This inspiring story behind the cherished hymn "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul" will help you see it in a new, deeper light.
Orson F. Whitney would one day be a member of the Council of the Twelve. He would serve in that office from 1906 until his death in 1931. I share a quotation from his memoirs that may already be familiar to most of my readers. But it’s a wonderful passage, and perhaps some out there don’t know it.
It refers to an experience from his first mission, in the Eastern States, in roughly the year 1876. He had apparently been a rather indifferent and casual Latter-day Saint until his unexpected call to serve as a missionary. And, by his own acknowledgment, even after his arrival in the field, he was more interested in writing than in ministering. But this experience evidently had a transformative effect upon him:
Then came a marvelous manifestation, and admonition from a higher source, one impossible to ignore. It was a dream, or a vision in a dream, as I lay upon my bed in the little town of Columbia, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I seemed to be in the Garden of Gethsemane, a witness of the Savior’s agony. I saw Him as plainly as ever I have seen anyone. Standing behind a tree in the foreground, I beheld Jesus, with Peter, James and, John, as they came through a little wicket gate at my right. Leaving the three Apostles there, after telling them to kneel and pray, the Son of God passed over to the other side, where He also knelt and prayed. It was the same prayer with which all Bible readers are familiar: “Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”
As He prayed the tears streamed down His face, which was toward me. I was so moved at the sight that I also wept, out of pure sympathy. My whole heart went out to Him; I loved Him with all my soul, and longed to be with Him as I longed for nothing else.