Testimony of the Prophet James D. Harmston

Owing to the many reports which have been put in circulation in relation to the rise and progress of The True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days, some of which have been designed by the authors thereof to militate against its character as a Church and its progress in the world, I have been induced to write this account, to disabuse the public mind, and put all inquirers after truth in possession of the facts, as they have transpired, in relation both to myself and the Church, so far as I have such facts in my possession.

In this account I shall present the various events in relation to this Church, in truth and righteousness, as they have transpired, or as they at present exist, being now [1996] the third year since the organization of the Church. [The above two paragraphs are an adaptation of the first two paragraphs of the Joseph Smith History.]

After sincere repentance for my lifes mistakes and follies, which were not without notice, and having been desirous of discovering the doctrines, laws and ordinances of salvation and exaltation as they were delivered to and through the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. to this dispensation, I sought understanding by assiduous study and earnest prayer. Upon finding that the doctrines, laws and ordinances that were currently being practiced by the LDS Church were quite different from what had been originally given to Joseph, I earnestly began a quest to discover the answers to the difficult questions generated from this dilemma. I never anticipated that this process would put me in the presence of divine beings and in possession of the keys of the Kingdom of God. However strange as it may be, the general and complete apostasy of the LDS Church and those who have separated themselves from it (the fundamentalists) fulfills both scripture and the statements of the early brethren that prophesy of this departure from truth after the initial restoration. Thus, it was necessary for God to gather a remnant of true Israel at the end, and re-establish His full power and authority upon the earth. This re-emergence of the Fullness of the Priesthood in the last dispensation was to be known as the great and marvelous work of the Father or His strange act, and it would happen differently than most have supposed.

As I discovered the depth of the LDS apostasy, fundamentalists who had departed from the LDS Church because of this apostasy from original doctrine, whether in groups or as individual independents, and active main-stream Latter-day Saints began to vie for my attention crying, Lo, here! and Lo, there! Each seemed to have their special doctrines, perceptions, and agendas; but none filled the void created by this apostasy. Simply put, neither the Latter-day Saints nor the fundamentalists could answer all the difficult questions! Indeed, it seemed that Joseph’s expressions of the conditions of his day fit our day:

For, notwithstanding the great love which the converts to these different faiths expressed at the time of their conversion, and the great zeal manifested by the respective clergy, who were active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling, in order to have everybody converted, as they were pleased to call it, let them join what sect they pleased; yet when the converts began to file off, some to one party and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued– priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions. …During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties …My mind at times was greatly excited…In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it? (Joseph Smith–History 1:6-11)

I determined that I needed direct answers from the author of truth–God! I knew in my heart that there were answers, and that God had given a way to obtain those answers, and that the way was through the use of the keys of the priesthood in the True Order of Prayer. I studied everything I could find about the True Order of Prayer from the early journals and records of the restoration and other sources. I became determined to use the True Order of Prayer to find the answers I was seeking. In Josephs words:

Never did any…[concept]… come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects [LDS and fundamentalists] understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the…[scriptures and statements of the early brethren]. At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must …ask of God. I at length came to the determination to ask of God, concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture. So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God… (Joseph Smith–History 1:12-14)

With my wife, Elaine, we decided to dedicate a special place and altar for the purpose of donning the Robes of the Holy Priesthood and addressing God in the True Order of Prayer. Most of these religionists told us we could not and should not do this, because, said they, You are apt to be deceived. However, the records of the past clearly teach that once one has received an appropriate endowment, the True Order of Prayer is how one is to obtain further light and knowledge. We knew we had received enough of an appropriate endowment years before the disastrous changes of 10 April 1990. [See the chapter: They Have Transgressed the Laws, Changed the Ordinance]

So, finally, we had the courage to approach God in this special way to obtain answers to the difficult questions. To our exquisite joy, the heavens responded with glorious manifestations of the Holy Ghost; understanding and intelligence was given, dreams and visions were received and, then, the ministering of Gods Holy Angels.

I learned, by revelation from God, that the LDS apostasy was real and literal; that they had suffered the Adversary to enter the fort and take control, even though it still flew the same flag. I was taught by revelation from God that those who had departed the LDS Church (fundamentalists) and claimed some linkage of authority, were also in rebellion to God and, in fact, had no authority to carry on the work of the dispensation. As Joseph learned, so I learned:

…that I must join none of them, for they [are] all wrong…that all their creeds [are] an abomination in his sight: that those professors [are] all corrupt; that they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. (Joseph Smith–History 1:19)

Then, after all this, it happened in the most unsuspecting of times and circumstances, the particulars of which I shall not all relate, but on Sunday, 25 November 1990, I was taken into the most exquisite of environments. I was surrounded with sweet light on all sides, with the capacity to view things as they really are. I was seated, and two brilliant Personages came into view, walking up to the side and behind me. They laid their hands upon my head. Two others appeared and walked up in front of me. They joined the first two, and likewise laid their hands upon my head. They were glorious beings, clothed in white robes which hung nigh to their ankles. They had white hair and beards. They were bare footed and all of them were slender. Indeed, they were resurrected Gods; for they were the grand patriarchs Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Moses–each one a dispensation head. With the Prophet Enoch as voice, they did what John the Revelator foresaw: these Angels began the great work of the very last days as described in the Book of Revelation, seventh chapter, and plainly declared by the Prophet Joseph Smith in Doctrine and Covenants 77, verses 8-11. Once again, the everlasting gospel was committed to man on earth by the angels of God. As a high priest, I was ordained under their hands unto the holy order of God, to administer the everlasting gospel and to bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn. The Apostleship and keys of the Kingdom were given to conclude the work of the last dispensation; to reclaim the true house of Israel, to redeem Zion and repossess the earth. All praise, honor and glory be to Adam, our father and God, and to Jesus Christ, the mediator of the new covenant!

From that wondrous event to this very day, each distinct action in the development of the Kingdom has been done under the revealed instruction of heaven. Each step along the way has been recorded and will be included in the history of the work of the last days of the last dispensation of time for future generations to receive. The House of God is thus being calmly set in order that Gods holy purposes might prevail upon the earth.

Inasmuch as we firmly believe and preach that the law of witnesses must prevail to establish truth–that all truth must be established by two or more witnesses, and as I am only one witness, all seekers of truth should earnestly seek, with real intent, to know the truthfulness of the above. The powerful witness of the Holy Ghost will be given as the divine second witness of these sacred things.

I solemnly witness to that which I have written.

Sincerely, your brother and servant in Christ,

James D. Harmston