When Religion Comes Between Spouses


SnufferBooks

Picture of most of my Denver Snuffer book and CD collection (may be missing a few CDs).

Over the years, I’ve read with interest many stories of conflict between husbands and wives where one spouse was a believer in a religion and the other wasn’t. It always hurt my heart to read such stories. Some even made me cry to think of two people who loved each other enough to marry and start a family who are now quarreling over religious beliefs and commitments. This sort of story is more common than you may think, or perhaps those who experience are more prone to share.

Not Important to Their Marriage

Inevitably, my response was, and you’ll think this uncaring, “Well, you knew what you were getting into. Why did you marry him (or her) without working this out first?” I know many people who either a) don’t care what the other spouse does when it comes to religion or b) don’t care what religious beliefs the children are exposed to later on. In a sense, they have it easy. They simply don’t care and religion is not an issue. It’s not important to either one of them. In other words, neither holds strong religious beliefs, so it doesn’t matter or bother either of them.

Unequally Yoked Is A Real Issue

What if one or the other spouse does care deeply about their religious beliefs? Worse, what if for the most part, the couples agree on just about everything else? They have so much in common when it comes to what they believe about God, religion, doctrine, church history, family, prayer, worship, discipline, service and all kinds of other things that matter in raising a family. I’ll bet you can see how that could raise some concern, even be the source of some heated arguments.

Sudden Interest in What the Other is Reading

Let me give you a modern day example. A loving couple, married more than thirty years, never really interested in what kind of books the other was reading before, discovers their spouse is now reading the sort of books that some might consider controversial in a religious sense. I’ll make an even more personal example, especially for those who know us. What I’m describing is happening right now and has been happening for the last six months to a year to Carol and me. I guess I’m not really looking for advice but I’ll bet there are a lot of you who have gone through something similar. This is more of a journal entry of what’s happening in my life these days.

Determining Orthodoxy in LDS Publishing

I’ve always said my blog is mainly about book reviews that deal with the last days. For those who have followed my blog you know that’s true. I confess the subjects of some of my books are controversial or are non-orthodox. In other words, they weren’t published by Deseret Book – who rarely, if ever will publish a book not found in the home library of an apostle or other church leader. I’ve forever been a bit of a rebel. My sort of publisher was always Bookcraft, then Signature Books, and now most of the LDS books I buy are self-published, meaning no LDS publisher would touch them.

Unorthodox Books Reviewed (Some not LDS)

Some examples of books I’ve recently reviewed are Visions of Glory, (Cedar Fort), Conquering Spiritual Evil (Doug Mendenhall), And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood (Anthony Larson), The Unquiet Dead (Dr. Edith Fiore), You Have Been Here Before (Dr. Edith Fiore), Beloved Bridegroom (Donna Nielsen), From Darkness Into Light (Mel Fish), The Second Comforter (Denver Snuffer), Teachings of the Doctrines of Eternal Lives (Anonymous), Passing the Heavenly Gift (Denver Snuffer), Shaken Faith Syndrome (Michael Ash), and on and on…

Passing the Heavenly Gift

I’d like to focus on one book in particular because of the contention it has caused in our home: Passing the Heavenly Gift by Denver Snuffer. PtHG was one of the most fascinating and one of the most infuriating books I have ever read. As most of you know, ultimately, it got Denver excommunicated. I have other books in my home from excommunicated or disaffected members that don’t seem to bother Carol, specifically books from D. Michael Quinn or Grant Palmer. I also enjoyed Rough Stone Rolling (Bushman) and No Man Knows My History (Brodie).

Note: Please don’t put Bushman in this category of authors. He is a faithful temple worker.

Direct Opposition to Existing Belief

I first read it in February of 2012. Unsurprisingly, as with any book about which I feel strongly, I asked my wife to read it with me. I thought the natural place to start would be back at chapter one. That was a big mistake. All it did was get her riled up. She would not read past the end of the chapter and will not listen to me read excerpts from other chapters or even from his other books, including his wonderful books on the Savior, The Second Atonement or Come, Let Us Adore Him, both wonderful exposes on the Savior and how we can draw closer to Him. There was something in chapter one that convinced her Denver Snuffer was an out-and-out apostate.

Not the Right Book at the Right Time

I apparently made a big mistake. While I may have been ready for PtHG, Carol was not. As I read PtHG, I had a spiritual experience. I’ve related this before. It spoke to me. It answered so many of my questions that had been on the shelf for so many years. I had not had a spiritual experience like that since my early youth, perhaps from the days when I was preparing for my mission and reading doctrine and history ten to twelve hours a day. I loved the book. I wanted to share it. I thought the dearest person in my life would surely be understanding and sympathetic.

Conflict in Past Religious History

You’ve got to understand a little bit about Carol. She’s no dummy. I wouldn’t have married her if I wasn’t impressed with her gifts and abilities when it came to knowing the church, how it worked, the history, the doctrine, the culture – oh, Carol exudes the culture of the LDS Church since her ancestors crossed the plains. But not me – I’m a first generation Mormon. I’m an old California boy whose maternal ancestors were Presbyterian preachers and paternal ancestors were Baptists Ministers. I have a lot of strong feeling in my blood about religion, but no LDS culture.

The Book is Divisive and a Sifter

That shouldn’t have anything to do with how we view books like Passing the Heavenly Gift. But I found the opposite to be true. I was excited about the book. It got me enthused. It caused me to want to study more, to read more, to pray more and to understand more of Mormon history. I was shocked to discover it had the opposite effect on Carol. I quote: “Yes, Denver Snuffer scares me. I can’t explain my fear. If the Brethren came out and said Denver Snuffer is the next big thing, to listen to and follow him, then, I’d be all over that.” I’ve left out some content. You may find it strange we communicate in writing as husband and wife, but you’ve got to realize Carol is a published author, works all day at writing and was simply responding to an email from me.

There Is No Such Thing As A Snufferite

I have read almost all of Denver’s books. I have listened to almost all his published lectures. By the end of the week I will have finished his last four lectures from Forty Years in Mormonism – Talk 1 – Boise (Sep 10), Talk 2 – Idaho Falls (Sep 28), Talk 3 – Logan, (Sep 29) – Talk 4 – Centerville (Oct 6). I’ll be listening to them in the afternoons after I finish yet another week of early morning Microsoft certification classes from 6am to 2pm – as long as I don’t fall asleep. Many who have been following my blog know I am also seeing a psychiatrist in the afternoons as recommended by my primary physician. We’ve tried everything else to get rid of seven months of constant, and I mean constant migraines. But that’s the way of Western medicine, isn’t it?

Motivated to learn and study the Gospel more

Yes, I know there have now been two or three rebuttals published. I have not yet read the rebuttals. I have always said I am not a scholar or an apologetic. I will leave that to those who love to argue logic. I understand the game but refuse to play it. Carol says she lives her life by her gut feeling – which explains why she was not ready to read PtHG – It would not help her. She didn’t need or want it. The book helped me. I needed it. I wanted it. I had been looking for something like that book for many years. Please note: I am not any less of a believer in the church, in the apostles and prophets and their right to lead us or in the existence of the sealing power in the temples. I simply want to learn more.

