The Ministry of Angels - Notes for my Talk assignment

This is the topic that I have been assigned by Bro Hill, 1st counselor in the KL branch presidency, to speak for 15 to 20 mins in the Kuala branch on this day, 17 Sep  2017. I had about over 2 weeks period of time to prepare.

As I was busy every day with my research and writing of my book with my other daily chores including having Ern my 3rd son from Singapore moving in with me for his 1 year of studies preparing for his tertiary education overseas, I used a little time each night before bed to prepare. It was time spent reviewing references in www.lds.org whereby on this topic and I would even lie down to sleep to listen to selected video talks of General Authorities of our Church.

With enough information gathered over the time period and a fairly good idea of how I will present the talk, I decided to write my talk on this spiritual blog post starting at 6am on this day of the talk . After a short prayer on my knees, I begin. (Notes: It will consist of parts that have complete sentences of what I like to say with other parts that are only references to some journals of mine where only the heading is there but it is a hypertext link that gives details for the reader. I may not have time to cover them so they are just left as hyperlinks for the reader to click to read the referenced contents.)

INTRODUCTION

My talk today will be based on scripture and the experiences of my life especially from the part that started when missionaries first knocked on my door in the City of Geelong Australia early in the year 1979. This would be the final year of my tertiary education at Deakin University. Two American Elders dressed smartly like our Elders today were standing in front of me when I opened the door to introduce themselves to be from the Church to say that they had a message about Jesus Christ to share with me and about how God had visited a young man named Joseph Smith. Well, they look smart enough and spoke nicely enough to look like Angels so I let them into the large home with 9 bedrooms that I had shared the rent with 8 other students. I also felt that if this was true, the knowledge gained from this visitation would be even more important than that of Man going to the Moon, They had a flip chart with pictures to share their message and I listened intently. It was the story of the First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

After they finished, they asked me how I felt. Now this was the first time I had ever heard that God had appeared to Man on earth, so I responded with words to this effect, "If....this was true, it would be the most important knowledge to the world as even though we have sent Man to the Moon, I don't think what we had discovered there would be more important than what God could reveal to Joseph Smith!" I guess the American Elders would have been elated with my sincere response to feel that I would be their 'Golden Investigator'. Little did they realize this young Asian student would require many pairs of Elders to be visited over and over again to be convinced to become a Christian by accepting baptism.

The main reason was simple to me though complicating to them. My acceptance of receiving the missionaries further was due to my first response that required me to investigate "If...this was true...". See I was born and raised in a large Chinese family, of which I was the youngest, where most were not really religious or believed in God at all but followed a father who believed in Education except for the women who was my mother who got me to carry joss sticks at certain festive seasons of the year and who prayed daily to a small altar and my oldest sister in Penang who had a large altar of many Gods. Though I had attended a Catholic school and had several friends who were either Catholic or of a Protestant Church, education was my main interest in life to feel that Christianity was too confusing anyway with the number of different churches that existed that seemed to differ one from the other.

To make things more complicating, the Landlord of the property I lived in were Baptists and one housemate named Robbie soon spread the news to them that I was meeting the Mormons so they gave me their opinion and when I seemed still persistent to continue with the Mormon Elders, he brought to meet a Pastor of another nearby Church who fed me anti-Mormon questions and some personal writings of his which I later realized were extracts of Anti-Mormon literature. Even a Sri Lankan man studying in the Geelong Theological College, met at an Asian-Australian inter-cultural social gathering when hearing I was listening to the Mormons invited me to his dorm at the theological college to read the Bible with me!

Now having to spend all my time 'Investigating' to know where the truth would be from, with so many teachers of just one subject of Christianity not forgetting to learn my own business subjects at my university that included law, economics, accounting, computers, and statistics, it really took me time to accept baptism. I had completed all the discussions. It took many months and many more pairs of Elders to follow up in order to get me wet! I was actually a 'dry Mormon' as due to my pure science background in middle or secondary school in Malaysia, I was really genuinely willing to experiment the faith by following all the commandments, attend Church every Sunday faithfully to know if God or the truth could be found. So that was why it took so long.


