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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Seeing Christ -- Part 2

In "Seeing Christ, Part 1" (here), we summarized the concept known as the "Eye of Faith."  We read how those who exercised their eye of faith spiritually created circumstances which were later physically created, including seeing the Savior.  This visualization is a powerful mortal process which perfectly meshes with the definition of faith as found in Hebrews 11:1.  Finally, we got a hint on how to exercise the use of the "eye of faith" by nourishing "the word".

In this post, we'll explore one possible method of seeing with the eye of faith.  We will experiment with it by nourishing the word of God (via the scriptures) while simultaneously implementing Alma 32 and 34.  We will will awake and arouse our faculties, and have enough faith (even if it's no more than just having a desire to believe) to plant the word in our hearts.  We'll observe this planted seed to see if it swells and sprouts, and begins to grow.  If so, we'll know that the seed is good.

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Several years ago, I bought the scriptures on cassette tape.  I consider this the best $7 purchase I have ever made from Deseret Industries.

At first, I would listen to the cassettes in the car during my morning commutes (after all, which is more enlightening -- listening to radio's unenlightening news stories or unworthy music or...the scriptures?).  I actually liked the spirit these audio scriptures would bring to my day.

I eventually got the idea that I would experiment with raising the level of my scripture studies.  Before bed, I would listen to a chapter of one of the Four Gospels or 3rd Nephi -- books where the Savior actually ministered.

The results were transformational...even life-changing.

I started with a word of prayer, thanking Father for the scriptures as a method to come to Christ.  I asked Father for help in understanding and applying them.  I asked in a believing attitude and in the name of Jesus Christ, with a full expectation that Father would deliver that which I was requesting.

I remember laying down in my bedroom, with no sounds, lights or distractions existing to take my mind off my task.  My cassette player was by my bed.  I closed my eyes imagining 3rd Nephi Chapter 11, where Jesus Christ showed himself to the people of Nephi, as the multitude were gathered together in the land Bountiful, and ministered unto them.  Before I hit the play button, I visualized the environment which could have existed immediately prior to the Savior's visit.  In my case, I saw/felt partly cloudy skies, not-cold-but-not-warm "windbreaker" temperatures, trees and people milling about.

Then I hit the play button.

I next saw many gathered together, around a large stone structure.  While they were speaking an unknown language, I heard some words spoken -- a soft, gentle male voice -- from an easterly direction.  I couldn't make the words out because it seemed like they were spoken into a loudspeaker system far away.  Less than a minute later, the voice spoke something again -- closer, but not close enough that I could hear the words.  Within about 30-45 seconds later, I heard the male voice clearly and distinctly: "Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name — hear ye him."

As I turned my head in this visualized state I was in, I saw -- in my mind's eye -- the events that transpired in 3 Nephi 11:8-12.

Mortal words cannot describe, no tongue can articulate, the awesome wonder that transpires by even beholding, in your mind's eye, the presence of Jesus Christ.  As I saw him, he was far and beyond anything ever written about him.  The light that emanated from him was well-described by Joseph Smith as being a brightness above that of the noon-day sun.  It was also very penetrating, affecting every cell in me.  Although I wanted to look at him, my body -- and my soul -- instinctively bowed in his presence.  As I hit the stop button of my player, my bedside was soaked with tears of a humbled, yet strengthened, believer in Jesus Christ.

This simple visualzing event was, as I said earlier, transformational. Life-changing. Life giving.  It caused me to rejoice in Christ, love Christ and worship Christ at a level I had never experienced.

Other Lessons Learned

Since then, I have had a many more experiences with seeing Christ through my eye of faith.  I have also discovered that visualizing the scriptures right before I go to sleep left me more open to and better prepared for divine influences while I slept.  It has left me astounded at how eager, how giving, our Father is to make the Gift of Dreams available to us for our instruction and edification.

Yet, mornings can also be an excellent time to visualize the scriptures.  I believe the Lord is serious when he says for us to "retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated". (D&C 88:124) This is currently a weakness of mine.  I hope someday to make it a strength.

Please note three things:
  • I am not saying visualizing the scriptures is for you, right now.  If the Lord would rather you study the actual written word, then do that.  Or, do both.
  • I have not been shown these actual events visually, so I readily admit that my own biases may have crept into what I visualized.  Nevertheless, the effects of these visualizations in terms of my reverence and adoration of the Savior, and my acknowledgment of my own guilt before Him, are unmistakable.
  • It is an error to believe that the only ones who have a right to visualize the events portrayed in the scriptures are those who hold a significant priesthood office.  The scriptures aptly testify that seeing with the eye of faith knows no gender, calling nor priesthood office.
Now, It's Your Turn

Sometime when you're inspired, I challenge you to:
  • Visit the church's website here and download mp3s of the Four Gospels and/or 3rd Nephi.  Actually you could download any or all of the Standard Works; I just like those 5 books because it's easier to visualize the Savior in them. Import them into your smart phone, MP3 player, tablet or laptop.
  • Pick a quiet, peaceful time to visualize. Although the time and circumstances of your visualizing might be different from mine, I do recommend finding a peaceful time and place where the kids aren't fighting or you have to go home/visiting teaching in 15 minutes.  "Peace" is a prime prerequisite of the spirit.
  • Pray expecting God will grant you a heightened awareness of what you are about to hear, and thank Him for the opportunity.
  • Visualize what you've downloaded. 
  • Click the "Comment" link below (even anonymously) and let me know how it goes. You never know when your testimony might make a tremendous difference in the lives of others.
Now, these are just some general guidelines I've found helpful to me.  The Spirit may amend them for you by deleting, adding or changing what's appropriate for you.

Next, in Part 3 of this series of posts, we will see how seeing (visualizing) Christ in the scriptures can help you become a better disciple of the Master.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you, especially this Part 2 and also Part 1 have helped me understand and visualize this great and wondrous Blessing of knowing the Savior better. I am going to listen to the 3 Nephi CD in my car from now on, til your kind and specific examples are internalized for me.
    Thank you again,
    Marise

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  2. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful experience.
    "As I saw him, he was far and beyond anything ever written about him. The light that emanated from him was well-described by Joseph Smith as being a brightness above that of the noon-day sun. It was also very penetrating, affecting every cell in me. Although I wanted to look at him, my body -- and my soul -- instinctively bowed in his presence.".
    Is this a VISION that came into your mind as you listened to the account of 3 Nephi 11? Or was this just something you Imagined with the Lord impressing upon your mind what needed to be emphasized with your visualization?

    ReplyDelete