We Need to Understand Priesthood Keys

By the way, this is probably my 20th post on some aspect of Denver Snuffer. Obviously I feel he has something special and unique to offer. No, he does not take the place of President Thomas S. Monson. No, he does not have keys to lead this church (as far as I can tell). I am certain the Lord would let us know if something were to change in that area (Amos 3:7). I believe Denver has a mission – perhaps more than one – that has been revealed to him. He performed one mission that got him excommunicated – publishing a controversial book. He is now performing another mission, providing us with about 25 hours of lecture on some very important aspects of priesthood doctrine. I am looking forward to his next talk. I truly wish I could be there. Due to work, I will probably not be able to make it to any of his lectures except maybe St. George.

We Worked Out our Differences

And for those of you who are wondering how Carol and I worked this out, I will share this. It got so testy for a while I put all his books and CDs in a box and put them away. I refrained from saying, “Well, here’s something I remember reading Denver saying about that…” This morning we came to an agreement. Even after I had her read this post, she confesses she is still afraid that Denver will “steal me away.” I have no idea where she thinks I would go or what I would do but I never professed to understand women except for one thing – they need lots of reassuring. Carol is no different. Perhaps I should be the one who needs to be reassured as her career grows, as she publishes more books and realizes her dreams but I see my role as to encourage her, to do nothing to hold her back, including pay for publishing classes, seminars,  conventions, etc, which I gladly do. I want to see her succeed as a published author (if she could just figure out her genre).

God bless You Who Deal With Similar Issues

I have seen divorces as a result of disagreements over religion, especially when it comes to how to discipline children or budgeting. These are the most difficult areas to make a marriage work. I remember my own inadequacies and failures in this area. They left me feeling awful, like I had failed at the most important mission of my life. At times I felt like the meanest father in the world. At other times I felt like the weakest man in the world, unable to lead my own family in righteousness. I don’t know any perfect families. I am grateful my son is still alive and a productive, seemingly happy member of society in his own home. We gave him up to suicide, mental insanity, drugs and alcohol many years ago. The answer was to put his name on the prayer role as often as possible and to continue to pray for him every morning and night, which we have done all his life, but especially the last fifteen years since his drug / mental issues first showed themselves. (Write me privately at tmalonemcse @ gmail.com if you want to know the story of how his drug addiction sent me to the hospital twice in February of this year).

Trust in the Lord as you Seek Knowledge

I pray that something as silly as the reading of a book will never get in the way a working relationship with your loved ones, be it the Book of Mormon or some anti-Mormon book. Think about it. Some General Authorities have to be assigned to read them so they’ll know what’s in them. How would you like to be that GA? Not me. If someone in your family wants to read the works of D. Michael Quinn, Denver Snuffer, Mel Fish or anyone else that write about the church but is not published by Deseret Book, please don’t let that desire or fear get in the way of your marriage. Trust the Lord and your love for each other. I wish I could have Carol tell her side of this story. I’ll bet it would be very different. Maybe someday she’ll oblige us. I’m confident it will be focused on her fear of losing me to the dark side.

Meeting with a Mental Health Professional


CostOfMentalHealthBroken Things to Mend – Part two (another journal entry)

I met with the first of the five psychiatrists yesterday. If you’ve never met with a mental health professional, you might want to consider it. The experience was enjoyable. He was a little older than me – OK, maybe by about ten years, but fit my idea of what a psychiatrist should be like. He sat in his favorite chair. I sat on one of several couches. He made me feel right at home, let me set the rules. Said if you want to just start talking and tell your story, go right ahead, or I can ask questions. I knew why I wanted to see him and what I wanted to say so I jumped right in.

An immediate rapport established

It took about twenty minutes, he then took about twenty minutes to respond, with a few questions thrown in to clarify, but he obviously got most of it as I related it up front. He gave me a few handouts he had prepared, one he had published in a professional journal and others simply guidelines on how to think about what I had been through. By the end of the forty minutes, I felt I had quite a bit to consider and plenty of reading material so we were done. He was obviously a professional because he knew what I was relating, where it fit, and how to respond. Although it was new to me, it was not to him. I liked that. It gave me a great sense of confidence.

In which I get an education

Here’s the word that put everything into place for me: Hypnagogia – falling asleep, or sometimes called Hypnopomic – waking up. For those who have read my story – and I’ve sent it to several dozen now – I apparently experienced something quite normal. Hypnagogia is used nowadays to cover both states – falling asleep or the state of awakening. In my case, I was awakening when I saw what I believed to be spirits, first one, and then two at my side. The doctor was obviously not shocked that I was able to describe my hallucinations or that I felt I knew them and their history. His response was not abnormal or shocking in any way. Perhaps this is more common – seeing spirits – than I had thought – or he was pretty good at covering up since that’s his job.

Difficulty in Getting to Sleep

We also talked about the state of terror I experienced. It was obviously a shock to my system to see spirits standing by my side upon awakening. We both agreed I still haven’t recovered even seven months after the event first happened – remember it happened twice that first week. It’s always nice to hear someone sympathize that it must have been a traumatic experience, based on the fact that it still bothers me even this long after the original event. Although he was not too familiar, not being a psychologist, we talked about the drugs I had been prescribed to deal with the pain and noted I had been given two sleeping aids. Yes, I have found it difficult to get to sleep for obvious reasons – being scared to death I’ll see these spirits once again. No wonder.

Religion Was Not An Issue

Somehow the subject of religion came up. He confessed he was a “hopeful agnostic,” meaning he had no evidence for any belief in things supernatural but had hope for those who expressed faith and hope in their lives. I was clearly upfront with him, explaining my believe that there are some who do not get to either heaven or hell upon death, but that stick around here, addicted to the sensations of the bodies they once inhabited and looking for others who are willing to share their bodies even if just for a few moments. Again, he was not surprised. I like that. Apparently, he has heard it all before. He recognized not all Mormons believe the same about the afterlife. I’m one of them. I don’t believe in only paradise or spirit prison. I am convinced that some stick around, not ready to go in either direction, perhaps feeling lost or looking for those who allow their bodies to be used mainly through the use of drugs or alcohol. I believe it to be common.

The State of the Physical Body

The doctor asked about the state of my body at the time of the event, if I was over tired, worried, sick, or feeling in any way hyperactive from the day’s activities. I related my active concern for my son, whom I knew to be participating in consumption of hallucinogenic drugs, marijuana and alcohol in his room, even though I had asked him dozens of times not to do so. For more detail on how this could possibly be, I would be happy to send you the document that describes Mike’s mental illness and manipulative behavior through threats of suicide: tmalonemcse @ gmail.com. The doctor nodded his head as I described my concern for my son and his ingestion of drugs in his room right next door, along with his friend. He pointed out I was obviously concerned about the well-being of my son at this time in his life since he was involved in drugs and alcohol.

Enduring pain a daily Event Now

By the way, I had thought deeply over the last seven months about the twenty minutes I took to tell my story up front. I wanted him to know some things about what I believed and about some of the things that were happening in my son’s life at that time. I told him how the experience affected me, all the doctors I have seen, all the tests I have taken, and all the pain I experience. He was surprised when I told him my pain level was a seven, but that’s been pretty normal since that day. He asked how the pain exhibited itself – migraine, headache and anxiety, obviously. I thought I had made that clear up front but apparently not. In any event, by his reaction, I could tell he felt that was a rather high level of pain to be suffering consistently day in and day out. My response: “Obviously something wants my attention. Perhaps it’s still trapped within me.” By his response or lack thereof, I could tell he didn’t get it. I was referring to the idea of trapped spirits.

