Visions of Glory – A Review

visions of glory

Ok, so I’ve read Visions of Glory, by John Pontius, twice.  I often read books twice.  I read Andrew Skinner’s “Gethsemane” 3 times. I read Hugh Nibley’s “Approaching Zion” twice – all 650 pages of it.  I read Denver Snuffer’s “The Second Comforter” and John Pontius’ “Following the Light of Christ…” twice.  But this was different.

For any who aren’t familiar with this book, it is presented as the account of “Spencer’s” visions.  Spencer has had multiple near-death experiences in his life, including being still born.  He is gifted, or “sighted” in that he has had several profound visions in his life.  According to the foreword, he was instructed to keep these visions to himself until a man named John would ask him about them.  Obviously, John did, and we are blessed with the results.

I have become aware of some controversy as to whether or not Spencer actually had these visions.  One person posted on Facebook that the book is “…carefully crafted fiction”.  I myself wondered concerning the veracity of what is written.  I came to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter.  Nowhere in the book is it suggested that the visions are intended for anyone but Spencer.  Nowhere in the book is it suggested that the visions are prophecy, or that they will come true.  Spencer, through John, is careful to simply relate the visions as he remembers them, leaving the reader to take what he or she will from them.

And that is the real point of the review.  The point is not that the book, as written by John Pontius, is absolutely captivating.  It is not whether or not the visions are true or accurate or prophetic.  (I strongly suspect that they are true and accurate, that Spencer really had them, but I do not think they are necessarily prophetic.)  The point has nothing to do with the amazing accounts of the workings of spirits around us in our everyday world; or with the stirring accounts of his journey during the last days from an earthquake and flood-ravaged Salt Lake City to the New Jerusalem; of multiple appearances of the Savior; or even of an Earth in its final stages before becoming a Urim and Thummim.

Instead, the point is how the book made me feel.  To that end, I offer the following:

  • Spencer’s ability to see and know a person’s history, loves, passions and fears engendered in me great compassion for all of God’s children.  The effects of the fall were never made so clear or so profound to me.  His account of instantly recognizing the challenges faced in the lives of those he encountered during his out-of-body experiences drew waves of charity mixed with admiration and respect for every brave soul who ventured in faith from the comfort of the pre-existence to take on the challenges of moral life.
  • His description of the doings of spirits – good spirits, desperate spirits, and malevolent spirits – provided insights into our existence that somehow rang of truth.  The depiction of the young LDS man viewing internet pornography in the darkness of the wee hours is never to be forgotten.
  • The narrative of his first encounter with the Savior Himself – his receiving of the Second Comforter – will surely make even the most hardened individual yearn for the fullness of the Savior’s love.
  • The visions of the last days were especially powerful, frightening, and yet ultimately inspiring.  It became clear to me that, in order for a new society, a millennial society, to be born, the old society must be destroyed.  The earth is depicted as a living organism whose method of cleansing herself of mankind’s evil deeds is through earthquakes, floods and storms. But it is his account of the journey from Salt Lake City to Cardston, Alberta, and ultimately to the place formerly called Jackson County, Missouri that proved most incredible.  It is his account of gradually being stripped of everything except his faith in preparation for entering Zion that bears what is probably the most powerful message in the book.

In short, after reading this book, my heart yearned to be closer to the Lord.  I was filled with a burning desire to strip myself of the effects of the fall, to shed any and all reliance upon earthly things, and to stand before the Lord naked but cleansed.  The ordinances of the temple – and our own work there – took on new and greater meaning.  I could more readily see the Lord’s hand in my life, and was even more desirous to lose my jealousies and fears (D&C 67:10) and present myself before Him in complete gratitude and love.

Is “Visions of Glory” a true account of Spencer’s visions?  I choose to take his and John’s word that it is.  Will everything that he saw come true?  I honestly don’t know, and I honestly don’t care.  What I do know is that reading this book made me want more than ever to personally experience my Savior’s love, to receive and exercise the fullness of the priesthood in the blessing of all of God’s children, and to dedicate my life to the building of Zion.  Lastly, it was Christ Himself who said, “Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20)

24 comments on “Visions of Glory – A Review

  1. Great perspective on this book. I’ve read it and felt similar things. Thanks for reminding me!

  2. My pleasure, Matthew. Thanks for reading my posts.

  3. Wonderful review! I felt exactly the same way. The book has made me want to be a better person, and for that I will always be grateful to both John and “Spencer”.

  4. I also yearned to have a closer relationship with Christ and made me think more deeply about myself and my relationship with my God and Christ and my family. Thank you for your opinion. I loved this book.

  5. I appreciated your review. Others have reviewed the book from an intellectual viewpoint with little or no understanding of things of the Spirit. The tenor of your review is a reflection of your ability to discern spiritual truth.

    • Thank you so much, Sandy. I read some other reviews – I think it was after I wrote this, and I agree with you. They were all about whether or not the things that Spenser shared were true or plausible. May I ask how you found the review? I guess it must come up on internet searches, because I posted it weeks ago and people continue to come across it.

      • Yes, I found the review by Googling “Visions of Glory review.” There are now many reviews of the book on the internet, and hundreds of comments/reviews by readers, the majority of them very positive.

