Saturday, June 20, 2015
Dear whomever may benefit from this,
The long story of our background is worth the time to hear, but is far too extensive for the purpose of this Post. So here is the short version:
Mrs. Seeker and I were both born and raised as active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Seeker's Brief Background:
Both Mom and Dad were persecuted by members of their family because of their devotion to the church. Regardless of these persecutions, they remained active and strong in their testimonies and church activity. They met at the Reno Institute during their first year of college and were married 3 years later in the Provo Temple.
Growing up, we were considered the role model family and the envy of many parents whose kids were not so perfect. (If they only knew...LOL) This was partly because my Father was a well respected Bishop and high council member multiple times and my mother held various ward and stake callings in which she also gained significant recognition. The byproducts of such notoriety were that their children were expected to be proper bishop's children. Our family also had "higher standards" than others aside from required appearance of good portrayed to others.
Prior to serving a mission I met a foreign exchange student from Sweden named Cornelia. She was beautiful, smart and active in the church. She stole my heart during a youth conference dance. I immediately began dating her and continued to date her for 2 months before she returned home to Sweden. I then continued to communicate with her via regular letters and weekly phone calls which I paid for myself. This went on for over a year.
When I was 19 and a half, I received my mission call to the Ireland Dublin mission. A week before I left on my mission I called Cornelia for the last time in 2 years. I "broke up with her" over the phone. I told her that I loved her but that I could not give my all to the Lord as I served on my mission if I was trying to maintain a relationship with her. I told her not to expect anything from me and to date freely. I couldn't make any commitments to her and let her know it.
My brothers and I had a rude awakening when while serving missions, we found that not all missionaries are created equal nor do they all have testimonies or even desire to serve. My trainer had a girlfriend in the ward we were serving in and plans to marry her after he got home. I didn't realize it at first, but found out later that he would make opportunities to kiss her and who knows what else.
I finally figured out that I wasn't better than they were, even though they were not keeping the mission rules while I was. I had my own challenges caused by being at the other extreme. I learned a lot from these backward missionaries, but never broke the rules like they did, (if at all possible).
I also had some companions that were incredible. I still keep in touch with my favorite companion. We had many revelations and miracles as we served together. One experience we had together was when I was sick. I was upstairs sleeping while he was praying downstairs. I heard his prayer and saw the glorified being that answered his prayer. I'll share that in another post.
That night he received his promise of exaltation which is known as "making your calling and election made sure." He also met the savior. He tried to tell me about it the next day but realized that he needed to ponder it in his heart for the time being as I wasn't quite ready to hear it.
We had many, many other wonderful and miraculous experiences. For both of us, it was our favorite companionship.
Shortly after returning from an honorable mission, Cornelia who I had written and received letters from throughout my mission, visited me in the U.S. (Reno) we reestablished our relationship and began courting again before she returned to Sweden. In my mind, we were engaged without a ring.
I loved everything about her except that she could not relate to my many spiritual experiences. She would listen intently to what I would share and seemed to think it was wonderful, but she couldn't really relate and didn't seem to have any similar experiences. Although I found her lacking in spiritual experiences, she was a strong member with a testimony and by far a better match for me in all other areas than anyone I had found up to that point. In every other way we seemed to be well matched. This was a difficult settle for me as I had seen how my mom and dad were not spiritually compatible and the effect this had on their marriage and family. I really didn't want that in my own eternal relationship. And so I remained not completely committed to marrying Cornelia...
Mrs. Seeker's Brief Background:
Mrs. Seeker's Dad was born and raised in the church and was an upstanding long time business man in their community. He was faithful and steadfast from birth to death. He was an intense gospel scholar and constitutional/political freedoms guru. His Mother's side of the family were faithful pioneers going back to Eliza, Lorenzo, and Erastus Snow's parents.
