|Testimony of David Brown
In April of 2005 I had an experience that has profoundly changed my perception
of the world in which I live. Having been an active member of the Hill Cumorah
Expedition Team for over a year, I traveled with the group to Tuxtepec, Mexico
in the spring of 2005. We made spiritual preparations all year by holding regular
fasts and periodic special services for the purpose of asking for God’s guidance in
the effort to recover artifacts and records that will verify the historical aspects of
the Book of Mormon. Our whole group participated in sharing inspiration that
the Spirit of God had revealed throughout the year and it was with great
anticipation that the group prepared to leave for Hill Cumorah. We traveled to
Mexico with the hope of finding artifacts that testified to God’s work in the last
days, what we found was God openly interacting with us and answering prayers
through the people of the valley next to Cumorah.
As we prepared for the trip, we found ourselves increasingly aware that God had
something specific and wonderful prepared for us. The continued inspiration
from various members of the group grew and became more defined as the time
of leaving for the trip approached. Each meeting brought another facet of
revelation and increased our sense of expectation. All of this culminated with a
Service of Blessing held a couple of days prior to the trip. It was at this service
that we each received a blessing specific to our desires. From this service was
born the message of the trip and the blessing that God had prepared for us all.
The trip down to Mexico was mostly uneventful. A four-hour delay at the border
because of paperwork issues, a wrong turn in Satillo, Mexico and we found
ourselves driving through Mexico City at midnight and finally arriving in Puebla
at about 2 AM Saturday morning. We arrived in Tuxtepec about four in the
afternoon on Saturday. We acquired our rooms and then Mike Brown and Neil
Steede headed out to visit with the landowner to get permission to access the
trail to Hill Cumorah. Shortly after they left, Ron VanFleet, Tim Brown and I
met to go over the service we were planning to hold on the hill Sunday and we
felt impressed to pray for Mike and Neil as they were meeting with the
landowner. Each of us said a prayer asking for angelic presence and that all
would go smoothly. We later learned that the meeting between Neil and the
landowner was exceptionally cordial and they experienced a warmth that was
notable. God does answer prayers.
Later that evening I met with Forrest Liggett to briefly discuss what each of us
had prepared for the service on Sunday. Forrest asked what I was bringing. I
quickly replied that I was bringing a collection of scriptures and something that I
feel God had been preparing me to bring for some years. I stated that what I was
to share was a mystery that God had revealed to my understanding. I felt it was
my purpose to share this mystery and do all I could to remove the doubt that
tends to cloud our minds so that nothing would stand in our way and miracles
could be performed. Forrest shared that he felt the needed to call for angelic
protection and to prepare a challenge for the group to meditate and experience
God through nature. I sensed at that point that we had been both been prepared
to share and be a part of a much larger purpose.
Sunday morning April 3rd, 2005 was overcast but there was no precipitation.
We drove the forty miles to Hill Cumorah and climbed up to a fairly flat clearing
that looked out over the entire valley including the river and the City of Jalapa de
Diaz. We all gathered, sang hymns, Forrest cleansed each of us with a smudge of
white sage and then he opened with a prayer calling for the protection of legions
of angels to surround the mountain and bless our efforts. He prayed for warrior
angels, ministering angels, guardian angels, and healing angels.
I gave my presentation concerning the mysteries of God, of the light of Christ
and the literal reality of light, truth, righteousness, and love. Forrest then read
scripture, spoke about the promise of the mysteries of God being revealed when
a person recognizes the simple truth that God can not lie. Then we all received
instruction to move to our places of meditation and to reassemble in an hour,
signified by singing of those who had reassembled. Before that hour was
complete, police came to the hill to escort Neil Steede to see the Mayor. Forrest
Liggett insisted on accompanying Neil and the two of them left our assembly on
the hill as the rest of the group continued to sing hymns of praise.
Once Neil and Forrest had made their way down the hill Ron VanFleet began the
communion portion of our service, but not until there were several prayers
offered on behalf of Neil and Forrest that they would be kept safe and that the
purposes of God would be realized. Neil’s testimony reveals that God did answer
those prayers and so much more.
