Determining Your Mission in Life

JacobBlessesSonsFirst of all, YOU determine your mission in life. Nobody else can do it for you. YOU decide what you want to do with your life. YOU decide what it is that God would like you to do with your life. If you feel God would like you to be a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, then you be the best damn member of the LDS Church you can possibly be.

If you feel God wants you to become an expert on LDS Church History, then by all means, do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. Obviously you’ll want to be balanced in your pursuit. We all have a regular life – you know, work, school, family, sleep, church, social and the like. But if God has given you a desire to pursue something and you feel it is right, then give it your heart.

Don’t take crap from anybody who tells you how wrong you are to be focused on something that gives you pleasure and provides you with enjoyment. Especially beware of well-meaning people who want you to adopt their modus operandi in life as yours. Just because they can’t understand what makes you tick, doesn’t give them the right to tell you how wrong you are for your focus.

May God Bless the LDS Church

For example, on my last post, a well-intentioned individual decided to let loose with all kinds of advice that apparently works well for that person in their life, but is so full of judgement and fear I could hardly read it without laughing out loud. I won’t name the reader. I value their comments and they are welcome to post them as they please, but it was so, so very wrong for my situation.

LDSChurchOfficeBuildingI love the LDS Church. Always have. Always will. It has a special and sacred mission. It was established by divine mandate. It was led by the Lord for many generations. The hand of the Lord prospered the LDS Church and just about everything it did. No matter how many ways the imperfect leaders and members messed it up, it always came out on top because God blessed it.

The Lord is still blessing the LDS Church, the members and the leaders. They are sustained by the prayers of the faithful members. I continue to pray for them, every night, by name, and ask the Lord to bless them in their work. I pray for those who are sick. I ask the Lord to join my faith with the faith of millions of members of the LDS Church all over the world praying for them.

How You Judge Reveals You to Others

I was a member of the LDS Church for over fifty years. I continue to attend the LDS Church. I love the local leaders and pray for them each night. I enjoy listening to the counsel of these leaders and see the hand of the Lord upon them. There is no doubt they have prayed for the help of the Lord to magnify their callings. They are blessed according to their faith and prayers.

speaking-in-churchPlease don’t judge my motivation as to why I write about the LDS Church. Don’t assume to know what makes me tick. Don’t think you know what my mission in life is. Don’t proclaim I have a fixation with the LDS Church when you have no right to proclaim any such thing. You have no idea what my mission is. You don’t know what the Lord has shared with me about this.

Just because you are offended by any mention of the LDS Church doesn’t mean I have to stop writing about it. You don’t have to read my blog. Go elsewhere. What you’ll find here are good things about the LDS church, the leaders, the programs and the much good accomplished by the LDS Church. I don’t care about the cost of City Creek mall. I gave my tithing willingly. So there.

Seek to Find Common Ground

My desire is to minister to the good people of the LDS Church. I am most familiar with the inner workings for the church, having served in a local leadership capacity for over twenty-five years. I have no desire to tell, persuade or convince anyone to leave the LDS Church. There is too much good in our local wards and stakes. I look forward to my continued association with my friends.

josephsmith.jpgYou don’t know my mission. I am not here to shake anything up. I am here to bless and bring attention to good things wherever they may be in the LDS Church or in the culture or in any one of the many Mormon groups that claim to be part of the restoration movement. If you know and love Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon then you and I have a lot in common.

I love the LDS Temples. I wish I could go. I miss attending the temple. The LDS Church has not done me wrong in any way, shape or form. They have gone out of their way to be nice to me, to see to my spiritual needs and to truly befriend me as best they can. Nobody is perfect. No leader can be everything we think they should be. The burden we put on local leaders is so very unfair.

Seek to Strengthen Your Marriage

I pray for the success of the mission of the LDS Church. I pray for the continued success or the missionaries, local and foreign. I pray they will be a good example and not mess anything up. They are young and inexperienced. I am so grateful they are blessed with good and faithful mission presidents and mothers who look out for them. Some were my missionary companions.

EldersBookOfMormonIf you choose to leave the LDS Church out of your life, that’s your prerogative. It will be a big part of mine until the day I die. The LDS Church has a mission. I intend to watch it fulfill that mission. I will never be a member again but that doesn’t mean I can’t be a friend. I am married to one of the most dedicated, faithful, loyal and protective members of the Church in all the world.

I have watched her become stronger in her beliefs, her practices and her prayers. She is studying the atonement of Jesus Christ and shares with me her observations as she reads. Carol reads the scriptures every night before she goes to bed. I’m more hit and miss in reading. I tend to spend a lot of time on Tuesdays and Saturdays in the scriptures – the days I work from the home office.

Your Mission Is Not My Mission

Your claim that I have a fixation with the LDS church is wrong. Your statement I am looking backward not forward is wrong. Your claim I must forgive the LDS Church is erroneous. Your proclamation that I am full of judgment and fear more likely applies to your own life, not mine. People tend to see in others what is most bothersome in themselves. I suggest you repent of that.

new-heavens7You ask why I feel the need to talk about the LDS Church now that I have resigned. Has it ever occurred to you maybe that Lord wants me to write about the LDS Church? Have you thought maybe the Lord and I have discussed this and have come to the conclusion my best work can be done by reaching out to those like me who have been faithful all their lives but have questions?

You don’t know me. You never will. Nobody can. My family doesn’t know me. My wife doesn’t know me. The only person who knows me is God. He and I talk every day, all day throughout the day. We discuss the challenges I face. We talk about solving problems together. We laugh about the silly things people do and say. We cry together about misunderstandings and injustices.

