Divine manifestations must have a purpose


One of the delightful parts of a stake temple night is the opportunity to be taught by a member of the temple presidency.  On one particular occasion many years ago, the Temple President felt inspired to relate a few stories that patrons had shared with him about spiritual manifestations that they had received while serving in the LA temple.  It was an uplifting and edifying session.

I was very impressed with what the Temple President spoke about that evening.  He related some very sacred experiences of visits from the other side of the veil from deceased family members for whom the work was being done.  He gave specific examples of what people saw, heard or felt that was evidence to them of the validity of this work and that it is accepted by their relatives.

A conversation with my Stake President

While preparing to leave the temple that evening, I conversed with my Stake President about the things the Temple President had taught us in our chapel session.  I had served with this Stake President for several years on the High Council and felt comfortable sharing heartfelt concerns.  I knew that he would carefully consider what I had to say before answering with thoughtfulness.

“President”, I said, “I’ve been coming to this temple since I was twelve years old.  In fact, I was six years old when I was sealed here to my parents.  I have many sacred memories of this place.  I was endowed here when I was nineteen and married to my sweetheart not too many years after completing my mission.  I have participated in several thousand ordinances here in this temple.

Sacred temple manifestations

“So why is it that I have never experienced any of these kinds of sacred manifestations that the temple president described?”  As I expected, he thought for a few minutes while we continued to change back into our street clothes after the evening’s temple work was completed.  After a moment, he paused, put his hand on my shoulder and then responded very slowly and carefully.

“Brother Malone, some people do not require manifestations to be faithful.  The Lord knows their hearts and knows what they need.  You apparently do not need any additional evidence that the work being performed in these temples is valid and acceptable to both the Lord and to those for whom it is performed.  Your years of faithfulness are proof that you know the work is true.”

The Lord bears witness

He was right, of course.  I didn’t need a manifestation to know that the work being done in the temples is of eternal significance and validity.  I had known that since I was a child and had never doubted it.  I thought about his response and realized that there was never an occasion when I attended the temple that I didn’t feel the warmth and comfort of the spirit of the Lord.

It was just another piece of evidence to me that the Spirit of the Lord is always present when priesthood ordinances are performed, especially in the House of the Lord.  I didn’t need any additional evidence because I had the constant companionship of the Lord each time I sat in an endowment session or knelt across the altar in a sealing session.  Yes, I knew the work was true.

To uplift and edify

I have the same kind of experience each week when I attend Sacrament meeting, and especially in a testimony meeting.  There is just something special about attending church each week and partaking of the Sacrament.  I just feel different by the end of the meeting.  I feel happy and feel that my burdens have been lifted.  It never fails.  I feel this strengthening each week after church.

This uplifting feeling is always the same whether I am conducting the meeting as a member of the Bishopric, or just sitting in the congregation as a regular member of the ward.  I love to hear members of my ward teach the gospel from the pulpit and share their feelings about the truth of what they have learned and have taught.  Sacrament meeting is always uplifting and edifying.

Testimony meetings

Last Sunday I sat in our monthly ward testimony meeting and thought about the different kinds of testimonies I was hearing.  The Bishop was short and succinct.  He bore witness of the five basic points of an LDS testimony and then sat down, inviting others to share their testimonies.  I got up and rambled a little bit about testimonies and then bore witness of the same five points.

As we progressed through the meeting, I noted that some members talked about experiences that demonstrated to them that the Lord knew them personally and that he hears and answers their prayers.  Others spoke about the trials through which they were passing and then concluded with assertions that they knew the Lord loved them would not leave them comfortless in their trials.

When we say “I know”

I listened very closely to each testimony waiting for the phrases “I know” and “I believe.”  I think I heard “I believe” maybe once or twice.  “I know” was used by the majority of those who shared their testimonies.  I know these people and know that when they say that they know that the church is true, and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, they mean it sincerely.

I was listening closely because of recent conversation with readers of my blog about testimonies and what it means to say the church is true.  I now try to qualify what I mean when I say that by adding some additional phrases like, “because angels conferred priesthood keys upon the Prophet Joseph Smith,” and “because angels ordained Joseph Smith and gave him priesthood authority.”

Authority and the true church

You see, this authority thing is very important to me.  I’ve had a lot of dialogs with visitors to Latter-day Commentary about this very important subject.  I’ve tried to share with them that the idea of priesthood authority is one of the most important aspects of a church that claims to be the true church of Jesus Christ.  Ordinances of salvation require God’s authority to perform them.

That’s all we really mean when we say that we are the true church.  We are simply saying that angels came from the spirit world and gave Joseph Smith divine permission to do what he did in establishing the Church of Jesus Christ upon the earth again in these latter days.  Of course, the idea that angels have visited man in our day is a very difficult thing for some people to accept.

Angels, visions and revelation

I have never seen an angel.  I have had no divine vision with my natural eyes.  I have never heard an audible voice from the spirit world. Yet I have never questioned that Joseph Smith saw God, was visited by angels, received revelations and brought forth the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God.  Some of my readers find it fantastic that I can believe Joseph was a prophet.

