I just printed “Journey to Zion” for the first time. (Sorry, new name. I know, I keep going politician and changing it). Seeing a book for the first time on paper is really interesting. It’s kind of like feeling the baby kick for the first time. It’s finally real.
I have one more quick edit to do and then I’ll be sending it to a few readers who I trust to keep it to themselves and not post it on the internet or something, and also to give me the feedback I need to polish the book.
I thought you might enjoy reading part of the Forward to the book. Thank you for being patient these last few weeks. I felt a great urgency to getting “Journey to Zion” finished, and the Un-Blog kind of went silent. Sorry.
I promise I will get my Un-Blogging hat back on after the Holidays.
This book is an account of Spencer’s visions of his personal journey to the latter-day Zion. All of them are related here as Spencer told them to me in over 50 hours of interviews. Every vision and experience recorded herein is Spencer’s, but most of the language is a result of my effort to put into words what Spencer was describing for me in narrative form. Most of these visions Spencer has never spoken out loud, but has kept them to himself and treasured them up in his heart, which meant he had to dig deeply to find words to describe things which have no analog in our modern experience.
I have never met anyone like Spencer. He is loving and kind, and his face literally glows with the Spirit as he describes his experiences. He tears up when he uses the name of the Savior, and he is deeply interested in everything spiritual. His demeanor is that of a true Saint, one whose life is fully dedicated to Christ. I did not find any conceit or arrogance in him – just the opposite, he seemed to be unaware of how precious he is, and how profoundly revealing his visions are, and how far he has seen beyond the limits of human sight.
Spencer is a life-long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He presently serves as an ordinance worker, and has served in bishoprics and many other callings. He presently serves on a general advisory board for the church. He is a professional counselor of children and holds three advanced degrees.
Spencer has died four times, including being stillborn. Spencer once told me, “I don’t know why the Lord has blessed me with these visions, it just seems as if the angels that brought me back to life each time left the door into heaven ajar, and the angels have continued to pass through and into my life ever since.”
Three of Spencer’s visions were classic near-death-experiences. The first one took him back to his past. The next took him to the present and near future. The third showed him what would happen in the millennium and distant future. Many more have been visions that occurred during waking hours, late at night, and during sleep. There is no real pattern in the timing of his experiences, but there is a rich pattern in the content. Each succeeding vision built upon the previous one, continuing the unfolding of his life’s story, as well as providing the necessary insight and education required to prepare him, long in advance of his living it.
Much of the information about his life has been difficult for him to interpret until recently, which was another reason for saying very little about his experiences over the years.
Because of the personal nature of each of these visions, and the fact that they dealt with his own journey, this has limited his views of things to come to only those places and events in which he would participate. He did not see what happens in Europe, South America, or Asia. He does not know of the outcome of wars, or the result of world events. He did not see all of the great destructions of land and sea prophesied by the book of Revelation, because they apparently did not impact Spencer’s future.
But he did see sweeping visions about the future of North America, and the overwhelming events and devastations that would cleanse and reshape this country and parts of Canada, including foreign invasion, floods, earthquakes, continental fracture, the dividing of America by a new canyon, the filling of the Gulf of Mexico by a new landmass, changes in weather and the constellations of heaven, the return of the 10 tribes, the building of the New Jerusalem and temple, the gathering of the elect, the miracles of the millennium, and the final celestialization of the earth at the end of the millennium, as well as many other astonishing events long prophesied in scripture, but never described in such vivid detail as this.
Spencer began to have visions in his early 20’s and has consistently been admonished by the Holy Spirit to keep these experiences sacred and secret. The few times he tried to relate his visions to others it cost him friends, and has brought ridicule and rejection in some cases.
Spencer has asked that I not use his real name for several reasons. First, he sustains the living prophet, and his preeminent calling in revealing the word of God to the church. These visions were given to Spencer to prepare him personally for what lay ahead in his own life – though he understood very little of it for many years. He has never considered that these visions of the future were for or about the Latter-day Church. He is therefore reluctant to release these visions in such a way that they may appear to be an attempt to influence the Church in any way. This is simply not the case. Withholding his identity is an effective way of staying out of the limelight.
The second reason Spencer has asked that I not use his name is that he does not want to become the focal point of people’s questions or hope for answers. He doesn’t want to become anyone’s guru. He doesn’t want to give firesides or do public speaking about his experiences. As a matter of fact, he has obediently kept his experiences to himself for most of 30 years in part to avoid this very possible outcome of letting these visions be published.
He has tried in this book to speak everything the Holy Spirit would give him words to describe. Visions and events that were only personal have been withheld. I have asked him thousands of questions to search out details on those events he has shared. By the time this book is in print, Spencer will have emptied his treasure box of visionary experiences he is able to share, and does not wish to be asked for further information he does not have.
Another reason for his reticence is that Spencer is a professional counselor of children, and holds all the degrees necessary to work in this field. He rightly considers his work with troubled children to be his life’s calling, and he does not want any form of recognition or curiosity to disrupt this most important work.
I met Spencer through a series of very improbable circumstances – so much so that the possibility of it being coincidental is inconceivable.
A dear friend of Spencer’s who knew small snippets of his experiences, moved into a ward with my sweet and very spiritual daughter, and over time they became dear friends. In talking of the spiritual influences in their lives, my daughter spoke of me, and this friend of Spencer’s spoke of him. They decided, “We should introduce John to Spencer!” After a period of time my daughter sent me a text with Spencer’s name and a suggestion that I call him. She thought we would “Hit it off,” she said.
I’m usually not responsive to suggestions like that because they make for awkward moments of struggling to find common ground from which to “hit it off”. In the same time, Spencer’s friend did the same with him, and he was reluctant to call me for the same reasons.
One afternoon I was walking through the house and the Spirit whispered, “Call Spencer – now.” I knew it was the Holy Spirit, so I went to my study and pulled out my phone not knowing what to expect, but I knew I needed to call right then.
Spencer answered and I introduced myself. Spencer replied in a most joyful tone, “Yes, I have been anxious to meet with you! When would be your earliest convenience?” His words struck me as puzzling because I didn’t know until later that he also had my contact information. I thought I was cold-calling him.
We met the following week and without resorting to hyperbole, it was the most spiritual two hours of my life. He began to tell me of a few of his experiences, and I was thunderstruck. The reason was simply this – I have studied and sought and prayed and obtained specific knowledge about some very precious things regarding my journey through the latter days. I had never heard another living person speak of similar things. In those first few minutes he spoke of these very things in matter-of-fact terms. I could hardly contain my curiosity, and my anxiousness to hear more, because where I had “learned” of these things, he had “seen” them, and I was intrigued to hear everything he had seen because he appeared to be describing parts of my own journey I had never told anyone except my wife.
After a while I realized that he was describing things that he had seen, but not fully understood. I asked finally “Do you know what these things mean?”
He looked innocent as he replied, “No, not really, not all of it.”
I explained what I understood of the vision under consideration and he wept joyously, confessing without any evident pride or self-consciousness that he had been searching most of his life for the meaning to the vision which I had just spoken to him. We spoke for the remainder of our first couple hours together of these things. My understanding and his visions fit hand-in-glove, giving both of us a far broader understanding. We were both filled with the Holy Ghost in great power, even while we received it with wonder and astonishment. This is why I earlier said it was the most spiritual two hours of my life.
I will post the remainder of the Forward in a couple days. Until then,
© December 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.
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