Not Much Can be Done in 45 Minutes

He has pleased when I reported my son had moved on, obtained gainful employment, moved out and seemed to be happy with his life. He wondered out loud why my pain remained since the original occurrence seemed to be when Mike was engaged in the consumption of drugs and alcohol in our home, something to which I obviously objected. He asked a few questions about my relationship with my son at the time (annoyed) my relationship now (pleased) and if I had let go of those annoyed feelings from that night I experienced the hypnagogic hallucinations. I told him I had made every effort to do so. The bottom line however was, as I expected, “Well, I can’t think of anything I can do for your migraines right now -why don’t you come back after you’ve read the material and we’ll talk some more?” Isn’t that the way it always seems to go with these kinds of doctors? It’s going to take a lot of your time. We’re got to study this out, get all the history and then eventually we’ll make some progress on managing the pain you’re experiencing.

Mental Illness – My Personal Story

Maybe it’s time to share a little about my own mental illness or at least my perception of it, since as far as I know I have never been diagnosed with such. Elder Holland, or was it Elder Morrison, taught us that mental illness is not a sin. I can happen to anyone. It’s just a part of mortality. Just like I was born with the unwanted state of weak lungs which manifest themselves in asthma, three are those who are born with difficulties in their minds / brains. There are all kinds of malformations but some mental illness cannot be traced to anything physical at all. It seems to be more chemical in nature. I suspect I am one of those who has a chemical abnormality that subjects me to serious mood swings – always has. I would go so far as to say it is manic / depressive – just a mild case.

Success in School Related to Work

Being a smart child, or so I’m told, I was placed ahead a grade in school, since I already knew how to read and was wasting my time with all the other first graders. I’ve always felt this was a big mistake as far as social development, but that’s a different story. In any event, school was easy for me – in fact it was so easy I decided I didn’t have to do the hard work of studying. I did great until about fifth grade, or about age eight and then things fell apart. Maybe it was hormones kicking in or maybe it was just the influence of the local bad boys club – everyone has one – but from then on, I did poorly in school. In fact I got kicked out of high school a few years later because I thought it was a joke. The only thing I liked was that I was introduced to my future career in computers.

High School – a Terrible Experience for Some

I don’t know what it was but I just didn’t get the connection between work and grades, but that’s not unusual. In my case, I thought I deserved them without the work. I knew I could do it, but was never really willing to prove it. Well, the system just doesn’t work like that, does it? I was in and out of counseling offices, as well as the local police department throughout my school years because the concept of work and good grades just didn’t seem to come together for me. What’s worse is that about age 16, when I could start driving, I began to hang with some of the even tougher kids in high school – those who got kicked out into continuation school like I did. These are the kids known for smoking, drugs, rebellion, alcohol, partying and general bad stuff.

The wild years of Teenage Rebellion

Yep, you guessed it, I tried all that. Thank God it only lasted about six months. Never broke the law of chastity, but was tempted. January 1974 was one of the worst years of my life. My folks went on a cruise to the South Pacific and somehow, being the youngest, I was left alone. I told a friend, he told his friends, they told their friends and before I knew it, hundreds of people I had never met were having a wild party in my house. And where was I? I was out in the backyard, trying to leave this world through hallucinogenic drugs. Oh, I didn’t intend to go anywhere physically, just in my mind or spirit, about which I knew very little at the time. It was not a good experience. I’ve written about it previously. I characterize it as a religious experience and here’s why: when it was over, I knew there was a devil and a God.

My Conversation with the Devils

Before this encounter with evil spirits, I never gave it any thought. Seminary teachers tried to warn me. Sunday school teachers tried to warn me. Even prophets tried to warn me, but did I listen? No. What is it with kids who think they know better or will only learn by experience? These demons and devils came at me with malicious intent. I knew they wanted to destroy me. Why? I thought to myself. What had I done to them? The answer I got back was simply this: We hate you for what you represent. You have the priesthood. You have the Holy Ghost. You’re been to the temple (baptisms for the dead). You have all the things God says will protect you. We’re going to show God we can destroy even his most choice spirits and you’re one of them.

I Gained a Testimony of Reality of Evil

I was scared. I jumped up and high-tailed it out of there. I took off and drove for the desert. I was thinking the whole way: This can’t be real. This can’t be happening. I didn’t just see and hear evil spirits. They don’t exist. There’s just a figment of the imagination. All my friends told me so. They have no power because they’re only in our minds if we believe in them and I don’t. No matter how hard I tried to convince myself of the non-existence of these evil spirits – and there were dozens of them – I could not shake what had happened to me. I could not deny it. I knew. The scriptures promise we can know from the Holy Ghost. Well, I promise you can know things from evil spirits just as real. It happened to me and because it did I knew that God was also real. I got my testimony that night. It was a testimony that evil spirits exist and want to destroy us.

A Form of Mental Illness

Some in the world would call this a psychosis or neurosis. There is no evidence for spirits, good or evil. Therefore, anyone who believes in them is experiencing a form of mental illness. What I can’t understand is why so few recognize that evil spirits hang around places where alcohol, drugs, certain kinds of music and wild parties are going on. Maybe they do, but chose to ignore them. I mean, it’s more fun to let the evil spirits use your bodies for a few moments to a few hours, isn’t it? There are so very few who believe that such a thing happens, but I know from experience it does. But the American Psychiatric Association’s List of Mental Disorders lists a belief in evil spirits – or any kind of spirits- as a form of mental illness from days long past.

Jesus Came to Cast Out Evil Spirits

I’ll end this long journal entry with a simple statement. I believe one of the primary purposes of the Lord in coming to the earth was to cast out evil spirits. They are real. They can do more damage than we can imagine. They cause sickness, including mental illness. Many of these spirits specialize in mental ailments or disorders among us. If you want to know more about how to conquer spiritual illness among us, read Doug Mendenhall’s book. I have read and reviewed it, studied about it, written about it and came to the conclusion that Doug knew what he was writing about. Get the book. It contains the truth. Don’t be fooled into thinking spirits aren’t real.

Broken Things to Mend – Part One


Genealogy 002

These are my mother’s family history worksheets – her life’s work. Each book (and there are a couple dozen) contains hundreds of family history worksheets all filled out by hand or on her special typewriter with the wide carriage. What a labor of love.

This is not a review of Elder Holland’s excellent book, but I have borrowed the title. This is a journal entry that may or may not be of any interest to you. It’s about mental illness in an LDS family – mine. Some may feel it is too personal to share on a public blog. Tough. Don’t read it. I’m not asking for feedback. It’s just my formal preparation to meet with a few doctors over the next two weeks. It consists of two parts I’m trying to fix – 1) The influence of a mother with mental illness and 2) the influence of the 60’s and 70’s drug culture which was so prevalent in my life at one time.

Mental Illness in the LDS Church

A few years ago on this blog, I wrote an article about mental illness (Nov 3, 2007 – Psychiatric Disorders in Mormon Theology). It was based on an Ensign article from Elder Alexander Morrison, who, if I remember correctly has a daughter who suffers from mental illness. It was entitled, “Myths About Mental Illness.” He also published a 2003 book on the subject: Valley of Sorrow: A Layman’s Guide to Understanding Mental Illness for Latter-day Saints.