How is this possible?  On what basis do I stand and say “I know that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph was a prophet and that this is the true church of Jesus Christ with a prophet at the head today?”  If I have not seen God or Jesus, and was not there when Joseph brought forth the Book or Mormon, how am I a witness?

Divine manifestations must have a purpose

In all my years in this church, I don’t think I have ever met anyone who said to me, “Yes, I saw God.  He visited me and told me…”  I have never had someone say to me, “I was praying very earnestly one night and the Lord appeared to me to tell me that he loved me and that my sins were forgiven.”  I have also never heard anyone relate to me that they were visited by an angel.

Now perhaps you know people who have received such manifestations or maybe you have been the recipient of angelic visitations.  I think that’s wonderful.  I assume the visits had a purpose.  I guess I’ve never felt the need for divine manifestations beyond what I have already received when I was young as I prayed to know that the Book of Mormon was indeed the word of God.

We live far beneath our privileges

When I was seventeen I was extremely motivated to obtain a manifestation from God about my standing before him and to know if the Book of Mormon was what Joseph said it was.  I obtained both of those witnesses and a few more that the Lord felt were needed in order to help me fulfill my purpose in life.  I’ve been coasting on those manifestations for the past thirty-five years.

I’m wondering if I’ve been coasting too long.  Our former stake president, now serving as a mission president, often repeated this from Brigham Young.  He said, “[We] may have the Spirit of the Lord to . . . direct [us]. . . . I am satisfied, however, that, in this respect, we live far beneath our privileges.”  Is there more the Lord wants us to have besides what he has already given us?

Summary and conclusion

The Lord reveals himself to man when he has a purpose or a mission for them to perform.  He sends angels to instruct man and teach him about the work that he wants performed.  He sends his spirit to assure men and women that the work in which they are engaged is divine.  He gives gifts of the spirit to help us do his work.  For Joseph, one needed gift was the power to translate.

When I needed to know that the church and the Book of Mormon were of divine origin, the Lord sent his spirit and confirmed these things in my heart and mind.  Over the years, that same spirit has encouraged and motivated me to ever increasing faithfulness and obedience.  Is the Lord willing to provide additional manifestations, and if so, what is the purpose they would serve?

28 Responses

  1. Tim, this is a very powerful piece. You are one of the most articulate and spiritual writers in the LDS blog world. The Stake President to whom you conversed with in the temple was evidently a VERY wise man.

    Like you, I have never had any supernatural visions, nor have I heard any voices. Yet, other members of my family have had very powerful experiences. Your essay lends me some comfort, although I do NOT claim to be at the same spiritual level as yourself.

    Like you, I have a special place in my heart for the LA temple. I think it is my overall favorite, probably because that is where I first took out my endowment. While serving there I have felt a closeness to my deceased relatives, and I have felt a special closeness to the Lord. Those feelings have been replicated in many other temples.

    I appreciate your testimony. It is direct and sincere. It is also of the kind that is rarely expressed in the Bloggernacle. Thanks. Reading this was a good way to end my Sabbath day.

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  2. I get frustrated when I hear stories like this. I feel like it’s a cop-out to say ‘everyone else needs it but me.’ I’m tired of hearing about everyone but me having amazing experiences that confirm that God exists and that there is life beyond death, but somehow it never happens to me. If the only people who have ‘thin veil experiences’ are people that need it, then I want to be someone who needs it. Why settle for thinking that other people need to have extremely rewarding spiritual experiences, but I don’t need them. I’m tired of trying to justify why other people have these experiences, and I don’t. It just makes me wonder if other people are even having the experiences they claim to be having, or if maybe they think they are having these experiences, but they’re really just delusional.

    Why did The Brother of Jared need to have experiences like he did? Wasn’t he already faithful without those experiences? Didn’t he see God because he already had perfect faith in God? A better question is…why doesn’t God visit me in a cloud and speak to ME when I don’t pray for a long time?

    We read the scriptures and we hope to be able to become as faithful as the prophets in the scriptures…why?…because they had amazing experiences with God. Why read the scriptures, if not to desire to be like the prophets, and why desire to be like the prophets, if not to be able to enjoy a similarly unveiled relationship with God? Why not desire to have visitations from angels and gods? Why not seek to acquire all the gifts of the spirit, including being able to see beyond the veil? Who doesn’t benefit from experiences like these? Hasn’t God told us to seek to have our calling and election made sure to us?

    If you had asked me, I would have said, “Brother Malone, I don’t know why you aren’t having experiences like that. I think you should seek to have those experiences. God is no respecter of man. You should be entitled to the same rewards as someone else. Why don’t you ask God what you have to do to have similarly rewarding ‘thin veil experiences.’ Don’t give up till you get an answer.”

    By the way, I still don’t believe people when they say they “know” things to be true, no matter how nice of people they seem to be or how sincere they appear to be when they say it. I believe people have re-interpreted the meaning of the words “I know” to mean something more like ‘I want to know,’ or ‘I have reasons to BELIEVE.’ The culture of the church has become that you just say you know, because that’s what everyone says, and if you want to fit in, and appear to be as faithful as everyone else, that’s just what you say. In some ways, I think people also figure, if Brother X says “I know,” based on the experiences he has had, then I must also “know.”

