“We’ll Sing and We’ll Shout”: A Mantic Celebration of the Holy SpiritProfessor of English at Brigham Young University June 29, 1993 • Devotional
I begin this morning just as Elder J. Golden Kimball began his general conference address in October 1932. He said, in his inimitable fashion, “I take it that we will all be relieved when I get through this morning.” 1 So it is today; and President Rex Lee, sitting nervously and vicariously in the stead of President Heber J. Grant, responds grimly, “Amen!”
I’d like to begin my invasion of your souls this morning by wrenching a bit Elder William W. Phelps’ lyrics of the hymn we just sang, written at the dawning of the Restoration as the Spirit of God had just begun “to come forth” with latter-day, brand-new dispensational intensity:
The Spirit of God like a fire is burning!
His latter-day glory pours everywhere forth;
His Spirit and blessings are manifest daily,
And angels commune with his children on earth.
I wish to celebrate this morning the reality of the often ignored and too little heralded but very real outpouring of the Spirit of God upon the believing inhabitants of earth—right now, this morning, in the early evening of the last dispensation. I hope that when I get through this morning we might all leave this meeting with our eternal perspective refurbished and revitalized, and sharing the jubilation of Elder Phelps’ chorus,
We’ll sing and we’ll shout with the armies of heaven,
Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb!2
II. The Example of Sister Olsen
Many of you know what I am talking about when I talk of “hosanna moments,” those transcendent moments in our lives when, without warning, we are overwhelmed by a close encounter with eternity, a surprise of the spirit—those moments when, while engaged in the temporal rhythms of our daily and earth- encrusted lives, comfortably duped by familiar routines, we are suddenly brought face-to-face with the holy, swept by the Spirit of God into a transcendent reality, overwhelmed by undeniable evidence of a literal Father in Heaven who knows you and knows me and is somehow interested and involved in our lives. The “We’ll-Sing-and-We’ll-Shout” moment is that moment when our God, Brother-of-Jared-ing us, reaches his hand through the veil to startle our sensibilities, to reassure, to comfort, to guide, to prod, to change our course. Then our spirits soar, our souls are renewed, and we can never really be the same again.
It is my experience that, in one way or another, these glimpses of eternity come to most of us. Nudging us toward our destiny, his welcome and too-infrequent interventions shout to our souls that our Heavenly Father lives! That his purpose is to bring to pass our “immortality and eternal life” (Moses 1:39); that we “live our lives in the eye of God, and not at the periphery but at the center of His vision” ;3 and that our God “is everywhere present,” as Brigham Young told us, “by the power of His Spirit—His minister the Holy Ghost” (JD 11:41).
The surprise of the Spirit that quickened the life of a young Swedish woman more than twenty years ago illustrates and exemplifies the pattern I am fumbling to describe. Naming her story for you makes it resonate once more in my soul, for it is pure and simple truth.
Sister Ingrid Olsen (not her real name) was a recently divorced mother of a young son and was almost as recently a convert to the Church. The divorce had alienated Ingrid from part of her family, and her conversion to Mormonism had alienated her from her friends. The resulting personal anguish had dampened her initial joy in joining the Church. She felt alone and abandoned and overwhelmed before an uncertain future. In the midst of such turmoil, her prayers seemed futile, and what had initially been a time of spiritual refreshing had become a season of despair.
Bewildered by it all, she welcomed one afternoon the opportunity to visit a cousin in a neighboring village, nearly ninety minutes away by bicycle. She planned to devote the trip to prayer, hoping to receive some indication that her Heavenly Father understood her plight and would give her some needed direction and solace. As she rode her bicycle toward her destination, she was miserably aware that the darkening day and threatening clouds matched her own darkened spirits, and she felt that her prayers were rebounding, unheard and unanswered, from the leaden heavens.