Mrs. Seeker's Mother was raised non-LDS but converted in early adulthood. Her Mother and Father were also baptized and then sealed together in the Temple because of the influence of their youngest daughter Mrs. Seeker's mom. Mrs. Seeker's grandmother was an extremely spiritual woman with some extraordinary spiritual gifts from birth.
Both of Mrs. Seeker's parents have served the church in many ward and stake callings.
Mrs. Seeker was raised to stand for right and freedom and each evening consisted of lively political/spiritual discussions. Her Father had many visions that he would also share with the family during meal times. Mrs. Seeker followed in his footsteps and also had many dreams and visions, many of which foretelling the future. From a very young age she actively participated in making decisions that would benefit the family because of her proven ability and accuracy in these matters.
She gained her testimony of Temples, Sealings and the Eternal Nature of the family at the age of 5 through an incredible vision which she has only told to two people in her lifetime. Her Mother and myself.
Mrs. Seeker had had various dreams of her future husband since about 5 years old, (as well as various spiritual experiences through which she could relate to me). From a very young age, she had told her family all about her future husband, tried to draw him and had a list of about 200 attributes and qualities he possessed. She knew him both by physical appearance, personality and intimate spiritual details. But she hadn't met him in this life and by the time she was 21, she was finally convinced that she'd somehow missed finding him.
On a lighter note, she was engaged 6 times before we met! (This is why her family were holding their breaths as she said "yes" over the alter! They wondered if she would once again "run".) When we met, she had been engaged to a friend of hers who really hung around and wanted to marry her for about two years. She had put that relationship on tentative hold because he was not committed to a Temple marriage as she was and she was very frustrated with the men she was hooking up with in Las Vegas.
Finally she had decided to go on a mission and was considering the option to just never marry. And that was when she came to Provo at the request of her sister to go out with a friend, sort of a blind date. Through a convoluted series of events, she ended up at my apartment for a party with my roommate (who she didn't even know) and that's when she met me.
Our Brief, (very brief), Story:
The night we met was magical. It was a Saturday night Mrs. Seeker had a date at the governor's mansion that fell through and was invited to go with a friend to a "Tuba Party" with the BYU orchestra's tuba players. It so happened that this small party was being held in my apartment as my room mate was one of the tuba players.
Mrs. Seeker fit right in with new people and had been getting to know my roommate. She placed a call from our apartment phone to her sister at who's house she was staying for the weekend, (visiting from Monticello Utah), and told her where she was and not to wait up for her.
Looking around, she saw some pictures on our wall including one of Cornelia and me taken before my mission. My roommate told her that it was a picture of his roommate and his fiancé who lived in Sweden. (This is how when I came in she knew I was the roommate from the photo who was engaged to a Swede.)
I (Seeker) was out visiting the other apartments in the complex trying to get a group together to do something fun and had found that everyone was busy with other things which was typical for a Saturday night. Finally realizing that my plight was hopeless, I returned home to my apartment where the small tuba party had already begun.
Although she had never met me in this life, when I opened the door and walked in, Mrs. Seeker immediately recognized me as the man from her visions. She felt like her spirit stood up and her heart raced. (She didn't tell me any of this until after we were married.) I was initially oblivious to the fact that I was in the presence of my future bride. To me, she was just another pretty face.
My roommate who was a tuba player for BYU saw me enter and immediately invited me to join the party which was more of a social gathering which included eating pizza and light conversation. I have never been one to turn up pizza and having nothing else to do was excited to be invited, even if it was a "tuba party".
Mrs. Seeker was dying to know everything about me that she could and began to subtly guide the conversation into deeper water. She would bring up a subject among the group and then ask for various peoples' opinions and then ask for my thoughts so as not to appear over zealously focusing on me.
Her inquisitions continued on various subjects and I was oblivious. One question she had asked was, "How many kids do you want?" She didn't ask me directly as that would have been very awkward, and to this day I can't remember how she brought up the subject without seeming awkward. But she asked the group focusing on my roommate and then someone else and slowly work her way to me.