Like a Broken Vessel

I mentioned in a recent post here on this blog how pleased I was to see, hear and read a discourse in our last General Conference on the same subject from Elder Holland, entitled, “Like a Broken Vessel.” Many of you know Elder Holland has published a book entitled “Broken Things to Mend (Deseret Book, 2008). If we didn’t know it before, we know now the depth of Elder Holland’s feelings towards those who suffer from mental illness and especially from depression.

The Savior Wants to Heal Us

I cried as I watched and listened to his words. For the first time since Elder Morrison’s address ten years ago, a General Authority addressed what must surely be one of the Savior’s most heart-felt desires – to heal those who suffer from the effects of this mortality. If you have not yet read both talks, I highly recommend you do so. Elder Morrison teaches us some basics we all need to know and Elder Holland helps us understand how much this malady still concerns our Savior.

Personal Confessions in a Personal Blog

May I get personal for a moment? “Well, of course, Tim, it’s your blog, please, go right ahead.” I suffer from mental illness. I don’t think I’ve made a secret of it before but I have not been as direct as I am going to be in this post. Let me make it clear I am not looking for sympathy or pity, but do want it bring it to the attention of my readers in a personal way as never before. I am simply asking for your patience as I lay some groundwork that perhaps you may recognize. In sharing this, I am not confessing some great sin, but I’ll tell you what I’m doing about it today.

Part One – The Influence of a Loving Mother

Mother was a schoolteacher. Anybody who has read my background or has been with me for any length of time on my blog knows this. I adored my mother. She was smart. She was competent. She always seemed to know what to do and she could teach the gospel better than anybody I had ever heard, and I mean anybody. I loved to sit in her classes. I got kicked out of my own school district many times specifically because I knew I would get to spend a week in my mother’s fourth grade class on California history. I loved her stories of Romona and of the Rancheros. Mother made life exciting for this student who hates lecture and learns best through kinesthetic means. In other words, I have to do something with my hands before I can say I understand it.

Mother’s Advice Made a Lasting Impression

One Sunday, an incompetent high councilor was bumbling through his talk – basically reading it out of the Ensign. Mother quietly asked me to promise if I was ever called as a High Counselor I would practice to be a better sacrament speaker. She made me promise to prepare well, present well and make sure the congregation was fed by the spirit of the Lord. When I was called as a High Counselor, I tried to keep that promise. How I prayed each time for the gift of feeding the Lord’s sheep. Except for one thing, mother would have made a great priesthood leader if she hadn’t been a woman: Although she tried to keep it from us, mother also suffered from mental illness.

Mental Illness Seen as a Weakness

She didn’t share it with us – all the psychiatric visits, the uncontrollable crying spells alone in her room or the deep, dark depression hanging over her some weeks affecting our entire household. My older sisters did not see it as much as my youngest sister and I saw and felt it in our teenage years. How I felt for my mother, wishing there was something I could do for her, wanting to know what to say, anything, that would cheer her up and help her through this miserable time in her life. Later I discovered that just talking to her helped. She and I had many, many talks about the gospel and about life in general. How I loved and appreciated my mother and her wisdom. I learned so much from her about church history, the life of the Savior and the Bible in general.

A Short Bio and Learning to Read

You can read more about her in a post I wrote shortly after her death but it doesn’t do justice to the intellectual power of this woman who carried nine children, seven to full term. She devoted her life to teaching California school children the joys of learning literature and reading. That was her specialty and oh, she was good at it. I’ve related before how I learned to read the Book of Mormon at my mother’s knee at the age of five. This is one of my most sacred memories that made me the man I am today. I love that book because we read it together when I was so young.

Book Stores are Special Places

I love books because of my mother. She used to take us to all the exotic bookstores in Southern California and allow us to pick out anything we wanted. How I loved Vromans in Pasadena, because every time we went, I got to pick out another Peter Rabbit book and figurine. The Bodhi Tree Bookstore in Hollywood is closed now but holds precious memories of hours looking for books. We mostly went to the local libraries – a lot cheaper of course – but bookstores were a special occasion – someone’s birthday or holiday to be remembered with a special gift – a book.

An Early Love of Science Fiction

Most of the books I received as gifts were on the Caldecott and Newbery lists. I won’t bore you with the names of some of those classics from the 60’s when I was growing up but I will tell you that mother was so willing to help me keep my reading habit that when I turned to science fiction in high school, she continued to fund my purchases. How I wish I still had those classics today: Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Jules Verne, Michael Crichton, H.G. Wells, and especially J.R.R Tolkien. She knew I loved Tolkien and I knew she loved me.

20,000 Ordinances performed

When mother became an older convert at age 35, two things dominated the rest of her life as far as I was concerned. First was her love of genealogy or family history. I’ve included a picture of the dozens of old family history books she compiled over forty plus years. I inherited her library and much of her correspondence. My sister has an equal amount and is a professional librarian / researcher. Mother knew more about how the family history department worked in Salt Lake then some specialists did. When she moved there she would teach classes. Sadly, her legacy of more than 20,000 names researched with each of the ordinances performed is only appreciated today by me and my two active sisters. Well, I suppose those for whom the ordinances were performed also appreciate it, at least I hope they do.

A Love of History – Religious and Secular

The other thing that dominated my mother’s life was studying the history of the church and sharing it with her children, at least her two youngest children who would listen. Her library of church books was huge. She would get so excited about learning some new facet of our history she would call just to tell me about it. This was long after I was married and moved out. While I served my mission in 1976-1978, she took it upon herself to graduate from institute. She made me promise to never share her papers but the older I get the more I feel she would approve of publishing what she learned through the CES program about the Book or Mormon, the Life of Christ, details of the history of Joseph Smith I have never read elsewhere and so many other papers she composed. She would even go to the Huntington Library to research early Mormon California history. I’ve always said it and I’ll always be grateful to be the son of an intellectual giant. Mother blessed me so much.

A Sliver of Darkness Amidst the Light

Why is it that so many of those who are blessed with the ability to construct wonderful research papers, or great works of art or inventions that bless and serve mankind, are considered eccentric, lacking in people skills or suffer from depression, mental illness or some other mental malady? I won’t share details, but mother could ruin a family get together quicker than anyone I have ever known with a single word or phrase, followed by sulking in her room until someone would come get her and help her understand she had not been personally insulted or that nobody had tried to embarrass her on purpose. How can such an intellectual giant be so emotionally sensitive?

Living With a Perfectionist

Mother’s mental illness was somehow related to self-consciousness. She was a perfectionist, oh, how she was a perfectionist. She would express her frustration on anyone who happened to be around her, usually my dad, but sometimes me, and we would encourage her to start again on whatever project which she was currently working. It usually had something to do with her Gospel Doctrine lesson. The Bishop took a real chance in calling her to that position, but as long as I can remember she either taught Gospel Doctrine or Family History during the years she and dad were active. As I related in her life story, she didn’t last long in Utah, meaning she could not relate to farmers and ranchers who served in priesthood leadership positions. She didn’t get that. Please don’t take offense. Mother thought a priesthood leader should be trained in the ministry.

A Mother Who Loved Doctrine

OK, enough about mother. I hope you get the impression I have deep and grateful feelings for my mother. I was the youngest child who was both spoiled and ignored, if you know what I mean. I’m afraid I also inherited whatever ran in mother’s family. I too am a perfectionist, although I hope and believe I have learned to deal with it better by watching her example of how not to respond. Like my mother, I love to teach. I love to study church history. I would prefer to attend a seminar on the life of some historical character or the influence of some organization on the development of a city or community than just about anything else. I love history, especially as it relates to our church. My bookcase is filled with biographies and doctrine. If you can believe it, mother also loved doctrine. We went to Education Weeks and Know Your Religion.

