Thursday, October 11, 2012

Some Recent Experiences as Bishop

The following two experiences happened in the last month. I wrote them down at the time and today reread them. I thought they were general enough that I could share them here. They might even be as faith promoting for those who read them as they were for me.

Experience from my journal #1

"There are times when it becomes very clear to me that I truly have been given the mantle of Bishop. Today while sitting on the stand during sacrament meeting, I noticed a brother seated near the back of the chapel. He was dressed appropriately and by all outward appearances a good faithful member of the church. In spite of him looking like he fit in, I had an immediate and clear impression that there was something wrong with him, not in the sense that I thought he had unconfessed sin, which is an impression that I have had about other ward members, but in the sense that "he was dangerous". The impression was so strong that it startled me. Over the next 10 minutes, I continually had the impression to look at the brother, I didn't know who he was. He appeared to be engaged in having friendly conversations with those around him, he was even making faces and waving at the children near him. There was a member of the stake presidency seated on the stand with me. I sent him a text explaining what I had felt and asked what he thought I should do. He replied "do what the spirit is telling you". I replied "I don't know what the spirit is telling me, it's just warning me about this new brother". Sacrament passed and as it came to a conclusion the promptings were still there warning me of the "danger of this man". I suggested to my first counselor that between the two of us, we would get down off the stand, keep an eye on him and follow him wherever he went. Unfortunately as is often the case with trying to get down of the stand to talk to a specific individual, both our ways were obstructed by various ward members. By the time we reached the back, he was gone. At first I thought maybe I was just imagining things, then I was approached by a member of the ward who shared a very disheartening encounter they had just had with him. I knew immediately again that what I had been feeling was from the Spirit and we began an immediate and earnest search to find him. Throughout the rest of the day, he would leave the building, visit other ward buildings return to our ward building etc. all in a search as we came to find out to take advantage of the innocent. The police eventually became involved and were able to find him. In conclusion... I have never experienced the Spirit warning me as the Bishop that someone who looked faithful was actually very dangerous. I will do my best in the future to not doubt these promptings if they come again. I am also grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who through a Bishop provided the means of protecting the innocent while maintaining the dignity of the Sunday meetings. Everything that transpired was done quickly, effectively and with dignity in relative quiet."

Experience from my journal #2:
"This evening in a disciplinary council, again I felt the clear and undeniable influence of the Spirit upon one who is the Bishop while sharing the outcome and decision of the council, my mind was flooded with one phrase after the other. One scripture after the other... Some of the scriptures I couldn't remember the verse, but I was able to quote it word for word. A couple of verses did come to mind and I went and read those to the individual. Over about a 5 minute period, the majority of what I was counseling this individual was word for word straight from the Spirit. I know I was not manufacturing those sentences, I know I was not coming up with those scriptural chains. I was quite conscious of this fact.It was both startling to me and amazingly sweet. I kept saying the words that were coming and then it ended. I could still feel the Spirit, but the clear words and scriptures had stopped. Afterwards I found myself marveling at the experience and longing for it to continue. The experience of receiving pure revelation from the Spirit in real time is amazing. This too shows me that in spite of me being just an ordinary guy, the call of a Bishop provides a unique conduit between heaven and earth. I am tired and ready for bed. Amen."

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