"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."
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
"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)
"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.
I STAND IN AWE
Chris Tomlin (featuring Nicole Serrano)