Many years ago, Elder Scott visited a Stake in Layton Utah to discuss an ongoing problem in the LDS Church, that of priesthood leaders putting themselves between Christ and His children. It has been twenty-two years since that issue was discussed, yet it remains rampant today. You would think over the years such an important message would be standard reading for leaders.
Sadly, the practice is alive and well. When I began blogging back in 2007 I did so after a great deal of prompting by the Lord. He had been asking me for years to get involved in the online discussions about the gospel and the LDS Church. I hesitated, dragged my feet, made excuses and in general ignored the promptings until I could resist no more. The Lord asked me to blog.
Blogging an Expression of Faith
I make this point because I consider my blogging efforts to be an expression of my faith in Jesus Christ. I experimented with different ideas and directions over the years, but always checked with the Lord to see if I was going in the right direction. He would give me ideas on what to explore in my gospel studies then give me additional ideas when I shared my thoughts online.
That’s why when my Bishop called me in and questioned me about my blog posts, I felt a little confused at first. I double checked what I was sharing. I made sure I consulted with the Lord in prayer before I posted something and in general, went back over the things I had written to see if I could discover what it was that was troubling my bishop. I did not understand his concerns.
Going in Different Directions
With each additional meeting, it became clearer my Bishop saw only apostasy in my writings. I continued to ask the Lord to guide me. I fasted. I prayed many long hours. I sought counsel from others I trusted. While I still had my recommend, I attended the temple with a prayer in my heart that I be not led astray. With each prayer, with each temple visit, I felt the Lord was guiding me.
Yet my bishop persisted in expressing his concern I was wrong. Not only that, he decided it was time to prove his point by placing me on informal probation. I had to ask my stake president for clarification of the charges. Another meeting with the bishop brought forth the verdict: Apostasy. I was judged apostate in my writings. I was a threat to the community because of my thoughts.
Submission to Christ, Not Man
Wow. I was floored. How could I be so misled by the spirit in what I was studying and writing? How could I be so “out of harmony” with the Brethren, as my bishop proclaimed? He said I was taking pot-shots at the Brethren. Again, I was flabbergasted. My desire had always been to help others come unto Christ. It remains that today. The Church can’t save us, only the Savior can.
I remember one particular scene in our interviews that shocked me to no end. “You’ve got to be more humble and submissive, Tim. You’ve got to offer a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” I finally got it. He was saying I wasn’t being submissive enough to him. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “To whom?” I said, “You mean to you?” I could see my response had stunned him.
Unintended Yet Real Indoctrination
Now my eyes were opened. The Church meant everything to him. There was no other way to salvation than through the LDS Church. Now I saw the gulf between us. I used to think that way. I guess I had come a long ways. He was right. I could now understand his concern. In his eyes, I was leaving the path of salvation. God bless my good bishop for his loving concern for my soul.
I remember leaving one of our meetings a few months earlier. Carol had attended. This was right about the time I felt I had come to peace in my mind with how to answer the affiliation question from the temple recommend interview. As we left that night, I turned to Carol and said, referring to the bishop, “This man represents the Lord to us as far as the temple recommend is concerned.”
Coming Between God and His Children
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that or said that in priesthood leadership meetings. Never having been a bishop, I have never thought what hearing those words over and over must do to a man who is called to that position. Surely it must take a lot of humility to keep such ideas from going to your head. The LDS people place so much importance on the role of the Bishop.
There’s almost a reverential worship involved. This is not right yet it exists. I have seen it and so have you if you’ve been a member of the LDS Church for almost any length of time. General Authorities have taught it – “Your local priesthood leaders represent the Lord in your stake. They face the Brethren. They get their direction from the Prophet and the leadership in Salt Lake.”
The Church Cannot Save You
There seems to be a conflating with representing the Brethren and representing the Lord. It is that hierarchal structure thing coming into play here. In other words, the Brethren and the Church have come between Christ and His children. This also is not right, but it exists. You can hear it over and over each week in LDS meetings, especially in Fast meetings: “The Church is true.”