Utah Culture Was a Shock to Mother

Something happened to mother when she moved to Utah. She and Dad went there to work full time on family history after they retired. It didn’t work out. They stayed less than ten years then came back to California to spend the rest of their days in a city mainly known for retirement. Once they got to Hemet, they stopped going to church. Well, actually, I think they stopped going to church before they left Utah. Let’s just say that Mother’s feelings about Utah culture were the cause of their leaving the church. There was nobody in particular that caused them to leave. They did not lose their testimonies really, especially of Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon. But I can tell you there was something about the way Utah folks taught church history that rankled my mother. I won’t get into it. It’s not important to the story I’m trying to tell here. She was still involved in family history research, but she no longer attended church or the temple. I had so many conversations with her trying to convince her at least go and partake of the sacrament.

Dealing with Evil Spirits – a Little More Background

OK, now it’s my turn. This is my blog, and this is another personal blog entry, not meant to be a doctrinal dissertation or religious thesis. But I’m hoping maybe it will do someone some good. I have suffered migraines for seven months now. I’m not sure if the migraines are a result of the anxiety and panic attacks that started then or the other way around. I suspect the latter. I’ll let the doctors decide. I think my body, my mind, my spirit, my intelligence or whatever you want to say directs the body, has caused my migraines and the associated pain treatment. The body is pretty smart. I think my subconscious is doing whatever it needs to do to keep me from going through the panic and anxiety attacks I went through back on that night last February that sent me to the hospital twice in the same week for being out of control mentally and emotionally. If you don’t know to what I’m referring, email me and I’ll send you the document (see below).

Getting Professional Help is OK

Believe it or not, I have five appointments with five different psychiatrists and psychologists over the next two weeks. I’ve got to get my story down so I can tell it without coming across with a psychotic or neurotic outlook on life. Actually, I don’t care. Psychotic means a loss of contact with reality while neurotic, although no longer really in use, means fearful or worried about something – tending to worry in a way that is not healthy or reasonable. Let me see if I can give an example that will help. A psychotic is someone who sees evil spirits. OK, you can put that label on me. I’ve related it in several posts. If you haven’t read the document I wrote up to describe the events that sent me to the hospital back in February, I’m happy to share it. Just email me at tmalonemcse @ gmail.com. I sincerely think I fit more into the neurotic category: I am worried or anxious I will have an encounter with an evil spirit if I do not keep myself sedated, which I have done for the last seven months with the doctor’s help – lots of kinds of prescription medicine. That’s not such a good idea. We really need to face our fears, not hide from them.

Choose a Doctor Who Can Help You

By the way, the five different appointments are to see which one I like best. That’s the beauty of the American way: we have a choice, at least for now. Of course, I could decide not to bring up the real story of why I think I’m having these migraines. One of the first things I was asked by one of the doctors was if I was looking to go on disability. I can’t believe how easy it is. Maybe it’s just California. I’m not sure how long it lasts. All I’m trying to do is figure out what’s wrong with me, get it fixed and get the joy back in my life that I once felt before this thing happened. Maybe I do need to go on disability while I figure this out with these psychiatric visits (or to the psychologist as the case may be). Do you know the difference? Psychiatrists can prescribe drugs. Anyway, one could be on disability for many months while they figure things out and get fixed.

A Few Last Words About Mother’s Mental Illness

Can we ever really be fixed from the influence of the adversary? To her dying day, members of our family would not bring up certain events around our mother for fear of “setting her off” into one of her episodes. Even through gentle probing she would deny them in later years, I am an eye-witness to her attempted suicides, which all seemed to occur just before my mission. I know it was a coincidence but 1976 was both the best year and the worst year for mother. This is the year we went to many Know Your Religion and BYU Education Week Seminars as well as the same year she tried to commit suicide by overdose and by sticking her head in an unlit oven. I’m sorry to be so graphic. I remember one passionate discussion about confession that set her off. We had just come from a KYR lecture on the subject of repentance. I could tell something was wrong. She exploded when we got home exclaiming we should never tell a priesthood leader about something we had done involving the law of chastity, obviously a sensitive subject for her. I tried to discuss with her what we had just learned in KYR but it was not a good experience. I think that’s the occasion she said “the priesthood is just the men’s club of the church.” She was obviously distressed at the time.

Long Discussions With a Struggling Mother

As the youngest, I had a great desire to please my mother and make her proud of me. I did my best to serve a good mission, especially since my parents paid my expense. Central America was probably the least expensive mission in the world. We lived on less than $200 a month, but I knew my dad came off disability and got a job again just so he could support me on my mission. I was grateful they allowed me to continue to live at home while at school after my mission but by this time my mother’s episodes became so dramatic I had to move out. I saw and heard things my brother and sisters never heard since they were all married or in my brother’s case, in the military. Mother had a love / hate affair with the church that seemed to set her off into these difficult and very deep gospel discussions way over my father’s head. I hope that doesn’t sound disrespectful, but things that bothered my mother were simply not an issue for my easy-going father. So it was usually she and I that hashed things out, sometimes until early morning hours.

Mother Was Inactive when she Died – So What?

Not having grown up with a father or brothers, mother was still trying to come to grips with the idea of priesthood hierarchy. She was an intelligent, competent school teacher with a Master’s degree who had a real problem with men telling her how to teach a Sunday school class. I have her childhood journal in which she discusses helping her own mother teach Sunday school all during her teenage years. Trust me, mother knew how to teach, how to control a class and how to keep the class interested. They would ask her to teach the in-service lessons we later called the teacher improvement classes. To her dying day, I think what kept mother away was anger or disappointment at the men of this church who tried to tell her how to do a job for which she was eminently qualified. Humility -if only mother had learned humility. She always said that was her downfall in this life.

Part Two deals with the influence of the drug culture of the 60’s and 70’s (This will be a link when it is posted)

Finding the Lord in Your Daily Work


JetCharterPersonal Journal Entry

I sat down about a half hour ago, waiting for the guys to finish putting the carpet down and put the new desks in. I’m at work today, but I have nothing pressing to do. It’s a Saturday. I came in about 1pm to help put the fifteen computers back together in our charter offices. We’re getting new carpet so they had to take everything apart. My associate / assistant / trainee offered to do that so I could stay at the temple for our chapel session last night, which I did. I am extremely grateful.

Being a Good Example to Others

I am greatly blessed. I have a trainee who is anxious, willing, able and excited about learning how to be a computer guy. He is the son of the president and has been working for me for about seven years. He’s still not up to speed on supporting servers but he’s the best help-desk technician you could ask for. He seems to love his work. His happiness is infectious. I reply on him a lot and have never been disappointed. Of course, I praise him every chance I get.

We can Influence Others for Good

He goes out of his way to make sure people are happy and satisfied with his work. I teach him every opportunity I get by delegating tasks and giving him direction. He takes it and goes with it. Great guy – can’t say it enough. I could not do my job without him, especially the part where I get to train on the latest technology – which will never be the latest – things always change. I just wish he would take more initiative in learning how to manage and maintain the servers.

