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[Full Transcript: Taught by Christ]

Welcome to I Believe Podcast: Expressions of Faith. We’re so glad you’re here with us today. This is a special episode today in which we have a guest, Ralph Jensen, with us, who is going to share selectively part of his Near Death Experience (NDE)  in which he actually received a personal tour of the Savior Jesus Christ’s life. He is going to talk about that experience with us and the profound implications is has had in his life and has for us.

“Nones,” Spiritually Unaffiliated, Pantheists, Friends of All Faiths Welcome to Join Us

A canoe on the water with a blurred background of light and a quote about the human experience.If you’re among those who consider yourself a “none”, N-O-N-E-S, spiritually unaffiliated, one as Dorothy Sayers has called one without an anchor, without hope, without purpose without anything to live for or die for, we welcome and invite you to stay with us and to consider these things we share today. Perhaps also you find your belief in God waning. Maybe you feel like the shores of your faith have eroded because of the storms of post-modern thinking, or the strident atheist voices, or other things that have challenged your faith. Maybe there’s been a case where you’ve seen a Christian profess to bear the name of Christ not act it out in their lives, so you’ve challenged them on that basis of hypocrisy. For whatever reason, if you find yourself on the sea of doubt, we welcome you here and hope that you’ll stay with us. Likewise, if you’ve meandered into some makeshift form of spirituality where you’ve combined New Age spirituality with deism and panthesim and a sprinkle of Eastern practices and you’re just really not sure what’s true, again, we invite you to stay. And share your questions and thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter. We love to hear those. We’re eager to be with you.

We do say up front that all truths are not equivalent, though the gospel contains all truth, and that some are mutually exclusive. We’ll talk more about that as we get on with the show.

Introducing Ralph Jensen, Author of Taught by Christ

So let’s get on with the show and introduce to you today our guest, Ralph Jensen. Welcome, Ralph.

[Ralph] Glad to be here. Thanks for having me.

[Karen] It’s great to have you. Ralph is the father of twelve, and was born in a farming community and then moved to the Seattle, Washington area where he went to high school and was raised. He is both a furniture maker and a sculptor; he’s an artist that does custom work in residences. He has had a profound and amazing experience with the afterlife and that’s what we’re going to discuss today. He’s actually authored a book about his experience that he’s carefully written called Taught by Christ. Again,we’ll explore some of that today. So without further ado, we welcome you again, Ralph.

[Ralph] Thank you.

How Do We Know Truth? Do We Need a Vision of Christ to Know Him?

[Karen] So, let’s just dive right in here. The first question I think we may ask, because the audience may ask, do we need to have a vision of Jesus Christ or the afterlife to know that these things are real?

[Ralph] No. Seeing Him is good! But to know He’s real comes through another source, and that’s the source our Father in Heaven has provided for us, through a member of the Godhead called the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the testator. He’s the one to tell truth, to verify truth, to teach truth, and to help us remember the things that Heavenly Father has taught us. The testimony of the Holy Ghost is how we know truth. All truth. We won’t know any truth without it. Seeing is not knowing. Obviously, when people saw the Savior when He was alive, they didn’t know He was the Savior. It was only through the testimony of the Holy Ghost. So that’s how it works. There’s no other way.

[Karen] Thank you. And that process, that gift (the gift of the Holy Ghost) is available for anyone who is honestly seeking to know if God lives. So, let’s just start at the beginning. There are some doubters who might not even know if the afterlife is real. I mean, 10 or 15 years ago, that was pretty much a given, but not so much in our time. Tell us a bit about your experiences as you were actually dying and those first two experiences. Just outline that briefly and we’ll explore that a little bit more. What did it feel like as your spirit left your body? What happened then?

Spirit Lives on; Life Immediately After Death

[Ralph] Well, I was in the midst of a very serious heart attack. It was very painful. So I was not comfortable. I was hollering, “Help me, please help me!” And in the midst of this immense pain, my eyes opened wide and rolled back in my head, and I rolled off the pillows that I was leaning against. And as I rolled over, all the pain left me, and I knew that something big was happening. But I didn’t know that I had died. And I wanted to close my eyes; I couldn’t close my eyes. I wanted to move; I couldn’t move. I wanted to speak; I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t figure out why–because I felt as though I was still a mortal.

Identity in the Spirit World: We Are the Same Being After Death, with Like Disposition

And then it started to become evident that there was something different. I had two men standing at the foot of my bed who weren’t there before. I didn’t know who they were. I thought, “Well, they must be my escorts, or something coming to greet me as I pass from mortality to the spirit world.” And then, when I was able to see through the walls. I could see my daughter, through the wall, holding her dog. I could see outside as if it was day, even though it was 3 in the morning, on Friday the 13th, no less, in February. I felt fantastic. Then I noticed that I was seeing myself laying in the bed. I thought, “Oh, this is different.” And I liked it. I didn’t want to stay, though, because I wanted to be with my family. And I was given the option to live or die, and I asked if I could come back. And so I did. But the life there is fantastic.

[Karen] So let’s talk about that life there, in just a second, but what you just said is so important that your spirit–you were still existing as Ralph Jensen. Your body was there but your spirit was living.