Come Place Your Name in the Temple

recorders-clearinghouseWe cry together about the calamities that are coming upon the earth. We discuss ways we can do more to reach people to warn them without sounding like a fool. We mourn for those who judge me and my friends because we are so adamant the Lord is actively moving among the good LDS people in a way most of them don’t recognize. He is finding a few here and there who will listen.

There are thousands who have heard the message of the messenger He sent. Yes, thousands. I wish more people would come forward and record their names on the register. Do they just not realize how important this is? This is the list of names to be presented to the Lord in the temple when He comes again. My name is on that list. Is yours? Why haven’t you sent it to be recorded?

You advised me to let go of the Church soapbox. Sorry. If what I write offends you, don’t read my blog. This is what I know. This is how the Lord works with me. Maybe he works differently with you. I honor that. You can best serve your creator by honoring the choices of others. Don’t pretend you know what is best for another. Only God can tell them that. God reveals missions.


Thoughts That Go Bump In The Night

never-a-vacationAs my mother got older, she would retire each night earlier and earlier. She was not one to take naps, but strove valiantly to use every precious moment of her life in keeping active and doing good. An avid lifetime genealogist, she maintained a tremendous correspondence with thousands of people up until the day she entered the hospital a couple of weeks before she passed away.

Invariably, when one retires for the night earlier and earlier over the years – first at 9pm, then 8pm and finally 7pm – the waking hours also come earlier and earlier. Mother would find herself wide awake at 4am, then 3am, then 2am. And wouldn’t you know it? The same pattern has been developing in my life. My mind snaps awake too early now with a multitude of racing thoughts.

I call upon the Lord in prayer for relief, but lately have resigned myself to responding to what I believe are promptings of the spirit to write and to share. I don’t always know what the Lord wants me to write when I start, but the very act of letting my thoughts flow through my fingers brings feelings and ideas I believe are from the Lord. Such is the case this early morning hour.

Mansplaining Love and Romance

For the past few nights, my thoughts have turned to love. I’m not a young man, am happily married and wonder why such feelings would demand my attention at 2am. I think often during the day of the love of my Savior. My prayers each morning petition His presence in my walk through life. My prayers at night thank Him for His comfort and sweet influence each day.

These feelings of love are profound. Normally men aren’t very good at explaining love and I am no different. Men in our culture learn at a young age to be stoic and staid when it comes to such things as romance. Years of living with Carol, one of whose favorite stations is the Hallmark Channel, have introduced me to more shows about falling in love than any man should ever see.

Being married to a romance writer has enriched my life in ways I never thought possible. Even though I was raised with four sisters, I never understood just how strong the desire for romance is in a woman. Carol has demonstrated for me the idea that “happily ever after” is more than a fairy tale – it can be a reality. I’ve also learned of another type of romance – “happy for now.”

Happy For Now – a Daily Reality

Don’t think of “happy for now” as a lesser kind of love. Think of it as a daily goal, one that is achievable and desirable. It’s a skill I’ve noticed some women have – perhaps all women – that is not built-in to the male psyche, or at least not into mine. When I’m alone for extended periods of time, I’m a pretty miserable and irrational fellow. I do stupid things that I just can’t explain.

When I’m with Carol, even if only for a few hours in the evening after a long day at work, I am content to simply sit at Carol’s side either in front of the TV, watching yet another Hallmark show or side by side at our computers as we write or edit stories and essays. I can’t begin to describe the joy I feel when Carol asks me to read aloud to proof edit one of her latest chapters.

This woman can write. Her stories move me with empathy and compassion for her characters. My stories focus on action, adventure and danger, while Carol’s stories focus on the simple human experience of building a relationship. I confess I never thought about such things growing up. Based on my behavior, my sisters must have thought boys were pretty icky.

Conversations with the Lord

Where am I going with this? Stick with me for a minute and we’ll both find out. When I pray to my Heavenly Father each night, I often discover I am actually speaking with my Savior. This started a few years ago. At first I would catch myself and switch back to the more formal way in which I addressed Father. I would sense a smile from both my Father and my Savior as I did so.

I no longer try to make a distinction. I have discovered the Lord is happy to talk to me and has no qualms about guiding me in my thoughts as I pray. He doesn’t mind that I address him directly. We speak all day long anyway. Why should a kneeling prayer at night be any different? We talk about my work, about my worries and concerns and about the people with whom I interact daily.

Carol and I pray together morning and night. Well, morning prayers together are not as common because I’m often on the road before 7am to get to work on time. I am grateful for the lifelong habit of praying together each night as husband and wife. When asked if she would like to be the voice for our evening prayer, Carol always seems to be willing to let me lead out in our worship.

Sacred Moments as Husband and Wife

And worship it is. Feelings come into my heart when I pray with Carol that are significantly more profound than the feelings I experience when I pray on my own afterward. There is an added strength when praying together. A desire for unity enters my soul. Expressions that are tender and sweet escape my lips that I ordinarily don’t use in those personal, private prayers.

I was criticized a month or two ago by a reader who felt my discussion of married life with Carol was inappropriate. I conceded his point that if I shared something on my blog that caused Carol to feel uncomfortable then I probably should not share it. If this anonymous reader wants to take exception at this post, I am happy to hear what he has to say about his own experience in prayer.

