Calling and Election Made Sure
by Samuel Warren Shaffer
Many people wonder what it means to have your Calling and Election made sure. Some people have heard it has something to do with an Ordinance called the Second Anointing; others have read that is has something to do with a Second Comforter that Joseph Smith said is the person of Jesus Christ. This article is about what exactly the Calling and Election is, how to receive it and the story about how I received it.
It says in D&C 121:34-40;
34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—
36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.
39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.
Whether someone is called or not is usually a source of debate among the religious, so how do we become one of the many that are called?
It says in D&C 4:1-3
1 Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.
2 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
3 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;
So if you have a desire to serve God, you are called; therefore the first step to receiving your calling and election is easy. You need to have a desire and to get the Priesthood, you need to be ordained by one having authority. Then you dedicate your whole life and effort to God; it is that you Pledge to bring the Kingdom of God upon the Earth and you Covenant to listen to and obey the Revelations of God in the scriptures and to you as your law. Don’t forget what it said in D&C 121 though; the way that you lose your Priesthood and this calling is by exercising unrighteous dominion, having less than Charity for your brethren and trying to control them or take away their free-agency instead of admonishing them with the Love of God.
Now I was called and I did my best to serve, and the ways in which I served and what I taught evolved as my understanding of the Gospel evolved. I was not always right, but I was always trying to do what was right. The first thing I did during this time period was to begin praying in my mind. This started when I was a late teenager; I began almost continuously having a prayer in my mind. I would end in the name of Jesus Christ only when I saw that there was something that required my attention; besides that it was just a drawn out conversation. The first thing I noticed about this practice is that it repeated a whole lot! Whenever I thought of that scripture, “Do not as the Heathen do…” about repeated prayers; I would try and add something else or think of other things to say. Eventually it became an almost continuous stream of prayer to the point that I wondered, ‘so if I pray forever, when do I say in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen?’ I figured out how to overcome this by occasionally saying, in the name of Jesus Christ and then continuing on with the thought.
I did this practice every day of my mission and sometimes when I was saying something specifically important in my head, my companion thought I was just oblivious. I had now been praying continually for years. I bring this up, not because I am trying to brag, but it factors into a future part of the story, and I wish to cover all the contributing factors and let people know that this did not all just happen out of the blue; I sought this out without ceasing for years.
Close to the end of my mission I heard a rumor from my companion that Ezra Taft Benson had once said, that if you read Second Nephi Chapter Nine every day for forty days that you will ‘know the Savior’. Once I had heard this I knew I had to try it! At the end of the forty days nothing happened really and so I decided that I was going to keep reading it once a day from then on until something happened. About a week in after the forty days I had a dream. This is my account of that dream;
“I had retired to bed and while asleep the spirit came upon me for I had desires to know my eternal state, and condition before God. I saw many Visions in my dreams that night but the last was the most important. I found myself in a real hurry; I was limping down a very big and wide paved road in a barren wilderness. A light began to appear over the horizon behind me, and I knew my time was almost up to remain alive. I had to get to where I was going but my leg was seriously injured. I limped faster and faster down the great dark highway, my legs hurt very badly, but more than anything I wanted to get to where I was going before the light consumed me. The light grew so bright behind me; I was soon almost engulfed in it. In despair and in pain I fell to the ground near the side of the road by a pole of wood. I hugged the pole for dear life, expecting in that moment to be destroyed! I then looked up, and I saw a personage walking towards me in a cloud of light. His personage was so glorious I could hardly look at him.
“I couldn't see his face at first because of the brightness, but marveled at his beautiful temple clothes. He had on a blood red Priesthood robe. His miter was a crown of light! His apron and sash were gold and the rest of his vesture was perfect and white. Then an emotion of excitement and fear hit my heart, piercing me to the center. In that moment I either remembered or heard this scripture, I am not sure which; it said, "Wide is the way that leads to death, but straight and narrow is the way that leadeth unto Eternal Life!" (Matthew 7:22,23.) I then saw his face as he walked passed me! I raised my hands and with tears exclaimed "My Lord and my God." He had a rather large yet middle-eastern looking nose. His skin was fair and his eyes were bright. He had beautiful hair, which was slightly curled. I cannot remember to this day whether it was white or Brown, as his personage was so bright I could not tell. He walked right past me and continued on. I suddenly no longer had any pain in my legs and I began to arise, holding onto the pole. As I reached up the pole I felt something to hold onto. I noticed a small path like a hiking trail that stretched on through the valley before me which Jesus was walking on. I began to follow him and I awoke.”
Now this was not the calling and election, it was only the beginning. Over the years I became increasingly interested in deep doctrine and eventually became a Fundamentalist in a group who also had some false ideas about the Calling and Election. The Election part of the Calling and Election is also called the More Sure Word of Prophecy, which is a Revelation that tells you that you have been Sealed up unto Eternal life. Joseph Smith said,
“And though they had heard an audible voice from heaven bearing testimony that Jesus was the Son of God, yet he says we have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed as unto a light shining in a dark place. Now, wherein could they have a more sure word of prophecy than to hear the voice of God saying, This is my beloved Son.
“Now for the secret and grand key. Though they might hear the voice of God and know that Jesus was the Son of God, this would be no evidence that their election and calling was made sure, that they had part with Christ, and were joint heir with him. They then would want that more sure word of prophecy, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God. Then, having this promise sealed unto them, it was an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. Though the thunders might roll and lightnings flash, and earthquakes bellow, and war gather thick around, yet this hope and knowledge would support the soul in every hour of trial, trouble and tribulation. Then knowledge through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.”
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith Section Six 1843-44, p.298)
This is significant to me because I have received this Revelation. I was mowing the lawn in the Cedar City Cemetery, going in and out of each tomb stone carefully when it started to rain. I at the time was of course praying silently in my mind. Just as I heard thunder I looked up and I heard a voice say. “I am Jehovah the Lord of both quick and dead, and I say unto you, ye are sealed up unto Eternal Life!” I began to cry and praise him. That was when I received the Election portion of my calling, even though I had a lot of learning and growing to do. The Election is not the end of the road, in fact, I fell many times and wandered a lot after this event. The Election is a way for God to say to you, that he knows where you are going and he knows you will try your best and so he can say, you are Sealed up. The Election is really the door by which one enters the straight and narrow path. After the Election, one can receive the Second Anointing from one having that authority, and one day receive the Second Comforter which is the appearance or person of Jesus Christ. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.