Posted by James
I was living in Australia. Heavenly Father wanted me and my family to move there. My wife is Australian, so when we first moved there I stayed at my father-in-law’s house. I had a terrible time trying to find a job. My wife was pregnant, I couldn’t find work, it was a really humbling experience. I became best friends with a Mauri brother in the ward. He was extremely spiritually gifted. One day as we were talking about spiritual things the spirit was really strong and he suggested we should take advantage of the spirit and pray. After our prayer he said to me “the spirit says you’re going to have a spiritual experience in the next few days.”
I wanted a spiritual experience, so I prayed and fasted the next day, Sunday. I broke my fast because we were invited to eat at someone’s house that night. On Monday I decided to do as Enos and Nephi and fast and pray all day. I went out into a bungalow and prayed vocally for as long as I could. When I couldn’t think of things to pray about I read my scriptures. I prayed until the afternoon, but nothing happened. I was really discouraged. That night I went to my Mauri friend’s house to talk about things. He gave me a blessing.
The next day was Tuesday. I was unemployed at the time, so I decided to give it another go. I broke my fast and went out to the bungalow to pray again. I prayed for about an hour and this happened:
From my journal:
I knelt down and was praying to the Lord with all my heart that I might receive evidence that what I was doing was right. I could feel the spirit in my chest and my face was tingling. While feeling this I pleaded that I might have greater evidence. All of a sudden I felt power come into my body. As Nephi said it consumed my flesh. So much so that I felt that my hands were out stretched and my chest was pulled up and power surged through me like I have never felt in all my life. It was so powerful that I could hardly control myself. I felt like I was being shocked with energy. I knew it was the energy of God. I felt His power!
At the time I wasn’t sure what had happened, but it wasn’t long after that Heavenly Father began to help me understand that I had experienced the baptism of fire. Here are a few things that I learned.
1. The baptism of fire is indeed a baptism or immersion in the spirit. For me it was a powerful experience, but it may come in a serene, peaceful way. Both Adam and Jesus received the baptism of fire immediately after baptism
64 And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.
65 And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.
9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
2. The baptism of fire does make a change to the body
25 And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;
26 And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
3. The baptism of fire is instigated and performed by Jesus
3 Nephi 9:20
And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost…
4. The baptism of fire changes your disposition
2 And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.
5. The baptism of fire can happen right after baptism, or it may take years. When we are confirmed members of the church we are asked to “receive the Holy Ghost.” This is an invitation to us. I didn’t experience it until I was 33. Notice that Alma is asking members of the church if they have experienced it.
14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
6. The earth follows the same pattern of being saved through the ordinances of the gospel. The earth was baptized by water during the times of Noah and will be baptized by fire upon Jesus return to usher in the millenium.
7. There is a difference between the gift the Holy Ghost and the baptism of fire. The gift of the Holy Ghost is the right to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost based on righteousness. The baptism of fire is the actual reception of the Holy Ghost. 3 Nephi 19 is a great example of how the baptism of fire is receiving the Holy Ghost.
3 Nephi 19
9 And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them.
10 And when they had thus prayed they went down unto the water’s edge, and the multitude followed them.
11 And it came to pass that Nephi went down into the water and was baptized.
12 And he came up out of the water and began to baptize. And he baptized all those whom Jesus had chosen.
13 And it came to pass when they were all baptized and had come up out of the water, the Holy Ghost did fall upon them, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost and with fire.
14 And behold, they were encircled about as if it were by fire; and it came down from heaven, and the multitude did witness it, and did bear record; and angels did come down out of heaven and did minister unto them.
15 And it came to pass that while the angels were ministering unto the disciples, behold, Jesus came and stood in the midst and ministered unto them.
16 And it came to pass that he spake unto the multitude, and commanded them that they should kneel down again upon the earth, and also that his disciples should kneel down upon the earth.
17 And it came to pass that when they had all knelt down upon the earth, he commanded his disciples that they should pray.
18 And behold, they began to pray; and they did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God.
19 And it came to pass that Jesus departed out of the midst of them, and went a little way off from them and bowed himself to the earth, and he said:
20 Father, I thank thee that thou hast given the Holy Ghost unto these whom I have chosen; and it is because of their belief in me that I have chosen them out of the world.