There is a reason God said it is not good for man to be alone. Some men can do it, but I always had difficulties when Carol went away to visit family for sometimes weeks at a time. I would throw myself into my work and come home as late as possible to keep from feeling lonely. That’s another thing our culture frowns upon. If men get lonely, they go hang with the boys.

The Value of a Combined Effort

once-upon-a-timeI admit I’m different. If I am alone I would rather think, read, study, pray, ponder, write or otherwise do something with my mind on the computer that helps me interact with a large but unseen audience of readers. Creativity for me is best when Carol is around. I confess I try to outdo her in friendly competition, but when I’m alone, the creative muse seems to disappear.

Carol is my muse. I write for her, even though she has said she doesn’t care for my posts. I should listen to Carol more. Character development is where it’s at. Theories and ponderings on doctrine, commentaries on scripture which seem to generate endless arguments, or discussions, and explanations of the way I think things are, pale in comparison to building relationships.

I can just hear my women readers at this point… “Well, duh, of course relationships are the most important thing.” No seriously, men don’t naturally think that way, at least I don’t, or haven’t, until recently. It’s my observation most men love to write about things in a way that shows they have been thinking seriously about a subject and are now ready to tell the world how things are.

Spicing Up The End of the World

I’ve been working on an end-of-the-world type novel for over five years. It has been a very slow process. Some chapters are downright exciting. Others are still obvious first drafts. I set one goal this year or at least one goal I have shared publicly. I want to finish that novel. When I started writing fiction, it was at Carol’s request to join her in writing adventures. Our paths diverged.

I think the reason the Lord has been waking me up in the early morning hours is because that’s when He has my undivided attention. I’ve had just enough rest where, if I had to, I could write a few hours and still function normally during the day. These thoughts of love I’ve been feeling lately are causing me to ask the Lord seriously what He is trying to communicate. I think I know.

When Carol and I first talked about my novel, she got so excited about the possible romances that could blossom between the characters. My efforts to put some of those ideas into the story backfired. After all, this was a story of death and destruction. Who has time for romance? Well, the Lord has been telling me Carol was right. I need to try harder on the relationship aspect.

A Project to Strengthen a Marriage

Can writing a work of fiction together as husband and wife be fulfilling? I think so. I’m not sure how or when I’m going to carve out the time, but if the Lord is going to wake me up at 2am each morning until I pay attention, then perhaps He knows a whole lot more than I do about writing. Somehow, someway, He will help us work it out so we can get this book written … together.

I hope it’s not the Lord’s plan to continue waking me at 2am with ideas for the book, but if that’s what He has in mind, then I’m willing. I can give my drafts to Carol to edit and critique during the day, then edit them at night when I get home. You know what they say, “Don’t quit your day job.” I have no dreams of publishing a best seller. I just want to get this book out of my system.

They say everyone has a book in them, but they’ll never write themselves. Its hard work to write and edit, re-write and then re-write some more until a story really flows. I’ve completed enough chapters that I’m familiar with the process. If this is what the Lord wants me to do, then there must be a reason for it. I sure hope this isn’t beyond me with all I do each day at the airport.

But in the end, does anyone really say, “I wish I’d spent more time away from home on the job?”

The Elephant in the Room

Holiday-SplendorAnybody who tells you life is rosy after one spouse leaves the church is either blind or lying. I knew things would be difficult in our marriage after I resigned, but I didn’t know just how difficult it could be. I thought things were under control until I wanted to talk about using some tithing money to help one of my fellow bloggers in need. The resulting conversation was not encouraging. It brought deep-seated feelings of frustration and disappointment to the surface.

With Kindness and Love Unfeigned

I left for work that morning convinced there was no hope for ever coming to an understanding or agreement on fundamental beliefs we once shared in common. I felt badly about the way I had expressed myself. It caused Carol to cry so you know I was wrong. I knew I was wrong in the way I had shared my feelings. We are both stubborn and determined about what we believe. Now that we have diverged in those beliefs, we have lost some of that common ground we once had.

Pink and Blue – Love and Respect

I did a lot of praying and muttering to myself that day. I was not upset with Carol. I was upset with myself for not exercising restraint in my emotions as we discussed the tithing issue. We both attended a marriage class years ago from Dr. Emerson Eggerichs based on his book, Love and Respect. If you haven’t read it, I recommend you do. It is well worth the time and effort. There are some YouTube excerpts of his lectures online that give you a taste of his fun style.

Managing the family Budget

I think we both recognized immediately we were talking past each other. I was using my blue megaphone and Carol was hearing with her pink earphones. I was looking for respect for my desire to spend the tithing money in a way I felt would be pleasing to the Lord – to help a friend in need – and she was hearing me say I didn’t love her anymore. Carol has always managed the money in our marriage. We agreed on that right from the beginning. It seems to have worked.

The Lord Will tell You How He Feels

To Carol, the discussion wasn’t about money. It was about love. I got frustrated, tried harder to make my point. She got defensive, tried harder to test my love. Gratefully, we were able to part for work that morning with a prayer, ingrained from years of habit. We were both emotional throughout the prayer, disappointed to have had such a disagreement after thirty-two years of marriage. As I travelled down the freeway, I knew the Lord was not pleased. He told me so.

Flowers – a Peace Offering

A thought crossed my mind that sparked hope of resolving the issue – flowers. How long had it been since I had brought Carol flowers? Well, it was just a few weeks ago. I got one of those $5 bouquets from someone selling them at the freeway entrance I use every night. But that wasn’t what the Lord was suggesting to me. How about a real bouquet and a beautiful vase, picked out with love and sent with a personal message to her workplace so everyone else could see them?