In this state of mind, Ingrid at length reached the distant village and made her visit. Starting on her return trip, she rode her bicycle up a long incline in the face of an increasingly strong wind before which she could hardly make progress. Seeing in her difficulty an opportunity to test the reality of the Lord, she went into a grove of trees and prayed that the Father would manifest his presence in a simple way: He would stop the wind. And she would know that he heard her prayers and knew her predicament. Mustering her faith, she resumed her journey—in the face of an ever-increasing head wind. She rode, hard, into that wind, becoming more disillusioned and bitter with each kilometer, for it seemed apparent that God, if after all there was really such a Being, had neither heard nor answered her heartfelt pleas. Arriving at last at the hill above her village, a bitter Sister Olsen dismounted before coasting down the hill toward her home. Looking to the lowering heavens, she uttered a sardonic, “Thanks, Lord; now I know.”
Then it happened, the surprise of the Spirit. Suddenly Ingrid Olsen was filled with an intense, powerful, commanding voice that sounded through her being and thrilled her with the words, “I did not still the wind; instead, I gave you strength to overcome.” Then stillness, and that was all! But God had changed her life.
She was stunned by the reality of what she had just experienced. Her whole soul reverberated with the Hosanna Shout, and she stood all amazed at this tangible answer to her prayers. Wondering about the meaning of the words, she glanced at her watch and was surprised to realize that she had made the ninety-minute return trip, in the face of the heaviest wind she had ever encountered, in less than sixty minutes. She knew immediately the truth of the words of the Holy Spirit—he had not stilled the wind; he had instead given her strength to overcome. She knew, as well, that this revelation described his pattern in dealing with all of his mortal children, and it becomes a revelation to all of us who listen with spiritually attuned ears: God will not diminish the adversity or the obstacles of our lives—there must need be such; that is the nature of our probation. However, he will be with us “alway, even unto the end of the world” to guide and direct and give succor, through his minister, the Holy Spirit (see Matthew 28:20).
The chorus to this Hosanna Shout is a happy one. Moved by this striking manifestation of God in her life, Ingrid Olsen rode immediately to the office of her branch president and related all that had occurred. Sensing his role as an instrument in effecting God’s will, the president responded by making arrangements and securing financial assistance for her and her boy to journey to Rexburg, Idaho, where Ingrid would attend Ricks College. Strengthened by the Lord, as he had promised, she came to the United States, overcame all obstacles, and triumphed. Finding early in her schooling here a latent artistic talent, she transferred to BYU and became a sculptor, learning the craft right here in this building (HFAC). Eventually completing advanced training at BYU, she returned to Sweden, established a studio, became an accomplished and successful sculptor—even fulfilling commissions for the king of Sweden. She later married a Mormon widower and former bishop and is now a grandmother and a renowned artist and faithful Latter-day Saint in her native land. That little boy is now a returned missionary, a BYU graduate, and a father. (You’ll be interested in a footnote: One of her early pieces of sculpting, now gracing the home of two BYU faculty members, is a polished metal abstract sculpted to portray stones shaped by eons of wind blasting and polishing their raw surface. The name of the sculpture is “Opposition II.” “Opposition I” is, of course, Ingrid’s own adamant self, which the Lord shaped by adversity into what will become her finest work of art.)
III. A Believing and a Mantic People
Now, on hearing this account, sophic souls, those who limit their perception of reality to the five finite senses, will scoff; comment on Sister Olsen’s temporary insanity, wild imaginative powers, and complex psychology; and dismiss the whole matter as foolish self-delusion. You see, it is constitutionally impossible for the earthbound sophic to understand the things of the Spirit, which appear as foolishness to them.
On hearing this same account, sophic Mormons, those torn between the faith that sparked their own spirits in simpler times and the skepticism and doubt born of their worldly training—which teaches them to ground all truth in empirical evidence—will emit the groan of Goethe’s Faust, “Two souls alas! are dwelling in my breast,” 4 and reach for a spiritual antacid. Then they will go on wearing out their lives attempting to balance the spiritual and the worldly, which are two “fundamentally antithetical ways of perceiving the world.” 5
Most Latter-day Saints, however, on hearing this account, will generally feel, depending on their spiritual equilibrium at the moment, the familiar thrill of spiritual recognition (you know what I mean—the shiver through the body, the cold chill across the back, the flash across the spirit, and, yes, the burning in the bosom), and he will nod his head affirmingly, or she will smile her knowing smile, and, adding Sister Olsen’s testimony to their store of such testimonies, they will ask if you have a moment to listen to an experience that just recently occurred in their lives—and, behold, we’re enjoying an impromptu testimony meeting.