[Ralph] It was the same as if I were to stand up from this chair and walk over to another chair and come back again. It was that normal. And that simple. And I was always aware of who I am. I knew who I was. I thought the same way; I was just in a different location.

Eban Alexander’s NDE: His Newfound Realization that Life Extends Beyond the Veil

[Karen] I think that’s an important truth to underscore, because a lot of people get confused about the spirit, the soul, the body, the mind, and they think that consciousness ends at death. We’re here to witness that it doesn’t, that we are who we are, eternally, and that the soul is both the spirit and body of man. So for those that are wondering, that’s very much a reality. And you’re not the only one who described being surprised when you saw yourself in that instant, that you didn’t realize you had already passed on. It’s interesting, too, in reading Eben Alexander’s experience–he was this neurosurgeon who also had a Near Death Experience, and he talked about how he had been taught in his upbringing that the brain was the end of consciousness. So he called himself a “C and E’r,” someone who went to church only at Christmas and Easter and who wanted to believe, but was taught academically that there wasn’t anything beyond. He said that was his feeling. He really doubted there was a life after while he was studying. But after his experience, where he actually had a Near Death Experience, he said this:

As much as I’d grown up wanting to believe in God and Heaven and an afterlife, . . . [I] profoundly called into question how such things could [be]. Modern neuroscience dictates that the brain gives rise to consciousness, or to the spirit, or to whatever you choose to call that invisible part of yourself that truly makes us who we are. [But then, my experience, my Near Death Experience, showed me] that the death of the body and the brain are not the end of consciousness. That human experience continues beyond the grave. More important, it continues under the gaze of a God who loves and cares about each one of us.
(Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, 34)

So tell us about your second experience where you actually died and then spent more time in the spirit world, and then we’ll investigate what the spirit world was like and talk about your most sacred experiences.

[Ralph] Okay, it was after I got back into myself the first time, the paramedics came in and brought me to the hospital. And at the hospital, after some time, it was probably 45 minutes after the first time, I went into cardiac arrest again, with my son standing next to me like he was before. And at that time, I had a much greater experience in the spirit world. Though I didn’t have the recollection of leaving my body like I did the first time, I had a far greater experience there. It was really the crux of my experience.

 The Spirit World:  Where Is It?  How Do We Communicate There? Move? Learn?

[Karen] And that’s what we’d like to talk about. So, Ralph, why don’t you tell us a little bit about first impressions there. What it’s like to learn there. What it feels like to be there. I hear you feel more real than ever. And what it’s like to communicate there. Let’s start even with the location of the spirit world. What did you sense about where the spirit world is?

[Ralph] The spirit world is right here around us. It’s just in another dimension. We can’t see it. They operate under a set of laws that are higher than our laws; laws that are hard for us to detect with the instruments we have. Most of them we cannot detect. So, it’s just around here. And since this world is more of a schooling place, in that place (the spirit world) you feel a lot more real. You feel yourself. You’re more aware of yourself. You’re more aware that you exist. You think the same way, in that all the ideas you have here don’t change. I don’t become some strange person there. I’m still me.

And then the communication system: you can talk with your mouth, one word at a time, but mostly it’s a communication that people compare to, just brain to brain thinking. I discovered it really isn’t your mind that’s speaking; it’s your heart. You speak with your heart, though you kind of assess it in your mind. It is instant communication; a lot of information in a very short time. If I was going to explain this whole interview here, I could do it in a fraction of a second. And not only would it take less time, but you would have a greater understanding of what I had to say.

[Karen] I love that. I think it was Bonni Burrows, who had a Near Death Experience, and she said that she looked at a ring, and could see–she knew instantly, exactly what you’re saying. She knew the whole genealogy of that ring, who ever touched it, how it was made, everything about it. And it was just in a flash. So that kind of learning is amazing.

[Ralph] Oh, it’s fun. And the other thing, is, you can direct it. I didn’t know how you could direct something like that. I knew some things about the spirit world; my mother had died when I was young, but I didn’t understand this: if I was speaking here, everyone in this room could hear me and understand what I was saying. But let’s say I wanted to speak to one individual, like yourself, and I didn’t want anyone else to hear it. I could do that. No one else would pick it up. And I didn’t realize that was a possibility. It was kind of fun.

 [Karen] That’s interesting. And one of the the things that you shared was how real it felt. That was accentuated. I think Eben Alexander–going back to his account, because I find it interesting that these points all corroborate, and truth always does–said this: “This place I went was real. Real in a way that makes the life we’re living here almost seem dreamlike by comparison” (Proof of Heaven, 39), [although it’s highly valued as a school]. I think that speaks to what you said. And Bonni said that It was so real, it was as if this earth life even the brightest intellect is seeing through a dense fog” (Death? It’s a Journey to Life, 33). And when you see truth and you pick it up on earth [by the Spirit],  it’s still not with that same brightness that you see it in there. And she said it’s like the difference between being in Hawaii and having your body there and feeling the sand under your feet and smelling the hibiscus and seeing the waves versus just watching a video of it. She said it’s just that real. It’s hard to wrap words around that kind of an experience where things are just so real and so vibrant (33).

