I got another follow-up from the same person asking: “In your latest post there is some discussion on these two topics which imply that they are different. My wife and I discussed this and what we came up with is that the first step is to have an audience with Christ (Second Comforter), from which point He will undertake to perfect you after which the Father will promise you eternal life (Calling and Election Made Sure). Is that correct? If not could you shed some more light on this?”
These are two different topics. They are related, but are different. I’ve talked about the Second Comforter extensively. I’ve not said much about Calling and Election. I think focusing on that topic is a mistake. It will take care of itself if you can get the Second Comforter. Therefore I’ve remained largely silent on that topic.
There is a tremendous tendency to see things in a linear way and to impose an order into something which does not always follow the time-line pattern we live within. God has before Him information which, for us, remains yet future and hidden. Therefore we tend to want Him to conform to our time-sensitive perceptions, when in fact He does not. All the elements of the pattern will happen. But the order, time-line or sequence can be completely scrambled from our limited perspective inside of time.
If you look at the experience of Enoch, the Lord spoke to him about gifts and power his faith was to produce some time in Enoch’s future (Moses 6: 34) as an existing fact. The events which would display these powers were, however, hundreds of years in Enoch’s future (Moses 7: 13-17). Likewise Joseph Smith beheld the Father and Son in a vision while yet in his youth (JS-H 1: 17-20). He saw the Father. Therefore Joseph had at that very moment, while still a youth, possession of the highest order of priesthood (D&C 84: 21-22). Despite this, Joseph would be later ordained by John the Baptist to Aaronic Priesthood (JS-H 1: 68-70). The Aaronic Priesthood has the keys of ministering angels (D&C 84: 26). Yet before receiving this form of priesthood, Joseph had an angel minister to him (JS-H 1: 30-41). So before Joseph received “keys” from John the Baptist he was exercising the keys belonging to the priesthood he would receive. I could go on but these illustrate the point. Events involving God do not necessarily follow the same time-line as we would expect them to follow. When, however, Joseph received angels, you can know for certain he held priesthood. When he was visited by the Son, you can know he held priesthood and keys for that. When he was visited by the Father, Joseph Smith had priesthood. It was necessarily present and was in him. Don’t ever doubt that. Even if you don’t quite understand it at present, it is nevertheless true. So also you can receive things from God which are apparently out of sequence with the time-line we live in here.
God is not limited as we are. He lives in a place where all things, past, present and future, are before Him (D&C 130: 7). Time is not only irrelevant, it is non-existent with God.
So if you’re trying to prepare a list, the list can include all the ingredients, but it cannot be linear and progressive in a time-confined progression. God doesn’t conform to that kind of list. He will touch all the points, but in His own way. Our difficulties in understanding this kind of matter is further complicated by limitations on language and lack of faith. Therefore Joseph wisely confined his comments to what the Lord required him to say, and left the rest for each person to discover for themselves. To a great degree these things are not explainable in our language. We are two-dimensional, attempting to explain four-dimensional material. There is always a gap.
As a Gospel Dispensation is unfolded, the Lord will always violate rules we think exist involving timing and sequence. He will confer things which apparently belong long into the process, and will do it apparently independent of the established requirements. But His strange act is not ours. He will do as He wills. For us, once an order is established by Him, the order is followed. Joseph may have received the highest priesthood as a youth, but that still required the ministering of angels and conferral of progressive keys in the process of establishing the dispensation. It also required him to conform to ordinances, including baptism, as the order was re-established on the earth. [Jesus was tutored by angels before His baptism, as well. But He was still required to be baptized.] Through Joseph the Lord set a system in place which would teach and perpetuate the process, which then became linear and time-sensitive. Once established it respected the order of things in this dimension. But as soon as you begin to project our dimension onto God’s, you begin to make mistakes about God. He is not bound, as we are, by time or by timing. [This is a very great–meaning vast–topic. It can only be mentioned here, and not fully developed. But it is nevertheless a very real difference between “gazing into heaven for five minutes” on the one hand, and reading all that has ever been written on the subject on the other. It is only referenced in passing in the scriptures. Therefore don’t expect this to become a well developed subject by what some man writes. Look to God for understanding on this topic.] I’ve dealt with some of this in Beloved Enos. You might want to revisit that book with the question in mind because there’s information in there that helps. But it only “helps” and cannot say all on the topic.
Joseph Smith made a comment about a relationship between the Second Comforter and Calling and Election. I quote it early in The Second Comforter, and I think you can read it on the bottom of page 3. (It is a quote taken from TPJS p. 150.) Joseph’s description is linear. He talks about proving you’re determined to follow God at any cost, and then you have your Calling and Election made sure, and then the Second Comforter comes to you. It is a nice quote. It covers the topic. But any implication in Joseph’s statement about a linear progression is belied by Joseph’s own experience. For him the events did not take place in a linear way. He started at the top and worked backwards. But his quote suggests an order based upon this estate and our need for orientation here. So it’s a good quote and altogether accurate (from our perspective here).
Right now we are all in need of a new dispensation of the Gospel. Some lost (or never completed) components of the work need to be dispensed to us either anew or for the first time. Joseph promised more, and the scriptures predict more, will be given before the Lord’s return in glory. An obvious example is the establishment of the New Jerusalem and Zion. It hasn’t happened yet. Joseph wanted to see the Lord bring it again, but it didn’t happen in his day. When he crossed the river on June 23, 1844 he was headed west to the Rocky Mountains to try and find the remnant and the site of the New Jerusalem. Instead because of criticism about abandoning the flock when it was threatened (accusing him of being a “false shepherd”) he returned and surrendered and was killed. Now we all think the New Jerusalem is to be located in Jackson County Missouri. I suppose that’s a good thing we all think that. But it may not necessarily be true. There’s still some missing information on that topic, I believe.
Well, you proceed just as Joseph did. Inquire of God, who gives to all men liberally and does not upbraid. And if you ask in faith, nothing wavering, He will make the truth known to you. That is what this generation needs to hear. That is where it begins. Once it begins, all things get added thereto. God is patient and understanding of His children’s needs. He will never abandon the earnest seeker. So become one of those. Follow what He directs and you will find yourself in possession of life and light and hope and covenants. Not between you and another man, but between you and God. The full answer to your question should be given to you by angels, or the Lord or the Father, and not a man. When men interject themselves into that process they generally create distance between you and your God. They hinder, rather than help.
Having said that, here are the events: Angels minister to you and confer power, light and truth. They prepare you to receive the Lord. He ministers to you and confers promises, administers covenants, takes away your awful shame, and gives you promises. He prepares you to be introduced to the Father. The Father makes you a son by accepting you through His Only Begotten Son. Along the way you will know for yourself the things which occur on the other side of the veil, where God and Christ dwell in glory.