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  3. Tim,
    You are good company when you say you’ve never had a spiritual manifestation like you heard spoke of in the temple. BKP said once in reference to revelation that he has never heard a voice speak, never had a an angelic visitation, but that he got his inspiration through that still small voice. He was trying to get across that we don’t need the supernatural manifestations that we read so often in the Ensign, or hear temple presidents talk about. I think we run the risk when talking about these manifestations that like you, most members do not have them, and then feel that they are doing something wrong. I believe BKP was trying to lower expectations WRT revelations. If the person next in line to be Prophet has never had an angelic visitation (nor even heard a voice), then that is what should be taught as the norm in the Ensign and by Temple presidents.

    Closet Doubter

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  4. Why do we act like crabs in a bucket sometimes? Why not be optimistic and tell each other that we should be seeking exciting spiritual experiences…spontaneous healings, thin-veil experiences, voices from heaven, etc.? Instead, it seems like we talk about the potential of the priesthood and gifts of the spirit, but then we encourage each other to be satisfied with not experiencing exciting, rewarding manifestations of the Spirit. We all talk about the exciting things the priesthood can do for us, but then everytime we open our mouths, by the power of the priesthood, we cower, and we don’t dare say something like, “arise and be healed.” I want to pick the brain of the guy who doesn’t cower…the guy who believes he is entitled to powerful gifts of the spirit. I just wonder if that guy exists. I get frustrated with being satisfied to just talk about OTHER people, and especially people from the past, having all the rewarding experiences.

    Isn’t there some scripture that says something about, ‘when the church isn’t displaying the gifts of the Spirit anymore, then the church has become apostate?’ Wouldn’t this be true on an individual level also?

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  5. Crusty said: “We all talk about the exciting things the priesthood can do for us, but then every time we open our mouths, by the power of the priesthood, we cower, and we don’t dare say something like, “arise and be healed.”

    Crusty, your comments brought back an interesting episode I had on my mission. I was fairly new, and my companion and I knocked on the door of a family that had a daughter that had some sort of mental disability. My companion was a real in your face type of guy, and he convinced the family that we could heal the little girl. So he puts his hand on the girl and proceeds to “cast out the evil sprits that occupied her body” The family thought he was crazy, and I had my droughts also. Needless to say the girl was not healed of her mental illness. So was it my lack of faith? Was it the families lack of faith?

    But like you said, JS would have not had a problem casting out evil sprits just like Jesus did, but I don’t think we expect out current GA’s to raise the dead. Didn’t JS bless his scarf, and then have the elders carry it around the community and heal people. Could you imagine the reception today if I showed up at some bodies house with a scarf that Pres Monson had blessed?

    I think we have lost the charismatic aspect of the church as we are trying to become “less weird” and more mainstream.

    Closet Doubter

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  6. LOL…that’s funny. At least I respect the guy for TRYING to heal the girl. Most people would never be bold enough to say something like that, even if they felt like it was appropriate. I wonder if he ever had any luck with that approach.

    “We have lost the charismatic aspect of the church”? We’ve lost our Cajones! And the worst part is, we all talk each other out of thinking that miracles should still happen today, as much as they allegedly used to happen. We’re like a bunch of crabs in a bucket, and it’s an indication that the church is losing its way.

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  7. Crusty et al,

    There are many church members who have sacred experiences. However, they have learned to be careful sharing them.

    I’ve related a few I’ve experienced on my blog. Click my name and see Jared’s Testimony. I decided to testify of these things because so few are willing or able to share them.

    I’m not entirely sure why some members are given “higher” manifestations of the Spirit while others are not. But one thing we do know is that without them we as a church would be in trouble.

    24 And now I speak unto all the ends of the earth—that if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall bebecause of unbelief.
    25 And wo be unto the children of men if this be the case; for there shall be none that doeth good among you, no not one. For if there be one among you that doeth good, he shall work by the power and gifts of God.

    (Book of Mormon | Moroni 10:24 – 25)

    Have you repented, fasted, prayed for the gifts of the Spirit. We’re told to seek them earnestly (D&C 46:8). I doubt 1 in 10,000 members have done so on a regular basis. Generally, members have experiences with the higher manifestations when there is a crisis of some sort.

    I think as a people we’re very casual about the gifts of the Spirit. This may be the reason we don’t experience them more.

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  8. Tim asked: “Is the Lord willing to provide additional manifestations, and if so, what is the purpose they would serve?”

    The Book of Mormon, I believe, answers this question by giving the reader example after example of men who obtained greater light and knowledge, going from one degree of manifestation to another, until they arrived at a point where they entered the presence of the Lord and were therefore redeemed from the fall.

    In my opinion, it is possible to get caught up in the church to the extent we forget that the Lord has said: …he employeth no servant there… 2 Nephi 9:41.

    This is an invitation from the Lord to come into His presence, alone…in the depths of humility…seeking greater sanctification.

    The greatest experiences with the things of the Spirit are obtained in prayer, one on one with the Lord, away from others, as we cry unto the Lord for that which we stand in need of.

    What purpose would they serve?

    Greater sanctification and experience as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling before Him.

    Thanks Tim for a great post and being who you are. Great to know you.

