It’s been many years since I last heard George Durrant tell this story so I’m going to relate it from my memory. If anyone has a reference to the actual text, I would be grateful. I’m sure the story is found in one of his many books or recorded talks and can probably be found online.
George relates that as a young man he would attend class without doing his homework. The teacher would call on a student to answer a question about the assignment or share something they had learned. If they were not ready to share, they would simply say “not prepared.”
The instructor would make a note in her gradebook and call on someone else. Of course the teacher knew the psychology of the situation would cause the unprepared student to suffer the embarrassment of having to admit they hadn’t done their homework. It seems like an effective method.
The Influence of Peers
On one such occasion, after admitting he was once again unprepared to report on the assignment, George relates that a very pretty girl he fancied, who also sat in front of him in this class, turned around and simply said, “Why don’t you get prepared?” Imagine how he must have felt that day.
He said it had a powerful effect on him to hear these words from his classmate. It didn’t matter that he had disappointed the teacher. He could deal with that. But to hear from someone he had hoped to impress was more than he could bear. So he decided to never be unprepared again.
Anybody who has read George Durrant’s biography knows that he went on to get advanced degrees in Educational Administration and had an illustrious career at BYU as one of the most popular teachers as well as a master storyteller who used humor to teach with persuasive power.
Learning From Experience
I can relate to George’s experience. I think I attended class my entire academic career before my mission and before my university experience in the same way. In my immature high school years, the fear of speaking in front of my class far outweighed the shame of being unprepared.
There were many things about going on a mission at age nineteen that changed my life for the better. One of the most surprising things to me was that I became a better student. My High School academic record was abysmal. I now know why but it took me many years to figure out the cause.
I come from a family of educators. My mother was a teacher. My grandmother was a teacher and her father was a teacher. Not only that, but there is a rich heritage of ministers and pastors on both sides of the family, which I have discovered through years of family history research.
Carol and I spend most Sunday afternoons building our family trees on Ancestry.com. This last Sunday Carol shared with me that she had discovered an ancestor on my maternal line, a cartographer and genealogist associated with the publication of the first edition of the King James bible.
Doing the Work is Required
My mother loved Shakespeare. She loved operas and musicals. She loved culture and loved to share it with her family. My sisters responded well. I was not too keen on going to the Old Globe theatre in San Diego to see “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” I wanted to be out building a fort or a treehouse.
Because my mother was a teacher and spent so much time preparing lessons and grading papers, I apparently built up a resentment toward all teachers. I wanted her time and attention and couldn’t understand why her career took her attention away from me. So I became an academic failure.
I guess I figured if I got bad enough grades, my mother would be forced to spend more time helping me to do better in school. Alas, I was the last of seven children and mother was at the height of success in her teaching career just when I was in most need of her individualized attention with school.
It takes work to be a successful student. It doesn’t matter how smart you are. What matters is that you do the work. It is especially important to complete homework assignments. There is no getting around the process of doing the work. There is no substitute for experience in gaining knowledge.
How to Have Your Second Comforter
I have been reading and pondering a book for a few months. I have wanted to write about it for quite some time but have hesitated because I have not completed the work. Although I have read the book, I have not yet experienced the expected outcome of why the author shared his publication.
You may have heard of the book or perhaps you have read it yourself. It is entitled “How to Have Your Second Comforter.” I was originally put off by the words “Have Your” in the title. I would have preferred the words, “Receive The.” Whenever I see “Have Your” in a title I think of entitlement.
Maybe that’s intentional. Synonyms for entitlement include privilege, right, title, claim and prerogative. That brings up the image of a child of God in my mind, or in my case, a son of God. There is a sense of royalty, honor and glory associated with thinking that something belongs to you. Is that so bad?
Hope is Believing, Faith is Asking
I was captivated by the formula shared on the title page: “Hope is believing, faith is asking, knowledge is receiving, and priesthood is becoming.” Those phrases have found their way into my daily thinking, my conversations with Carol and especially in my prayers. I believe the author was profoundly inspired.
The author is listed as anonymous, although he indicates that some, perhaps many may know him. He has a website that accompanies his book and his voice or style sounds familiar to me. He also makes it clear that he is a faithful member of the LDS church, which should appeal to a larger audience.