A Mature and Rational Discussion

That cracked the ice and got us communicating again, although it was via text messaging all day. We both arrived home at the same time. The chilly feeling I had been experiencing for months seemed to have melted. We were both pleasant and cordial, had a bite to eat and then sat down to have a mature, rational, non-emotional discussion about money, faith, common beliefs, temple sealings, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, priesthood, community fellowship and Denver.

Blessings Lost for Resigning from Church

Ah, there was the problem. Anytime I brought up an idea that was outside traditional orthodox Mormon teachings, his name came up. I shared a recent letter from the Bishop I had not shared previously. It was the “Here’s what you can no longer do” letter all priesthood leaders have clerks send out after a disciplinary council. I continued to direct the conversation back to the basic question, “What do you think of this statement from the Bishop about temple blessings?”

Church claims Temple Sealing Null and Void

Carol focused on the obvious. “You lose out on the blessings of regular temple attendance.” We discussed what those are. I asked the big question about the elephant in the room. “What do you think about our temple sealing? Do you believe it is still in force?” Carol became thoughtful and quiet. “I believe if we endure to the end, the Lord will reward us according to our faithfulness.” I told her I agreed but that she hadn’t answered my question. I asked it again. Thoughtful silence.

The Holy Spirit of Promise

Finally, a quiet and tearful, “no,” came forth. “You gave that up when you turned your back on all I thought you believed in about the Church.” I asked what she understood or believed about the Holy Spirit of Promise. We discussed that for a minute. I asked if she believed the Church had the power to control the Holy Spirit of Promise. I don’t think she understood the question. I rephrased, “Do you believe the LDS Church controls the Holy Ghost or the Priesthood of God?

Update: See discussion in comments below about the definition of the Holy Spirit of Promise.

LDS Church Does Not Control Priesthood

“Yes.” Ah, now there’s a critically important point on which we disagree. The priesthood was restored to Joseph and Oliver before the church was organized. The LDS Church relies on the priesthood, not the other way around. It is the priesthood of God. It is not the priesthood owned and managed by the LDS Church. God can give the priesthood to anyone he wants to give it to. Equally important, God can give the Holy Ghost to anyone without LDS Church involvement.

Make Sure Who Has the Sealing Power

Again Carol was thoughtful. “What about the sealing power?” I told her Joseph had it but the higher priesthood was lost sometime after Kirtland and before Nauvoo. She disagreed. “You can’t have it both ways. Either the church has the sealing power or it doesn’t.” We had come full circle to our original dialog about “Passing the Heavenly Gift” from nearly three years ago. I said, “That’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? We’d better be sure we know who has that power.”

We Can Agree to Disagree

“Well, I believe the church has it,” she said. “And I believe the church has lost it,” I said. We both sat quietly. “Then I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree,” Carol offered. “Agreed,” I said. The atmosphere in the room had lightened. We were in agreement – sort of. The conversation changed to other subjects normal to married couples such as how our workday had gone and how our son was doing. The presence of the comforter was apparent, so different from that morning.

Use Tithing Money to Help the Poor

The next day Carol told me she would let me decide how the tithing money from my paycheck would be used. I reminded her that she qualified for some of that tithing money because she / we have a few medical and other bills that needed to be paid and had been hanging for quite some time. I reminded her that we had used part of the tithing money I previously gave to the Church to help get her car fixed. She remembered and expressed gratitude. The day was starting well.

Knowledge is Different From Belief

I share this with you to set the scene for what I believe are some of the most important questions we can ask in life. “Who has the power to seal a marriage so it endures into eternity? Can we receive a promise from the Lord – not a man – in this life that our marriage is sealed and will be in full force in the life to come? And finally, is it possible the LDS Church could have lost the sealing power as Denver claimed it did in April of 2014? If so, how can we know for sure?”

The Holy Spirit of Promise

Sun-Behind-Clouds-Over-OceanI continue to ponder the dialog in one of the last High Priest Group meetings I attended. The lesson was on marriage. The discussion focused on the temple sealing ordinance. I was a little concerned by the comments I was hearing from the brethren in the group about how grateful they were to have been sealed in the temple. While I too was and am grateful to have been married in the temple, I felt impressed, deeply impressed, to share the first part of D&C 132:19 to consider.

After reading the scripture, I made my point, which is this: It doesn’t matter what ordinances we have received in the temple. If they are not sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, they are null and void in the world to come. According to the words of the revelation, such marriages “are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead.” They must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. That phrase must be important. It is used four times in the revelation.

As I’ve noted previously, I was profoundly shocked by the response from some brethren in the group as they proceeded to castigate me for bringing up the phrase and ascribing importance to the necessity of receiving such a promise. The subject turned to the tradition of “following the prophet” and that whatever was done in the temple was permanent. I didn’t bother to quote any of the words of prophets that state just the opposite, but I’ll add two of them here for emphasis.

Holy Spirit of Promise Required

“The sealing of earthly covenants and performances is conditional and depends upon the recipient’s personal commitment and worthiness. If a person who has received the Holy Spirit of Promise subsequently becomes unrighteous, the seal is broken until full repentance and forgiveness occur.” (Joseph Fielding Smith)

The Holy Ghost is the Holy Spirit of Promise (Acts 2:33). He confirms as acceptable to God the righteous acts, ordinances, and covenants of men. The Holy Spirit of Promise witnesses to the Father the saving ordinances have been performed properly and that the covenants associated with them have been kept. (LDS Guide to the Scriptures)

Update: A friend has shared a paper with me that demonstrates the Holy Ghost is NOT the Holy Spirit of Promise, but is something more profound. I have asked permission to share the paper. He agreed. Here is the link. It is from Nelson Whiting. In short, the paper proposes the Holy Spirit of Promise is the Second Comforter. The logic seemed sound as I read it.