For the Latter-day Saint, Ingrid Olsen’s experience is part and parcel of the nature of human life, something inherent in the warp and woof of mortality. The world will never understand these characteristics of the Mormon people, or of this university, but they are engraved in the souls of every Latter-day Saint. Despite having been raised, as Paul says, “in bondage under the elements of the world” (Galatians 4:3) and in thrall to materialism, the Latter-day Saints are abelieving people who affirm President David O. McKay’s assertion that, “After all, the spiritual life is the true life of man.” 6
Rejecting the limited sophic view of the world, the Latter-day Saints are also a mantic people, which means they live their daily lives in conscious and constant awareness of the very real, infinite world beyond this shadow world of finite earth. Living in this world, but believing in the mantic world, the Latter-day Saints are, if you’ll allow it, a cockeyed people—with one eye cocked to the ultimate reality of infinity, the “out there,” while the other eye is cocked to the immediate daily realities of life, the here and now.
The Holy Spirit is the link between the two worlds, because the Latter-day Saints are also a charismatic people—those who consciously seek and cultivate the presence of the divine in their lives; who seek to “elevate the place of the Holy Spirit” in their lives,7 to center their lives in a dynamic theology of expectation of the divine; that is, the charismatic Mormons live their lives in confidence that the Father and his Son can and may and do intervene in human lives—and may do so at any moment, in order to assist us mortals in our individual and collective courses.
IV. Individual Ministrations of the Holy Spirit
But while we are also a covenant people and are accountable for our ministries among the Saints, we will be judged, saved, and exalted, at last, as individualspirits. At the center of the plan of salvation is the reality that God’s children, momentarily adrift in mortality, are “entitled to the Spirit of God,” as Brigham Young said, entitled “to the power of the Holy Ghost, to lead [them] in [their] individual duties” (JD 10:296). In fact, it is our individual enjoyment of “the gift of the Holy Ghost,” the Prophet Joseph told President Martin Van Buren, that differentiates us as a people from other believers.8 And when Joseph appeared to Brigham Young in a dream some time after his death, his counsel was to the individual Latter-day Saint: “Tell the people to be humble and faithful,” he said, “and be sure to keep the spirit of the Lord and it will lead them right. Be careful and not turn away the small still voice; it will teach them what to do and where to go. . . . It will lead them just right.” 9
In the plan of God, then, it is the Holy Spirit who unrolls the string that we pilgrims, wanderers, and strangers on earth follow hopefully through the long and hazardous journey back to God, who is our home. This innate longing for home is implanted in our souls by a wise Father; and it is recalled into our consciousness by the Spirit of God as a kind of homing signal that prompts each of us, at various points amidst our journeying, to look up, point to the distant stars, among which revolves Kolob, and cry out, like the homesick E.T., a fellow extraterrestrial, “Home!” Our souls resonate to the truths expressed by Eliza R. Snow:
For a wise and glorious purpose
Thou hast placed me here on earth
And withheld the recollection
Of my former friends and birth;
Yet ofttimes a secret something
Whispered, “You’re a stranger here,”
And I felt that I had wandered
From a more exalted sphere.10
V. Micromanaging by the Spirit
One evening last week, while attending a local wedding reception, my wife, Janice, and I exchanged greetings with Elder and Sister Neal A. Maxwell. On being apprised that I would be addressing you today, he asked after the topic. To my statement that I would be talking to you about the reality and presence of the Spirit in our lives, he responded instantly, and as only Elder Maxwell can, with, “The Lord does a good job of micromanagement through the Holy Spirit, doesn’t he!”
