I’ve shared this on other venues already, but feel I need to post it here to establish a little background (and as I said in my inaugural post – to compile all my spiritual musings into one place). Not all of my posts will be in order as I catch up on the last few years, but this story will help show how I got to where I am now. I hope that my experiences and testimony will benefit others. It’s difficult to summarize spiritual growth like I’ve gone through, and there is so much background I want to provide (and anyone who knows me, knows I can’t say much of anything in 20 words or less). I hope that the spirit will fill in the gaps I miss as I relay it.
Starting from about 7 years ago – I was in the meridian of a horrible marriage filled with abuse and corruption of all kinds. The stress and filth I lived with had all but depleted me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I had a debilitating chronic illness that was exacerbated exponentially by these things I lived with and I felt like I was deteriorating into nothing. I also had an evil spirit that continually “hung around” and did things to torment me and break me down further. Even after countless blessings and dedications on my homes, it would not leave – and it was more active when things were worse with my husband. I was miserable but trying to make the best of things with what was left of me and care for my son, when I received the ultimate blow – that my husband had had an affair. The abusiveness and corruption I already lived with became worse as he continued on with his girlfriend, and I reached the absolute low-point in my life.
I turned to the Lord, and although initially – my prayers were for intervention or deliverance to save me from this hell – even if it meant my death, I did start praying to learn what He wanted me to do. I told him that I would do it – whatever it was.
I went to the temple as much as I could and although at the time I was unable to go inside, I walked the grounds and sat in the waiting room, and got as close as I could. Every time I was there, I prayed and prayed for direction and for help with figuring out what to do. During one particular visit, I was praying as I usually did and pleading to the Lord for answers, and asking: “What do I do? Do I leave my husband? Do I stay for the sake of my son? Do I do something else…….??”
I received an answer that said:
“If you leave him, you are 100% justified, and you will not be condemned – but if you stay and do all you can to repair your marriage, you will receive more blessings than you can comprehend!”
During this time, I also started to read my scriptures (which I had never really been good at before), and tried to find answers and comfort there. I was studying the Gospel and reading talks and learning all I could. Right about the same time that I received the answer to my prayers during my temple visit, I was directed to read a quote in a talk that I don’t even know how I found. I was told as I read it, that it was for ME. It said:
“This is the most severe test you’ll ever be required to face in life. And if you can pass it, there isn’t any other test that you won’t be able to pass.”
I took the Lord up on his offer and stayed, and worked hard to try to repair my marriage. My husband and I spent the next 3 years in the bishop’s office, marriage counseling, and what I thought was trying to work things out. I even sat down and wrote out six full pages of things I knew I needed to improve on to become a better wife, and I began working hard to overcome each of those. But the abuse and various betrayals continued. Shortly after a particularly disturbing abusive event, I decided that it was time to leave the marriage – and I felt that I had the Lord’s blessing, and that I had done enough.
During those 3 years I spent trying to salvage my marriage, I developed a love of studying the Gospel and had grown in so many ways that I did not expect. I even learned to forgive my ex-husband for his affair and understand that he was struggling with “demons” from his past and personal torment that led him to do the things he did to me. I decided that I needed to let the Lord be his judge – and forgive him. Ultimately, I became friends with the girl he had the affair with and gained an understanding of her side of the situation. I became stronger from these trials and learned that I can refuse to allow certain things in my home, but still not judge others as harshly as I had before – in spite of their crimes and sins.
Another interesting thing that happened around the time I left my husband is that I was able to rid myself of this evil spirit that hung around me. I overcame my fear of him and faced him and told him he was no longer welcome around me. I remember the last time he came to me in an apparent last attempt to see if I would allow it; I told him “I know you are there, and you are not welcome, you need to leave for good.” He left and did not come back.
I continued following after this thirst and hunger for righteousness that had developed in me. I learned to feel the spirit – when it had always really been a struggle for me to recognize it before in my life, and I could count on one hand the number of times I could actually recognize feeling the spirit before I reached this point. The spirit directed me down some paths that were surprising and confusing, but enabled me to learn even more about the Gospel in ways that I would not have been able to otherwise. I had become more heavily immersed in Gospel study than I had ever been before. I made some big changes in my life for the better and had let the Lord know that I was willing to make some very big sacrifices for him – in order to live the way I felt I was being directed to. My entire nature had been changing during those couple of years, and I no longer had an interest in so many things that were enticing or important to me before. I just wanted to study the Gospel and learn the mysteries of the kingdom, and know truth, and do the things the Lord wanted me to. At this point I had a series of amazing experiences that I would not even realize until later, were incredibly significant. One of those was a terrifying event.
