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Friday, October 12, 2012

The Ten Characteristics of those who've had their Calling and Election Made Sure, Part 5 of 5

A True Story of One Who Had Their Calling and Election Made Sure

Last April, I introduced you to "The Blog Reader who Received their Calling and Election" -- a female member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Today, I'd like to introduce you to another who has received such an assurance.  Although I will not reveal his identity or location, suffice it to say he is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and lives in the Western United States.  Despite what he says about his lack of humility, my interactions with him have demonstrated that he is an extremely humble man, with a humble, gentle voice and demeanor.  He is your quintessential "regular church member" who you could be sitting next to in a church meeting, never knowing the blessings he has received.

Here is his story...

I most humbly write to you of my experience.  When you shared the characteristics of those who have their calling and election I was stunned.  I never knew of the depth of humility the called saints live their life.  It’s no wonder the Lord has made a point to let them know of their calling and election.  He needs these humble followers to do His will.

I have always been somewhat of a rebel.  If you were to ask my family, they would quickly identify me as a rebel.  Not in the worldly sense, just not always willing to do things as upright members of the church do them. 

For the past twenty some odd years since I served a mission for the church, I have tried and tried to have a better relationship with the Lord.  My mission was great!  I had lots wonderful spiritual, faith-building experiences.  I have remained faithful in the church with callings and all  the normal stuff members do.  However, spiritually I was silently suffering.

I was suffering from a terrible addiction.  I had talked about it with several bishops.  Of course, one more recent trip to the bishop’s office, I was told to start attending some meetings and read some book about following twelve steps like they do in AA.  I was confused, yet I attended several meetings determined to fix my addiction and lay to rest my horrible self.  The more I went to these meetings, I realized this is not what I wanted for myself.  I struggled with the guilt of this for years.  I was not following the council of my bishop and I just figured I would be damned for it.  And I was damned for it.  

I will be very frank.  I did not desire a program established by men to manage my addiction.  I knew I would have to confess to myself and others for the rest of my life that I was an addict.  No!  I wanted real, lifelong healing from this sore which had held me back.  I desired the unreasonable and pushed aside a church sponsored program which appeared to me as be a battle of the wills.  A path that I knew I could not endure.  Great for other people who embraced the program, but simply did not speak the language of this poor, lost soul.

Yes, I was damned and I knew it.  At times I just considered taking my life.  Yep, this had become a favorite fantasy when the flames of hell licked at my feet.  I could just end it all and go early to the place I knew I would end up anyway, telestial glory.  I was never very serious about the prospect, just liked to allow this fantasy to temporarily block the intense feeling of being such a huge loser who couldn’t seem to get control of life.  Damned, going to hell and addiction beset by ugliness.  A spiritual abyss with no way to get myself out.  And I was right, I never did dig out of that hell.  It had become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Out of left field, a close acquaintance spoke some things to me that gave space for a faint idea of change.  Of course I had heard about all the other ideas and programs before.  But as my friend spoke to me, I noticed a light in her that I had not seen before.  A healing had taken place in her.  She had also been through the mire.  She talked of the Lord healing her from her afflictions.  I decided to listen to her story of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  After hearing of her healing, I let her story settle into my heart (like in Alma 32), where I watered it, nurtured it and began to see the fruit of her experience.  So I decided to try it for myself.

It was really a pretty simple idea.  An idea I had heard about and read about many times over the years.  Just give it all to the Savior.  I used to cast that thought out of my mind as soon as it came in.  This time, I knew of the fruit and I could no longer cast it out as dross like I had before.  My friend shared her technique with me.  It did not occur to me then, but I would later begin to know why it took a special technique for me to repent.  I had been knocking my head against the repentance door for so long, it held no power for me.  I needed a new way.  A way to distract my mind long enough to allow the Lord to relieve me of my burdens.  I realize this sounds strange and peculiar, but it was the only way for the Lord to get my attention long enough for me to give it up.  And give it up I did! 

