In one of my recent posts, I mentioned John Hall’s New Testament translation of 1 John 2:1-3 regarding our call to “stand watch as a sentry awaiting [the Lord’s] every instruction,” if we are to know Him. One a different note, but with a related sub-theme, I’ve been interested recently in reading experiences of those who have had “other world” glimpses, either through visionary or near-death experiences (there are several insights I find interesting and may post on in the upcoming days).

In one of the most well-known experiences, a woman named Elane Durham wrote concerning a question she asked of the the spirit teacher/guide who was leading her through her “other world” experience. Though now a Latter-day Saint, she wasn’t LDS at the time of her experience and it was quite a few years later before she became familiar with and joined the Church. Her intro states that she was raised in a fundamentalist Christian church, with several people in her immediate and extended family being ministers, but that she later became interested in other religious traditions, including Methodism, Presbyterianism, Catholicism, and Judaism. Later in her narrative, she states some of the things that eventually guided her to the Church. She wrote:

As a youth and young adult I had used the King James version of the Bible. In recent years a number of other versions of the Bible were produced, such as the American Standard Bible, the New World Bible, and others. Moreover, before the King James version was produced in England there were still other versions. I wondered which was the correct version, and I asked my teacher.

In his response he didn’t use the word Bible to describe it. He used the term, a history of a people. I don’t remember the exact words, but that was the sense of it. At any rate, he told me that our Bible was only a small portion of the history of the people and the King James was the most accurate. He said that more records had been found, and there were still more records to be found.

A corollary question which I asked in conjunction with the questions about the Bible was which church was true. As I told you earlier I had investigated a number of churches and I was still searching for the correct church.

My instructor told me that The Church was created in heaven, but that we, as individuals, had divided that church with our fears and with our groping for power and control. The word “pagan” wasn’t used, but the sense of it was the humans had divided the original church in mankind’s quest to rule.

He let me know that when I found the church here on earth that believed in the history of the people (as described in the King James version of the Bible) and believed that there was additional history that had been found—and that there was still more to be revealed—I would recognize that church by the same spirit I felt there with him. He also told me that The Church had Apostles and Prophets but that they weren’t accepted any more today than they had been in ancient times when Christ was here.

By this time in our discussion I knew that I was to return to earth. He told me that fifteen or twenty years in the future I would come upon a new people, and I would find them on my own.

This is interesting to me on several levels. First, the language used is intriguing. Second, is the truth that God is not done speaking; He calls apostles and prophets to guide us today as He has in generations past, and in different lands. Third is the idea the world isn’t willing to accept those apostles and prophets in this generation any more than in any other generation. The records we have, and which we accept as sacred scripture, are histories of different peoples. And we are living history—we are currently playing out a history of a people. Future generations of believers will likely look upon us in our day and the choices we were or weren’t willing to make in order to grow in knowledge and righteousness and build the kingdom of God. How will they see us?

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    we are living history… Future generations of believers will likely look upon us in our day and the choices we were or weren?t willing to make in order to grow in knowledge and righteousness and build the kingdom of God. How will they see us?

    I love how you ended this, Ty. It’s very insightful. I’d add to that, though- not only “How will they see us?” but also, “How will we see ourselves?” I can’t speak for the rest of the population, but I seem to have a talent for allowing my false assumptions to cloud everyday experiences. Then, when I look back later with the correct information, I feel humbled to say the least. It reaffirms to me just how vital the Atonement and repentance is.

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    Thanks, TIK. I fully agree. I think there will be plenty of opportunity to look back on our time with clearer view about what it all looks like in the context of the larger, intergenerational and interdispensational story. I can only imagine how differently things might look than how I perceive them today in all my mortal limitations.

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    Very fascinating, Ty! Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

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    Bridget Night

    Ty, I have always been interested in near death experiences too. I would like to share a true story from one of my hair customers years ago who had been interviewed on tv about her experience because it was very different.

    Twenty years ago, when I was working in a plush hair salon in Eugene, Oregon, I had a customer who would fly in from San Francisco. She had become famous and was to appear on some big talk shows because of an unusual ?out of body? experience. She told me to share her story whenever possible.

    This woman had lived a self-centered, fairly wicked life. She had many questions about life and feared what the next life would bring. She had been a diabetic for 8 years on insulin. As she was taking a taxi to the airport one morning, she realized she had forgotten to eat breakfast and had not taken her insulin. In fact, she forgot to take insulin with her as she had felt so rushed. She began to go into diabetic shock and quickly asked the taxi driver to go back; that she needed her insulin. At this point she became aware that she was standing outside the taxi and looking in at he limp body. She also noticed a man in white appearing next to her. She was not afraid and seemed to be ready with her questions. The first question she asked was ?Is there really such a being as the Devil?? The being in white said, ?I?ll let you see.? Suddenly the being disappeared and everything became very dark. So black and dark you could cut it with a knife. She became aware of the presence of the most awful being coming towards her which frightened her enough to say, ?Ok, I don?t need to know anymore?.

    The darkness left and the light and heavenly being returned. Well, you?d think she?d leave well enough alone, but she then asked her next question. ?Is there really such a place as hell?? The heavenly being said again, ?Ill let you see.? She then said she experienced true hell, but it was not as she had anticipated it to be. Her whole life began flashing before her and she re-lived every awful thing she had done to people. She had to feel the anguish and pain others went through because of her actions on earth. Also, she saw the ripple effect it had on others. It was the most horrible experience. She woke up in the hospital and the doctor knew she had gone through something traumatic and asked her if she had an ?out of body? experience. She told him about it and then said just before she came to, the heavenly being told her that her time on earth was not up yet and she needed to go back. She was to know that this experience was not just a figment of her imagination, because she would no longer have diabetes or need to be on insulin when she returned. The doctor checked her out and she did not have diabetes and has not been on insulin since. This experience happened 3 years prior to my meeting her.

    Point being that it really brought home to me that how we treat others is so important. Bridget

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    Ty Ray

    Thanks for sharing, Bridget. Interesting experience.

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    Bridget, your friend’s experience reminds me of something C. Terry Warner used to say, about the webs of influence that our bad and/or good deeds cause. As she explained, they have a ripple effect outward. Our one action of cutting someone off may cause them to come home angry and kick the dog, which will upset the children, which will make mom depressed, etc., etc. We sometimes think our accounting for our unrepented sins that we will have to give at the final judgment is only what we have done to ourselves, or to God. But perhaps just as significant will be the darkening effect of our sinful actions on others. I think there is a precedent for that thinking in the scriptures. In the Book of Mormon, Alma the Younger and the four sons of Mosiah were dismayed by the effect their words had had, and went about zealously trying to repair the harm they had caused. That would be quite a hell, to see the full ripple effect of our actions! And there is a devil and he does want the worst for us.

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    Whoa. That’s an amazing story Bridget. Thanks for sharing.

    I heard a key note speaker at a medical society meeting several years back who was a forensic pathologist (I think) and had written a book about all the supernatural experiences that had surrounded her work over the years. They included end of life experiences as well as spiritual appearances to loved ones near the time of an accidental death, and other things of that nature.

    Borealis, I’ve tried to read Terry Warner’s book on that topic multiple times. I love the idea of it, but the book itself was just too painful to finish. :-) My family parents and siblings love it anyway.