Monday, April 12, 2021

Apostolic Witness - too sacred to share?

I was recently reading an article where Elder Cook gives his "sure witness of Jesus Christ". You can watch the video here. I transcribed Elder Cook's sure witness and will share it below: 
"I always worry about saying too much about sacred things. We know that when we receive revelation it's something that we should be very careful but I would be ungrateful if I didn't say that I can testify with all certainty as a sure witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ. I know that He lives. I know that he guides this Church. And that revelation has been so significant to guide the whole church in this critical time." -Elder Cook

As I watched the video I couldn't help but wonder what his Apostolic witness of being a witness of Jesus Christ had to do with camera shots of the Temple and people getting tested for Covid. The statue of Jesus at the end was indicative of my old perception of Jesus: larger than life, unreachable, a sad/serious expression, made of stone/cold material, altogether too grand for me to look upon for too long.  

As I pondered Elder Cook's testimony I thought about how he was hesitant to share, "sacred things". I have heard the phrase, "too sacred to share" more times that I can count when I question why the Apostles don't share their experiences with Jesus. People will tell me, "It's too sacred for them to share. If they share it, God will not trust them to give them more." Perhaps you have heard that as well.

So I had to ask myself - what is an Apostolic Witness?

Oliver Cowdery gave that answer in the charge he gave the Twelve which included the following:
"You have been ordained to this holy Priesthood...when you bear testimony that you have seen God, this testimony God will never suffer to fall, but will bear you out....You will therefore see the necessity of getting this testimony from heaven. Never cease striving until you have seen God face to face. Strengthen your faith; cast off your doubts, your sins, and all your unbelief; and nothing can prevent you from coming to God. Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid His hands upon you. We require as much to qualify us as did those who have gone before us. God is the same. If the Savior in former days laid His hands upon His disciples, why not in latter days?" (DHC 2:195-196) 
In Numbers 12: 5-6 it says:
“Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream."
But the "too sacred to share" thing...what about that? 

Let's use a standard work to answer that question. In the very first chapter of the Book of Mormon we encounter two legendary prophets and their testimony of witnessing something sacred. Let's see what Lehi and Nephi show us, by example, how to keep things sacred which God has revealed to them (try reading only the bold and underlined items for a surprise): 

1 Nephi 1:

6 And it came to pass as he prayed unto the Lord, there came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him; and he saw and heard much; and because of the things which he saw and heard he did quake and tremble exceedingly.

8 And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God.

9 And it came to pass that he saw One descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon-day.

10 And he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament.

11 And they came down and went forth upon the face of the earth; and the first came and stood before my father, and gave unto him a book, and bade him that he should read.

12 And it came to pass that as he read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord.

14 And it came to pass that when my father had read and seen many great and marvelous things, he did exclaim many things unto the Lord; such as: Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty! Thy throne is high in the heavens, and thy power, and goodness, and mercy are over all the inhabitants of the earth; and, because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish! (Have you ever heard this type of exclamation in General Conference? Or in any modern-day Apostolic Witness?)

15 And after this manner was the language of my father in the praising of his God; for his soul did rejoice, and his whole heart was filled, because of the things which he had seen, yea, which the Lord had shown unto him.

16 And now I, Nephi, do not make a full account of the things which my father hath written, for he hath written many things which he saw in visions and in dreams; and he also hath written many things which he prophesied and spake unto his children, of which I shall not make a full account.

18 Therefore, I would that ye should know, that after the Lord had shown so many marvelous things unto my father, Lehi, yea, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, behold he went forth among the people, and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things which he had both seen and heard.

19 And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them; for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations; and he testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in the book, manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world.

Again, I will share Elder Cooks Apostolic witness for you to compare to Lehi's Apostolic witness:
"I always worry about saying too much about sacred things. We know that when we receive revelation it's something that we should be very careful but I would be ungrateful if I didn't say that I can testify with all certainty as a sure witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ. I know that he lives. I know that he guides this church. And that revelation has been so significant to guid the whole church in this critical time." -Elder Cook
If the Old and New Testament as well as Book of Mormon prophet's (as well as Joseph Smith) had deemed their visions and dreams "too sacred to share", we would never know of the reality of Jesus Christ or the great plan of redemption or Zion or the Second Coming of Christ. I have noticed that we as Latter-day Saints are extremely content with vague Apostolic witnesses that lead the hearers to imagine far more than was said