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  9. One of the beautiful purposes of the temple is to teach us about the “great and last promise” given to the Saints in our dispensation (D&C 88:68-69).

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  10. S. Faux: Thanks for your comments. They are greatly appreciated. Today is another stake day in the temple. Carol and I have been looking forward to this for quite some time. Carol just passed through a traumatic surgical experience last week and I have been stressed out with the demands of supporting a large computer network. We need to get back to the house of the Lord.

    I wish that I had more time to research and document my ancestors. I have relatives writing me with their discoveries of finding some new clue on a line on which we have been blocked for years. Gratefully, I have two sisters who somehow find the time to be more involved in family research than I am right now. I continue to be impressed with the importance of temple work.

    I stand by the statements in my essay that I don’t feel the need for any kind of special or unusual spiritual manifestations while in the temple. I know I will feel the warmth and comfort of the spirit there later today. I also know that the ordinances we perform there are sacred and eternal. I am positive that we will realize this to a much greater degree when we get to the spirit world.

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  11. Hi Crusty: I really appreciate your delightful comments. In fact, I find them highly motivating and encouraging. Your logic is reasonable when you write that you wonder if other people really are having spiritual experiences, or maybe they just think they are having these experiences. I confess that I too have considered that line of thinking as I have heard or read the experiences.

    I think I can count on one hand the number of revelatory events in my life that I would classify as beyond the realm of doubt. By that I mean that I know what I experienced was not delusional and was not self-hypnosis. However, nearly all of these experiences occurred when I was very young, when I was seventeen and eighteen. I have often pondered the significance of that.

    Joseph Smith continued to have revelatory experiences for the rest of his life, or so he claimed. Of course, there were others with him in the room during many of those visions and revelations so I have no reason to doubt their testimony. I also believe the original record of what we find published in the Doctrine and Covenants as being revelations from God to us through a prophet.

    Now, I’m not claiming that I haven’t had inspiration in the intervening years since those early revelations in my own life. I pray for and receive inspiration almost on a daily basis. I can see the hand of God or perhaps the influence of angels from the spirit world, both in answer to my prayers and in causing good to come about in the lives of those around me for whom I pray.

    I acknowledge that I have received inspiration in preparing and delivering talks in church, in setting apart ward members to callings as a member of the Bishopric. I have also seen evidence of inspiration resting upon Bishops and Stake Presidents over the years in various capacities both in private and public meetings. I have no doubt that inspiration is alive and well in this church.

    But I’m with you Crusty, in regards to your “crabs in a bucket” comment. We do talk a lot about potential and about possibilities but where are the gifts of healing today that we read about in the days of Joseph Smith? What about casting out the influence of evil spirits today? If they were real in the time of Jesus and in our early church history, I imagine they are still among us today.

    I’m going to ponder this in the temple today. I want to know why we’re not seeing the gifts of the spirit manifested in greater abundance in our church today. It’s not just me feeling this way, right? “…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.” Mor 7:37

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  12. I believe your answer will be… “Stop wondering why you’re not seeing other people perform miracles; and go start performing them yourself…don’t let the other crabs in the bucket explicitly or implicitly pull you down. You have been called.”

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  13. Thank you so much for sharing this, Brother Malone. It made my day. One of the greatest things that makes me love this Church, and the Lord who leads it, is temple worship. Another thing is the reality of eternal families.

    I can’t even begin to express my love and admiration for the temple. I am dissapointed when our youth group can’t go on a more regular basis, though I understand the constraints. When I am in that hallowed house of God, and I see those I truly consider my brothers and sisters doing work for those that just could never do it by themselves, a powerful love and Spirit comes into me that is hard to describe. I feel as though my words are inadequate in talking about the experiences I have had in just the few short times I have gone. I have not recieved my own endowments, but look forward to the day when I do, and study earnestly every chance I get about the temple. I have slowly come to realize just how vital it is to us. I am eternally grateful for what the temple means and does for us. Thanks for another sweet reminder of that.

    I look forward to more posts from you.

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  14. Also, while some people may just say ‘I know’ in a more general sense during bearing of testimonies, it has been my experience with many in my ward that they do in fact know, and the Spirit has borne witness of that to me, and we can’t simply judge who does and who doesn’t. Just my two cents.

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  15. Hi Closet Doubter: Although I’ve never heard a voice from the spirit world with my human ears or seen a vision of supernatural things with my natural eyes, I want to make it clear that I have received revelation and that I have heard the voice of the Lord in my mind – although it did not come through my mortal ears. I have also seen things in my mind’s eye that were prophetic.

    In other words, there have been times where I have prayed and asked for help in preparing what the Lord wanted me to deliver to a congregation as a High Counselor or as a counselor in a Bishopric where I have both felt inspired and have heard in my mind what the Lord would have me say. So I can say that I have heard the voice of the Lord – just not with my physical ears.

    I know that sounds all metaphysical to some people and I confess that it is. I can’t explain it. I just know that I have experienced it. Now let’s move on to seeing things. Have you ever prayed for help in knowing what the Lord would have you say in a certain situation and then seen yourself saying it in your mind’s eye? I have – many, many times. I consider it revelation.

