Testimonies of Hartley Stanbridge
In the mid sixties I was in the Stone Church one Sunday afternoon, at a Prayer Service. I saw a frail old man bent over with age. Using two canes to walk, come in and sit down. During the testimony portion of the service he struggled to get up. When he was as erect as his feeble body would permit, there was a terrific 'Swoosh,' and the Holy spirit filled every nook and cranny of that room.
Now that was a Prayer Service. I have witnessed similar occurrences three times in the thirty years I lived in the center Place. And again on a Mountain top. The Scriptures tell us when times such as these come upon the earth to rejoice. Times being as they are, (Feb. 23, 2009) as I reflect on these times, sorry, I am going to rejoice.
In my work place I found myself harassed by a new supervisor, it lasted over a period of many years. One evening some information came to my hand, and if I used that information I could rid myself of this person. I went down a dark material isle and told the Lord, “even Joseph smith wrote that he had turned his cheek until it was folly to do so any longer.” I asked the Lord would I be justified in using this opportunity.
I prayed the most fervent prayer of my life. I prayed that nothing I ever said or had done would put a person in that horrific place. I prayed for my adversary with heart felt determination that he would be blessed. And likewise to all.
Just before I left for work one afternoon, I read in the scriptures that if God turned His back on His creation it would become undone. This caused me to marvel as I drove through Kansas City. The traffic became grid locked, and finally, turned the engine off and waited.
While reading Isaiah one afternoon I was surprised as the passage I was reading suddenly slipped a part leaving a blank spot on the page. Some words fell in the blank spot saying “in the last days there would be smoke trails across the skies.” As I read those words the Holy Spirit engulfed me in power, and I did not feel disposed to go on with my reading.
Where in the whole world would you think testimony would be more welcome than amongst Christians, and especially the RLDS who profess, truly, their church was initiated through Revelation. Testimonies that confirm and were given to strengthen and support that belief. Would they be welcome?
In 2008 sitting in front of my computer a soul offered some history of Joseph Smith that I had never heard before. It seemed strange, but did not appear too controversial to me. My stomach however, tightened. It was of such a subtle presentation, if my stomach had not responded I would have missed it.
I thought if what I see here is true I will have to change some of my thoughts about Joseph Smith. As I turned away from my computer, my thought was to take it to the Lord in prayer. I never got a chance to say a word.
Suddenly before me I was shown the soul of Joseph Smith in such a way as only the Lord could do. I cannot say that Joseph Smith never committed a sin, never omitted some work he was called to do, or he was always perfect.
I can say, and do say, as I was shown, God had cleansed that mans every sin. I was shown a soul of such clean and Holy nature that I felt unclean in his presence. Truly, Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God.
I do believe he stands triumphantly and continually in Gods presence.
Some things at times seem politically insensitive, socially challenging. Especially testimony that indicate change. No problem for the meek and humble. I do not perceives myself desiring high office, or notoriety. I am not running for any special position. Of myself, many times, I would, and have, turned on my heal and walked away because of the insensitivity present. The Lord spoke, saying, “are you not yet ready?”
As I drove home I asked myself, I wonder what I am missing. What do people feel, what do they see, what is it that I do not understand?
The next Sunday at church I heard a Spiritual sermon. I do not know what others heard, but I heard a wondrous sermon. Half way through the sermon I found myself getting very angry and very jealous. My feelings were so intense it was all I could do to sit there. I wondered why that man could say the things he said, while if said them, I was given hard stares and rebukes?
I thought what is the matter with me, this is not me? I heard a man in Chilliwack British Columbia had the Spirit. I drove 2000 miles one way, to meet him and found it was well worth the trip. So why should I be angry at this Spiritual feast? This is not me!
Then I remembered the thought I had on the way home from the prayer meeting Wed. evening. I said OK Lord, I got it! Those intense feelings immediately normalized, and I spent the rest of that Sunday rejoicing and remembering the great sermon I had heard.
The Scriptures say those things given of the Holy Spirit are as Holy as that which is written in Scriptures.