There are way too many LDS members under the false assumption that just because they have gone to the Temple they have made it. This is not true. A temple sealing is just the beginning of the journey. From there they must go on in righteousness until that temple sealing is ‘sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise’ as are all the other ordinances in a person’s life.

A Recent Online Conversation

“…I am worried about what you might do with your marriage. Just as you have given up your relationship with the church the Savior restored, might you someday come to a similar conclusion about your marriage to someone who may remain an unbeliever of your new path? What will happen if you conclude that the temple ordinance that bound you together for all eternity was without proper authorization, just like your original baptism? You covenanted before God in the temple to be dedicated to her forever and to work together for eternal goals.

“You have now rejected things that would have been shocking to you earlier. Please don’t ever give up on the imperfect people in your marriage, and always maintain this covenant of eternal family. Then, no matter where your thinking takes you, you will have a chance at those eternal blessings with your wife and posterity. Of course, success in marriage takes two, and what might happen if your wife sees you rejecting your former covenants? You’ve got yourself into a sticky situation, but I trust you will always trust in God, and that means hope is never extinguished.”

My Response to Such Judgment

“D&C 132:19 – And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection;

“The LDS Church does not control the priesthood, the Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit of Promise. That covenant made before God, angels and witnesses is in full force, just as is the authority of the priesthood I received from my father, just as are the blessings of the Holy Ghost, who abides with me still. The LDS Church does not have a monopoly on these things. God controls them.”

Reply from My Online Friend

“I’m glad your new views encourage you to keep that covenant. It is worrisome to people like me that you no longer recognize the divinity in certain aspects of the restored Church of Jesus Christ, and it makes us wonder what you might reject in the future as your new beliefs develop.”

Nothing Has Been Lost

I did not get re-baptized because I felt my original baptism was invalid. I got re-baptized as a sign to the Lord I accepted of his messenger and the message delivered. In spite of what any local or general authority of the LDS Church may say, my resignation was from a church that, because of unrighteous dominion, recently lost the right to claim they are led by the priesthood.

I did not turn my back on my God or the Lord. I did not turn my back on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith, repentance, baptism and receipt of the Holy Ghost are all required by the Savior. The Lord works though whatever means he desires to bring about his righteous purposes. One of His purposes is to establish Zion. That will NOT come about through a large institutional church.

Marriage Can and Should be Eternal

My marriage is of the utmost importance to me. I strive to serve my sweetheart in every way I can. The Lord looks upon marriage filled with love as being fruit worthy to preserve. I desire that great blessing and will continue to do all within my power to unite two souls – man and woman – in the way God intended it. He has a hand in my marriage. He makes it clear to me every day.

A covenant or vow must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise to be made eternal. We have prayed for that blessing almost every day of our married lives and continue to do so. Nothing has changed. The promises remain intact. I have them memorized and can quote them. The Lord has made it clear to me I have done the right thing even if others disagree. Only He can judge me.

The Example of Loving Parents

I share the following because the Lord asked me to. I’m just a regular guy. I’m nobody special. I was born to parents who loved me and taught me the gospel. That is a joy to my soul. My parents were not perfect. They disagreed and argued about various things just as all married couples do. Yet I know they loved each other. They forgave each other often. They told me they loved each other. I could see they loved each other. They had their problems but love kept them together.

I have tried to pattern my marriage after their example. From my father I learned how important it is to express love often. He did a better job at buying flowers and cards for mother because he knew she appreciated them. He rarely if ever raised his voice at her or caused her to feel in any way unloved. He bit his tongue. He went for long walks when he needed to blow off steam. He did everything he could to encourage my mother and help her find happiness in this life.

Receiving the Holy Spirit of Promise

I love Carol. We do not currently agree on some matters of LDS Church history. She has a long tradition in her family of Mormonism. Her great-great grandparents joined the LDS Church in the mid 1800’s, after the time of Joseph. They crossed the plains and settled in Brigham City, Mantua, Plain City and in Paradise, Cache Valley, Utah. My mother was raised a Presbyterian and my father a Baptist. They came from Oklahoma in the mid 1950’s to live here in California.

Mother and Dad joined the LDS Church in 1962. We all went to the temple in 1963 to be sealed as a family. I was married in the Los Angeles temple in 1982. Carol and I have had our ups and downs but I believe we are still committed to each other in spite of my recent resignation from the LDS Church. Because this has been on my mind, I asked the Lord in prayer last night if the Holy Spirit of Promise was present in our marriage. The answer: “Yes, you have that promise.”

Hearing the Voice of the Lord

I guess is always comes down to hearing the voice of the Lord. Am I so different from others in that I hear the Lord speak to me in my mind and am certain it is His voice I am hearing? I think not. The Lord has promised He will answer us when we pray and ask in faith, nothing doubting. It does not matter what any local authority or general authority of the LDS Church has to say on this most important subject. This covenant is between me, Carol and the Lord. His voice matters.

If you have resigned from or have been excommunicated from the LDS Church for apostasy, I urge you to take a moment in prayer and confirm your promises with the Lord. You will find they are intact. You can continue to take the sacrament each week in your home. You can go to the Lord in the true order of prayer before an altar you have dedicated to Him for this purpose. You can join with and worship the Lord in new communities that are forming all over the world.

