Thoughts on Yoga


yogaI was asked for my views on Yoga, specifically if it is harmful to the soul.

I was listening to a Christian radio station while driving to and fro during work, and they were talking about Yoga. It appears that Yoga, if practiced properly, is a demonic practice. The poses themselves allegedly open up the spiritual realm.

They likened it to using a Ouija board; the difference being that most people don’t know the spiritual effects of practicing Yoga, while most people know what they are doing when using a Ouija board.

Have you heard anything like that? It does make sense; if you practice anything that claims to be a religion that isn’t in alignment with Heavenly Father, could be perceived as demonic. Please let me know your thoughts.

My response: I think my first introduction to the topic of Yoga and a possible connection to dark spirits was a long dialog with an individual back in 2013 who mentioned the Kundalini awakening, something I had never studied. There was a lot of additional dialog that involved Howard, the reader who asked me about the Kundalini awakening, as well as my wife. You can read the public dialog on this post (click on the star)

NewStar

I think Howard and I went back and forth for a few weeks but the dialog kind of petered out without either of us really persuading the other of the benefits or drawbacks of Yoga, Shamanism or the Kundalini awakening. While I am a proponent of meditation and have experienced what I consider to be revelation as a direct result of that meditation, I do not adhere to any of the Hindu beliefs or practices, especially in regards to opening the chakras to spiritual manifestations through Yoga.

To answer your question directly, I have read many posts on various Christian websites about Yoga being a gateway to demonic possession. My observation is that most people fall into two camps on this question. The first believe Yoga to be of the devil and therefor to be avoided at all costs. The second believe we should have an open mind and accept all truth no mater what the source. I lean more toward the second group but understand the concern expressed by those of the first.

If we act upon a belief that isn’t in alignment with Heavenly Father, the obvious answer is that we open ourselves up to deception. As far as branding Yoga as an evil practice, mainly because of the belief it invites evil or unclean spirits to share our physical tabernacles, I tend to shy away from such an absolute declaration. I know a lot of people who practice Yoga, mainly for the perceived physical benefit they enjoy. I do not practice Yoga, so my observations will lack any real authority.

Your thoughts?

 

Remember


recorders-clearinghouseFirst, Keith asked fellow bloggers to get the word out about the deadline to record 2015 baptismal ordinances. You can read more about it on his blog: Recorder’s Clearinghouse. And Keith, don’t be mad, but may I offer this: a new entry in an existing blog is called a post. So what Keith has written is a new post in his blog. If you received baptism in 2015, be sure it gets recorded in the book to be placed in the temple when it is built. The top link in this paragraph will take you directly to that specific post, not the front page.

money-pitSecond, please remember Rock and Connie Waterman in your prayers. Rock is suffering from some sort of blood poisoning. Rock is a fellow blogger who I met at the Sunstone Symposium last year. His blog is Pure Mormonism. One of the best posts there is his treatment on tithing. If you have not read it, I highly recommend it. After years of reading what others had to say about the “right” amount of tithing to pay, I asked the Lord about it and was reminded of Rock’s post on the subject. It changed my mind and more importantly, my heart. Yes, tithing is a commandment and I still pay it, just not to the LDS Church.

doctrine-of-christThird, I’ve been asked to make sure the word gets out about the Doctrine of Christ general conference (lower case “g” and “c”) that will take place in Boise, Idaho this September. You can read more about it on the site dedicated to the event. At this point, as much as I would like to go, I anticipate a conflict with a major work project to take place precisely on that weekend. I’ll be lucky to make it to Sunstone but only because it falls on the same weekend as Carol’s family reunion. I hope to slip away for a few hours to hear Denver’s presentation. Living in California makes it difficult for me to attend events such as these. I can’t wait to retire to St. George.

