A witness from God can be relied upon. As you read our thoughts, beliefs, and experiences, we invite you to obtain a witness for yourself. If something we say or imply does not ring true, then you should feel no obligation to accept it. Life is an individual and unique journey with God. Although we can help and encourage each other, we need to be careful not to come between God and another person.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Apostolic Witnesses

Back in the 80s, I believed the LDS First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were special witnesses of Jesus Christ. I believed they spoke with God face to face just like Joseph Smith, Nephi, Moroni, Isaiah, Brother of Jared, and all the holy prophets. It wasn't until 2011 that it even occurred to me to put their testimony to the test. Before this time, when they said they were special witnesses, I assumed the most and left it at that.

There must have been others asking such questions back in the 80s. Here are some of the responses to people's questions:

We do not talk of those sacred interviews that qualify the servants of the Lord to bear a special witness of Him, for we have been commanded not to do so. But we are free, indeed, we are obliged, to bear that special witness…. I am a witness to the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father; that He has a body of flesh and bone; that He knows those who are His servants here and that He is known of them. I know that He directs this Church now, as He established it then, through a prophet of God. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen Boyd K. Packer, April 1980

Do not mistake our reverent hesitation to speak glibly or too frequently of Him to mean that we do not know Him. Our brethren of Judah knew Him in ancient times, our brethren of Ephraim also. He is no stranger to His Saints, to His prophets and Apostles now. Boyd K. Packer,General Conference, October 1982

I don’t know just how to answer people when they ask the question, ‘Have you seen the Lord?’ I think that the witness that I have and the witness that each of us [apostles] has, and the details of how it came, are too sacred to tell. I have never told anybody some of the experiences I have had, not even my wife. I know that God lives. I not only know that he lives, but I know him. (Marion G. Romney, cited in F. Burton Howard, Marion G. Romney: His Life and Faith (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1988), 222)

As I've studied some of the published testimonies of Boyd K. Packer, I've discovered some interesting things. Boyd Packer shares the details of his call to be an LDS apostle in his October 2007 General Conference talk The Weak and the Simple of the Church. In his talk, he also references Marion G. Romney's testimony.

For a long time, something else puzzled me. Forty-six years ago I was a 37-year-old seminary supervisor. My Church calling was as an assistant teacher in a class in the Lindon Ward.

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.

It puzzled me for a long time until finally I could see that I already had what was required: an abiding testimony in my heart of the Restoration of the fulness of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith, that we have a Heavenly Father, and that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. I may not have known all about it, but I did have a testimony, and I was willing to learn.

I was perhaps no different from those spoken of in the Book of Mormon: “And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not” (3 Nephi 9:20; emphasis added).

Over the years, I have come to see how powerfully important that simple testimony is. I have come to understand that our Heavenly Father is the Father of our spirits (see Numbers 16:22; Hebrews 12:9; D&C 93:29). He is a father with all the tender love of a father. Jesus said, “For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God” (John 16:27).

Some years ago, I was with President Marion G. Romney, meeting with mission presidents and their wives in Geneva, Switzerland. He told them that 50 years before, as a missionary boy in Australia, late one afternoon he had gone to a library to study. When he walked out, it was night. He looked up into the starry sky, and it happened. The Spirit touched him, and a certain witness was born in his soul.

He told those mission presidents that he did not know any more surely then as a member of the First Presidency that God the Father lives; that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father; and that the fulness of the gospel had been restored than he did as a missionary boy 50 years before in Australia. He said that his testimony had changed in that it was much easier to get an answer from the Lord. The Lord’s presence was nearer, and he knew the Lord much better than he had 50 years before.

There is the natural tendency to look at those who are sustained to presiding positions, to consider them to be higher and of more value in the Church or to their families than an ordinary member. Somehow we feel they are worth more to the Lord than are we. It just does not work that way!

It would be very disappointing to my wife and to me if we supposed any one of our children would think that we think we are of more worth to the family or to the Church than they are, or to think that one calling in the Church was esteemed over another or that any calling would be thought to be less important . . .

As General Authorities of the Church, we are just the same as you are, and you are just the same as we are. You have the same access to the powers of revelation for your families and for your work and for your callings as we do. . .

And so the Church moves on. It is carried upon the shoulders of worthy members living ordinary lives among ordinary families, guided by the Holy Ghost and the Light of Christ, which is in them.

