The Power of the Journey


Once again the urgency has been pressing me to finish “Spencer’s Journey: Beyond the Veil” which I’m writing for and about Spencer. I have literally spent hundreds of hours writing, reading and rewriting words that make my soul burn with hope and joy. It is an unusual experience, to spend so many hours caught up in an inspired view of Zion.

For me writing is very visual. I view what I am writing in my mind’s eye. I watch it happen. I hear the people speak and see their acts, then write furiously to capture what I see. This, I think is the way with writers who love their craft.

When I’m writing things of the Spirit, of things which are true and vast and glorious, then my mind’s eye view becomes inspired, inspiring and even revelatory. Spencer’s account of the events of the latter days and of the Second Coming left holes for things he did not say, which I wanted to know, and was certain readers would want to experience – what people looked like, what a temple looked like, or an angel. I would see these things in my mind’s view and write them into the book, then ask Spencer if I got it right. Ninety-nine percent of the time I had. It was thrilling to find my eyes opened to these missing moments. I didn’t see anything additional, just those things which he saw but neglected to voice. I think the fact that I felt the Spirit so abundantly is also why this book is going to change people’s lives.

It has certainly changed mine. It has written an entire chapter of hope into my soul.

Yesterday I was listening to the Tab Choir as I was reading, editing and viewing these grand pre-millennial times Spencer was describing, and I was suddenly overwhelmed with joy and once again with powerful, tearful desire to be there, willing to pay any price to be.

The times he describes are both magnificent and terrifying, the culmination of human experience, the fulfilling of every promise and prophetic word, the greatest and most glorious times of all times – but there is a birth canal of tribulation through which we will pass which makes getting there frightening, even disturbing. The change that has occurred in my soul is that the fear of getting there has been purified by the joyous vision of what we will do and what we will be after we arrive. This is what I hope for all of us, and which “Spencer’s Journey” in part accomplishes, that we think no more upon the cost, only upon the magnificent days that await us in Zion.

An empowering and comforting theme in this book highlights why there even is a tribulation, why there is this birthing process into Zion.

It is because there is no other way.

Spencer notes again and again that at each leg of their journey they faced increasingly impossible obstacles. Each time they lost something they desperately needed to survive, and each time the Lord did not lead them to fulfill their need, but He changed them to not need it. Each evolution of faith was easier, and each was more empowering, but it was also more traumatic.  Each time he said, “and our faith was perfect!” a new challenge, a new loss, and a new and greater divine understanding of comfortable dependence upon God became theirs, and again “our faith was perfect!” But, it was many iterations of this process later that they arrived in Zion nearly naked, with none of the “things” they had previously depended upon. They came with a pillar of fire before them, and a pillar of fire behind. They wanted for nothing, and were in perfect health, but they had paid the price of the journey to learn that God was their salvation, not “things”. Then, their faith was in fact perfect.

This is an interesting snippet from “Spencer’s Journey: Beyond the Veil”:

“On the first leg of our journey one of the brethren on the council was a diabetic from childhood. He was able to secure and bring with him a supply of his medication. But, after a few months he ran out. He grew sicker day by day until he could not function, and could only eat tiny amounts or his blood sugar went dangerously high. He lost weight dramatically and struggled for months. We all began to expect him to die soon.

He asked for, and of course, received several priesthood blessings, but he still did not improve. Our ability to heal had been manifest nearly 100% of the time we called upon God. We had seen many miracles of the priesthood, and could not understand why this faithful brother, whom we knew to be righteous, did not recover immediately.

Then, one morning, he got up out of bed and announced that he did not need medication any more. He ate a normal breakfast and was fine ever after that. We asked him what had changed, why he was now healed.

He replied, “While I was dying, all I could think of was, ‘Why hasn’t the Lord led me to more medicine so I can continue my mission for the Lord?’ I had to get very low and near death to realize that I was asking for the wrong blessing. I had been in the Conference Center when Jesus Christ showed us all our future labors in vision, and I knew I would arrive in Zion with this company. But I was trying to have the Lord make me arrive on my own terms – which was with my medicine. I humbled myself and told the Lord I would go anywhere He wanted, to Zion or to Heaven, and I would go on His terms.”

He continued, “It just came into my heart that I already knew I would arrive in Zion, and if the Lord had not yet provided medicine, then I obviously didn’t need it. I knew it was true. I felt vitality come back into my body, and I got out of bed. The power of God and of His priesthood are manifest in me and I’m perfectly fine now. I just had to learn that the Lord was my salvation, not a bottle of medicine.”

So, here I sit, surrounded by “things” and “medicine” and storing more of the same, knowing at some point I will give them up in a process that brings me to Zion. How glorious it will be to need nothing but faith, and to be stripped of the burden and false safety of “stuff”.

Brother John

© February 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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16 Responses to The Power of the Journey

  1. Ryan says:

    I forgot to ask are there any schedules set for completion of the book?
    Thanks!
    Ryan

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  2. Ryan says:

    Thank You for this important work! I’m looking forward to reading more about Spencer’s dreams? Or visions?