Although we don’t claim that the Latter-day Saints have a corner on the Spirit of the Lord, it is a given among us that our Heavenly Father intervenes to “micromanage” our pilgrimages through mortality, all within the framework of our agency. Each surprise of the Spirit fulfills the Father’s promise to “impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy” (D&C11:13), which shall, at last, bring us safely home. For it seems to me, on reflection, that our Heavenly Father’s micromanagement serves, in one way or another, to aid us in understanding the human predicament, to recall us to the eternal perspective, to keep us on course, and to point out our individual roles in his plan of salvation and exaltation.
Consider his micromanagement in the life of a dear friend of ours in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Despairing, lonely, and purposeless, she knelt in her room one spring afternoon in 1988 and cried out in anguish to her God that unless he showed her some reason and purpose for living, gave some indication that he heard her prayers, she saw no reason to live any longer and would take her own life. You mantics can guess the rest, for it is a classic instance of divine micromanagement that is repeated many times daily among the children of men. Scarcely twenty minutes later, Elders Albright and Gubler were at her door. Though they were weary after tracting for several hours without success, something in Sister Annalore’s face sparked that ineffable something called the Holy Spirit and led the elders to scuttle their standard door approach. Instead, Elder Albright said, “The Lord has sent us to tell you why you’re here on earth.” Stunned, Sister Annalore had just heard the very words of her prayer repeated in American accents. She invited the elders in and received all they taught her as a direct message from God. Startled into new awareness by the Holy Spirit, which rolled over her in waves of light, she caught in an instant the vision of the plan of God and of her role in the plan. It was as if she had always known these truths but had misplaced them momentarily. Instantly transformed, she was baptized the following week. She is currently a temple-going Young Women president in her ward, intent on keeping vital the presence of the Spirit in her life.
Because of the dramatic changes that the Lord’s micromanagement effects in the lives of converts to the Church, the mission field has always been the front line in the battle for the human soul, a wonderful showcase for the “strange acts” of the Holy Spirit. Like many of your journals, my missionary journals as a young man and as a mission president read like a rough providence primer and thrill me more with each reading. For example, on March 11, 1958, I concluded a two-page description of a rich and productive day in the ministry with, “It has been quite a day, and the Lord has really blessed us exceedingly. . . . I have felt much, much inspiration and that ‘still, small voice’ bore witness to me once again of the truth of the work and the message. What a joy it was, riding [home] along the [snowy] country road singing ‘O My Father.’ Such contentment and peace as I have never felt—that is the gospel.” 11 Yes, that is the work of the ministry; that is the Holy Spirit micromanaging a young elder’s life.
On other pages of that same journal are many entries describing our meetings with Karl Lederhilger, the leader at that time of the Seventh-Day Adventist congregations in upper Austria. On our first meeting, after an hour of futile scripture-bashing about the Sabbath, that good man stopped midsentence and said, “We’re getting nowhere with this discussion; do you have anything you want to tell us?” Filled with the Spirit, I ventured to teach him the plan of salvation, a discussion usually reserved until much later. I watched how the Holy Spirit began visibly to micromanage this gentle, kind, and knowledgeable man. At each point I would ask him to supply scriptures in support of the principle, and he enthusiastically repeated, from memory, a host of scriptures in support of Mormon claims. The Spirit of God filled the room. And when I broached the question as to how those who have died can receive the vital saving ordinances, I was startled when Karl suddenly rose to his feet, tears springing to his eyes, and recited 1 Corinthians 15:29: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead. . . .”
” I have studied for years,” he cried to us, his wife, his children, the ceiling, “to learn the meaning of this scripture; and now these two young men have made it all crystal clear.”
” This message is from God, Mutti,” he said to his wife from the depths of his soul. “These young men have brought us the truth.” The chill up the spine, the cold sweat on the forehead, the trembling in the soul—only shared this time by everyone in the room. The family was baptized a few weeks later. I didn’t hear it, but I’m sure the Heavenly Tabernacle Choir was sounding majestic hosannas through the whole event. My journal certainly was.
