Praying on the Mountain Top


praying-on-a-mountain-topOver the last few months I have been scouting local hiking trails for places to be alone. Why? There is something about raising your voice in prayer that makes it more powerful, or at least that has been my experience. I thought I had found two such locations but each time I returned to them, they seemed desecrated – beer bottles strewn about, signs of a party, things such as that.

So I kept searching. One of the first place I went was Mt. Pinos on the Kern County line. Sadly, it was covered in snow the first time I was there. I made a promise to come back. Thursday I did so. After performing a marriage for a friend and partaking of the sacrament, I began the hike up to the top. Just before I got there, the spirit whispered, “Turn off here, go left, I will direct you.”

I was not disappointed. After less than five minutes I encountered a beautiful fallen log, with an area encircled by the log as if it were set aside for privacy. I needn’t have worried. It was 4:00 in the afternoon and I had only seen two couples on the trail. They were going down as I was going up. I knew the Lord had directed me to this place. I had been praying about it for several months.

A Quiet, Peaceful Circle

ForestLogI sat in the enclosure with my back to the tree and began to pray. I will filled with joy and desired to express it. I prayed for about a half hour. I am not sure I asked for much other than to bless my friends and family. I had much to tell the Lord. Doing so in “voz alta” seemed to give my words that extra power and direction I had been searching for. My heart was overfilled with gratitude.

It’s Sunday as I write this so I have had time to ponder what happened. No, I saw no light, was not visited by any beings from the unseen world, and did not hear any voices speaking out loud. However, and of this I am certain, the veil was thin. I was surrounded by those who loved me. I felt their love. I knew they were there. Was it all in my mind? I suppose you could say that.

So what? Did that make it any less real? Not to me. The feeling of “thinness” of the veil stayed with me all the rest of that day and into the next. I expressed it in family prayer that night. Carol looked at me a little funny. There were words I did not normally used – expressions of purpose and meaning that were strong, powerful and heart-felt. They came from this feeling of thinness.

The Elements of Prayer

minds-eyeHow can I explain it so you will understand? I’m not sure I can. I was filled with peace, joy and a sense of connection to those unseen beings all about me. It was as if they too had been waiting a long time to “make the connection” and impart something unto me I cannot describe. A think a gift would be the best word – a spiritual gift, one filled with longevity and one that would grow.

I felt the Lord was pleased. In fact, I know he was. While I did not hear audible voices, there were voices in my mind, familiar voices I had heard before, especially that of the Lord. He let me know I was on the right path. He expressed satisfaction as I thought about some of the sacrifices I had made lately. He made it clear He was aware of them and appreciated them.

Open to my mind’s eye was a vision of what the future held. This is not unusual. I have had such visions before. They are always dependent on my behavior, my actions and how hard I worked to cause them to come to pass. They were familiar, as if I had seen them before, some place or time in the distant past, others in the more recent past, meaning sometime earlier my mortal life.

The Effort is Worth it

mesa-homesWhy am I sharing this? Am I trying to impress? I hope not. My desire is to communicate the idea the Lord answers prayer, especially if we make the effort to place ourselves in a spiritual state of peace and focused relaxation. I don’t know why, but my nightly prayers simply don’t come close to this kind of communication. Perhaps it’s because I’m still so wrapped up in the day’s work.

I prayed about whether I should share this. It was clear the Lord desired I at least document even if only as a part of my personal journal. In this case, the impression came that the idea of making the extra effort to be alone in the woods or on top of a mountain would be helpful to someone. I want to make it clear the Lord answers us according to our efforts to reach him in such a manner.

Was it worth it to climb a mountain for an hour or more? You can drive most of the way up. Yes, Absolutely. I used to find quiet spots on the mesa in St. George earlier in my life when visiting my in-laws. This was the same sort of prayer then – filled with a close bond that seemed to be obtainable in no other way. It is in these sort of prayers that the veil is thin and impressions clear.

Prayer Brings Confidence

sealing-of-couplesMy heart was filled with joy as I descended the mountain. Nothing had changed as far as my work and work expectations. In fact, I had to go back to work that night to take care of some things on the network that could only be done after everyone was gone for the day. I don’t think anything was changed as far as my relationship with my wife, it being a little strained right now.

What did change was a sense I was on the right path. No, it was more of a confirmation of such. I KNEW I was on the right path. My efforts and reading, studying and sharing both on my blog and in private emails was pleasing to the Lord and He let me know it. I came down with a greater sense of encouragement, a greater desire to make a difference, to contribute, to strengthen others.

