Heber J. Grant’s Vision of A Council in Heaven

07-110-1Heber J. Grant shared a vision he had while riding in through the Utah desert in the April 1941 Conference.

There are two spirits striving with us always, one telling us to continue our labor for good, and one telling us that with the faults and failings of our nature we are unworthy. I can truthfully say that from October, 1882, until February, 1883, that spirit followed me day and night telling me that I was unworthy to be an Apostle of the Church, and that I ought to resign. When I would testify of my knowledge that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Redeemer of mankind, it seemed as though a voice would say to me: “You lie! You lie! You have never seen Him.”

While on the Navajo Indian reservation with Brigham Young, Jr., and a number of others, six or eight, on horseback, and several others in “white tops”—riding along with Lot Smith at the rear of that procession, suddenly the road veered to the left almost straight, but there was a well beaten path leading ahead. I said: “Stop, Lot, stop. Where does this trail lead? There are plenty of foot marks and plenty of horses’ hoof marks here.” He said, “It leads to an immense gulley just a short distance ahead, that it is impossible to cross with a wagon. We have made a regular ‘Muleshoe’ of miles here to get on the other side of the gulley.”

I had visited the day before the spot where a Navajo Indian had asked George A. Smith, Jr., to let him look at his pistol. George A. handed it to him, and the Navajo shot him.

I said, “Lot, is there any danger from Indians?”

“None at all.”

“I want to be all alone. Go ahead and follow the crowd.” I first asked him if I allowed the animal I was riding to walk if I would reach the road on the other side of the gulley before the horsemen and the wagons, and he said, “Yes.”

As I was riding along to meet them on the other side I seemed to see, and I seemed to hear, what to me is one of the most real things in all my life, I seemed to see a Council in Heaven. I seemed to hear the words that were spoken. I listened to the discussion with a great deal of interest. The First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles had not been able to agree on two men to fill the vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve. There had been a vacancy of one for two years, and a vacancy of two for one year, and the Conference had adjourned without the vacancies being filled. In this Council the Savior was present, my father was there, and the Prophet Joseph Smith was there. They discussed the question that a mistake had been made in not filling those two vacancies and that in all probability it would be another six months before the Quorum would be completed, and they discussed as to whom they wanted to occupy those positions, and decided that the way to remedy the mistake that had been made in not filling these vacancies was to send a revelation. It was given to me that I had done nothing to entitle me to that exalted position, except that I had lived a clean, sweet life. It was given to me that because of my father having practically sacrificed his life in what was known as the great Reformation, so to speak, of the people in early days, having been practically a martyr, that the Prophet Joseph and my father desired me to have that position, and it was because of their faithful labors that I was called, and not because of anything I had done of myself or any great thing that I had accomplished. It was also given to me that that was all these men, the Prophet and my father, could do for me; from that day it depended upon me and upon me alone as to whether I made a success of my life or a failure. . . .

It was given to me, as I say, that it now depended upon me. No man could have been more unhappy than I was from October 1882, until February, 1883, but from that day I have never been bothered, night or day, with the idea that I was not worthy to stand as an Apostle, and I have not been worried since the last words uttered by Joseph F. Smith to me: “The Lord bless you, my boy, the Lord bless you; you have got a great responsibility. Always remember this is the Lord’s work and not man’s. The Lord is greater than any man. He knows whom He wants to lead His Church, and never makes any mistake. The Lord bless you.”

I have been happy during the twenty years that it has fallen my lot to stand at the head of this Church. I have felt the inspiration of the Living God directing me in my labors. From the day that I chose a comparative stranger to be one of the Apostles, instead of my lifelong and dearest living friend, I have known as I know that I live, that I am entitled to the light and the inspiration and the guidance of God in directing his work here upon this earth; and I know, as I know that I live, that it is God’s work, and that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God, the Redeemer of the world, and that he came to this earth with a divine mission to die upon the cross as the Redeemer of mankind, atoning for the sins of the world. (Conference Report, April 1941, pp. 4-6.)

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“Tell Father That All is Well With Me”

A Comforting Vision With an Added Lesson

John Wells, LDS General Authority

John Wells, LDS General Authority

This vision from the life of Bishop John Wells really hit home for me personally.  It concerns the untimely death of Bishop Well’s son in a train accident, which was rumored to have been a suicide.  I too had a brother who lost his life in an accident in which there was also some speculation of suicide, so I understand the agony that these unanswered questions can add to the already devastating grief of losing a loved one.

What is remarkable about this vision is what it teaches us about how our frame of mind might disqualify us from experiencing a spiritual manifestation.  Sometimes, our mind and heart are simply too preoccupied or unprepared spiritually to receive these blessings.

President Ezra Taft Benson related the story in the April 1988 Ensign:

A son of Bishop and Sister Wells was killed in a railroad accident on October 15, 1915. He was run over by a freight car. Sister Wells could not be consoled. She received no comfort during the funeral and continued her mourning after her son was laid to rest. Bishop Wells feared for her health, as she was in a state of deep anguish.

One day, soon after the funeral, Sister Wells was lying on her bed in a state of mourning. The son appeared to her and said, “Mother, do not mourn, do not cry. I am all right.”

He then related to her how the accident took place. Apparently there had been some question—even suspicion—about the accident because the young man was an experienced railroad man. But he told his mother that it was clearly an accident.

Now note this: He also told her that as soon as he realized that he was in another sphere, he had tried to reach his father but could not. His father was so busy with the details of his office and work that he could not respond to the promptings. Therefore, the son had come to his mother.

He then said, “Tell Father that all is well with me, and I want you not to mourn any more.”