As I gave up my burden, the Lord began to speak to me.  He spoke to me in my language.  I don’t mean just the English language. I mean in the language, the thoughts, gifts and knowledge that I needed to hear.  He poured out blessings upon me, too wonderful to put to pen.  Where I had been stopped up before, revelation began to flow.  I never knew of the power of personal revelation until I was truly conversing with the Lord.  I could ask Him questions and he would respond by giving me what I needed to know in my personal language.

After a very short time, the Lord began to express his deep, abiding love for me.  He began to share knowledge about His interactions with me in the pre-earth life.  He told me stories.  He gave me visions.  I listened intently.  I went from having a nice experience with the Savior and Him helping me with my addiction problems to discovering my true spiritual identity.

The Lord began to reveal a work to me.  It was something that I had to do.  Something akin to building the empire state building with toothpicks.  I was floored by the immensity of the request.  I listened and followed His request.  He told me to learn His ways as defined in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon.  He told me I would find answers to my questions there.  He also told me I had been given the authority to complete my assignment.  So I began this wonderful journey of piecing together how to perform the Lord’s will.  I have gained incredible gospel knowledge on this path.

After I had been on this journey for a couple months, I realized that my addictions had become less prevalent.  They were diminishing.  One Saturday, I felt strongly that I needed to go to the temple.  I could feel a tangible presence with me all day.  I went to the temple that evening and had the most profound experience of my life.  He Spirit of the Lord came down upon me and I saw visions and was blessed like I never had been before.  So intense was the Spirit, that I knew I could never deny my experience.  So vivid were the visions that I knew I could call upon them in my mind the rest of my days.  I was truly a new person in Christ.  I drove home stunned and with my head in the clouds. 

It was a complete transition for me.  In just a matter of weeks I went from the depths of spiritual hell on earth, to spiritual enlightenment and bliss.  And the key was to give all my sins, sorrow, pain, embarrassment, shame, guilt, suffering, feeling of spiritual abandonment (the list goes on and on).  I gave it all to the Lord and He gladly took it from me.  I no longer had these sins in my life and the Spirit of God rested upon me and cleaned my soul.  I was sanctified before the Lord.  I no longer have desire to go to that dark place of that terrible addiction I had suffered from.  I had a new hope in Jesus Christ.

I had a long time friend over to my house and I shared some of my experiences.  I have been recording all these experiences at the direction of the Spirit.  I shared some of the stories about how the Lord told me of my place with Him and of the assignment I had to complete.  I shared other profound experiences as well as what happened in the temple.  My friend who had been studying the subject for years asked me if I knew what had happened.  I looked at my friend in the eye and shared my gratitude that the Savior had literally removing my addictions from me.  My friend acknowledged that the Savior had indeed removed this from me and had shared a certain profound knowledge with me.  My friend pointed out, from my own records of these experiences, that the Lord had shared the knowledge of my calling and election.  

It took my friend showing me what I had written about how the Lord had made promises to me that I would be with Him forever more.  I had just thought the Lord was trying to boost my confidence.  I didn’t have enough self-assurance to recognize that I had received my calling and election.  In fact, it was not just one time that the Lord had told me.  As I went back and reviewed my records, I saw multiple instances of the Lord coming right out and telling me of my eternal place with Him.  I was so thick and consumed in everything I had been going through, it took a dear friend to point out the obvious right in front of me.  One of the promises I have received in all of this is that the Lord would visit me in person while I am yet in the flesh.  A knowledge I hold sacred.  Yes, I have a new faith in Jesus Christ.  A hope that will never again depart from my soul!

The ten characteristics you put up were so very real to me.  I can testify to that fact.  What is especially profound to me is that all this happened when I held no church calling other than home teacher.  I just figured the Lord needed me to take a break from all the callings I had served in so I could receive the True Calling of Christ.  Yes, I am just  ordinary folk with ordinary problems and I would say I don’t deserve any of the Lord’s special attention or saving blessings, except now I know what I know about myself.  I can no longer doubt the Lord’s calling and election for me in my own personal language.