A Few Thoughts From an Old Guy

I’ve spent about thirty, no, make that forty years in the computer industry. I started with punched cards on the IBM System 3 and the IBM System 360. Yep, I’m an old guy. It’s a Saturday afternoon, so nobody is demanding my time. Only the weekend charter crew is here. I’m waiting for the desks to be done so I can put the computers back together for the rest of the charter folks can get right to work on Monday morning. I’ve got a few minutes to think and write.

Count Your many Blessings

I turned off the lights, closed the door, put in my earplugs (I work at the Burbank Airport) and kicked back to relax. But I couldn’t stop thinking about how blessed I am. Don’t get me wrong. I still suffer. The migraines have not gone away. Seven months is a long time to suffer, but I guess the drugs make it easier. What would I do without drugs? What if we couldn’t get the drugs we need to prolong life or make it easier? I shudder to think.

The Blog Goes On

I wanted to write about what’s been happening. Last week I decided I’d had enough. I wrote what I thought was going to be my last post. I said adieu and signed off. I was overwhelmed at the response. I still haven’t had time to read or respond to the comments from people who said they enjoyed my blog and hoped I would reconsider. I had dozens of private emails saying the same and offering private help. I have Facebook notes from people offering individualized help.

Generosity From My Readers

One user sent me a book, free of charge, from Amazon and recommended I read it. I had already read it but just the thought and the idea of taking the trouble not to mention the expense to send it to me overwhelmed me. My uncle passed away last week, the last of six brothers. I cried and cried as I realized the reunion going on in heaven. I am the last and only active male Mormon in my family. I suddenly felt very old. I am old. I’m going to be 57 next February. Is there something I am supposed to accomplish before my days are completed? I’ll be lucky to get another 20 to 25 years. For some reason I feel like Jacob and Moroni – strangers in a strange land, all alone.

Blogs Can Be An Influence for Good

My point is I am overwhelmed at the number of people who said my writing over the last six years has made a difference in their lives. I have expressed my testimony as I have shared my struggles. I have written about finding new books. I have reviewed dozens of books. I have tried to always write about the belief I continue to hold that the Lord has something special in mind he wants me to do. But then, I feel the same way about you too – we live in the last days. Surely the saying is true – he reserved his most valiant servants for the very last days.

I’ve Met a Few Evil Spirits

I’ve shared before but just to review, I met some spirits held captive in spirit prison a few months ago. I went looking for the blog post thinking it was in February of this years but was unable to find it. For those who are seriously interested and want to know how I know I met spirits in spirit prison, I’m happy to send the document. Just send me a private email to tmalonemcse @ gmail.com. I would not have believed it if it had not happened to me. I still find it hard to believe.

Suffering is a Part of This Life

The encounter did not leave me unscathed. The migraines and the anxiety – trust me it is very real and not imagined – have caused me untold sleepless nights and prayers filled with tears and pleadings for relief. But after seven months I am beginning to come to a realization. Suffering, and for me, this is real suffering like I have never suffered before, is simply part of why we came to this earth life. I had one kind individual write to tell me the Lord did not intend for me to suffer, and tried to teach me how to overcome through faith. I didn’t get it or don’t have enough faith. The migraines continue.

Seeing a Professional Mental Health Counselor

My insurance company insists I see a psychiatrist or psychologist as part or the treatment. I am more than willing to do so. In fact, I look forward to the opportunity to talk about my travail if there is any way it can be with a trained priesthood holder. Yet I worry about some of the things I have read that the things I want to talk about are not acceptable in the profession. From what I gather, I could be considered delusional or psychotic. A religious person today who believes in the influence of evil spirits? Why, that’s simply unheard of!

Migraines – Physical Only or Can Be Spiritual

No, I’m sure the pain can be attributed to fungus in whole wheat of some other food allergy. There are a thousand and one things that have been suggested to me as the reason for migraines. But I have yet to find a legitimate explanation for the very real and very powerful experience which I describe in my paper on my encounter with the evil spirits back in February. That’s why I wish I could find someone who believes as I do – that such things exist – and that they do and can have an influence upon us. Read Doug Mendenhall’s or Edith Fiore’s books if you would like to understand a little more about the reality of the spirit world and evil / unclean spirits.

Scrupulosity – Too Much Religious Guilt

This is simply a journal entry as I wait for the time to go put the computers back together. My religion is a big part of my life, perhaps too big, meaning some could accuse me of the very real symptom of scrupulosity- the psychological disorder characterized by pathological guilt about moral or religious issues. I’m not saying I suffer from too much guilt. I mean, what have I got to feel guilty about? I suppose that’s one for the psychologist to discover when I meet with them. But will they rely on their professional training ONLY or are there some who are legitimate and effective who also practice alternative medicine techniques?

The Lord Helps Us Through Life

I know the atonement is real. I know repentance is real. I am grateful for the scriptures. Carol and I read them every night just before our family prayer. I enjoy my service in the church. I know the Lord loves me. He helps me all the time, if not personally, then through his angels, perhaps family members he sends who know my situation best. Maybe these migraines are just a part of the normal suffering of life. I know I’m not the only one who has migraines, but a constant migraine for more than seven months now? And why did they start in February? Is there something the Lord is trying to teach me? Is there something deep in my subconscious that is trying to get my attention and wants to be resolved?

Cast Out Evil Spirits

What good is a religion if those who practice it do not believe or do not have real evidence of healing that can and does take place? Why do we hear more about healings in the early days of the church than we do today? Why do we not hear ANYTHING about the idea if casting out the influence of evil spirits in our modern church? Why is it embarrassing for high priests to talk about such things? Why are they not found in our curriculum, taught, practiced and emphasized?

Beliefs in This Church Have Changed

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know I’ve asked these questions before. Why are there not men who have real power in the priesthood that the devils recognize and flee at when such men exercise that power? And why are men embarrassed to talk about it, how they learned about it, how they practiced casting them out, and how they taught this technique to others? Is it possibly because we no longer believe in such things? Migraines can’t possibly be caused by evil spirits, can they?

How to Fight Against Witchcraft

Who do so few of the apostles and prophets, if any, teach us these things? Do they not know? Have we lost this knowledge? Was it much more common knowledge years ago, but then became something that we no longer believe? When was the last time you had a priesthood lesson where the instructor went over the proper procedure to remove the influence of an evil spirit from a home that has been infected by the presence of those who practiced witchcraft?

LDS Professionals in Mental Health Field

What psychologist is going to want to talk to me about these things that I take seriously? I can just see their notes now – “this patient is highly delusional and psychotic about the reality of a spirit world around him. He believes in the reality of evil spirits trying to influence him and keep him from doing some sort of work he imagines he has been foreordained to do – whatever that means.” Look, I’m not looking for a miracle here, just a believing Latter-day Saint professional who knows there is more than what he has learned in graduate school about how to help people.

Patriarchal Blessings – So Very Unique to LDS

Why do we get patriarchal blessings if we do not believe they are meant to come to pass? Why are we promised gifts of healing, prophecy, revelation and other sacred endowments from God if they are not meant to be developed? What about the poor saint like me who believes in the promises of the Lord, has believed all his life and simply wants to do whatever the Lord requires to bring these blessings into a condition of reality, where we can and do see into the spirit world?

Gift of Prophecy and Revelation

Perhaps this is too sacred to share – so we are taught – but my patriarchal blessing states that I will have the gift of prophecy and revelation. What does that mean? It also says I will preside in many high and holy callings. I suppose I can consider serving in bishoprics, on the high council and in the stake presidency as a high and holy calling, but it certainly is not presiding. Can we lose our right to preside? Absolutely – besides, I do not want or seek such callings. I am very happy to serve as a stake clerk, although who would have ever seen me as a financial clerk?