And as you said, the spirit world is right around us, and scriptures teach that, and modern revelation teaches that. We invite everyone who would want to know more about that to come to us. This is all scriptural as well. And that’s what you’re here for, too, is to bear witness. But you’ll talk more about that.

The Spirit World: Temporary Place Between Death and the Resurrection

But the spirit world is the place where we go right after death. It’s place of rest for those who’ve been righteous and place of peace; and also, there’s a place for the wicked. Like you said, our dispositions don’t change once we leave here. You’re still Ralph Jensen, and you’re a unique and gendered individual. We’ll talk more about that.

You did say something in your book about the communication, as you just shared, but also traveling a distance to an event or people and how fast you can move in that space.

Time and Motion Different in the Hereafter, the Spirit World

[Ralph] Yes, I was privileged to have, for a brief time, an ability like God travels and communicates. He can travel any distance He wants and have no time to do it. He can do it instantly. It’s like thought travel. I really don’t know how it happens; I just know it does. But you can travel like from one galaxy to another, or to one very far away, instantly. If I wanted to see something in a galaxy, I could just think that I wanted to see it and it would be close to me. You can communicate across millions of light years instantly. So that was really fun. I wish I knew how it happened. But it was really fun to experience that.

[Karen] And you were taught by that process because if things are brought to you and and you to them so fast and that knowledge is transferred so quickly, you can learn so much more. I remember Eben [Alexander] saying, it’s not like he learned history and math; whatever he learned was just laid into his being. It wasn’t something I had to study and memorize. It was instantaneous. (Proof of Heaven, 49). What an amazing experience to be able to learn so quickly and accumulate knowledge.

In the Presence of Jesus Christ

Let’s move on to the core of your message, first of all, which is seeing our Savior, Jesus Christ. We’re walking down very, very sacred ground here and I want our audience to realize that and I hope that they’ll consider it deeply and as such, as sacred ground. Can you tell us what it was like when you first saw Him, recognized Him, and stood in His presence, Ralph?

Holy Ghost Witnesses of Jesus Christ

[Ralph] Like I said earlier, answering your question about how we know truth: the Holy Ghost is how we know truth. That is the only way we know truth. That is also the only way we know our Savior. And so when I saw him I actually didn’t recognize Him. I won’t go into detail, but that answered some prayers that I had been asking. And so He deliberately had not let me recognize who He was. And as I walked back to see Him, this was on the second time, He was the man who had given me the permission to live the first time. And then the Holy Ghost told me who He was. And when that happened, I could not stand. I had to kneel, and bow before my Savior. And so I went to the floor as fast as I could and I was frustrated that I couldn’t bow lower; the floor prevented me. And I stayed there until He asked me to rise. And so then with that permission, I was able to rise, and go to Him, and I instinctively embraced Him. So we embraced, and that was an amazing feeling. He has a love that is unconditional, universal, all-powerful, all-knowing, and He has it for each of us. No matter how we live, no matter how much we go against what He teaches us, His love for us is just endless. He loves all of us equally. And He loves us unconditionally, and that I cannot describe; there’s nothing in this world that is that great to feel.

[Karen] That is an amazing witness. For those of you listening, if you haven’t felt that love, we invite you to sense what you’re sensing here, and to feel it, because the Savior is reaching out to you through this and pursuing you through this message. Would that we could all just throw out that “love patch,” but everyone has to open their hearts up to that love. But I hope that you can feel that now.

Bonni, by way of corroborating this, of course, as many have and as we can feel here as we read the scriptures and pray and come to Him, said this about her experience in meeting Him, which again is very similar:

He’s the greatest of all the light beings I can see. I am filled with a great desire to kneel at His feet. I know Him and He knows me, personally and intimately, the good as well as the bad; and yet, I can feel His total love and acceptance. . . flow . . . through me . . . not static, but constantly expanding within and around me. I have a feeling of complete safety (Death, 54).

I think that is a second witness to yours and to many other witness that have been borne of Him. [George] Ritchie, when he saw Him he said, “I thought my eyes, my retina, couldn’t stand the light.” He said, ‘I’m glad I don’t have physical eyes at this moment,”I thought. ‘This light would destroy the retina in a tenth of a second….He would be too bright to look at” (Return from Tomorrow, 48). That was his first impression. And then he said, “The instant I perceived him,” and not unlike what you said, Ralph, “A command formed itself in my mind to stand up. I got to my feet and as I did came the stupendous certainty: you are in the presence of God” (Return, 50). He said, again, “The concept seemed to form inside me, but not as a thought or speculation. It was a kind of knowing. So complete and immediate. I knew other facts about Him, too.” He [Ritchie] pointed out that He was the most totally male being he had ever seen. And then he said, “What emanated was unconditional love. An astonishing love” (50). He said that he felt that He knew the quarrels he’d had with his stepmother, every mean thing he’d said since he was kid, the sex thoughts he couldn’t control. “He knew everything about me but He loved me and accepted me just the same.” Again, this is the Savior of the world. This is the One. He loves us all. And you had the opportunity, Ralph, to experience time with Him that is just so sacred, so beyond [expression]. I’d like you to share what is appropriate to share as we go on.

The question the Savior posed to you is an important one. And then we can talk about your being there as you witnessed the Atonement of the Savior and went on a tour with him. Can you tell us about the question?