As a note of closing, I want to express thanks to Keith for sharing certain things on his blog. For the first time in nearly two years, I was able to perform a priesthood ordinance outside my own home. At one point I was touched. I had clearly seen myself performing this ordinance when I had prayed for permission to do so previously. It was acceptable to the Lord. His voice is unmistakable.

God bless…

Oh Babylon, We Bid Thee Farewell


linkedin-timmalone

One of the disadvantages of putting so much of one’s energy into a worldly career is the drain on both time and energy to focus on the true purpose of life – finding ways to bless one’s fellow man. Being at the epitome or last days of this worldly career seems to have sapped from me what I once felt in abundance – a desire to write and share about my experiences with the spirit world.

I have a friend who uses in jest the phrase “independently wealthy” when he describes me. Nothing could be further from the truth. While not in debt to my eyeballs like some I know, I anticipate another seven to ten years of continuous employment before I can retire comfortably. I enjoy my work, but there is a high price to be paid for devotion given to this world in Babylon.

I constantly ask myself, “What does the Lord think of these many hours I put into making sure my work tasks are completed successfully and the projects I’ve been assigned move smoothly?” Because of the distance I live from my place of employment, I spend several hours a day on the commute. Such is life in Los Angeles. It can be difficult to keep feelings of resentment at bay.

Living in a War-Torn World 

eisenhower-farewell-warningFor those who don’t know, I now work for one of the largest warmongers in the world. I don’t know how I feel about this. One of my long-time readers shared his feelings and eventually left employment with the military at a great reduction in salary along with a high price to his family happiness. Security seems high, what with the prophecy of continual wars of the last days, but…

It is a matter of constant prayer. I value peace. I abhor war. I am especially distraught to earn a living from a company that makes bombs and missiles. It seems war can be waged these days without putting oneself in harm’s way, at least not in the sense we have done throughout history. Those with remote control skills are rewarded for their many years of video game expertise.

President Eisenhower warned us over fifty years ago about the military-industrial complex. It only works when there is war somewhere, one that is often promoted by the United States. Please don’t think me a traitor or that I am not patriotic. I love my country, but do not care for the evil that this nation can and does promulgate upon the rest of the world, so often in abject secrecy.

Building the Lord’s Temple 

zion-city-of-enochRegular readers know I continue to pay my tithing, but because of a stalemate between my wife and me, the money sits in a bank account. I have asked her to not give it to the LDS Church and yet I don’t feel it would go over well if I used any form of compulsion or force to ensure the money goes to the poor as I feel in my heart it should. So there it sits, awaiting its future destiny.

I have a dream of being able to contribute to the building of the Lord’s temple someday. The LDS Church has clearly stated they cannot or will not guarantee the money we pay in tithing will go to the sources we designate. Thus it grows, held in bay by a lack of unity. “If ye are not one, ye are not mine…” I leave this matter up to the Lord and trust in His infinite wisdom to resolve.

You may think I am wandering in my writing thus far. True, there does not seem to be a central theme, so perhaps I can introduce one: “How does one live exact to what the Lord has revealed when a spouse is diametrically opposed to such a plan of action?” We compromise. For example, on our family vacation next month, I will slip away for a few hours to attend a Sunstone session.

Guidelines to Perform a Wedding

keith-on-marriageI will also next month, by invitation, perform a wedding ceremony for a dear friend using the guidelines shared by Keith on his blog. I am honored to have been asked to conduct such a ceremony and feel intense impressions from the Lord each time I pray about the occasion and visualize it in my mind. I cherish such events along with our occasional fellowship gatherings.

We are so few in California. I hope you in Utah who have regular large gatherings appreciate that blessing. I’ve probably mentioned before how we in California have met in groups of various sizes, always small, maybe a dozen times in the last two years. Perhaps it is for the best, as I continue to attend Sacrament meeting with Carol each Sunday. I enjoy singing in the choir.

My point is this: We can be true to what the Lord has revealed to us because it is filled with the spirit of love. In other words, sacrifice allows me to forego things I desire because I know the time is not right in my marriage for such things. I know the Lord has some things in mind that will change our world dramatically over the next few years. He needs stalwart, faithful disciples.

Fellowships and Friendships 

stake-reorganizationI miss writing on my blog more frequently but know what I write irritates at least a few of the men whose association I enjoyed when I served in leadership positions in the LDS Church. I did my best to remove them from the mailing list, but somehow, something I write always seems to get into the hands of the bishop or stake president, whose good feelings I desire to offend not.

