Monday, July 24, 2017

The Beginning and the End of the World

My childhood included a fervent, burning testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet.  I knew this as a fact and it thrilled me with a passion that overwhelmed my senses and ignited my soul.  I studied his life voraciously, never seeming to get enough.

As I grew older, speculations arose among those scholars of religion with whom I found myself associated and I noticed that those who thirsted for obscure mysteries of God had a tendency to take the simple truths of the gospel and distort them.  I met with people who wanted to know all the details of the second coming more than they wanted to know how to aid the poor and comfort the afflicted.  The fervor of their arguments and the passion of their worldly arrogance proved repugnant to my feelings and for that reason there were some prophecies of Joseph Smith I for the most part simply left alone.

One such was the prophecy and revelation that a part of the state of Missouri, which we as Saints call Adam ondi Ahman, and which is near the town of Far West, was the site of the Garden of Eden.  Joseph proclaimed that this was in fact the place where Eden stood and that at the end of the world as we knew it, Jesus would reign personally upon the earth from this very spot of ground.  I neither questioned nor altogether accepted this doctrine, but placed it in the back of my mind and contented myself to wait until God either verified or disproved it.  And thus I continued my learning and journey.

This journey of life led me finally toward the land near Far West and along a narrow highway which wound its fragile path toward Adam ondi Ahman.  Earlier that morning, I had determined to clear my mind.  I would be a student of the Almighty, and not attempt to bring my own conclusions with me.  I would simply be and allow the Lord to teach.  And what I learned blew me away.

I entered the area, cruising carefully in my rented Ford Flex and keeping this resolution in mind when a force as I had never felt forced itself upon me.  My mind cleared and I felt and nearly saw that indeed, this was the place where Eve and Adam had dwelt and labored.  Progressing further, the air about me seemed to change and I breathed in sheer, pure, and certain glory. It seemed to me that here was a place where earth and the powers of heaven met in a channel of power that I did not know could exist in this mortal, transitory realm.

Neither was I alone in this emotion.  My son proved awestruck and my daughter still describes it as one of the greatest sites we visited.  The spirit of the place proved so real, so certain, and so completely undeniable that all voices automatically dropped to a hush and I found myself involuntarily saying, "Surely, this place is the beginning and end of the world."

Many may scoff at such a testimony.  I understand.  It seems bizarre that such a place could exist here - for many of us in our own backyard.  But I feel myself bound to testify that it is so.  No human voice has taught this to me and no mortal hand could have created the ethereal atmosphere that exists in this place where "man and God" meet - the significance and divine promise of the phrase Adam ondi Ahman.

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