The (Fullness of the) Gospel According to:

Child in Jesus Arms 3

The (Fullness of the) Gospel According to:

What is the “fullness” of the gospel of Jesus Christ? To understand the mind of God for His children, we should be able to identify a pattern throughout the scriptures that teaches and demonstrates the true doctrine of the fullness, and the way set out for us to achieve it. I believe God has shown us repeatedly through all the books of scripture and in the ordinances of the gospel, the exactness and pattern of the way. Some of the patterns that I have discovered are outlined below. In the Old Testament Jacob recounts a dream of a ladder to heaven. I, like Jacob, know that the way and pattern is a series of step like the rungs of a ladder that must be climbed one at a time. As we climb the ladder or staircase to heaven we can achieve salvation and exaltation back into God’s presence. But, during the journey, and it is an intentional and sometimes rigorous journey, he does not leave us comfortless but provides an ever expanding resource of comfort, peace and knowledge as we progress along the way.

The endowment repeatedly reminds that “We invite all to receive it!” But, you “… must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” D&C 9:8. Perfection is not required, only a humble heart and a willing mind. D&C 64:34 “Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.”

Take what I have discovered and have experienced to be true, and expand on it in your own personal discovery. The journey is not without significant desire, effort and even tears on our part. It can only be traveled and experienced individually, but those who have gone before can point out the way in hopes of making the path more discernible. This is my loving intent. If you have questions and if you desire, come talk to me and we can discuss these things to whatever detail you desire. However, I am still learning and expanding in my understanding as fast as I am able to absorb the greater light and knowledge Father continues to pour out upon His diligently searching children.

Study the patterns broken down below. Seek to understand, ask, pray and discern by the spirit, as Father tests your knowledge “through the veil.” (The pattern starts at the bottom left and progresses to the top right, in a stair step fashion, in each of the following instances.)

The (Fullness of the) Gospel According to: (<— please click to expand)

2 Ne 9:10 “O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way…” Psalms 92:5 “O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.” 2 Ne 4:30 “Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.” This is my testimony. It is my invitation to you. All are invited, all are capable. It simply requires taking the first step …, and then another …, and then another …, until we find our calling and election among the assembly and Church of the First Born “made sure” by His word and embrace “through the veil”, and we continue to be directed in all things that we should do to assist in bringing about Jehovah’s “… work and His glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (and woman!), until at the end of our journey the veil is parted, our Savior reaches forth, and we hear the words “Let him/her enter” and we are received into the presence of the Lord.

“And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.  And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.  And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day.” (2Ne33:10-12)

In the name of Jesus Christ, the very Eternal Father,

Amen.

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The Things You Need to Know about Isaiah

book of isaiah High Priest

Avraham Gileadi’s

Isaiah Explained

The Things You Need to Know about Isaiah

(All of the following has been derived with the help of Avraham Gileadi’s website at www.isaiahexplained.com. Greater understanding of the revelation of Isaiah can be achieved by studying the words of Isaiah along with the resources and commentary provided on this website. The guidance of the spirit along with this website and the inspired efforts of Avraham Gileadi have helped open the sealed book of Isaiah, and by the power of the Holy Ghost given me “eyes to see and ears to hear”. I have never corresponded with, but desire to give credit and gratitude to Brother Gileadi for his tutelage in the history of the Jews and the writing style of the ancient Hebrew prophets. I give all credit, honor and glory to the Father who is the sole source of inspiration and the author of His amazing plan of happiness and salvation as revealed through Isaiah and all of His other holy prophets.)

Everything You Need to Know About Isaiah (please click to expand the document.)

Jesus Christ commands us to understand the words of Isaiah in 3 Nephi 23:1-3 “And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah. For surely he spake as touching all things concerning my people which are of the house of Israel; therefore it must needs be that he must speak also to the Gentiles. And all things that he spake have been and shall be, even according to the words which he spake.”

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No One Left Behind

wheattaresNo not school or common core! I’m not thinking what you think I’m thinking!

