Thursday, April 30, 2009
After a brief interruption we now continue to share the testimonies of Hartley Stanbridge. As a reminder, these have been accumulated over many decades and are a sharing of one man’s experience with his God. If you feel led to comment; ask for further information, or visit with Hartley, he may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
”I was born into an RLDS family and 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 whose gifts were seemingly overwhelmed by the nature and conduct of the majority of people attending.
At fifteen years an unfortunate incident took place. It was handled very wisely but without any spiritual guidance, and no compassion was shown and the 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. When things puzzled me, usually before I thought to ask, the Spirit came and they 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 their house and 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.”
The next day we met another Elder, he was equally kind and gracious until he found out we were intending to stay. He too had read the same “welcoming manual” as the previous Elder had the day before. He too accused me of “stealing our jobs.”
What little spiritual anticipation was welling up in me quickly left. “Same old, same old” I said within myself, just like home. I had not been to church for over 18 years.
A year later, can you imagine my surprise, while reading my Book Of Mormon, the Holy Spirit said, “Behold, get thee up into My House.” I laughed, ‘not me’, what ever could God mean, and it 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 won’t 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 and I thought as they were usually worth listening to, I will stay.
I entered the Sanctuary and 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.
As I leaned forward a strong hand was laid on my shoulder and I was pulled forcibly back into my seat. With that hand on my shoulder the Lord said: “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 to, 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 to.)
The Lord continued: “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 is to give accurate testimony before the unbelieving and the rebellious, strengthen the feeble, and praise those who carry the Holy Spirit.
Elder Hartley Stanbridge”
We continue to thank Hartley for sharing his testimonies and encourage you to pray to validate them.
In His abiding love,
Posted by One of the Moons at 1:59 PM