets us in the paradigm we are in.  BUT, I think it is very important to point out that He won’t force us.  If we are comfortable where we are, and do not ask for more (maybe not even thinking we need any more) then He will usually let us be where we are.  And if we fear, he will not force.  Agency is so important, He will not infringe on ours.  And so we have the command all throughout the scriptures that we must ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK.  When we do that, we give the Lord permission to teach us, to shatter our false paradigms if need be.

One of the major things about the whole experience I related in the last post was that it began many hours before I was at the temple, continued while I was there, and then continued for days afterwards.  There was no difference in the experience while I was in the physical Temple building than when I was in the car, or in my house, or anywhere else I was during those days.  I expected there to be a difference while I was in the temple, but there was not.

I have since had at least one days long experience that was the same intensity, and I was not in the Temple building at all during that.  I have had profound spiritual experiences that have been similar to each other in the Temple building, on mountains, in my bedroom, in my living room, in my car, in my shower, etc.  I have learned many things from the Temple ceremony.  The main thing being that we are supposed to be progressing along until we are brought through the veil (in this life) and see the Lord face to face.  That does not only happen in the Temple.

The Temple building is a symbol.  The Temple covenants and teachings are invitations to come to the Lord and receive the real thing.  I realize that view is different than what most all members of the Church believe.  Although if we really think about what is taught about the Temple ordinances, and all things we do in this life that we hope will endure, we realize we are taught that they must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise to be of force.  I have received the invitations, and I am seeking for the real things from the Lord.

The Temple building is a symbol of our own bodies.

I Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

The reason I am not allowed by the Church to enter the temples now is because I have done what the Lord has asked me to do.  Sacrifice has been required to do what the Lord has asked of me. Things I would not have chosen of myself have been asked, but I do not regret any of it, because what the Lord has given me in return has been so much greater.  I asked Him for truth, and to be given it as fast as I can bear it, and He has been doing that.  I wish my capacity were greater so I could progress faster.  One of my friends told me to pray to be “bigger” so I could handle more faster🙂.

I realize that most members of the Church believe that the Lord would not ask something of me that would result in me not being able to enter the Temple, and even not being a member.  But believing that is setting up stakes for the Lord and deciding for Him what He might ask a person to do.  I testify that He has asked these things of me.  And the confirmation I have felt about these decisions is the same confirmation I felt when I was 15 and He told me to join the Church.  And all I can do is testify of that.  I cannot prove to anyone in any other way that I am not deceived in what I have done, at least as pertains to my membership in the Church.  I do not claim to have never been deceived.  We are all deceived sometimes.  It is part of the process of learning about opposition in all things.  If we never experience deception, we can’t begin to learn the difference between deception and truth.

So, my answer to my wonderful friend is, I am not separated from the Temple.  I am not allowed in the Church’s Temple buildings any more.  But I went enough throughout the years that I can pretty much recite what goes on there, including the things that were there when I first went through in 1978 and have since been removed.  I received the invitation from the Lord there.  And I continue to seek the fulfillment of all that I was invited to receive.  I live in the actual Temple, my own body.  And I look forward to the day when the Lord will “suddenly come to His temple.”

Now, let me say also that I do believe the Lord commands some Temple buildings to be built.  For instance, I do believe He commanded the Nauvoo Temple to be built so that He could actually come to that Temple and meet the people there.  If you read my first post on this blog, you will see some of the reasons and evidences why I think the members failed at doing that, and so He never came to that Temple.  I think what we have had in the Temple buildings since then is instruction and invitation.  When a people fails in seeing the Lord or doing whatever He has asked, that does not preclude individuals from rising up and receiving everything the Lord has for them.  But as a people, we fail.  As a people, we almost always fail.  Zion is very, very rarely established.  What is happening now is what almost always happens.  It is to be expected and has been prophesied in our own scripture.  But we generally cannot see it.

I do believe at some point the Lord will again command a physical Temple to be built where His people can come and as a group actually see and commune with Him face to face.

 

 

 

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To My Children, Grandchildren, and . . .

Several weeks ago I was thinking about my life, and how long I might live, and what I would want to do before I die. One of the most important things I thought I want to do is to make sure my children and grandchildren know what I believe, and that they know the wonderful things the Lord has done for me.

