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.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

President Harold B. Lee as a Special Witness of Jesus

            The below information serves as an introduction of sorts to a full and detailed chapter about President Lee’s special witness of Jesus as found in my forthcoming (September) book, I Know He Lives: How 13 Special Witnesses came to Know Jesus Christ.

            President Harold B. Lee only served as President of the Church for a year and a half before he unexpectedly passed away right after Christmas in 1972. He did, however, spend a long and productive ministerial term as an Apostle. In my researches, I have found it interesting that a number of younger apostles, men who became his protégés, always spoke of him with the highest regard.

            Later leaders like Boyd K. Packer, Marion G. Romney, Bruce R. McConkie, and others of the Twelve referred to their mentor with the highest esteem and regard. They spoke of him as one of the greatest teachers of this dispensation. They also spoke of him as a prophet and seer possessing the Holy Spirit in great measure. Further, President Lee seemed to recognize that one could teach by sharing spiritual experiences without necessarily casting pearls before swine. He was not of the school of thought that nothing sacred could ever be shared with others; in fact, he constantly did so as a means of strengthening the faith of others and bearing testimony that God is active in the lives of those who want Him to be.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Elder Melvin J. Ballard as a Special Witness of Jesus

            This brief review of the life and testimony of Elder Melvin J. Ballard (1873-1939) serves to introduce a more thorough and detailed chapter about him and his special witness of Jesus Christ as found in my forthcoming book (due out in September), I Know He Lives: How 13 Special Witnesses came to Know Jesus Christ. Elder Ballard is one of those witnesses.

            Although Elder Melvin J. Ballard is not known to most Church members today, in his day he was known to the Church as great preacher and spiritual giant in the Church. In my opinion, he might be thought of today as something of a cross between President Gordon B. Hinckley and Elder Bruce R. McConkie, because he taught powerful doctrine with clear explanation and force.

            Though brought up as a farmer, he educated himself with some higher learning, and then magnified his talents while serving missions for the Church. He eventually developed a reputation as a great singer and preacher, both useful gifts in missionary work. He spent most of his adult life on missions, both in the East of the United States, in the Northwestern States, in South and Central America, and as an Apostle.  

Possessing great faith and Spirituality, he received many visions and revelations and performed many miracles, such as healing the sick and bringing wayward souls back to the fold. While serving as a mission president, and working with new members in a native American tribe, he sought the Lord in mighty faith for help and answers regarding how to solve some problems that had arisen. One night he received a powerful and extended dream in which he was introduced to and embraced the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. This experience helped to qualify him to become a special witness of Jesus Christ. Because he spoke of it on several occasions, giving one degree or another of detail, we suppose he was given permission by the Spirit to do so. One of his hearers that was unusually impacted by the power of his testimony of seeing the Son of God was a young Marion G. Romney, who thereafter resolved to go on a mission.