Join With Those Seeking Zion

I invite you to join in a conference that has been called to take place on the Grand Mesa in May of 2015. Anyone can call a conference. Bret felt inspired to do so. I hope and pray we will join in partaking of the sacrament together at the conference. There will be three days of activities, with selected speakers, sacred music and worshipful activities, including time to approach the Lord in prayer, in sacred places, in small groups. I intend to be there to petition the Lord to bless others.

I want to reiterate what the Lord has revealed to my soul, as he has to others. Zion will not be established by a large institutional, hierarchical organization. It will be established in small groups that gather in humility in homes or parks or up on mesas. Zion will be gathered first to the tops of the mountains. The opportunity exists today for us to rise up and prepare ourselves to be with the Lord. He will come and make His abode with those who seek Him in constant prayer.


Woman-At-The-Well3 Nephi 12:21-24
Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, and it is also written before you, that thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment of God; but I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore, if ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee—go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you.

For some, who have yet to receive the baptism of fire, this might be the one thing holding you back. Put the Lord to the test and see if he doesn’t receive you when you do exactly this.

D&C 64:8-10
My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another and forgave not one another in their hearts; and for this evil they were afflicted and sorely chastened. Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.

This gives one a thing to check on if one is being afflicted and sorely chastened. This passage also implies, logically, that in the end, the only real sin is not forgiving others of all their trespasses. That, in turn, leads one to the conclusion that it is lack of forgiveness that characterizes those who are cast out.

I knew a man, upward of 10 years ago, who was cast out of his home by his soon-to-be-ex-wife. He felt betrayed by her; a burning coal of pain was placed in his heart and he had no relief from it. She owed him! And he obsessed about it for a couple of weeks, until it occurred to him that given the way he felt about her, they could not both be exalted, for the exalted dwell in unity and harmony, mutually indwelling, knowing all there is to know about each other. It would be intolerable to exist in that unity with those who bear the pains of betrayal in their hearts towards them. Moreover, even if she would admit her fault in the matter, she would not change her course, and she could not make him whole. There was therefore no purpose served by holding on to her debts, so he freely forgave her of all her debts to him, both temporal and spiritual. Maybe someday they could be friends again, and maybe in the next world they could dwell happily in each others’ presence. If it were not to be so, at least it would not be because of him. And because he did that, the glowing ember of pain was taken from his heart, and the Lord invited him to see what Joseph saw.

This doesn’t mean that man gets along with his ex.

May we all forgive all.

True Order of Prayer – Part Two

Adam-and-Eve-Kneeling-at-Altar-PrayingLast week, I dedicated an altar in my home and prayed according to the true order of prayer as I have been taught in the temple. It was an amazing experience that opened up a whole new world for me. My only disappointment was that it was not shared with my wife, or at least not until today. This post will be another journal entry, meant to document, not argue merit or propriety.

Tweeting General Conference Together

As suggested by one of my readers, I fasted today for those who would be speaking in General Conference. I was not disappointed. Carol and I had a blast sitting side by side watching the conference on the Internet and adding our comments to Twitter, using the #LDSConf hashtag. I’ve done it for years but this is the first time Carol has done that. The time flew by quickly.

Family Council to Discuss Plans

In between the sessions of conference we held a family council to discuss our plans for the family reunion in June and attending Denver’s St. George lecture (date not yet disclosed). I would say this was the longest family council we have held in thirty-one years of marriage. I am pleased to report there was no arguing or hard feelings, which may be a first for Carol and me.

Developing Talents as Writers

You see, both of us are stubborn and determined about what we believe and what we want to accomplish or achieve with our lives. Carol is determined to be a good writer and has come a long way in the last few years. She amazes me and frankly, has blown me away with the talent she has developed. In our writer’s group meeting Friday, everybody loved her latest chapter.

Sharing My Prayer Experience

While we didn’t start with prayer, we started with the understanding that I would share with her what I had experienced last Sunday. I asked her permission during the morning session of Conference. I know that sounds strange, but she knew what I was asking. I was asking for her time and undivided attention. I knew she hadn’t found time yet to read my post from last week.

Kindness, Patience, Love Unfeigned

I have learned there are only three tools at my disposal to get my message across. Neither I nor the Lord work through force or by demanding. That’s the quickest way to invite the spirit of the adversary into your home. The three tools are 1) Kind words, 2) Patience and long-suffering and 3) Love unfeigned. God has commanded us to love our wives with all our hearts. Think about it.

Carol is a True Believing Mormon

Carol is concerned about being led astray. I don’t blame her. That’s one of the reasons I married her. She is as TBM as you can get (email me if you don’t understand that acronym). For Carol, the mantra to follow the Brethren IS the gospel. She will do whatever she is asked by those who preside over us in the church, both locally and from Salt Lake. She’s an amazing LDS woman.

I am an Uncorrelated Mormon

For me, I have become more and more open and uncorrelated over the years to the point where I am now totally uncorrelated (email me if you don’t understand that concept). Do you see the problem? We are at opposite ends of the spectrum of orthodoxy. I’m the one who has changed. I make no bones about it. I have been led on this journey by the Lord and could not resist His love.

A Mother Who Taught Me

Let me see if I can give you an example to help you understand. In my gospel study and prayer, I had the advantage of not having to go through the shock many of my friends have suffered when they learned the true history of our church. Thanks to a mother who knew and taught me, I also knew all the warts of the church from my youth. I knew I belonged to an imperfect institution.

