Here was something interesting from his blog; unblogmysoul:
November 18, 2010 by John M. Pontius
I have been pondering how to write about this next experience. It is sacred to me, and not the type of thing I feel comfortable “posting” on the internet for the world to read. It was very formative in my life, and since I’m “un-blogging” my soul, this happening is going to come out – one way or another. I pray that those who read it will take it in the spirit in which it is given, which is reverence and wonder.
This event occurred in 1993 during a period of great upset and upheaval in my life. Almost everything that could go wrong was, and eventually did. I was losing my battle to avoid a divorce for reasons I didn’t even comprehend at the time. I was dealing with a closure of the main road to my business for nearly a year, which was almost bankrupting me. I was being audited by you know who for my personal and business taxes. I came out squeaky clean, but it took two years of blood, sweat and accountants to pull it off. I had just been released from the High Council, and was between church jobs, and needing one badly. I was fasting two or three times a week for spiritual strength, and growing tremendously, but still losing almost every war I was fighting. There was another major upset I choose not to detail, but that’s not what this story is about really.
I was asked one Sunday to conduct our High Priest’s group and to teach the lesson. It just happened to be on the subject of “Personal Revelation”. It was the subject of the book I had just published, and a subject that was and is dear to my heart. I watched the brethren come into the Family History Center. These were brethren I had known for over 20 years. Then, two gentlemen came in I had never seen before. There was a tall thin fellow, and a short man with gray hair who walked with a cane. He didn’t seem to need it, he just had one and seemed to use it as a matter of style or habit.
They introduced themselves to the group. I asked them what they were doing in Alaska. The tall fellow gave an answer something like this. “In our line of business we travel all over the world representing the interests of our employer. We have traveled to many places over the world, including to Alaska a few times. When we end up in a place where the church is established we like to meet with the Saints, to see if the Spirit is present, and the truth is being taught, and to see how the work is progressing in that area.”
I thought it was an odd, almost evasive answer, but I asked them if they were in Alaska on business or pleasure, and they said business.
I taught the lesson and the Spirit was very strong. The tall man offered many comments, while the shorter one said nothing. He just listened. When the lesson and closing prayer were over, everyone stood and left except for the short brother. When he and I were the only ones in the room he walked around the far side of the table and approached me. I was putting books in my briefcase when he stopped by me. The following dialog is paraphrased of course, and from my memory of almost 20 years ago, but it is the sort of thing one remembers the message, if not the exact words.
“Brother Pontius,” he said. I looked up and shook his hand. “I just want to tell you that the Lord is pleased with what you taught today, and with what you have been doing in your life.”
He did not say this as if he were giving his opinion. He stated it as a fact, as if he had authority to speak for the Lord. I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me and insist that I give him my full attention. I turned to face him. “Thank you,” I said.
He continued with several statements of fact that indicated that he understood my recent struggles. I didn’t know what to think about this. He then said, “I just have one question.”
“I just want to know if 20 years from now you’ll be as good of a man as you are now.”
I thought about this question and about how odd it was to be asked such a thing by a total stranger. I finally replied, “If I have my way about it, I will be a much better man in 20 years.”
His eyes seemed to focus on the distance as he looked slightly over my left shoulder, then back at my face. “Yes you will,” he said matter of factly, and then held out his hand.
I shook his hand, and he said “that’s all I needed to say,” smiled and turned to the door. He hooked his cane on his arm and walked away with no hint of a limp. I thought, “Wait, I need to talk to you. Who are you, really?” So, I snapped my briefcase closed and looked back up. He should have been near the classroom door, but was not there.
The halls going both directions were thronged with people getting out of church. I took three steps to the door and looked up one hall and then the other. I couldn’t see him either direction. I walked to the nearest exit and then around the outside of the building. He was not to be found.
I went home and wrote all of this in my journal and wished that I had not looked down at my briefcase for all of those 5 seconds it took for me to look up again. I filed this in my brain as “I don’t know” and pondered it.
Nearly a month later, on Mother’s day 1993 I was startled to see him sitting in Sacrament Meeting. He was on the left side of the chapel on the second row. My family generally sat in the middle, on the third row. We ended up on the second row, right in front of the pulpit. I made up my mind that as soon as the meeting ended I was going to jump up and ask him questions. I watched him out of the corner of my eye for the whole meeting.
The Sacrament Meeting speaker was a friend of mine. I’ll call her Sister Wilson. She spoke about her mother, and commented that she was not a member of our church, but that she had taught her children to read the Bible, to pray and to trust in God. Sister Wilson spoke of her mother’s courage and of the fact that all of her children had later joined the church, but she had died before she joined herself. She spoke of her joy in doing her mother’s temple work herself. It was one of the most beautiful Mother’s Day addresses I have experienced.
After the meeting I stood and watched my gray-haired stranger. He did not stand, but just sat there listening to the organ music. I was waiting for someone to let me out to the aisle, seriously considering stepping over the pew to get out when Sister Wilson came into the pew behind me. She asked me a question about something, and I responded. For just a minute I forgot about my gray-haired friend, until he walked up beside Sister Wilson. She turned to him and shook his hand.
“Sister Wilson,” he said, “I want to thank you for that Mother’s Day address. It was one of the sweetest and most moving I have ever heard. It reminded of my own mother, and believe me when I say, that was a long, long, long time ago. Thank you very much for bringing such a sweet spirit into our lives.”
She smiled broadly. “Well, thank you very much. You know my name obviously, but I don’t believe we have ever met, so I don’t know yours.”
He laughed and smiled. “Oh! I don’t have a name,” he said, “I’m just one of the Three Nephites going around visiting the Saints!” He said this quite loudly, with joy in his voice. He didn’t even glance at me.
He turned to leave the same way he had come. Sister Wilson and I both watched him making his way to the aisle with amazement. I was just about to jump over the pew when Sister Wilson asked, “What do you think he meant by that?”
I thought, it will take him a few seconds to get to the aisle, so I have time to answer Sister Wilson’s question. I reluctantly took my eyes off of him. “I think he’s telling the truth!” I said.
We both looked back to where he should have been, but he was gone. We looked both directions, up and down the main aisle of the chapel. He was simply gone. There were people everywhere, and he would have had to run, knocking people over to get out of the chapel in the 2 seconds or so it had taken me to answer Sister Wilson’s question. We both were amazed and confused by his sudden disappearance.
I went home and wrote this all in my journal, and pondered his message often. I’ve written this event as a story in one of my books, and in several other documents, but it actually happened, and it still causes me to wonder.
That was in 1993, and today is 2010, some 17 years later. His question was if I would be a better man in 20 years, and I have counted the years, trying to make his words prophetic, that I would be a much better man, but also wondering if his timetable was a random period of time, or a specific period of time. I have often wondered if something special, or joyful even, was scheduled for me in May of 2013. I don’t even know, and given my state of health, I might not find out as a mortal. Maybe that is a date bracketing my mortal experience. I have no way of telling.
But, of this I am certain – he was who he said he was.