8 Divine Accounts of Prophets and Apostles Seeing the Savior

3. President George Q. Cannon

While serving as a missionary in Hawaii, President George Q. Cannon had a sacred experience with the Savior.

"On one occasion, while praying in a garden behind Nalimanui’s home, President Cannon received a powerful divine manifestation so sacred to him that he seldom mentioned it in public and never supplied details," Daniel Peterson wrote shared the Deseret News. "Later, though, he recorded that God 'revealed himself to me as he had never done before. . . . Many things were revealed to me during those days, when he was the only friend we had to lean upon. A friendship was thus established between our Father and myself, which I trust will never be broken or diminished. . . . He condescended to commune with me, for I heard his voice more than once as one man speaks with another."

President George Q. Cannon's personal and powerful witness of the Savior was later recorded in 1898 in the journal of Joseph Dean, who attended a meeting in the Salt Lake Temple. Dean shared:

"I never felt a more heavenly influence in my life, especially the last hour. We did not get away until 12:30. The last hour our hearts were so melted that the most of us were sobbing and weeping for joy. Pres. Geo. Q. Cannon began to speak at 11:30. He was saying or began to say that he knew that Jesus was the Christ, for he had seen his face and heard his voice. His emotions here overpowered him, and he had to stand and say nothing for a few moments until he could control himself. He also testified that he knew that God lived for he had seen his face and heard his voice. He also knew that the Holy Ghost was a living being for he heard his voice" (Joseph H. Dean Journal, 3 April 1898, LDS Church Archives). 

4. Elder Orson F. Whitney

“Then came a marvelous manifestation, an 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 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.

“Presently He arose and walked to where those Apostles were kneeling—fast asleep! He shook them gently, awoke them, and in a tone of tender reproach, untinctured by the least show of anger or impatience, asked them plaintively if they could not watch with Him one hour. There He was, with the awful weight of the world’s sin upon His shoulders, with the pangs of every man, woman and child shooting through His sensitive soul—and they could not watch with Him one poor hour!

“Returning to His place, He offered up the same prayer as before; then went back and again found them sleeping. Again He awoke them, readmonished them, and once more returned and prayed. Three times this occurred, until I was perfectly familiar with His appearance—face, form and movements. He was of noble stature and majestic mien—not at all the weak, effeminate being that some painters have portrayed; but the very God that He was and is, as meek and humble as a little child.

“All at once the circumstance seemed to change, the scene remaining just the same. Instead of before, it was after the crucifixion, and the Savior, with the three Apostles, now stood together in a group at my left. They were about to depart and ascend to Heaven. I could endure it no longer. I ran from behind the tree, fell at His feet, clasped Him around the knees, and begged Him to take me with him.

“I shall never forget the kind and gentle manner in which He stooped, raised me up, and embraced me. It was so vivid, so real. I felt the very warmth of His body, as He held me in His arms and said in tenderest tones: ‘No, my son; these have finished their work; they can go with me; but you must stay and finish yours.’ Still I clung to Him. Gazing up into His face—for He was taller than I—I besought Him fervently: ‘Well, promise me that I will come to you at the last.’ Smiling sweetly, He said: ‘That will depend entirely upon yourself,’ I awoke with a sob in my throat, and it was morning.

“‘That’s from God,’ said Elder Musser, when I related to him what I had seen and heard. ‘I do not need to be told that,’ was my reply. I saw the moral clearly. I have never thought of being an Apostle, nor of holding any other office in the Church, and it did not occur to me then. Yet I knew that these sleeping Apostles meant me. I was asleep at my post—as any man is who, having been divinely appointed to do one thing, does another.

“But from that hour, all was changed. I never was the same man again. . . . I did not give up writing, . . . but not to the neglect of the Lord’s Work. I held that first and foremost; all else was secondary" (Orson F. Whitney, Through Memory’s Halls, 82–8, quoted in Dreams as Revelation).

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