A personal Blog Entry about Work

I know this is a very personal post but I have marked it as a journal entry. I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything. I’m just trying to understand a few of the things I am going through. I love this Church and think it should have answers for me. Better yet, the Holy Ghost should have those answers for me. Why do we (I) not talk to my associates here a work about things that are “Churchy?” I hear stories from General Authorities all the time in Conference how it just came up in natural conversation. You try to talk about anything religious here in California and somebody will complain to HR. You can’t put a book of Mormon on your desk or a religious picture in your office. Thank you, California for taking God out of the workplace.

Life Goes On – We Influence Others

Well, hopefully by now it’s getting close to time to go put fifteen computers back together in the Jet Charter offices. Sure hope the carpet layers didn’t mess up any network wiring with their knives. This is not really all that spiritual. I’m just a regular Mormon guy. I try to live my religion. I try to be nice to people. I try to be honest. I try to serve with a good attitude, although my boss told me the other day I could do better. He didn’t bother to ask if there was anything wrong but that’s OK. He pays me well and his wife is a Mormon. I’m trying to be a good influence on him. Thank you good people for wading through my personal thoughts – God bless.

The Last Post


HollandAtThePulpitWarning: This may not be Uplifting

I’m in another computer class this week. This makes week number sixteen this year. For those mathematically challenged, this will be 640 hours by the end of the week. I’ve got three more weeks to go – another 120 hours for a total of 760 hours. I got to thinking about when my migraines started. They started in February – about when I started all this computer training.

High Tech is for Young Folks

Maybe it’s because I’m a 56 year-old man and this stuff is fast-paced high-tech. I’m not saying I can’t keep up. I find it harder to focus so I can remember what is being taught. It was different when I was younger. There’s more stuff in there that needs to be shifted around and categorized to make room for new technology. I hope this is the last time I have to recertify my tech skills.

Keeping the Bad Guys Out

I think this is going to be one of the most enjoyable classes. It’s called “Ethical Hacking and Countermeasures.” In other words, I learn the same stuff in this class the hackers employ who want to break into my work systems. I’ve often asked myself why someone would care to break into our network. We manage several billion dollars’ worth of private jet aircraft, but so what?

Few Can Afford a Private 737

The aircraft mean nothing to me. They’re just things. I wouldn’t want one. They cost millions of dollars to house, staff and maintain each month. I would probably be worried about how I would pay for them but then I guess if you can afford a private Boeing 737, you can afford to pay for the monthly maintenance. Besides, a single charter flight can bring in half a million dollars.

A lifetime in the Business World

I hate business, always have. I thought I would be a college professor, a scientist or astronomer actually. But someone told me I could make more money to provide for my family if I learned computers so I did. I’m not sorry about my decision. I enjoy my work, especially weeks like this, but I have always wondered what it would have been like to teach or to be a research physicist.

Escape into Writing Science Fiction

That’s why you’ll find one of the main characters of my book teaches at CU. Funny thing is, he’s not happy with his job either. He wants to work for the government, because that’s where the big bucks are. He hates having to work so hard to get his programs funded and get new grant money each year. He feels stuck in his job, always looking for a newer telescope to manage somewhere.

Teaching Gospel Doctrine Class

I think I’ve written in the past I always ask the Lord what he would like me to write about in my blog posts. A couple of things come to mind. One is the wonderful experience I had substitute teaching our gospel doctrine class two weeks ago. I’ve been teaching church history since I was seventeen. This had to have been the most emotional retelling of the crossing of the plains ever.

Ephraim’s Rescue

I could barely finish the story of the rescue of the Willie and Martin handcart companies. I think it meant more to me because I had seen TC Christensen’s wonderful movie “Ephraim’s Rescue” just a few months ago. I related the story of how Ephraim Hanks ceremoniously washed his hands before each healing and how his gift grew upon him over the years. It was a sacred story.

Thinking of Denver Snuffer

But I had to think about Denver Snuffer as I taught. I know you’re going to ask why so I’ll tell you. I had the lesson divided into three – The rescue of the handcart pioneers, the crossing of the Sweetwater with the three young men who ultimately gave their lives to accomplish the task, and then part three was supposed to be spent in the scriptures, as we discuss being rescued by Christ.

We Tell Good Stories

I’ll offer the excuse of having been a high counselor for so many years in a previous stake. I love to tell stories. High Counselors, the good ones anyway, are able to take their assigned subject then shorten or lengthen the telling of their prepared material until it fits the time exactly so the Sacrament meeting ends at five minutes past the hour. I learned to do that with great expertise.

Scriptures Didn’t Get Read

Unfortunately, in the telling of the stories of the saving of the handcart companies and the story of the crossing of the Sweetwater by the three boys, I used up all my time. I never got to part three. While I received many complements of how deeply touched the members of the class were, what did I do wrong? I did not teach them from the scriptures. Not a scripture was read.

A Savior Who Rescues

It was not intentional I assure you. The spirit was felt. Even Carol said so and she does not hand out compliments easily. But the doctrine of a Savior who rescues us was not discussed. We did not as a class open the scriptures, read silently or out loud, separately or together, the scriptures that pointed out the whole purpose of why we meet in Sunday School: to learn of the Savior.

The Migraines Continue

I have thought a lot about the need to be rescued over the last seven months. I am a problem solver by nature and by training. By apparently my problem is not one that is going to be solved, or at least I haven’t discovered the solution yet. Migraines run in my family. I remember many days coming home from school finding mother lying in the dark with a damp cloth over her eyes.

Lots of Reading and Thinking

They always seemed to come to her after grading a lot of student papers. That involved reading and thinking, exactly what I am doing in my recertification classes. I’ve read that migraines can also be hereditary. Hmmm…Mother was marginal bi-polar. So am I. I am so grateful for Elder Holland’s General Conference address last Saturday. It was exactly what I needed to hear now.

Improve Skills With The Scriptures

So what does this have to do with Denver Snuffer? It made me think of something he said or wrote: that we have become a church of storytellers, and darn good ones too, but not nearly as good at opening, finding, studying and telling the story of salvation and revelation from the Lord’s scriptures. I speak this to my self and nobody else. I lack in scripture teaching skills.

Finding Answers in the Scriptures

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I know the scripture stories. I can tell them with the best teachers who have spent a lifetime in this church using such stories to illustrate points as found in approved curriculum, but what about just opening the scriptures and teaching when prompted by the Holy Ghost? Perhaps such opportunities don’t come very often in your life. Are you ready for them?

Remember, Doctrine Doesn’t Sell

It still bothers me that Denver Snuffer was excommunicated last month. It still bothers me that friends who I dearly love, who have written books devoted specifically to doctrine have seen the sales of their books drop from the high plateaus of the seventies and eighties to the low levels of almost nothing today. “Doctrine doesn’t sell,” they are told by Deseret Book sales executives.

This Blog is Six Years Old

It’s been six years this week since I started this blog. I’ve grown a lot and made a lot of friends, but I’ve discovered two things that bother me tremendously and have caused me to think deeply about both the need and the wisdom of continuing a blog like this. First, anyone who has read the blog from the beginning knows how much it has changed. I do not believe things as I did then.