[Ralph] Yes. After I had embraced Him, as we parted, we were standing just a few feet apart, and I looked up, He’s taller than me, looking up into His eyes, He asked me a question, totally unexpected. He said, “Where’s your heart?” Now, to understand what that means, the scriptures talk about where your treasure is, that’s where your heart will be. Do you lay up treasures on earth, where rust and moths and thieves can get at it? Or do you lay up treasure in heaven, where the thieves and moths cannot get to it? He says, where your treasure is, so then will be your heart. So where is your heart? Is it with me? Or is it with the world? And that was the question. And I understood very clearly what He meant. You’re not in a fishbowl with Him, or clear. It’s more than that. He perceives you so deeply that you know He knows every eye you’ve twitched in your life. And you cannot hide that from Him. Though He knew me perfectly in all my mistakes, He treated me like I was His equal; He treated me like I was the only being in the universe, that His sacrifice was only for me and nobody else, and we stood and stared at each others’ eyes. It seemed for an eternity. But the love and the nonjudgmental feeling I got from Him. I was judging myself. I was saying, wow, I’ve done all these stupid things. Of course, nothing drastic, but every little thing you do shows up when you’re with Him. And He didn’t judge me to be bad. And I never could answer that question. And He didn’t demand me to answer it.

[Karen] It has caused you reflection on earth as well. And for us, it’s a question we can pose of ourselves.

[Ralph] Oh, yes. I’ve thought about it many times.

[Karen] Where is our heart? Thank you.

Atonement of Jesus Christ: Why Did Jesus Die for Us?

So, you mentioned as you were just talking that the Atonement, which, for those who may be listening who are not Christian and are not aware of it, is the Savior’s sacrifice for our sins. You felt that He did that collectively for all of us, and individually for you. Can you share what it was like? You said the Savior took you on a tour of His life. Tell us what you’re able to, what’s appropriate to share, of the Savior’s sacrifice for our sins. We come to earth, we’re imperfect, we’re here for a reason,we’ll talk about that more later, we’re here to learn and become like Him. We sin, and we need a Savior. Can you share some of that experience of watching what happened there and the implications of that?

[Ralph] The Atonement is a name given to an act only able to be done by a perfect being, a God, that corrects imperfections in the in universe. As we do things against eternal law, when we break them–eternal law meaning the gospel of Jesus Christ–and these laws incorporate all laws of truth, every law, like the law of gravity, the law of forgiveness, the law of repentance, the law of love–they’re all laws–we cause a disruption. We cause a break in our harmony with eternal law. And so the Atonement, the “at-one-ment” means we’re at one with Him, in that He will then come in and correct these problems if we stop doing them. It’s a little bit like if I owe a debt, and they’re going to put me in jail for it, and He comes along and pays the debt and says, “I’ll do it for you.” So He corrects the mistake. And so we have sins–meaning we’ve gone against a law that  is eternal, which going against makes us less than what we can be, because the laws are given for our happiness. [Going against law] will make us less happy in the long run, sometimes the short run, too. It [the Atonement] also corrects all the injustices.

Atonement Covers Injustices As Well As Sins

We sit in a world where tsunamis come and wipe out people, and earthquakes wipe out people, and someone crashes into you that you don’t have any control over–you have a lot of things happen in your life that you don’t have any control over. So it’s not equal. And He will equalize that with the Atonement. He will cover the sins, the laws that we break, of eternal law; He will cover the payment of that to correct the laws of cause and effect, which we call the law of justice; He will then–that institutes the law of mercy, which allows us to be with Him, which is where His grace comes in, because we are saved by grace after all we do. And He corrects the injustices and all the things that go wrong in this world. And you get a payment for whatever it is that you’ve done. If you’ve [course-corrected through repentance], your sin will be wiped out. But there’s one thing you’ve got to understand about the Atonement. All the sinners–everybody who even goes against the Savior–His Atonement corrects their injustices. It does so because they haven’t been treated fairly, either. And they haven’t had equal pain as someone else. And so the Atonement covers everyone. It’s not just to bring you back from the dead, to be resurrected, and not just to cover your sins so that you become perfect, like our Father in Heaven is perfect, but it covers all the injustices for everybody. So it’s a universal Atonement. It’s for everyone. Everybody needs it and uses it.

Garden of Gethsemane: The Savior’s Suffering & Intercessory Prayer

[Karen] So can you describe, as you did in your book, some of your feelings in the Garden, or just personal feelings as you watched the Savior take that upon Himself?

[Ralph] Yes. He went with His apostles to the Garden of Gethsemane–and He took three of them a little farther, and then He walked a stone’s throw away from them. So how far can you throw a stone? A few hundred feet, I guess.

[Karen] And you’re watching this.

[Ralph] And I’m watching this. And because this was a three-dimensional event, I was not a part of it. I was watching it. It was around me like you and this room are around me, but I couldn’t interact with anything going on. And so I could be in the front of people and no one would know I was there–because I’m seeing history.

[Karen] And because you’re a spirit.