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.

Seven years later in General Conference April 2014 Boyd K. Packer shares his apostolic witness.

I wanted a personal testimony of the gospel. I wanted to know!

During one sleepless night, I left my tent and entered a bunker which had been formed by lining up 50-gallon fuel drums filled with sand and placed one on top of the other to form an enclosure. There was no roof, and so I crawled in, looked up at the star-filled sky, and knelt to pray.

Almost mid-sentence it happened. I could not describe to you what happened if I were determined to do so. It is beyond my power of expression, but it is as clear today as it was that night more than 65 years ago. I knew it to be a very private, very individual manifestation. At last I knew for myself. I knew for a certainty, for it had been given to me. After some time, I crawled from that bunker and walked, or floated, back to my bed. I spent the rest of the night in a feeling of joy and awe. . .

After all the years that I have lived and taught and served, after the millions of miles I have traveled around the world, with all that I have experienced, there is one great truth that I would share. That is my witness of the Savior Jesus Christ.

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon recorded the following after a sacred experience:

And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

For we saw him” (D&C 76:22–23).

Their words are my words.

I believe and I am sure that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that He lives. He is the Only Begotten of the Father, and “by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:24).

I bear my witness that the Savior lives. I know the Lord. I am His witness. I know of His great sacrifice and eternal love for all of Heavenly Father’s children. I bear my special witness in all humility but with absolute certainty, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Do you notice a difference in surety in the 2007 and 2014 testimonies? In his 2007 testimony, why was he puzzled when his ordinary testimony qualified if he had already received a manifestation that gave him knowledge?

Belief was always intended to grow into faith. Faith was always intended to grow into knowledge. In the Book of Mormon, knowledge of the existence of God equals being brought back into God's presence. We use these terms haphazardly in the church. Personally,  I really don''t know too much about God because of my own experience. I believe on the testimonies of the eyewitnesses.

The record shows us that before the Brother of Jared has knowledge of the Lord, he has many experiences with the Lord:

Pre-knowledge Experiences

And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did cry unto the Lord, and the Lord had compassion upon Jared; therefore he did not confound the language of Jared; and Jared and his brother were not confounded. Ether 1:35

And it came to pass that the Lord did hear the brother of Jared, and had compassion upon him, and said unto him: Go to and gather together thy flocks, both male and female, of every kind; and also of the seed of the earth of every kind; and thy families; and also Jared thy brother and his family; and also thy friends and their families, and the friends of Jared and their families. And when thou hast done this thou shalt go at the head of them down into the valley which is northward. And there will I meet thee, and I will go before thee into a land which is choice above all the lands of the earth. And there will I bless thee and thy seed, and raise up unto me of thy seed, and of the seed of thy brother, and they who shall go with thee, a great nation. And there shall be none greater than the nation which I will raise up unto me of thy seed, upon all the face of the earth. And thus I will do unto thee because this long time ye have cried unto me. Ether 1:40-43

And it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him. And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord. Ether 2:14

Look closely at how the terms belief, faith, and knowledge are used in describing the Brother of Jared's experience.

Obtaining Knowledge

6 And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear.
7 And the Lord saw that the brother of Jared had fallen to the earth; and the Lord said unto him: Arise, why hast thou fallen?
8 And he saith unto the Lord: I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood.
9 And the Lord said unto him: Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this?
10 And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me.
11 And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?
12 And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.
13 And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.
14 Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters.
15 And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image.
16 Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh.
17 And now, as I, Moroni, said I could not make a full account of these things which are written, therefore it sufficeth me to say that Jesus showed himself unto this man in the spirit, even after the manner and in the likeness of the same body even as he showed himself unto the Nephites.
18 And he ministered unto him even as he ministered unto the Nephites; and all this, that this man might know that he was God, because of the many great works which the Lord had showed unto him.
19 And because of the knowledge of this man he could not be kept from beholding within the veil; and he saw the finger of Jesus, which, when he saw, he fell with fear; for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord; and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting.
20 Wherefore, having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil; therefore he saw Jesus; and he did minister unto him. Ether 3

If you are a witness in a court, you share what you know from first hand experience. Everything else is hearsay. Before this experience, the Brother of Jared had belief and faith. He obtained knowledge through his own personal manifestation of God.

