23 Comments

  1. Cache

    I remember hearing about the ceremony in the temple of receiving the Second Comforter. Members are invited to the temple to have some one-on-one time with the savior. The frequency of this ordinance is unknown, but wouldn’t be too surprising if several people in a stake had received it.

    Also, the First Vision wasn’t made public until the saints were in Nauvoo. Parley P. Pratt printed the account in England, which got back to the States. Joseph Smith then confirmed the account to the church.
    I believe the reason why we don’t hear of the prophets’ personal accounts with the Savior is because they are very sacred, very personal experiences. A prophet might choose to share these experiences with close friends or family, such as the Quorum of the Twelve, or a young granddaughter.

  2. DavidC

    I think some of your examples demonstrate that seeing the face of the Savior is not the same thing as making your calling and election sure.

  3. Another great post, Bryce! This topic has been on my mind a lot lately and I consider this information coming to me right now as a great blessing, personally. Thank you for your efforts.

  4. Raven

    I find this topic fascinating for many reasons, but one of them is that this is definitely the kind of experience that we don’t hear much about anymore in the Church. I agree with Cache that part of the reason for this is the sacred nature of such experiences. But I also think that our modern minds have become cynical and quick to mock. What would our reaction be if we did hear from someone close to us that they had seen the face of God, or of Christ? And was the sharing of such experiences a necessary part of early Church life? Was this something the early saints needed to strengthen them as they pioneered this new faith and sacrificed so much to live it? I think we need more reminders (like this post) that coming face to face with God is not an false promise. It is something very real and very possible.

  5. Great post, Bryce! I am planning to speak about this very subject, but in relation to Solomon’s Temple, at the Expound Symposium on May 14th. I believe that “seeing the face of the Lord” was one of the key paradigms of the pre-exilic ritual system of the First Temple. I see as evidence of this a number of the Psalms and other scriptures that describe the appearance of the Lord as the climax of the principal cultic ceremonies. Although this idea is later obscured, in earlier tradition there was often the expectation that the Lord would appear in his sanctuary, and I see temple visions such as Isa. 6 as reflecting this belief.
    I won’t say more so I don’t totally spoil my presentation!

  6. Mike

    I haven’t yet seen the face of God in the temple but my wife and I have had several experiences where I have felt the presence of disembodied spirits and she has seen them.
    We were workers in the Preston England Temple and while we were officiating, with only the witness couple in attendance, I felt and my wife saw a room full of people!

  7. Kevin Harris

    Yes, thank you. This post and your blog are a breath of fresh air. I get tired of people watering down or minimizing the words of the prophets. Instead of trying to justify our lack of spiritual experiences, these scriptures and experiences should motivate us to draw closer to the Lord. The words of Elder Uchtdorf come to mind from this last conference: “Brethren, we are faced with a choice. We can be satisfied with a diminished experience as priesthood bearers and settle for experiences far below our privileges. Or we can partake of an abundant feast of spiritual opportunity and universal priesthood blessings.”

  8. Clay Pendleton

    Yes, I would like to make a comment about a fascinating book that deals with this type of a Temple experence that Joseph wanted us to work towards. The title of the book is called – Fathers. The actual title: The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. The book was translated over 100 years ago by R.H. Charles who translated many Jewish Apocrypha/Pseudepigrapha books as they were discovered from Hebrew into something like King James style. The book has been updated since into a more modern style writing. The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs deals with the Testimonies of the Sons of Jacob to their children before they died in Egypt. I found one Testament truly remarkable. The Testament of Levi to his childred before he died. I can see why Jewish scribes and leaders refused to allow early documents such as this one into their cannon due to the distinctinon and separation of Yahua the Son and God the Eternal Father. They would refuse to allow scriptures showing a belief in plural Gods even if it was from – Abraham, Issac, Jacob or the Sons of Jacob. Levi gives his testimony and tells of a type of Temple Ordinance experence he has had with Yahua and refers Yahua as the Messenger sent from God the Eternal One. Yahua, the Messenger, will come and save Israel and the whole human race from death. Yahua has chosen Levi to receive the Priesthood and is taken up to see the 1st, 2nd and 3rd heavens where God the Eternal lives. Yahua clothes Levi into the holy robes of the Priesthood and later testifies of the future events of the House of Israel and it’s Priesthood Temple distruction. He fortells of the Priesthood being given to the Gentiles and this Priesthood will never be taken from the earth until the children of Levi due offer up a sacrifice.