Our stake was reorganized recently, so I have yet another new bishop. Having served almost five years, he will undoubtedly be released before the end of the year. Why do I bring this up? There is in my heart a desire to offend no man, especially those who lead the local wards and stakes. Each time I get a new home teacher, it seems I am required to tell my story yet one more time.

How do you avoid offense without stating clearly the differences in doctrine and history taught in the LDS Church today from what I have discovered in my studies and prayers? It is difficult. Thus I rarely speak up, especially since it hurts my dear wife to hear of such things. Oh, how I enjoy getting together with those who believe as I do and discussing the gospel of Christ.

Judgement Belongs to the Lord 

captain-moroni1Like Paul, I want to be able to say I love all men. I want to take no offense, no matter what is said or done. I continue to walk away when pornographic stories are shared. I strive to be tolerant of those who use foul language, especially those I supervise. I’m not so sure these are the “big things” the Lord is referring to when he counsels us to make friends with mammon.

Obviously this is more of a personal journal entry. I desire to be a righteous influence but to me, that means, “Do not judge.” I leave all judgment up to the Lord. I try to take no offense nor give any. I am grateful I have time yet in which to associate with those who are dedicated or even consumed with the building up of the worldly companies of this day and age. Yet I love them.

I feel like Moroni. He despaired for the salvation of the people or the troops he lead, yet he wet his pillow by night for their welfare (or was that Nephi…perhaps both?) Their focus is on the building if wealth. We know that such wealth is fleeting, momentary, and only for this world. We are commanded to give to him that asketh of us. How literally do we take this command?

If Ye Are Not One… 

i-see-ariseI am saddened to read of friends whose marriages are dissolving because of their acceptance of the idea of revelation coming through channels other than the “Brethren.” This is such a strident and contentious subject. On the one hand are those who feel the Lord would never do any work outside the “authorized” priesthood channels. What do we do if the Lord says to us otherwise?

“You are deceived,” they cry. If what you claim to have heard does not fall in line with what we have heard from the pulpit of the General Authorities, you can be sure it is of the devil. Really? I have always felt and been taught that salvation is a personal thing. We are born alone and naked and will enter the spirit world in the same manner upon our mortal death. How confident are we?

I recently purchased Doug Mendenhall’s latest book, “I See…Arise.” I look forward to reading it next week. Doug’s previous books have not disappointed. He writes from experience. There are those who cannot accept even the idea of the adversary working upon us and concepts such as portals or devices attached to us. I know otherwise. I have felt their influence. They are real.

The Importance of Unity in Marriage 

keiths-personal-writingsI also recently discovered…silly me for not paying attention…that Keith has personal entries on his blog that are well worth reading. For example, the wedding ceremony I will be following when I conduct the ritual in a couple of weeks. It is sacred, and from my contemplation, is very much approved of the Lord. Let’s just say the Lord showed me exactly how it would be done.

Someday, I still hope to construct an altar in my back yard where I can pray unto the Lord with outstretched arms in prayer. For now, I use a temporary altar in my home when I seek to open a portal to the heavens and commune with those on the other side of the veil. There is so much to learn and so much to do. It is hard to not resent the time I spend on my daily worldly pursuits.

In any event, I think as time goes by, it will become obvious to more and more people how the Lord is moving among the regular people of the world who seek Him. One does not need to be a leader in the LDS Church to commune with the Lord and receive revelation for himself, his family, or to know what the Lord has in mind as he works his marvelous works in these days.

The Spirit of Revelation 

last-days-imageI am convinced the last days are upon us as never before. The days of the Gentiles are coming to an end if they have not already done so. There is no reason to fear, but there is reason to be prepared for change and catastrophe. We often talk of economic disaster as being one of the most prominent signs of the last days. I feel otherwise. Look to the skies, to the stars and the planets.

Most of my readers know I don’t participate much in the discussion that follows my posts. It’s not a matter of not wanting to do so, it’s a matter of lack of time. My commitments are elsewhere as I strive to provide for my family and fulfil my temporal responsibilities. Man shall work by the sweat of his brow. It my case, ensuring the flow of electrons in networks I build and maintain.

God bless you all as these the last days become more and more obvious. Perhaps I am wrong. The spirit of prophecy is like the gift of the Holy Ghost. It listeth where it will. In other words, even I am not always able to clearly explain what I mean when I feel inspired to describe what I see in my mind’s eye or pronounce what I hear as I listen for the voice of the Lord. Be cheerful.