Remember Christ

carl_bloch_the_christNow that the business has been conducted, I turn to the subject at hand: Remember, specifically, remembering Christ. Even though I attend our local LDS Sacrament meeting with Carol each week, I also participate in the ordinance of the sacrament in my own home using wine each week. I do this for two reasons: First, to show the Lord I remember Him and am grateful for his voice unto me when I asked if I should be baptized. Second, to show I remember his sacrifice for me, that allowed me to have that “born again experience” in my youth when I was first brought into His presence.

You’ll note I include Carl Bloch’s rendering of the Savior and not Del Parson’s. No offense to Del, but my experience with the Savior is depicted more in Carl’s version. There is a softness and gentleness about the rendition that if different from the red robe version from Del. You’ll find a copy Del’s painting in just about every Bishop’s office of the LDS Church. There is a sternness to that version that bothers me. It causes me to think that Satan was also a son of God. Would they not appear similar?

Finally, a note to those many readers who have been so kind to me over the years, many sending me their books and some teaching me privately. I remember you and I remember your kindness. Please forgive me if anything I have written has harmed you or your faith in Christ in any way. I ask this because I know we will meet again, if not in this life, then on the other side of the veil. I remember you. I remember your kindness. I remember what you have shared. I especially appreciate the sacred experiences related in private. God bless us each in our work. There is much to do. I pray to God each day to find the strength and especially the time to do what I know He wants me to do: write and teach.

Life and Death of a Blog


brotherofjaredA blog requires passion. I say that from eight years of experience. It takes vision. It requires time and effort. It is a labor of love. I loved blogging in Latter-day Commentary, especially in the years 2012-2014 as I was discovering, reading, digesting, pondering and praying about the writings of Denver Snuffer. Obviously the content and frequency of LDC posts has died down considerably. I obtained what I was seeking. Your feedback in the comments helped me find my answers. I love and appreciate all the wonderful comments over the years. Thank you for the warnings, the edification, and for the additional light and truth. You blessed me.

Two of my co-writers now have their own blogs. I highly recommend them. Many readers enjoyed Log’s posts. He is a master of the scriptures. You can find Log at http://logscabin.blogspot.com/ and Peter at http://latterdaywitnesses.com. I am grateful for their contributions over the years, especially my friend Log, whom I love dearly. Despite the title of this post, LDC will be around as a historical record for at least five more years. There may be occasional posts, but they will be rare. Of course, it’s best to keep up with Denver at http://denversnuffer.com/ and Keith at http://recordersclearinghouse.com to keep up with restoration events.

To be baptized, go here: http://www.bornofwater.org. There are so many great blogs commenting on the restoration movement there is no way I can list them all or even keep up anymore. I am nearly sixty years old and am winding down my career. Most of my energy is spent there. I have prayed much about what to do with the blog. It kept me in the scriptures. It kept me thinking and, sadly, it got me into trouble with the LDS Church and my own marriage. My focus is on loving Carol and on her happiness. My blogging efforts caused a serious rift in my marriage, which I treasure and would rather keep than to continually agitate my dear wife.

Life Goes On

jacobs-ladder1I am grateful for all the friends I have made over the years, especially certain individuals who I consider sentinels, messengers and true servants of the Lord. My emails have not changed. Unless I’m dead, you can always reach me at either address listed on the side column of my blog. I am at peace with what I have done in regards to the LDS Church. I still have so many friends in my ward and stake who I appreciate for their kind hand of fellowship. May God bless each of us in our journey up the ladder. I bear witness that He lives. He has ministered unto me in words that cannot be spoken. I have been consumed by the fire of His love.

Things will be changing dramatically in our world over the next few years. You know this as well as I do. I pray we may meet again. Watch for the signs. Do not fall asleep. It takes constant effort, discipline and work to walk in the light. I am so grateful for repentance. He answers immediately. He gives peace. Many of you have specific missions yet to perform in preparation for the return of the Lord. I cannot say if I have completed what the Lord sent me here to accomplish. I continue to ascend the mountain, both symbolically and literally to commune with the Lord. I promise you He speaks. Our task is to remain worthy, be patient and listen.

