Often as I survey the environment around me, I wonder about many of the charismatic gifts. It is a fascinating world we live in. Many churches teach that they were done away. Others teach us that they must ever be upon us and always manifest as a true sign to the believers. In the world of Mormonism, there is certainly a middle ground. One I am always watching and listening for.
“But the Son of righteousness shall appear unto them…And that he manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost; yea, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, working mighty miracles, signs, and wonders, among the children of men according to their faith.” (2 Nephi 26:9, 13).
There are those within the church who make the comment that if we have not seen the Savior, than we have obtained nor lived up to all that our religion has to offer. However, does that really mean we have to see him physically and in person? I certainly believe it is a possibility, but something that doesn’t seem common place. To me it seems something much more sublime. Dreams, Visions, and all the other gifts must be manifest by the Spirit. Accordingly we are told, that if the Holy Ghost burns the witness into our heart, it is better than if we had physical verification of the Savior.
Rather than separating all the parts of this verse apart, like many others, why don’t we look and see that perhaps the working of mighty miracles, signs, and wonders may be methods of his appearing unto us? After all, if we can feed the hungry and clothe the naked and it is as if we did it unto him, why could not the same being done to us be a witness of him in our entropy world? What is even more, what if we were in tune enough the spirit witnessed to us the person was acting in the Savior’s place?
How else would we learn to see the countenance of the Savior in others? How else would we learn to see the countenance of the Savior in us and if we are a saved being?
I certainly believe in the visions and dreams which give us greater insight into the Savior’s life. The example of Orson F. Whitney or Melvin J Ballard are great examples of what is possible in that realm. One of the latest testimonies of the same I have read came from David B. Haight. It seems to me that after we have learned to recognize the voice of the Spirit manifesting the miracles and signs around us, then we may be granted a greater vision and view of the beyond.
One thing I am sure of, the boasting I sometimes hear is surely not what the individuals are relating. I remember the tale of a sister who worked in the Washington D.C. Temple. Apparently she helped close down the temple some evenings. She then commented in her testimony of that the Savior lives and that he goes to his own. She then repeated over and over about four times, “I know He lives.” While it surely may be the case she knows and it seems she was trying to indicate, after all Lorenzo Snow’s experience was similar. However, the Spirit was not present, and to paraphrase a Joseph Smith comment about those who do not prophesy according to the Spirit, “and there shall be many inquiries after them.”
However, if we have learned to recognize the Spirit through the signs and miracles around us, I know such blessings are available. But would we ever really know for sure if anyone else knows? Does it really matter? If we haven’t learned to walk that path, and to recognize those miracles and signs among us, does it really matter whether or not another member really knows?
“The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God. Unto what shall I liken these kingdoms, that ye may understand? Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.” (D&C 88:44-46) If we have viewed the creation of God by the Spirit, we have seen God. Why do we need to see more. This was Marion G. Romney’s testimony given to us again just last General Conference by Elder Hales.
“But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.” (Mormon 9:11)
Lastly, the questions I have posed are answered so clearly by Moroni himself. He who appeared and was another witness of the spirituality of Joseph. He surely would not have seen anything if he had not seen the miracles and signs of God all around him. We know he wondered at the heavens in all their beauty and order.
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men? For he hath answered the ends of the law, and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwelleth eternally in the heavens. And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.” (Moroni 7:27-29).
Just because Christ doesn’t walk among us doesn’t mean miracles have ceased. Just because he dwelleth eternally in the heavens does not mean the mercies do not still descend upon those with faith. Interestingly, the first example of the miracles that Moroni gives is that of an angel ministering unto us. Perhaps we are to busy looking beyond the mark and are missing the signs, miracles, and angels all about us. Indeed, the angels we are called to receive, but also to which we are also called to minister.