The final stage in development requires one to “see” the things that are being communicated. This happens when the “answer” to the inquiry is opened to view, but only inside the mind. You can actually “behold” something as if it were before you, without actually being there. Such a process is physically demanding, despite the fact it is so intangible a matter as to defy description. Seeing things by this process is not limited to time, place or location. A person exercising this gift, for example, may be able to behold Abraham as he receives the box containing the records from his father, who held the box in no particular regard because he could not open it.
I was asked how a witness of the Spirit is felt. Here are a variety of ways in which we receive communications from the Lord:
There was a talk I still recall where Elder LeGrand Richards used the expression “goose flesh.” He was referring to the feeling he got upon hearing something he knew to be true as soon as it was spoken. He got “goose flesh” as he listened. That is not a bad way to describe how some people feel the witness from the Spirit. This form can also be replicated by stirring music, art or other performances. So if this is how one feels the Spirit, they must distinguish between an emotional outpouring and a manifestation from the Lord.
I believe that everyone’s capacity to hear the Spirit bear testimony to them is more or less equal, as all have given to them the “light of Christ.” (D&C 84: 46; 88: 7; Moroni 7: 19.)
How someone recognizes the witness to them is person-specific at the start. Whether it is Elder Richards’ “goose flesh” or a burst of unmistakable insight coming from beyond, or a warmth in the heart as D&C 9: 8 describes, is based upon individual sensitivities. How you feel this may differ from how I do.
When it has progressed from these initial stirrings to the “voice” which you hear within you, that assumes a more uniform experience. The “voice” is clearly not your own, and introduces ideas or concepts that are clearly not your own. You can have a dialogue with this “voice” in which your ideas are juxtaposed with those coming to you. It is not audible, but you hear it inside. It is clearly not your own voice, but that of another.
When you have proven yourself faithful and true to all required of you by the “voice” that comes into your mind and heart, then it becomes possible for angels to visit with you. Angels all come from this earth and have their mortality here. (D&C 130: 5.) If they appear as disembodied (not-resurrected) spirits, they may appear only as beings dressed in white. They will not make physical contact with you. Satan may attempt to appear as such a being, but since he invariably tries to deceive, if you attempt to make physical contact he will reciprocate as part of his deception. As a disembodied spirit, however, you can detect his lack of physical presence when such contact is attempted. A true messenger who lacks a body will not attempt physical contact, but will deliver his message to you. If a visitor is either resurrected or translated, they may appear without glory, in which case their physical appearance will be as any other person. The only difference you will likely note is that their countenance is pure and radiates a purity that other mortals rarely manifest. If resurrected and appearing in glory, they bear unmistakable signs of Celestial Glory.
The closest image I have seen to the glory shown by a resurrected, glorified, celestial personage is the upper pattern, in gold, imprinted onto the Dome of the Rock Mosque. When I saw it for the first time a few months ago, I was startled by the pattern and its radiant glory. It is the closest earthly pattern I have seen to depicting a Celestial Glory. I do not know who fashioned the pattern, but they were depicting something that I recognized to be inspired by what lies beyond the veil and patterned after Celestial Glory itself.
Beings appearing in Celestial Glory do not show themselves, or in other words, cannot be seen, except by those only who are prepared to behold them. Others who may be present when they appear will feel a presence that often frightens them, as in the case of Daniel’s companions in Daniel Chapter 10.
When the person has developed the ability to “see,” the answers to inquiries come almost entirely through the exercise of this gift. Although all these forms of messages and communication from the Lord and His messengers are still available to a seer when conditions or the circumstances warrant it.
There are seers among us. In fact, we “sustain,” institutionally, fifteen men to be such every General Conference. The development of the gift, however, comes not by consequence of office alone but by the diligence of the individual. All are on equal footing before the Lord. Therefore, although it may be conferred upon you or them, the realization of these blessings depends upon their/your faithfulness. Elder Scott, for example, uses terms in some of his talks which intimate seership. The Vision of the Redemption of the Dead (D&C 138) has language I recognize as a seer’s. So does D&C 76.