Essential details are shared in court and add credibility to a story.

Where are the details in Boyd Packer's witness of Christ? When were the heavens opened to him? Where did it happen? What did he see? What are the events leading up to the manifestation? What did he receive over 65 years ago that left him without doubt? Those kind of details can be found in the scriptures as prophets share their witness of Christ.

Joseph Smith was in his 15th year, was confused about which church to join, went to the woods to pray, was seized upon by the powers of darkness, was delivered from the enemy and saw God. (Joseph Smith History 1)

Lehi heard the prophets, prayed for his people, saw many things in the pillar of fire, returned to his home, cast himself on his bed, was carried away in a vision, saw the heavens open . . . (1 Nephi 1)

Nephi - 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. . . and his vision continues (1 Nephi 11-14)

The list goes on and on. From the translator of the Book of Mormon to all the holy prophets in the Book of Mormon we read their eyewitness accounts. None of the circumstances surrounding their visions were the same, yet they were special witnesses of our Lord. They had more than a belief. They had knowledge.

David B. Haight seems to have had such an experience. He shared his testimony in the October 1989 General Conference. He was unconscious in the hospital when he received his witness of Jesus Christ. Here is an excerpt from his talk:

The terrible pain and commotion of people ceased. I was now in a calm, peaceful setting; all was serene and quiet. I was conscious of two persons in the distance on a hillside, one standing on a higher level than the other. Detailed features were not discernible. The person on the higher level was pointing to something I could not see.

I heard no voices but was conscious of being in a holy presence and atmosphere. During the hours and days that followed, there was impressed again and again upon my mind the eternal mission and exalted position of the Son of Man. I witness to you that He is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, Savior to all, Redeemer of all mankind, Bestower of infinite love, mercy, and forgiveness, the Light and Life of the world. I knew this truth before—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, and the eyes of my understanding were opened by the Holy Spirit of God so as to behold many things.

The first scene was of the Savior and His Apostles in the upper chamber on the eve of His betrayal. Following the Passover supper, He instructed and prepared the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper for His dearest friends as a remembrance of His coming sacrifice. It was so impressively portrayed to me—the overwhelming love of the Savior for each. I witnessed His thoughtful concern for significant details—the washing of the dusty feet of each Apostle, His breaking and blessing of the loaf of dark bread and blessing of the wine, then His dreadful disclosure that one would betray Him.

He explained Judas’s departure and told the others of the events soon to take place.

Then followed the Savior’s solemn discourse when He said to the Eleven: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33.)

Our Savior prayed to His Father and acknowledged the Father as the source of His authority and power—even to the extending of eternal life to all who are worthy.

He prayed, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

Jesus then reverently added:

I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:3–5.)

He pled not only for the disciples called out from the world who had been true to their testimony of Him, “but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” (John 17:20.)

When they had sung a hymn, Jesus and the Eleven went out to the Mount of Olives. There, in the garden, in some manner beyond our comprehension, the Savior took upon Himself the burden of the sins of mankind from Adam to the end of the world. His agony in the garden, Luke tells us, was so intense “his sweat was as … great drops of blood falling … to the ground.” (Luke 22:44.) He suffered an agony and a burden the like of which no human person would be able to bear. In that hour of anguish our Savior overcame all the power of Satan.
The glorified Lord revealed to Joseph Smith this admonition to all mankind:

Therefore I command you to repent …

For … I, God, … suffered … for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; …

Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, …

Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments.” (D&C 19:15–16, 18, 20.)

During those days of unconsciousness I was given, by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, a more perfect knowledge of His mission. I was also given a more complete understanding of what it means to exercise, in His name, the authority to unlock the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven for the salvation of all who are faithful. My soul was taught over and over again the events of the betrayal, the mock trial, the scourging of the flesh of even one of the Godhead. I witnessed His struggling up the hill in His weakened condition carrying the cross and His being stretched upon it as it lay on the ground, that the crude spikes could be driven with a mallet into His hands and wrists and feet to secure His body as it hung on the cross for public display.

Crucifixion—the horrible and painful death which He suffered—was chosen from the beginning. By that excruciating death, He descended below all things, as is recorded, that through His resurrection He would ascend above all things. (See D&C 88:6.)

