Below is an excerpt from Randall J. Brown’s book, Experiencing Christ: Your Personal Journey to the Savior (pp. 52-54). Experiencing Christ was published in 2009 by Cedar Fort, Inc. In this excerpt Brown shares how we should turn our lives over to the Lord, and he illustrates this teaching by an example of Parley P. Pratt (one of the first members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles). Brown belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes inadvertently called the “Mormon Church”), and is a devoted follower and disciple of Jesus Christ.
In the process of coming to Christ, each of us will be purged. As Spencer J. Condie said, “We will go through a process of ‘hollowing,’ in order that the Lord may begin the ‘hallowing’ process” (Spencer J. Condie, The Song of Redeeming Love [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2002], 45). In the process of developing our relationship with the Lord, we will be emptied or hollowed of all barriers prohibiting us from experiencing personal revelation and direct contact with Him.
In 1830, Parley P. Pratt received a visit from his brother, William, whom he had not seen in five years. In speaking to William, who was admiring his beautiful home and vast farm, Parley said, “We are now about to leave this quiet home which we have toiled so hard to make, and perhaps never see it again.”
Parley then told his brother about the gospel and the teachings that he had learned. He told his brother how restless his mind was; he could not content himself with quiet retirement while mankind did not share the new light he had.
His brother responded:
If I had fifty acres of land, a comfortable house, a fine orchard . . . and all these things the work of our own hands, I am sure I would stay and enjoy the same while I lived; and the world might go on its own jog, and its own way, for all me. Besides how are you going to get your living?
William, I see plainly you know but little of my circumstances—of the changes which have taken place with me since we parted five years ago, nor how vastly wealthy I have become within that time. Why, sir I have bank bills enough, on the very best institutions in the world, to sustain myself and family while we live.
Parley then unlocked his treasury and took out a large pocketbook full of promissory notes like the following:
Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life (Matthew 19:29).
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you (John 15:7).
All things are possible to him that believeth (Mark 9:23).
Parley then said, “William, are these the words of Christ, or are they not?”
“They certainly are,” William said. “I have always believed the New Testament.”
“Then you admit they are genuine bills?”
Parley’s final response was:
Well, then, I am going to fulfill the conditions to the letter on my part. I feel called upon by the Holy Ghost to forsake my house and home for the gospel’s sake; and I will do it, placing both feet firm on these promises with nothing else to rely upon.
They parted—William to his business and Parley to preparations for a mission that would only end with his life (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor, eds. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 25–26).
Later in his life, Parley said, “I have lain months in gloomy dungeons, and been loaded with chains. I have been visited there by visions of Angels and Spirits, and been delivered by miracles” (Mathew J. Grow, “The Extraordinary Life of Parley P. Pratt,” Ensign, Apr. 2007).
Parley P. Pratt was a true disciple of Jesus Christ because he was willing to surrender to the Savior’s will by forsaking every worldly thing, including his own life, in order to follow the Master, Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). Amulek was a great disciple of Christ who was asked to forsake all he had—his home, his wealth, and his time—to serve the mission the Lord had for him. We learn about this sacrifice in the book of Alma [from the Book of Mormon]: “Amulek having forsaken all his gold, and silver, and his precious things, which were in the land of Ammonihah, for the word of God, he being rejected by those who were once his friends and also by his father and his kindred” (Alma 15:16).
Jesus, as He bore the infinite weight of the atoning sacrifice in Gethsemane, said, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). The purpose of the Atonement of Christ is to enable us through His mercy, merits, and grace to be like Him, to inherit all of the characteristics and qualities that have merited Him a place at the right hand of our Father in Heaven. The pathway to divine character can only be traveled through the process of surrendering our lives and our wills to the Master.
The path of our own will is the path of the natural man and will always lead away from Christ. It will lead to sin, selfish indulgence, and self-destructive choices. It will always lead to spiritual death and bondage, and the end result will always be misery. It will never afford us the privilege of experiencing Christ. There is no other way.
I can hardly imagine the feelings that would accompany actually leaving all of your earthly possessions, including your own life, in order to follow your beliefs. Brother Pratt is a new hero of mine after I read his story of faith and courage. And the story of the “notes” from God shows that he truly knew that God would take care of every needful thing if he put his trust in Him. How can we apply these sacred teachings to our own life? By making and keeping sacred covenants with God. I invite you to learn more about what it means to make covenants with God by meeting with Mormon missionaries. They can help you learn and grow closer to God in miraculous ways! I believe in the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with all of my heart. I know they are true because I have asked God, and He has helped me feel of the truthfulness through the Holy Ghost–something I know can happen for every person who sincerely asks.
Ashley Bell is a 22-year old wife, mother, BYU graduate, and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ashley loves to run, cook, garden, read, and most of all spend time with family and friends.