 

Then Sings My Soul


JosephSmithInLibertyJailThere is a phrase we use in our church that holds immense personal meaning for me. We hear it in talks from the pulpit and from teachers in the classroom. We hear it in General Conference. We read it in our church magazines. I don’t think it’s only a part of the LDS culture. It’s found in other religions as well. Those who teach spirituality know it. The phrase is “being in tune.” Some equate it to a feeling of being “at one” with the universe. I’d like to share its significance to me.

A Lifetime of Prayer

I don’t know how you feel when you pray about questions, concerns, problems and the “stuff” of life. I only know how I experience prayer. Except for a few sporadic months as a teenager, I have been praying morning, noon, and night since I was a child. As a missionary we must have prayed a dozen times every day, sometimes more. I’ve prayed in private and public, at church, home and in the temple. I’ve prayed in thousands of homes over the years among all kinds of good people.

A Continual Prayer in the Heart

With over five decades of practice, you would think I would have it down by now – that is, how to pray and feel the sweet whisperings of the spirit and the promptings of the Lord. Well, there have been many sacred moments where I knew my prayer was heard and answered on the spot. But mostly, my prayers are answered over time. That’s why I talk to the Lord all day long. I try to remind Him, and myself, what it is I’m striving for – what I desire and have asked of Him.

Impressions, Thoughts and Ideas

During the day, I receive impressions about what to do or how to think about something I’ve been studying and pondering. A lot of it has to do with my work, which is to manage technology for others, but I also receive ideas and thoughts that help me as I attempt to develop both my spirituality and my theology. Those are two different things. One is relationship-based and the other is idea-based. Geoff’s comment on last week’s post got me thinking about what I’m doing.

Spirituality and Theology

But that, I mean, what I’m doing with my blog. For over six years, I’ve been writing about what I thought were interesting ideas about our religion and our faith in general. Oh, I’ve been very specific on some subjects that are not anywhere near to being settled by a general consensus. For example, when I first wrote about multiple mortal probations, I was totally opposed to it and said so. When I next wrote about it, I had done some additional reading and shared new observations.

Multiple Mortal Probations

In last week’s post I mentioned briefly in the comments that I had come around to believing there just may be something to the idea. I know the arguments against MMP because I made them in the earliest post – a book review of The Doctrine of Eternal Lives. I wrote it was a doctrine of devils and quoted Joseph who said so. Then I read The Unquiet Dead and You Have Been Here Before by Dr. Edith Fiore. Still opposed, I offered additional arguments against it.

An Example from Dr. Fiore

One story from Dr. Fiore’s first book has stuck with me. I have been pondering it for months. It involved a young lady, Becky, who had trouble with migraines. It’s the first clinical example she shared. You can read it in chapter two of the book. During hypnotic regression she related a detailed experience from a past life at age sixteen in which she left home because she was bored. I won’t share all the details other than to say she was killed with a club to the head by soldiers.

Choosing the Next Mortal Experience

In the present day, she suffered from terrible migraines and was referred to Dr. Fiore because they could find no physical cause of her symptoms. The thing I keep pondering is found in the penultimate chapter of Dr. Fiore’s book in which she summarizes the death experiences of her patients, including Becky. They relate how they were met by loved ones. They reviewed what they had learned in their life. They got to choose their next mortal experience to learn the most.

MMP Labeled Doctrine of Devils

OK, that’s enough to summarize the idea of multiple mortal probations. I don’t like to call it reincarnation but suppose you could if you’re more comfortable with that word. Remember, modern-day prophets have called it a doctrine of devils. As I related in a previous post, Joseph Smith kicked a visitor out of his home in Nauvoo who claimed to be reincarnated. He said in a past life he was Matthias, the apostle chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. Joseph called him a liar.

A Reader’s Thoughtful Question

As reader “log” wrote in the comments of last week’s post: “I pose the same query to all who preach MMP and have not yet been answered – if the resurrection is universal (D&C 88:14-32, Alma 40:5), and if the resurrection is permanent (Alma 11:45), then how do you get MMP?” That is a great question to which I don’t know the answer other than to suggest these MMP experiences are pre-resurrection. Trust me log, I have been pondering and praying about this.

The Course of the Lord

We know that all things are present before God. In other words there is no time in the sense that we measure it here. He knows all things from the beginning to the end of our mortal journey(s). As I have prayed about this idea, I have decided one could interpret the scripture, “the course of the Lord is one eternal round” to be specifically referring to MMP until we reach perfection. In other words, we can not only choose our next life experience, but choose when it occurs in time.

