I share this testimony in the spirit of friendship to any fellow seeker of Christ.
I am a normal lay member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have no presiding authority to teach or command within the organization of the church. Within the stewardship of the organization, I respect the authority of those presiding authorities, and I keep these experiences to myself. I share unrestrained to my friends and my family. Spirituality and the gospel are greater than any organization.
I served an honorable mission, married in the temple, and have a current temple recommend. I have been and remain an active member of the LDS church. I have no intentions of leaving it.
I have been asked to post this testimony here. I hope that this will be a one-post declaration of the grace Christ has bestowed on me. I have no intention to publicize this beyond a few family members and friends. I am not a great example. I have no secret to share that has been hidden. All I can do is testify that knowing Christ literally is possible. This is not a full record of my experiences, but what I share here did happen.
I started college at BYU as a freshman in 1994. I had one full school year before my LDS mission. During that freshman year, I took up reading the Book of Mormon for a half hour every day. I soon recognized an invitation to know the Lord personally as did Lehi, Nephi, and many others contained within that book. This invitation to know the Lord is explicitly made in D&C 93:1.
D&C 93:1 Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;
The invitation in this scripture impressed me so much that I included it on my missionary plaque. From that time, seeing His face and knowing the Lord has been my goal. I sought after this goal for nearly 18 years. This desire has not been merely a new whim. I am not a kindergartner seeking a crash course in calculus.
Joseph Smith taught “for God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them, for the day must come when no man need say to his neighbor, Know ye the Lord; for all shall know Him (who remain) from the least to the greatest.’ ” Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 149.
I believed him.
I didn’t have a name for what I went through during that period at BYU until many years later. Though I was baptized by water when I was 8, it was during that year, at age 18, that I received the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost.
This is how in 2012, I found myself pleading for truth and wisdom. That prayer led me to a book called The Second Comforter: Conversing with the Lord Through the Veil by Denver C. Snuffer Jr. I recognized The Second Comforter as a manual. I saw in it many experiences that I had already gone through. It was like a map. From reading it I saw where I had been on the path, where I was, and what else I could expect to experience. It was then a simple matter of pondering, identifying, and working on the areas I had identified.
On April 14, 2012, I was carried away into the heavenly temple. I shook the hand of the angel that was my guide. I saw and heard the Father and the Son speak to me. This experience involved sight, touch, sound, and smell. It was as real as anything I have experienced in my day-to-day life, only the glory and intelligence conveyed is indescribable. This was not my last encounter beyond the veil.
I am a witness that Jesus Christ lives. He is a real, knowable person.
If you seek and accept His messengers to prepare the way, He will come suddenly to His temple and reveal to you His glorious body of burnings. He is talkative. He wants to know you more than you want to know Him. I know this because I have experienced this as a man speaks to another.
Jesus Christ is the Second Comforter. He literally came to me and has comforted me.
This is not a full statement of my witness. I share my testimony so that you may know that Christ lives and His work is to save imperfect people. I hope that this testimony will allow you to exercise faith enough to lay hold on these blessings.
The Doctrine of Christ
The path to knowing Him is simple. The Book of Mormon calls it the Doctrine of Christ. It is faith, repentance, baptism, and then to actually receive the Holy Ghost. Once you have actually received the Baptism by Fire and the Holy Ghost you must do everything the Holy Ghost says until Christ manifests Himself to you. This is the end or goal to which we endure. It is to know Him literally. He has a ministry to accomplish with you personally.
You cannot get there by following any program or man. It is a matter of working on what one thing the Holy Ghost tells you to do each day. We are commanded to press forward to this goal with steadfastness.
2 Nephi 31:20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
If you are expecting to know Christ in death when you have not known Him in life, you will be disappointed. While being martyred, Stephen would not have been welcomed by Christ in His glory had Stephen not known Christ in his life.
Alma 34:32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. 33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. 34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.
The Book of Mormon contains this doctrine within its first six verses. Page after page, example after example, we can see how normal people had the desire and faith to know the Lord while in the flesh. Study Nephi’s last discourse in 2 Nephi, especially chapters 31-32. Study Moroni Chapter 7 and the ministry of angels. Study the whole book with the idea of how you can obtain what the authors obtained. They were not satisfied until they knew God while during their mortal lives.
The Lectures on Faith – A Neglected Treasure
I highly recommend the Lectures on Faith. It is scripture and was accepted as such by all quorums and the general membership of the church. It was edited, written, and approved by a man that had communed with Jehovah. The Lectures on Faith set out in methodical form keys or knowledge to knowing Christ and His Father.
Without Faith There is No Ministry of Angels – A Key Offered
In the months that followed, a heavenly messenger came to my bedside and taught me from the scriptures, primarily the Book of Mormon and Isaiah. This happened on three different nights over a period of two months, each time repeating the prior message and adding more. The best one line summary of the hours-long conversation is “the Gentiles in the Book of Mormon should be understood as referring to the LDS”. Please understand that this is a very inadequate summary.
Moroni 7:37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain. 38 For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made.
Ask the Lord to show you what unbelief you have. If you ask with a sincere heart, He will answer you. A sincere heart means that you are willing to accept the answer no matter what it is without preconceptions. Work on casting aside that unbelief. This is the hard part. We have accepted many traditions that are unbelief. The Book of Mormon will be your key. It was written to you, its reader.
In the period that has followed, my mind has been completely blown by the knowledge communicated from heaven. I had to lay down long-held beliefs that were really philosophies of men. A quality that is attractive to heaven is an openness to learning. I have also learned that if Angels have not come to you, then it is because of some unbelief that you are holding onto. Unbelief is more than not believing, it also includes belief in errors or incorrect belief. You may not even be aware of what it is. You may think it is truth when it is not.