[Ralph]  So I could be in the front row. Just understand that. No matter what happened, I was right there. I wasn’t hidden someplace in the background. So when He went off to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, [I was right there], and it’s in that garden where He did most of the Atonement and [dealt] with our sins and the injustices; it happened in the Garden of Gethsemane.

He was there for three hours. He broke his time after one hour when He came back and woke up His apostles; and what did He say for three hours? He prayed for you and me–that we could be one with Him and His Father; that we would have the wisdom to hear the truth and accept it in our lives; that we would have the strength to push through the trials of life and not condemn God and His laws because our life isn’t all that fun sometimes. So He prayed for us, that we would be one with the truth and accept it. He did ask for the cup to be taken from Him if it be possible, but that was the only sentence He said in three hours that had anything to do with Him. [He said it] because it was very painful, extremely painful for Him. And I watched that, and I watched Him. I won’t describe all that He did. But He could not stand still; He could not kneel perfectly well. He was on the ground sometimes, in great pain. And as I watched Him go through this great agony, I knew that I was part of that agony. I knew that the things that I had done, that I had chosen to do, against law, against the laws of God, caused Him pain. And I thought, how much of that pain was because of me. And that was not easy to take.

[Karen] Thank you for sharing that very sacred experience.

I remember reading about the Atonement for the first time in my life, after being about to take my own life, actually, it saved me physically when I read that He died to save me spiritually. I haven’t seen Him, but I felt the power of His sacrifice, and I appreciate your sharing what you just shared about watching Him the Garden of Gethsemane. I can’t imagine. And that prayer has had personal meaning for me in my life as well. Thank you.

You talked about even the feeling the garden that filled the air how you wanted to turn away from some of those scenes that you were watching, but the Savior encouraged you, strengthened you, probably, to be able to bear up.

[Ralph] Yes, each time I thought I was on sacred ground, too much for me, more than I was felt worthy to be, I would want to turn and leave. He [the Savior] was standing to my right, not the whole time, but pretty much the entire time, He would stand at my right. And most of the time I was just unaware He was the there because the events were so dramatic. I was concentrating on what was happening and before me. And so when I thought to turn, because I thought I was in a place I was not worthy to be, He would reach over, gently holding the back of my arm, and that let me know that I was to stay. The [understanding was that] I couldn’t turn away, that I was there to witness this, and unbeknownst to me at that time, He wanted me to use this as witness to the world. And that was one of the reasons why He had me always be there to see it as firsthand experience and witness.

Jesus Is the Way, the Truth, and the Life

[Karen] And that’s what you are, and we appreciate your integrity for that charge and responsibility to be a witness. There are some people I think listening, too, that this assumption that “Jesus is the Way, Truth, and the Life,” which we’re sharing here–through an eyewitness account of Ralph Jensen’s, of which the scriptures also testify, of which living apostles today testify–clashes with some cultural assumptions. Some people of other faiths that might deny that declaration. And we’re here to witness that it is true: The most complete and comprehensive answers and laws and plan for our life and happiness is contained and comes in and through Jesus Christ, as the Only Begotten and the Savior of the world.

I think of other systems of religion, whether it’s Buddhism or Islam or whatever it is, you can follow those practices not tied to a person that started them, but Christianity is different. Jesus Christ is central to the plan, and is the thread that ties together all the biblical books and scriptures that we have and modern revelation. He is the center. He lived pre-mortally, He atoned for our sins, and He’s the way back home. I appreciate that witness and just want you to consider that if you are perhaps in another denomination where it seems to you all roads lead to the summit, they don’t all.

Pre-Mortal Home, Our Heavenly Home & Origin, Our Choice to Come to Earth

I’d like to go back a bit, because to understand the Atonement you really do need to understand what some people don’t about the pre-mortal life–that we lived pre-mortally. Tell us a bit about what happened before we came to this earth and little bit about the council that was held there where we chose to come to earth and chose to follow the Savior. Just sort of outline that.

[Ralph] Many people believe that we started as we were born. But that is only when our spirit body entered into a more physical body, noting that the spirit body is also physical. It’s just a finer physical [entity].

[Karen] Exactly.

The Father’s Plan vs. Lucifer’s Plan: The War in Heaven

[Ralph] And so it can enter and be within this body without a problem. And we are children of our Father in Heaven. The scriptures talk about us being the children of God. And that is literal. It’s not a figurative thing. They are not saying that He’s our Father in that He created us here on earth. He’s our Father because He’s our Father. I’m the father of these children, and you’re the mother of some children. And in the same [literal way], He is our Father. So we lived there in the pre-mortal life and Jesus was the firstborn there. And there were others that were there. There was another one called the Son of the Morning, as Isaiah put it. And that Son of the Morning we know is Lucifer. And so when God put forth His plan to come to earth, where we could learn by faith and learn to choose what laws we want to follow–we don’t choose the consequences, but we choose the laws we follow–He asked whom He could send. Who would come down here to fulfill that law? And, of course, Lucifer said, [in effect], “I’ll go and force everybody.” And Christ said, [in effect], “I’ll go and take your plan and be the atoning sacrifice for their sins, so that they can have freedom of choice,” have existence, really. And even with making bad choices, there would still be a way to make it back to heaven without forcing us. So He was called and ordained and anointed to be the Savior and Redeemer in that pre-mortal life.