After David Haight received his vision, he shared it in the next general conference. It was not too sacred to share. If you are called to stand as a witness, you must witness. It would be foolish to call upon a special witness in a court of law only for them to remain silent.

Can you see a difference in the following testimonies?

Boyd Packer “If you have stumbled or even been lost for a time, if you feel that the adversary now holds you captive, you can move forward with faith and not wander to and fro in the world any longer. There are those who stand ready to guide you back to peace and security. Even the grace of God, as promised in the scriptures, comes ‘after all we can do’ (2 Nephi 25:23). The possibility of this, to me, is the truth most worth knowing. ” A Witness of the Savior Jesus Christ Ensign December 2015
David Haight “Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth. Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.” (2 Ne. 2:6–9.)” October 1989 General Conference

It is interesting they both quote Nephi near the end of their testimonies, but the atonement of Christ seems to be understood differently by David Haight. Boyd Packer points you to “those ready to guide you back to peace and security.” David doesn't even mention church leadership. “Redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah . . . how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah.”

In the courts, witnesses are cross examined. I had specific questions for these men claiming to be prophets. I wrote a letter to Dallin Oaks in 2011 and to the rest of the 14 LDS apostles in fall of 2013. They side stepped my questions and wouldn't give me a direct answer. Boyd Packer was among the 14 men who received my letters.

Why did Boyd Packer change his testimony between 2007 and 2014? Why didn't he answer my questions in 2013? In 2007 how does he describe his witness qualifying him as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ? In 2014 how does he describe his witness qualifying him as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ?

In 2006, a book entitled The Second Comforter Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil was written. The author spoke from first hand experience and invited others to come unto Christ. The author of the book wrote many other books. In 2013, he was excommunicated from the LDS church for writing a book which aligns the history of the LDS church with Book of Mormon prophecy. As an LDS prophet, did Boyd K. Packer feel threatened by a man who speaks face to face with God?

In a court of law, the jury needs to decide which witnesses are giving a truthful testimony. Being able to discern between true and false messengers is essential in our walk back into the presence of God.

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Tampering With the LDS.org Scripture Search Engine

Having a good search engine is important in finding information on the internet. I've used the search engine found on the LDS.org website to find scriptures.

I was having trouble finding a scripture using the search engine. Come to find out all of section 77 has been eliminated from the LDS.org scripture search engine. Why?

Do your own experiment . . . Type any phrase from section 77 into the search engine. Can you get any scripture from section 77 to pull up?

I don't know what all has been tampered with, but it gets me thinking that a reliable search engine is needed for those who are searching.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Is Esdras' dream/vision about us?

Esdras, an ancient prophet, first received a detailed dream, and then he awoke with a troubled mind and fear, which caused him to talk with God, ask questions, and seek for divine comfort. Esdras spoke to God saying, “Comfort me then, and shew me thy servant the interpretation and plain difference of this fearful vision, that thou mayest perfectly comfort my soul” Esdras 12:8. Answering his request, God gave Esdras the interpretation of his dream. Here is his account as recorded in 2 Esdras chapters 11 and 12. The dream and interpretations are accompanied with my personal comments and questions.