Whose Connection to Heaven Matters?
To those who rely on others for their connection to heaven, the standing of any apostle, president, parent, bishop, or any other person, whether they commune with God or not, will not matter for your salvation. What matters is your own connection to heaven. If every person magnifies his calling and converses with the Lord, it will not matter to you if you do not do the same. God is no respecter of persons; you cannot be in the same kingdom as Nephi, Lehi, Abraham, and others without having had the same experiences. There is never any safety in following men. Even followers of true prophets find themselves in the telestial kingdom (see D&C 76:98-101).
Lectures on Faith 6:8 It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him.
The True Standard of Righteousness
Regarding righteousness, a person can try to live up to every law and commandment both cultural and scriptural and it will be insufficient. At the end of the day, after all we can do, we are saved by Christ’s grace. Why did Nephi labor so diligently to teach of Christ? Why did he and his people believe in Christ and talk about Him so much?
Nephi spoke of Christ because all we do amounts to basically nothing. No amount of compliance with any law will be sufficient to save us.
Assume your height was a visible measure of your righteousness. You could compare yourself to others and say, “Look, I’m six feet tall and everyone else is five feet, therefore I am righteous.” This is in essence what we do; we compare ourselves to others and find comfort in being “taller”.
Christ is the Empire State Building or Mt. Everest. From His perspective the difference between the best of us and the worst of us is so insignificant that we all equally fall short. You can’t even tell from the top of the Empire State Building just who is taller than the other.
This is the standard of righteousness that heaven uses. We all fall so far short of it that it is purely by Christ’s grace that we are saved.
You will not save yourself by saving up for that bicycle. The amount you offer is nothing compared to the standard of Righteousness. The only thing you can offer is a broken heart and contrite spirit. You must be willing to set aside anything and everything to know Him, including your cherished but incorrect beliefs.
To the Critics of the Church
For those of you aware of facts that have shaken your faith in Joseph Smith or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, faith in a man or an institution is idolatry. The only object worthy of faith is Jesus Christ. To have your faith shaken in an idol is a good thing. Joseph Smith defined Mormonism as truth:
Mormonism is truth; and every man who embraces it feels himself at liberty to embrace every truth. Consequently the shackles of superstition, bigotry, ignorance, and priestcraft, fall at once from his neck; and his eyes are opened to see the truth, and truth greatly prevails over priestcraft…The first and fundamental principle of our holy religion is, that we believe that we have a right to embrace all, and every item of truth, without limitation or without being circumscribed or prohibited by the creeds or superstitious notions of men, or by the dominations of one another, when that truth is clearly demonstrated to our minds, and we have the highest degree of evidence of the same.– Joseph Smith -Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, page 264,
The truth is, your skepticism of men and institutions puts you in good company. In 1830 the Lord called the church “true and living” (D&C 1:30). By 1832 the Lord stated that the church is “condemned” (D&C 84:54-57). By 1841 the Lord says He has taken the fullness of the priesthood away from the church (D&C 124:28). The Lord promised that if we did not repent, we would “by [our] own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practice before me, saith the Lord.” (v. 48).
You have learned truth and that truth is confirmed by the Lord’s own words. We were moved out of Nauvoo and have suffered cursings by our own follies. With this knowledge of truth you can refocus your faith in the proper place, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is an expert at saving fallen things.
If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will enter heaven, and if you will follow the revelations and instructions which God gives you through me, I will take you into heaven as my back load. If you will not accuse me, I will not accuse you. If you will throw a cloak of charity over my sins, I will over yours—for charity covereth a multitude of sins. – Joseph Smith -Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 193
We all need this cloak of charity.
I am not an Example
I am not an example because I am more righteous or perfect or more virtuous. I am not. I am utterly unworthy of any heavenly attention as to myself and am certainly not worth any earthly attention. I only share my experience so that others may know that no matter how low you are, Christ will save you if you let Him.
Christ’s work is to save you. He is good at what He does. Let Him work with you. Be patient and teachable as a little child. Children do not have all the preconceptions and false traditions we have. Try to read the Book of Mormon without any preconceptions about what it means. I know that is very hard to do. I still have weaknesses. We all do. We are given weaknesses to humble us. Let yourself be humble.
I have no stewardship to reveal anything to any member of the church. I am not a presiding authority, and therefore nothing I share would be of any force to anyone. I believe I had stated that clearly, but I do so again just to be clear.
The Lord has asked me to share these thoughts here, but only in the capacity as a friend and fellow seeker, and not by way of commandment or revelation. The only tool I have is testimony and persuasion. I do not consider myself an expert, special, more righteous, or anything other than an ordinary LDS guy.
My only goal in writing here is to increase faith in Christ. I believe the preeminent doctrine worth talking about is the Doctrine of Christ — Faith, Repentance, Baptism, taking the Holy Ghost as your guide until Christ manifests Himself to you. Christ is real and employs no servant at the gate.
2 Nephi 9:41 O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.
If my words have caused anyone to have less faith in Christ, then I beg for your forgiveness and ask you to ignore me. Of all my mistakes, which are many, it yet remains that I experienced what I did. To echo Joseph’s words — I know it and I know God knows it.
I do not fault nor accuse anyone for disbelieving me. Christ is the only one worthy of belief. Believe in Him. Seek after Him. He has promised that He will come to you. Please do not be satisfied with anything less than His literal presence.
John 14:23 – Jesus answered and said unto 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.
D&C 130:3 – 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.
Please do not stop casting out unbelief until the Angels come and Christ manifests Himself. These things are absolutely necessary for your eternal salvation. Christ has a work to do that no earthly man or program can provide. There is no servant at the gate. There is no substitute for conversing with the Lord through the veil.