When she asked me, I said for everyone to hear, "Well, there are two that I know of", referring to some experiences I had had. I didn't expect that anyone would catch what I was saying or they would interpret it according to their own understanding and I was right, except for Mrs. Seeker who heard and understood exactly what I meant. She moved closer and said, "Two that you know of?" She felt that I had seen a vision and had spiritual experiences that caused me to say it in that tone; and this intrigued her. She also had an intuitive sense as to what I had experienced concerning these things.
I was shocked and she had gotten my attention. I knew that people don't recognize things they were not familiar with and the fact that she recognized and could so easily relate meant to me that she was familiar with such things. The same thing happened 2-3 more times where I would say something to the whole group and only she would recognize the depth of my response and each time she waited for the group to move on to other discussion and then she would let me know that she heard and understood what everyone else had not heard. This left me more and more surprised and curious.
Within an hour we were sitting at a table having a lively and deep private conversation. I was mesmerized and she seemed to be enjoying our interaction quite well also. Then a curious thing happened. Suddenly without reason she stood up and announced that she was ready to go. (She had proven conclusively in her mind that I was in fact "THE ONE" she thought I was, and realizing that I was engaged and therefore taken, she was too late and didn't want to endure any further pain in this realization.)
Her friend was happy to oblige as he wanted to spend more time with her alone. As they got ready to leave I informed her that it was only 11:30pm and that the BYU apartment curfew was 12:00am which only meant that women were not allowed in the men's apartments and that we could continue our conversation outside. It was completely incomprehensible to me that she would want to stop short such a deep, rare and fluid discussion. But she was adamant that she leave and right away
From her perspective she knew who I was and through our conversation she had removed all doubt. She had loved me since the first time she had seen me in vision at 5 years old. And she had mostly given up hope ever meeting me and here I was telling her all about how I was planning on marrying another woman. She felt that God was showing her what she could have had but wouldn't get because she had lost faith and gotten engaged to another man/men. She realized that she was only torturing herself and didn't want to make it worse for herself. So she left.
As she was walking out the door, she turned and looked one last time only to see me standing in bewilderment with eyes pleading for her to stay. She realized that I wanted her to stay and considered that I might not be quite as dedicated to Cornelia as my words had expressed.
I had met this person now who was relating to me on a spiritual level that I had never experienced with Cornelia, and here I had only just met her. I was dumfounded at our connection.
When she arrived at her sister's house, her sister was still up. Mrs. Seeker walked in the door and her sister instantly felt what had happened and said, "You met him didn't you?!?"
Mrs. Seeker immediately began to cry and told her sister that she did meet me but that I was engaged. They had a long discussion reviewing the night and all the details. Her sister told her that "Engaged" was not "Married" and suggested that she make arrangements to spend more time with me. But Mrs. Seeker had no way to contact me. She knew where I lived, but it didn't make sense to show up at my door hoping I was available. Nor had she ever had to take the pursuing roll with the opposite sex, and didn't believe in doing so AT ALL, even in this circumstance.
Then her sister realized that Mrs. Seeker had called for my apartment and that my number should be on the caller ID. They went to check it and found that her sister's husband had already deleted the call log. Knowing that they checked through what was left on the log and found that all the calls both before and after her call from my house were deleted but the call in question was still there and for unknown reasons was not deleted.
Her sister convinced Mrs. Seeker to call me on Sunday morning even though Mrs. Seeker had never called a guy who had not called her first. While I was at church, she left a message on my apartment's voice mail stating that she was staying in town and would like to get together before she left.
My good friend Lamar had been dating a girl for some time and wanted to ask her father for permission to marry her. Lamar was going to drive an hour to sit on the door step of his girl friends father until he came home from church. He wanted me to drive with him for moral support. I agreed to go as long as I could take someone with me to keep me company while he waited and talked to his future father-in-law.
