Monday, June 17, 2013

Have any of the apostles seen Christ?

Have any of the apostles seen Jesus?  We may wonder about this on occasion, since the apostles are supposed to be special witnesses of Christ.  I happened to run across something Elder Packer wrote on this subject in his book Teach Ye Diligently:
…as students there are some questions that we could not in propriety ask.

One question of this type I am asked occasionally, usually by someone who is curious, is, “Have you seen Him?”  That is a question that I have never asked of another.  I have not asked that question of my Brethren in the Council of the Twelve, thinking that it would be so sacred and so personal that one would have to have some special inspiration—indeed, some authorization—even to ask it.

Though I have not asked that question of others, I have heard them answer it—but not when they were asked.  I have heard one of my Brethren declare, “I know, from experiences too sacred to relate, that Jesus is the Christ,”  I have heard another testify, “I know that God lives, I know that the Lord lives, and more than that, I know the Lord.”  I repeat: they have answered this question not when they were asked, but under the prompting of the Spirit, on sacred occasions, when “the Spirit beareth record.” (D&C 1:39)

There are some things just too sacred to discuss: not secret, but sacred; not to be discussed, but to be harbored and protected and regarded with the deepest of reverence. (86-87)
When I first read this two years ago it gave me extra reason to pay close attention to apostolic testimony to see if they give just a little extra emphasis to their testimony of Christ.  I’m sure those who have seen Christ would like us to be sensitive and read between the lines.  If I were in their spot, I’d hope that members would be willing to consider that I might be testifying to something more.


catania said...

I've been thinking about something related. I like to listen to the conference talks as I hike/walk in the mornings. Recently, this passage taken from Elder Eyring's talk hit me with a lot of power:

"I am a witness of the Resurrection of the Lord as surely as if I had been there in the evening with the two disciples in the house on Emmaus road. I know that He lives as surely as did Joseph Smith when he saw the Father and the Son in the light of a brilliant morning in a grove of trees in Palmyra. (Henry B. Eyring).

When I hear/read those words, I know that the apostles and prophets bear a special witness of Christ. Perhaps they have seen the Savior. I'm not sure, and while Elder Eyring doesn't divulge the specifics of how he got his testimony, he does bear a special and powerful witness.

I also paid attention to a few of the other apostles testimonies from last conference:

Of all that I have read and taught and learned, the one most precious and sacred truth that I have to offer is my special witness of Jesus Christ. He lives. I know He lives. I am His witness. And of Him I can testify. He is our Savior, our Redeemer. Of this I am certain. Of this I bear witness in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. - President Packer

"These things I declare to you with the conviction Peter called the “more sure word of prophecy.”16 What was once a tiny seed of belief for me has grown into the tree of life, so if your faith is a little tested in this or any season, I invite you to lean on mine. I know this work is God’s very truth, and I know that only at our peril would we allow doubt or devils to sway us from its path. Hope on. Journey on. Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. (Jeffrey R. Holland)

"I bear my personal witness and testimony to you that God lives, that He hears the prayers of humble hearts." (Thomas S. Monson)

Personally, I like the idea of the apostles/prophets having very real, very intimate, and very sacred experiences with the Savior. I'm okay if they don't talk about it, but I like the idea of them being special witnesses of Christ.

And I agree with you, if we really listen it seems like there are times with the apostles are imploring us to trust their special witness.

Michaela Stephens said...

Catania, Thanks so much for including all those quotes in your comment. I recall in conference their testimonies seemed particularly intense, almost as if they wanted to take us by the lapels and shake us (figuratively).

Papa D said...

Honestly, Michaela, I don't care one way or the other - largely because I know too many members who obsess over it, one way or another.

A special witness? Absolutely. A personal visitation in the flesh? I really don't care, and I don't think about it at all.

Michaela Stephens said...

I suppose I can understand why you would want to give it a rest if you know people who are obsessed with receiving or knowing if someone has received a personal visitation from Christ. It may seem to you as if the emotional and spiritual energy that goes into it is wasted, with lots put in to no benefit.

At the bottom of it, however, is a desire to know that the day of miracles has not ceased, and that Christ does visit His people. That desire is quite proper. Knowing someone living has seen Christ is very comforting.

catania said...

At the bottom of it, however, is a desire to know that the day of miracles has not ceased, and that Christ does visit His people. That desire is quite proper. Knowing someone living has seen Christ is very comforting.

I like what you said here. That is how I feel about the idea of the apostles having receive a "special visitation". It is comforting.

Even though I have a testimony of the Savior, even though I have felt His power in my life, it is still really great to know that there are people who know and have had very tangible experiences with the Savior.

I love the spiritual gift described in D&C 46: "To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.

To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful."

For me, it wasn't matter of speculation or obsession. When I heard President Eyring's words, the Spirit confirmed to me that he knew Jesus lives, and that I could absolutely trust his witness.