    I have prayed for help in preparing a priesthood lesson as an Elder’s Quorum instructor or as a High Priest Group leader or as a Primary Teacher and then seen myself teaching that lesson. I have had it revealed to me how the lesson would go if I taught this principle a certain way or if I brought up these points in this order. I have seen myself teaching the gospel in a prophetic way.

    I don’t know if anyone else has experienced this but I consider it one of the gifts of the spirit that the Lord offers to all those who exercise faith, ask for it and believe that they can receive it. I have had this revelatory experience so many times that it has become common and expectant. I fully expect the Lord to reveal to me what he would have me say at the pulpit or in the classroom.

    Some people are blessed with the gift of seeing angels. Others are blessed to believe them. I fall into the later category. Some are blessed to know that the Lord lives and that he guides and directs this work. I believe I have that gift. I do not need to see him to know that he lives, loves me and directs the affairs of his church. I simply know it and consider it a great gift and a blessing.

    I am very familiar with that still small voice that President Packer has referred to on many occasions. Even though it has become a very common occurrence after all these years, I still consider it a miracle and it does take faith, work and prayer to make it happen. They say you can’t force spiritual things, but this is one thing that has never failed me. It always works for me.

    So although I have seen no angels, and heard no audible voices, I have felt the influence of angels in my life, especially after my mother passed away five years ago. I have felt her presence and her influence upon me many, many times. I fully believe in the mission of angels to help us as we strive to accomplish our life’s work. This has been especially true in regards to family history.

    Nothing unusual happened in the temple yesterday but I came away with the same feeling I always have every time I go there. Think about the promises at the veil. They are real, or at least they are to me. I have felt them literally fulfilled in my life as I strive to live worthily and be obedient. I came home from the temple tired but happy. It has always been an uplifting experience for me.

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  16. Jared: I too have used that exact same phrase when talking about sacred experiences from the pulpit. I have heard it said or read that those who share sacred experiences find that the Lord no longer trusts them and that their revelatory experiences cease. I can’t imagine someone saying in a priesthood meeting, “yeah, I was praying the other day and this angel came and told me…”

    And yet, isn’t that what Joseph Smith said on several occasions? He said he was pondering something that he was working on in the inspired translation of the Bible when he felt to ask the Lord about it in prayer. The same thing occurred when he and Oliver were translating the Book or Mormon. That’s why they went to pray about baptism and John the Baptist appeared to them.

    But back to the point of my essay, I don’t expect that the Lord would send an angel to me just because I ask for further understanding of some doctrinal point. I would expect that angelic visits for that purpose would be reserved for prophets and apostles, whose duty it is to expound doctrine. And yet, why not – why couldn’t I ask for clarification beyond what they have taught?

    Is that an unreasonable request? I know of some things that the Brethren simply do not teach today that I feel are very important, mainly because of personal experience in the area of interest. I refer specifically to the influence of evil and unclean spirits in the world around us. I have very strong feelings about this and would like to have my conclusions confirmed to me by the Lord.

    I have studied this subject for years. I have read what the early Brethren have taught. I have also observed that the modern Brethren do not teach the same things, or at least not in as much detail. Do I have a right to take my conclusions to the Lord and ask for some sort of confirmation that what I have concluded is true doctrine? Should I be surprised if an angel were sent to confirm it?

    Now here’s where we get into difficult territory. We are taught to study the doctrine and to seek revelation. Yet, there is a tendency in the church today to discount anyone who claims to know that there really are evil spirits and to understand how they work. It’s usually the same people who say that there is no revelation in the church who claim we are crazy if we say we have some.

    This is just one example of where I would like to know something about a doctrine or in this case about the reality of the way things are in the spirit world – both sides. I have very strong views on this because I have seen it first hand in the life of someone I love. I want to know that what I have concluded is doctrinally correct. The Brethren have taught us to ask the Lord and not them.

    And yet, we are all aware of people who claim to have seen angels and then teach something that we just know is wrong. And why do we know it is wrong? Because what they teach goes against what the Brethren have taught on the subject. So it’s a fine line to walk – get our own revelation and know for ourselves, but how much do we share? What purpose does it serve?

    That’s enough rambling. Thanks, Jared for your readership and supportive comments. God bless you and you family. I continue to enjoy reading your blog even if I don’t always comment.

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  17. Tim,

    Yes, As Bishop I felt many times the Lord guiding me in what I said to people in my office. But like you (and BKP) I never heard a voice or saw something. Just felt I should say certain things. I too have heard all the stories about people seeing things in the LA temple. I take them with a grain of salt. I believe some are true, and others are what people want to see/hear. We LDS have a rich history of Faith Promoting Rumors (FPRs). I’ve never head any of these FPRs about the temple first hand, but its always related by a friend of a friend. But I do feel good in the temple, and enjoy the peace it brings me. I was there Wed with you.

