Who is Man That He May Know God?
When I write “Who is man that he may know God?” you have to understand that “man” in this instance includes woman, just as Elohim and God include both father and mother, male and female. One cannot exist without the other. God is no respecter of persons, “…and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.” (2 Ne 26:33) At the risk of ridicule, I hope to share in this post a very personal and sacred experience. The apostle Peter commanded us to make our calling and election sure and provided a guideline to do so. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith(,) virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. … Wherefore … give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:4-11)
I have shared a few of my own experiences, establishing that the Lord in His grace and mercy has made himself know to me even in my imperfection and I have heard and know His voice. You may chose to disbelieve my accounts and my testimony, that there is a God who seeks a personal relationship with me, or you may accept it and allow it to strengthen your faith and confirm what you may also have experienced, and allow it to motivate you to seek a closer relationship with God. It matters to me that you believe; because of the charity that I feel to all of God’s children, and especially to my children and grandchildren, but your belief does not affect my knowledge or the truthfulness of my relationship with God. I am a common man without accolade or position but I have loved my God and I have sought Him diligently and He has spoken to me many times and wrapped me in His love and redeems me from my sinful nature each time I cry out to Him in faith, reaching to Him beyond my despair. By despair I mean my knowledge and acceptance of my weakness and inability to save myself in the least. But, I do not despair in Him who is mighty to save and quick to forgive. You must know that I love my God and my Lord and trust implicitly in Him. Therefore, in obedience to His request, I write this blog and more particular this specific post.
What I have come to know is that we are not here by shear happenstance, the product of billions of years of evolution, offspring of the primordial soup as science would feign lead us to believe, without meaning or hope of anything beyond the cruel daily grind, to eke out some small pleasure, only to die in the end without hope of any future, to evaporate into nothingness after such a fateful struggle. In Holy Scripture, The God of Heaven speaking to Moses said “…this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39) And, Jesus Christ himself said “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 1:3)
To Know God and Jesus
What does God mean “… that they might know … God and Jesus Christ…”? Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. … He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. … If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:16-18,21,23) Joseph Smith revealed, “John 14:23 – The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.” (D&C 130:3)
Why Not Me?
Then why does it appear that God in His infinite wisdom makes Himself known to only some of His children? Jesus said, “… Father, … glorify thy Son, … that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” (John 1:1-2) If we believe Christ, then what must we do to be given of God to Him?
Light of Christ
When every child enters the world they come with the “Light of Christ” or a conscience, inherently led to light, truth and goodness. Everyone without need of explanation understands and responds to portrayals of the conflict between good and evil. From childhood we are read to and watch the stories of Robin Hood, Cinderella, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and on and on. Why? Because it is inherent in us to know good from evil and to sympathize with the good. John 1:9 teaches “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” This is the first step, and the free gift of God to man. What is the next step back to eternity?
Baptism of Fire and Holy Ghost
If we listen to and follow the light of Christ it will ultimately lead us to receive baptism. Just as Christ received, the next step after baptism by water is the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. When we are baptized we are invited to receive the Holy Ghost or in other words to be baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost. “But to as many as received me, gave I power to become my sons; and even so will I give unto as many as will receive me, power to become my sons. … And this is my gospel—repentance and baptism by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom. … I have looked upon thy works and I know thee. And verily I say unto thee, thine heart is now right before me at this time; and, behold, I have bestowed great blessings upon thy head; … if thou wilt hearken to my voice, which saith unto thee: Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on my name, and you shall receive my Spirit, and a blessing so great as you never have known.” (D&C 39:4-10)
The Holy Ghost is now our teacher and will instruct us in greater light and knowledge until we are brought back into God’s presence, whether through the veil or within the veil in the flesh. “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. … Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. … For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor 2:10-16) (see John 14:16-18,21,23 again)
Given to Christ
This baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is not yet when we are given to Christ. But by the Holy Ghost we will begin to be instructed in the mind of Christ and ultimately be lead to the ordinances of the temple, which are an invitation and a road map to seek our calling and election through the veil as a member of the heavenly Church of the First Born and the Elect of God. This calling and election through the veil is when we are conditionally given to Christ. After we are thoroughly tested by Christ in our knowledge, and demonstrate our commitment through the veil, we will receive that assurance from Christ in the flesh and then be given unconditionally to Him. Can you see that it is a process, one step after another? We must climb the ladder, one step at a time, understanding and performing each step before we can progress to the next. For those who are desirous and willing you may search out the testimony of others. They are available to those who seek.
