Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Journey to Beholding the Face of God and Receiving the Second Comforter

by Carol J. Ehlers

You could say my journey to come unto Christ began at the age of twelve when I began to study the scriptures in earnest.  From the beginning, I believed what the scriptures said.  By age fourteen I rendered my will unto the Lord asking only to know His laws so I could keep them.  I prayed the Lord would protect the man I would marry and keep him pure for me.  The man who was to become my husband and I knelt and prayed together on my front porch on the night of our first date.  We married two years later and all of our children were born "in the covenant".  We were active members of our church, always taking our children to church with us.  Life was good!
It was when great trauma hit my life that I began to study more than a token daily reading of the scriptures.  Additionally, I read Bruce R. McConkie's Messiah Series of six volumes.  It took me a year to study each one in depth which was how long my son was in the hospital not expected to ever walk again.  I burned with the spirit that whole year notwithstanding the sorrow and anguish for my child.  The first and last two chapters of the first volume, THE PROMISED MESSIAH, spoke not only of our privilege, but our responsibility to Seek the Face of the Lord and become living witnesses of Him.  From that day I realized the reality of that charge, and it became the earnest of my existence.  I remember sharing that desire with one in authority, and he warned me not to feel bad when it didn't happen.  But I knew the scriptures were true and I hadn't the slightest doubt it would happen.  Many years later, someone ask me if I hadn't wondered if it was not available for women.  That thought never had even entered my mind.  I had felt His love all of my life.  I had no doubt He loved His daughters as much as His sons, and I knew I would see His face while yet in mortality to receive the promise of my place with Him for the world to come.  And I knew the very purpose of seeing Him face to face was to receive the promises of calling and election from His own mouth to me.
I had already received the Baptism of Fire, so overwhemingly sweet, yet so intense I thought I might be consumed and die, but not caring at that moment if I died, because the event was so overpoweringly euphoric I was filled with nothing but joy.  I remembered Joseph Smith stating that water baptism is but half a baptism without the Baptism of the Fire or the Spirit.  It had been an undeniable specific event!  I could record the date and time in my personal journal.  I also knew it was a prerequisite to obtaining the promise of Calling and Election.
So in my logical female mind I took out cards from my recipe box and placed my name on the top of several of them.  I broke my life down into categories and placed a category next to my name on each card.  Then I made an "add and subtract list" of what I prayerfully felt I needed to do or delete in each facet to qualify for the promises.  What, I asked myself, in each of these areas, could be keeping me from the promises? At the same time I took inventory of my material possessions.  Did they represent "exceeding fine" or "idolatry"?  Would they be considered "more" than my peers possessed?  In other words, did they comply with the Zion society description of  "there were no rich or poor among them."  I gathered up what didn't fall in that category (exempting my graduation gift watch from my mother and my wedding rings from my husband--as I determined they were "gifts," and when we reject a gift we reject the giver of the gift...) I placed my material wealth such as it was, and gave some to friends, and the rest I took to Deseret Industries.  I went inside and found a woman about my size and invited her to my car and gave her the rest.  I'm not saying this is necessary for anyone else, but I felt it was necessary for me. I had only begun to work on my "add and subtract list" when I had a dream in which the Savior was standing in my home, smiling at me and handing me pure white cards.  He said, "I see no disorder here."  I realized He was very much aware of my quest and He knew exactly how I was trying to do it!
The next event took place when I had become very ill.  I was six weeks pregnant and had bronchitis.  I was afraid to take too much medication for the sake of the baby  within me.  I had to sit up all night to breathe.  I became so exhausted one night I heard myself almost involuntarily say, "I give up." I immediately had the sensation I was lying face down in a dark pit.  Fear gripped me and I suddenly came back to myself and was upon my bed.  I both saw and heard the Savior standing at the foot of my bed dressed in white.  He said, "Your garments are made white in the blood of the Lamb".  It was so real, it left an indelible imprint upon my heart and my mind.  I honestly did not know if I had seen and heard it with my spiritual or my physical eyes or heard it with my spiritual or physical ears.  But I knew I burned with the Spirit in validation of its source.  I wondered at the time if I had needed the added humility of being so sick to be worthy of that pronounced designation?
Joy filled my heart, but I wasn't sure if this represented the fullness of the available promise.  Was it the "crowning event" of Calling and Election?  I continued to pray with all the energy of my soul to know my place with Him.  All together it was three years from the time I began the quest in earnest until I knew without a shadow of doubt the promises were mine.
