On October 16, 2007, John and I started praying every night to see the face of God as promised in D&C 93:1 “Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;”
Soon after we began to pray for this blessing, many challenges came. I was humbled, smashed, crushed, and humiliated. I felt like I was drowning. For three years, it was all I could do to keep my head above water.
In 2009 a friend told me about The Second Comforter, Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil. I politely listened to her, but didn't read the book, even though I had been praying for the second comforter for two years.
In November 2010, a family member told me about a book she was reading. Before she could tell me the title, I knew the name of the book. I asked, “Is it The Second Comforter, Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil?" It was. I knew I needed to read the book. I bought it for my husband for Christmas. We couldn't wait and both had it read by the beginning of December. It was the help we were seeking.
When I finished the book, I started to search the Ensign and write down all the commandments I was failing to live. I also searched the scriptures. As I read the scriptures, the Lord started to teach me. He showed me what it meant to be one of his prophets. He led me from scripture to scripture and began to open my mind.
After six months of studying, wrestling, and questioning the Lord, I could see that these LDS 15 presiding leaders were not Jesus's prophets.
I questioned, “Jesus, are you sure these guys aren't your prophets? All of my life I've been taught that they are your prophets. Are you sure?”
He responded, “Well, I should know these things, but if you don't believe me, go ask them yourself.” The thought of questioning them made my jaw drop.
On May 14, 2011, the Lord told me what to say in the letter. I told him I didn't want to do it. I was nervous about asking them questions. I argued back, “Do you know what they do to people who ask questions like that?”
On May 15, 2011, the letter was again put into my mind. This time I got up and wrote the letter. I decided to write Dallin H. Oaks since he knows my parents. Here's the letter:
May 15, 2011
Hello Elder Oaks,
I’m Dean and Joy Wilding’s youngest daughter. You came to our wedding reception in 1991.
Over the past six months, I’ve had an overwhelming desire to come into the presence of the Savior, have my calling and election made sure, become a personal witness of Christ, and receive my vision of the end from the beginning. Everyday I ask the Lord how I can repent and please him. It’s the driving force in my life.
Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am; - D&C 93:1
I have not yet been invited to become a member of the church of the Lamb of God also known as the church of the Firstborn. By default that makes me a member of the church of the devil. I desire to get out of the church of the devil and become a member of the church of the Lamb of God.
And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. - 1 Nephi 14:10
I’ve always thought that I was on the straight and narrow path leading to eternal life. It seems that I’m on a preliminary path. I have not yet been cleansed by the Holy Ghost and come into the presence of the keeper of the gate. See all of 2 Nephi 31-33
O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.- 2 Nephi 9:41
Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost. - 2 Nephi 31:17
Right now I’m repenting of my sins so I can get on the straight and narrow path. I ask the Lord daily to reveal my sins to me so I can repent. When I am sufficiently pure, the Lord will come and give me further instructions.
But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angles, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me. - 2 Nephi 31:14
Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do. - 2 Nephi 32:6
I desire to come into the presence of the Lord and know him so that I can receive my exaltation. I hear the Holy Ghost talking to me often, but I have not yet been sanctified. The Holy Ghost has revealed to me that coming into the presence of the Lord and knowing Him in this lifetime is essential.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory.
For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.
But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also. - D&C 132:21-23
There are many scriptures showing me that all the Holy Prophets have followed the pattern of becoming sanctified, coming into the presence of the Lord, witnessing the ministry and atonement of Christ, and receiving their vision of the beginning to the end: Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, Enos, King Benjamin, Isaiah, John, brother of Jared, Joseph in Egypt, etc. They are qualified to reveal and prophesy because they’ve seen it all and have been commissioned to do so.
It has been my understanding that the reason we sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators is because all of you have been sanctified, have had the experience of seeing the Savior face to face, and have become apostolic witnesses of His birth, death, atonement, and resurrection. As part of that experience you’ve also seen the history and future of the world. Is this true?
As I listened to this last general conference, I was alarmed and concerned. I heard messages that were inconsistent with the message I read in the Book of Mormon. For those of you who have had the same experience as Nephi and the Brother of Jared, would you instruct us on how we can obey and please the Lord so that we can have the experience of entering back into the presence of the Lord?
And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.
For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.
For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.- 1 Nephi 10:17-19
For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot. - 1 Nephi 11:1
Nephi wasn’t a sign seeker but he knew that he could have the same vision as his father if he would but diligently seek the Lord. Nephi mourns because of our unbelief, wickedness, and ignorance. He’s telling us how to receive the same visions and manifestations that he’s had, yet we won’t seek after them with all our heart.
And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be. - 1 Nephi 32:7
In Elder David A. Bednar’s talk he speaks of “looking beyond the mark” as looking for great manifestations promised by God himself. Jesus Christ is the mark. Coming back into his presence while in the flesh is the greatest manifestation we can seek for in this life. I don’t want to be normal and be part of the mainstream that enters the broad gate and follows the wide road. I want to be peculiar and treasured by the Lord. If you read the rest of Jacob 4:14 you’ll see that “looking beyond the mark” is being stiffnecked and unwilling to repent. “Looking beyond the mark” does not mean looking for the miracles and angels promised to the believers.
Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain. - Moroni 7:37
“We as members of the Church tend to emphasize marvelous and dramatic spiritual manifestations so much that we may fail to appreciate and may even overlook the customary pattern by which the Holy Ghost accomplishes His work. The very “simpleness of the way” (1 Nephi 17:41) of receiving small and incremental spiritual impressions that over time and in totality constitute a desired answer or the direction we need may cause us to look “beyond the mark” (Jacob 4:14).