    Closet Doubter

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  18. The subject of spiritual gifts and discerning them, as well as the reception of manifestations is not as “heebie-jeebie” as some would purport. I’ve been blessed with answers about this realm and the actions and laws that surround it after much searching scientific info, study, experimentation and practice….BUT ALL done with sincere intent, MUCH prayer, many priesthood blessings and also specifically using gifts of the Spirit given to me from God. Interaction and perception as well as understanding and application of ALL things in the spirit realm (OF GOD, NOT of the DEVIL) are under eternal law which INCLUDES the laws of science and spirutal ones. The Holy Ghost is the conductor and qualifier of much of this, but WE ARE empowered to sincerely qualify ourselves for knowledge and experience in this realm.
    Worthiness, desire, LACK OF FEAR, FAITH, LOVE and PURPOSE of an eternal nature (from BOTH SIDES OF THE VEIL) are major keys in this happening to any individual. We cannot proceed or advance in spiritual gifts with ANY FEAR at all.
    It blocks the transmission of good spirit and incourages bad. Open hearts, with LOVE filling them, are a major key in discerning as well. God IS LOVE and His energy is also LIGHT & TRUTH. Therefore the things of GOD are GIVEN and must be RECEIVED by one employing the SAME attributes…..TO THE BEST OF THEIR ABILITY and COMPREHENSION.
    It is a compound with layers of factors that apply differently, in differing amounts, but ALL according to the WILL and laws of God, etc. IT IS ALWAYS WITH A PURPOSE. God’s WORK is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
    The GLORY of God is interlligence or truth and light. ALL true divine spiritual experiences make sense and contain truth and light. ALL fake or DARK expriences are mostly confusing, senseless, containing unmeaningful things, etc. but I will keep strictly to the LIGHT side of things.
    Many exchanges or experiences of visitors or messages or strong feelings from the spirit realm happen in the Temple because those there for the most part are doing the “work” out of love and service for ancestors and the dead. LOVE is filling their hearts and is a driving factor for the activity. The exchange between the living and the dead happens mostly because it is an eternal work and promotes the important work and glory of God our Father and for his family, all us, the children of every generation.
    It is also the platform for experience in revelation and education of eternal matters and personal progression. Hence, the Temple is a more frequent carrier of things of visitation, voices, revealed knowledge and understanding and significant increase in spiritual experiences, (including testimony).
    WE are KEY in what CAN happen….as explained above in my comments.
    What we listen to in music, watch with our eyes, say with our tongues, feel in our hearts, do with our actions…..ALL These things are a qualifying part of enlarging our capacity for the spiritual. The Word of Wisdom is helpful as well.
    Because of my magnetic/electronic field imaging studies, I have on photographic film actual proof / visual images of the energy being expressed from our physical bodies, which is visible in light and colors. No time today to give details, just let me assure all of you that we are in control of who and what we are by all that we think , feel and do!
    Prayer has a great impact on the amount of light we are receiving from the unseen realms, with possibility to receive pure white light and MORE truth and light from God. Anyway, diverting…….
    REpentance prepares our bodies and spirits, emptying OUT of us darkness and NEGATIVE energy……getting the “instument” or receptical in a condition and state to “BE FILLED” with HOLY things of LIGHT LOVE …..more sanctified and able to have the HOly Ghost in us….as well as CAPABLE of SEEING things or HEARING things or whatever is our gift / endowment / or experience that God has determined is proper and GOOD for our progression and education towards eternal life….and immortality.
    The Sacrment ordinance is VERY important to cleanse, and prepare our physical body AFTER humble REPENTANCE….notice how we must be WILLING to receive and FOLLOW CHRIST, thinking of Him in EVERY THOUGHT/
    We must, for a good and righteous purpose BE WILLING TO RECEIVE anything from the spirit realm from GOD with NO FEar too.
    Lots to explain.
    Hope this bunch helps……it really is connected to science too! Amazing !
    A TRUE compound in mortality.
    Irrevocably mixing spirit laws with physical…with emotional…with mental….
    Amazing dear ones! I know it happens, I have GREAT experience with it all.
    Love to ALL

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  19. Thought to mention;
    These things are an accumulation of 50 years of revelation, study, discussions, prayer, Temple service, genealogy research (A HUGE field / source of visits from other side ….all with purpose for gratitude / information of dates and locations of information…actual names given for sealings / pleas for help and having their work done ,soldiers in uniform, /messengers / sounds of parties of families greeting newly sealed members to the family group / much, much, more.
    EVERYTHING I have learned and had revealed to me, had a purpose and taught not only me, but in the divine ECONOMY of God, was for service to others, to lift them and help them understand ….to eleviate grieving over newly departed…to encourage genealogy testimonies…to take FEAR away from those ‘seeing’ things they didn’t understand…..more part of that compound I explained.
    There is NO end to the various and asundry workings of that dimension. Nor to the various and asundry ways we are gifted with Spiritual Gifts from above.
    Nor to the various and asundry levels and types of the actual manifestations.
    The universe is huge. God is HUGE… Wow…..Just believe. Have faith.
    Never give up. God LOVES US so much. You all can get your very own answers and experirences….that are DESIGNED just FOR YOU and your necessary progress and journey in mortality. Remember He is NO respector of persons….
    IF you HAVE DONE ALL you CAN DO……and prepared yourself WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT to receive and KNOW, and IF it is in your BEST interest for your progression and testimony, IF WILL HAPPEN..in GOD”S timing. PATIENCE, FAITH, TRUST Him. Wait upon the Lord. Sometimes we are just not humble enough.
    LEAN NOT unto your own understanding, but acknowledge God and He will DIRECT your PATH…(in manifestations and revelation reception) as well as all else. The MOST HUMBLE member with NO calling can receive his Calling & Election / Angels / all things DIVINE and spiritual………..IF HE is willing and prepared. ANY one IF they are compliant to Eternal Diving will and Law.
    ??? I hope I have encouraged you out there to ‘go forth’ and DO ??????
    Love to ALL

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  20. Tim said: I have heard it said or read that those who share sacred experiences find that the Lord no longer trusts them and that their revelatory experiences cease.