What's interesting is that Brigham Young never claimed a direct ordination from the Lord ever happened. Instead, he claimed it did not happen. 24 years after Joseph's death Brigham said:
"I have flattered myself, if I am as faithful as I know how to be to my God, and my brethren, and to all my covenants, and faithful in the discharge of my duty, when I have lived to be as old as was Moses when the Lord appeared to him, that perhaps I then may hold communion with the Lord, as did Moses. I am not now in that position, though I know much more than I did twenty, ten, or five years ago. But I have yet lived to the state of perfection that I can commune in person with the father and the son at my will and pleasure? No, -though I hold myself in readiness that he can wield me at his will and pleasure. If I am faithful until I am 80 years of age, perhaps the Lord will appear to me and personally dictate to me in the management of his church and people. A little over 20 years, and if I am faithful perhaps I will obtain that favor with my Father and God" (JD 7:243)
Three years later, in 1862, Brigham reaffirmed he never had any being, angelic or otherwise, from a higher sphere speak with him. He continued to hope if he lived to eighty it might happen: 
"I think it likely that after a while I may be able to so humble myself and become like a little child has to be taught more fully by the heavens. Perhaps, when I am 80 years of age, I may be able to talk with some being of a higher sphere than this. Moses saw the glory of God at that age, and held converse with better things than he had formally conversed with. I hope and trust that by the time I am that age I shall also be counted worthy to enjoy the same privilege." (JD 10:23)
Brigham died at age 77.

I have linked this video before, and I recommend watching it if you haven't seen it. And if you have, it will touch your heart deeply. This is the testimony of a young man who was a devout Muslim who prayed to know who God was and then encountered Jesus Christ. If you don't have time to watch the whole thing, go to the 11:25 minute mark where he sees Jesus Christ for the first time and finds out Jesus is God. Compare Afshin's witness to every General Conference Apostolic witness you have ever heard. And this young man's witness is not singular. There are SO MANY out there. This should give LDS members pause...why are other's witnessing Christ, like at the time of Bountiful, but we are not? 

Maybe people are experiencing these things but it's too sacred to share...


God is weird then. It would mean He's revealing Himself to some members but saying, "Shhh, I'm too incredible to witness about (like has been done in the Bible and Book of Mormon). Just say you have "a sure witness". Let people wonder what that means. It's enough for the masses to speculate that I'm too sacred to talk about."

I can hear it now, "Ruth, you are so critical of people. You're so negative! You're speaking evil of the Lord's anointed." I've been told that so many times. 

I am not speaking evil. 

I am asking questions and making connections.

I am asking that if God is the same yesterday, today, and forever - why does he tell our Apostles and Prophets that things are too sacred to share? Why can I give thousands of personal witnesses of people online, as well as my own witness that I have seen Jesus Christ? I have touched the nail marks in His hands. I have had Him place His forehead to mine and speak eternal words to me. I am unworthy and one who is unclean before the Lord. But He is Worthy. And He is Just and True. He has died for me and for all the world to Redeem us from death and Hell. He is the Author and Finisher of my faith. The Great Redeemer. And my witness is not alone. My husband has seen Him and conversed with Him, been touched by Him and blessed by Him. Most of our children have had more than one dream with the Lord. One where He came to them, gave them fruit from a tree another where he lead them to a city, another to a mountain and blessed them. Do I say this to boast? Did I even intend to type this at all? No. Because I know I am a sinner and that I will likely be disbelieved or mocked for sharing this, as I have already been when I have shared this in the past. 

Jesus Christ lives. The Temple Endowment points to Him over, and over, and over. The Fulness of the Gospel is available. Don't reject it, as was prophesied by Christ that we would (3 Nephi 16). HE is the Fulness. He stands at the gate and he who knocks, may enter. His presence comes at a great cost. It will require everything you hold dear. 
"The ancient curse will not go out painlessly; the tough old miser within us will not lie down and die obedient to our command. He must be torn out of our heart like a plant from the soil; he must be extracted in agony and blood like a tooth from the jaw. He must be expelled from our soul by violence as Christ expelled the money changers from the temple. And we shall need to steel ourselves against his piteous begging, and to recognize it as springing out of self-pity, one of the most reprehensible sins of the human heart." -A.W. Tozer

In the Name of Jesus Christ, AMEN. 



Chris Tomlin (featuring Nicole Serrano)


  1. I believe your witness, and thank you for sharing.

  2. I would add my testimony as well.

  3. Thank you for your witness!

  4. I think that the experience of having a baptism of fire and the gift of the Holy Ghost given is a hard testimony to suppress. The understanding of the love the Savior has for us individually and the understanding that he knows me intimately is more than I want to hold in. I want everyone to feel and seek those gifts. My understanding is that to bear that testimony is a commandment, with the idea that it is to encourage others to seek. The Lord always prompts me when and to whom I am to witness. Afshin’s testimony is one that most touches me immensely. I love Afshin’s words, “It is awesome, it’s is absolutely magnificent, it is most honoring to walk is a place that you can just bring the name of this mighty God! It is most beautiful to talk about my God. I have a God nobody else has. I have a Savior like no other. I have a mighty king, prince of peace, yet my friend. Yet humble. What better way to live and give your life....You have the same God that I do, let’s not keep Him to ourselves!” Afshin’s Javier. That is a powerful witness. Jesus never asked to be in a closet. Introduce Him to others!