I have talked with many individuals who question the strength of their personal testimony and underestimate their spiritual capacity because they do not receive frequent, miraculous, or strong impressions. Perhaps as we consider the experiences of Joseph in the Sacred Grove, of Saul on the road to Damascus, and of Alma the Younger, we come to believe something is wrong with or lacking in us if we fall short in our lives of these well-known and spiritually striking examples. If you have had similar thoughts or doubts, please know that you are quite normal. Just keep pressing forward obediently and with faith in the Savior. As you do so, you “cannot go amiss” (D&C 80:3).
President Joseph F. Smith counseled: “Show me Latter-day Saints who have to feed upon miracles, signs and visions in order to keep them steadfast in the Church, and I will show you members … who are not in good standing before God, and who are walking in slippery paths. It is not by marvelous manifestations unto us that we shall be established in the truth, but it is by humility and faithful obedience to the commandments and laws of God” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1900, 40).” (David A. Bednar, The Spirit of Revelation, April 2011 Conference)
When “individuals who question the strength of their personal testimony and underestimate their spiritual capacity because they do not receive frequent, miraculous, or strong impressions” ask questions of their leaders, they need to be told how to repent. Being consoled in our wickedness will never bring us back into the presence of the Lord. Something is wrong if we’re not following and experiencing the spiritually striking examples of the Holy Prophets. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God gives the examples so we know what to look for.
For I, the Almighty, have laid my hands upon the nations, to scourge them for their wickedness.
And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness—
Until all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together sing this new song, saying: D&C 84:96-98
In Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk “Waiting on the Road to Damascus”, he speaks of Joseph Smith having divine manifestations like Paul. Do the current apostles have these kind of manifestations? I understand that our testimony doesn’t come all at once, but when I come to know Christ, it is my hope that He doesn’t come “almost unnoticed”. I desire to see him in all his glory.
We know that manifestations such as this happen. In fact, we testify that a similar divine experience happened in 1820 to a boy named Joseph Smith. It is our clear and certain testimony that the heavens are open again and that God speaks to His prophets and apostles. God hears and answers the prayers of His children. . .
The truth is, those who diligently seek to learn of Christ eventually will come to know Him. They will personally receive a divine portrait of the Master, although it most often comes in the form of a puzzle—one piece at a time. Each individual piece may not be easily recognizable by itself; it may not be clear how it relates to the whole. Each piece helps us to see the big picture a little more clearly. Eventually, after enough pieces have been put together, we recognize the grand beauty of it all. Then, looking back on our experience, we see that the Savior had indeed come to be with us—not all at once but quietly, gently, almost unnoticed.
I was reading Elder Boyd K Packer’s October 2007 talk “The Weak and the Simple of the Church”, and I appreciate the straight forward manner in which Elder Packer talks of his witness of Christ. I too was surprised to find out that Apostles don’t need to have a unique and special witness of Christ.
To my great surprise, I was called to meet with President David O. McKay. He took both of my hands in his and called me to be one of the General Authorities, an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
A few days later, I came to Salt Lake City to meet with the First Presidency to be set apart as one of the General Authorities of the Church. This was the first time I had met with the First Presidency—President David O. McKay and his counselors, President Hugh B. Brown and President Henry D. Moyle.
President McKay explained that one of the responsibilities of an Assistant to the Twelve was to stand with the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as a special witness and to bear testimony that Jesus is the Christ. What he said next overwhelmed me: “Before we proceed to set you apart, I ask you to bear your testimony to us. We want to know if you have that witness.”
I did the best I could. I bore my testimony the same as I might have in a fast and testimony meeting in my ward. To my surprise, the Brethren of the Presidency seemed pleased and proceeded to confer the office upon me.
That puzzled me greatly, for I had supposed that someone called to such an office would have an unusual, different, and greatly enlarged testimony and spiritual power. . .
I bear witness that the gospel is true and that the worth of souls is great in the sight of God—every soul—and that we are blessed to be members of the Church. I have the witness that would qualify me for the calling I have. I’ve had it since I met the First Presidency those many years ago. I bear it to you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
In David B. Haight’s April 1989 talk “The Sacrament—and the Sacrifice” he shares his experience and apostolic witness of Christ. David B. Haight is a special witness of Christ.
. . .I had never doubted nor wondered. But now I knew, because of the impressions of the Spirit upon my heart and soul, these divine truths in a most unusual way.
I was shown a panoramic view of His earthly ministry: His baptism, His teaching, His healing the sick and lame, the mock trial, His Crucifixion, His Resurrection and Ascension. There followed scenes of His earthly ministry to my mind in impressive detail, confirming scriptural eyewitness accounts. I was being taught, andthe eyes of my understanding were opened by the Holy Spirit of God so as to behold many things. . .
Have all the apostles received an apostolic witness of Christ unique and different from the faith and belief that most of us have? I like many others believe He lives because we can feel it in our hearts, but we are not yet special witnesses of Him. Have you seen him and witnessed His baptism, His teaching, His healing the sick and lame, the mock trial, His Crucifixion, His Resurrection, and His Ascension?
I ask this question because I am studying this issue out in my mind. I don’t hear the special apostolic witness of Christ shared in our general conferences apart from the one I quoted from David B. Haight. I need to know why we call the current First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Prophets, Seers, and Revelators.
Thank you for all you do. I sustain you with my prayers and fellowship.
I didn't know if I would get a response. They're busy and probably don't have time to respond to my questions, but to my surprise, Dallin Oaks sent me a response. Here is a copy of the letter:
I had my answer. I could tell from his response that he wasn't the kind of prophet I read about in the scriptures. I don't fault him for it . . . I'm not a prophet either. The Lord knew I needed this letter as a second witness. The scriptures and God's voice were my first witness. This letter was my second.