Now why in the world would we want to go to this trouble? “Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men …” (D&C 121:34,35) We don’t yet understand! Our father Abraham said, “And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, … having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, … holding the right belonging to the fathers. It was conferred upon me from the fathers; … from the beginning of time, … or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me. I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the fathers concerning the seed.” (Abraham 1:2-4) What? We could receive greater happiness, peace and rest; greater knowledge; even the right of the first born? That sounds pretty desirable to me, if we truly understand and believe! And that is the great separator. Only those who are willing to sacrifice the treasures of the world and the honors of men will prove worthy to receive all of God’s blessings both through and within the veil. God extends His hand through the veil to test our knowledge, and we demonstrate whether or not we are desirous and willing to receive Him.
What did Abraham say he did to obtain? “And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, … having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring … great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, … holding the right belonging to the fathers. It was conferred upon me from the fathers; … from the beginning of time, … or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me. I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the fathers concerning the seed.” (Abraham 1:2-4) Abraham received first the temporal and then the spiritual endowment. It is the pattern shown us in the temple. The Gospel of Jesus Christ leads us to the ordinances of the temple. Once we receive the ordinances it is up to us to follow the path that leads beyond the temporal ordinance to the true endowment of power in the priesthood, into the sure embrace of Christ and back into God’s presence. Can it occur in this life? It has been documented time and again in the scriptures and was the desire of Moses and Joseph Smith to bring us into God’s presence. It has occurred in our day and it is continuing to occur.
My Calling and Election
I sat in the car contemplating the new and amazing things that had just occurred in the last 2 weeks. Over a life time I had received many experiences and knew how God spoke to me by the spirit, but I had believed there should be much more. I was 55 years old, past my prime and the meridian of my life. If I didn’t discover soon, my life would be in vain. For months something had been tugging at my heart, telling me to cast off my unbelief and approach the Lord in “mighty prayer” and that I could experience something more. But it was just my imagination wasn’t it? On the other hand, weren’t we taught “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20) Oh how I yearned to believe. Desire, believe, Act I thought. (Alma 32) I knew this was the pattern and had taught it many times to the youth.
For a few years I had been searching the scriptures, the internet, the words of Joseph Smith and praying mightily to the Lord, ever more diligently and intently than in my mission life, asking Him to show me my unbelief. I prayed for hours a day pondering what I had learned and asking for a confirmation of the true and an understanding and ability to cast off my unbelief. Slowly I began to have a mighty conversion, a growing understanding of Mormon’s and Moroni’s, No, of God’s intent for and the purpose of the Book of Mormon. I saw the meaning of the temple ordinances and the invitation to apply them in my life. I read of others who had been led, like me, in this same path and that were now offering their example of the Lord’s love and extreme grace in leading them along the path that I had for so long secretly hoped for.
It had become habit for me, the minute I pulled from the driveway and pointed the car toward work, to approach the Lord in prayer. I would begin by begging his forgiveness and adjuring his patience for my sinful nature. I then would move to petitioning Him to rebuke the adversary, the destroyer, the devourer, and all those who chose to follow him, and for God to send His angels to displace and be a shield, to minister, to be my companion and to influence for my good those that I came in contact with throughout the day. I would then spend the remainder of the drive, my lunch time and the drive home asking and then pondering the new things I was being given.
On one unexpected Friday morning I followed the normal routine but was inclined to cry out, “Father, where is the greater light and knowledge that you promised me! I have been trying my best to be obedient.” I had reviewed in my mind my temple covenants of both the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood made in the temple and I pled, “I have been striving to keep all my covenants. I pray for Thy mercy, not on my merits, but because of the atonement of Thy Son. I desire to receive the greater light and knowledge you have promised to send me.” I sat pondering and gathering my thoughts, when I heard the following words distinctly in my mind in conjunction with a powerful confirmation by the spirit that my Savior was the voice saying, “Present him at the veil and his request shall be granted!” My mind began to spin! Was I dreaming or had I heard Christ’s voice from within the veil? The day was a blur. My prayers on the return home now escape me but I continued to marvel at what had occurred. I could hardly wait to hike up the mountain above my home Saturday morning, as I thought, to seek the face of the Lord. I believed it would occur. In this blog you can find the posts (A Reminder of Forgiveness and the Atonement, Why is “It” a Sin?) and read my accounts of two Saturday trips to seek the Lord in the mountain. I did not see the face of God then, nor have I yet. But, there is one thing that did occur that I was remiss to divulge in my previous accounts that I need to share. As I hiked up the mountain I was prompted to bow before a massive stone that stood chest high above the ground and that was at least 10 X 10 feet in size. I raised my voice to heaven seeking my calling and election. I was prompted to sacredly perform the ritual of the true order of prayer as I petitioned for this blessing. As I did I slowly began to be filled with peace and I was led to understand that I was washed clean through the blood of the Lamb. I was giving a personal calling to start a record in the form of a blog and compile the sacred experiences He would prompt me to share. Other things were affirmed along with my calling. As my written account of that day says, I was filled with joy and gladness as I floated on the wings of the spirit back down the mountain that morning.
