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Last May I had an experience early in the evening that will forever change my life. My wife and I had just attended a conference down in Grand Junction, Colorado and we had just finished coming home. The conference had a series of themes, but chief among them was a call to remember the Restoration of the Gospel as begun by Joseph Smith. My heart and mind were full from the experience and I was reminiscing on the way home about the things discussed.
We had just returned home, and I was milling about the house when I just about collapsed. I thought it odd since I didn’t feel sick and I hadn’t been fasting. I retired to bed and my wife and I prayed and I felt myself start to lift out of my body. This frightened me so I stopped my prayer. Soon my wife was asleep and I felt to pray again. As I began to pray I felt myself again lift out of my body almost immediately. I felt a rush of white heat as I lifted up. Before my eyes, I saw a symbol that I did not understand. It was so real and so vivid that I begged God to know if it was from Him, and was “sorely afraid.” As the vision ended, I later learned that this symbol was an ancient representation of God, but I had to research it to understand it.
This experience was only the beginning. It opened up an ability for me to begin to have experiences such as visions, prophecies, tongues, and healings. Such things as a Latter-day Saint had been foreign to me for the most part. My sum total of spiritual experience had been the stirrings of the Holy Ghost in my bosom. This was utterly new to me.
This blog is about truth. It’s about uncovering the truth and exposing untruth—which can be a delicate dance sometimes. Ultimately, however, truth is a personal experience, a scientific empirical undertaking that enlightens the soul and expands the mind. Truth is dependent on facts, but its interpretation is wholly subject to the empirical experiences of the observer. But when we can observe another’s experience, sometimes that gives us hope to have our own experiences. It’s thrilling when we can correlate truth through such independent observation. At some point, we hope to be able to collect some of these independent observations as a mean to give hope to those who want to seek Jesus.
I have not seen Jesus Christ, but I believe He lives. I have felt His love. I have seen visions that uphold his reality, yet they are not enough. I must know Him as I know another man to that I KNOW that he lives. This is the definition of salvation as taught in the Lectures on Faith that is the most compelling to me. I know of three men now alive who have seen Him. One I know personally and intimately. He will be sharing his testimony with the world very soon. Another one I do not know, but his testimony has influenced my decision to undertake this journey of discovery—one that takes precision, dedication, and charity to do.
Yet it’s not so important that you know someone else’s experience. Millions have heard of Joseph’s First Vision and it has caused them to undertake the journey of the gospel, to get baptized, and commit to other covenants. Its story is that compelling. Yet, it is not enough. We have our own experiences with the Lord. We must all know that He is risen, that He has broken the bands of death, and that He lives.
This conference weekend, while there are those listening to men who claim to be prophets of God, I would ask the reader, including myself, to recommit to finding Him, to have their own experience of opening the tomb of death to an empty chamber. It’s not easy to do, but it is very easy to understand. Exercise faith in Christ to the point of obtaining a hope in Christ. Hope is not just an emotion. Hope is an experience that gives you encouragement to continue on the path. It’s a benchmark. My own first vision was such a benchmark. It has given me Hope! Then we must continue onward, having perfect charity for our fellow man, so that we can obtain salvation and eternal life in Christ by communing with Him.
This isn’t a memo about a platitude. It’s an invitation to obtain something, something as tangible and real as life itself. It can be done. I believe it can be done. It has been done for others, who have through a more perfect faith, obtained the prize. If they can do it, and God is no respecter of persons, you can do it too! I hope at some point that I can relive an experience to you all where I can unequivocally state that I know that He lives, because I have seen him and I know him. But if not, others will and we can take hope in their experiences to go and have our own.