  9. Once again, Bryce, you have written an excellent post. Surely the sacred nature of such experiences, combined with growing attention from outsiders and nonbelievers contribute to the reason we don’t often hear these accounts.

    Thankfully, I have been blessed to hear the witnesses of others who have had meetings such as those in this post. What each of them seem to have in common is a remarkable degree of sacrifice to the Lord’s church in living a consecrated life. Perhaps that is why so many early church members obtained this experience and we don’t seem to.

  10. I loved this post — it is uplifting and comforting to know that my feelings about this are not singular. Thank you for putting all these references in one place and not being hesitant to reveal some long lost, but encouraging doctrine in a time when we must seek out these things on our own.

  11. Awesome post, I look forward to the next parts. This is a topic that I find very interesting, and I had actually started a thread over at Mormon Dialogue forum about the presence of God in the temple two weeks or so ago. Being in the presence of God has always been an important part of temples, and I love that our latter-day temples have that connection (among others of course) with the ancient temples. And I agree with your last paragraph, that it is frequently said that in the temple we are in the presence of God and can feel His Spirit, but the “face to face” aspect isn’t as prominent.

  12. Joshua Whelpley

    A fantastic article. It provides an impetus to attend the Temple as often as possible.

  13. Sylvia

    I greatly appreciate your insight into this subject! It is well done and I look forward to reading all the installments! :)

    I have always had a deep love and reverence for the temple and am grateful for inspiration and insight into that great gift we have been blessed with. I go as frequently as I can and always feel like I’m coming Home when I go – not just home, but Home!

  14. Brent

    Elder McConkie wrote about this as one of the 10 blessings of the priesthood and said that it is more of a right to those who hold the priesthood, magnify their callings, and qualify themselves through righteous living. See http://lds.org/ensign/1977/11/the-ten-blessings-of-the-priesthood?lang=eng
    Besides the great scriptures you’ve mentioned in this article, especially those from the D&C, I’ve always thought that the Savior was also alluding to a personal manifestation in John 14:21 & 23.

  15. Pierrick

    Thanks again for this wonderful post.
    What I do like about the doctrine of seeing the face of God is that it inspires me to be (more) pure and holy. I want to get rid of all the unclean thoughts and practices in order to qualify for that blessing.

    Speaking to Moses the Lord said :
    EXO 25:22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from
    above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of
    the testimony,

    Nowadays, thanks to the Priesthood, we can comune with the Lord if we meet the requirements cited in D&C . It has not always been this way : we are very blessed people.

  16. Luke

    I don’t believe the ordinance of the second endowment is the same as having your calling and election made sure.

    The second endowment is extremely rare and appears to be only offered to those who, at least outwardly, have shown their allegiance to God and His Church through years of faithful service
    and devotion in leadership callings and who are then invited to receive this holy ordinance.

    If they genuinely are all they claim to be and have been invited to receive this sacred ordinance by the First Presidency then they would of course also qualify to have their calling and election sealed upon them through the Second Comforter – to behold the face of the Lord.

    The outward ordinance does not, however, guarantee the receipt of the revelatory confirmation.

    We know this from at least one leader in the UK who apostasized with his wife after being disappointed that he did not see the Saviour in the Preston Temple after receiving the second endowment.

    Like all ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ the efficacy of this ordinance depends upon the sincerity and honesty of the recipient.

    Reversely, there are many humble servants of Christ who might not have been outwardly honoured by the Church but who have received the Second Comforter after proving themselves in every aspect of their lives.

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