I went to sleep one night and found myself in an old medieval style church I was unfamiliar with. There were other people there in the building I was mingling with, and my disabled son was there with me too – but was across the room.
A demon in the form of a man started moving toward my son to attack him. I ran to protect him and forced myself between my son and the entity, and ordered the demon to leave him alone and to come after me instead – which he immediately did. He physically attacked me and took hold of me in my dream. I woke up, and saw his form over me in my bed. He was holding me down and I was bound physically and I could not speak. In my mind I kept trying to order him away, and physically I fought to get away. He told me that he had been “sent” to try to stop me from doing what I was doing in my life and from taking this path, and said that he went after my son knowing that I would leave myself more vulnerable to his attack, in order to save him.
I saw a blackness starting to close in – that seemed to be some kind of substance or matter I wasn’t familiar with that was actually closing in around me, and I felt like I was being overtaken and would not escape this entity. It was similar to what Joseph Smith described in this account of the First Vision:
“I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.” (Joseph Smith Jr. – Testimony)
I prayed and did all I could in my mind since I was still bound in every other way, and at some point I was “released”. I lay there in my bed feeling physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. I was actually surprised that I was apparently doing something “right enough”, and that it was important enough to Satan for some reason, that he sent someone to attempt to stop me in that way – so brazenly, and not in the subtle, more crafty ways he uses so often.
I called a friend of mine in the middle of the night to see if he was available to come give me a blessing and make sure this demon was cast out for good. (I recognized that this was not the same entity that followed me for many years, this one was much more evil, more powerful, and was there for a specific purpose – as he told me.) My friend did not receive the message until the next day, but came over right away to give me a blessing. This was the most powerful blessing I had ever received up to that time, and I never forgot the words that were spoken to me and the overwhelming spirit that I felt telling me they were true. I was told:
“Your sins have been forgiven, and you are clean before the Lord”.
I later asked my friend why he said that – as I didn’t understand what that had to do with casting out a demon and giving me a blessing of comfort, and how I could possibly receive such a grand declaration from the Lord. He told me that he didn’t know why, but he was told to say that.
I continued with my studies and feeding this passion for researching the Gospel and my search for learning and understanding the truth of all things. I had been led to studying the topics of receiving the Second Comforter, and receiving one’s Calling and Election. I had received multiple witnesses about the doctrine I was studying and the spirit kept testifying to me that I was on the right track, and I was led to one thing after another that reaffirmed the last, and was given witness after witness by the spirit, and my spiritual experiences became stronger and stronger.
Meanwhile, I had been acting as a moderator on LDS Freedom Forum (LDSFF). As a moderator, one of my jobs was to approve or disapprove posts made by new users. I came across the first post by a new member. His post discussed how to receive your Calling and Election. I read through this post and felt the spirit witness to me SO strongly that this was true and again, that I was on the right track. I was in tears reading through his post, and was pulling out my books and papers and cross-referencing the things I had been reading on the subject – including things written by a man named Denver C. Snuffer, Jr. who discusses the opportunity he’s had to receive the Second Comforter. I was reading a book of his called “Passing the Heavenly Gift”, and though the book was not written about the topic of Calling and Election, he discussed the subject and I had received such strong witnesses from God that I needed to know more about this. I continued to read this post on LDSFF, and thought: “Who IS this messenger that was sent as an additional witness and an answer to my prayers?!?!” I approved the post of course, and then sent a private message to the author, which led to several months’ worth of him teaching me and helping me to learn the doctrine pertaining to these things, and helping me to learn to communicate with the Lord on my own, and more effectively recognize the spirit as it spoke to me. He also helped me to understand and break down the fallacies that I had been taught about what qualifies a person to receive the gifts of eternal life and exaltation, and what makes one “blessed” in God’s eyes.
One particular hang-up I had, was that I did not feel “good enough” or “worthy enough”. I did not understand the “true repentance” and the “mighty change” and that the Lord had already deemed me qualified when he told me, “Your sins have been forgiven, and you are clean before the Lord”. I continued studying the things he suggested, and prayed and received a strong witness as I learned that Enos was told the same thing as he received his C&E:
“4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.