True and Faithful to the Church

I have been documenting my faith journey online for seven years. Frankly I was shocked at the reaction of some of my readers who kept asking me, “How can you be true and faithful to this church when you know what you know about the history?” My answer has always been, “I love the Lord and know He would not give me more than I could handle.” That has been my secret.

Don’t talk about it at Church

By that I mean this: Because I asked, the Lord led me to material over the years that helped me to understand and be able to explain what happened in our history that was different from what the official narrative of the church has been. He also told me to keep it to myself or limit it to my blog and to NEVER teach what I had discovered within the walls of any LDS Church building.

Wait for the Right Time

By following that direction from the Lord, my testimony has been strengthened and my peace has increased day by day. The focus in my journey has been to draw closer to the Lord, to prove myself obedient to His will and to do the hard things asked of me, which is primarily to keep my mouth shut about the things I was learning until the time was right. Well, that time is now here.

We are not Forced to Believe

Now, let’s return to the family council. My objective was to convince Carol to go with me to Denver’s lecture in St. George. I knew the only way I could do that was if the Lord revealed it to her. She needed to know she was safe and that I was on her side. This is such a serious issue that it could easily cause marriage partners to go their separate ways. I will not allow that to happen.

My Responsibility to Teach My Wife

I also know I cannot be exalted without Carol. She is my queen. I cannot go before the Lord in the world to come without my sweetheart. If I have not taught her the truth, it is my own fault and the Lord will hold me responsible. And she must be willing of her own free will and choice to come forth when I call. She doesn’t have to unless she wants to. I want her to be by my side.

Afraid of Denver Snuffer

So I taught her and addressed her concerns with love and patience. The Lord put words in my mouth. I knew what to say and the right way to say it. This is a gift I appreciate and have always attributed to the Lord. It is one of the functions of the Holy Ghost to help us know what to say in difficult situations. This was one of those situations. Carol is afraid of Denver Snuffer.

Denver Snuffer labeled an Apostate

From the day we read together the first chapter of his book, Passing the Heavenly Gift, she made up her mind that he was an apostate and was going to get excommunicated. She wanted to have nothing to do with him. It only made it more difficult to talk about him and what he has shared when he was excommunicated last year. The phrase, “See, I told you so” was heard in our home.

Sealing Power in LDS Church

I’ve done my best to share with her what I was learning. It has always been difficult because of the poor first experience she had. You can read about it in my first post about Denver in 2012. She is convinced Denver has taught the Church does not have the sealing power. My mistake – I misunderstood the message of his book until later, and because he clarified it for me online.

Sealing Power Key to Exaltation

This is a touchy subject. Imagine what that does to a woman who relies on the reality of that sealing power to give her everything for which she has ever hoped and dreamed – to be united with her family for the eternities. This has been the main thing we have discussed over the years as we have talked about Denver’s books, which of course I have done in our home for two years.

How Sealing Power is Received

I am still not sure I can fully explain how it works. All I know it is different from the official narrative. I also know the higher sealing power cannot be passed from one man to another. Sealing power is received ONLY the way Nephi received it – by hearing the voice of the Lord. This is a hard concept and goes contrary to the fundamental core of what the Brethren teach.

Apostasy for What you Believe

In other words, if you teach this, you are an apostate and can be excommunicated. I have never and will never teach it inside an LDS church or while on an assignment such as home teaching. I also will not share it with anyone unless I am asked. When I met with the Bishop three times over the last few months he didn’t ask if I believed what is found in Passing the Heavenly Gift.

Grounds for Excommunication

He knows I won’t teach it in the church. I don’t want to get excommunicated. The Lord has allowed me to share it only on my blog and it still brings out the worst in people as we discuss it. The big question is: can a man be excommunicated for believing this doctrine even though it is clearly taught in our scriptures? He can be and men are being excommunicated more and more.

Excommunicated for Reading a Book

Only today I received yet another private email in which one of my readers told me he received a call from his bishop after the first session of Conference informing him he was to appear before a stake disciplinary council this Wednesday at 7pm. What is his sin? He was excommunicated for simply reading and sharing on his blog what he has read of Denver Snuffer, Daymon Smith and Rock Waterman.

Private Discussion Groups

Why do you think most who read Denver’s works and want to discuss them stay in members-only discussion groups? It’s sad. I told the Lord I wasn’t going to do that and that’s what I finally got his authorization on last week – to openly teach this doctrine more clearly on my blog in the months to come. Yes, I will probably be excommunicated. I am at peace with that. Carol isn’t.

Teaching With Love Unfeigned

This is getting long. Let me wrap up. For two hours I taught Carol. For two hours she listened to me. She was upset several times. I did not reciprocate because I understood her fear. With love unfeigned I continued to teach her. She had her back to me for a while. That’s never a good sign. Finally she turned to me, trusting me and listening with her heart. I knew it was time to pray.

True Order of Prayer with Carol

The last session of conference started, preventing us from doing so. As soon as it was over, we went to our home family altar, offered the signs of the priesthood together then knelt down to pray. Well, I prayed, she listened. I again used the second sign of the Aaronic priesthood as I prayed. I told her it would be a short prayer and it was. It was specifically about Denver Snuffer.

We Don’t Want to be Deceived

I told the Lord WE didn’t want to be deceived. I asked the Lord to make it known to Carol if it was alright that we attended his St George lecture together. I already had my answer. The prayer was specifically for Carol. As I related in my post last week, the answer doesn’t have to come right away. I asked for the Lord to answer Carol’s prayers. She says she has been struggling.