Not Essential to Salvation

OK, that’s far enough out there. This is a mental exercise. This is not essential to your salvation. It does not matter if you believe in MMP or not. What matters is what you do with this life. Now I want to tie this back to the introductory comments about “being in tune.” I don’t write this stuff to be provocative. I write it because I have prayed about something and want to explore it with others. I’m not a theologian, philosopher or credentialed academic. I’m just a simple Mormon.

Most Important Thing in Prayer

Let’s consider prayer for a moment, specifically answers to prayer and the feeling of being in tune. Ponder with me the process you use in prayer to determine for yourself what truth is for you and what is important. If there’s anything I’m more concerned about when I pray, I can’t think what it might be other than to know if I am pursuing the path God wants me to follow. You can read about the importance of that knowledge in the Lectures on Faith. I’ll say it’s critical.

Lectures on Faith Are Helpful

It’s one thing to believe that God actually exists. It’s another thing to have a correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes. More importantly, it’s imperative that we obtain an actual knowledge the course of life which we are pursuing is in accordance with God’s will. And that, my friends, is what life is all about, at least for me. I yearn to know and do my Father’s will. I wholeheartedly desire to be obedient and submissive to what He asks, but first must know it.

Describing Spiritual Communion

For me, knowing my Father’s will has come in prayer, over and over again. I study out a subject about which I believe my Father wants me to know. I ponder it, I decide what I believe. I often ask my readers what they think. I then ask in prayer if I am on the right path and wait for that special sacred feeling I can barely describe. The closest description I have ever been able to provide is to say it feels like the world around me is oscillating and my spirit or mind with it.

Causes my Soul to Vibrate

It’s as if someone has touched my soul and made it sing. When I am in tune, I vibrate with the eternities and the cosmos. It doesn’t have to occur in prayer. It can happen in the temple, sitting in church or singing in the choir. This feeling of being in tune is rare enough I know it is from a sacred source. It requires intense concentration and an ability to “let go” and relax at the same time. The feeling is so intense and pleasurable I feel as if my spirit is about to leave my body.

Burning of the Bosom

It is almost always accompanied by a feeling of warmth in my chest. In spite of what Elder Oaks taught over the pulpit in General Conference that he did not feel caloric heat in connection with the burning of the bosom, I do. I always have. It is accompanied by a feeling of comfort and of serenity. It is what I long for because I know it is what I need. It feeds my soul. It brings peace that passes all understanding. And yet, it is but a precursor to even greater spiritual experiences.

Greater Spiritual Experiences

I have not had those greater spiritual experiences yet other than dreams, visions and the gift of prophecy as related to my own life. Some call it the mind’s eye. I have seen myself doing or heard myself saying or teaching certain things before they have come to pass, sometimes years in advance. I have seen events from the present day decades ago. They are personal and sacred but I have shared them previously on my blog, particularly as I described how I proposed to my wife.

Being Instructed by Angels

I have not seen an angel other than my parents in dreams. My father told me of seeing an angel standing at the bedside of his critically injured wife, my mother, after a car accident that almost took her life. I have related that previously in my blog. We each have different spiritual gifts, but they must be sought after and developed even if they are promised in a patriarchal blessing. Mine talks about my home being a sacred place and a fit abode for heavenly visitations. I desire that.

The Miracle of the Mind’s Eye

Like others, I have seen in vision the night of the atonement and what took place in the Garden of Gethsemane. I was not taught the things Denver related in his book, Come, Let Us Adore Him. In my case, I was shown how the pain was inflicted and how the evil and unclean spirits were allowed to torture and torment Him for a few hours. The anguish was real because someone so pure and holy had to experience the feelings that come from sin, disobedience and suffering.

A Recent Experience in Prayer

My soul was touched Sunday night in prayer as I poured out my sorrows and grief to my Father over feelings of being overwhelmed by physical pain I continue to suffer each day. I asked if I would be healed. He assured me that I would be in time. Actually, what He said is that I would rise above it. In other words, the pain may not leave me, or the cause may not be discovered or removed, but I would develop strength of will and mental discipline to be able to endure it.

Why Sickness May Not Be Removed

That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I wanted to be told, “I will take it away.” Perhaps my faith is not sufficient for that sort of healing or perhaps removing it would defeat the purpose of my life. Perhaps this is something I chose with Father’s counsel as the best way to learn faith or humility. Perhaps it is simply part of life. As we age, our body chemistry changes. We begin to feel less energetic or enthusiastic about tiring physical activities or brain-draining mental exercises.

