I have been enjoying the dialog on Nate’s post, “The More Sure Word of Prophecy.” It has caused me to ponder the title phrase we often use to describe the sure feeling of knowing we have been sealed up unto eternal life, of knowing God’s love for us and His promise we shall come into His presence to dwell with Him forever. It is a sweet, peaceful, wonderful feeling.
Read Nate’s post for his comments on hearing the voice of God, and the importance of names, both of God and our own. Nate shares a personal experience in which he was called of the Lord, by his name. What a wonderful thing it is to realize the Lord knows you and knows your name. The idea of hearing the voice of God is found in Peter’s teachings, quoted here for reference:
2 Pet 1:16-21
“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
The Promises are Available to All
As I pondered that other phrase, the Lord reminded me of a recent request from another reader to provide feedback on a chapter of his forthcoming book – no name yet – that deals with this very subject of having one’s calling and election made sure. This is not a phrase that we use much in or out of the LDS Church these days, but it was once understood more clearly than we do now.
Peter clearly understood. He used it in 2 Pet 1:10 – “…give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall…” Who wouldn’t want that kind of promise, to never fall? Obviously, we would want to desire and understand the requirements to receive such a promise, for how many of us have experienced the opposite feeling of failure?
It’s best to read the preceding verses to understand what Peter meant by “these things.” It’s a nice checklist, for those who like such things, of what we must do or to which we must give diligence in order to make our calling and election sure. These verses tell us what the calling is that we have been given, and helps us understand what it is that we elect to do to receive glory.
2 Pet 1:2-8
“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We Have Strayed From the Doctrine
We are called to glory and virtue. We elect to accept the calling when we do those things listed in these verses. This doctrine has been expounded by some of the great theologians of our day, such as Bruce R. McConkie, Marion G. Romney, LeGrand Richards and Joseph Fielding Smith. Actually, those were some of the theologians of my day. This doctrine isn’t taught much in the LDS Church any more. In fact, many LDS members consider it one of those mysteries to avoid.
Joseph Smith said the following about this doctrine in DHC 5:388-389: “Oh! I beseech you to go forward, go forward and make your calling and your election sure,” and “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, 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,” and finally, “…I would exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until you make your calling and election sure for yourselves, by obtaining this more sure word of prophecy.”
This Doctrine is Intended for All
One of the difficulties of those who advocate “Follow the Prophet,” is they may not believe they can obtain this blessing for themselves. I have heard them say such a blessing is reserved only for the fifteen men who lead the LDS Church. This is false. I’m not saying it is a simple thing to obtain this promise, but I am saying it can be done, even by the least of the Saints, of which I am one. Even though I have left the LDS Church, I am a follower of Jesus Christ, a Latter-day Saint.
Having one’s calling and election made sure is not the same as receiving the Second Comforter. It is also not the same as the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost. It is not the same as accepting and taking advantage of the Atonement through repentance. It is actively seeking to do the will of the Lord, accepting every test, no matter how strange or unusual it may seem, and doing what the Lord asks. I have often shared my example of being asked by the Lord to quit my good job.
The Fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Sometime between that test in February of this year and what I consider the most difficult test, being asked by the Lord to resign my membership in the LDS Church, I received the promise of having my calling and election made sure. I did not even realize it until recently. You may think it is some grand and glorious event, and for some, it may be. But for me, it was a simply a quiet whispering of the spirit, in a moment of prayer, confirming I had received the promised blessing.
A few years ago, I purchased a book entitled, “The Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” The author wished to remain anonymous and so used the name of Elliaison. You can still purchase the book at the website, www.elliaison.org. On page 60 and 61 is a very simple test one can use to determine if they have had their calling and election made sure. When I first took the test a few years ago, it was made clear to me I had not yet obtained the desired promise I sought.
Sacrifice Brings Forth the Blessings of Heaven
As I was reviewing my friend’s chapter on the subject for his forthcoming book, he referred to a post in LDSFF entitled, “The Fastest Way to Make Your Calling and Election Sure.” It was then I remembered the booklet I had purchased that includes the same instructions. As I picked it up, a voice whispered to me, “Tim, you don’t even need to do the test. You already know.” I did it anyway. I knew. I just didn’t know I knew until I confirmed it with the Lord through this test.
I thought back, seeking greater detail on when it had occurred so I could pinpoint what I had done to obtain the blessing. I concluded, both through pondering and by asking the Lord for confirmation that it was sometime after the last meeting with my Bishop on August 24th and the day I resigned from the LDS Church on September 13th. Those four days between the Mesa lecture on September 9th and the day I resigned on September 13th were agonizing for me.
Then Shall Thy Confidence Wax Strong…
One part of me was screaming out, “How can you possibly resign your membership in this church to which you have given so much over so many years?” On the other hand, the spirit of the Lord was rehearsing that scene over and over in my mind, “This day is this commandment renewed in your ears.” I knew the Lord wanted me to be baptized. I wasn’t going to try to hide it from anyone. If it was the right thing to do, then I intended to tell the world about it on my blog.
Once I realized I had obtained the promised blessing, my prayers took on greater confidence and meaning. The feeling of being a partner with God became stronger. My desire to counsel with Him in all my doings became more profound. I found His interest in my activities, my concerns and my desires to be more acute. Perhaps it was that I had become more sensitive to His feelings, which had always been there, just beyond my level of appreciation. Life became more fulfilling.
Let No Man Come Between You and God
When I was a member of the LDS Church I would have thought to myself, “You had better go and check this with the Bishop or some other person of authority in the Church.” I pondered why I had that desire and had lived with it for so many years. It is wrong. I realize that now. It kept me from trusting the Lord. It was offensive to the Lord. It kept Him from revealing more things to me. The Lord has given me a great blessing. No man can ever take that away from me now.
I was born of the spirit when I was seventeen. I received visions from the Lord at that same young age in which I saw my life unfold before me. I have witnessed the fulfillment of part of those visions. I do not doubt the other parts will come to pass in the near future. I have now obtained the promise of Eternal Life in which I rejoice. My calling and election is made sure. I am now engaged in obtaining the promise of receiving the Second Comforter. It can be done.
I am a Witness It Can be Done
Why am I sharing this? I share this because I searched for many years in my youth and early service in the LDS Church for others who had obtained the fulfillment of the Lord’s promises. Perhaps I didn’t know anybody who had received such blessings, they weren’t sharing them, or they weren’t happening. It could have been a combination of all three. I’m now aware of dozens who have made their calling and election sure. They have shared their stories with me in private.
I share my witness in public because that it what I have offered to the Lord – my blog – and He accepted. I hope if you read this and wonder if such a blessing can be obtained that you will think deeply and carefully about what the Lord requires. The whole process is one of proving trust. Can the Lord trust you? If He asks you to so something that goes against all you think is logical or reasonable and yet you KNOW it is from the Lord, how will you respond? Ponder it.
There is Always More to Obtain
I know I have hardly begun to scratch the surface of sealing my connection to Heaven. I know there is much more required of me. I desire to see the face of the Lord. I desire to enter into His presence in this life. I desire to embrace Him, to converse with Him face to face as one man converses with another. I know I have much to do to repent, to change and to do before I can obtain that blessing and other spiritual gifts the Lord has promised me. Promises motivate me.
I know the Lord cannot lie. I have heard His voice. It is real. He has declared His love for me. I have been consumed with His love on occasion. He has asked things of me I cannot share. Not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t have the words to explain. Any attempt would be meaningless. As a wise man has said on several occasions, “You can’t claim to be anybody until you have accomplished the work the Lord sent you here to do.” I am nobody. Follow Christ.