Apocrypha: 2 Esdras Chapter 11
1 Then saw I a dream, and, behold, there came up from the sea an eagle, which had twelve feathered wings, and three heads.
2 And I saw, and, behold, she spread her wings over all the earth, and all the winds of the air blew on her, and were gathered together.
3 And I beheld, and out of her feathers there grew other contrary feathers; and they became little feathers and small.
4 But her heads were at rest: the head in the midst was greater than the other, yet rested it with the residue.
5 Moreover I beheld, and, lo, the eagle flew with her feathers, and reigned upon earth, and over them that dwelt therein.
6 And I saw that all things under heaven were subject unto her, and no man spake against her, no, not one creature upon earth.
7 And I beheld, and, lo, the eagle rose upon her talons, and spake to her feathers, saying,
8 Watch not all at once: sleep every one in his own place, and watch by course:
9 But let the heads be preserved for the last.
10 And I beheld, and, lo, the voice went not out of her heads, but from the midst of her body.
11 And I numbered her contrary feathers, and, behold, there were eight of them.
12 And I looked, and, behold, on the right side there arose one feather, and reigned over all the earth;
13 And so it was, that when it reigned, the end of it came, and the place thereof appeared no more: so the next following stood up. and reigned, and had a great time;
14 And it happened, that when it reigned, the end of it came also, like as the first, so that it appeared no more.
15 Then came there a voice unto it, and said,
16 Hear thou that hast borne rule over the earth so long: this I say unto thee, before thou beginnest to appear no more,
17 There shall none after thee attain unto thy time, neither unto the half thereof.
18 Then arose the third, and reigned as the other before, and appeared no more also.
19 So went it with all the residue one after another, as that every one reigned, and then appeared no more.
20 Then I beheld, and, lo, in process of time the feathers that followed stood up upon the right side, that they might rule also; and some of them ruled, but within a while they appeared no more:
21 For some of them were set up, but ruled not.
22 After this I looked, and, behold, the twelve feathers appeared no more, nor the two little feathers:
23 And there was no more upon the eagle's body, but three heads that rested, and six little wings.
24 Then saw I also that two little feathers divided themselves from the six, and remained under the head that was upon the right side: for the four continued in their place.
25 And I beheld, and, lo, the feathers that were under the wing thought to set up themselves and to have the rule.
26 And I beheld, and, lo, there was one set up, but shortly it appeared no more.
27 And the second was sooner away than the first.
28 And I beheld, and, lo, the two that remained thought also in themselves to reign:
29 And when they so thought, behold, there awaked one of the heads that were at rest, namely, it that was in the midst; for that was greater than the two other heads.
30 And then I saw that the two other heads were joined with it.
31 And, behold, the head was turned with them that were with it, and did eat up the two feathers under the wing that would have reigned.
32 But this head put the whole earth in fear, and bare rule in it over all those that dwelt upon the earth with much oppression; and it had the governance of the world more than all the wings that had been.
33 And after this I beheld, and, lo, the head that was in the midst suddenly appeared no more, like as the wings.
34 But there remained the two heads, which also in like sort ruled upon the earth, and over those that dwelt therein.
35 And I beheld, and, lo, the head upon the right side devoured it that was upon the left side.
36 Then I head a voice, which said unto me, Look before thee, and consider the thing that thou seest.
37 And I beheld, and lo, as it were a roaring lion chased out of the wood: and I saw that he sent out a man's voice unto the eagle, and said,
38 Hear thou, I will talk with thee, and the Highest shall say unto thee,
39 Art not thou it that remainest of the four beasts, whom I made to reign in my world, that the end of their times might come through them?
40 And the fourth came, and overcame all the beasts that were past, and had power over the world with great fearfulness, and over the whole compass of the earth with much wicked oppression; and so long time dwelt he upon the earth with deceit.
41 For the earth hast thou not judged with truth.
42 For thou hast afflicted the meek, thou hast hurt the peaceable, thou hast loved liars, and destroyed the dwellings of them that brought forth fruit, and hast cast down the walls of such as did thee no harm.
43 Therefore is thy wrongful dealing come up unto the Highest, and thy pride unto the Mighty.
44 The Highest also hath looked upon the proud times, and, behold, they are ended, and his abominations are fulfilled.
45 And therefore appear no more, thou eagle, nor thy horrible wings, nor thy wicked feathers nor thy malicious heads, nor thy hurtful claws, nor all thy vain body:
46 That all the earth may be refreshed, and may return, being delivered from thy violence, and that she may hope for the judgment and mercy of him that made her.

Apocrypha: 2 Esdras Chapter 12
1 And it came to pass, whiles the lion spake these words unto the eagle, I saw,
2 And, behold, the head that remained and the four wings appeared no more, and the two went unto it and set themselves up to reign, and their kingdom was small, and fill of uproar.
3 And I saw, and, behold, they appeared no more, and the whole body of the eagle was burnt so that the earth was in great fear: then awaked I out of the trouble and trance of my mind, and from great fear, and said unto my spirit,
4 Lo, this hast thou done unto me, in that thou searchest out the ways of the Highest.
5 Lo, yet am I weary in my mind, and very weak in my spirit; and little strength is there in me, for the great fear wherewith I was afflicted this night.
6 Therefore will I now beseech the Highest, that he will comfort me unto the end.
7 And I said, Lord that bearest rule, if I have found grace before thy sight, and if I am justified with thee before many others, and if my prayer indeed be come up before thy face;
8 Comfort me then, and shew me thy servant the interpretation and plain difference of this fearful vision, that thou mayest perfectly comfort my soul.
9 For thou hast judged me worthy to shew me the last times.
10 And he said unto me, This is the interpretation of the vision:
11 The eagle, whom thou sawest come up from the sea, is the kingdom which was seen in the vision of thy brother Daniel.