5 And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.
6 And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.” (Enos 1:4-6)
I KNEW this to be true, but still could not fathom that I could actually qualify for something so great. My friend suggested that I read through the experiences of others who had received their C&E on another forum and as I did, I came across a post by someone whose posts had already brought the spirit as I read them before. His C&E experience said:
“I told the Lord, “I will do thy will.” At that moment, I understood, deep within myself, that I would always do his will, no matter what the cost. In this case the cost had the potential of being everything that I held dear. As I reached this point of commitment to the Lord, I understood that there was no greater test that could be performed on me that would yield a different result. I understood by the Spirit that my sacrifice was accepted. I was told that the Lord already knew that I would follow him no matter what, but that I needed to know for myself. This was profound. It was upside down to realize that the test was to prove who I was to myself, not the Lord. I understood by the Spirit that because there was no greater test that could be given me, that I had my calling and election made sure, a goal I had made when I was 17 when I read the Book of Mormon for the first time [Ether concerning the Brother of Jared].. I was now 49. I was currently serving as bishop, as I had done multiple times before.”
His words were so similar to things I had experienced myself, and what I had been told by the Lord during MY greatest trial!!
“I understood by the Spirit that because there was no greater test that could be given me, that I had my calling and election made sure…”
This is almost exactly what I was told…..
“This is the most severe test you’ll ever be required to face in life. And if you can pass it, there isn’t any other test that you won’t be able to pass.”
I was in SHOCK!! I felt the spirit SO strongly… another witness!! But I still struggled with doubt and unbelief…
I decided to pray about it and come right out and ASK the Lord if I had received my C&E. Since the spirit cannot lie, I knew I would either be told “Yes”, or “Nope, you don’t have it, and here are the minor things you need to get it”. I was also reminded that it is “faith in the promise that obtains the inheritance” (which certainly epitomizes the entirety of Lectures on Faith):
“For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” (Gal 3:18)
“For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” (Heb. 7:19)
It still seemed so terrifying to ask the Lord something this big – and to believe it could even be possible. I had been praying but was too afraid to actually listen for an answer – or understand it if I had been receiving one.
During all of this, I was lambasted with a huge blow from my ex-husband and had some major trials thrown into my lap. It was almost as if Satan was TRYING to stop me again – as I became terrified and angry and felt all kinds of emotions stirred up that tore me so far from being able to receive the answer I wanted so badly. I was determined however, not to let this ruin my quest, and continued praying and searching this out.
That Sunday, I was faced TWICE with what seemed to be “slap-in-the-face” promptings. The first came in sacrament, when the speaker spoke of the people who would not look at the brazen serpent and be saved – they perished because of their disbelief! All they had to do is LOOK and BELIEVE and be saved! The second came, in Gospel Doctrine class when in a completely unrelated lesson, the instructor used the exact same story in his analogy! I felt like the Lord was telling me: “JUST BELIEVE and ACCEPT this gift”!!
I had been receiving such powerful spiritual witnesses; I had been attacked by evil in direct attempt to stop me from going down this path toward righteousness, I was told in the most powerful blessing ever – that my sins were forgiven and I was clean before the Lord, I was offered the most difficult test I had ever received at that point and knew that I had overcome it, I had even had an angel appear in my bedroom just a few months before this time, to deliver a very important message that helped prevent me from making some potentially devastating mistakes. With all of these amazing experiences – and others I haven’t even discussed here, it was still so difficult to fathom that I could “qualify” and actually receive an answer to this question…
I had some extra time one morning while my little boy slept and wanted to pray a bit extra for him since he would be with his father that weekend, and I also wanted to ask God and receive answers about my standing before Him. So when I got done with praying about my boy, and thanking God for all of the support and blessings I have, (and by this time I was feeling the spirit), I asked God if I had received the promise of Eternal Life and Exaltation. I was told as I prayed that I HAD received this promise, and received the witness by the Spirit that confirmed it to me. I asked Him to help me understand this gift and what I’m supposed to do now, what this all meant, and to continue blessing me with understanding and light and knowledge. I also asked if he would bless me with the opportunity to meet my Savior. I thanked Him for leading me to those who had taught me and helped bring me to that point of receiving those gifts and promises, and then I prayed more for my boys. The spirit remained strong through all of this and I was crying like a baby, and felt full of joy and comfort and peace! I KNEW that all of these events and experiences in my life had all been stepping stones and had laid a foundation for what I had finally been willing to accept, and had confirmed and sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise!
