Here's the myth:
Those from an LDS background believe some mixture of:
-If they see Jesus, they are assured of eternal life.
-If they are promised eternal life by someone, or imagine that they are, they will in fact receive it.
Here are the facts:
Joseph Smith used the phrase "Second Comforter" thusly:
After a person hath faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands,) which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted, etc. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th verses.Here are some key facts:
Now, what is this other Comforter? It is no more or less than the LORD JESUS CHRIST himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even he will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.150-1)
-"Find[ing] your calling and election made sure" (having God say to you "thou shalt be exalted" REQUIRES serving God "at all hazards", or in other words, keeping all his commandments without exception.
-The Lord Jesus Christ can appear to individuals "from time to time".
-The Lord Jesus Christ can "manifest the Father unto" individuals.
-On his visits, the Lord will open "visions of the heavens" and "teach him face to face."
Here are some key take aways from the above quote:
-You can't live what Joseph described here until you prove that nothing can cause you to disobey God.
-Even after everything here has happened to you, you still have things that the Lord needs to teach you.
I would be very happy if:
1. We could all stop acting like having experiences with Jesus is some sort of stamp of authenticity. There is nothing stopping any yahoo from making any sort of claims. The proof is in the pudding. If following one's teachings fails to produce the claimed results, you can set them down as an imposter. We have so many imposters floating around because we seek teachers who tell us what we want to hear instead of testing people who call us to repentance by, you know, actually repenting.
2. We could actually repent of our sins and stop pretending that some church, ordinance, "covenant", trick, promise, book, or anything else is ever going to yield salvation. No one is saved by religious rites. Nothing you "get" will save you. Ordinances will not save you. Key words, signs, and tokens will not save you. It doesn't matter if you are Mormon, Catholic, or something else, the belief that somehow you can be saved through receipt of something is false. A priest's blessing, a temple ordinance, or anything else is utterly worthless if not accompanied with acquisition of and adherence to the character of God. In fact, it is worth less than nothing, because in convincing the person that they already have eternal life, it will permanently block them from doing what is required to get it!
STOP THINKING THAT AN EXPERIENCE WILL SAVE YOU. You actually have to learn. You actually have to repent. Repenting means actually ceasing to sin. You actually have to change.
You can't be saved without repenting--without actually learning about God's character/knowledge and actually putting it into practice in your own life.
You will be saved just as fast as you learn more about God and actually do it in your life.
You are saved by who you become.
Seek Ye This Jesus
The book "Seek Ye This Jesus" is all about developing an individual relationship with Jesus Christ. In writing "Seek Ye This Jesus," I thought I spent more than adequate time showing from the scriptures that you can't know God without first becoming sinless. The first HALF of the book is about nothing but repentance.
Somehow, even of those few who have bothered reading that book, many seemed to miss this point. I don't know that is possible. Here are just a few quotes.
In the chapter "An audience with Christ" (the first non-intro chapter) I wrote:
As wonderful as it is to see God, a visitation is only the beginning! Seeing God is still not the same as knowing God.
...seeing God is just the start of the relationship required to get to know God.
The rest of the chapters in this book describe the process of obtaining not only an audience with Christ, but a habitation with him. That process begins with an understanding of repentance...
After repentance, you are ready to learn how to interact with God in ways that you have only read about. You will come to understand how it is possible to come to know God while still in this life. You will comprehend what great things God has designed in this life for those who love him.
If you follow the instructions given in the scriptures on these topics, you will find yourself in possession of eternal life in the presence of God.
In the chapter "Be Ye Perfect" I quoted these two scriptures:
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (1 John 3)
…that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen. (Moroni 7:48)
In the chapter "Line Upon Line" I wrote:
We know God to the extent that we can see and endure his glory. Although the Father dwells in unapproachable light, the Son can appear as he chooses—with no glory (as he did on the road to Emmaus), with all his glory, or anything in between. The glory we can endure is proportional to the glory that we possess.
In the chapter "To Know Thee" I wrote:
The Lord Jesus said that eternal life is to know the Father and the Son.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)
If you do not know God, you have not yet received eternal life. If you do, you have. The logic here is simple and clear. But what does it mean to know God? If eternal life means to know God, then what could be more important than first understanding what it means to know God and then coming to that point?
John taught that those who know God keep his commandments:
3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 John 2)
He equated keeping his commandments to being sinless:
Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. (1 John 3:6)
Book 1 describes the process of becoming sinless. While this is a prerequisite for knowing God, it is not a good descriptor for what it actually means to know him. Reconciling yourself to God through repentance makes it possible for us to begin the process of coming to know God.
No matter what experience you might have or imagine, you will never actually know God until you have become like him, and that takes a great deal of effort/time/work. Get busy!
(Consider reading this related post).