“And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.”
The phrase: “And thus will the Father bear record of me” is referring to the Father visiting “him with fire and the Holy Ghost.” This means that to the recipient of the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost comes a witness to the person of the Father. When the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost come to you, so does the Father’s testimony of the Son.
You cannot receive this baptism and not have a testimony given to you by the Father of the Son.
In the Book of Mormon we read accounts of conversion experiences which include visitations of angels or opening of the heavens. (See, e.g., Mosiah 27: 11-24; Alma 22: 16-18, 23; Alma 19: 12-19.) These converts’ experiences did not come after a lifetime of study or reading a library of scholarly works. Indeed, in some cases the only information they had before the encounter came from the words of a missionary testifying to the truth.
The problem is always obtaining a connection to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. It is not a matter of scholarship. Joseph was anything but a scholar when he encountered God in the First Vision. He was young and ignorant. He read the Bible, believed in God’s existence, and trusted the promise by James that if he were to ask God he would not be upbraided but would be answered. (James 1: 5-6.) Therefore he decided to ask, with real intent, trusting in the promise. (JS-H 1: 12-13.)
Because he asked, he met God. Walking into the grove near his home that morning he was a foolish and ignorant boy. Walking back he was a prophet. Though it would be many years following that encounter before he appreciated how far he would have to go to gain knowledge of godliness and the mysteries of salvation. But all of his study and effort was informed by the scriptures and revelation. In my view, this is how it should be.
Scriptures are an essential anchor of understanding. All truths should find a comfortable setting inside existing scripture. If a notion or teaching is jarringly contradictory of existing scripture, then there must be a very good reason or explanation before it should be accepted. It has been my experience that revelation does not contradict, but opens up meaning of the scriptures. This was Joseph’s and Oliver’s experience, as well. (JS-H 1: 74.)
When I study other materials, I do so to inform my reading and understanding of scripture, not to supplant it. I spend as much time with scripture study as I do with other writings. Although I could recite things using my own words, I find the language of scripture describes truths better than new wordings and therefore often use the language of scripture even if I do not show them in quotes. I also make frequent reference to scripture in this blog to show the reader that the scriptures are an existing library of material dealing with every part of Christ’s Gospel. Since we have scripture made available to us at great effort from God and the prophets, it would be terribly ungrateful for us to fail to study what they have provided.
The “record” we already have of the Father’s testimony of the Son, the Son’s testimony of the Father, and the Holy Ghost’s interaction with mankind is found in the scriptures. Although you man not see it fully without further revelation, it is nevertheless there. I have found the scriptures often open up further revelation. This is how Section 76, the First Vision, Section 138, Section 93, Section 132, and many other revelations have come to us. Search the meaning of scripture, and then ask God for what you do not see through your own effort. Appreciation for what has been given already produces further revelation.
The Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one. And the primary means for obtaining access to their “record” spoken of in this verse, is through the scriptures. Although I may try to shed additional light upon the meaning of scripture, I try to keep the scriptures an integral part of anything I write. (Excepting only the parables, where I felt free to let another tradition inform how and what I have written. And the proverbs; which I titled “Sayings” at the end of The Second Comforter; which was another tradition as well.)