“I shall not attempt to paint to you the feelings of this heart, nor the majestic beauty and glory which surrounded us on this occasion; but you will believe me when I say, that earth, nor men, with the eloquence of time, cannot begin to clothe language in as interesting and sublime a manner as this holy personage. No; nor has this earth power to give the joy, to bestow the peace, or comprehend the wisdom which was contained in each sentence as they were delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit! Man may deceive his fellow-men, deception may follow deception, and the children of the wicked one may have power to seduce the foolish and untaught, till naught but fiction feeds the many, and the fruit of falsehood carries in its current the giddy to the grave; but one touch with the finger of his love, yes, one ray of glory from the upper world, or one word from the mouth of the Savior, from the bosom of eternity, strikes it all into insignificance, and blots it forever from the mind. The assurance that we were in the presence of an angel, the certainty that we heard the voice of Jesus, and the truth unsullied as it flowed from a pure personage, dictated by the will of God, is to me past description, and I shall ever look upon this expression of the Savior’s goodness with wonder and thanksgiving while I am permitted to tarry; and in those mansions where perfection dwells and sin never comes, I hope to adore in that day which shall never cease.” (Joseph Smith History, Messenger and Advocate, vol. 1 (October 1834), pp. 14–16.)
The LDS church just finished its 184th Annual General Conference this weekend, on the Savior’s earthly birthday. Millions of Mormons (and likely a few interested non-members and anti-Mormons) gathered around their TV sets, radios, computers, and stake center satellites to hear the words of those regarded by the LDS church as prophets, seers, and revelators. Inevitably, every conference will spark rumors and speculation about who has or has not actually seen the Lord, and whether or not their words spoken in this or any other conference alluded to an admission. When nothing certain is found in their talks – but only vague statements containing the words “believe”, “like”, “as if”, etc., members will excuse the lack of boldness by saying that it’s “too sacred to talk about”. Well it didn’t used to be “too sacred to talk about”. In fact, I am not aware of anything more than the traditions of men (or women) based upon fear, that make that claim.
I am not in a position to state unequivocally that these men have not seen the Lord, but I also cannot determine by their words that they have. And I do not excuse a person’s lack of testimony by claiming that it’s “too sacred to talk about” – or rather, too sacred to simply admit. Testifying of Christ is something that we should do openly and without fear. Though there may be details relating to these experiences that should not be shared publicly, testifying that one has seen Christ is something that we’ve been shown by example throughout the scriptures and throughout history that WE SHOULD be doing – in order to bring others to Him.
The LDS church website explains this when introducing the Book of Mormon to websiste visitors:
“The people in the Book of Mormon, the Nephites and the Lamanites, recorded their testimonies of Jesus Christ. Many of the prophets who wrote the records that make up the Book of Mormon saw Christ personally, just as happened with the Apostle Paul, which he recorded in the Bible (see Acts 9:3-6). The climax of the book is when Jesus appeared to all the Nephites soon after He was resurrected. He blessed them, taught them his gospel and said,“
“Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world” (3 Nephi 11:14).
The brother of Jared gave us this account in the book of Ether:
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.
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?
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.
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?
And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me.
And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?
And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.
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. (Ether 3:6-13, emphasis added.)
Joseph Smith testified of one of many visitations from both the Father and the Son via vision, here:
“When the light rested upon me I saw two personages (whose brightness and glory defy all description) standing above me in the air. One of <them> spake unto me calling me by name and said (pointing to the other) “This is my beloved Son, Hear him.”” (Taken from the 1839 account of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, emphasis added.)
A myriad of other first-hand experiences with the Lord can be found throughout the Book of Mormon, as well as the other scriptures canonized by the church, early church history documentation and personal journals, etc. D&C 76 records the open simultaneous visions of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon as the Lord spoke to them together. It was not entirely uncommon for members of early LDS congregations to testify in meetings, of visions and visitations with the resurrected Jesus.
Testimonies and witnesses of the Savior can also be found in many sources outside of the church (after all, He doesn’t just visit the Mormons). I found this interesting website created specifically for Christians of all faiths to testify of their experiences with Jesus: http://www.testimonyshare.com/
My friend Dan Rogers was told by the Lord to share his experience and testimony. He boldly testifies of his first-hand KNOWLEDGE of the Savior on his blog http://thesecondcomforter.com/, here:
“On April 14, 2012, I was carried away into the heavenly temple. I shook the hand of the angel that was my guide. I saw and heard the Father and the Son speak to me. This experience involved sight, touch, sound, and smell. It was as real as anything I have experienced in my day-to-day life, only the glory and intelligence conveyed is indescribable. This was not my last encounter beyond the veil.
I am a witness that Jesus Christ lives. He is a real, knowable person.
If you seek and accept His messengers to prepare the way, He will come suddenly to His temple and reveal to you His glorious body of burnings. He is talkative. He wants to know you more than you want to know Him. I know this because I have experienced this as a man speaks to another.
Jesus Christ is the Second Comforter. He literally came to me and has comforted me.
This is not a full statement of my witness. I share my testimony so that you may know that Christ lives and His work is to save imperfect people. I hope that this testimony will allow you to exercise faith enough to lay hold on these blessings.” (Dan Rogers)
These are not the veiled, wishy-washy words of someone who simply wishes to imply they have seen the Savior. This is the testimony of someone who truly experienced it and is unashamed to share – as the Lord told him to.
Denver C. Snuffer – author of “The Second Comforter, Conversing with the Lord Through the Veil“, has also openly testified that he is a true witness of the Lord, and has publicly shared a few of his experiences. (If you haven’t seen it yet, Bro. Snuffer’s blog can be found here: http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/) I have learned a lot from this man, and he was one of the first who taught me that I could (and should) literally meet my Savior IN THIS LIFETIME.
I’ve mentioned on my blog in a couple of other posts that I have seen the Savior – more than once. I want to fervidly testify of my Savior and echo what others have said – that He lives, and He is waiting for us to cast off our doubt and unbelief and welcome Him. I HAVE SEEN HIM!
If you refer back to the scriptures posted above, Ether 3:6-13 shows us that because the brother of Jared INVITED the Lord to be there and had unwavering faith, that the Lord could not withhold Himself from being seen. He first saw the finger of the Lord, and then impelled Him, “show thyself unto me“. The brother of Jared fulfilled the law that evoked the blessing that brought the Lord into his presence. We ALL have the same opportunity and invitation to compel the Lord to visit with us in this lifetime as we fulfill those things that will enable us to be in His presence!
The Lord is a kind, loving, humorous, charitable, understanding man. As Dan said, “He is a real, knowable person… He is talkative. He wants to know you more than you want to know Him.”
This echoes what I have learned about Him too. The second time I saw the Savior, I was met by an angel, who then brought me to the Lord and introduced me to Him. He was filled with the same love and kindness I remembered from the first time I was in His presence – as I knelt and prayed at His feet. He laughed and joked with me – like you would expect your favorite older brother to interact with you.
I saw a video posted on Facebook today (one of the few redeeming things I’ve seen posted on Facebook), that instantly brought me to tears. This video shows what the Lord is like – the way He interacted with me. THIS is what He was like in the experience I described above. I’ll leave the video posted below for everyone to enjoy, and reiterate my testimony of Him – He loves us, and wants us to know Him in THIS lifetime. There is nobody on this earth – no matter your sins, transgressions, afflictions, struggles, or weaknesses, that He doesn’t love, and that He would be unwilling to know. He is waiting for us to reach out to Him with faith and belief that He’ll take our hand. I testify of these things in His name, Amen.