Since this time, my life has been a completely new and amazing journey filled with things I never imagined! I have since been directed by the Lord to engage in work that has brought others to receive their own C&E. I’ve had the opportunity to experience speaking with the tongue of angels, and prophecy, and revelation, and visions, and visitations by heavenly beings, being taught by angels, and have been blessed with spiritual experiences that I’ve only read about in the scriptures. I received a direct revelation that the demonic attack on me was not just to stop ME from continuing on the path I’ve been on and accepting and receiving these blessings, but to stop specific others (who were named) and who came into my life, that have since also received the same blessings and promises!
I want to close this by bearing my testimony of some of the things I KNOW to be true:
I absolutely KNOW that the doctrine that receiving one’s calling and election, or the promises of eternal life and exaltation are real and available to us as individuals – no matter what faith we belong to, no matter our age, life experience, race, “calling” in the church, etc.
The things outlined in D&C 76:50-70 are available to ALL who will come to the Lord and accept them when they are offered, and when the Lord deems on His terms (not man’s), that an individual is ready to follow Him and seek after righteousness.
I KNOW that the Lord has extended these gifts and promises and blessings to me and to many others I know.
I KNOW that the Book of Mormon is a compilation of the histories of others who have received their Calling and Election, as well as the Second Comforter, and literally contains instruction on how to RECEIVE the fullness ourselves. Also, that the reason it was given to us – the Gentiles, is to teach us that this is what we are SUPPOSED to attain in this lifetime – to cast off the natural man, to learn to be guided by the spirit at all costs, and to RECEIVE the Holy Spirit of Promise and accept these blessings.
I KNOW that if we are “Converted unto the Lord”, then we too will receive all that God has – and be part of the Church of the Firstborn, as we are told in D&C 76:54-70.
I KNOW that the 144,000 are being called as we speak and ordained by angels, and are in the process of teaching and gathering those who will come – to the Church of the Firstborn in preparation for the establishment of Zion.
I KNOW that Satan has infiltrated the earth – in all areas, all governments, establishments, religions – and on every level, with his servants to try to stop this work.
I know that my account is a seriously inadequate description of these amazing things that have taken place, and that I’ve experienced – and I hope the spirit will fill in the gaps where I am lacking. I do not consider myself a “spiritual giant” – but rather much closer to the opposite. But I KNOW that for those who are willing to accept the gifts and blessings the Lord has for us, they are available and if we can come out from under our clouds of disbelief, HE will help us to cast-off the natural man and will magnify our spiritual gifts to bring about His work. He is just aching for us – His children to accept his mercies and offering so He can bring to pass the eternal life and exaltation of his children. I am SO SO eternally grateful for the blessings I have received and those that I see before me, and for the amazing people He has brought into my life – who share in these blessings!
Yes, many here call me “apostate” or “heretic”; I choose not to care. When God tells me that my eternal life and exaltation has been sealed and He knows that I will continue progressing in the right direction, it leaves little room for concern about mankind judging unrighteously. One of my favorite quotes is this:
“Generally people tend to oppose that which they don’t understand, the degree of their opposition being directly proportionate to their ignorance.” (Zoob’s Law)
I have developed charity for others though in a way that I didn’t have before these experiences. I know that when they are ready, they will seek to understand these things and be blessed with inspired desires to learn and obtain them for themselves. We are all in different states of progression and understanding, and (though I’m human and often fail), I have no right to judge others at their stage of understanding and progression.
Since this experience, I’ve been blessed with more than I could ever comprehend – just as God promised! The heavens have literally been opened to me in ways I never before fathomed, and I’m being taught and blessed in ways I could not relate over an internet forum. But I am VERY VERY blessed, and VERY VERY grateful for God, Heavenly Mother, my Savior, and the angels who have attended to me and to my boys. I testify that ALL who will seek the Lord with true intent and cast off doubt, unbelief, judgment, traditions, and this natural flesh that separates us from Heaven, will find Him and be blessed too – with things beyond what can be comprehended!