My mission president’s journal of 1986–1989 describes the same pattern, repeated again and again, with only a few variations: The sisters in Solothurn were prompted by the Spirit to go home from church via the town square, some distance out of their way, just at the moment a young father, a devout Pentecostal leader, crossed the same square. From Yugoslavia, very ill, and seeking a blessing of health, he had been told by the Holy Spirit to go to the town square at noon and he would find someone who could heal him. They met in the square—” by chance,” of course. He told them his need; the sisters led him back to the bishop’s office of the Solothurn chapel, where he received his promised blessing. They went to the man’s home on the following day to inquire after his health and learned that he had been instantly healed. They taught him and his wife and his family, who all joined the Church and later moved back to Yugoslavia- just in time to host the first LDS missionaries sent to open the country to missionary work. And a host of people shouted, “Hosanna!”
The journal recounts how Rocco, the rock musician in St. Gallen hastening to perform a gig with his rock group, was forced by a blowout on his bicycle to walk through the crowded St. Gallen square, a route he would never have taken except on foot, a route that took him right by Sister Chambers and Sister Baumann’s exhibit. They spotted him, took him to a nearby park bench to talk, and the Holy Spirit managed to make him late for his concert. Just over a year later Rocco accepted a mission call to Vienna, Austria, where he served with distinction, a finesser for the Lord in micromanaging the course of many souls into the kingdom of God. Hosanna!
As a mission president, I monitored the weekly reports of 125 missionaries, all written in German, which I corrected and edited with my professorial red pen. But those reports were far more than German exercises; I learned to consider that weekly stack of reports as “The Acts of the Holy Ghost in German-Switzerland, Southern Germany, and Austria.” The excitement in reading such reports came in watching the none-too-subtle changes that were occurring week after week in the souls of those missionaries, testimonials to the Father’s moving in mysterious ways to micromanage the destinies of his sons and daughters. Sandwiched among the daily, often nit-picking concerns of these young ministers of God were those startling hosanna moments that testified—sometimes in awe and wonder, and sometimes in the most matter-of-fact fashion—how God had touched their lives or the lives of their investigators and brought about yet another life-course change that will affect eternity.
After a year or two of reading these modern scriptures-in-the-rough, I started in amazement on hearing a venerable Swiss member proclaim that the Spirit was not as evident in the Church as it had been formerly. I gently took issue with him, bore testimony, and then took a little, unscientific survey of my missionaries. Defining in our mission newsletter what I meant by a spiritual experience, I asked the missionaries to report in our next interview the number and nature of specific interventions by the Lord in their lives or the lives of their investigators during the previous week. I established no margin for error in the results, since mission presidents (at least Swiss mission presidents) never make any errors; but my findings were telling. During my missionwide interviews that next week, I found that each missionary had experienced and recorded in their journals an average of six hosanna moments. Even in the arithmetic of an English professor, that amounts, in the small Swiss-Zurich Mission, to a projected average of 650 spiritual experiences per week, or 33,800 per year, or, during the three-year term of a mission president, that means the Holy Ghost has made his presence felt some 101,400 times—and the mission president routinely gets to read about many of them in the weekly reports! I don’t want to argue for my scientific method, but these approximations suggest why some of us mission presidents are loathe to leave these uncommon Zions; and why missionaries who have basked in the inexpressible and ineffable for eighteen or twenty-four months must settle for the cliché “These were the best two years of my life.” Of course they were.
O that I were an angel and could make a record of the acts of the Holy Ghost among the Latter-day Saints and the children of men. O that every child of God were commanded to dial an 800 number and record at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City each surprise of the Spirit in our lives; then, as John said, “I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25).
VI. Other Hosanna Moments
Not all of the Lord’s micromanagement is to be found in the mission field, of course. The Spirit of the Lord is at the ready. And if we build a spiritual edifice, he will come. As President McKay testified, spiritual manifestations seemed to come to him, as they do to most of us, “as a natural sequence to the performance of duty.” 12 If we place ourselves in the way of the Spirit and are wholeheartedly engaged in the service of our fellow beings, they will turn to us in times of spiritual need, and inevitably we will experience his closeness.