Is the eagle shown in Esdras' dream the first of the four beasts described in Daniel's dream or vision by night? (Daniel 7:4) Does the eagle represent the United States of America?

12 But it was not expounded unto him, therefore now I declare it unto thee.
13 Behold, the days will come, that there shall rise up a kingdom upon earth, and it shall be feared above all the kingdoms that were before it.

What kingdom or nation fits this description? “And I saw that all things under heaven were subject unto her, and no man spake against her, no, not one creature upon earth” 2 Esdras 11:6. A super-power nation? One with a very large circle of international influence? $$$, the dollar? Military dominance? Political power? Other?

14 In the same shall twelve kings reign, one after another:

Could this be twelve presidents that were elected, reigned for their term, and then left the scene one after another? “So went it with all the residue one after another, as that every one reigned, and then appeared no more.” Esdras 11:19

15 Whereof the second shall begin to reign, and shall have more time than any of the twelve.

Which President of the United States was elected to the most terms and therefore reigned the longest? Esdras 11:13-17 reads, “And I looked, and, behold, on the right side there arose one feather, and reigned over all the earth; And so it was, that when it reigned, the end of it came, and the place thereof appeared no more: so the next following stood up, and reigned, and had a great time; And it happened, that when it reigned, the end of it came also, like as the first, so that it appeared no more. Then came there a voice unto it, and said, Hear thou that hast borne rule over the earth so long: this I say unto thee, before thou beginnest to appear no more, there shall none after thee attain unto thy time, neither unto the half thereof.”

Could this mean that the 2nd president of the twelve “feathers”, who had a great time / much time / more time / a long reign, was in office when the voice came saying, “none after thee attain unto thy time, neither unto the half thereof.” Interestingly, during the four term of Franklin D. Roosevelt, it was determined that future US Presidents would be limited to serving for a maximum of two terms. If Franklin D. Roosevelt is the second feather/wing/king/president, who were the 1st, 3rd, …. 12th Presidents that Esdras saw in the dream on the right side of the eagle?

16 And this do the twelve wings signify, which thou sawest.
17 As for the voice which thou heardest speak, and that thou sawest not to go out from the heads but from the midst of the body thereof, this is the interpretation:
18 That after the time of that kingdom there shall arise great strivings, and it shall stand in peril of failing: nevertheless it shall not then fall, but shall be restored again to his beginning.

Could this mean that during “the time of that kingdom”, the voice of the people mattered and by vote individuals could actually make choices and powerfully influence the course of the nation, but after “the time of that kingdom”, things change and the peril of failure escalates?

19 And whereas thou sawest the eight small under feathers sticking to her wings, this is the interpretation:
20 That in him there shall arise eight kings, whose times shall be but small, and their years swift.
21 And two of them shall perish, the middle time approaching: four shall be kept until their end begin to approach: but two shall be kept unto the end.

Now this becomes interesting! On this eagle, we have 12 “normal” feathers and 8 small feathers. Two of the small feathers shall perish, the middle time approaching. Four of the small feathers shall be kept until their end begin to approach, but two shall be kept unto the end. Where do we see such a sequence as described in Esdras' vision?

Since the presidency of Herbert Hoover (1st Feather), there have been two Presidents who experienced a shortened, or out of the ordinary Presidential term. John F. Kennedy was killed, and Richard Nixon resigned. Could Kennedy and Nixon be the two small feathers and the other 12 presidents be the 12 “normal” feathers? If the unexpected end of John F. Kennedy's term represents “the middle time approaching”, and the end of Nixon's “small” perished term signifies the “middle time” was upon us (August 9, 1974), what does this mean? According to Esdras' dream, where do we now stand?

The point in time when President Obama's term concludes (January 2017) appears to be two years prior to the end of this timeline.

If Esdras' dream portrays the timetable of the USA as we've known it, then “... behold, the twelve feathers appeared no more, nor the two little feathers. And there was no more upon the eagle's body, but three heads that rested, and six little wings” Esdras 11:22-23. Therefore, it appears that when Obama's term concludes in January, there are about two more years left until the “time” expires.