God bless.

Escape From Idolatry


golden-statueI notice a pattern with people who escape idolatry. I would dare say it is nearly universal. It is perhaps the most difficult and treacherous path to navigate in this life, but if we endure to the end, it leads to the riches of eternity.

In the worst of idolatry, men and women will put their trust solely in external things. Usually this consists of pastors, bishops, preachers, ministers, and whatever books that happen to be approved within their belief system. If they run into a question or concern, they speak to the nearest “authority” on the subject, who has enough knowledge with the approved books to pacify the person and lull them back to sleep.

golden-calfIf the person keeps seeking greater truth, they will soon begin to see contradictions coming from the pulpit. The local “authority” will sometimes say things that are not coinciding with the approved books, and the seeker begins to see that the local authorities are fallible, and not to be trusted as far as Truth is concerned.

In the next phase the seeker will begin to seek the words of the “greater” leaders and “authorities.” They will seek the words of the founders of the religion, the dead prophets and popes, the great men and women of the belief system. The seeker will begin finding others who see the fallibility of the local leaders and they will enjoy seeking words of the greater leaders of the belief system.

money-idolatryEventually if the seeker persists in the journey, it will become clear that even the founders and the great ones of the belief system do not agree on all things. Hopefully the seeker at this point has begun to receive revelation and is developing his/her own relationship with God. Slowly their eyes are opened as they continue forward.

The next step in the pattern comes to a point where the seeker will cleave to THE ONE person that seems to have all the answers. THE ONE prophet, or pope, whether living or dead, who was or is guided by God. This will be THE ONE who was truly infallible because he/she was God’s voice, instrument, prophet, pope, king, or whatever the title may be. This also can come in the form of THE ONE book, THE ONE philosophy, THE ONE trustworthy source of Truth besides God.

golden-calf2If the seeker does not rest, and will truly endure to the end, at some point they will see that even THE ONE has things that are not true. This can only be done by receiving revelation line upon line on every subject that the one remaining idol has taught. Sometimes things outside of the one remaining idol are used as tools to help the seeker break the shackles.

It can be THE ONE book or idol that others have pointed too. It can be the Laotzis and the Buddhas and the Emmanuel Swedenborgs and the Apocryphas etc that point out truths that the one idol does not have and even teaches or has taught against, but the spirit will bear witness to.

golden-calf1Of course the last phase, and the only True Way is when the disciple learns to only trust in the Spirit of the Living God, the Spirit of Truth. When one enters this zone, Truth comes quickly from many avenues because the chains of idolatry have been broken. There is no damning limit to what the Spirit could tell you, because the only creed is Truth, wherever it may be found.

Outward authority never can exist to the true disciple, because the holy oil of God is giving truth to the inward vessel. The only things to conquer in this last phase are the devils and powers of darkness which will fight with desperation and fury. All of the powers of hell will be used to stop the seeker from becoming a holy disciple of God.

academic-idolatryAs one progresses from phase to phase in the escape of idolatry, the seeker will find less and less human companionship, but more and more association with the angels and righteous on the other side of the veil. Most are not willing to trade the outward forms of spirituality for the inward blessings of discipleship. To escape each phase, more strength is needed than to escape the last, and only the Lord can provide it.

food-as-an-idolIn each of these phases there will be many who will try to persuade you that you are in the right spot. You have made it to THE GROUP, to the elite, “you have escaped! This is the place!” the mortals and devils will call, yet the seeker must learn to heed the call of The Only One that matters.