Your present church calling, devotedly performed, will give you your surest access to the Holy Spirit—though I am not confident that the position of ward eraser cleaner affords quite the same chance as elders quorum president, Relief Society visiting teacher, or home teacher. I do know that if we fill our callings with an “eye single to the glory of God,” the Father will match every “Father-may-I” step we take toward him with a giant step toward us. He will open sacred doors and answer heartfelt prayers in marvelous ways, and we will find ourselves shouting hosanna once again.
One never knows when such hosanna moments will occur. Some weeks ago I was called out of a Thursday evening meeting at the Missionary Training Center, where I serve as a branch president, by an elder with a toothache that hurt so bad that he was crying in pain and with a jaw so swollen that he had not been able to eat all day. Unable to get into a dentist until the next day, he asked if I would bless the pain away. “Do you think it can be done?” I asked, trying to put down my own inner Schweinhund that sees toothache as abscesses in need of repair and wondering how I could arrange to get him some painkiller pills at that time of night. Then I heard him say, his voice charged with faith, “I know the Lord can do it, and I don’t see any useful lesson to be gained by this pain when I can’t concentrate on Japanese or anything but this pain; and I see a whole lot to be gained if the Lord will simply stop the pain.” We talked until I felt the Spirit whisper, “Now,” and flood my mind with what I should say. Then I laid on hands and blessed the young man. On feeling those impulses that I know as the promptings of the Spirit, I clambered out on a swaying branch I had trodden before and promised him that he would be healed at once. I concluded the blessing, spoke a few words of instruction about how to pray after a blessing, and we returned to the branch meeting. Otherwise engaged with missionaries, I did not see him again that evening, but I prayed hard on Friday and Saturday that the Lord would have already granted the young man the blessing he sought—and more. On Sunday morning he was at my office door, bright-eyed and radiant, to tell me that a miracle had indeed occurred. Before he had taken his seat in the meeting to which we returned on Thursday, the pain had stopped; by the end of the meeting the throbbing was gone; by the time he was back in his room the swelling had left and he was able to eat. He did not keep his appointment with the dentist the next afternoon—he said he couldn’t afford the time away from Japanese. He bore testimony to me that his joy in the reality of the Holy Spirit in his life exceeded the relief he experienced with the cessation of pain. This testimony had come to a spiritually insecure young man who needed at that time, in that place, and in that way, some unambiguous support from his wise Heavenly Father. As the door closed behind him, I said aloud, “Thanks, Lord,” and experienced that familiar flood of warmth and comfort—something akin, I suppose, to being perched in the hollow of his hand.
Fathers and mothers and children give each other much occasion for hosanna moments, and grow up together. I was a humbled participant in such a moment late one evening several years ago after our young daughter fell and struck her head a terrible blow. I rushed into the room and was stunned to find my wife kneeling over an apparently lifeless girl. As I knelt across from my wife, thinking about first aid and paramedics, she looked up, pointed her finger at my chest, and said, with a power I knew flowed from the purest spring, “Heal her . . . now!” Obedient, I immediately laid my hands on Jennifer’s head and spoke the keys: “In the name of Jesus Christ and by the power of his priesthood, I command that you be healed this instant. Amen.” As I lifted my hands, Jennifer’s chest began to heave, her breathing recommenced, and her eyes focused. Looking up into the anxious faces of two frightened parents, she said the sweetest words we’d ever heard, “What’s wrong?” “Nothing,” we responded. “Everything’s fine, now.” Driving home from the hospital that night, my wife and I were in a state of hosanna. Our Father had once more spanned the gap with his immortal finger, had managed another surprise of the Spirit. We had already believed that he knows each sparrow’s fall. But this was our little sparrow whose life he had intervened to preserve.
I find I could go on relating such instances, the Holy Spirit permitting (and he does not always permit), from now until the Cougars win their next Holiday Bowl—a terrible fate for you kind listeners, especially when addressed by one who, regardless of his desires to be led by the Spirit, can never find his car in the Marriott Center parking lot after a ball game.