How do you suppose it will all play out? What will occur, happen, change, or transpire before the “time” is over? What does it mean the “time” is over? Does it mean that all the feathers (12 regular and 2 small) on the right side of the eagle AND all six of the contrary, small feathers (four shall be kept until their end begin to approach: but two shall be kept unto the end.) have finished their time? Terms? Service as Presidents of the United States? Kings? Other?

Within the two year period following Obama's time as President, how will the remaining six small feathers come and go (four shall be kept until their end begin to approach: but two shall be kept unto the end.) and what will be experienced in the process? What do you think?

One possibility is currently being portrayed to the public through a new TV Series, “The Designated Survivor”. This TV show presents a realistic possible sequence of events that could terminate four of the feathers and get a new, unknown, un-elected individual (designated survivor/successor) as President of the United States all in a single day. Four small feathers (president, vice president, Speaker of the House, President pro tempore of the Senate) could go out of office in a single day. All of this is under certain circumstances, of course. 

Prophecy is seldom fully understood until after it is accomplished. We don't know how it will play out, but it would be wise to be aware of and watch for the fulfillment of Esdras' vision.

Think about it; ponder it; comments, ideas, and opinions are welcome.

I may or may not return here on another day with another post to share some comments regarding the following 30 verses and other scriptures. For now, I want to study the scriptures and the Word of God delivered through His servants, the prophets (Daniel, John the Revelator, Isaiah, Nephi, Joseph Smith and living prophets today, just to mention a few). I desire to receive His words, ponder them, seek further light and understanding through prayer, and reject the traditions of men, false doctrines, and errors. For now, I need to “wrap my head around a few things” and allow you to do the same.

Here is the rest of the interpretation of Esdras' dream to consider as you wish:

22 And whereas thou sawest three heads resting, this is the interpretation:
23 In his last days shall the most High raise up three kingdoms, and renew many things therein, and they shall have the dominion of the earth,
24 And of those that dwell therein, with much oppression, above all those that were before them: therefore are they called the heads of the eagle.
25 For these are they that shall accomplish his wickedness, and that shall finish his last end.
26 And whereas thou sawest that the great head appeared no more, it signifieth that one of them shall die upon his bed, and yet with pain.
27 For the two that remain shall be slain with the sword.
28 For the sword of the one shall devour the other: but at the last shall he fall through the sword himself.
29 And whereas thou sawest two feathers under the wings passing over the head that is on the right side;
30 It signifieth that these are they, whom the Highest hath kept unto their end: this is the small kingdom and full of trouble, as thou sawest.
31 And the lion, whom thou sawest rising up out of the wood, and roaring, and speaking to the eagle, and rebuking her for her unrighteousness with all the words which thou hast heard;
32 This is the anointed, which the Highest hath kept for them and for their wickedness unto the end: he shall reprove them, and shall upbraid them with their cruelty.
33 For he shall set them before him alive in judgment, and shall rebuke them, and correct them.
34 For the rest of my people shall he deliver with mercy, those that have been pressed upon my borders, and he shall make them joyful until the coming of the day of judgment, whereof I have spoken unto thee from the the beginning.
35 This is the dream that thou sawest, and these are the interpretations.
36 Thou only hast been meet to know this secret of the Highest.
37 Therefore write all these things that thou hast seen in a book, and hide them:
38 And teach them to the wise of the people, whose hearts thou knowest may comprehend and keep these secrets.
39 But wait thou here thyself yet seven days more, that it may be shewed thee, whatsoever it pleaseth the Highest to declare unto thee. And with that he went his way.
40 And it came to pass, when all the people saw that the seven days were past, and I not come again into the city, they gathered them all together, from the least unto the greatest, and came unto me, and said,
41 What have we offended thee? and what evil have we done against thee, that thou forsakest us, and sittest here in this place?
42 For of all the prophets thou only art left us, as a cluster of the vintage, and as a candle in a dark place, and as a haven or ship preserved from the tempest.
43 Are not the evils which are come to us sufficient?
44 If thou shalt forsake us, how much better had it been for us, if we also had been burned in the midst of Sion?
45 For we are not better than they that died there. And they wept with a loud voice. Then answered I them, and said,
46 Be of good comfort, O Israel; and be not heavy, thou house of Jacob:
47 For the Highest hath you in remembrance, and the Mighty hath not forgotten you in temptation.
48 As for me, I have not forsaken you, neither am I departed from you: but am come into this place, to pray for the desolation of Sion, and that I might seek mercy for the low estate of your sanctuary.
49 And now go your way home every man, and after these days will I come unto you.
50 So the people went their way into the city, like as I commanded them:
51 But I remained still in the field seven days, as the angel commanded me; and did eat only in those days of the flowers of the field, and had my meat of the herbs.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

