Appendix: Orson Pratt, A[n] Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions, 1840

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
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way, it would be impossible to walk in it, except by chance;  and the thought of resting his hopes of eternal life upon  chance, or uncertainties, was more than he could endure.  If he went to the religious denominations to seek infor mation, each one pointed to its particular tenets, saying— “This is the way, walk ye in it;” while, at the same  time, the doctrines of each were, in many respects, in  direct opposition to one another. It, also, occurred to his  mind, that God was not the author of but one doctrine,  and therefore could not acknowledge but one denomina tion as his church; and that such denomination must be  a people, who believe, and teach, that one doctrine, (what ever it may be,) and build upon the same. He then re flected upon the immense number of doctrines, now, in  the world, which had given rise to many hundreds of  different denominations. The great question to be decid ed in his mind, was—if any one of these denominations be  the Church of Christ, which one is it? Until he could  become satisfied, in relation to this question, he could not  rest contented. To trust to the decisions of fallible man,  and build his hopes upon the same, without any certainty,  and knowledge, of his own, would not satisfy the anxious  desires that pervaded his breast. To decide, without any  positive and definite evidence, on which he could rely,  upon a subject involving the future welfare of his soul,  was revolting to his feelings. The only alternative, that  seemed to be left him, was to read the Scriptures, and  endeavour to follow their directions. He, accordingly,  commenced perusing the sacred pages of the Bible, with  sincerity, believing the things that he read. His mind  soon caught hold of the following passage:—“If any of  you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all  men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given  him.”—James i. 5. From this promise he learned, that it  was the privilege of all men to ask God for wisdom, with  the sure and certain expectation of receiving, liberally;  without being upbraided for so doing. This was cheering  information to him: tidings that gave him great joy. It  was like a light shining forth in a dark place, to guide him  to the path in which he should walk. He, now, saw that  if he inquired of God, there was, not only, a possibility,  but a probability; yea, more, a certainty, that he should [p. 4]
way, it would be impossible to walk in it, except by chance; and the thought of resting his hopes of eternal life upon chance, or uncertainties, was more than he could endure. If he went to the religious denominations to seek information, each one pointed to its particular tenets, saying—“This is the way, walk ye in it;” while, at the same time, the doctrines of each were, in many respects, in direct opposition to one another. It, also, occurred to his mind, that God was not the author of but one doctrine, and therefore could not acknowledge but one denomination as his church; and that such denomination must be a people, who believe, and teach, that one doctrine, (whatever it may be,) and build upon the same. He then reflected upon the immense number of doctrines, now, in the world, which had given rise to many hundreds of different denominations. The great question to be decided in his mind, was—if any one of these denominations be the Church of Christ, which one is it? Until he could become satisfied, in relation to this question, he could not rest contented. To trust to the decisions of fallible man, and build his hopes upon the same, without any certainty, and knowledge, of his own, would not satisfy the anxious desires that pervaded his breast. To decide, without any positive and definite evidence, on which he could rely, upon a subject involving the future welfare of his soul, was revolting to his feelings. The only alternative, that seemed to be left him, was to read the Scriptures, and endeavour to follow their directions. He, accordingly, commenced perusing the sacred pages of the Bible, with sincerity, believing the things that he read. His mind soon caught hold of the following passage:—“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”—James i. 5. From this promise he learned, that it was the privilege of all men to ask God for wisdom, with the sure and certain expectation of receiving, liberally; without being upbraided for so doing. This was cheering information to him: tidings that gave him great joy. It was like a light shining forth in a dark place, to guide him to the path in which he should walk. He, now, saw that if he inquired of God, there was, not only, a possibility, but a probability; yea, more, a certainty, that he should [p. 4]
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