As I think of the circumstances I have been through in my life, I see that my whole life has been for my learning and experience, and also for the learning and experience of those close to me. I can clearly see that the Lord has been helping me my whole life. I am sure it has looked like an ordinary life when looked at from the outside, but to me it has been extraordinary! I am such a blessed woman!

A few weeks ago a friend of mine was talking about how he wanted his blog to now be mainly for his children. This was the same kind of thing I had been thinking about. I think maybe only a few people have ever actually read this blog, and likely that will continue to be the case. So, I feel that I am supposed to use this blog now to write things the Lord has taught me, and many of my experiences. And that it is now for my children, grandchildren, and perhaps a few other people I love very much who might feel inclined to read this blog. And if others happen onto it, and feel to read anything here, that’s great.

As I have mentioned before, those of you who know me know I am just a very fallible ordinary person, although I am important to my family and dear friends, just like most everyone is. I also know I am important to the Lord, just like everyone is. And He has taught me many things. And He has told me to share what I believe.

But one thing I have learned through my life is my understanding of things continues to evolve through the Lord teaching me. Some things I have understood to be true earlier in my life have now been shown to me to be either a misunderstanding of the truth, or such a small part of the whole of the truth as to have given me a totally wrong comprehension of how things really are. And I am still learning and gaining more understanding, and getting rid of unbelief, so whatever I say now is what I know and understand now, but I know through experience that the Lord will continue to refine my understanding and broaden my knowledge, as long as I keep asking and seeking.  And I claim absolutely no authority over anyone, and have learned that anyone claiming authority over anyone must be very suspect.

D&C 121:39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

I have seen so much “supposed” authority exercised in my life, and it is very dismaying.  I have no authority.  I only believe that the Lord wants me to share some things on this blog.  And I would ask that each person who reads what I believe go to the Lord themselves to discern the truth.  I also ask that each person who reads this let the Lord wake you up, and let the Lord shake you if need be, out of any preconceived notions you might have.  I think Hugh Nibley once said something like, “No one likes to be awakened out of a deep sleep.”  I was awakened.  It was rough in many ways, but SO VERY MUCH WORTH IT!  Do not let fear keep you locked in false beliefs or unbelief.

I have been awakened, but that is not nearly enough.  Now I must arise.  Awake and arise!  That is what I am trying to do.  And I am trying to let the Lord help me shed all my false beliefs and unbelief.  We must act on new knowledge and understanding we are given, even when acting is hard and causes trials for us.  If we harden our hearts and do not ask and do not listen, we will lose even that understanding which we have been given.

Alma 12:10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.

11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.

So, where do I start?  I have felt to start by relating a Baptism of Fire experience I had sometime in 2011.  I only wrote about it in my journal and to others after the fact, so I am not sure of the exact date.

This happened during a time when I was fervently pondering and praying about how I wanted to only do the Lord’s will.  My whole desire with every fiber of my being was to do His will and to help others.  I was profoundly sorry for anything I had ever done wrong, anything that separated me from the Lord.  I prayed for forgiveness for everything, to be totally clean before the Lord.  I wanted to be filled with the pure love of Christ and to serve His children.  This has pretty much been my desire always, but I think I was much more focused on it during this time, and I was also willing to do what He asked, even if it meant sacrifices I would not have considered before.  I have memories of lying in bed around this time in mighty prayer for hours about these things.

I will share here something I wrote a while ago about this Baptism of Fire experience.  I did not call it that at the time.  I just knew it was an amazing experience, but did not know what to call it.  I did not know what to call it because the Church (when I say the Church in this blog, I am usually meaning The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) generally talks about the Baptism of Fire in a very different, and much more vague way, than the scriptures do.  I had the idea that the term Baptism of Fire usually meant the general good feeling that you would be entitled to from the Holy Ghost after baptism.  That it was kind of, sort of, the same thing as the Gift of the Holy Ghost, but maybe kind of, sort of meant the good feelings you could have as a result of that.  Anyway, clearly the concept of what the Baptism of Fire was was a hazy concept in my mind, even though in scripture it is pretty clear.  But I think in the Church we have watered it down because we don’t generally understand it.  We have made it into a gradual good feeling and understanding that usually gradually comes upon you over the years as you are good.  I believe most have not experienced it, even though they think they have, and so never seek for something they think they already have.  I think this is a terrible stumbling block.