I’m thinking Jeremiah 3:14-15 ‘…I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:…”. I don’t want any of my family left behind when the prophet calls. I believe that like the parable of the 10 virgins many will not take the invitation seriously and will be left behind, not ready in the hour required. I want my loved ones to be found watching so like the parable of “the lord of the house” says, “And it is like unto a man who is an householder, who, if he watcheth not his goods, the thief cometh in an hour of which he is not aware,… And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, be ye therefore ready also; for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” Luke 12:45, 47

Recently I have been impressed to share some things with my family. I have been guided in my studies to both the scriptures and the writings and experiences of others. Isaiah had a vision of Judeah and Jerusalem in our day. Joseph Smith sent the elders out to gather in Judeah and Jerusalem to this the American continent. Isaiah stated that we could know the “end” (our day) from (by the history of) the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). So Isaiah ordered his prophecies and writings from his times, according to his visions and recorded them for our times. They are for us and are to be taken literally. He has taught us that the destruction of the wicked would overtake those whose eyes would not see and who’s ears would not hear (Isaiah 6:9). We need to never discount the meetings and words of His ordained leaders, when in is due time we will be invited in to the feast while those who don’t listen will be left when the door is locked.

I have also been led to consider Moses 2:14 “… Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years;” and Joel 2:30,31 “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.” This is happening now; we are witnessing the fulfillment of scripture in the unique occurrences of lunar and solar eclipses which have fallen directly on the holy days of the Lord, Passover and Tabernacles. Are we desirous to have the destructions of the wicked pass over our families and to tabernacle with the Savior through the millennium?

I have considered the precision of the fulfillment of the Savior’s sacrifice and atonement on the exact divinely appointed seasons (days and hours) established by Himself, Jehovah, during the time of Moses. Bound to the cross at the exact time the sacrificial lambs were bound to the temple alters, Dying on the cross at the same time the lambs were sacrificed, Buried without sin while the feast of unleavened bread was observed, Rising as the first fruits of the resurrection while the feast of the first fruits was initiated. Then 50 days later on the feast of Pentecost the Holy Ghost was poured out upon many of the disciples.

I have contemplated the occurrence of the plural “Sabbaths” in the scriptures and have wondered about the Sabbath of the creation, the Sabbath of days, the Sabbath of years (called Shemitah in the Hebrew) and the Sabbath of Shemitahs (called Jubilees in the Hebrew). Do we remember and consider all of these? The Sabbath is a blessing to the obedient but a cursing to the disobedient. The two greatest and last financial warnings of God have fallen on these years. The attack on the trade center combined with the crash of Wall Street in 2001, and the crash of Wall Street in 2008. 2015 is a Shemitah year and beginning late September 2015 is a Jubilee year.

We also witnessed the “star” Jupiter, as it was struck by another “star” 21 times (on a Sabbath of years). Are these Harbingers and reminders to those who have ears to hear and eyes to see?

I have most recently been introduced, in an inspired turn of event, to one Julie Rowe. (On a fun side note the introduction was through one of my distant cousins named Kelly Kunz. his grandfather was Mom’s cousin and bishop and his great grandfather was Clara Kunz’ brother.) Julie had a near death experience in her 30’s and was shown the beginning through the end. She has seen our day and the pending horrific destructions of the wicked, and the miraculous salvation of the righteous (or those that have ears to hear and eyes to see) as they are called out by the brethren at the last hour. She writes of her experience in 2 books titled “A Greater Tomorrow, My Journey Beyond the Veil” and “The Time is Now”. These can be purchased at a discounted through Seagull Book. However, Julie also has a web page “julieroweprepare.com” where she has 9 recorded interviews that cover most of what is in the books. Her message is prepare, wake up and be ready physically and spiritually to respond to our first presidency when they extend the invitation to come out from the world. I invite you to read and listen with an ear tuned to the whisperings of the spirit. If it resonated with you then heed the promptings. But also importantly, give equal time to the scriptures and the gospel.

Like Julie, I believe the time is now. We must be prepared to hear and understand the voice of God. We must be anxiously engaged in seeking the greater light and truth promised to us if we are diligent. We must be attending all of our meetings all of the time and focusing on what the spirit is telling us as individuals. And equally as important, we must be found watching and waiting on the Lord as he gives us direction through personal revelation and his ordained leaders and prophets so that we are ready and willing to heed the call with expediency and faith.