BODY

Another important reason for my delay to get baptized, though I felt the Church teachings definitely seemed more complete and sound or acceptable to my logical mind, was that I was hoping for some Angel to visit me like Angel Moroni did to Joseph Smith perhaps! This thus leads to the body of my talk on the Ministry of Angels.

(Notes : Read extracts from Book of Moroni Chapter 7, a prophet who actually became an Angel himself and these are the words of his father Mormon. These extracts from other sources will be in larger size font.)

30 For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.
31 And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfil and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosenvessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him.
32 And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.
33 And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.
34 And he hath said: Repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved.
35 And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?
36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?
37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.
Extracts from Bible :

 ‘And the Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that give offense and them that do iniquity.’ [Matthew 13:41.]

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed. The mustard seed is small, but brings forth a large tree, and the fowls lodge in the branches. [See Mark 4:30–32.] The fowls are the angels. Thus angels come down, combine together to gather their children, and gather them. We cannot be made perfect without them, nor they without us; when these things are done, the Son of Man will descend, the Ancient of Days sit; we may come to an innumerable company of angels, have communion with and receive instructions from them.”5 

(5.History of the Church, 3:388–89; first set of bracketed words in second paragraph in original; punctuation modernized; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith about July 1839 in Commerce, Illinois; reported by Willard Richards.)

From Teachings:Joseph Smith Ch 8 The Everlasting Priesthood


“… [God] set the ordinances to be the same forever and ever, and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them. ‘Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?’ [Hebrews 1:14.]
“These angels are under the direction of Michael or Adam, who acts under the direction of the Lord. From the above quotation we learn that Paul perfectly understood the purposes of God in relation to His connection with man, and that glorious and perfect order which He established in Himself, whereby He sent forth power, revelations, and glory.
“God will not acknowledge that which He has not called, ordained, and chosen. In the beginning, God called Adam by His own voice. ‘And the Lord called unto Adam and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, and hid myself.’ [Genesis 3:9–10.] Adam received commandments and instructions from God: this was the order from the beginning.

A man must be authorized of God and ordained to the priesthood to administer in the ordinances of salvation.

Articles of Faith 1:5: “We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.”12

Priesthood authority comes from God.

“We believe that no man can administer salvation through the gospel, to the souls of men, in the name of Jesus Christ, except he is authorized from God, by revelation, or by being ordained by some one whom God hath sent by revelation, as it is written by Paul, Romans 10:14, ‘And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent?’ And I will ask, how can they be sent without a revelation, or some other visible display of the manifestation of God? And again, Hebrews 5:4, ‘And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.’—And I would ask, how was Aaron called, but by revelation?”13
Finally on 29 July 1979, I decided to be baptized even though I didn't receive any visitation of an Angel such as Moroni that I was expecting to happen. The main reason for this was that I realized I had to exercise faith to be baptized first as part of the experiment itself in order to receive further light and knowledge. Somehow I should keep all of God's commandments before I can expect miracles to happen.  What happened on the day of my baptism was recorded in my journal in this hypertext link.  (Note: All references to my original journal writings will in this same highlighted text format .)


My Call to Serve

I soon found fellowship with the single adults of the Bellarine Branch and I was given my first calling as the Single Adult Male representative with my female counterpart Colleen Farr. I continued faithfully in my “investigation” with a quest to live a spiritual life, ie be a good Mormon and see what happens. It didn’t take long before I could experience what would be unforgettable spiritual experiences that would mould me to my present day stature of a man of great faith and testimony in the Lord Jesus Christ and the Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On Wed 5 Dec 1979, less than six months of membership in the Church, I had a remarkable experience. In the past few weeks, I had been troubled with a constant feeling or impression in my mind that I should go on a mission. It seemed that I could not shake off this feeling, as every night I went to bed with such a thought, causing me to toss around trying hard to sleep and when I did, I would wake up the next morning feeling the same thing. I had no desire to serve on a mission, which would mean serving for 2 years on a voluntary capacity, as my mind had been looking forward eagerly to work after my graduation to become a qualified accountant. My years of study and parental expectation was toward this goal. I was in an awful state of dilemma and confusion.