Once we partook of communion I had an experience that I have only had a few
times in my life. While reaching and partaking of the bread I sensed a true
bowing down of my spirit. As I ingested the bread my body shook and the tears
flowed as my soul recognized the love that my Savior has for humanity. I was
humbled to a point of having no thoughts but being completely open to the
teachings of His Spirit. I was truly being “still”—understanding that He is God.
During the ensuing song and prayer service I offered a prayer of heartfelt
appreciation for His presence and continual efforts to claim His children—I
being one of them.
We left the Hill about 4:30 that afternoon and headed to the City of Jalapa to
find our companions. We found them being detained and they informed us that
we should probably leave before we became guilty by association and detained as
my brother Mike Brown and Friend Jerry Stoner had already become detained.
We left to return to Tuxtepec and during those evening hours we said several
prayers. In fact, Ron VanFleet spent most of the evening by himself acting as a
prayer warrior for Neil and the group.
We got sketchy information from Jalapa as we received info the long way
around. It seemed that the cell phone reception from Jalapa to Tuxtepec was
terrible so Mike Brown was calling his wife in Buckner, MO to update her as to
what was happening and she was then calling Tim Brown in Tuxtepec to relay
the information. By 8:45 that evening we understood that they were all staying
in Jalapa—Mike and Forrest in a hotel and Neil and Jerry in Jerry’s truck
camper. We were told that they would be returning in the morning to collect
their Passports and other papers to show the officials.
I found Ron VanFleet outside the front of the hotel and told him that I had an
update on the group in Jalapa. Before I could go any further Ron said that they
had been released and were on their way back. I told him that we had just
received word from Linda Brown that they would be spending the night in
Jalapa. It seemed that Ron did not know how to take this news because it was in
conflict with what he felt inside, but I noticed that he was gracious and thanked
me for the information. About twenty minutes later we got word that our
members were on their way to Tuxtepec with a sick girl who needed care for a
snakebite. I understood immediately that what Ron had been told in the spirit
was accurate before any of us knew—God does reveal to those who pray to Him.
I testify that Ron VanFleet was given this information by inspiration during
prayer before any of us in Tuxtepec had received word of our group members
returning on Sunday evening.
About 10:15 a car pulled up in the parking lot of our hotel. Out stepped a man
and a young lady whose head was draped. The rest of the family followed out of
the car. Then Jerry Stoner’s truck pulled in with Neil Steede, Forrest Liggett,
and Mike Brown and behind that was a truck with police officers from Jalapa.
We had been forewarned of the coming entourage and so we had set out a chair
under the carport of the hotel for the young lady to sit, and we had collected all
of our medical supplies in preparation for whatever we might be able to supply
With Neil Steede as translator we soon discovered the young lady had already
received anti-venom for the snakebite she had received the day before, but she
complained of several ailments that had the family feeling anxious and worried.
Our medically trained members consulted and then gave some advice for the
family. Then we offered to pray for their daughter. Jerry Stoner gave a prayer
asking for God to forgive our sins and grant a blessing, and then he called upon
the presence of healing angels for this young lady. Three of our ministers placed
their hands on the head of the young lady and said prayers of healing while the
rest of us joined hands and knelt in a circle around the elders and this young
lady. We included the family and the taxi driver in our circle as the prayers were
offered. As they left, the young lady had already reported that she was feeling
The next two days were amazing. Monday morning the Mayor of Jalapa came to
our hotel in Tuxtepec. He had heard of the events of the previous evening and
he offered his apologies. Neil offered him breakfast and they talked for two
hours about issues that concerned the Mayor who wanted to know if we could
help. Neil was able to speak with the Mayor about why we were in Jalapa and
the importance of the hill that rises above his town.