Greeting Ceremony With Christ

The challenge I see for me is to use what remaining time I have left to achieve that long sought-after goal of being prepared to enter into the presence of the Lord. I am convinced it can happen in mortality. I am convinced we should seek for it. I am convinced we should ask over and over, to weary the Lord with our request to be sealed unto Him, to become his son or daughter and to hear Him say, “This day have I begotten thee.” Denver mentions there is a greeting ceremony or “Ceremony of Recognition.”

Sacrifice is Required

I have written enough this day. I have written what was in my heart. This post is not about MMP. It is about receiving the Holy Ghost as your guide, being taught by angels, coming unto Christ and being prepared to be presented to the Father. Where am I on the ladder? I asked the Lord and he told me. He even gave me the number of years before I am ready. Yes, I have years to go. Apparently there are tests and sacrifices required of me which I haven’t imagined. Will I pass? Will you?

Whisperings of the Holy Spirit


A line in my patriarchal blessing reads, “if you will listen to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit, that comes to you, you will be directed into the path that you should go, that your advancement will not be detained, that you will use every possible moment in your development for the work that you have been called to do.”

I have long pondered that line and wondered what it meant. Now that I am getting old, I decided to look back at my life’s journey for evidence of the fulfillment of this promise. I was amazed at what I discovered with just a few moments of pondering. I share this as a journal entry, evidence of the Lord’s love for me.

A Blessing at the Age of Five

I attended the Presbyterian Church with my family the first five years of my life. I remember the singing and the constant getting up and down in the pews. I wondered what that was all about. Dad had to work most Sundays but mother took the rest of us to church each week. She was a schoolteacher and a good one.

In 1962 my mother had several people come into her life who were members of the church. She was intrigued. She asked questions. The missionaries came to our home. Most of my family was baptized. Of course, I was too young to receive that ordinance but in order to create a membership record I went up to the stand the next Sunday to be blessed by the Bishop.

I felt special. I felt like I belonged. I felt like I was in the right place. Even at the age of five, I knew when something was right. This felt right. I felt like I was part of something important. I loved growing up in the old Covina ward and Covina stake of the 1960s and 1970’s. I attended Primary, Sunday school, and later priesthood, Sacrament meeting, mutual and seminary.

Reading Book of Mormon at Age Eight

I have a small keepsake given to me by my Primary teacher when I was baptized. The memento is a well-known painting of the Savior laminated onto a round slice of a small tree. On the back are the words, “Congratulations on your baptism. Be sure to let him guide and direct all of your thoughts and actions. Remember to pray always. Love, Muriel Bay.”

I knew my Primary teacher loved me. She also gave me my own copy of the Book of Mormon. It had a plain brown cover. It was the first one I read. I read it with my mother out loud. It was also the first time she had read the Book of Mormon. She would mark out all the instances of “and it came to pass” because she thought they were distracting. We finished it together that year.

For the longest time I thought that everyone read the Book of Mormon aloud with their mother when they were eight. I now understand how special that was. Because of sacred feelings I felt as we read together, I have never doubted the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. I knew then and still know that it is the word of God and was given to us to guide and bless our lives.

God Can Show us Our Future

Shortly after I was baptized, we went as a family to Disneyland as we often did. There was an attraction called the Carousel of Progress in the park from 1967 to 1973. On the way out of the ride, you walked past an exhibit called “Progress City.” It was while looking at that exhibit one day that I felt the Holy Ghost whispering to me in a setting outside church or my home.

I don’t know why I found the exhibit so fascinating. I couldn’t wait to see it each time we went to the park. Perhaps it was the symbolism of the display. It seemed to speak to me of things that would come to pass in my life. On this particular occasion the feelings were intense. I seemed to hear the Lord saying, “I love you. You will participate in wonderful technology.”

The feeling was so real that I looked around to see who was talking to me. Yet I immediately realized that I had heard no audible voice. Nevertheless, the voice came into my mind and caused my heart to burn within me. I chalked it up to the magic of Walt Disney but the impression has stayed with me to this day as evidence of the whisperings of the Holy Spirit to me.

Recognizing a Lack of Authority

I didn’t do too well in school as a youth. Not because of any lack of ability but because of a lack of discipline. One year my mother felt it best to enroll me in a private religious school. I remember they required us to go to some sort of worship service at the end of each week. Something felt out of place. There was something missing but I couldn’t place my finger on it then.

