The question has been posed several times about whether there is an actual Baptism of Fire that actually includes visible fire. At least, I think that’s the question. If I’m missing the point, please let me know in a comment.
Here’s my take on visible fire. I am aware that a few people in history and living today have experienced visible fire during the rebirth process. I do not think it is common, and I do not think it is a necessary manifestation to a pure and powerful Baptism of Fire. In my own experiences there has never been an actual view of flames around me, though I was fully aware of spiritual power far greater than fire.
The key to obtaining one’s own Baptism of Fire is quite simple. I have written this so many times that some of you are probably going to roll your eyes. Yet, it is true. The entire process is simply to learn to hear the voice of Christ in your heart, and then to be flawlessly obedient. I adjudge that all mortals, including myself, will always fall short of “flawless” performance, but my point is not performance, it is desire. If the thoughts and intents of your heart are to be flawlessly obedient, it will be enough. The performance will follow close enough, and the atonement will overlay our mortal flaws with a blanket of grace.
This is where the enabling and changing majesty of the atonement is manifest: When we take whatever truth we understand, and whatever light we perceive, and reorder or lives to that level of obedience, sacrificing whatever is required in that small circle of light, then the Lord changes us in that instant that our hearts turn to him in diamond-hard desire. It doesn’t happen after years of proving our intent, it happens in the moment we choose to forever obey.
Then, the light increases, and a higher level of desire and obedience is required to pass the angels that guard this gate.
On the lowest level, we may be told to not steal a candy bar. When we choose to forever obey that law, then we are changed so that the desire to steal leaves us. On the next level, we are taught to not covet the candy bar. We succeed, and are changed so that we no longer covet. A further level may be to give one of our candy bars away. We obey and are changed. The next could be to give our only candy bar away. We obey and are again changed even more profoundly so that God leads us to meet our needs another way. A greater level would be to obey and give the candy bar away we needed to survive one more day. When we obey, we are again changed so that our needs are met by miracles. The greatest level may be to realize after long experience and unfailing miracles, that anything we sacrifice to God’s will we did not actually need, and that if God has asked us to give away all of our food and our water, then He will change us so that we no longer need them.
This is the pathway to every glorious blessing, to incrementally climb the ladder of obedience to blessedness that exceeds the ability of man to conceive while standing below the bottom rung.
At every level, the lesson is to sacrifice the needs of the flesh in some way, but every level is greater, and every sacrifice more exalting, and every change moves us nearer and nearer to when this telestial world no longer demands that we play be its rules, and we become truly changed, Born Again, remade into new creatures in Christ, changed by spiritual fire and fulfillment of temple promises in the greatest sense, so that mortality is no longer our master.
Then we are ready to abide the day of His coming.
© March 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.