Later that day as we were preparing to leave for Jalapa two reporters came in and
sat down to interview Neil and the rest of our group as to the events of the
previous day. While the reporters were there two more individuals came in that
were from Gobernacion, the Federal arm of the government that is equivalent to
our State Department. They also wanted a recounting of the events of the
previous day and wanted to know if we had any intentions on reporting this
event to our State Department. Neil and the others gave assurances that no one
had any such intentions. Then Neil was able to convey to them the importance
of the Hill and why it was important to everyone in the State of Oaxaca.
Before Monday was complete we had announced to the local Mayor, the officials
of the State of Oaxaca and the Federal Government of Mexico why we were in
Mexico and why it was important for them to know what we were doing. If and
when these artifacts are found we now have given notice to every branch of the
Mexican Government that will be involved. We have provided them with the
knowledge that there are artifacts of historical importance and we have offered
them a plan on how they can be dispatched in an acceptable manner to benefit
all parties involved. All parties who heard this seemed excited and agreeable to
the proposal. And, this was not accomplished by our efforts but in the strange
and marvelous way that God reveals His will. We only placed ourselves in the
place to allow His Spirit to guide and direct and He brought these important
people to us. He even announced this to the population of the area by means of
the newspaper articles that were written. This was truly God’s design and His
The rest of the week was time spent fighting jungle, enjoying the fireflies in the
evening, time spent in prayer and exploring the base of the Hill Cumorah. I will
mention that on Thursday evening, as we were having our devotions before
night fell on the camp, during the prayers I sensed a personage close by. The
feeling was so strong that I felt that someone would be walking into our camp
any moment. It was a person or spirit or angel—something very strong and very
close. Nothing ever appeared to me. But I know it was there.
Saturday afternoon during devotions as our spirits were beginning to drop from
not having found the cave or any hint of important artifacts, we talked about
asking for direction from God. It was suggested that we ask God for direction in
a specific form such as in a dream, a vision, or some form of inspiration. That
night I prayed for a dream and as I awoke on Sunday morning I had received that
Sunday April 10th we had another communion service at base camp. Neil Steede
had the opportunity to bring us all up to speed concerning the events of the week
that had occurred in the town of Jalapa. He testified to the moving of the Spirit
as it guided and directed him in ways he could not have accomplished on his
I then shared my dream with the group. In my dream I found myself with a
small group of close friends in a hardened bunker or secure area. There was
someone of commanding rank who was directing the activity of the group in the
bunker and he called three of us to accompany him. We walked out and got in a
small car and traveled out of the compound. I saw that we were approaching a
desert area from the east traveling to the west. I saw the sky in the west was
getting darker, not from the setting of the sun but from the gathering of clouds
and an impending storm. The car stopped and the commander ordered me to
get out. I got out of the car with a huge spool of wire over my shoulder and I
climbed the pole in front of me that had insulators on the top of it. The
commander was shouting at me to string the wire and I saw the line of poles
heading from where I was to as far as I could see to the west.
When I awoke I knew the interpretation to the dream. I knew that we as a small
group had been commanded to leave our safe bunker in the middle of the United
States. We were commanded to go into the desert places and establish the
means of communication before the storms hit. It is important for us to be in
Jalapa and the surrounding areas to establish the lines of communication that
will be necessary when the artifacts are found and are brought forth. Even
though we had not found the artifacts we were doing God’s work by interacting
and witnessing to the local people. We were laying the foundation for some
important work yet to be accomplished.
Tim Brown then read a letter of inspiration that was written by Evangelist John
Gorker. The letter was specifically written and sealed for a time when Tim felt it
was right to read it. He opened it on Saturday when our spirits were so low. He
now read it to the entire group and the message contained again affirmed the
moving of God’s Spirit for it called us to minister to God’s children and to
establish the love of Christ in the lives of the people who live in the shadow of
this mountain. We took this as a sign that artifacts were not the purpose of this
trip—it was the people of Jalapa and the message of love that Christ offers to all.
My testimony is that God works in ways that are beyond our comprehension. As
servants of our Lord we can only follow the leading of His Spirit, answer the call
to prepare and dare to place ourselves in the place to be used. I stand in awe
every time I think over the events of this spring. He is an awesome God who
beckons us to be still and know, then move out in faith.