    Dealing with spiritual experiences is a two sided issue. There are some experiences that should never be shared, then there are other experiences that are required to be shared.

    There is also the issue of motive. Why is the spiritual experience being shared? If the motive for sharing spiritual experiences is to help others, the motive is pure, if however, the motive is prideful then that leads to difficulty and requires repentance.

    A careful reading of the scriptures and listening to the apostles and prophets clearing supports what I’ve just written.

    Here are a few examples:

    30 Now Zeezrom said unto him again: How knowest thou these things?
    31 And he said: An angel hath made them known unto me.

    (Book of Mormon | Alma 11:30 – 31)
    ______________________________________

    32 And now it came to pass that Alma began from this time forward to teach the people, and those who were with Alma at the time the angel appeared unto them, traveling round about through all the land, publishing to all the people the things which they had heard and seen, and preaching the word of God in much tribulation, being greatly persecuted by those who were unbelievers, being smitten by many of them.

    (Book of Mormon | Mosiah 27:32)

    _____________________________________________
    48 And now, when they heard this they cast up their eyes as if to behold from whence the voice came; and behold, they saw the heavens open; and angels came down out of heaven and ministered unto them.
    49 And there were about three hundred souls who saw and heard these things; and they were bidden to go forth and marvel not, neither should they doubt.
    50 And it came to pass that they did go forth, and did minister unto the people, declaring throughout all the regions round about all the things which they had heard and seen, insomuch that the more part of the Lamanites were convinced of them, because of the greatness of the evidences which they had received.

    (Book of Mormon | Helaman 5:48 – 50)

    ________________________________________

    61 For I will forgive you of your sins with this commandment—that you remain steadfast in your minds in solemnity and the spirit of prayer, in bearing testimony to all the world of those things which are communicated unto you.

    (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 84:61)

    _______________________________________________________

    Although we are generally counseled not to speak of sacred things like the miracles we have witnessed, there are times when the Spirit prompts us to share these experiences, sometimes even in a setting where our account will be published. Dallin H. Oaks, “Miracles,” Ensign, June 2001, 6
    ________________________________________________

    It yields solid satisfaction to hear men testify of the truth of the Gospel. It is always peculiarly interesting to me to hear the Saints tell their experience. It is to me one of the best of sermons to hear men and women relate to each other how the Lord has wrought upon their understanding, and brought them into the path of truth, life, and salvation. I would rather hear men tell their own experience, and testify that Joseph was a Prophet of the Lord, and that the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and other revelations of God, are true; that they know it by the gift and power of God; that they have conversed with angels, have had the power of the Holy Ghost upon them giving them visions and revelations, than hear any other kind of preaching that ever saluted my ears. Brigham Young JD 1:90-91
    _________________________________________________

    Elder George Q. Cannon, who was in the presidency of the Church at one time, said this: “I know that God lives. I know that Jesus lives; for I have seen Him. I know that this is the Church of God, and that it is founded on Jesus Christ, our Redeemer…

    Brethren and sisters, I want to add to these testimonies of these prophets my testimony that I know that He lives. And I know that we may see him, and that we may be with him, and that we may enjoy his presence always if we will live the commandments of the Lord and do the things which we have been commanded by him to do and reminded by the Brethren to do. Spencer W. Kimball, “The Cause Is Just and Worthy,” Ensign, May 1974, 118

    Great discussion from a great post. Thank to all.

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  21. Thanks Jared – you just gave me the scripture and quotes I’ll be using for my spiritual thought in Bishopric meeting tomorrow morning. In fact, you’ve got me thinking so much about this idea of when it is appropriate to share personal and sacred revelatory experiences that I feel another essay coming on about the subject. I’m pondering it now and will do some additional digging tomorrow after church.

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  22. Closet Doubter: Were you sitting behind me in the 6:30 session? If so, I’m sorry I did not say hello. Carol and I had just come from her oncologist and I was very concerned about her strength and stamina that evening. We probably should have gone home so she could rest but we wanted to be a part of our stake day in the temple. I’m glad we went. I got to talk to President Blickenstaff about Carol’s health.

    I agree with your observation that we tend to relate a lot of faith-promoting rumors back and forth to each other. It is rare to hear one first-hand. That’s why I like what Jared has shared in his comments above where Elder Oaks teaches that there are times when it is appropriate to relate such stories. Hearing it second-hand just can’t be as powerful as hearing it from the one who experienced it. Another former stake president shared this one as I sat in council with him one time:

    He related how his brother had not been very faithful while he was alive and had not received the ordinances of the temple as he should have done. Shortly after his mother and brother died, he went to the temple and did the ordinances for his bother. While officiating for his brother he felt his mother’s presence thanking him for what he was doing. As he passed through the veil, he said he saw his brother who also thanked him and then quickly disappeared.