In My Dream I Saw . . .

I had a dream sometime during this past year. I don't remember if I recorded it, and if I did record it, I don't remember where I recorded it. During this past week, the dream keeps coming to mind, so I am taking the opportunity to record the dream to the best of my remembrance.

I was in a small speed boat with a few others. We were seat belted in the seats next to and behind the driver of the boat. Behind the seats was a deck. A clear vinyl covering was securely snapped to the windshield and sides of the boat. The seats were covered but the deck was not under the vinyl covering.

My baby was on the deck sleeping peacefully in her carrier. The baby carrier was sitting on the deck but was not strapped to the boat. My sleeping baby was not under the vinyl covering with me and was unaware of her surroundings.

It was a clear day with blue skies. The canal leading from the dock to the ocean was a beautiful aqua blue.

We hadn't even reached the ocean when a huge tsunami wave caught us by surprise. It came up over the boat, and we were in the middle of an ocean storm. My heart sank when I looked back and realized my helpless, sleeping baby was lost at sea. In such a storm, it wasn't even possible for me to find her. I awoke from the dream in a state a alarm.

I've pondered over the meaning of the dream. The sleeping baby are people I love. They are asleep and unaware of any impending danger. They are helpless against the imminent storm . The storm will hit with such suddenness that it will be impossible to help them.

I am reminded of these concluding words in the Book of Mormon:

And again I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing. And awake, and arise from the dust, O Jerusalem; yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; and strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy borders forever, that thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled.

Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot. Moroni 10:30-33

Come unto Christ while it is called today! And again:

Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the Lord your God, and hear the word of the Lord concerning you— The Lord who shall suddenly come to his temple; the Lord who shall come down upon the world with a curse to judgment; yea, upon all the nations that forget God, and upon all the ungodly among you. For he shall make bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of their God.

Wherefore, prepare ye, prepare ye, O my people; sanctify yourselves; gather ye together, O ye people of my church, upon the land of Zion, all you that have not been commanded to tarry. Go ye out from Babylon. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. Call your solemn assemblies, and speak often one to another. And let every man call upon the name of the Lord

Yea, verily I say unto you again, the time has come when the voice of the Lord is unto you: Go ye out of Babylon;gather ye out from among the nations, from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Send forth the elders of my church unto the nations which are afar off; unto the islands of the sea; send forth unto foreign lands; call upon all nations, first upon the Gentiles, and then upon the Jews.

And behold, and lo, this shall be their cry, and the voice of the Lord unto all people: Go ye forth unto the land of Zion, that the borders of my people may be enlarged, and that her stakes may be strengthened, and that Zion may go forth unto the regions round about. Yea, let the cry go forth among all people: Awake and arise and go forth to meet the Bridegroom; behold and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord.

Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour. Let them, therefore, who are among the Gentiles flee unto Zion. And let them who be of Judah flee unto Jerusalem, unto the mountains of the Lord’s house. Go ye out from among the nations, even from Babylon, from the midst of wickedness, which is spiritual Babylon.

But verily, thus saith the Lord, let not your flight be in haste, but let all things be prepared before you; and he that goeth, let him not look back lest sudden destruction shall come upon him. Hearken and hear, O ye inhabitants of the earth. Listen, ye elders of my church together, and hear the voice of the Lord; for he calleth upon all men, and he commandeth all men everywhere to repent.

For behold, the Lord God hath sent forth the angel crying through the midst of heaven, saying: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight, for the hour of his coming is nigh—When the Lamb shall stand upon Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand, having his Father’s name written on their foreheads. Wherefore, prepare ye for the coming of the Bridegroom; go ye, go ye out to meet him. . . D&C 133:1-19