Of course many would call the seeker a person that “picks and chooses.” They will call it a “buffet style” approach and call the wisdom of God foolishness. “You can’t just pick and choose!” will be the voice of the devil. “You can’t trust personal revelation!” They will say you must check it with all of the idols and if it doesn’t match up it must be discarded. Think deeper about some verses in Matt 13:41-50

41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:

48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,

50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I pray God’s blessings upon each of us as we shed idolatry and falsehood, and come unto the Truth. Those who will not be cast into the furnace of fire will be those who have sold all the filth, who have cast all the bad away, before the coming of the Lord.

Spirituality and Self-Discipline


the-road-less-traveledIn a recent email dialog with one of my readers, I was reminded of the works of Dr. M. Scott Peck (1936-2005), one of which I’ve been reading over the holidays: The Road Less Traveled. First published in 1978, it has sold over ten million copies. The first section of the book is about discipline. I have long believed achieving spirituality cannot be complete without self-discipline.

One of life’s greatest truths is that life is difficult. It was meant to be that way. If you have been taught or believe otherwise, you have been deceived. It would serve you well to cast off such a defective map and replace it with the truth. Because the sooner you do so, the sooner you accept this truth, then life is no longer difficult. Well, maybe it is, but that no longer matters, does it?

Life is a series of problems. They are presented to us for our growth and benefit. We can either moan about them or we can solve them. Discipline contains a basic set of tools we use to solve life’s problems. Without discipline we can solve nothing. Dr. Peck elaborates on the four tools as 1) Delaying Gratification, 2) Accepting Responsibility, 3) Dedication to Truth and 4) Balancing.

The Only Decent Way to Live

“Delaying gratification is a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with. It is the only decent way to live.” (Dr. Peck, p. 19) A sure-fire indication that someone has learned this character trait is in the way they use their time. It also reveals how they feel about themselves.

The feeling of being valuable – “I am a valuable person” – is essential to mental health and is a cornerstone of self-discipline. When one considers oneself valuable, one will take care of oneself in all ways that are necessary. Self-discipline is self-caring. If we feel ourselves valuable, we will feel our time to be valuable. We choose how we spend time. We will want to use our time well.

Time is one of the greatest gifts of life. If we take the time, we can solve most of our problems. But we must choose to invest the time required. We live in an age of instant gratification. This does not help when the only way to solve problems is to invest precious time. Problems do not go away by themselves and we cannot solve our own life’s problems except by solving them.

The Pain of Freedom

That last statement may appear to be self-evident, but it is seemingly beyond the comprehension of much of the human race. This is because we must accept responsibility for a problem before we can solve it. We can’t solve a problem by saying, “It’s not my problem. I was born that way.” We can’t solve a problem by hoping someone else will come along and solve it for us someday.

The problem of distinguishing what we are and what we are not responsible for in this life is one of the greatest problems of human existence. It is never entirely solved. We seem to spend our lives continually assessing and reassessing where our responsibilities lie in this ever-changing course of events. It is not a painless process. It requires a willingness to suffer self-examination.

In desiring to avoid the pain of responsibility, millions, even billions of people, daily attempt to escape from freedom. Whenever we seek to avoid the responsibility for our own behavior or our own condition, we do so by attempting to give that responsibility to some other individual, organization or entity. That means we give away our power to that entity. We give up freedom.

A Total Dedication to the Truth

Truth is reality. That which is false is unreal. The more clearly we can see the world, the better equipped we will be to deal with the world. The less clearly we see the reality of the world – the more our minds are befuddled by falsehood, misperceptions and illusions – the less we will be able to determine correct courses of action and make wise decisions. We need an accurate map.

While this may be obvious, most people choose to ignore it. The route to reality is not easy. We are not born with maps. We have to make them. It takes effort to make an accurate map. Maps need to be continually revised. The world as well as our vantage point is constantly changing. Major revisions are painful, excruciatingly so. Change can be frightening, even overwhelming.

Yet we must revise our maps when new truths are learned, otherwise we will not grow and fulfill our purpose in life. We must be open to change, even to challenges to our maps. We must live a life of total dedication to continuous, never-ending, stringent self-examination. Study, pondering, meditation and prayer are a few tools of this total dedication. They bring light, peace and safety.