    That sounds very matter-of-fact and straight-forward as I relate it, but when he shared it with us in a Bishopric meeting, there was a lot of strong emotion and a burning witness of the spirit there. I have a lot of respect for this former Stake President, with whom I served both on the High Council and then as a High Council advisor to his ward when he was called as a Bishop again. I am grateful that he related this first-hand experience. It served to strengthen my faith as he shared it.

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  23. Greg, that scripture is part of a chain of scriptures learned in seminary that has long been a favorite. It goes something like this:

    1. John 14:21 – I will manifest myself unto him
    2. D&C 38:8 – Ye shall see me and know that I am
    3. D&C 50:45 – You shall hear my voice and see me
    4. D&C 67:10 – You shall see me and know that I am
    5. D&C 88:68 – You shall see him; for he will unveil his face
    6. D&C 93:1 – Shall see my face and know that I am
    7. D&C 97:16 – The pure in heart…shall see God
    8. D&C 107:18-19 – To have the heavens opened…
    9. D&C 110:1-4 – We saw the Lord…before us
    10. Rev 1:14-15 – Voice as the sound of many waters

    I would like to write about the privilege of seeing God in my next essay. Is this something that is only reserved for prophets or can you and I have this blessing? And again, back to the original question of this essay, what purpose would it serve? Is it necessary? We know that those who endure faithfully will receive eternal life. Why did Paul, Joseph Smith and Bruce R. McConkie teach so emphatically that we should seek to have our calling and election made sure? Is that something that modern prophets and apostles still teach?

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  24. I like what Sharon had to say. She’s definitely not talking like a crab in a bucket. She seems to be the opposite of a crab in a bucket, encouraging everyone to seek spiritual experiences and a limitlessly open line of communication with God. Nobody is more entitled to incredible spiritual experiences than another. God is no respecter of persons…all are called. These things aren’t reserved for prophets (in title), or what reason would we have to follow the advice of a prophet, if only HE is entitled to certain rewards? One would become a prophet (in function), however, upon experiencing more of the gifts of the Spirit.

    Reading Sharon’s thoughts made me laugh a little and imagine what kind of reaction she likely receives at her local ward, when she talks about things like this. They probably roll their eyes and mumble things like, “yeah, whatever, you lunatic.” No offense to Sharon. I believe you. It’s just a statement on the social/political environment of the church. We act like a bunch of crabs in a bucket, and we’re pretty satisfied with the ordinary; and, like the guy who was with you in the temple, we discourage others from seeking extraordinary experiences.

    Sharon, will you e-mail me? I would love to learn more about your experiences. CrustyAmbulanceDriver@Gmail.com

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  25. Brother Malone, I invite you to visit the FAIRlds website and read the article entitled “I don’t have a testimony of the history of the church.”
    It is quite possibly the best thing I have seen written regarding Church history so far, and think that any member familiar with church history could get something out of it.

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  26. Hi Tony: The Davis Bitton article you reference is and has been one of my favorites for several years since I started reading FAIR articles. I have much respect for Brother Bitton as a Church Historian and had several of his books in my library before I lightened my load several years ago. My favorite was The Mormon Experience that he wrote with another of my favorite church historians, Leonard J. Arrington. I love his introductory comments in the article, which sums up so accurately so many of the stories I have read from disaffected Mormons, including some that have commented in the past on this blog.

    “The critics would have you believe that they are disinterested pursuers of the truth. There they were, minding their own business, going about their conscientious study of Church history and–shock and dismay!–they came across this, whatever this is, that blew them away. As hurtful as it is for them, they can no longer believe in the Church and, out of love for you, they now want to help you see the light of day.” How many times have you read that story? It is similar to the idea that we need innoculation in the church to help our rising generation who are feel betrayed when they learn something about church history later in life that they should have learned on their own through personal study.

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  27. My dad has had powerful manifestations of the spirit. On his mission, he had a number of encounters with the adversary that would raise the hair on the back of your neck. Also, not too many years ago, while in stake conference he heard a host of angels singing. He turned to the man sitting next to him and said, “Do you hear that?” The man nodded. “There are more singing than those sitting in the congregation,” he confirmed.

    Lest anyone think my father fanciful, he is the most prosaic and practical of men. Although he does not talk of these experiences often, there is no question that they were real.

    My own encounters with the divine have usually been through impressions, sometimes strong ones. I have been aware of angels being in the room without being able to see or hear them. I have understood the promptings of the Holy Spirit, but rarely have these promptings come to me as powerfully as a voice I could hear with my ears.

    Still, whether you are someone who has seen only glimpses beyond the veil, or whether you are someone who has had a good look at the divine, there is no question that the separation between heaven and earth is very thin.

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  28. [...] Richard Bushman 13. The Endowment is more than the ordinances 14. When Prophets need to know 15. Divine Manifestations must have a purpose 16. Come Unto Christ – my Christmas talk 17. A different kind of knowledge 18. Rachel Esplin [...]

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