Of course I immediately compared what I was reading to “The Second Comforter – Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil” by Denver Snuffer, which I read many years ago and still have not completed the assignment. Make no mistake about it. As anonymous wrote, “this is no imaginary tale.”
Living Witnesses of Christ
I suppose the second question in many reader’s minds is “Is this person telling the truth?” This usually comes after the first question of “Is this person a faithful member of the LDS church?” Not sure why that is so important, but it is reality. If you have been excommunicated, you are rejected out of hand.
So now we have at least two modern-day, living witnesses who have shared they have been in the presence of the Lord and were commanded to write about it. Hmmm … does that mean that everyone who has received the Lord and felt the nail prints in his hands and feet must testify of this fact?
Does this mean that one must write and publish a book about it? I wouldn’t think so. From what I have read, and I continue to read extensively on this subject, there are at least a handful of people who have shared in one believable form or another that they have received the Second Comforter.
The Boise Rescue
I suppose that is the crux of the matter. Do you believe that you can come into the presence of the Savior while yet in this mortal existence? If so, then you have reason to hope, for hope is believing. In this case, one must ask oneself, “Do I believe this is a true doctrine or should it be dismissed?”
I continue to think back on the Boise Rescue in which President Oaks stated, “Of course, all of the righteous desire to see the face of our Savior, but the suggestions that this must happen in mortality is a familiar tactic of the adversary.” I think President Oaks mischaracterized what these witnesses shared.
I have read the words of at least two witnesses who have claimed to have seen the face of the Savior, to have been in his presence and have felt the wounds in his hands, feet, and side. I don’t recall either one reporting that the Savior told them they “must” receive this ordinance in mortality, do you?
I honestly don’t believe President Oaks has read either of these books, but of course I don’t know. In any event, my sentiments about the Boise Rescue Mission (not to be confused with the real one), remain the same. I think it was a desperate attempt to quench an ever-growing exodus of church members.
Fellowship Among the Saints
Now, don’t get me wrong. I still attend LDS meetings each Sunday with Carol. I find great fellowship among the saints in my ward and stake. I continue to be convinced that these are some of the best people on the earth and I do well by associating with them. They bless my lives with theirs.
Just this past Sunday, I was spiritually fed by several of our current and former leaders who rose and shared their testimonies. I was especially touched by the witness of a good brother who I used to home-teach, has suffered great personal loss, yet testified of a loving Father who knows us intimately.
He used the analogy of a chess game to describe our choices in life and how Father in Heaven responds. He said that no matter what we do that may seem like a failure to the divine plan of happiness, Father will make moves that are intended to guide us back to His presence, in this life and the next.
Bearing Testimony in Church
I want to conclude with my thoughts about the testimony of one of our former bishops. When we first moved to Camarillo, he set me apart as a Stake Missionary. I didn’t do well in that calling, but I have always been impressed with this man’s spirituality and sincerity. He is a wonderful leader / teacher.
The theme of our testimony meeting seemed to be “the way,” denoting the practice of referring to early Jewish converts to Christ as being in “the way.” Another former bishop with whom I served, referred to the line as it is used in the Mandalorian to explain why they do things: “This is the Way.”
My friend, whom I’ll call Bob, bore a strong witness and testimony of Joseph and the Book of Mormon that resonated with my soul. And then he bore his testimony that as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are in “the way,” or are part of Christ’s true organization today.
Shall See my Face
I immediately thought of the words in the forward of the book I am reading about receiving your Second Comforter, “Knowledge is Receiving.” Why is it that I have received a different response about the LDS Church as it is constituted today than so many others, especially those whom I love and respect?
Bob bore testimony that he has seen the Savior in the works of the LDS Church and the fruits evident in the lives of the members. I don’t disagree with that, but I kept hoping he would say, “I have seen the Savior.” I also see the hand of the Lord in the lives of my friends in the LDS Church each day.
But to see the face of the Lord is a whole different matter. I take that phrase literally. I take D&C 93:1 literally. I used that as my theme for one of my last talks as a High Councilor in my previous stake. “… shall see my face, and know that I am.” That is my goal and my desire. Now I must do the work.