Gospel of Jesus Christ in Action

I know I have shared a personal and what many might consider a private story, not appropriate for a blog post. I disagree. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ in action. The purpose of my post is to share my witness that the True Order of Prayer can and should be used in our homes. It is also intended to be practiced as a family, or at least as husband and wife who have been endowed.

If Ye Are Not One Ye Are Not Mine

We arose from our prayer and hugged, then went downstairs. I broke my fast with a wonderful meal Carol prepared. I then tried to answer some more of the emails that have been flooding my inbox over the past week. I know the Lord will answer our prayer when Carol is ready. It may be months. But I am so pleased we are doing this the way the Lord directed me. We must be united.

Thoughtful Discussion of Controversial Topics

I’ve been doing some critical thinking about a couple of recent statements made by J. Michael Bailey. He is the Northwestern psychology professor who has been the subject of so much media attention due to the live sex demonstration in his human sexuality classroom last month. You can Google the story if you want the details.

What intrigued me was the challenging nature of the defensive statements he offered when the story became public knowledge. He said that he didn’t expect everyone to agree with his decision to allow the demonstration to take place and that “thoughtful discussion of controversial topics is a cornerstone of learning.”

I happen to be enrolled in a critical thinking class right now so this idea caught my attention. While I don’t agree with his decision, I do agree with his statement. So I expected someone to take him up on his challenge, because he offered it as such. Maybe it is too soon but I have yet to see a serious response to his justification.

An Argument to Illuminate Reasoning

A couple of days after the story broke, professor Bailey continued his defense by saying that he would give an F to those who objected to his teaching method. He wrote that the responses conveyed disapproval but did not “illuminate reasoning.” Apparently he has yet to receive an explanation as to why his demo was a problem.

I hope someone with more knowledge of this subject will respond to his proposal for a thoughtful discussion and offer a few reasons why his demonstration was not the best choice. I’m looking for arguments that will illuminate reasoning and do more than to just express disapproval. I could use it when I argue this in my class.

The Man who would be Queen

A little more background information on professor Baily might be helpful.  He wrote and published a controversial book in 2003, The Man who would be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism. He admitted that he had sex with his research subjects and said he thought there was nothing wrong with this.

Coincidently, about that same year he found himself divorced and no longer the chair of the psychology department at Northwestern University. According to published reports from students, he is not a great lecturer, but makes up for it by presenting extremely controversial aspects of human sexuality in his classroom.

Teaching Should Benefit Society

I love to teach so maybe this is an area in which we can agree. Professor Bailey is an educator; therefore I’ll assume that it is his intent to help his students learn. As a professor of psychology, I would hope that it is his desire to prevent psychological damage in his students. After all, isn’t that the objective of studying the subject?

We study human behavior to understand it and to be able to deal more effectively with activities that are disturbing, distressing or problematic for the individual or society. For most practitioners, a goal of applied psychology is to benefit society. A university professor is in a particularly influential position upon civilization.

Pornography in the Classroom

Professor Bailey said he uses pornography in his classroom. “I don’t see anything wrong with showing pornography in the classroom provided it has some purpose in the class. Some can be a little explicit,” he said. “I teach the truth – as I understand it…[which] sometimes conflicts with people’s assumptions. That is controversial.”

Bill Yarber, a researcher at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute and author of the widely used textbook Human Sexuality: Diversity in Contemporary America, said he’s never heard of a naked woman being brought to orgasm in front of a class of students. Watching a video is one thing but seeing a live demo is pushing things.

A commentary from a Catholic blogger about this episode illustrates a typical reaction, “Professor J. Michael Bailey’s Human Sexuality class has nothing to do with psychosexual development, morality, biology — nothing worthy of study; just an excuse for presenting risqué and deviant sexual behaviors as normative.”

Sexual Relations Should be Private

It is my contention that demonstrating the use of a motorized phallus to a group of students is not a legitimate form of sexual education, especially in the classroom. In fact, I will go so far as to say that viewing of pornographic material is equally inappropriate and unnecessary to meet the requirements of human sex education.

I believe that sexual relations should be expressed privately in marriage, between a husband and wife. I therefore believe that all public displays of sexual activity are inappropriate. I believe that pornography is harmful and destructive to the souls of those who create it and those who consume it. It is not needed for sexual education.

Professor Bailey’s demonstration was controversial because as far as I can tell, it was the first time live sex has been used in a classroom setting. But the real issue is how diametrically opposed this is to the values of virtue, modesty and respect for human sexual relations. It is degrading and cheapens it to something undesirable.

Achieving a Fulfilling Love

I think the comment of a student studying to be a therapist who then reported on her human sexuality class says it best for me. She stated that she had become a sexual zombie; that sex meant nothing to her because she had tried it all. She found no joy in sexuality. And yet she wants to become a therapist to fix others like her.

Pornography is any material describing or depicting the human body or sexual conduct in a way that arouses sexual feelings. Pornography degrades the heart, mind and spirit. It robs us of self-respect and the sense of beauties of life. It tears us down and does not lift us up. It does not help us achieve fulfilling human love.

I will be leading a classroom discussion of this current event in my critical thinking class in a few weeks. When I shared my subject with the professor he was pleased and said that I might be surprised to learn how many in the class feel the same way I do. That would be a pleasant discovery that I hope is not limited to my college.


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