You can read what Elder Scott had to say about this problem in the notes someone recorded from the Layton Northridge Stake Priesthood meeting. Copies can be found on many Internet sources, but with the illustrations, this one on the Bare Record of Truth blog seems to be the best. I highly recommend LDS priesthood leaders read it, ponder it and pray about it, then ask a few questions.
Come, Follow Christ
Until the Sunday morning session of the October 2014 General Conference, I used to think the highest leaders of the Church understood this problem and were actively working to eradicate it. The three talks in a row about “Follow the Prophet,” made it clear the problem reaches to the very top. The Lord said, “Come Follow Me.” The LDS Church teaches with great emphasis, “Follow the Prophet.”
I think that’s when it became blatantly obvious to me the LDS Church had lost it. The highest priority taught today of “Follow the Prophet” has become a form of idolatry. The Lord is not pleased with this focus. It is obvious to anyone who has eyes to see. Cursed is he who puts his trust in the arm of flesh (Jer 17:5 or 2 Ne 4:34). You do not need LDS leadership permission to “Come unto Christ.”
Questions for LDS Priesthood Leaders
Am I teaching the members in my congregation to “Come unto Church” or is my focus to get them to “Come unto Christ?” Is following the prophet more important than following Christ?
As I listen to the testimonies on Fast Sunday, do I hear more declarations that “The Church is true” or do I hear more expressions of “I love the Lord, and here’s what He has done for me?”
Do I get in the way of the Lord and his children? Have I placed myself between Christ and the members of my ward? Am I encouraging loyalty and obedience to Christ or to the Brethren?
Am I blocking the path of my ward members as they grow in their relationship with Christ? Am I showing by example I know Christ and know how to part the veil to commune with Him?
Am I teaching the members of the ward how to establish their own link directly to Christ or am I encouraging an over-reliance upon the Brethren, or even too much dependence upon me?
Finally, have I taught members of my ward or stake that the Church provides salvation? Have I put the Church in the place of Christ? If so, what can I do to correct that terrible mistake?
Salvation is Through Christ
I know statements like what I am about to share are difficult for some to accept, but I share them anyway, knowing the source of my authority. The Lord asked me to write about this particular message today. He led me to it earlier in the week. I had read it years ago, yet the Lord wanted me to emphasize it again. It comes from a man in the highest leadership of the LDS Church.
The “movement” of thousands in response to the message delivered by Denver Snuffer is very troubling to both the local and general leadership of the LDS Church. Almost everyone, at least along the Mormon Corridor, knows of someone who has read or listened to the message Denver has delivered. Because they are troubled, they are excommunicating such readers in droves now.
A Remnant to Build Zion
Tomorrow, on this blog and others (see below), you will read an announcement concerning the Remnant. Ask yourself what you know about this. What did the Lord teach us about the Remnant? The Remnant has been described as “what is left of a community after it undergoes a catastrophe.” Are we about to experience a catastrophe? Wake up people, the signs are all around us now.
Zion was always intended to be built upon the mountain top (Isa 30:17) or the top of the high mountains (Isa 40:9). Zion will not be, cannot be and never was intended to be built up by an institutional church. It is to be built by a small remnant, upon a mountain top. The question to ask ourselves is this: “How can I assist the remnant to build Zion in the tops of the mountains?”
Rock Waterman / Pure Mormonism: http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/
Adrian Larsen / To The Remnant: http://www.totheremnant.com/
Bret Corbridge / 77 Truths: http://www.blog.77truths.com/
Will Carter / In 200 Words or Less: http://in200wordsorless.blogspot.com/
Note: I will add my post Sunday after Stake conference.
Here is a link to a PDF of the flyer: http://3tcm.net/RemnantFamilyRetreat.pdf
Here’s a link to the reunion details: http://3tcm.net/Reuniondetails.pdf