So here is what I wrote a few years ago about this experience of mine:

“. . . I had an extremely profound experience.  I was thinking about going to the temple the next day (almost a 5 hour drive) but would have to go alone, and I was afraid I felt too ill, and I was in the shower thinking about it and the Lord said in my mind ‘Come and see me in the temple.’  The whole drive to the temple I was so filled with love and joy!  I even thought maybe I was going to die and go be with Him, because I felt so close to something profound (and I was OK with that, if that was what it was).  I felt the same during the temple session, and I expected to see Him, probably in the Celestial room.  I didn’t see Him, but I felt He was there, and the extreme love and joy continued with me all through the temple, the drive home, and for I think a couple days after.  I had never had such a long intense experience like that.”

The words in that short account are feeble in describing what I experienced.  I might have even used those same kinds of words to explain other, earlier spiritual experiences I have had, but it was not the same.  IT WAS NOT THE SAME!  I use capitals to try to get the idea across.  This experience was EXTREMELY PROFOUND for me.  I can remember it very well now.  I marveled at it the whole time it was happening.  And I feel frustrated that our language is so limiting that I cannot possibly get the truth of the experience across to anyone who has not experienced it.

After I woke up some more (I already was waking up to greater truth and our awful situation when that happened, but I woke up more and learned much more after it), I realized that this was a Baptism of Fire.  I have heard other people describe theirs, and their experiences resonate with me and what I experienced, even though their words are also inadequate.

During it, I think literally anything could have happened, and it would have been OK.  I was at such a high vibration, and felt the Lord so close, that I think any experience, no matter how bad, could have happened, and I would likely have been able to bear it.  The love from the Lord was so strong.  The clarity and perspective with which I viewed my life and the whole purpose of life and experience, etc. during it was so different than how it usually is.  I remember thinking at the time that Abinadi must have been in the same sort of state when they were burning him alive, and that others who experienced such horrific things in order to do the Lord’s will must have been in that kind of state.  It was amazingly comforting to me to realize that.

So, of course, now I have a great desire to somehow get to the level where I am always in that state of being.  I do not know if it is possible in this Telestial world to remain that way constantly.  Nephi lamented being able to be dragged down, even after all his experiences.  But I am sure it is possible to be that way, or closer to that way, much more than I currently am able.  That is what I pray for.  And I pray for the Second Comforter experience, so I can stand face to face and talk with the Lord that way.  I know that is possible because others have testified of it.  Someone I know personally has testified of it to me.  When you have seen the Lord, testifying to others that you have seen Him and that He lives is an important part of it.  But that is another blog post🙂.

What is different for me now:  I notice I have no desire to sin.  I didn’t have much before, because I always wanted to be a good girl (and have always fallen way short).  But there is a level of no desire to sin that is much more profound and deep in me now.  Also, I feel the Savior with me really all the time now.  This is also in a different way than I felt that before.  As long as I can remember, I have been aware that the Lord is aware of my thoughts, and in that sense I have always felt Him with me, and been happy to have Him involved with what I am thinking about.  But this is different.  This is now me being able to sense the Savior standing beside me any time I think of it.  I don’t know how else to describe it.  He is there.  I can feel Him there.  I often sense where He is standing, or if He is standing or sitting, and at least once I knew He was kneeling in front of me to talk to me at my level as I was sitting.  I can often feel how He is feeling.  Sometimes I can hear His words clearly in my mind as He stands there and talks to me.

Life is different since this particular experience.  I have had many amazing and wonderful spiritual experiences in my life, but they were mostly not like this one.  They pale in comparison, although at the time I had them, I thought they were a pinnacle.  I have had at least one other extreme one like this one I have related since then.  And one early in my life that was also similar, which I will probably relate in another blog post sometime.  But this particular one was unique in my life in the major change it made in me.

3 Nephi 9:20 And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.

Mosiah 5:2 And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.

Alma 19:33 And it came to pass that when Ammon arose he also administered unto them, and also did all the servants of Lamoni; and they did all declare unto the people the selfsame thing—that their hearts had been changed; that they had no more desire to do evil.

I will say more about all this later, but I want to get this post on the blog today.

To my children, grandchildren, and friends: I love you!  I am writing this because I love you, and I believe the Lord wants me to be writing this stuff for you here on this blog.

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