Review of: John Pontius, Visions of Glory: One Man’s Astonishing Account of the Last Days (Springville UT: Cedar Fort, 2012). 268 pages. ISBN 978 1462111183.
Visions of Glory is written by John Pontius and recounts several visions and spiritual manifestations. Their recipient is an anonymous informant called “Spencer” in the book. It includes an account of visions of the spirit world, a series of vignettes of apocalyptic last-days scenarios, and describes Spencer’s foretold role in preparing the world for the second coming of Christ. It concludes with an appendix containing other visions which may provide parallels or points of comparison to Spencer’s claims.
The Saints should always be seeking for further light and knowledge. Experience has shown, however, that an anxious interest in such light and knowledge can lead to being deceived, misled, and manipulated if we are not sufficiently grounded in true principles relating to revelation and learning. Prior to teaching the endowment, Joseph Smith warned the Saints: “Let us be faithful and silent, brethren, and if God gives you a manifestation, keep it to yourselves.” Of this remark, Elder Dallin H. Oaks wrote:
By and large, Latter-day Saints observe this direction. They do not speak publicly of their most sacred experiences. They seldom mention miracles in bearing their testimonies, and they rarely preach from the pulpit about signs that the gospel is true. They usually affirm their testimony of the truthfulness of the restored gospel by asserting the conclusion, not by giving details on how it was obtained.
The purpose of this review is not to cast doubt on the sincerity of those who have believed these visionary accounts. It is important, however, to take note of several factors:
- Visions of Glory’s portrayal of Jesus Christ and His method of interacting with the Saints is not consistent with scripture.
- Visions of Glory teaches doctrines that contradict LDS scripture and prophets.
- Prophets and apostles have repeatedly taught that it is inappropriate for members to publicize such material without permission from the President of the Church.
- Spencer claims he will receive authority independent of the Church and its leaders.
- Anonymous accounts cannot be verified.
Readers of Visions of Glory may wish to compare LDS teachings and doctrines that differ from the book’s teachings.