I had gotten the voice mail from Mrs. Seeker, but thought that it might be awkward having only met her, so I wasn't sure I wanted to take her and risk 3-5 hours being stuck with her if it didn't go well. I had one other person in mind who I had known for months and knew would be good company but she was not available.
I decided that I would be able to deal with the awkwardness of bringing Mrs. Seeker if she could and that if our time was anything like the night before then we would both enjoy ourselves. Mrs. Seeker was extremely nervous to go with two men she didn't know, most especially Lamar, but since she felt the deeper connection with me she agreed to come along. So we left with Lamar driving and us in the back seat.
Lamar was so nervous and requested that we each say a prayer and bare our testimonies to each other to help him have the spirit and hopefully gain courage and calmness. This was a typical request from Lamar and I was used to it, but Mrs. Seeker was not. However she calmly participated.
We arrived and Lamar sat on the front porch while Mrs. Seeker and I walked to a nearby park and talked. We talked for about 5-6 hours before Lamar returned. We talked about our experiences, philosophies and ideas. We talked about relationship concepts, what makes them work, what destroys them. Visions (in a general sense, not a lot of specifics at this juncture) revelations, and other spiritual manifestations we had experienced throughout our lives.
I was amazed by her during the few hours of conversation we enjoyed the evening we first met. We spent 12 or more hours on Sunday together talking as well. She lived in Monticello UT and was going back on Tuesday, so I took work off and we spent the entire day Monday together too. Within these 2 days of visiting with her I was strongly questioning my decision to marry my Swedish girlfriend. I soon realized Mrs. Seeker was everything I wanted and had been looking for in my wife and over the course of about 6 days over a 2-3 week period, we called our previous engagements off and got engaged to each other. Feeling inspired, we got married two months later against the strong suggestions of others.
Within about 6 months of being married, we found ourselves engaged almost full-time in spiritual pursuits. Mrs. Seeker was serving in the Provo temple between 30-48 hours a week as an ordinance worker performing various priesthood ordinances such as Washings and Anointings on other women, acting as a Veil worker, and "officiator" for the women's endowment, and being a general "Temple Angel" with all the other women ordinance workers that worked in the Provo temple, etc...
We were both called as Gospel Doctrine teachers in our young married couples ward, 100% home and visiting teachers, and basically being the best people we knew how. We both had a veracious appetite for learning true principles and discussing everything! While I was at work, (and when Mrs. Seeker was not substituting for other workers at the temple), she spent her time reading books included in the Gospel Link Library reference program. She would read from it during the day and we would discuss it during the evening. In this way, she was able to read every book in the entire digital library once through and I was able to benefit from that study as well. We learned incredible things!
Revelations were very common regarding fulfilling our callings, understanding various principles and in achieving our missions and personal goals. And so was opposition, which came mostly from my family who didn't seem to like various inspired decisions we were making like not sending Mrs. Seeker to work to put me through college and our decision for me to drop out of college and become a certified network engineer. Somewhere along the path in my life, I must have learned to be comfortable doing what I knew was right regardless of the opposition of others.
I believe that following our personal revelation which led us in a contrary path to society/family norms and having gained new view points on applied gospel principles from our extensive studies largely caused us to be labeled as "the black sheep". But we continued to happily follow what we felt was revealed to us.
During this time we decided to study the temple endowment in detail. We focused on understanding the covenants we each made. We searched the "law of God" and "the law of Christ" and pondered on questions like, "Why do the women covenant to obey one law and the men another?"
While seeking for these answers, Mrs. Seeker recommitted to do what God expected of her. She gave in and sincerely told the Lord that she would do whatever was required even if it was against her personal wishes. At that moment, she received a revelation that said she would not have to live contrary to her own desires and that she would have the eternal life which she had seen in her previous visions. The revelation also included the promise of eternal life, but we didn't recognize it at the time.