[Karen] And you saw this; you were there in spirit.

[Ralph] I was there watching this. The word “Christ” is the Greek word meaning “the Anointed One”; “Messiah” is the Hebrew that means “the Anointed One.” So Messiah and Christ is the same thing. And He was anointed to be the Savior and Redeemer. And that happened before this world was. And that Savior and Redeemer was about to correct a lot of things that happened here.

Silver-tongued Lucifer, Satan

[Karen] So talk about Lucifer a little bit and the war of words that took place there.

[Ralph] Yeah, we had a war in heaven. Like it says in Revelation, through John the Revelator. He talked about a war in heaven.

[Karen] Where we fought against the dragon….

[Ralph] So the dragon was Lucifer, the Devil, Satan, whatever name you want to give him. And what was the battle? Were they shooting each other, and swords? No, it was a battle of ideas. It was a battle of words. It was battle, like a philosophical battle. Those present were trying to out-talk the other. People think they’re going to be able to understand very easily between the two, good and bad, and in some ways that can happen. When you’re very sensitive to the Holy Ghost, it does make it easier to decipher the truth from the error. But Lucifer is very good at telling lies, at deceiving, at leading people down roads that look pretty close. And boy, that guy can talk. You want to get somebody that can give powerful speech and persuasive speech, he was one. That’s why when I listen to someone and they say, “Wow, isn’t he a good speaker, wasn’t that a great delivery of a speech?” –oh, I don’t care about how good the delivery was as much as I care about what he says.

[Karen] Content, yes.

[Ralph] And not only what he says, but what he means by what he says. So if he says a word, it’s not how I interpret it, I want to know how he’s interpreting it. And Lucifer was really good at saying things that he knew people would believe in their way, and he had a different [conception] of what it really meant.

[Karen] …And leaving out things that would have been critical to understanding the plan.

Eternal Law: Opposition in All Things Necessary for Spiritual Growth

[Ralph] Yes, he’d leave things out–in essence, his plan was impossible to put into practice because he got rid of opposition. Opposition is absolutely necessary. Scientists will tell you that. You take away the positive, and the negative, what is it there?–you need both. And so you need opposition. Opposition is an absolute for existence.

The Savior’s plan allows us to have choice. Choice automatically creates opposition because you have to have something to choose from. And so we can use our agency to choose. And if we choose wrong, then the work and glory of God, which is to exalt man, to become like Him, is frustrated. So the Atonement allows us to make a mistake, correct the mistake, and still fulfill the work and glory of God. So the Atonement actually allows for the existence of the universe to be. Without the Atonement, this whole thing would disappear. Lucifer’s plan would have done that. Because he took away choice. If you take away choice, you take away opposition. If you take away opposition, you take away existence. We wouldn’t even exist.

[Karen] True.

[Ralph] If we could exist, the only reason we do exist under Satan’s plan is because the Atonement holds us together. Because the Atonement is the umbrella over all creation, and Lucifer works within the Atonement’s power, so his plan seems viable because we exist. I mean, we’re here, aren’t we? And we’re here because Christ keeps us here, and Lucifer utilizes our ability to stay in existence because of that [the Atonement], and weaves his lies. People start believing that his lies are good because with them, we still are around and we still have existence. We still have thought, we still have happiness and sadness. But that only is because the Atonement allows it to happen. Satan doesn’t allow it to happen.

[Karen] So in that pre-mortal council, we accepted the Savior’s plan.

Lucifer, Son of Morning, Cast Out of Heavenly Home

[Ralph] We accepted the Savior’s plan. And one-third did not. And that was a sad day. Can you imagine having your family and your friends, your neighbors, and have one-third of them fail to come to earth? And when they failed to come to earth, they did not get a body. And they could not progress any more. We needed a body to progress and become like our Father in Heaven because He has one. And we need one. And now this third part was kicked out. And that was not a happy day. When they were exiled from heaven, the heavens wept, including the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ, or Jehovah in the pre-mortal life. And all the sons and daughters of God that were there wept. I stood and wept along with them. It was very difficult to see. That is when the war in heaven in essence ended, and we had to choose between one plan or the other.

Evil Is Real, Not Illusory; Satan Is Real & Deceives Others Today to Think He Is Symbolic

[Karen] And I think that some people who don’t know that evil is real, like the Pantheists, for example, say that it’s an illusion. Obviously, it’s not an illusion. And that’s a perfect example of Satan wanting to pull the wool over our eyes here in the war in heaven. Three-quarters of the self-identified Christians believe that Satan isn’t even real. So he’s pulled a disappearing act here as well as lying in the pre-mortal life. Just so that you know the origin of evil, that opposition, as said, is necessary here, but the origin of evil isn’t God. He allows it because of agency, but He also has prepared a way to rectify all of that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This is powerful doctrine that’s, again, available through the scriptures, ancient and modern, as well as through these additional witnesses we’ve been given, and through Ralph’s experience.

I know we don’t have time to go into this all, so we need to invite Ralph back again, for a lot more of the pieces.  But if we address the Savior’s ministry that you also ‘toured,’ can you just touch on maybe one or two things that really left lasting impressions for you that would be most beneficial for our audience that you experienced in watching His ministry?