When I step back from the routines and dailinesses of my life and sift and winnow my experiences, I stand all amazed at the number of hosanna moments I have experienced or of which I have learned through the witness of others. It is clear to me that we are surrounded by the holy; that our God is indeed on hand and on duty, through his minister, the Holy Spirit; that the Spirit is with all of us in our mortal journey exactly as it was with the early missionaries of this dispensation: “I will go before your face,” the Lord promised. “I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C84:88). In the Lord’s micromanagement of our lives, we witness, wrote C. S. Lewis, “a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.” 13
Let us then be born of that Holy Spirit that we may always be borne by the Spirit. Let us shatter the earth crust that accrues to our souls and live, as Brigham Young urged the Saints, “so as to have the Spirit every day, every hour of the day, every minute of the day” (JD 10:296). Let us conscientiously opt for spirituality, which means cultivating “the near-constant companionship of the Lord’s Spirit” (MD, p. 760). Let us opt to see the world “Mormonly,” to look through eyes “single to the glory of God,” constantly refocusing, in the give and take of life, the eternal perspective, and ever seeing the present life for the parenthesis in eternity it is. And, soaking our spiritual contact lenses in that expansive, mantic view, let us be able to say, as C. S. Lewis said about Christianity, “I believe in [Mormonism] as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” 14
The Holy Spirit shall come to you—this afternoon, tomorrow, or the day after. And when he comes, be grateful, honor his presence, heed his admonitions, and he shall abide with you. And then “shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, . . . forever and ever” (D&C121:45–46).
The Spirit of God like a fire is burning!
His latter-day glory flows everywhere forth,
His Spirit and blessings are manifest daily,
And Angels commune with his children on earth.
We’ll sing and we’ll shout with the armies of heaven,
Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb!
Let glory to them in the highest be given,
Henceforth and forever,
. . . in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
1. J. Golden Kimball, “What Is a ‘Good Man’?” CR, October 1932, p. 17.
2. William W. Phelps, “The Spirit of God,” Hymns (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985), no. 2.
3. M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1978), p. 311.
4. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust, Parts One and Two, trans. George M. Priest (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1940), Act I, scene ii (Vor dem Tor).
5. Hugh Nibley, “Three Shrines: Mantic, Sophic, and Sophistic,” pp. 311–79, and “Paths That Stray: Some Notes on Sophic and Mantic,” pp. 380–478, inThe Ancient State: The Rulers and the Ruled, Donald W. Parry and Stephen D. Ricks, eds. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., and Provo Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1991). See also Curtis H. Wright, “A Sophic and a Mantic People,” BYU Studies 31 (Summer 1991): 55.
6. David O. McKay, “Peace Through Jesus Christ,” Treasures of Life, comp. Clare Middlemiss (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1962), p. 205.
7. Jeffrey C. Jacob, “Explorations in Mormon Social Character: Beyond the Liahona and Iron Rod,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 22 (Summer 1989): 48–49, passim.
8. Donna Hill, Joseph Smith: The First Mormon (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday Co., 1977), p. 271.
9. S. Dilworth Young, “Gift of the Holy Ghost,” Improvement Era, November 1968, pp. 75–76.
10. Eliza R. Snow, “O My Father,” Hymns, op. cit., no. 292.
11. Richard H. Cracroft, Missionary Journal 1 (March 11, 1958): 383.
12. David O. McKay, “Priesthood Holders to Be Examples in Daily Life as Representatives of the Most High,” Improvement Era, December 1968, p. 85. Quoted in Eugene England, The Quality of Mercy (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1992), p. 71.
13. C. S. Lewis, “Miracles,” God in the Dock (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972), p. 29.
14. Emphasis added. C. S. Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry?” (1944), in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, revised and expanded edition (New York: Macmillan, 1980), p. 92. See also The Quotable Lewis, Wayne Martindale and Jerry Root, eds. (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 1989), item no. 188, p. 99.
© Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.
See the complete list of abbreviations HERE
Richard H. Cracroft was a professor of English at Brigham Young University when this devotional address was given on 29 June 1993.