Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Sure Foundation

I've been thinking a lot lately about faith, church, repentance, and coming to the Lord.  Actually, I think about these things a LOT (just ask my wife).   I feel compelled to write about my faith and how it ties into the Church, repentance, and Christ Himself.

If you haven't read it, my first blog post gives a little background about how I was converted to the Lord.  In essence, it was my story of the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost (BFHG).  This mighty change in me marks the day that my eyes began to be opened.

I'm not going to rehash the whole story here, but suffice it say that many things have happened since July 2010 when I had my BFHG.  Members of my family have had crises of faith, some have left the Church altogether, and I have begun to critically examine my own faith.  I do not believe it was an accident that me, my sister, and my mother all began our awakening at around the same time, independently of one another.

As I have progressed spiritually, I have been able to see the utter foolishness in which I lived.  I always thought in the back of my mind I was "saved" in the Celestial Kingdom because I had done the ordinances and been "sealed."  But when I looked with eyes to see at who and what I was, it brought upon me the horror talked about, as we ponder what it would be like to be cut off from God eternally.  That is what truly motivated me to seek repentance.

After the Lord granted me a remission of my sins, I was DRIVEN, I hungered for knowledge of God.  Not long after this led me to discover the idea that I could see Jesus Christ in this life.  This is not something that I should be content to defer into eternity.  NOW is the time for men to come unto God.  I was so taken by this idea that I started looking everywhere for accounts of those who had received such a gift in this life.  I knew that this was discussed in the scriptures, but I was looking for accounts from here and now.  Why didn't this stuff happen now?  Why didn't our Church leaders talk about this?

In my studies, I came across the accounts of Iohanni Wolfgramm and several of the early Saints from the modern LDS church.  Then I found the writings of John Pontius, and things really began to take shape.  I was sure that Brother John had seen the Lord, and up until just a few months ago, I took as fact the idea that John had seen Jesus Christ.  However, as I go back and look at his writings, I can no longer see where he clearly says that he is a true witness of Christ.  Nevertheless, John was a good man, and I owe him a lot for writing what he did.

John Pontius's writings set the stage for me to discover the writings of Denver Snuffer.  At first, I would not read his accounts because I did not like the critical tone he occasionally took of the leaders of the church.  Then one day, I decided to ask God if Denver had really seen Jesus as he has testified of in The Second Comforter.  I knelt down and asked, and received a witness of the Spirit that Denver did indeed see Christ.  What a great motivation that was!  Even so, I was still not sure about him because of the criticisms I had read.

In September of 2012, I had several promptings in short period of time that I should read Passing the Heavenly Gift.  The Spirit told me that I had nothing to fear from truth, because God is a God of truth, and all truth comes from Him, and my faith is rooted in Jesus Christ and nothing and no one else.  And thank God it is, because I'm not sure I would have survived intact without that faith.

I read PTHG in two weeks.  There were a couple of parts that I had trouble accepting and those took me a few months to digest and understand.  But my paradigm of Heaven flipped upside down in those two weeks.  I was astounded at what I read.  But the Spirit testified to me so strongly that what I had read was true.  And it changed everything.  My entire understanding of Church history, of significant points and principles of doctrine, and of the scriptures, changed almost overnight.

Unlike many people I know, I did not have a sense of betrayal or anger associated with my paradigm shift in faith.  I am thankful for this.  On occasion I get frustrated and even get a flash of anger here or there, but I remind myself that the men who have led and now lead the Church are stuck with the same issues that confused me my whole life. 

As I have embraced truth, I find myself quite far from the LDS mainstream in my beliefs and views.  I don't publicly trumpet this (at least not in person or at church), but I have a far different understanding of things than most people that I know.  I still love the church and want to continue affiliating with it, preaching repentance and Jesus Christ to all that will listen.  My greatest desire would be that my family, friends, and neighbors would come to know Jesus Christ and be baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost so that they can be part of God's kingdom.  Without this vital change, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of heaven because there is no other gate.

The more I try to follow the promptings of the Spirit, the more resolve I feel to cast away false traditions, traditions of men, and any and all things that hedge up the way between me and the Lord.  I feel like I'm trying to construct a mansion on a property that originally held a small cabin and still maintain a place to live while the home is under construction.  It is messy and uncomfortable.  Part of me would like to un-know everything I have learned.  A bigger part of me wants to step away from the church altogether for a time, just to have time to learn on my own.  I am determined to construct a mansion of truth and nothing else.  At some point, all of our false traditions have to be put away.

The glory of God is intelligence.  Intelligence is light and truth.  Therefore, I must search into truth, no matter how difficult, unpleasant, or ugly it may be.  I realize that this search may result in perceived offenses, deception, or anger from others.  That is as it must be.  But I MUST find Jesus Christ, in this mortal life, if I want to lay claim to the blessings that are offered through Him, the Firstborn.  I have no part of those blessings if I don't have knowledge. And the knowledge I seek is the knowledge that I may have a claim on those blessings.  That is the knowledge one must obtain when they are saved in the kingdom of God.  I am sure I am still a total fool.  I am a mortal, and I see through the glass darkly.  But a small sliver of light has penetrated my heart and given me to see just a bit more clearly.

For those who know me who may find this blog, I say with authority that I know where I stand before God.  I have a testimony of Jesus Christ as my savior.  I know it because I am a firsthand witness to His power to forgive sins, namely mine.  I have seen the Lord in vision and have tasted a very small portion of His love for the people of this world.  He loves us more than we can imagine, and He loves perfectly.  I hope to use the understanding I have received from Him to bring others to Him.  That is all I want from life, to bring souls to Christ.  I desire to have a place in the establishment of Zion in these last days, but I am willing to give it up if it will help others come unto Christ.  This is my testimony.  I say it in the name of Jesus Christ, with power and authority from the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

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