I was asked:
“I’ve wondered about this for a long time. In the blog post about ‘Why wait?‘ there is a phrase that says ‘This appearance is not merely “in the heart,” but is an actual appearance or visit.’ The ‘in the heart’ is my question. Once in a while this concept doesn’t contradict but at the moment it seems to. In D&C 88 it says: ‘Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise.’ So how can it be a false sectarian notion about God the Father and Jesus dwelling in a man’s heart (D&C130:3) and yet a few sections later in the D&C when referring to the second comforter it says contrary. [Also Eph. 3: 17 says: ‘That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love.’] I at one point saw how this worked — but can’t seem to at the moment. How do those two seemingly contradictory things work?”
To have the promise “abide in your heart” is to keep inside your heart the knowledge there is a promise given by God, who cannot lie about such matters, that you have the promise of eternal life. This is referring to the promise, and keeping it dear to you, or in your heart. This, of course, is not the same thing as the appearance of the Son in the form of another Comforter, as promised by Christ in John, Chapter 14, verse 18, where Christ declares: “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” It is the promise that the Lord will come or appear or take up His abode with you which Joseph declared to be literal. He is saying those who believe or teach this to be merely a feeling “in the heart” are teaching an “old sectarian notion” because they deny its literal possibility. (D&C 130: 3.)
The culmination of the Lord’s ministry is the promise of eternal life, as I explained in an earlier post. But the actuality of that ministry as an appearance to a person is not merely “in the heart.” When His ministry does culminate in the promise, then the promise should “abide in the heart” of the person to whom the promise has been given. They ought never let it pass from within their hearts that they have obtained a promise from the Lord assuring them of life eternal.
These are two different subjects. But the question is quite a good one. Thanks for asking it.