General Conference (4/2/16)

In a prior post (see: Just Shut Up) I mused about feeling the Spirit at the upcoming General Conference (emphasis added; this is odd, one generally doesn’t quote oneself):

I have come to love and crave worshiping with the Messianic Jewish Fellowship. The Spirit there feels omnipresent; it feels expansive. Please don’t misunderstand, I also very much enjoy daily, personal spiritual experiences; these are characteristically sublime. Clearly, the expansive and the sublime should not comprise a false dichotomy; it is folly to pursue only one. Nevertheless, these do make obvious the singular fact that I enjoy no such experiences attending LDS meetings. I don’t know if that is because I have become “past feeling,” or if there is simply nothing there to “hear and feel,” or both.

I am hoping that at some future sacrament meeting, and/or at the upcoming General Conference, I can enjoy similar experiences. I am praying to be more hopeful (my expectation/faith in this regard is clearly wavering).

I am happy to note (testify) that the Spirit strongly witnessed to me that the Monrovia, Liberia meeting described by Elder Hallstrom was even more Spiritually expansive than that which I have been experiencing at the Messianic synagogue.

That was the only such experience on Saturday. It has left me pondering why only at that singular point in time. Perhaps today will be better.

Between sessions, I tuned into the live streaming from the synagogue. I hadn’t expected it, but the same Spirit was immediately present as I dropped into the middle of the meeting. Due to domestic responsibilities getting our home ready for guests for the week, I was not able to continue in that Spirit. What a bizarre choice I made.

While there was much doctrine taught that seemed topical to the general theme of this blog, I found the talk by Elder Bednar most interesting. One of several drafts I have in the works is currently titled, “Burn Baby, Burn” (I wish it were ready to post, even in part, but I have much more research to complete before it can be ready). I quote from the draft (emphasis copied directly; this is odd, one generally doesn’t quote oneself, especially when the original isn’t published :-):

Okay, here we go: what is baptism by fire?

The baptism of water, without the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost attending it, is of no use; they are necessarily inseparably connected. An individual must be born of water it in order to get into the kingdom of God. … John says, “I baptize you with water, but when Jesus comes, who has the power (or keys) He shall administer the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.” … Alexander Campbell, how are you going to save people with water alone? For John said his baptism was good for nothing without the baptism of Jesus Christ. “Therefore, not leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith towards God, of the doctrine of baptism, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.” (Heb. 6:1–3). There is one God, one Father, one Jesus, one hope of our calling, one baptism. All these three baptisms only make one.
(Joseph Smith Jr., DHC 6:316 ¶3  –  317 ¶1)

Get that? Three baptisms make one.

I believe that Elder Bednar quoted from the first part of this. He certainly left out that last. Why? Much of the language — even other quotes from Joseph Smith — used in scripture and in the church would leave one believing that baptism by the Holy Ghost and baptism by fire are the same thing. Is the above record in error? Can it only be understood by someone who has experienced baptism by fire (so many implications…)?

I am mindful of a dinner conversation on this topic over a year ago. We were discussing whether any of us had ever experienced baptism by fire and simply didn’t know (see 3Ne 9:20). My daughter halted the conversation, bowed her head, and prayed privately. A few seconds later her head popped up as she said, “the Spirit says I haven’t been baptized by fire.”

I add my witness to hers (albeit, mine is current), the Spirit just reiterated to me that I have not yet been baptized by fire. I followed up by asking if I had been baptized by the Holy Ghost: “Yes, here I am…. Yes, that is how you should record it” I admit to being tempted to simply say “Doh” or “hello down there,” to convey the certain playful feeling present (and no, I didn’t leave it there).

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