I Thought All Mormons Were Conservative

Back when I was started I was naïve and immature. I believed everyone felt as I did. I thought most Mormons were conservative, believed the stories of the restoration literally and felt as deeply as I did about preparing for the second coming. I felt the return of the Lord was just around the corner. I thought God was preparing a people to meet him. I believed in a real Zion.

Close Encounter With Evil Spirits

I still do, just not in my lifetime. Some of you know back in February I had a close encounter with the devil or at least with a couple of his evil spirits. It has permanently changed my life. I am no longer the same person. I am much more emotional. I am much more sensitive. I am now hiding behind drugs. The prescriptions for anxiety and pain keep the devil away, but just barely.

Hiding Behind The Doctor’s Pills

The other day I tried an experiment to see if maybe I had convinced myself of something that wasn’t true. I stopped taking all the pain and anxiety drugs – just for one day mind you. I thought I could handle it. I was fine during the day. The head burned a little, the pain was there as it had always been, but it was manageable, at least until 1:00 o’clock in the morning. Then I knew.

The Evil Spirits Returned

I knew I would never be free from what whatever had happened last February. The evil spirits were back. They woke me up and let me know they were still there. Their presence I felt back in February may or may not have had anything to do with the drugs and alcohol my son was using. It scared the crap out of me. I took my pills, waiting for them to take effect, went back to sleep.

No Idea of the Cause

Carol kept asking me, when this pain started, asking if it had started when I began reading Denver Snuffer. No, it started in February, and as far as I can tell, is related to anything other than a more intense effort to or realization that the new material I was studying for work was a lot harder than it was the first time or the second time I went through this certification process.

Mental Illness Can Be Hereditary

I was warned in my patriarchal blessing the adversary wanted to destroy me and my work. I always wondered what that work was. I still do. But I’m not sure how much longer I’ll need to worry about it. The pain and anxiety have been getting steadily worse. I’m going to have to face the reality I have developed the same mental illness that afflicted my mother in her later years.

Time to see the Head Shrink

That’s the curse of borderline genius, they say: sometimes you can produce amazing things with wonderful God-given gifts. I feel this when I prepare and teach a gospel lesson that helps people feel the sprit. Other times, you see or hear evil spirits. What is a person to do? I guess I have done everything except what the last doctors suggested – see a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

Owned by the Boss 24x7x365

I am tired of driving on the Los Angeles freeways two hours every day for a job that I both love and hate. I love it because it is so damn easy that I can do it in my sleep. I hate it because the boss owns me and made it clear in a recent conversation I am to be at his beck and call whenever he needs me 24x7x365. He also called me a grumpy old man. That hurt even if it was true.

This Blog May Suddenly Go Away

So I think I’ve said the two things I wanted to say: 1) This blog may suddenly disappear one day. What does it matter in the eternal scheme of things? Am I a better man because of this blog? Does it server any useful purpose? Have I ever or am I now helping anyone? The numbers say I get a few hundred readers a day but I think they’re just looking for news of Denver Snuffer.

Even the Very Elect Shall Be Deceived

That’s the other thing I wanted to say. 2) We are told in the last days that even the very elect shall be deceived by false Christs. Funny, I never considered Denver Snuffer to be a false Christ. What do I do with the witness, even the burning testimony I was given when I read his last book, Passing the Heavenly Gift, that it was true, especially now that he has been excommunicated?

Looking for a New Job

I’m going to look for a new job. I’ve made up my mind that it’s not worth the many hours I spend on the LA freeways to be told by a wealthy man I once respected that he owns me. Why should that matter? We’re all owned by our employer’s, especially in California where we are employed at will, meaning the owner does not have to give a reason to fire us. He simply can.

Money Can’t Buy You Happiness

I am willing to take something, anything that is closer to home, even if it’s thousands of dollars a month less. What is money anyway? Yes, that means I’ll have to move. I can’t afford to live in this beautiful city, but from everything the scriptures tell us, there will be no more beautiful cities left in a few years. I’ve been taught all my life the last days will be unbearable with suffering.

Not Your Typical Mormon Family

But the most important thing in the world to me, my relationship to Christ, has suddenly become front and center. I am not your typical Mormon. I am not a young Mormon man with a beautiful young Mormon wife and a large beautiful, happy Mormon family. Perhaps I grew up with that but that has not been the experience of my adult life. It’s just been me and Carol and Mike.

My Son Has Moved On

Mike is gone now. He is happy, or so we think, based on the things he writes on Facebook. He always was smarter than his dad and has a better job than his dad where he does things that are much more technically challenging that what I’ll ever do. I love Mike. I’m proud of him. I hope he finds a good woman to love and to make his life complete. He lives by the seaside up in Goleta.

Not Very Uplifting Writing

I don’t think I’ve ever written like this before. You can tell it took a somewhat ominous tone about halfway through. Sorry. I don’t mean to be a downer. I am simply disappointed and did not find what I was hoping for from General Conference, as wonderful as it was. There is something missing from my life, and that something is a sacred, close personal relationship with the Savior.

The Church Says I’m Deceived

And the one man who taught we could and should pursue such a relationship has been cast out by the church I love. I was never as excited as I was when I read PtHG. Then I had never been as disappointed and saddened as I was when I learned he had been excommunicated. Now I am the point in my life where I am tired of putting up with disappointment. It’s time to make changes.

ONLY Prophets Know the future

I won’t change my church. Where would I go? But I am disappointed in what they did to Denver. I have to ask if I’m crazy – one of the deceived ones we were warned about all though our youth to be wary of. “Don’t be like them. You’re special. You’re elite. You’re the chosen ones. Don’t let anyone lead you astray. Follow the prophets. They’re the ONLY ones who know the way.”

Farewell and God Bless you My Readers

God bless. I bid you adieu. Who said that in the Book of Mormon? Was it Nephi or Moroni? Oh, neither. It was Jacob. Ah, yes, wanderings in a strange land. That’s us. Cast out. How in the world can a man go without the sacrament or the temple? I guess your own home becomes your temple. You become your own bishop, therefore authorizing the sacrament yourself. Interesting.

Update: about 4pm on Wed 10-9-13: As noted at the beginning of the post, I have been intensely involved in a computer class that starts at 6am and runs until 2pm each day. When I say intense, I mean intense. This is a class on how to defend against evil people who want to steal, deny your rights as a paying customer or worse, to simply destroy or bankrupt you by wiping out your data.

Your wonderful comments

I have noted your 33 comments to this essay, and especially the now 441 comments to my previous essay.  I am deeply moved by your expressions of sympathy and compassion, especially from some who I don’t even know, in addition to the dozens of private emails inquiring after my health. I can tell you the second half of the essay above is not normal for me and ask you to excuse me.

The Influence of Drugs

It was written under the influence of hydrocodone, tramadol and clonazepam (now my spam filter is going to have to work overtime). I am so sorry if it a) made no sense, b) was not uplifting, which is always my goal and especially for c) stating that this blog may go away. As I just reread it in a more sound mind, it made me think I was going to go off myself or something. How horrible. I’m so sorry.

Can’t Run Away From Problems

I will include these last four paragraphs in comments below, then read and respond to your comments and state unequivocally I am not discontinuing this blog. There are two things I need to work out – 1) How I am going to deal with my ongoing health issue in a way that would be pleasing to the Lord and 2) How I am going to deal with my testimony issue regarding Denver Snuffer in a like manner.

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