Micah Chapter 3

O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment? 

Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones;  Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.
 

Then shall they cry unto the Lord, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings. 
 

Thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.  
 
Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them. 
 

Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God. 
 

But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin. 
 

Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity.
 
They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity. 
 

The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the Lord, and say, Is not the Lord among us? none evil can come upon us. 
 

Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.

Communication from the Lord

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.

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.  

 
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.

Seeking for and obtaining gifts – part of the expected pattern

I received this comment and question:

As I have learned more about the scriptures, I have come to find many “anomalies” in the lives of the prophets are actually not anomalous but part of the expected pattern. Examples of things I once thought exceptions which I now believe are expected steps along “the way” include Moses’ struggle with the devil, the 2nd Comforter, the sealing power, Christ’s willingness to give Nephi anything he asks, John’s vision of all, Abraham’s astral journey and John’s entering into the temple in heaven.
The appearance of the Liahona in the Book of Mormon seems anomalous, a physical object of divine origin given to aid his servant in completing his journey. But is the Liahona in fact, an anomaly or can any righteous member expect physical tokens from heaven to aid them on their own journey before they arrive in the celestial kingdom?

I would agree that there is a pattern, it is universal, and the prophets are trying to give that pattern to us in the history they record, the examples they teach, the parables they offer and the commandments they reveal. There is one, universal system which everyone will receive as part of their journey back to God. In order to pass the angels who stand as sentinels along the path you must proceed in an orderly fashion through the veil. It will be one by one.

Yes, I agree there are physical tokens given as an aid to getting there. Take the gift of seership, as an example. We know there was an instrument given to Joseph to aid him at the first. He used it to gain an understanding even before the translation of the Book of Mormon plates commenced. He would tell his family stories about the ancient inhabitants, their customs, manner of dress, etc. His mother, Lucy Mack Smith records this in her history. This understanding came as a result of Joseph’s possession and use of the Urim and Thummim, making him a “seer” in the sense of the term used in Mosiah. (Mosiah 8: 13-17.)

Eventually Joseph developed the independent gift of seership, and no longer required the physical instrument to be used in order to exercise the gift. He became, like Enoch, able to “see” without use of the instrument. (Moses 6: 35-36.)

We tend to think this a great rarity and grand exception. Yet we also find that everyone who enters into the same state of exaltation as God will be required to possess this same gift. (D&C 130: 5-11.) If possession or development of this capacity is expected for all those who reside with God, then the gift is intended to be universal among the exalted. Therefore, we should not delay seeking this as one of the best gifts to desire. (D&C 46: 8; 1 Cor. 12: 31.)

Since whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto will rise with us, and you will have so much more the advantage if you have gained greater light and truth by your heed and diligence than others who have failed to show such diligence, there is no reason to delay. Just as Moses wished all men were prophets, I wish all men were seers.

Your proposition is right.