Let us not be left behind spiritually or physically is my prayer, in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

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Unto What Were We Called High Priests

High Priest

Unto What Were We Called High Priests

1/31/15 HP Group Lesson – Roy Barrus

First Ourselves, Then Our Brethren (Families)

  • Alma 13:12,13 prepare ourselves to enter into His rest
  • Alma 13:6 teach others that they also might enter into His rest
  • 4:9 teach thy sons and thy son’s sons
  • Moses 6:58,59 teach children of God’s plan and atonement
  • 2 Ne 25:26 that our children may know to look for a remission of their sins

What Shall We Teach? HOPE!

To Whom Does it Avail?

How will we know?

The correct understanding of God’s true nature, purposes and doctrines; lead to hope, faith and salvation. However, we cannot obtain (by grace) a sure knowledge without personal sacrifice.

How Shall We Gain This?

  1. 2 Ne 32:9 pray always
  2. James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom
  3. 2 Ne 32:3 HG will show all thing to do
  4. D&C 36:2 … my spirit, the HG, the comforter, shall teach you the peaceable things of the kingdom

What Can We Know?

  1. D&C 42:61 revelation, knowledge, mysteries, peace, joy, eternal life
  2. D&C 76:5-10 mysteries, wonders, secrets, understanding, wisdom, enlightenment
  3. D&C 84:46-48 the spirit giveth light and the Father teacheth the covenant

What Will Be the Result?

  1. Numbers 11:29 Would to God that all the Lord’s people were prophets
  2. Jeremiah 31:34 all shall know the Lord

Consider what we must be doing to make this a reality in our families.

May the HG teach us all things that we should do, until we enter into God’s rest.  Then, may we lead our families, that they might also enter into His rest, is my faith and prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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Pre-Christmas Sacrament Meeting Talk – 12/16/14

Baby-Jesus

When Bishop Noble presented the topic of Isaiah chapter 9 verse 6 for my talk, and asked if I would be willing to speak today, I happily accepted because the topic is one of my favorite to contemplate. However as I began to prepare my thoughts I realized that we could spend much more time discussing this amazing topic than I had been given. Approaching Heavenly Father, I asked what He would have me discuss and felt impressed with the following. I pray that I can share the peaceful spirit of the message, and evoke in you the feelings of hope and wonder that it brings to me.

The anticipation of Christmas morning conjures up emotions of excitement from our childhood! We imagine the gifts of treats, toys and clothing that our parents and loved ones have prepared for our enjoyment! This tradition of giving and receiving of gifts, originated to remind us of the ultimate gift from our Heavenly parents.

In Isaiah chapter 9 verse 6 we read: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

“Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given …”

Unto “us”! Unto YOU! A gift to you and to me individually, intended to be very personal to each of us! When someone gives a gift they are giving a part of themselves. It represents their time, their effort, their thought, their interest in you. In this case the gift is a “child”! What more precious could be given than your own “child”?! Possibly only a life! That Son’s life.

“… and the government shall be upon his shoulder: …”

Heavenly Father’s Son has been given all power and authority to govern God’s plan of salvation. In Doctrine & Covenants 50:27 it says “Wherefore, he is possessor of all things; for all things are subject unto him, both in heaven and on the earth, the life and the light, the Spirit and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father through Jesus Christ, his Son.”

This use of the term government, may not mean what you may think it means! In this telestial world that we currently live in, the word government may hold a negative connotation. We are taught in the gospel, that in the pre-mortal realm, satan angrily committed, to; “… reign with blood and horror on this earth.” And he does through the actions of many men.

However, in the Book of Mormon, in Zenos’ allegory of the olive tree, we are taught by the prophet Jacob; “… I will liken thee, O house of Israel, like unto a tame olive tree, which a man took and nourished in his vineyard; … And the Lord of the vineyard caused that it should be digged about, and pruned, and nourished, … And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard and the servant of the Lord of the vineyard did nourish all the fruit of the vineyard.” (Jacob 5)

This “Son” that God has given all power and authority to govern; desires to minister, cultivate, nourish and nurture! His intent is to save, not to destroy!

His yoke is easy and His burden is light!, if we will accept it. (Matt 11:28-30)

He proclaimed, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We must not only believe that His words are true, but that they apply specifically to you!

“… and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

“… Wonderful …”

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.

I tremble to know that for me he was crucified, That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.

I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine, To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,

That he should extend his great love unto such as I, Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.

I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt! Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?

No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat, Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.

Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me, Enough to die for me!

Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

These words do pertain to each one of us! This truth has been confirmed to me over, and over again. Even in opposition to the arguments and dissuasion of the adversary that, it may be true for others, but you are not worthy.

“…Counsellor, The mighty God …”

Please forgive and indulge me if I share a very personal story to try and illustrate these titles?

I was an imperfect and insecure 12 year old boy.

Not many weeks before, I had received for my birthday a beautiful pocket knife.

It was my most treasured possession, and I carried it in my front pocket everywhere I went.

In my young insecure desires to escape a difficult world, it was my habit to run the 1 the mile home from church and school. I would cross the highway, jump the ditch, and disapear, safe into the hay fields and ditch banks that led me home.

As I was running home one warm Sunday afternoon, jumping head gates, I came to the realization that my knife was no longer in my pocket, panic struck my heart.

Where in the past 1 mile of over grown ditch bank ,high with grass, could my knife have come out of my pocket and be lost. I didn’t know what to do and I was heartbroken.

In that instant, a Sunday lesson on prayer forced itself in my mind.

I wanted to believe and in faith jumped into the dry ditch. I knelt and began to pour out my broken heart for my lost treasure.

As I spoke, a picture appeared in my mind and I could see my knife in a bare patch of ground.

I marveled, and was filled with hoped! I scrambled out of the ditch and ran back in anticipation. When I had run about a half mile I could see the clear patch of ground ahead of me, I thought I saw it! Disbelief, wonder, awe, joy!!!

I approached and picked up the lost treasure.

Instantly my mind was focused on what had just occurred. I began to recognize. I marveled. As the reality of the experience sunk in I was overcome with gratitude! I scrambled back down into the dry ditch and resumed my yet unfinished prayer. As I gave recognition, my heart was filled with the confirmation of the HG. Amazing, wonderful, marvelous!

At that moment, for the first time in my young life, I knew! There was no doubt; He was My councilor, My Mighty God, My Everlasting Father, My Prince of Peace.

Life was still hard, I remained an imperfect and inattentive boy, I am still an imperfect man, I have sometimes doubted myself, but I know Him.

“… The Everlasting Father…”

Jesus Christ said in 3 Ne 1:14 “Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfill all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.”

My Everlasting Father is one of love, mercy, forgiveness and, has provided a way to receive protection, guidance, peace, joy, and even to know Him in this life.

“… The Prince of Peace …”

There is no equivalent peace and happiness like that which comes from the embrace of the Prince of Peace! Have you experienced it? Are you experiencing it frequently? Have you experienced it today? Jesus Christ himself said, “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.” Rev 3:20

We have to invite Him into our lives; daily, hourly, in our time of need, for comfort, peace, council and power, believing with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, having hope and faith in His word. Do we have faith in His power to redeem us even in our fallen condition? The words of the sacramental hymn say “That He should extend His great love unto such as I, Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.”

Did we listen closely to the words spoken today, “O God, … we ask thee … to bless and sanctify … to the souls of all those who partake … that they may witness … that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and … remember him … ; that they may have his Spirit to be with them.”

That we may have His spirit, His peace, His comfort.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Since that fateful day in my youth, 44 years ago, I have had many other personal experiences with my Savior. I testify that He is quick to forgive, mighty to save, and He loves each of us with a love we cannot fathom.

What a wonderful season to remember this wonderful gift. May we chose to believe in God’s intense personal love for each of us, may we chose to believe in Christ’s individual atonement for us, and may we seek this relationship with broken heart and contrite spirit that it will have affect in our daily lives.

I pray this in His name, Jesus Christ,

Amen

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Can a Child Be a Savior?

Sweet little baby Claire Morgan

This morning I awoke 20 minutes before my alarm and lay in bed unable to return to sleep, feeling an anticipation of something I needed to do. I finally arose with my alarm, reflexively said prayers with my wife and prepared for the day. As I drove to work I began to speak with the Lord, giving gratitude for the atonement, asking His forgiveness and the companionship of His spirit, praying for protection from the adversary and importuning His influence upon those in the world that had authority over my work, and my family in any way. I prayed for each one of my family individually and then turned my thought to what I had been feeling so strongly about since I awoke.