When you win your argument, there is no change. Look out your window. Do you see Zion?
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Several weeks later I attended a weekend retreat at Camp Donovan, I was currently going through a personal crisis at that time so when I attended a prayer meeting I chose to sit at the very back, the service being held under a large tent canopy, choosing not to participate. It seemed there was room for several hundred people, but there was only thirty or forty clustered up near the front.
Suddenly I was pulled back a great distance, I could see under the canopy and at the same time the whole world was before me as if it were in a great fish bowl. I could see every nation. When I looked at one area I suddenly could see close up people in that area, working, moving about, doing their labors.
I looked back under the canopy and there was a different people there, every seat was filled and people were standing outside looking in. An Elder stood up and began speaking, the words were hidden from me, I was given to understand those words were being heard by every soul on the whole earth at the same time.
As I scanned the nations, focusing in different places, I saw the words were enraging those people of all nations. Great furry was building up and the countenance of those people showed great and vicious hatred.
The Elder spoke again and four young men came to the front. Following them came an Elder carrying the roll of Gold Cloth. They draped it over those four young men, probably in their teens, cutting holes for their heads to go through. There was a talk given by the Elder in charge, and as he spoke the young men were given and dressed in armor until they looked like Roman Soldiers. The armor was both of white gold and regular gold.
They were sent out some distance, one to the North, one to the South, one East and one West. As those young men assumed there positions men of all nations came boiling over the coasts of America, and from the North, the South, the East and West. Isaiah mentioned they came as the waves of the ocean. So many in number the first thought that came to me was ‘there is no possible way to have a supply line capable of sustaining this many soldiers.’
They literally covered the whole land. Rank upon rank, line upon line, they began to move toward the Center of America. As I looked to the West and North West they were packed so close one could not see between the ranks.
As they approached that single teenager in the West, they thought to walk right over him. They passed a great distance past him then suddenly as if considering him for the first time they swung around and started back toward him. It seemed their singular purpose at that moment was to vent their hate and destroy that young man.
As they approached that young man dressed in Roman Armor a great beam of light came out of the heavens and splayed up and down on that armor blinding the invaders and filling their hatred to the point that if they felt any movement around them they would strike out killing what ever moved.
The vision ended at that point.
Saturday, pulling me toward the table she noticed my hands they were not perfectly dry, she changed direction and took me to the kitchen sink and a towel. When she was satisfied with my hands she said, ‘come on big boy,’ which caused quite a ripple of laughter to all that heard, and some very tender feelings to blossom.
After the World leaders have exercised their wisdom and their scientific achievements and fulfilled their strangest dreams, can they, will they, duplicate such a tender loving moment, or even a smile, on any soul as that two and a half year old girl?
With the sum total of all they represent, all the Nations, all their combined power, after using that power, will they make one experience in anyone’s life, in the whole world, better than that little girl was able to do?
I was born into a RLDS family, my earliest recollections of the congregation I attended were mixed. I loved to hear the Scriptures, but the things they professed seemed to be missing in life as I saw it. I had an uncle of great Spiritual nature who’s gifts were seemingly overwhelmed by the nature and conduct of the majority of people attending.
At fifteen years a unfortunate incident took place. It was handled very wisely but without any spiritual guidance, no compassion was shown. Which incident caused me to inform my parents this is not for me.
In my mid twenties I met God on a mountain. He treated me kindly and showed me all that I asked. He spent some time with me, and when I came back to my home I began to search the Holy Scriptures with great zeal. Things that puzzled me, usually before I thought to ask, the Spirit came and were instantly revealed.
I had three aunts living in Independence who invited me to try and find employment in that area. The day I arrived in Independence, I found my aunts house, not an hour went by when an Elder friend came to meet the visitors. Things went very well, he was most kind and gracious and invited me and my family over for supper some evening.
As he was leaving he said, “by the way how long are you staying?” I replied we are moving here. His face got red, the veins on his neck stood out, and he said angrily, “who told you to come here, you have come to steal our jobs.”