Over the next weeks, in one of my daily morning prayers I was desirous to receive another witness if I had truly been greeted by the Savior through the veil and been sustained by the assembly of Christ. Again, the spirit testified strongly to my joy and amazement. I continue to need affirmation from time to time, that despite my nagging but slowly abating sinful nature my calling and election remains in force. I am still assured it does but there is significantly more testing and refinement that the Lord demands before I can receive an assurance in the flesh and the veil be parted.
It has now been over 6 months from that first visitation of my Savior. Was it because of mighty prayer, or was it a mighty desire, or was it because God wants all of His children to return to His presence? My desires are to my Savior and my trust is in Him. I have been prompted and it has been affirmed that it is time to publish this experience. He has shared other things through the veil that I am not required to divulge and that I am reticent to even consider. My desire to see my Savior and my God in the flesh remains intense. I find I have a greater capacity to rebuke the adversary and control my physical nature though I continue to struggle with the natural man. I recognize my utter dependence on Christ and God’s absolutely incomprehensible love and gracious plan of happiness and salvation. I find things of a spiritual nature to come more often, almost constantly. Maybe it is because I anticipate and expect it now. Is that faith or knowledge? I have an incredible and growing love for all of my fellow man and have an even greater desire to invite all to experience the joy and peace of the Gospel of Christ. It pushes me outside of my comfort zone. Actually, I think my comfort zone is expanding. As I write this I am buoyed up by the surges of the spirit. It confirms again and again, it is true, press forward, quicken your pace, greater things lie in store.
How does it happen? It is a miracle and still one of the mysteries of God to me. But, I can encourage you to seek it if you have not yet received it. I commend you into the hands of the holy spirit and the grace and mercy of God.
Heleman 3:27-30 Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name. Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God. Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked – And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out.
Jesus is the Christ; He truly ministers to his children who earnestly seek Him. I have received the undeniable confirmation, by the ministering of angels, of my calling and election at His hand, through the veil. I am striving to make it sure from within the veil. This is my testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ, my Savior whom I seek to embrace in the flesh.
- Do you recognize His voice?
- Do you seek His constant companionship?
- Do you pray until you feel His presence and find peace and answers to your prayers?
- Do you mentally spend more or less time with Him than you do your best friend?
- The scriptures speak of unbelief. Unbelief is false belief or false knowledge. It is the precepts of men mingled with scripture. It tells us we are different than Lehi a merchant, Nephi a son, Jacob a brother, Enos a hunter and a son, Benjamin a righteous king, Abinadi a believer, Alma the elder an unrighteous priest, Alma the younger a wayward son, King Lamoni, King Lamoni’s wife, King Lamoni’s Father, Nephi and Lehi the sons of Helaman who gave up the kingdom to serve, Samuel a believer, Mormon a 14 year old boy, The brother of Jared a faithful and believing saint, and Moroni rejected, hated and left to wander the remainder of his days. Were all of them witnesses of Christ? The Book of Mormon is a compilation of normal people, one of them just like you, who struggled through adversity and was blessed with a sure knowledge of Christ.
- Study – The Temple roadmap, The Book of Mormon roadmap, the words of Joseph Smith, other Holy Scripture, Prayer and the Holy Ghost.
- Experiment/Practice/ Improve (Alma 32)
- Engage in Frequent Mighty Prayer (Read the stories of all those listed under Believe. Learn to pray mightily)
- Discover and Overcome your Unbelief
- Unbelief – I have to be perfect.
- Truth – We will be judged by the intent of our heart.
- Truth – Just striving so to do. D&C 46:9
- Unbelief – I’m not good enough/not worthy.
- Truth – Jesus Christ has atoned for my sins.
- Truth – Satan plants thoughts of fear and doubt.
- Unbelief – It doesn’t happen to people like me.
- Truth – Lehi was a regular person who heard, believed, and acted.
- Truth – There are regular people alive on the earth today who have experienced it.
- Unbelief – God doesn’t speak to little people today like He did anciently.
- Truth – God pleads with us through prophets to make our calling and election sure.
- Unbelief – I have to be perfect.
- Have I received my C&E “but knew it not”?
- Can I receive my C&E?
- What must I do to receive my C&E?