For the past week I had been intensively studying the early days of the restoration of the church and the key players who were called to assist Joseph. I was excited to continue studying this topic because new knowledge and a new paradigm were rapidly unfolding before my eyes. However, as I turned my thoughts toward this topic something else was abruptly interjected into my thoughts.

The day before, we had been informed that my oldest daughter’s not yet 4 month old baby girl, born premature, was not improving in the function of her lungs. A month prior she had been put on oxygen because her lungs were not moving enough oxygen and it was over working her little heart, but more troubling was that baby Claire was now struggling with apnea when not on oxygen.

The thought that was forced upon my mind was a dream and the interpretation that I had received a few years prior.

In the dream my youngest daughter had come to me begging my help with a mission she had been given and accepted from the Lord. The Father had asked her if she would freely sacrifice her life to atone for a variety of sins committed by her immediate and extended family. Without her sacrifice all would be lost. She was directed to ask me to perform the sacrifice.

I was horrified! My mind raced. What could I do to alleviate her death? I was filled with unspeakable pain and terror. Why couldn’t I take her place. In time I was convinced. She was calm and willing to do this for her family, her sister and her family, and her extended family. I knew it must be and so I was resolved despite my immense pain. She submitted bravely without struggle and I did as directed.

I awoke in the black of night racked with inconsolable pain. I knew it was only a dream but it had been so real and intense. I lay crying and grieving, unable to shake the extreme emotions I was feeling. In despair I turned to Heavenly Father in prayer pleading for Him to take away my pain and comfort my aching heart. As I lay crying and pleading for relief I began to realize many things. God was showing me a small glimpse of what He and His Son had gone through for the salvation of His entire family. He had wanted to see how I would respond and if I would submit to His will even in a dream.

As I lay awake His peace did come and I was wrapped in His  comfort. I was even filled with joy for the experience, the realization that my daughter still lived, and for the incomparable atonement that was wrought by Jesus Christ. Rest came, days pasted and the dream was only recorded in my memories, until now.

Now in conjunction with the memories of my dream the thought of baby Claire came into my mind. It was impressed upon me that one of the rolls that baby Claire had accepted was to come into her family with these health problems to act as a savior to draw her parents and grandparents in remembrance of their covenants and back to their eternal family. In effect, to offer redemption to her own family by turning them by their own agency whether softly or harshly back to a more strict adherence to Father’s plan.

Whether our lack of remembrance and re-commitment has been hindering baby Claire’s healing, or the softening of our hearts and will to Father would restore her health I was not promised. Though I was impressed that our response could be submissive and the result would be soft and easy to us, or our response could be resistant and the response could be more harsh.

In submission to what I have been asked to do I share this experience with my family. My prayer is that we turn to Father and seek a soft response from Him in behalf of our precious Claire.

I love my family. I want every one of us all for eternity. I want our little Claire to be healed. This is my humble prayer and my petition to our loving Father.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

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Our Continuing Journey (Jodi and Myself)

Reaching to embrace Child in Jesus Arms 3 embraced by Christ

Flash Back

Through the previously recorded selection of sacred stories I have begun to share the essence of my journey coming to know God. It is so simple yet in our Heavenly Parent’s brilliant plan it weeds out those who are not sincere. All blessings and gifts of God require obedience, and sacrificing our will to heaven’s.

I have learned by experience how God speaks to me. I know His voice as well as I know my mother’s (Alma 32:26-43). My relationship with God and with my Savior has become sweet and desirable above all other fruit (1 Ne 8:12, 15, 1 Ne 15:36 and Alma 32:42). However, His ways are not always our ways and don’t always make sense to us until after the trial of our faith.

The Setup

Even last week I thought I understood where my path was finally taking me. I had learned the doctrine of Christ, come to understand the meaning of the temple ordinances and had climbed Jacob’s ladder to what I thought was the next to last rung or step. I had learned to, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5), “O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.” (2 Ne 4:34). I petitioned Him for confirmation in everything I learned and did and I was prepared to do whatever He asked.

In the Introduction to the Book of Mormon Joseph Smith said, “… the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone to our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” Why? Because it was compiled by God, handpicked by prophets from 1000 years of history; specific stories teaching of Christ, Christ’s doctrine, and Christ’s prophecies. The Book of Mormon prophesies of many things about the gentile church in our day. I felt that many were now begin to be fulfilled.