[Ralph] There is a lot to choose from. I can pick some. The scriptures talk about how Jesus Christ would heal, how He would make the blind see and the lame walk, so I got to see that. And He raised people from the dead who had died for a short time. He is a controller of the elements because He understands the laws of the universe. So He could change the molecules in the air and make fish and bread so that He could feed 5000. But He was able to manipulate the molecules in the air, turn them into bread and fish, and feed the multitude that was hungry.

Another one of the wonderful things that He did, other than walking on water and showing how faith is a power, was to raise Lazarus. He allowed him to be dead for four days. That made sure that his spirit was gone. Jewish culture said that the spirit remained three days around the body. So He waited past the three days until “he stinketh,” as [the Word] says. And He comes and says, “I’m the resurrection and the life.” That’s the famous scripture that everybody quotes. “And He that believeth on me, shall not die, but have everlasting life.” And if you remember, He’s prayed to His Father, and He thanked His Father for helping Him for giving the power that He had. And then He commanded Lazarus to come forth. In this time, He taught some lessons. One, He had people roll the stone and unwrap Lazarus. He didn’t have it [supernaturally] done. He just did what we didn’t have the ability to do, and that was bring him back to life. And that was a wonderful experience to watch as Lazarus came out and was unwrapped and was able to be with his loved ones again.

[Karen] Thank you for sharing that.

Why don’t we talk a little bit about the actual resurrection. I guess before we jump to the resurrection; what did you sense from the Savior? He said He’s always wanting to open the eyes of the people; what did you feel in His presence as you were watching all of this happen in His mortal ministry?

[Ralph] Well, how I felt–I could feel some of His frustration at the people who wouldn’t listen to Him. His love is so great, and He knows that if we follow what He has, throughout eternity we’ll have the greatest happiness. If we fail to follow it, we will lose out on happiness that we could have had. So I could feel that frustration in Him at the same time the great love He has for everyone. And the love He as for me is the same as for everybody else.

[Karen] So you said that you were with a small group that walked towards the tomb. In the morning of the resurrection, can you share and speak to that experience? Maybe you can talk about Mary’s meeting the Savior or the apostles coming to recognize that He truly was resurrected?

You know, there’s lot said today– Resurrection Summits and Jesus Seminars–that refute the resurrection, and even scholars that chair religious studies departments at Oxford that say, you know, this isn’t all real.  [There was no substitutionary sacrifice, etc. They poison young, fertile minds and create a wake of doubt and despair.] And yet it is all real. Tell us what you saw, and share your witness of the resurrection, as well as maybe a couple of insights as to how it was for Mary or the disciples, as you saw, to see and understand, finally, that this was what the Savior was telling them, that He really was resurrected.

[Ralph] Obviously it had never happened in the history of the world, so to have someone come back to life as an immortal being, never to die again, was a new experience for others. So you can kind of understand their inability to comprehend what He was teaching them, that He was going to come back. And so they were quite curious to see if He actually would come back. They were coming to oil him–put more scents and frankincense and different things that they used, and found that He was gone. And even though they saw angels that told them about it, it was still a real question in their mind. And it was interesting to feel their [sense of self-blame]–I don’t know how to put it– it’s almost like they felt it was their fault He was gone, and someone had stolen Him. They didn’t know quite what to think. And they left to go tell other people about it.

[Karen] You could perceive their thoughts as you’re watching?

[Ralph] Yeah, and it was something I didn’t quite expect that they were feeling. I’d always just known that they’d gone down there and saw that He’d gone, and seen an angel. I think, “Well, you see an angel, you kind of have it figured out; the angel’s going to tell you something. I think I would listen to him.” But they still didn’t quite get it. And they wondered, “Did we do something the matter [wrong]?” But then, Mary left them as they went back to talk to other people that He was no longer in the tomb, not knowing where He was. Mary came back on her own. And she looked into the tomb and there were two angels in there and they asked her who she was seeking. Why are you seeking the living among the dead? But Christ came. Now in my vantage point, I guess I was about 12 or so feet away from Mary, and Christ came to my left, and she was kneeling at the opening of the tomb;  she was crying and she was wondering where her Lord was. And the Savior came and she didn’t know who  he was; she wasn’t looking up. She was covering her face, and her hair was down. She wasn’t really paying attention to what was going on, and not understanding, and yet Christ was standing there.

Obviously someone’s there, but who is it? When He speaks to her, she thought He was the gardener or somebody there to take care of the place, and so she asked him, where the body of her Lord had gone. And so here’s the first recorded words of a resurrected being, a glorified and resurrected being–and He hadn’t come in glory there. He looked just like a man speaking to a mortal. And then He said one word that she understood very clearly. He called her Mary. And when He said “Mary,” the whole atmosphere just filled with this love and energy. The air was–well, it was kind of like the air was sparkly. And there was just this powerful energy and this love that He had for this woman. And He said, “Mary.” And she immediately recognized who He was.

