The Path- The Second Comforter

In my very first post, I told you that my four subsequent posts would be a summary about what I call “The Path”. As I mentioned, The Path I have to share is only an overview and not a full discourse. Others have undertaken such a work. Today’s post concludes that Path.

I will conclude The Path by highlighting the final portion of the following Joseph Smith’s quote, which will be the topic for today’s post:

“After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure,then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th verses….

Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; …when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions-Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the First Born [TPJS, pp. 150-51].

This is something that needs to be shouted from the rooftops! As in all ages, God is no respecter of persons. Male, female, white, black, young or old, it doesn’t matter. The heavens are open in these last days. He invites all to receive Him. Literally. Unfortunately, in most regions and religions around the world it is not shouted from the rooftops, let alone behind our own church pulpits.

Todays post is my feeble attempt at explaining the doctrine (and more importantly, the invitation) of the Second Comforter. As I have said before, “scriptures are best understood when experienced”. This would be no different. The scriptures overflow with this invitation, especially in the Book of Mormon. We usually read about Prophets experiencing the Second Comforter, but modern revelation informs us that it is our privilege to experience this as well. D&C 93:1 says:

“Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am”

It really can’t be explained any simpler than that, can it? Unfortunately, it is our own unbeliefs and paradigms that prevent us from thinking this can really happen to us. We might be accustomed to thinking one or more of the following:

  1. This is not to be sought after, due to it’s highly sacred nature
  2. This is only for prophets and apostles
  3. We’re not worthy
  4. It’s only for priesthood holders
  5. It’s not necessary for salvation, so why bother?

One of my favorite songs is a pretty well-known song entitled “I can only imagine” by MercyMe (see video above). It has touched the lives of thousands of people across the world. It has also given hope to me in times of need. The ONLY thing I don’t like about it though, is it gives the impression that seeing Christ and God the Father is only reserved for heaven when you die. I used to think this when I would listen to it, but now I listen to it with the mindset of receiving Them here in mortality. To me, that makes it even more special. We don’t have to imagine!

However tempting it may seem, the notion that we have to wait is not of God. Waiting to see Him when you die is not a part of His Plan of Happiness. He has spoken in His written word, and by the mouth of His Prophets, that this experience IS for YOU, while in the flesh.

I don’t want to say that there is a certain “order” or “pattern” to receiving the Second Comforter, but it certainly seems that way when you read most Second Comforter experiences in the scriptures. I said I don’t want to say there is a certain pattern, because how God manifests Himself to you may be different then how He manifests Himself to another person.

Take Paul the apostle for example. He first saw the Lord on the road to Damascus, then afterwards was baptized and received the Holy Ghost. The same for Joseph Smith. Yet, Nephi explains to us that the “Doctrine of Christ” is to repent, be baptized, receive the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost, feast upon the words of Christ, endure to the end, receive your Calling and Election made sure, and then “he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh” (2 Nephi 31-32). This is also what Joseph Smith said later in his ministry, as I quoted above. So who is to say how He might manifest Himself to you?

Anyway, I hope to explain how it usually happens. The only thing I ask of you is to have an open mind, a soft heart, and study what I have to say for yourself. I pray that the Spirit may witness the truth unto us all.

thomas

I would like to share with you three things on the doctrine of the Second Comforter.

First, what is the Second Comforter?

As Joseph Smith explained in the quote above:

“Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; …when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God”

Notice that he said “any man [or woman]” can experience this. Joseph also explained in D&C 130:3:

“John 14:23—The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.”

It is the appearance of Jesus Christ. I believe this to be the climax of the Gospel. It is the Gospel in its fullness. What an honor! What a blessing! Alleluia to God on High!

Second, why is He called the Second Comforter?

I think it’s safe to say, that when Jesus Christ will come to you, it will be because you will literally need comforted. In my last post, I explained that in order to make your Calling and Election sure, it will require the “sacrifice of all things”.

“For a man to lay down his all, his character and reputation, his honor and applause, his good name among men, his houses, his lands, his brothers and sisters, his wife and children, and even his own life also, counting all things but filth and dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ (Lectures on Faith, Lecture 6:5)

Also, there are two churches God is concerned with. His Church on earth, and His church in heaven. The Church in heaven is called “the Church of the Firstborn”. If the First Comforter (The Holy Ghost) is given while in the Church on earth, then the Second Comforter (Jesus Christ) is given when you become a member of the Church in heaven. Keep in mind, you can become a member of the Church of the Firstborn while still living in mortality (D&C 76:54).

Third, how do we receive the Second Comforter?

When we examine the lives of the ancients, you will notice some common factors in all their lives. It does not come from wishful thinking. It involves action, which of course grows from faith. Joseph Smith said in his Lectures on Faith:

“2 Let us here observe, that three things are necessary, in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation.