On that fateful night, I drove to Eastern Beach in Geelong where the night was quiet and the view of the bay was calm. I parked my car and prayed with all my heart to Our Heavenly Father, desperate for an answer to my troubled mind. I wanted to know for a surety if it was God who was calling me or were my feelings of going on a mission simply an illusion of my mind. I remember that my prayer was long and fervent, resting my head on the steering wheel of the car in deep meditation and pouring my heart to God. After I finished, I felt calm, came out of my car and decided to walk to the missionary apartment. I had the Elders teaching my University friend Roy Ngai and was going to discuss the schedule for the next day. I had to walk across a small park and it was already pitch dark at around 9pm in the Australian summer. Through the park I walked with faith that I was heading the right direction as I could hardly see where I was going in the dark. Lo and behold, I came out of the park just across from the Elders’ apartment. In my meetings with the Elders, I would sometimes receive Church publications from them to read but this time, Elder Slade loaned me a cassette tape with music only. I requested instead for another tape with church talks and I was handed a tape by President Robert D. Arnold, (1-24-78) entitled “Principles of Missionary Work”.

I went home in a hurry, eager to listen to this tape. When I played it in my room, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that the speaker was speaking right at me, encouraging me to go on a mission. I believe the tape was his address to students of Brigham Young University encouraging eligible students to go serve a mission. Words that rang in my ear even to this day include his powerful statement that one should not ask whether he should go on a mission or not but when! He also shared in his talk the many miracles that occurred in South America during the time of an earthquake and how the missionaries were spared from death. Now did I feel that this was an answer to my prayers? My intellectual mind made me ask God for a confirmation. I had remember being taught by the Elders during my investigating months that one should be specific in his prayers to God in order to receive specific answers. So I knelt down beside my bed with the Bible in my hand. I prayed to God to give me his answer from the scripture, saying I would randomly thumb open the Bible with my right thumb and read the words on the opened page!!!! I was as dead specific as I could as I didn’t want to take the chance that luck would determine my fate. Lo and behold, the Bible was opened to a page and I read from Mark Ch 16 verse 15, “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Now would this be my confirmation that God was calling me? I was indeed elated and felt filled with the Spirit but there was just one more little thing! I did get baptized with an intellectual conversion and spent many of my days reading the Bible with many well meaning Christians of other faith who constantly tried to use their interpretation of the Bible to show me that I was going on a wrong path. I reasoned doctrine with them but had to refer to the Bible and hence I was more preoccupied in reading the Bible than the Book of Mormon. With my final exams at the year end, I didn’t have much time to read the Book of Mormon and had not gained a testimony of it. In my simple mind, I reasoned that if God gave me an answer on my mission call from the Bible, surely if the Book of Mormon was a word of God, I should get a confirmation from it too. With that belief, I went back on my knees with much humility to plead to God with the same specific prayer but this time to open the Book of Mormon to read in Helaman 5:14-15, “…and therefore they went forth, keeping the commandments of God, to teach the word of God among all the people of Nephi, beginning at the city Bountiful; And from thence forth to the city of Gid; and from the city of Gid to the city of Mulek;” From that moment onwards, I felt a perfect peace and calmness that I had never felt before. I knew that it was God who was calling me and I was ready to do his will.
(Note: The above original writings are extracted from this journal post.)

Click the links below to read the original writings from my journal.



Car Story


CONCLUSION

From my experiences before and after Baptism, I could see that miracles really happened after I exercised faith to be baptized to receive the Holy Ghost. I didn't physically see any Angels from Heaven who came to visit me but I know many must have been ministering to me during the important time during my mission years where only some of my recorded journals of miracles are shared in the above links.

After my mission when I got married and lived in KL branch to raise our family of 6 children and continued to serve the Church, I experienced the service of many human Angels to me and my family. These were human Angels, members of the Church who ministered to one another. This occurred in all branches throughout the District that I could observe during my service years recorded here.

My wife and I experienced the Spirit of Elijah during our lifetime together to do our Family History work. Human Angels and Spirit Angels have been working together in this Kingdom of God on Earth is my humble testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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