What little spiritual anticipation was welling up in me quickly left. Same old, same old. I said within my self, just like home. I had not been to church for over 18 years.
A year latter, can you imagine my surprise, while reading my Book Of Mormon, Holy Spirit said, “Behold, get thee up into My House.” I laughed, not me, what ever could God mean, must be a mistake.
The very next night, while reaching for my BOM the Spirit said, “Behold, get thee up into my house.” I suddenly got so angry I could not talk, I stomped off into the bedroom.
Sunday morning I found myself running through the house, I had no control over my own body. I ran to the front door and opened it as far as it would go. Standing there with my bare feet across the cold aluminum threshold, wondering what ever had possessed me to do this?
As I turned back to go my bedroom the Holy Spirit once again said, “Behold, get thee into My house.” I sat on the edge of the bed for the longest time, my wife, the wife of my youth, was also an RLDS drop out. I thought of the contention this would create. Finally I got ready to go to Church. I assumed the Spirit meant RLDS, I never thought to ask.
When my hand touched the front door of the RLDS congregation I had decided to attend, the Spirit left me, I paused for the longest time. It was up to me to go in or turn around and go home. I thought I am here, I will see if there is anything different.
During the Sunday School class I was invited to attend the Lord prompted me to speak. I thought ‘they wont listen to that.’ I saw the Holy Spirit wrap itself around a man across from me, he spoke the very same words that were given to me to say. I was correct, not one soul grasped the intent or meaning or seemed to care.
After the class was over I headed for the door, I had to step back as a number of people were coming in. A man handed me a ‘program’ which I scanned while waiting to leave. Thinking next time I would ask God which was His church. I saw a Missionary was preaching. I thought they were usually worth listening to, I think I will stay.
I entered the Sanctuary, there was only one seat left right up at the front. Things went as they usually do, the man got up to preach. After a few words I got up to leave.
“Behold, these are the true lambs of Jesus Christ.” (If I stopped here you might cry out Hosanna, Hosanna, as did an Elder I reported this experience too, but when I told the rest of that which the Lord said to me, He blasphemed the same Spirit he had just moments before cried Hosanna too.)
The Lord said, “Behold, these are the true lambs of Jesus Christ, they have eyes that see not.” I turned and deliberately looked into the eyes of those beside me and behind me. They were as colored glass, no light could penetrate. I quickly looked up to the eyes of the man preaching, and as I looked up a white veil fell over his pupils and the Sprit said, “Behold, the blind doth lead them.”
Then the Lord showed me the hearts and minds of His people, every one in that sanctuary! Nothing is hid from the Lord. Nothing.
On the way home I was screaming internally, “what have you done to me, what have you done to me? If I respond to that which you have shown me I won’t have a friend in this whole land.”
I have since reconciled myself to the fact I have not been commissioned to save anyone’s soul. That is for the politically astute, socially adept priest craft. The carnally minded Elders. Oh what a gospel they have. If they like you they will touch your nose and proclaimed you saved. Once saved, always saved. They study the people so when they speak they can make themselves popular. If they do not like you they will if, possible ignore you. If you will insist on giving a testimony they will attack you. All in Jesus’ name.
No man has the right of himself, to proclaim that anyone is saved.
My commission, to give accurate testimony before the unbelieving and the rebellious. Strengthen the feeble, and praise those who carry the Holy Spirit.
Testifying sometimes produce surprising results in those who hear. Resentment, sometimes anger and jealousy. People who are wise in their social relations sometimes think ‘he does not get it.’ There are certain things that are better left unsaid. Timing is everything.
I do get it. I have spent over fifty years being instructed. Told point blank. It has happened so many times I have the procedure memorized.
1. ‘It's not what you said, it is the way you said it.’
After 18 years being absent from the congregation of the Lords people, the one singular thing that makes me Love God, makes me ignore the chastising of the Lords people, strengthens me to press on is the testimony he gave me and my family, of the Book Of Mormon.
