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?