I add my humble witness to yours that the characteristics you presented are so very real.  I pray that people will take heart and find their own calling and election with the Lord.  It is very real.  It is the best thing that could ever happen to the children of the Lord.  If people could begin to see how important this sacred event is to them in their salvation, if they could just cast off their current beliefs for just one moment and let these words to be planted in their hearts, I know a mighty change would follow.  Of this I bear my humble witness. 

It it true!  It is true!  It is true!  Amen and Amen and Amen!  Hosanna to god and the Lamb!

16 comments:

  1. This post brought me to tears of hope. Thank you for posting these things.

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  2. I love this. Thank you! What a blessing to have insight and such guidance.

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  3. This was wonderful! It gives me hope that I too can overcome my weaknesses through the power of the Savior. I appreciated your 10 characteristics of those that have had their calling and election made sure. They were ordinary people like me who kept their focus on the Lord. I thank you, and each of those that shared a piece of their experience with you. Knowing that real people today have achieved this through their love and faith tells me that I can do it too. I wish we talked more about things like this at church. It would help all of us to keep that goal in mind, so that we could remember that this is real and that the Lord really does believe in each of us.

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  4. I am so appreciative of such accounts and testimonies. They help us know what is possible, and to focus our desires on what is most important.

    In this account, it seems that one of the keys to achieving what he did was that his friend shared a special technique with him -- "My friend shared her technique with me." What was this technique?

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  5. Because he says: "I would later begin to know why it took a special technique for me to repent" -- I would add to that, if it requires a special repentance technique that might be a key for many of us to unlock this special blessing, it would be genuinely helpful to know what this technique is.

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  6. Yes please share this technique.

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  7. As one well-acquainted with the feelings of "spiritual abandonment," I also would like to learn more about this "technique" of repentance that helped your friend connect with heaven and leave his burdens with Christ, if he is willing to share what he learned.

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  8. Thank you for the 5 posts on characteristics of those who have the C&E.

    Its seems to me that the key was given in your 5 parts. Its stated simply humble yourself (w/a broken heart/contrite spirit) and give it all the Christ. Everything holding nothing back, all your pain, sins, wants, needs, and hopes. Let Christ carry them. That will begin the transformation if I am reading this right. My experiment to try.

    Thank you again.

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  9. HOW do you give your burdens, shortcomings, etc to Christ?

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  10. I often wondered how to give it all to the Lord and prove you have accepted the atonement. I learned that forgiving is the key. We all want mercy for ourselves but demand justice for others. If we truly accept Christ as our savior then we must trust that He will do what He said He would and leave the judging and mercy to His capable hands.

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  11. I can testify that this example is exactly how it is done!

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  12. Learn to truly pray even while sinning. "Look to me in every thought, doubt not neither be afraid." If we could just understand that Heavenly Father wants us to pray no matter where we are, no matter what we are doing, and no matter what we have done, and then listen for encouraging thoughts which tell us things like. "I love you no matter what" "my love is meritless, there is nothing you can do to make me love you more, and there is nothing that you can do to make me love you less" "please don't give up on me and I won't give up on you" "just keep praying this is not who you really are, you will not always be this way" "I promised you that I would be you're Savior and I cannot lie" "you see you can make good decisions, it's actually your in your good nature" "if you could only see who you will become you would never do that again, just know that it's greater than you can imagine"

    He is a God of encouragement drawing us closer and closer until he can give us what we most desire!

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  13. I've read your "characteristics" of Called and Elected people, and I mostly disagree that they all can be lumped thusly. So here is my recommendation as to their "characteristics":

    They all truly belive in the reality of redemptive powers of Jesus Christ. Period. End of story.

    I've had my C&E, and when it happened, I doubted it. I didn't know much about the subject other than it was only for "important people." Three more times in the first week the Lord reiterated to me my C&E and the Holy Ghost certified the same in words as to all three assurances. In the ensuing months, the Lord has assured me two more times, as I again questioned if this was really happening. I felt so bad for doubting this about myself, but each time the Lord was so nice and just told me to relax.

    Then I went searching about C&E and found that what I had experienced was genuine and more common than I realized.