One early morning, I had just read the last ten pages of the BOM, the Holy Spirit was present, and I was rejoicing in the things I had read in that wonderful book. As I laid it down the cover opened and I noticed for the first time a blue tag which read, if my memory is correct, “if any man desires to know the truth of this book let him ask of God and it will be revealed by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
Sitting there, I idly thought I wonder how God would do that? What would He show some one who had never heard of the BOM or even resented it, but asked?
The Spirit then suddenly poured out on me. My youngest daughter eight years of age, came skipping into the room looking up from her feet she saw me. She stopped.
She lifted her arms above her head, rolled back on her heals, her eyes wide with astonishment, ran out of the room backwards crying “come quick, come quick! Daddy’s on fire, Daddy’s on fire!”
I looked up as three girls 8, 10.and 12 were peeking around the corner at me. I said “come here I want rto tell you what God is showing me.” My Oldest daughter stood up and backed away saying, “I am not coming anywhere near you.”
The Lord then told me this was the power He had put upon Nephi when Nephi’s brothers were going to kill him. After I heard that the power on me seemed to leave. With that my oldest daughter rushed in and touched my forehead with one finger.. Something shocked her and she stagers back quite a distance with tears running down her cheeks said,” Daddy, does that hurt?”
Suddenly three girls jumped on my lap and with one voice said, “Daddy, we want to get baptized.”
In that one moment the Lord had wiped out eighteen years of my dissatisfaction, and in the presence of His spirit, testified to my three daughters and myself, and undone my years of ignorance.
If there was ever any one thing in my life that turned my heart to love God, it is that one incidence above all else.
I was asked to chaperone some young singles to go to a week end Harvest House retreat in Scotts Bluff Nebraska. As things did not go as one might hope I was put in a socially and politically isolated position. The Lord gave me the words to say which helped me hold the position I needed to take, put to say the least I was upset.
After church service Sunday morning I was re-arranging luggage to make room for my passengers when a man came up and asked me if I had ever seen him before. I had not, and so told him. He then told me a few things about my self which were true. After he established that he knew things about me that only God could reveal to him, he then said; “God wants you to know that you will be called into service under such circumstances and conditions you cannot now dream or imagine.”
Through the years since then I often wondered if, in my own self will, I had missed the promised opportunity, not been in the right place at the right time. But as I reflect this day, I have not found any moments in my life that were beyond my dreams or imagination until a few months ago.
The escalation of the political posturing has startled me. It is not my intention to cast myself into the Frey, this is not my purpose, just to remark that being a few months away from my 79th birthday causes me to think that the time must be short.
I sit here with testimonies and remarks in front of me, one might say my past is before me. With every testimony I could add pages of comments hoping to invigorate the desire in people to bow before and believe the scriptures with anxious sincerity.
Last fall I heard a wonderful sermon in Independence by Pastor Jim Hobbs of Waldo Avenue congregation. One suggestion he offered caused me to sit straight up. Jim suggested ‘we should examine ourselves.’ On the way home I wondered how many people would know where to look?
Jesus said, “from your belly flows water of everlasting life,” and “when you do what I say I will put a burning in your bosom.” Remember the ten virgins, five had oil in their lamps? The oil is stored in the lower chamber, the results of gift for gift, grace for grace. Remember Moses coming down from the mountain, they put a veil over his face. He had been in the presence of God! His face shone and people could hardly abide his presence! His lamp was lit! The Lord said in the last days He would make His ministers faces as burning fire!
As you examine yourself what do you find in your lower chamber? Love, anxiousness, nothing? Hate, jealousies, anger, what is there? After you interact, preach, minister, what do you leave behind in the lower chambers of those to whom you have spoken? Does the show of your countenance give you away?
Posturing and pretending obscures the path that permits continual grace for grace and gift for gift. Christmas once a year is just not enough.
Some sermons are forbidden from behind the RLDS pulpit in these days. The Celestial Law, Everlasting Covenant, the Law of Consecration. Due to the changes taking place I suspect people giving testimony such as this will soon be declared insane. (I remember the times such as these, leading up to the 2nd world war.) Rev. 12:17
On the way to prayer service one Wednesday the spirit told me to speak. I asked the Spirit what He wanted me to say. Nothing. Four times this happened, four times I requested Him to give me a subject even. Nothing.