Life Balancing, a True Art Form

Self-discipline is a demanding and complex task. It requires both flexibility and judgment. We must push ourselves to be completely and courageously honest with ourselves yet know when it is appropriate to withhold opinions from others. We must take total responsibility for ourselves, but in doing so we must possess the capacity to reject responsibility that is not meant to be ours.

To be organized and efficient, to live wisely, we must daily delay gratification and keep an eye on the future. Yet to live joyously we must also possess the capacity, when it is not destructive, to live in the present and act spontaneously. In other words, discipline itself must be disciplined. Balancing is the discipline that gives us flexibility. It is a key skill that requires constant practice.

Life is not an all or nothing proposition and our response system should reflect this. An adequate response to each situation requires judgment to balance raw emotion. Anger, passion, temptation and challenges can all be met with an appropriate, balanced response. Not all situations appear in our lives the same each time. What is appropriate for one circumstance fits not at all in another.

The Healthiness of Depression

What I’ve presented in the preceding fourteen paragraphs is a summary of the first section of the book, The Road Less Traveled, on discipline. If you’re like me, there was probably something in at least one of those paragraphs that triggered a thought similar to this: “That’s a wonderful ideal, but it’s not the reality of my world. I’m nowhere near perfection in that particular characteristic.”

The feeling associated with giving up something loved – or at least something that is a part of us and familiar – is depression. Mentally healthy human beings must grow. Sacrificing or giving up a long-cherished but deficient piece of the old self is an integral part of the process of growth. Therefore depression is a normal and basically healthy phenomenon, if completed properly.

Depression sets in when one realizes in order to grow, to evolve or become better, one must leave behind old, incorrect patterns of thinking. We can no longer cling to unhealthy beliefs. There is a sense of loss and grief when we realize things can never be the way they used to be. This can be a depressing thought. The solution is to put our “self” aside, or, to lose ourselves.

Renunciation and Rebirth

It is in the giving up of self that human beings can find the most ecstatic, lasting, solid, durable joy of life. In Western culture, self is held sacred. Death is considered an unspeakable insult. Yet it is death which provides life with all its meaning. This secret is the central wisdom of religion, and more particularly, of faith. We must give up our old self in order to make room for the new.

It is an unusual person who has learned to silence the demand for the familiar and to welcome the new and the strange. Give it up. There is no other way to grow. We sacrifice, or give things up for something better. Self-discipline is a self-enlarging process. The pain of giving up is the pain of death, but death of the old is birth of the new. The pain of death is the pain of new birth.

In order to develop new and better ideas and theories of understanding, old concepts and ideas that may have served well for a while, must die. This lifetime is a simultaneous series of deaths and rebirths. Throughout life, we must learn to die. The farther one travels on the journey of life, the more births one will experience, and therefore the more deaths, the more pain, the more joy.

Thoughts on Personal Application

I’ve shared these notes from Dr. Peck’s bestseller because they have become the standard for so many who study the art of personal growth. I am in a transition phase of my life right now as are so many of my friends. The transition for me has been a death and a rebirth. I chose to sacrifice something I loved in order to move on in my life. Some of my friends had it ripped from them.

I am grateful for the rebirth. It is very real to me. The acceptance of responsibility for my life has become more tangible and pronounced. I deal directly with the Lord on matters of salvation. He and I are working things out in a way that seemed to elude me before. Things seem to be clearer. There’s no thought of a middleman anymore. There’s no need to explain myself to anyone else.

Conformity to an unrealistic orthodoxy is no longer a concern. Pleasing my Savior is my only guide. He lets me know when I am off-course more than ever before. The path is indeed strait, yet at the same time I feel a greater sense of freedom and prompting from the Lord on what is best for me. I am on a road less traveled, a journey back to God, walking as a disciple of Christ.

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.