    As far as the "characteristics" are concerned, I'll give a little background about my self:

    I'm 34 and single, with a law degree. I served a mission in Washington DC. I haven't been to the temple in 6 years because it makes me feel anxious. I was a Road construction foreman for 16 years and missed most Sundays as a result of travel. Im a competitive shooter and I like to hunt. Ive ridden a motorcycle all over the USA and have probably upset other motorists with my riding habits (speed). I have a minor calling in the church. Right now I live in my parents basement and am in between jobs. I do read and study the scriptures daily and I do consider myself a scriptorian, however.

    I believe the best reason for having your C&E is to provide against future storms; to rely on that assurance when things seem impossible. Life hasn't been peachy since my C&E but I take things in stride now where previously I would worry way too much. For the 7 or so years prior to my C&E I would say the devil himself was my "constant companion" while the Lord watched silently. Now, that has subsided and my powers at casting out Satan have improved so it's not a big deal. I asked the Lord why I had to go through that and he said "you had to live through hell to prepare yourself for the future. It had to be done."

    Thankfully those endless nights of torment (Job mentions this specific torment, the devil had his dreams; I cried when I read his account) ended and the Lord said they would end a few months before they did. Once they ended the Lord told me "you never blamed me or turned against me, so I've stuck with you." It was a massive test, that took almost a decade. On top of this I've had many Abrahamic tests that shook me.

    I judge myself often because I am "in Mormon culture but not of Mormon culture." I'm a 34 yr old single male with a law degree who lives in his parents basement. I'm not doing the approved, regular, proper, canned things an "alpha" elder should be doing (i.e. mechanizing my salvation by acclaim, posterity, finances, carrer path, cars, a nice house, etc...) I've had home teachees and home teachers say stuff like "you'll get things together soon," or "what's the problem" and other such overbearing, innapropriate, judgmental things. This makes me pretty upset but I usually just smile back at them. The church membership doesn't realize how judgmental they can be. The Lord has told me he is quite displeased with such.

    Just the last few days the Lord told me salvation isn't a "ladder"; that is far too simple a thing to explain the nuance and complexity of the "case" that each prospect presents. Salvation is an INDIVIDUAL thing.

    Like the Lord says in the New Testament, (paraphrasing); there shall be many from east and west who will sit and dine with abraham, while israel is rejected. It's the same with C&E.

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  14. Anonymous (12/18/16)

    Thanks you for your account, I find it most inspiring, particularly because you haven't shied away form the messiness of life. In fact I'm most instructed by the way you describe the Lord working with you in the messy stuff of life, very real in that sense.

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    1. Thanks, Creed. The messes (primarily of my creation) of life continue. Yet so does the Lord's unwavering desire to turn my messes into magnificence, my lemons into lemonade. He is too good to me.

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  15. Creed, I assume your response was directed at me (based on your date heading). Thanks.

    I don't know what you mean by messiness, but I think I have an idea. Mormon culture believes a "clean" life (i.e. mechanizing salvation and the so-called ease of life that follows) is the result of righteousness. But if you look at some of the most approved lives ever lived (Christ, Job, JS, Joseph of Egypt, Brigham Young, Moroni, Jacob, Nephi, Ester,...) they all were beset with the Devil and opposition and out-of-ordinary lives. They weren't "strerile" people, but had real zest, and we're often ridiculed for being different.

    Mormon culture extols what I call "success gospel," a very near Joel Osteen version of Christianity, and it is obvious to me Mormons by and large have fallen into the trappings of pride, thusly.

    The reason I sort of take issue with the use of the word "messiness" is, it connotes I brought those things in my life by willful negligence or dereliction to the things I should have been doing, i.e. mechanizing my salvation. These things came because I stuck my stake in the ground and declared who I wanted to follow, and devil saw it, and the Lord saw that the Devil saw and gave grace enough to help me grow from such things, thus "turning all things together for my good" as Jacob says, and as my patriarchal blessing says.

    When you use the word messiness to describe this, you are using the wrong word, and frankly, it shows how subconscious Mormon culture can be in judging those who go through hard times (i.e. "...they brought it on themselves", as King Benjamin warned against).

    You see what I'm getting at? Messiness isn't the word I'd use...but refinement.

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