One of the binding ties all human beings can have in common, if they want it, is the sharing of spiritual experiences. Because we are children of God, we have His promise and an opportunity to approach Him in prayer, obtain revelation for ourselves, and, when appropriate, share it with others. This has always been the basic premise and core of my blogging efforts over the years.
I know not everyone agrees. I am questioned over and over in private emails, and in comments on this blog, why I feel the need to share some experience or some event from my life. This has been especially true when what I have shared is contrary to what others believed appropriate. I’m not sure why there seems to be this wide-spread fear we’re not supposed to speak of such things.
In 2008 I shared an early experience of hearing the voice of the Lord at age 18. This sacred and powerful spiritual event occurred in prayer at the conclusion of a three-day fast. I was preparing spiritually and intellectually for my mission and wanted to be certain about some aspects of LDS church history I was learning. In the post I detailed how I went about obtaining the revelation.
I was surprised at the response of some readers who wrote privately to say they were offended or that I had offended the spirit. They warned if I continued to share such experiences, I could be certain the Lord would no longer trust me and would withhold any future revelations. I found through personal experience they were wrong and wondered why they felt the need to warn me.
In 2010, at the request of a reader, I shared details about my experience of receiving the baptism of fire at age 17. After writing and posting my recollection of the event, I received more private emails announcing such events were for my own edification only and were to be kept private. I puzzled once again over what could have motivated these individuals to urge me into secrecy.
It was as if what I was sharing was foreign to them, that they had never experienced such a thing, and therefore felt either threatened by my account or felt I had been deceived by evil spirits. In fact, some who knew me from the rebellious days of my teens were very specific in accusing me of having simply experienced hallucinogenic flashbacks. They were wrong for several reasons.
The poor decisions of my teen years which led me away from the safety of the Lord for a season caused me to feel like the proverbial coal on the hearth. Away from the warmth of the fire, I felt cold and lonely, even lost. I was away from the fire of the spirit and treading in outer darkness. Seeking comfort in the great and spacious building brought nothing but fear and paranoia for me.
On the other hand, repentance, or the turning from sin, brought immediately relief and a sense of the presence of God in my life again. This was ratified by not one but two sacred events in the summer of my 17th year that have caused me to wonder at the mercy of God in offering such real and powerful experiences to an undeserving and rebellious youth as me. They were profound.
I shared these two experiences earlier this year in my post on parting the veil. If you go through the hundred plus comments you will find grateful readers who experienced something similar in their lives and expressed appreciation for what they read and the feelings it generated. However, what isn’t shared is the number of private emails and contrary comments from my priesthood leaders.
It was about this time I was undergoing regular meetings with my Bishop in which my loyalty to the LDS Church and the idea of following the prophet was being emphasized over and over. It was a difficult thing for me to sort out my feelings. On the one hand I felt the Lord whispering to my soul about what He would like me to share. On the other hand, I had feelings of oppression.
I didn’t recognize those feelings until my friend Log pointed them out to me. When disciplinary measures were invoked upon me shortly after this time, I struggled with powerful feelings of frustration and resentment. I knew I was being led by the Lord to share my experiences. Yet I was being told by my priesthood leaders my detailed posts made some members uncomfortable.
My poor bishop was being bombarded with dozens of complaints from members of the stake who were telling him he needed to rein me in. When he shared this with me I about fell off my chair. Was the material offensive? The events were true. They were shared with a desire to bless and inspire, to uplift and to strengthen feelings of appreciation for a God who reveals truths.
In fairness, perhaps it was not these posts in particular that others found offensive. It was more likely the posts in which I shared my experiences in prayer – the true order of prayer – that caused him to take disciplinary action. I was reading, pondering and sharing my thoughts as I studied the writings and lectures of a man I considered a modern-day Abinidi or Enoch.
You read my post on the true order of prayer and tell me if it was offensive. I was told this post in particular was one that brought many of the complaints. It caused me to marvel and mourn at the unbelief and unwillingness of others in my own stake, some in my own High Priest’s group, to consider that such a practice in the home is not only authorized but encouraged of the Lord.
My decision to resign instead of go through the disciplinary process was one I considered most carefully. I reflected again and again upon the promises in my patriarchal blessing about being led by the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. The patriarch worded the blessing in such a way as to have great affect in my understanding the Lord did speak to me and I could hear His voice.
I felt like Joseph. I had heard the voice of the Lord invite me to share my revelatory experiences. Yet priesthood leaders in my ward and stake were condemning me for sharing such things and demanding action be taken to control or compel me to cease such sharing. How could this be? Why did sharing my thoughts, feelings and spiritual experiences cause them such discomfort?
It has been a long journey these past seven years. The Lord had been prompting me to start a blog for at least two years before I finally heeded the promptings. Things started small. I knew they would. I hoped to simply reach a few people who might be experiencing similar feelings of cognitive dissonance between what the LDS Church taught and what I knew had happened.
I prayed constantly over the blog. I asked for inspiration and revelation. It came. I shared. I confirmed it was what the Lord wanted in visits to the temple and intense efforts in fasting to make my spirit more contrite. He tested me. He asked me to give up my comfortable job to see if I would be willing to walk away from worldly security. I never imagined such a requirement.
When I was introduced to and read PtHG from Denver Snuffer, I once again had a profound revelatory experience that could not be denied. At that moment I knew where it would lead. I knew the LDS Church and I would eventually part ways. I did my best to stay within the church, but eventually it became too hard to keep what I was experiencing within the orthodox tradition.
The Lord sent a messenger, a trusted servant, one who also was not shy about declaring a witness that eventually got him cast off from the LDS Church. I studied, I prayed, I studied some more, I prayed more intently. I continued to tell the Lord the things I was learning did not jive with what I had been taught growing up. Yet I could not deny it. The Lord was clear and specific in reply.
I knew I needed to show the Lord I believed him – both the messenger and what I was receiving directly from the Lord. I knew what the response would be. It has been the same from the day I started blogging and sharing spiritual experiences. “You have been deceived,” I was told. “It is not the spirit of the Lord telling you these things,” they said. “You must follow the prophet.”
Well, I suppose I agree only my definition of a prophet and theirs are two different things. I’ll conclude with this thought: What if the Lord did send a prophet among us in our day, to tell us the events of the last days pertaining to the establishment of Zion were about to unfold? What if the Lord really did send a messenger from outside the hierarchy of the LDS Church? What then?
It’s only been five weeks ago I was baptized. I thought I was comfortable with and understood how the Holy Ghost works in our lives. I can see now I have been in a preparatory and schooling priesthood all my life. There is a higher priesthood available to us and it doesn’t come from the LDS Church. It comes directly from the Lord and in no other way. It is not received from man.
I invite you to consider what is happening in the LDS Church today. My friend Log has given us good advice in his post to contend against no church save it be the church of the devil. I will not speak evil of the LDS Church. It has been a blessing in my life for over fifty years. But there is another church we need to seek to join. It is the Church of the Firstborn and it resides in heaven.