----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Francis Harper
Francis Harper Message for 3/6/2020
“Have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Behold I say unto you, nay, for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men” (Moroni 7:38-41).
Those who are acquainted with the Scriptures will remember the visitations of Gabriel to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, and to the Virgin Mary, announcing the miraculous births of their sons. See Luke 1:11-20 IV; 1:26-38 KJV. An angel also appeared to the shepherds to inform them that a child had been born, “. . . who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
Many testimonies are recorded in the Scriptures of how our God has utilized angels to provide ministry for his servants on earth. Daniel reported: “Yea, while I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved . . . (Daniel 10:21-23).
When Alma attempted to preach the word of God to the people in the city of Ammonihah, they “withstood all his words, and reviled him, and spit upon him, and caused that he should be cast out of their city, he departed thence and took his journey toward the city which was called Aaron.” (Alma 6:16).
Alma was very discouraged. “It came to pass that while Alma was thus weighed down with sorrow, behold an angel of the Lord, appeared unto him, saying, Blessed art thou, Alma; therefore lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou hast great cause to rejoice: for thou hast been faithful in keeping the commandments of God from the time which thou received thy first message from him” (Alma 6:18-19).
Elijah was also very depressed and discouraged after Jezebel threatened to take his life. “. . . he went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die . . . And as he lay and slept under the juniper tree, behold, an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. . . . And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; . . .” (1 Kings 19:4-7).
As Jesus suffered in the garden called Gethsemane, while his disciples were sleeping, “there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him” (Luke 22:43).
The ministry of angels is varied according to the needs of those to whom they are sent, and is not limited to the persons of any color, clime, religion, or era of history. During the winter of 1777, an angel appeared to General George Washington at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, and prophesied of three great perils which would occur during our nation’s history. (Wesley Bradshaw, September 1898. Reprint. Our Race Leaflet. Merrimac, Mass. Destiny Publishers).
“A messenger sent from the presence of God,” appeared to 17 year old, Joseph Smith, Jr., on Sept. 21-22, 1823. The angel was sent to tell Joseph that God had a work for him to do, and that his name would be known for “good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues . . .” He said there was a book [The Book of Mormon] deposited [on a nearby hill] giving “an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from which they sprang. He also said that the fullness of the everlasting gospel was contained in it . . .” (Church History Vol. 1, pp 12-13).
We should not be surprised when we hear that God has sent an angel with a message for some person even in our day. God said, “I am the Lord, I change not” (Malachi 3:6).
We had anticipated a good experience at the first Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper of the new year held January 4, 1987. Several persons expressed their desire to make special preparation by fasting and praying throughout the week so that the blessing of God might be received. My brother-in-law, Burton Moores, volunteered to deliver the Sacramental message, having been impressed several weeks earlier with the thought that he should do this. He used the word Sacrament as his theme. Following a ministry of music, he began to speak, and his opening statement was, “The Lord wants to bless us today.”
At that very moment, I felt a distinct touch on my left shoulder, a touch I felt with such certainty that I turned to see who had touched me. But there was no visible person there. I was seated next to the aisle so someone could have touched my left shoulder, but no physical being was there. My daughter, Terri, was seated directly in front of me in the row ahead. I noticed that at the same time I turned to look behind me, she also turned to look over her shoulder as if seeking someone standing there.
The Holy Spirit was so evident during the entire service that many testified afterward of having felt it. We rejoiced together in the presence of the Spirit, but I did not mention my experience to anyone following the service. I know angels are near us, especially when we have special needs, but I dismissed the experience at that time, telling myself that it was probably an involuntary movement of my shoulder muscle.
Later that afternoon, however, I heard Terri tell her mother, “Someone touched me on the shoulder during the Sacrament service this morning.” I had not spoken of my experience, so you can imagine my feelings when I heard her say this. My daughter, having felt the same touch as I, was a second witness that a spiritual presence had been with us that morning. I quickly shared my experience with her, and we rejoiced together at having been so blessed.
I should say something about the feelings and thoughts that were in my heart and mind on that Sunday morning, January 4, 1987. We were meeting in the basement of my mother’s home, and I should have felt completely comfortable. But I was struggling in my thinking, Do I really belong here? Is this where you want me, Lord? Should I be leaving the RLDS [The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints] Chruch? I had served as pastor of three different branches of the RLDS church. Some were accusing me of abandoning the flock.
I was troubled and needed some assurance from the Lord that he was indeed ordering my steps in the new direction. The touch on my shoulder was like a touch a father might give a son, saying, “Everything is all right; I am with you and supporting you.”
During the week following the experience I have just related, I resumed my study of the Prophet Isaiah. I was surprised to find these words: “. . . The Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people” (Isaiah 8:10-11).
These words spoken to Isaiah were being spoken to me also. They supported my decision to leave the church I had joined when I was eight years old.
A year later, during the month of January, 1988, I was studying and searching for some information, unrelated to angelic ministry, when I found these words of the Prophet Joseph Smith III: “Upon two or three occasions in my life, when occupying the pulpit, I had been permitted to preach as if consciously aware of some Divine Personage. This Personage at one of these times placed his hand upon my shoulder with a sufficient degree of pressure so as to make me sensibly aware of his presence” (Smith III 1852, 623).
It is always good to know that others have had spiritual experiences similar to our own! Finding the testimony of Joseph Smith III, being touched on the shoulder by an unseen personage was a complete surprise to me. I was searching for a certain statement, that the prophet had made when God gave me this special gift. I called it an unexpected bonus. His experience, so similar to my own, was like getting an anniversary card from the Lord. It had been a year, almost to the day, since I had felt the touch of an unseen personage.
This added experience was a confirmation of the experience of 1987 being of God and the Holy Spirit. The Lord was saying again, “I am with you, you have chosen the right path; the old old path.” It was a renewal of the assurance given before.
My Love to All,
High Priest Francis Harper