After coming home the fourth time and getting ready for bed I was given a vision. I saw Jonah on the way to Nineveh. Jonah was delighted that he was called to do service for the Lord. He was walking along a road cut into the side of a cliff, as he rounded the end of the bluff he saw the City of Nineveh. His heart sunk within him, He had expected a little village, not a large wealthy city. The wall around the city was a brilliant white, tall towers behind, glistening in the sun.
Jonah quickly turned around and started back, there was a well worn path off to the right going down to the water. Jonah went down the path and at the water men were loading a boat approx. thirty or forty feet long. Cargo was pile up in the center beside the mast, and the rest of the boat was filled with people. There were just as many outside the boat as in it.
Jonah elbowed his way through the people and was about to get into the boat when a member of the crew stopped him. Jonah reached down to his waist and pulled a leather bag from his belt and placed it in the crew mans hand, which startled the crew man. Jonah quickly took advantage and forced his way to the very back of the boat and on the far side.
The vision ended. I had been chastised.
For this reason I testify without personal concern for the political or social resentment that the true testimony often provoke. To say the messenger is faulty, we do not have to listen, in the end will not stand.
Moses murdered a man, God used Moses. Nephi cut off his uncles head, God used Nephi. Joshua, God said, I found him dirty, his clothes were in tatters, I cleansed him, gave him new clothes and set a tiara on his head. God used Joshua.
As a Branch we were basic RLDS, having found the COC perverting our basic standards to the point we no longer felt comfortable. Faith, repentance, baptism, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead and eternal life, seems to be the basic answer. My own beliefs seem singular to my self: Sect. 68 requires all meetings to be led by the Holy Spirit. Many men, who are now in the forefront, if honest and subjected to this requirement, would be silent in the House of the Lord. The only exception would be in Sunday School where these four things would be taught:
The Everlasting Covenant.
As these four things seem to be to ‘tight’ for most people, to uncomfortable, it seems I dwell on them by myself.
When the Lord puts His hand on your shoulder and shows you the hearts and minds of His people, with assurance and power, there is not much left with which to speculate. Let me paint two pictures for you.
In Paradise the Lord has set the Tree of Eternal Life, guarded by an angel with a fiery sword, who turns every which way. One picture.
Second picture; your life is present and before you. An avalanche of intense color, opportunity, business, knowledge, taxes, cars, music and what we call the better life. Things which carnal men’s hands have made.
The natural man is an enemy to God.
It is as difficult for us today as it was in ancient times. I do not mean to anger you, but scratch you a little. You are the steward of all your wisdom has put to your charge. Do you have FAITH?
Can you imagine trying to access the tree of eternal life through stem cell research instead of through the gate to Paradise? Across the world others are getting ready to loose the fiery atomic bomb. I wonder which scientist will win?
Chosen men, wonderful men amongst you, forced to wait their turn, because of political and social concerns, the sacred hour by men’s design used up. One hour; that is it. Lets go home. For me to speak so openly without political and social boundaries must shock many people. In Independence I hoped to see a Holy City with a fiery wall around it, instead, according law enforcement, the Meth capital of the US.
I wonder how many will be surprised in the day of final judgment?
Blessed are those men who carry the Holy Spirit whose wisdom and patience is greater than mine. At my age I have to speak in case I missed some opportunity along the way. You young people have books and passions, do not seem to need or want the old people’s lessons they have learned. A grave mistake indeed.
There are more than twelve testimonies in me, but you have your Scriptures. God is, was, and will ever be, His word is, and what not yet, will, become reality; read it until you understand it!
I believe on judgment day our minds will be in separately connected to Gods mind, every thought we ever had will be revealed to all. Thus it is written our sins will be shouted from the house tops. Posturing, pretending, keeping things going, or refusing the greater light will be all revealed.
Repentance without change, without action, to me is dangerous, be sober, be thoughtful and;