And so then she’s kneeling on the ground, so she turns to see Him and calls Him “Rabboni,” or Master. And immediately, she wants to embrace Him. And the excitement and the love that came out of her back to Him when she said “Rabboni,” was very much like when He spoke to her. So here, just two words are said, and there’s more power and love than I had ever seen between two people. I felt, too, both her excitement and then her frustration when she was denied the chance to embrace Him just then, as He said, “Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my God, and to your God.” And go tell the apostles that that’s where I’m going. And so she did. And may I share that later she was satisfied with her hug.

[Karen] Oh, thank you for sharing that.

[Ralph] She did get to hug Him later, when He allowed His apostles to touch Him. Because when He came to them, in the upper room, they thought He was a ghost–still.

[Karen] They were “affrighted.”

[Ralph] Yeah, they were afraid. And they thought He was a spirit–just like when He was walking on water; they thought He was a spirit.

So that lets you know what a spirit looks like. If they thought He was a spirit, and He was a physical mortal person on the water, and a physical resurrected person in that room, then obviously a spirit looks like us. At the same time, He looked like himself, and they were able to handle him and see that He was resurrected. And that must have was to let them know that He was going to bring them back the same way: to overcome the “sin” [transgression] of Adam.

“As in Adam all die”–he brought the death into the world in the first place. But since Adam brought the death, we’re not responsible for that. And so the resurrection is a free gift from our Father in Heaven through His Atonement.  Jesus is the Redeemer, that is, He brings us back to life and gives us a body back that Adam’s action took away. And so that’s a free gift to everyone, no matter how sinful or how righteous you are. It is a free gift to everyone, because we didn’t have anything to do with taking it away.

But then later when some of this had taken place, and Mary was able to see Him on a more private basis, she was able to give Him a hug, and I was happy to see that part.

[Karen] That’s wonderful. Well, thank you so much for sharing this, and you said it distilled on you the reason you had this experience, and so I’d like to give you an opportunity to speak directly to our audience, and just to share, in closing, whatever thoughts you have for those who want to have this faith in Jesus Christ rekindled and/or to share the witness that you were called to share through your experience. So say a few words in closing and then we’ll invite them to come visit our website and find links to other materials that will help them find the Lord’s church in our day.

[Ralph] People say, is the Savior real? People want to know that. He lives laws that are above the laws that we operate under, and since we don’t understand it all, we want to push it aside. And there are ways to know Him. And that is through the Holy Ghost, which is [the way]  set up by God using the laws of eternity to teach us truth.

So people say, does the Savior live? Of course He does. I know He lives because the Holy Ghost has borne witness to me. Now, I have the additional understanding of the witness of Him; of seeing Him not only today, as a resurrected being–He’s spent time with me–but seeing His past, seeing him as a mortal, as He lived among the people. Does He live?  Yes, He does. There is no doubt. He loves all of us. He is there for us. But He will not force Himself on us. We have to open our heart, and let Him in. We have to accept him. We have to have the faith that He is there, and as we experiment upon His word. In other words, as we take what He teaches us, and try it, like a scientist does.

Scientists do experiments to learn what will work and what doesn’t work. So why is it so out of the normal for us to take what He tell us, which are laws beyond what science is learning, higher laws, and try them out and see if it works? And I guarantee you that if you do it with a broken heart, in other words a teachable heart, and a humble heart, and contrite spirit. That  humility and teachability [implies] that you will be willing to accept information beyond your knowledge today. If you will seek Him with that kind of heart and ask the Father in His name if He is real, and if His teachings are real, I guarantee you, you will know it. You will know it through a still, small, voice in you heart and in your mind, and you will know it as the peace comes over you that makes you feel “right.” He lives. Don’t doubt it. He’s there for us. He’s always there for us. He loves us eternally. I know He’s real, and you can know it too, if you haven’t already.

[Karen]  Thank you so much. So, to all of those, wherever you are on the spectrum of belief, we hope that you’ll seriously consider this and the challenge that’s just been presented to you. Certainly there are lots of voices contending what we’re saying, but the Spirit of truth has been with us, and if you’ve sensed that, then you already have a witness. And if you haven’t fully gotten that, we’d be glad to help you. Please visit us at ibelievepodcast.com, or on Facebook, or give us a call at 1-85-KNOWGOD1. We’ll be glad to help you through your journey to faith.

Again, there are those that would say that the “Veil of Oz” needs to be ripped off and this is all huff, but as you’ve seen, it’s not. The disguise that needs to be ripped off is the disguise and disbelief that Satan is penetrating in the hearts of the children of men.

So, again, our Lord, Jesus Christ lives.

And we appreciate you. God bless you in  your spiritual journey. We hope to hear from you soon. Thanks for joining us on I Believe podcast. Thanks, Ralph, for being with us.

[Ralph] Thank you.

 

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Additional Links:

Coming to Know God, Part 1

Is Satan Real?

About karenrose
Living out a great season of my life, thanks to Jesus Christ, and two wonderful daughters, a great life's work. Loving this opportunity to share faith online... I'm a single Mom, convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, second-gen Italian, from the East coast originally. Love the fine arts, dance, frozen yogurt, temples, scriptures, writing, jazz, helping others reach their potential, king salmon, ....and not in that order. God is good. I feel it deeply when people have a misconception of Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ, His Son, that lessens or cheapens Them and blinds one's ability to feel His presence or to trust in an ultimately good eternal end to life's circumstances.

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