“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever (John 14:16).
The Prophet Joseph elaborated,
“After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God . . . then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints. . . . Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 150–51).
The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood (Doctrine and Covenants 131:5).
On this topic, Bruce R. McConkie said,
To have one’s calling and election made sure means that “there are no more conditions to be met by the obedient person”. Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Bookcraft, 1973, P. 335
I was sharing a hotel room with a co-worker and, during the winding down time before sleep, he told me something I’ll never forget. He said, “Never ask for your calling and election to be made sure, unless you’re prepared for the trials that will come as a result”. He then proceeded to run off a litany of trials that had befallen him since he had been so presumptuous as to ask such a thing of the Lord. Being a church member of only a few years, I had never even considered such a thing, but this piqued my interest as it would any prideful man. It also triggered “ol’ scratch’s” favorite tool – fear. For the next several years, I dared not tread that ground, for fear of the trials that I might bring onto myself.
Recently, though, after reading Denver Snuffer’s book, The Second Comforter (this is not a book review), I found myself reconsidering my choice. In the book, the author made the point clearly that, in order to qualify for a personal visit from the Lord through the veil, faith must be proven, and “trials” would be a part of my life. Still, I couldn’t be satisfied with letting fear control my eternal existence. I couldn’t be satisfied with being afraid to pursue these two, in my mind equally glorious, blessings.
Fear, as mentioned before, is Satan’s greatest tool. He uses it masterfully to induce us to compromise divine values in the interest of comfort. It is fear that motivates us to seek power with which we hope to control our lives by insulating ourselves against forces that may harm us. Fear is the primary cause of pride, for I find that I indulge in pride when I fear the impact of others’ choices on my life. And of course, John the Beloved tells us, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). In this case, fear was preventing me from receiving all the blessings that the Lord offers us. Fear was inducing me to think of myself as unworthy. I was playing right into Satan’s hands.
So, I began asking myself, “What exactly am I afraid of? Why do I fear?” We fear nothing, perhaps, more than the unknown, and these “trials” that I had been warned against were certainly unknown, somewhat akin to the boogey man who lurked under the bed or in the dark recesses of a child’s night. And why should I fear these trials that were going to be given me by God?!! It contradicts everything I’ve learned about God to think that He Himself would deliberately introduce anything into my life that was not a blessing in one way or another. So, my thoughts quickly boiled down to…. do I trust Him? Do I trust His promises? Do I trust Him to make a way for me to receive these great blessings? Do I trust Him to give me the strength to endure whatever is required of me? If not, if I let fear keep me from pursuing Him with “all my might, mind and strength”, then I am effectively denying Him. I’m denying His love, His wisdom, and His power. If I don’t trust Him, then I don’t believe His word. If I don’t have the faith to trust Him, I am denying the power of the atonement.
Having decided for myself that I cannot continue to let fear prevent me from asking specifically to have my calling and election made sure, I learned the following:
- This cannot be about me. My personally seeking this goal must be about glorifying God, about fulfilling the measure of my creation.
- I consider myself fortunate to have had these things revealed to me. I am blessed, but with blessings come responsibility. Again, to deny those responsibilities would be to reject the blessing. Reject a blessing from God? I think not.
- Even the pursuit of these blessings is sacred. My former mission president, when asked during a zone conference about the ordinance of receiving one’s calling and election, said, and I paraphrase, “Well, those who know about it don’t talk about it, and anyone who talks about it….”
- This will take a long time. I am nowhere near ready. There are many changes that must be wrought in my life. There are levels of obedience and consecration that I don’t even recognize yet that I must be led to. Still I know that through the atonement all things are possible. I must always trust in that promise.
- And finally, I may fail. The day may come when I am on my death bed, and I have still not been granted this blessing. This does not matter. The trust that I have in the Lord, in His wisdom and His grace, cannot waver. It would be a much worse failure for me not to try.
I testify, therefore, that the Lord invites us to truly seek Him, in His fullness, in this life. I have a responsibility to fully pursue my personal relationship with Him. John, again, quoted the Savior as saying, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). For me to fail to seek to know Him with all of my strength and desire, especially if out of fear, would undoubtedly be a failure with eternal consequences.