I first became acquainted with the Bloggernacle in the summer of 2007. My initial hope in coming to the internet was to mingle with LDS who were diligently seeking to draw near unto God. I had assumed that with the vastness of the internet’s reach, I’d find sites where church members were excited about the plan of salvation and were making progress in the things of the Spirit. I thought I would find church members testifying of the blessings they experienced as they focused on the doctrine of Christ (faith in Jesus Chris, repentance, baptism, and seeking the gift of the Holy Ghost).
I did find some excellent LDS internet sites where they write essays on doctrine, defend the church, and do missionary work. These members possess strong vibrant testimonies, I’m grateful for them, they stood out from those that revel in the precepts of men (2 Nephi 28:26).
But where are those members who are like Alma, and the four sons of Mosiah, Enos, Abish, Aminadab, Mormon, Moroni, and the brother of Jared, to name a few?
I’ve had enough experience with things of the Spirit to know there are church members like them. I think it would be wonderful to be able to communicate and learn from them. Maybe I was naive in what I’ve hoped for. If so, at least I tried. So, what does one do?
I’ve decided to write a book. I’m writing for those who desire to embrace the Lord’s “great plan of redemption”. I am not writing as a church leader, a gospel scholar or for a profit motive. I’m writing based on my experience with the Savior, not just what I hope for or believe in.
We live in a day of unparalleled prosperity. Unfortunately, prosperity can be an enemy to spirituality (Helaman 12:1-3). LDS author James Farrell observed:
“Many [LDS] today carry a secret: We do not love what we have been commanded to love. We do not love what is holy. Although we might reverence things that are deemed holy – the temple, for example, and the scriptures, and the Sabbath – we do not love them. Not really. Not with our whole souls.” The Holy Secret, James Farrell
There is a significant change that takes place in the heart when one progresses from reverencing the Lord to loving him. I believe the days of ease and prosperity we have known in recent decades has made it difficult for some church members to be in the world but not of it.
The apostle John on this subject said:
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15
I additionally believe the days of ease and prosperity are ending. It appears the chastening hand of the Lord is beginning to be manifest on the gentile nations. As the woes of the last days increase, out of necessity, many church members described by Farrel, will turn to the Lord because of the difficulties visited upon them.
I’m writing a book for those who, as Farrel says, reverence the Lord but haven’t grown to really love him. What is the difference between those who reverence and those who love the Lord? This question can be answered by understanding the difference between possessing a testimony and being converted. Both testimony and conversion come from the Holy Ghost. A testimony comes to those who prayerfully seek the truth. Conversion comes to those who possess a testimony and forge ahead keeping the commandments and receive the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:
“After baptism in water, legal administrators lay their hands upon a repentant person and say: ‘Receive the Holy Ghost.’ This gives him the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is the right to the constant companionship of that member of the Godhead based on faithfulness. Either then or later, depending upon the individual’s personal worthiness, the Holy Ghost comes. The baptized person becomes a new creature. He is baptized with fire, sin and evil are burned out of his soul, and he is born again.” New Witness for the Articles of Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co. 1985), p. 291.
There are two baptisms church member must receive in order to fulfill the purpose of the baptism ordinance: the baptism of water and the baptism by fire. The purpose of the book is to help create a better understanding of these two baptisms so member’s confidence will wax strong in the presence of God, and the Holy Ghost can be their constant companion.
Note: the book is currently in a first draft stage. I will be adding to and making changes until it is complete. I feel it is far enough along to invite those interested to begin reading. I hope to receive comments and advice from interested readers.