Why was the story of Abinadi, King Noah and Alma included in the book? Would the Lord ever call a faithful saint from outside of the ecclesiastical organization of the church to warn the church leaders? Are church leaders, because of some ecclesiastical superiority, powerless to lead the saints astray? Would the Lord ever wrest the authority away from the ecclesiastical leaders if they rejected truth and righteousness? If so could the authority fall to another, and could the church remain on the earth without a falling away or apostasy? It had happened in the Book of Mormon.

I posed these questions to God with fear and trembling. Desiring to know the truth, but fearful of being deceived and becoming one of the elect in the last days who would be led away by the lies of satan (Matt 24:24, JSH 1:22). But what side of the coin was correct? I received an answer in the affirmative to the above questions and about the human nature of all men, but again and again out of fear I pled for a stronger witness of the truth. Again and again a patient, long suffering Father, who intended to qualify and teach a lesson, answered my prayers the same each time.

In retrospect I had jumped to conclusions. I hadn’t asked all the questions to clarify my concerns, but I’m getting ahead of this story.

What would Jodi Do?

A year ago I had a nightmare. In the dream my wife (and the center of my life) of 34 years chose another path without me. I awoke from this most horrifying dream in a panic and could not find peace for hours as I lay awake, tossing in mental anguish. Finally I turned to the Lord in prayer, asking for peace and for sleep to overtake me and rid me of the pain I was feeling. Christ did bring peace and I was able to return to my slumber, but in future days, despite my efforts to push this thought deep into the seat cushions of my mind it occasionally surfaced.

My Test

Now as I contemplated what my answers to my recent prayer meant, and the assumptions I had drawn, I changed my questioning. I approached the Lord filled with the resurfacing dread of the dream and with concern for how my wife that I loved would respond to my concerns. I pled with Father, “Show me how I can explain all this to Jodi! Fill Jodi with Thy spirit and an understanding and accepting heart! Send an extra measure of personal revelation that we may know and accept Thy will”. He answered, and said in effect, “Write this all down, your blogging effort has been to this end, to convince My children that these things can and do happen. This is not the first and this will not be the last. Put your trust in Me and don’t fear the arm of flesh. I will sustain you no matter the outcome.” My decision was made. My mind was firm. There were many things I did not understand but I assumed and was allowed to believe, for a short period of time, that the doctrine, precepts, teaching and intent of the church were still true, but the leadership were making decisions that might necessitate lead my family in another direction. I knew what this decision would mean. I could loose my wife, we could estrange ourselves from family, friends and church. In effect all that we had counted precious could be forfeited. This was a painful sacrifice that I was willing to make if it was asked of me.

Sunday was the Ogden temple re-dedication and I desired to go. I needed to feel after the spirit seeking revelation, communication with my God, to finalize my decision. I had confirmed that I was willing to place everything I had or would ever have on God’s alter if this was what Father wanted me to do.

Regaining My Balance

Jodi and I attended the dedication together. Initially I was uncomfortable because I assumed Father would tell to me that the brethren were stumbling. However, as we sat in the meeting a wonderful spirit began to distill in my heart. I listened to every word of the proceeding without forcing any emotion, feeling after every nuance of the spirit as it settled in my heart. The spirit bore testimony that the brethren and each participant were sincere in their efforts and it was pleasing to the Lord. He also spoke to me that all men including the 1st presidency and quorum of the 12 were men as was I, subject to mortal miscues and mistakes, doing the best they could despite the influences of the world and of the flesh. When president Monson finally stood and proceeded to pronounce the dedicatory prayer I felt the spirit say clearly, “This is my imperfect servant, but he is the man holding the keys and authority to administer the affairs of the church.” As President Monson was seated and we prepared to join in the hosanna shout I felt a surge of emotion and an excitement to participate in worshipping Jesus Christ and demonstrating my witness to sustain His church on the earth. I had received my answer. It was entirely opposite to my expectation, but it was powerful and easily discernible.

As we arose to return home I was conflicted. Why had I received such a strong assurance to my preceding prayers concerning what I thought was a confirmation of the mistakes of the leadership in certain things and why had I received such a sure testimony now of God’s sustaining approval of President Monson and the council of the twelve?

