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Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Ten Characteristics of those who've had their Calling and Election Made Sure, Part 3 of 5

 The First Five Characteristics

1.  They did not receive this blessing because "what" they are.

  • They are not necessarily life-long members of the church; in fact, most are converts.     
  • Both males and females are in this group.  They recognize (and I believe most would agree) that personal worthiness is not determined by gender.
  • Their receipt of this blessing is not contingent upon the faithfulness of their spouse.  In fact, in some cases, their receipt of this blessing was obtained in spite of their spouse (i.e., putting up with/enduring the telestial habits of their spouse).
  • Their receipt of this blessing is not contingent upon their church calling.  Only one of the two dozen has a title of "President", "Bishop" or "Elder" in front of their last name (and in that case, the person received their leadership calling after they received their C&E).
  • Except for that last exception, most do not have an in-depth knowledge of the General Handbooks of Instructions. 
  • They do not consider themselves as "scriptorians" or anyone with a special background of scriptural knowledge.  Although they read the scriptures daily, they -- like many -- seek to have a heightened ability to link scriptures and key concepts.
  • All consider themselves "regular church members" who you could be sitting next to in a church meeting, never knowing the blessings they have received.  They're regular people who, for example, like science fiction, the Beatles, really juicy hamburgers, shooting guns, painting, singing in the shower.  Some are bald and some have a full head of hair.  Some are thin and some are, I guess we could say, "under-tall" (haha). They, too, have struggled with raising teenagers, bad spouse habits, financial management, health problems and employment.  I'd say most have a pretty healthy sense of humor.
  • To some extent, ALL are acquainted with loneliness.  They understand the grief that comes from their beliefs being shunned or ridiculed by family members.  Some have been ostracized by friends, church members or even church leaders. 

2.  They consider themselves as VERY IMperfect.

  • Most are rather shocked that they have received this blessing, because they are SO IMperfect.  In many cases, the recipients agreed with the statement, "If people only knew the full story of my past, they would have been justified in doubting I'd ever have my calling and election made sure in mortality."
  • This may be because they have a very keen sense of their own guilt, uncleanliness and standing before God.
  • However, they continue on, having a "perfect brightness of hope" that they will someday be redeemed...and they take the actions (the following characteristics) to demonstrate that hope.

3.  They are prepared to do whatever it takes -- including and especially "The Tough Stuff" -- to obtain this blessing.

  • They understand that there are no checklists in obtaining your calling and election.  Instead, just the customized, personalized tutoring of the Holy Ghost.
  • If the spirit invites them to read the scriptures more, they do it.
  • If the spirit invites them to hop off of AVOW for a month and study Isaiah, they do it.
  • If the spirit invites them to share a smile to someone at church who they don't know, they do it.
  • If the spirit invites them to do three endowment sessions in a day, they do it.
  • If the spirit invites them to give up drinking caffeine for the rest of their lives, they do it.
  • Why?  Because they realize that it's the responsibility of the Holy Ghost to invite all to come unto Christ. And recognizing and heeding the Holy Ghost's invitations are essential if they ever hope enjoy a personal, intimate relationship with the Lord.

I quote my friend, John Pontius:

'Especially in spiritual things, we want to know the formula, the rules of the road, the laws, bylaws and fine print that governs spiritual blessings. I suppose our hope is that if we can learn all of the requirements, we can check them off one-by-one and then the blessing will manifest. Or, perhaps we are trying to make sense of why we checked off every box we understood, and the blessing is still somewhere before us.

One of the things that I love about the gospel of Jesus Christ is that it is extremely custom made for each seeker. There are undergirding principles, ordinances and requirements that are common to every journey, but when you go beyond those few things, there really are very few 'rules' one can write down and check off. The process is very simply to 'come unto Christ, and be perfected in Him.' That purifying and perfecting process will assuredly take as many different forms as there are people seeking it.

This doesn’t mean that we are left without a clear guide as we step off of the known and seeable launching pad. It means that if we have correctly prepared to step off, that we have already taken Christ as our guide, that we have attuned our spiritual ears to His voice, and that we are willing to do anything he asks us to do. Here is the great safety of coming unto Christ, that we are not following a set of rules, but a living, loving, enabling and atoning Christ whose work and glory it is to see that we actually arrive there. Our exaltation isn’t a work He is doing, it is the work He is engaged in. He isn’t doing anything else.

Now, here is the hard part: it is that we must let go of the handrails and the training wheels of the launch pad, and trust Christ to lead us there with complete safety and in the highest definition of efficiency. This is a big 'if', but one should never leave home without it – if we have taken the Holy Spirit to be our guide, then we can replace every question with the assurance of faith. We do not need to know why in every instance, we only need to know that it is His will. This is not blind obedience, this is obedience with our eyes open wide with wonder and acceptance, delighting in the eternal vistas that are opening before us." (John Pontius, "Making Sense of it all," September 25, 2012,

4.  They trust in the Lord. 

  • They are content to wait upon Him -- an essential characteristic for those proceeding down this very demanding journey.
  • They do not trust in the arm of flesh, no matter what another's church calling or position in life may be.

5.  They realize that the greater the blessing, the greater the price paid for it.

  • Invariably, some degree of pain, loss or temptation -- and loneliness -- will need to be overcome.
  • Yet, they know that sometimes the Lord calms the storm; other times, he lets the storm rage, and calms his child.


  1. WOW! That is the best article on this I have *ever* read! BINGO!! :)

  2. Thanks for the posts. Very funny AVOW note. I laughed a great deal. Thanks for the light hearted, though direct and honest treatment.