While writing Calleth On My Name, the Lord kept bringing up questions that perplexed me. I would study study study and find an answer to one question only to be presented with other puzzling questions.
I understand why Jesus's disciples would say, “What do these words mean? We do not understand.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him to explain what he meant. He said, “Much of what I have said to you may seem like a riddle, but the time will come when you will comprehend my words and they will no longer seem a riddle, and you will understand them plainly.” Testimony of John page 26.
It is almost as if it was written as a riddle on purpose so only those who really want to know will find. I write in the first-person so that as you and I read, it becomes personal for each one of us.
We have been studying 3 Nephi 11 with our family, and I memorized the Doctrine of Christ as one of our mastery scriptures. Why is the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost “bearing record” such a large part of the Doctrine of Christ? Why is this so important? Notice how many times “bear/beareth record” is written in verses 31-41:
Jesus Christ said,
Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine. And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost. And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one. And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things. And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.
Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth. 3 Nephi 11:31-41 [emphasis added]
How many times does the Father bear record? Three. How many times does Jesus bear record? Three. But notice the Holy Ghost only bears record twice. I wonder if these details and number of times each member of the Godhead bears record means something?
Three symbolizes whole or complete: “And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (Corinthians 15:4) “Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end. Amen.” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:28); the sun, moon, and stars give light to this earth; the telestial, terrestial, and celestial are three degrees of glory; mind, body, and spirit; father, mother, and children make a family; the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon knew of a surety that the work is true; “when three “wo’s” are pronounced upon a people it is a condemnation which will last beyond this life and into eternity” Denver Snuffer Blog March 8, 2010.
I ask, how am I made whole or complete through the Doctrine of Christ? Are the Father and Son whole and complete? Is the Holy Ghost in process of becoming whole and complete? How does the Son bring forth and provide evidence of the Father so He is remembered? How does the Father authenticate evidence of the Son? How can the Holy Ghost let its light shine before the people, that it may bring forth good works and glorify the Father who is in heaven?
Altogether, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost bears record a total of eight times. The number eight symbolizes a new beginning: we are baptized when we are eight (D&C 68:27), there were eight souls on Noah's ark (Genesis 7:13), the Brother of Jared built eight barges (Ether 3:1), a new week starts on the eighth day, a male child is circumcised on the eighth day (Luke 1:59), Joseph Smith showed the gold plates to eight witnesses. I ask then, how is the Doctrine of Christ a new beginning for me?
What does it mean to bear record?
Bear: To show or exhibit; to relate; to carry, to convey; to withstand something difficult or painful, to support or hold up; sustain, cause to be born, bring forth, provide evidence for.
Record: To cause to be remembered; an authentic account of any facts and proceedings
Why does the Father bear record of Jesus and Jesus bears record of the Father, but they do not bear record of the Holy Ghost, yet the Holy Ghost bears record of the Father and Jesus? What does it mean “the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one”? When these three bear record, what does this mean? Is it binding? Is it an ordinance? Is it noticed and recorded in Heaven?
We see this when Jesus sets forth the manner of baptism and he instructs them to baptize in His name.
Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them—
Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them. And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying:
Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water.
And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one. 3 Nephi 11:23-27
What does it mean to baptize in His name? What is His name? To do something in His name, would it need to be done “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost”?
Where else have I seen these words before?
Preserving the Restoration by Denver C. Snuffer Jr. begins with the Testimony of Louis Naegle. Louis closes his testimony with these words, “I leave this testimony with you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; Amen.” Keith Henderson's testimony is placed at the end of this book. Keith ends his testimony with these words, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”
Is this book an ordinance to the gentiles? To the world? What just happened? Did the heavens notice and record something that was almost unnoticed here on earth?
On the night of February 12-13, 2011, I was baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost for the first time. It was in connection with reading excerpts from Denver Snuffer's The Second Comforter Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil. On that night, I knew for myself Denver was giving a truthful testimony. My joy increased until I felt my joy would exceed my mortal strength. It was after this time, that the meaning of scripture began to be unfolded to me in a new and expanded way. There are very few things I claim to know, but this much I do know, Denver Snuffer is telling the truth. For if I would deny this, I would deny the Lord visited me with light from heaven on the night of February 12-13, 2011, and this light filled my soul with exceeding great joy.
I have learned how to distinguish between light and darkness. Light brings joy. Darkness brings misery. Light is comforting yet it is not comfortable. Most often my beliefs and paradigms are challenged and questioned when brought into the light. It takes great strength and focus to stay in the light. Many times it leaves the recipient void of mortal strength (1 Nephi 1:7, Moses 1:9, JSH 1:20). For most it is easier to get distracted and stay in the darkness.
After recognizing the possibility that the testimonies of Louis and Keith sealed an ordinance, I looked at the final page of the The Second Comforter Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil to see if it also closed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. At first glance it didn't appear to be so, but when I looked at the second to last paragraph, I found these words,
The words of Moroni seem particularly apt as a closing statement: He bids his readers farewell “until we shall meet before the judgment-seat of Christ, where all men shall know that my garments are not spotted with your blood. And then shall ye know that I have seen Jesus, and that he hath talked with me face to face, and that he told me in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things; And only a few have I written, because of my weakness in writing. And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen. Ether 12:38-41”[emphasis added]
Here again we find the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost bearing record of these things. Does this mean something? What is happening? Does it put the world on notice when someone with authority in the presence of the Father bears record of those things given him by the Son?
Notice how Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris seal their testimony of the Book of Mormon,
And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.
One might assume Ether 5 is only about the testimony of these three Book of Mormon witnesses. But is this the only application for these words? What is the testimony of three? Which three must bear record of all things?
And in the mouth of three witnesses shall these things be established; and the testimony of three, and this work, in the which shall be shown forth the power of God and also his word, of which the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost bear record—and all this shall stand as a testimony against the world at the last day. Ether 5:4 [emphasis added]
When the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost bear record, will it stand as binding testimony against the world? “We understand that when a man works by faith he works by mental exertion instead of physical force: it is by words instead of exerting his physical powers, with which every being works when he works by faith” Lectures on Faith 7:3. What power do these words have?
The entire blog post is quite lengthy so I've divided it into different sections. Here are the titles of the next five blog posts.
Who is the Father?
Who is the Son?
Who is the Holy Ghost?
Sons of God