Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Elder David B. Haight as a special witness of Jesus

            One of the most loved and highly regarded Apostles of the last generation was Elder David B. Haight, who died in 2004, only 13 years ago. I was thrilled as I researched his special witness and wrote a chapter about it in my forthcoming book, I Know He Lives: How 13 Special Witnesses came to Know Jesus Christ. In his day, he spoke of some rare and humbling blessings of spiritual knowledge he had been given.

            In my opinion, one of the reasons that Elder Haight is so fondly remembered is because in his last years, which people now remember best, he was too blind to read a teleprompter. This forced him to speak extemporaneously in his talks—especially his General Conference Addresses. He would stand and begin reminiscing before the Church, telling stories of his past life, talking of former beloved associates such as LeGrand Richards, or sharing his witness, based on being personally present, of the 1978 revelation on the priesthood.

            On at least four occasions I know of, two by him and one each by others, his marvelous visionary experience of seeing the Lord Jesus and the important events of his earthly ministry, was shared or noted publicly. This event, along with another powerful experience received at the time of his call to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, qualified him to be a special witness of Jesus.
All of these sacred steps of his life are recounted in as much detail as is possible in his chapter in my book. As he neared the twilight years of his very long and productive and influential life, he could bear testimony with great power, benefiting many.

            Although active in Church work in his early years, the watershed moment of his life came during World War II, as he tried to sleep on a military plane, flying over the ocean with one engine on fire. This experience caused him to dedicate his life to His Lord. Thereafter, although he excelled in business and in military service, his first priority was always the gospel and the Church.

            His life course was permanently changed when he was called as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He thought he would conclude his life in that calling, but was again shocked when he was called to the Twelve. It was on this occasion that, on the counsel of President Kimball, after his setting apart, he remained in the council room of the First Presidency and the Twelve to kneel in prayer and ask God for greater strength and assurance of his call. It was on that occasion that he experienced an event that he never fully described, but that he referenced on a few occasions, in which he was given to know, nothing doubting, with perfect assurance. Thereafter his testimony was that of a Special Witness.

While it is true that a man can become an apostle by ordination only, he can only become a special witness by spiritual experience sufficient to eliminate all doubt and uncertainty. This meant that Elder Haight had the apostolic keys and authority, and also the spiritual experience necessary, so that he knew by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus lives and is the Christ. He once spoke of that fact and indicated that if we, meaning the latter-day saints, had even an inkling of what that really meant, it would instantly change their lives and give them an eternal perspective. He therefore sought with purpose to strengthen the faith and testimony of others. He had no use or room for doubt in his ministry and teachings. He knew what he knew.

All of this is recounted in his chapter in my (September 2017) work, published by Cedar Fort: I Know He Lives: How 13 Special Witnesses came to Know Jesus Christ.

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