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  3. Regina says:

    Dear Bro. John,

    If I can help you in anyway in the completion this beautiful, uplifting book, please let me know. Like you, I am a fast typist (great at transcriptions, also).

    Thank you for your inspiring words. Your thoughts have been an answer to my prayers. I am extremely excited to read and listen to everything in this Blog.

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  4. leah says:

    I have been following your blog and enjoying listening to your firesides for some time now. The question I keep pondering is how can this change me enough to change my parenting? What changes do you see people needing to make in their parenting to prepare their children?

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    • Dear Leah,

      Good question. My answer to every question like this is the same – learn to hear and then hearken to the voice of the Holy Spirit, and by so doing to invite the grace of Christ to change us into His image. This is the only way we can become better anything – parent, spouse, servant, teacher, friend, Saint. It is the same process. When we act upon a whisper of truth, then our acts are by very definition “Inspired”. We become an inspired parent, spouse, servant, teacher, friend and Saint. That sounds like a definition of Zion.

      JMP

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  5. Sharon says:

    Even though I know that God will sustain me if I put my trust in Him, my current level of faith is insufficient to bring about a miracle like that of the gentleman in Spencer’s story, but O how I desire that kind of faith. “…Lord, I believe; help Thou my unbelief.”

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  6. darrell brashear says:

    I am so grateful to the Lord for sharing these things with us in the time He has. I have been going through my own purification process lately that has been really painful, but also very soul stretching and purifying. I can only conclude that He is preparing me for times to come.

    This part of the journey of my life seems designed to take the war out of my heart, to prepare me to lay down my weapons of war. I find that even my mind and heart are at war with each other when the Spirit is not with me. I yearn for the day when my mind and heart come together and Zion is established within me.

    I know when the war is taken out of me and my Zion is established within, then I can be an instrument in establishing Zion in the world.

    I feel a love for you all, and am honoured to be in your company.

    Brother D.

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  7. Joni says:

    Wow!!!!!!! How great the thought of just surrendering to the Lords will and not succumbing to our own. We can become a stubborn people when the truth and light is right under our own noses.

    So goes the truth that has been taught to us for how long?
    SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND ALL ELSE SHALL BE YOURS

    Thankyou John

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  8. Elder Stroud says:

    I have felt for some time now, that the tribulations of the last days were a refining process and not the exhibition of God’s divine wrath. My greatest desire is to arrive at the blessed state of sanctification and spiritual cleanliness before the great day of tribulation, and already be what I need to be without the compelling influences of adversity. I pray that the Atoning gift of our Precious Savior will cleanse me because of my love for Him and a desire to bring others to him while the earth stands.

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  9. LaReta Brinkerhoff says:

    Using the idea of a “birthing” process to access Zion is the perfect comparison that gives me hope. At the end was always a precious little one that was worth all the effort it took. I have had concerns over “getting” to Zion,but now I see that, as you said,”it is the only way”. I greatest desire is that my family will endure the process as well, that we may all be together. One never wants any empty chairs. Thank you for your blogs. They are so encouraging.

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  10. leah says:

    What is the beautiful painting accompaning your post?

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  11. kenh says:

    Everyone who desires Zion will come to know the following statement is true, “The truth will set us free.” Free from depending on our own understanding and come to rely on Christ Jesus, our Savior and King. The world says to be completely self-sufficient, to have a survivalist’s mentality. Christ pleads with us to come unto Him. Yes, food storage is wise counsel but perhaps it is a test to see if we would follow that counsel and then be willing to share what we have with others. Remember the widow’s mite. Leaving the material things in our homes is not enough of a challenge to bring us to Zion and come to depend on Jesus. It wasn’t enough for the ancient Israelites just to leave Egypt behind or cross the Red Sea on dry ground. Joseph Smith told us that the Lord’s true religion requires the sacrifice of all things to develop the faith sufficient to save us. These challenges that are coming will define each of us. Thank you John for helping us stay focused on becoming a Zion people, totally dependent on Him who is our Strength, our Hope, and our Salvation. And yes His arm is extended still, for truly Jesus IS mighty to save us all.

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  12. cami gygi says:

    Loved this Brother John. We are looking forward to this book about Spencer’s experiences. One of my favorite quotes from (I think) President Spencer W. Kimball was going through my mind while I read your blog today. He states, “Security is not a wealth unexpendable, but a faith unquenchable.” Fits so perfectly with what you have written today. We tend to place our security in “stuff”. I oftentimes think our faith is some ways is limited because of the world in which we live. We have to work, we have to have money, we have to pay bills, we have to have medicine. We must find the balance of the wrold and of God. We have to live in the world, but eventually we have to come to know where our true security is and always has been. We may have to lose all of our security in the world, or be stripped of these things, in order to perfect our faith. Thank you for inspiring us with your messages.

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