A week later, while we were both discussing the Temple Covenants, we both received the same revelation together. It included new insights and a reiteration of the revelation Mrs. Seeker had received a week before. The main part of the revelation was a promise that we would be exalted and have eternal life.
This was the most incredible experience of our lives, (up to that point in time). The result of which was that we were given the promise of eternal life and exaltation. We had heard of this promise and were pretty sure it was call Calling and Election made sure. But it didn't happen the way we thought it would. We were also far too young to have received a promise that we thought took a life time to achieve. I was 22 and Mrs. Seeker was 21 at the time and we had only been married about 6 months.
(Mrs. Seeker later realized that she had received the same promise about a week before and didn't recognize it as her Calling and Election made sure. (This and other experiences made us realize that because people don't know the doctrine regarding this blessing, they focus on the wrong criteria or often times receive the promise, but don't realize it, like the "Lamanites who were baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost and knew it not", 3Ne. 9:20.)
As we discussed what had just happened, we couldn't believe that we had actually received the promise. My dad and Mrs. Seeker's parents had sought it much of their lives, and at that point had not received the promise for themselves. We weren't anyone special! Also, it didn't happen the way we were told or expected it should and finally we didn't feel we qualified, (we were basically questioning God's judgment because we thought we knew ourselves better than God did - LOL). After sincere and serious study of the subject we received another major and very spiritual experience in which we were given the promise again and having studied the topic extensively for 2 weeks, we knew for certain what it meant.
We were also told/commanded to share our experience with our family and later others with the intent of helping them to receive the same. This was and always has been a difficult task. As the "black sheep" or as my younger brother lovingly says, "more like gray sheep", we never/rarely met the expectations of others. We have a hard time with sharing such precious pearls with people who see us with darkly colored glasses.
We first shared with our parents on both sides with mixed results. Dad was very supportive and Mom wasn't. (We didn't really know how to share this as we weren't very practiced. Like young missionaries.) Mrs. Seeker's dad was a gospel scholar who had studied the blessing and when we talked to him and his wife, the spirit was very strong. At first he believed us but because he knew so much about how, where and who gave the blessing he soon forgot the spiritual witness and relied on his extensive study, just as we had. He also got stuck on, "Why them and not me?" It took about a year of emails and discussions and study before he finally accepted that what we were telling him was true. In the process, we learned the doctrine very well. (He eventually received the same promise shortly before he died.)
A very short time after receiving the promise for ourselves, we had our first visit from Christ and received the second comforter. (We might share some of those experiences later.)
We began to learn faster and faster through personal revelation, angel or messenger visits and various assignments we were given. These among other things were new and exciting experiences at first but then became more common place and a part of normal living. We found that receiving our calling and election made sure was not the end that we expected it to be. It was in fact a new beginning. Everything became new and we were again like children learning and growing faster than ever.
As we continued to study and ask questions, we began to slowly understand the meaning of the blessings we had received and how it enabled us to progress faster. Our spiritual experiences increased in frequency and insight. What others consider miracles became part of our daily lives.
In conclusion, we add our voice to the throng of ancient and modern prophets by encouraging you each to receive the same blessing for yourselves. Learn to listen to the many comments in conference talks, manuals and throughout the scriptures which are so often teaching the principles and doctrines related to this blessing, but above all, listen to the Holy Spirit which will teach you all things and show you all things what you should do.
This is a very important blessing to receive and is essential to our exaltation. D&C 76 tells us that only those who receive this promise which happens when we are "sealed by the holy spirit of promise" are made Gods and will come forth in the resurrection of the just with all the blessings of the Celestial Kingdom.
We leave you with our special witness of the Christ. Christ lives! We have seen him, we have felt his hands and side, and we have walked with him and talked with him. We have been held in his loving embrace. We are excited with the hope that through the sharing of our testimony you may receive the same and also come to feel comfortable sharing your own experiences with us.
Mr. & Mrs. Seeker