I later realized what it was. It was the spirit whispering to me that the pastor who led the worship service was doing this as a part of his job. He got paid to preach the gospel to us. It felt different when my Primary teachers and Sunday school teachers taught me. It felt right. When this pastor taught, it was more for show, so the parents who paid his wages would be pleased.

From that day on I never doubted there was something special and unique about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Even as a ten-year old boy in California who barely paid attention in Primary or Sunday school, I recognized the spirit of the Lord when it moved on teachers who were set apart by those in authority. That authority is only found in the LDS church.

Putting Words in my Mouth

I was asked to be the seminary class president in 1970. One day, Sister Starr became upset by the rude behavior of the kids. She started to cry and stepped out. As the president of the class, I took over, and found myself talking to my classmates about the importance of being respectful. I think that was the first time I experienced the Lord putting words in my mouth. It amazed me.

A Comforter in the Face of Adversity

In August of 1971 I concluded my young Boy Scout experience by going on a 50 mile week long trek at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. For some reason, the other scouts teased me. I felt out of place. Perhaps it was because of my asthma. I didn’t think I could make it up and down those mountains.

One day I felt especially sad about something the other boys did to mess up some of my equipment. I was too old to cry, and was not a fighter so I bottled it up inside. It hurt. The next day on the trail I stopped to look out over the beauty of the countryside and felt my heart burn with peace and a sense of wonder. I felt the comfort of the Holy Ghost and the Lord whisper peace to me.

Faith and a Patriarchal Blessing

I was fifteen when I received my patriarchal blessing in June of 1972. The bishop said I should fast so I did. He said wonderful things would happen if I exercised faith. My mother and sister went with me. Pati also received her blessing that day. I felt the love of the Lord in the most powerful way that I don’t think I had ever felt before. It was a spiritual feast that day and still is.

Vision in my Mind’s Eye

In 1973 I was in High School watching a video about how disk drives are made at an IBM plant. I experienced what I consider my first revelatory experience. I was shown what my life’s work would be. I knew then and have always known that I would work with computers. I was amazed at the clarity of the vision. It was simple and direct, private from God to me in my mind.

As I watched the video, I could see myself working with that technology in just a few short years. I saw myself specifically on a job where I managed the very same technology I was seeing in the video. That vision was fulfilled several times over the next few years as I obtained jobs before and after my mission where I used those specific removable disk drives of an IBM System 3.

Line Upon Line Revealed

In the summer of 1974 I was preparing to attend my first year of college. I prayed deeply to understand how the Lord felt about me and how my life would unfold. Intense feelings came upon me as scene after possible future scenes of my life were revealed to me. I saw myself teaching the gospel. I saw and heard myself speaking from the pulpit as real as if in front of a congregation.

Years later, I recognized as each of these scenes came to pass. As I taught in a priesthood meeting or stood at the pulpit as a High Councilor, those same feelings came flooding back. It was the Lord’s way of saying to me, “See, I told you how it would be. Aren’t you glad you prepared yourself for this experience?”

The Lord is Willing to Forgive

That fall at Rick’s College I heard Elder LeGrand Richards speak about the power of a testimony and how it had blessed his life as a missionary. Never had I felt the spirit impress me that I needed to have a testimony like his. I spent hours praying each night that week until on Friday I knew I could pray undisturbed late into the night while my roommate was at a dance.

I had an amazing experience of receiving a powerful knowledge of forgiveness and a witness of the power of my Savior’s love for me. I felt a closeness to Him that I had never realized could be possible. I understood better how much I needed him and to have his power with me in my life so I could be successful. I had not fully realized until then that I was nothing without his help.

Powerful Witness of the Spirit

I was blessed to have many free months in 1976 to do nothing but prepare for my mission. I spent all my time studying the gospel and trying to strengthen my relationship with the Lord. President Kimball taught that we could and should have our own independent witness of the truthfulness of Joseph’s mission. At this point, I already knew the Book of Mormon was true.

I decided to fast and pray until I got an undeniable answer for myself that Joseph was a prophet. For three days I studied during the day and prayed fervently at night. One the third night the Lord whispered peace to my soul. He told me it was enough. I knew the Lord was pleased with my faith. I had a confirming witness that what I had been studying about Joseph was true.

That witness helped me resolve concerns that had come to me as I read some of the early history of our church not found in our official curriculum. It also served as an anchor to my soul when I later read how much these same events troubled others. They did not trouble me because of this powerful witness to my soul that Joseph was the Lord’s prophet in spite of his mortal failings.