  6. Thanks for giving such a clear review on the book. That how I felt as well, I have read so many members of the lds church talk so negative about it that he must of been high or what not and I say then if you cant believe that a man can have these types of experience then you cant believe that a young boy of 14 saw god and Jesus. Whether it be true or not but if the spirit moves you to be better then you take that knowledge and use it for yourself.

  7. Sorry, I don’t agree with a lot of what is written in this book. So this guys gonna be translated, work directly with the prophet and Jesus Christ, have a front office at the temple in New Jeruselam. With a teleporting device that can take him wherever he needs to go.
    This book should be read as a fictional novel. Because that’s all it is.
    Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people who read it as if it’s true.

    • The only thing that might be “true” about it, Kristy, is whether or not he had the visions he says he had. How they are to be interpreted is up to the reader. Thank you for your comment, and for reading.


      • I beleive people can have revelations for themselves or visions if you want to call them that. But to say you will be a leader over others, the right hand of Christ, I have to step back. Maybe he did, but if so, should have kept it to himself as originally told. I guess I am waiting for those who are in authority and called of God to give me further instructions. Not the philosophies of men mingled with scripture. I appreciate your opinion. Thanks.

  8. Did John Pontius ever claimed to receiving the Second Comforter, and if so can you tell me where I can read that testimony?

    • Lew,

      I don’t personally recall any overt declarations in any of the 3 books I read. I certainly recall that it is implied – but I can only claim for sure my inference. I did ask someone who has read more of his blog than I have. He said it might be on there, but that his wife might have removed it if it was ever there. His blog is “unblog my soul”. Sorry I can’t be more confirming one way or the other.

  9. I believe that “Spencer” is a diviner and soothsayer that is practicing priestcraft. Rumor has it he has been called a bishop of the LDS church, and that he is the day supervisor at the Salt Lake Temple. Other leaders in his cult following include Julie Rowe and Chalyce Hadley.
    Jeremiah 23:32 “Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord. #julierowe Chalyce Hadley​ Visions of Glory​

    • Thank you for that sobering point of view, Matthew. I worked with Spencer at the Salt Lake Temple. It is true that he was called as a bishop. When he was called, he left the shift on which I worked with him, but I can’t say that he doesn’t work other shifts. I can say that he is a gentle, unassuming man. I don’t say that to contradict your assertions – only to provide my own observations, that any picture you might have might be more complete. My own assessment, however, remains as I said in the review…the book causes me to desire Zion. The accuracy of Spencer’s predictions is irrelevant. The Lord will bring about His will in His own way and in His own timing. I have no right to rush that process – only to prepare myself to be a servant of His will if and when He chooses to call on me.

      This book opened my mind to the understanding that we are so caught up in our own perceptions of this world – this “babylon” – that if we are ever to serve Him, we must divorce ourselves from that which we depend on. If we depend upon the structures around us – the very structures that collapsed do dramatically in Spencer’s “visions” – we are not dependent upon Christ. Any dependencies other than Him are false, and are akin to building our house on the sand. That includes governments, culture, economies, and churches – yes, even the LDS church. HE – the Lord Jesus Christ – is our ONLY salvation. Only when we have learned to look to Him and Him alone can we hope to become the powerful servants that He needs us to be.

      • Scootd28, you mention here about being a temple worker, are you currently?

      • No, Sonia, I am not. I resigned from the church about a year ago. I still love my Savior, am committed to the restoration and Zion, but I don’t believe the church is. Thanks for reading. MUCH has changed since I wrote this review, although I still stand by it. There are other posts on my blog that I would not still endorse, but I leave them there to document the history of my evolution.

  10. Scootd28, you mention here about being a temple worker, are you currently?

  11. Being a disabled person, Reading this book actually terrified me. I have limited mobility and live in the path of the Tidal Wave Flood as mentioned in the book. No way I will be spared the agony of drowning and being torn limb from limb. I guess that the Lord is going to clean his house first. And get rid of all the disabled “useless eaters” first as they have no purpose in the fullness of times. Terrified and depressed, not to mention can’t swim.

    Depressed beyond all hope now.


    • Scott, indeed the physical prospects of anyone who is not able to battle a flood – whether technically disabled or not – will be dire. Many will die if such a disaster occurs – not just the disabled. I would imagine that living day to day with the knowledge of how easily your fragile existence could be upset would in itself be terrifying. I have a close friend (living with me) who is wheel chair bound. I try to be empathetic and courteous, but I know I really don’t have a clue what it’s like – the thoughts that go through one’s head minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day – the challenges that one faces. Even the most able bodied, however, will potentially face the agony of drowning and/or being torn limb from limb. Guess that’s why I personally don’t dwell on it much. It will be what it will be, and I personally will not be able to stop it, or survive it. I did move to far northern Idaho. The nearest water is the Moyie and Kootenai Rivers, which are both less than a mile away, but they are 450 feet below where I live. Honestly, Scott, your speculation that the Lord will get rid of “useless eaters” because they have no purpose in the fullness of times is something I find insulting to the Lord. Your purpose in the fullness of times should be no different from mine.

  12. Many thanks for your review, scootd28, you expressed exactly what I am feeling myself.

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