I had a recurring dream that my husband and I were sitting in sacrament meeting and were asked to come to another room.  Then the dream would end.  One night the dream began again, but this time it did not end.  I awakened in the midst of it and it continued in open vision.  I was literally "caught up in the spirit" and taken to a room where "washings and anointings" were being given.  I was so excited to be there.  The other women didn't seem to be as excited as I was.  I determined they were from the spirit world and had waited a long time.  It wasn't that they were not happy, but not as excitedly happy as I was to be there from mortality.  After receiving spiritual washings and anointings, I found myself in a hallway with open doors on either side.  I was standing before the first very tall and large doorway with huge ornate double doors opened.  I saw individuals seated in graduated seating, and I just seemed to know they were the General Assembly, or in other words the authoritative body of the leadership of the Church of the Firstborn on the other side of the veil.  They acknowledged my presence.  I then found myself further down the hallway and looked into a room where people were weaving glorious luminous fabric on very large looms.  I again just seemed to understand it was the fabric for the robes of the righteous. Farther down the hall on the same side I saw people folding robes into packets.  On the other side of the hallway, in yet another doorway, I was bidden to enter, and I sat down on a chair before a table that seemed to go on forever.  On the other side of the table was a male angelic individual dressed in white who told me to hold my hands forward.  I did so, and he placed hot coals in my hands.  It did not burn, and I determined once again I must surely be in the spirit, or it would have hurt.  He placed steel rods in my legs, and again I noted it did not hurt.  Then he handed me a packet of clothing with robe and dress and not a veil, but a crown.  Suddenly I was back in my bed and fully awake and as if afire with the Spirit.  I was excitedly pondering what had just happened when suddenly an angel was standing in my room holding forth what appeared to be two jackets in  white and green color.  He said as he held them forth, "From this day forward, both you and your husband will have the designation, Members of the Church of the Firstborn."
I understood it had all been a "spiritual experience", experienced in the spirit.  But it was far more real and vivid then and in memory now than any physical experience.  When Moses, the classic example of one who had both walked and talked with God as one man talks face to face with another, stated in Moses, Chapter 1:11: " But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence..."
The swellings of the Spirit lasted for weeks.  Every time I pondered the experience, I felt overpowering floodings of the Spirit.  I did have one concern.  What if I make a mistake?  I have received the promises and worried even the smallest of transgression might place me in the category of sin against the Holy Ghost, and a daughter of perdition.
I once again turned to Bruce R, McConkie's writings.  In the  third volume of the DOCTRINAL NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY, in the section on Second Peter, under the heading "Calling and Election", I found greater insight.  It stated that even the sanctified need daily, hourly repentance and the atonement of Jesus Christ continues to cover it.  He further specified only murder or adultery after having had the heavens opened and receiving the "divine pronouncement" from the Lord's own mouth to your ear would constitute the unforgivable "sin against the Holy Ghost."  He also stated those who had been made partakers of this "divine gift" of calling and election now enjoyed a new status with the Lord. They would receive angels, the spirits of the just made perfect, and the Son would take up His abode and even bring the Father from time to time.
The "crowning event of receiving  your calling and election is not the end, it is but a glorious  beginning.  Such individuals are taught from on high, shown the visions of eternity, are ministered to, are caught up to the spirit world and the very throne of God.  They are shown events of the past and things yet to come.  The beginnings of the Book of Revelation lists the promises to the righteous.  I testify these are real, they are ministered unto those who have qualified.  He places before them  "an open door", and they receive the "Morning Star" who is Christ, the Second Comforter.  They receive a "new name" and "there eyes are anointed with eyesalve" by the angels themselves.  They partake of "living waters" received from the Lord's own hand, and "hidden manna" and He wraps them in His robe, and "carves their name upon the palm of His hand".  Volumes are filled and new ones started to record the blessings shed forth upon them.
As I pondered your invitation to share my experiences, I wondered if it would be appropriate to share that which is sacred on the internet.  But I have seen His tears because even so many of those who have qualified do not seek His face because they don't know they are supposed to.  I feel if even one more soul determines to COME UNTO CHRIST through my testimony, it would be of great worth.
Epilogue Note:
Carol did not find it requisite to leave her church, and in very fact credits its teachings with the incentive to enter upon her personal quest to "seek the face of the Lord" and the promises of calling and election.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for this beautiful, timeless piece. A gret invitation fo all of us.