Trailing Clouds of Glory

One Sunday evening I attended a regional young adult fireside just before I left for my mission in July or August of 1976. As the speaker addressed us, I seemed to drift off into a vision. I saw the gathered youth there in a similar setting as if in the pre-earth life. I knew promises were made. I was part of something special. I knew I was on a path that was pleasing to the Lord.

Power to Bless Others

My mission experience was difficult. It was meant to be. I was a long way from home in a very humble part of the world. We worked hard but we weren’t as effective as we should have been. A new mission president shook things up at our first zone conference. He challenged us to get on our knees at end of each discussion and invite the people we were teaching to join us. I shared the amazing results in a previous essay on this blog.

Powerful Revelation in Marriage Choice

I returned from my mission, finished my schooling and went to work. I struggled a bit as many returned missionaries do because I missed that intensity of the daily immersion in the spirit. At one time I was working three jobs trying to get ahead in the fast moving world of computers. Finally, I stepped back, took a look at my life and remembered that I was supposed to get married.

I started dating seriously but the girl I thought I wanted didn’t find a computer geek like me all that desirable. Her best friend came into my life when she returned from her mission. We hit it off right away but I still pursued the other girl. I confessed my feelings for her, but at the wrong time and to the wrong girl. To my chagrin Carol left the Dodger game with a broken heart.

The next day, I couldn’t get her off my mind. I went to see her. I asked what her plans were and how she felt about family and the things of eternity. An amazing feeling of revelation then came upon me. Again, it was a revelation from God, personal and direct to me. I saw us in my mind’s eye thirty years down the road. That day I saw is now. I proposed on the spot. She accepted.

The Power of Bearing Testimony

I wrote previously about how Elder Holland taught me how to properly bear my testimony so it would have a powerful effect on others. I thought I knew all about bearing testimony from years of experience in the mission field. After being instructed by an apostle, I came to realize what a powerful tool it really can be if delivered properly, in the right setting and the right spirit.

I don’t believe I have ever been as immersed in the spirit as I was that day while bearing my testimony. The Lord was bearing witness to me at the same time that I was bearing my witness to others. It was a fulfillment of another line from my patriarchal blessing, “You will be blessed with the gift of prophecy and revelation that you might speak the words of the Lord pertaining to the salvation of his children.”

Much has been written by our detractors about the practice of bearing testimony. It has been ridiculed as brainwashing and a way of avoiding thoughtful discourse. Sadly, many within our own church have repeated their lies about this practice until they believe it. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a real power in the sharing of our testimonies that strengthens.

Conclusion: My Testimony

Although I hope that every essay on this blog testifies of my love of the Lord and a witness for the truth, I want to be sure that my testimony is recorded as it stands today. Who knows, this could be my last day on earth. I want to leave a record that I knew and loved the Lord and that I know he loves me. I hope I have presented some evidence of that with the vignettes above.

As simple as it sounds, I know that God lives. I know that he loves me. He has demonstrated that to my soul sufficiently over the years that I cannot doubt it. I know he desires my happiness and is pleased when I exercise faith in Him and in Jesus Christ. I look forward to the day when I am reunited with Him. I hope and pray that it will be a joyous reunion but know it will be up to me how I live the remainder of my life, true to my faith.

I know that Jesus Christ was and is a real person, literally the Son of God. He has a glorified resurrected body of flesh and bone. He continues to minister to mankind today. I am a witness of his love, his willingness to forgive, to teach us and to guide us through this life. Like our Father in Heaven, he desires our happiness and has done for us what nobody else could do. He fulfilled His mission so that we can fulfill ours in confidence.

The Spirit Bears Witness

The Holy Ghost is real. His whisperings are real. I have been helped by the Holy Ghost countless times. In fact, I feel his help every day of my life, especially if I ask and listen. He inspires me. He teaches me. He leads me to Christ. I am so grateful for the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It is a real power in my life, one that I cherish and of which I strive to be worthy. The Holy Ghost burns the witness of the truth into my soul as I study and pray.

Joseph Smith was a prophet of God in every sense of the word. He was an instrument in the Lord’s hands to restore the truth to the earth through the Book of Mormon. I have studied his life and have learned of his failings. I feel to give thanks to God that he was so open and honest about what he experienced. The Lord re-established His church through Joseph. He restored authority and keys to perform ordinances that are binding in eternity.

I am so grateful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It has blessed my life. I sustain and support the leaders of this church. I appreciate their efforts to guide and help me on my life’s journey. It is in the LDS Church that I have been able to receive the ordinances I need to come onto Christ. I look forward to many more years of service in this Church. It is through giving service that I find joy and fulfillment in life.

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