My Spiritual Eyes Were Opened

I needed time and space to pray and ponder, so when Jodi laid down for a nap I took Nel out for a long walk. Before we rounded the first corner I was deep in thought and mighty prayer. To the best of my recollection I asked why I had felt what I had felt and why I had received such a strong answer from Him over the past week filled with turmoil, tears and trials.

The first answer that I was led to understand was that we worship and adore Jesus Christ and we sustain our church leaders, after personal spiritual confirmation. We need to make a distinction between listening to their council but following only the Lord. Always seeking our leader’s council but confirming all our decisions based on personal revelation.

A moment later the next response came to my mind followed by an incredibly powerful and emotional witness. “You needed to be tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up all that he had, even his only son. I needed to tug at your heart strings for you to confirm to yourself your of commitment. All of my faithful servants who have sought the blessings that you seek have been required to offer up to Me a sacrifice that would try them and prove their commitment to Me. For this it was counted as righteousness unto them.”

As I continued to walk, peace and joy began to flood my heart. This had been my test, a qualification of sorts. It was counted as righteousness to me. The Lord already knew, but wanted me to know that I would respond when asked to lay every precious thing I had in life: my wife, my children, my family, my community, on the alter for Him. The realization began to sweep over me that this had all been a test of my commitment and faithfulness to the Lord. I began walking with more of a spring in my step. Silently I exclaiming praises, shouting in my mind of my love of the Lord! My mind was opened to the entirety of the situation; I recalled my early baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, I had served as faithfully as I could in every capacity requested, I had been embraced through the veil by the Lord Himself, been given promises and asked to do certain things, and now after a week of struggling and pleading, then accepting and acting, I had passed my test, willing to have my heart wrenched, and do the spiritually and emotionally hardest thing I had ever been asked to do.

The Promise

I reached the turn at the top of block and while enjoying the peace of the moment it was recalled to my mind the words of Joseph Smith that I had read not long before: “After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th verses….

Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; …when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions-Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the First Born” [TPJS, pp. 150-51].

My Assurance

As this thought entered my mind a surge of pure energy went through my body. I was filled with a sweet and euphoric feeling, but also one of gratitude and love for my Savior. Tears came unashamed as I walked. I wanted to embrace Him, now, to fall at His feet and wash them with my tear! I wanted to express my love and gratitude. I wanted to hear Him call my name and confirm that I was accepted of Him. I thrilled at Joseph Smith’s implication that I was in the process of making my calling and election sure and the realization that it might actually be possible to accomplish all my desires to truly embrace and express all that I felt to my Savior and friend, in this life, in the flesh. All my earlier pains of the previous week were washed away and swallowed up in my joy and by the assurance of the only one who could. After another block, slowly the euphoric buzz wore to a peaceful warmth.

The remainder of the walk was nice. There was a spirit of peace but nothing to compare with what I had experience earlier in my walk. I was left to ponder the meaning of what had transpired in the previous 15 minutes. What an amazing plan. Amazing, confusing and inexplicable, wonderful that He should care for me, enough to die and then live again for me, wonderful to me! Now as I walked home I asked, I pleaded, when may I receive Thee? What more must I do to be qualified?

What Next

I have learned that each step comes, one at a time. The next step can’t be rushed. It will come in Christ’s own time and in His way. Until then, I have plenty more to do. For now I need to work on my relationship with Jodi. Father has taught me that I need her. She is essential to my progress. Without my wife as truly my best friend I can never become as God is. I also have plenty to do to strengthen the bonds with my children and their families. I must have them with us or all that we have done to raise them is pointless! I can’t be happy without my parents, siblings and their families. I must share what I have learned with them. And then there are all of my other brothers and sisters who are down here on earth with me, trying to figure this temporal existence out. I have work enough to do.

My Testimony

This is my testimony of what I know. The precepts of The Book of Mormon will put us on the path to know God. Baptism, both of water and of fire are the gate. The temple ordinances are the keys that unlock the spiritual endowment and open the doors to receive our calling and election, and ultimately the assurance of such, and the second comforter.

I want to share this testimony with you, with my family, with the world, in the name of Jesus Christ, my Brother, my Exemplar, my Savior, and my Friend.

Amen

God’s Promise

“Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (Moroni 10:3-5)

My Invitation by Way of Moroni

“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.” (Moroni 10:32-33)

Amen

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