As I was listening to the Jesus of Nazareth talk tape by Truman Madsen, while walking on my treadmill this morning, I heard a quote by Orson F. Whitney that really stood out to me.
In the talk Truman Madsen expounded about the way he felt that Jesus came to know his mission on this earth as a boy. He pondered on the feelings of familiarity that Christ must have felt as he read the scrolls, which were known as the scriptures, as He came to understand His role through the written word. That same familiarity is exhibited in the instance when Jesus called his apostles to their ministry, as they straight way left their nets and followed. These men must have somehow felt that familiar essence from the presence of their Savior that they would have been acquainted with in the pre-mortal realm, allowing them to follow unconditionally.
Later in the morning I stumbled upon an article in the Meridian Magazine featuring an article written by Truman Madsen as a tribute to the memory of this great man who passed away this past week. The article was called "How We Know What We Know". The article I read contained the same quote by Orson F. Whitney that I had focused on earlier as I walked. It had a familiar ring.
“Why are we drawn toward certain persons and they to us as if we had always known each other? Is it a fact that we always have? Is there something after all in that much abused term affinity? In all events, it is just as logical to look back upon fond associations as it is to look forward to them.
We believe that the ties formed in this life will be continued in the life to come. Then, why not believe that we had similar ties before and that some of them at least have been resumed in this state of existence.
After meeting someone whom I had never met before on earth, I have wondered why that person's face seemed so familiar.
More than once, upon hearing a noble sentiment expressed, though unable to recall that I'd ever heard it until then, I found myself in sympathy with it, was thrilled by it, and felt as if I had always known it.
The same is true of some strains of music, some perhaps heard today. They are like echoes of eternity. I do not assert pre-acquaintance in all such cases but, as one thought suggests another, these queries arise.
When it comes to the Gospel, I feel more positive. Why did the Savior say, "My sheep know my voice?" Did the sheep ever know the voice of a shepherd it had never heard before? They who love the truth, and to whom it most strongly appeals, were they not acquainted with it in a previous life? I think so. I believe we knew the Gospel before we came here, and that is what gives it a familiar sound.” Orson F. Whitney
This familiarity that Elder Whitney expounded on is exhibited as the Savior refers to His elect, for Christ explained, “the elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts.” This familiarity is found as those, who hear the message of the glorious gospel for the first time, claim that it sounds of clarity and is recognizable to their spirit. We lived before we came to this earth as spirit children of a Heavenly Father who taught us all the lessons that a loving Father would teach to His child.
Truman Madsen explained, “Now add the lines from Eliza R. Snow that we sing and feel, ‘Ofttimes a certain something whispers, 'You're a stranger here.'’ A friend of mine calls this ‘celestial homesickness.’ But also, I would add, that there is a feeling that we are here on purpose--that we haven't just wandered ‘from a more exalted sphere’ but are where we ought to be. This sometimes comes through in a sense that we have seen or felt or experienced a thing before. And so I suggest a premise rather unique to our tradition, that recognition, spiritually speaking, is indeed REcognition, that some discovery is REcovery, that recollection is the REcollection of images from before.”
So, when we feel that feeling of familiarity, or have that “déjà vu” type of moment, simply remember that we quite possibly are recalling experiences we have already been through to lead us to this very moment in our life. This is our search for happiness... and it is just a memory away.