3 First, The idea that he actually exists.

4 Secondly, A correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes.

5 Thirdly, An actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing, is according to his will.—For without an acquaintance with these three important facts, the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive; but with this understanding, it can become perfect and fruitful, abounding in righteousness unto the praise and glory of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ”

As Joseph said, with out the correct understanding of these three things, our faith would be “imperfect and unproductive”. But with the correct understanding of these three things, our faith can “become perfect and fruitful” unto “life and salvation”. And what is life and salvation? John the Beloved says “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). It is to KNOW them.

As you may already know, there is a difference between faith and knowledge. Below are some definitions from scripture explaining the difference:

  • Faith– “faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (Alma 32:21)
  • Knowledge– “and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting” (Ether 3:19)

Another truth we must commit to is to cast off our sins. The apostle Paul says in Romans chapter 8:5-10:

“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness”

He also says in Romans 6:1-2:

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

If we are to receive Him in this life, we must cast aside our sins which doth easily beset us. We can not give the Devil power over us by following the will of the flesh. When we choose to do this, it gives the Devil power to bind us and captivate us, which in turn will hinder our growth. We are not perfect beings that is for sure. If we are living in sin, we can call upon the Lord today. Self help, support groups, counseling, and medication do not compare to the power of God. HE is mighty to save!

Another profound, but simple, truth in order to receive the Second Comforter is to have firm obedience. As quoted earlier, D&C 93:1 says:

“Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am”

The Gospel is designed to bestow blessings. These blessings are designed to change us. The purpose of change is to receive the Lord and become like Him. But of course, we are given complete agency to choose. When we choose to “obeyeth [His]voice, and keepeth [His] commandments” the blessing will come. This is explained perfectly in scripture. D&C 130:20-21 says:

“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

The last thing I would like to mention (but certainly not the last thing) is the purpose of the temple. The ultimate purpose of the temple is to learn how to receive our Lord. As LDS author John M. Pontius pointed out in his book “The Triumph of Zion- Our Personal Quest for the New Jerusalem”, death is not mentioned in the endowment ceremony. This should tell you something. Just like every ordinance in the Church, they are only preparatory for the real thing. Perhaps, the REAL endowment is going to the veil and seeing the face of our Lord in this life? I know Bruce R. McConkie would agree. He says in his book “The promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ”:

“The purpose of the endowment in the house of the Lord is to prepare and sanctify his saints so they will be able to see his face, here and now, as well as to bear the glory of his presence in the eternal worlds.”

Now, these are only four things I have shared with you. But if you will take the time to study the lives of the people below, you can find out for yourself exacly what the path is. I do not want to take away the amazing opportunity for you to recieve revelation on how it’s done. I will not take up any more room to write out each example, so instead I will name the people along with a link to their experience.

  1. Isaiah
  2. Mary Magdalene
  3. 11 original apostles
  4. Stephen
  5. Lehi
  6. Nephi
  7. Jacob
  8. Alma
  9. The Nephites after Christ resurrection
  10. Brother of Jared
  11. Moses
  12. Enoch
  13. Abraham
  14. And many, many more…

When the restoration opened, the following people also saw our Lord:

  1. Joseph Smith
  2. Zebedee Coltrin and others at the School of Prophets
  3. George Q. Cannon
  4. And many more…

Now, with permission given to me, I would also like to share some very modern examples. My friend and wonderful example, Jules, has seen her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. One of her testimonies can be found here. Another amazing witness, by the name of Daniel Rogers, has shared his experience here. And the last person I have gained permission from is a girl by the name of Denise Mendenhall (I will post her experience soon).

These are only a few examples, I know. But you can be sure that it is happening all over the world. There is an awakening happening in these last days and thousands are rising up to their full potential. They have embraced the realization that they can, and should, receive the Lord in the flesh. As a result, miracles are happening in our land.

Conclusion:

Brothers and sisters, I know this doctrine to be true. Receiving the Second Comforter can, and should, happen in this life. It is the Fullness of the Gospel. When I learned of this two years ago, it radically changed my life. I too, am on this journey with you. You do not need to be perfect to receive this blessed encounter, let alone to begin the process.

Now, I know I am not a very good Blogger, especially at a topic like this. It deserves more attention, which I hope to undertake in my future posts. Since I am not very good, allow me to recommend some books and Blogs I have read that have helped me understand this process. They are listed below:

  1. Following the Light of Christ into His Presence by John M. Pontius
  2. The Second Comforter: Conversing with the Lord through the veil by Denver C. Snuffer
  3. Beloved Enos by Denver C. Snuffer
  4. Lectures on Faith by Joseph Smith Jr
  5. The Blog Journey to the Fullness

And finally…

“Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will ” -Doctrine and Covenants 88:6768

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