The Elephant in the Room


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

With Kindness and Love Unfeigned

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

Pink and Blue – Love and Respect

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

Managing the family Budget

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

The Lord Will tell You How He Feels

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

Flowers – a Peace Offering

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

A Mature and Rational Discussion

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

Blessings Lost for Resigning from Church

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

Church claims Temple Sealing Null and Void

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

The Holy Spirit of Promise

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

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

LDS Church Does Not Control Priesthood

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

Make Sure Who Has the Sealing Power

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

We Can Agree to Disagree

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

Use Tithing Money to Help the Poor

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

Knowledge is Different From Belief

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

41 Responses

  1. We can know only by revelation. And if it isn’t shown by revelation… it cannot be known.

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    • What if I were to suggest that the endowments themselves suggest that sealings are only performed once a couple are brought through the veil by the Lord, and performed by the Father?

      Can that idea be made to fit a correlated context, I wonder?

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      • And don’t the endowments also suggest it is the husband who brings the wife through the veil to be sealed by the Father? Just saying – if we chose to be hyperliteralistic about things…

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  2. Tim,

    Is Carol comfortable with you sharing the information in this and other posts that detail your marital problems?

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    • Hi Howard. She said she was a little uncomfortable. Did it make you feel uncomfortable? Carol and I taught a marriage class in our stake many years ago. Talking about marital issues is better than bottling them up. This particular issue is experienced and shared by many in various LDS forums and blogs. There are so many mixed-faith marriages out there. This type of marriage, where one spouse resigns from the LDS Church or is excommunicated for apostasy is becoming more common.

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      • I fully appreciate the importance of talking about marital issues … with each other. And I recognize that this is an issue faced by mixed-faith couples and those of spouses who have been excommunicated. So I am sensitive to your plight and truly don’t intend to come across as overly judgmental.

        However, my guess is that Carol is more than “a little uncomfortable” given the fact that you are sharing intimate details of something extremely upsetting to her in not only public format, but in story board, play-by-play fashion.

        The only benefit of the doubt I can give you is that maybe you justify writing something like this because you feel that you may somehow help another person a similar situation. While I can empathize with your rationale, it is unjustifiable in this manner if by so doing you are compromising your wife’s feelings … even if it makes her “a little uncomfortable”.

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        • In your opinion, Howard, may another reasonable defense against your accusation of Tim’s wrongdoing be that the Lord has instructed Tim to make his and Carol’s uncomfortable private matter public?

          If this cannot be an adequate defense against your accusation, why not?

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        • Using revelation as justification to break a commandment (in this case the commandment being to love and be one with your wife) is a dangerous argument to make. Hypothetically, the Lord can command anyone to do anything. Whatever the Lord commands is right, correct? However, before you start citing Abraham and Nephi I think it’s important to filter feelings/promptings with common sense and other commandments like ‘love your neighbor’. Korihor cited revelation to justify his actions. Jihadists do the same. “Piety is often the cloak of error”.

          Let me ask another question that may bring more common sense into the discussion. Tim, did you confer with your wife and ask her permission before you posted intimate details of an uncomfortable conversation with the world? Does she want that out there? Or did you write this hoping to garner sympathy? Even justification to show your wife in essence, “see, look at all these people who think you are wrong Carol?” Because, if I’m being frank, that’s how you risk it coming across to your wife.

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        • Hi Howard. I have invited / asked Carol to respond to your comments. She may or may not.

          You may be completely correct in your judgment. What I have written may have been totally inappropriate.

          I asked Carol if she felt I should remove it. She replied no.

          Help me understand more about your use of the phrase “compromising my wife’s feelings.” Do you feel I have abused my wife in sharing this vignette from our life?

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        • I don’t know your relationship other than what you have mentioned on the blog, which is why I asked if your wife was comfortable with the manner in which you are sharing this.

          If she is uncomfortable with you sharing these details and you have done so without her consent then to me that would mean that you are putting the interests of your blog in front of the interests of your wife thus “compromising” her feelings.

          I don’t know whether you have “abused” your wife. I suppose it could depend on her level of discomfort.

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        • Howard, I have pondered and prayed about your kind advice. You are right and I was wrong. I accept your correction, believing it was offered in loving concern. Thank you for your observation and taking the time to share it with me. It is much appreciated.

          We’ll leave inappropriate or private conversation with Carol out of the story in future posts. This is not about how Carol sees the LDS Religion. It is about my own observations. She has her own blog. Blessings upon you for your kindness.

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  3. Tim,
    I believe God has ownership of the sealing power. In order for a corporation or an individual to own the sealing power, they would necessarily have to own God.
    God can give and take, give to one or many.
    The church seems to claim ownership of the gift of the Holy Ghost, as if they are dragging Him around on a leash. They also believe He is a member of the Godhead. Do they own Jesus, or the Father?
    Even if God allows a human being to be a vessel for His power to work through, it is God using His power through that person.

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  4. I actually don’t believe that the church even had the sealing power in the first place to have it even been wrestled away. In section 132, The Lord stated in verse 7 All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, OF HIM WHO IS ANNOINTED, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment THROUGH THE MEDIUM OF MINE ANNOINTED, WHOM I HAVE APPOINTED on the earth to hold this power (that he appointed unto his servant Joseph to hold the power in the last days, and there is never but one on earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of “this” priesthood are conferred).
    Continuing on to 10-12: Or will I receive at your hands that which I have not appointed?
    11- And will I appoint unto you, saith the Lord, except it be by law, even as I and my Father ordained unto you, before the world was?
    12- I am the Lord thy God; and I give unto you this commandment- that no man shall come unto the Father, BUT BY ME or by MY word, which is my law, saith the Lord

    He continues on in 13: And everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, THAT ARE NOT BY ME OR MY WORD, saith the Lord shall be thrown down.

    I believe we need to take the Lord literal here. I do not believe keys are transferable from one man to another, period. Any power or key must come directly from The Lord. That is why it is so important for us to be communing directly with the Lord and not relying on ANY man or woman or institution who says they have this and that power. I believe this is true for all ordinances as well.

    I think love is an extremely powerful tool and I think that is what binds us to the people we love as we continue to progress after this life. We have been taught that we were family before we came to earth in the pre-existence, why would that change leaving this existence?

    Anyway…just some thoughts.

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  5. Tim, if you say you have the priesthood because your father gave it to you before the church supposedly lost its authority; then by that logic your marriage and sealing would still be in effect as well, based on what you claim to believe. So perhaps that thought will ease your wife’s concern.
    Unless there is some detail you have left out…..?

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    • Hi Ruth. even after a lifetime of paying attention in Primary, Sunday school, Seminary, MIA, Institute, Priesthood, Bishopric meetings and High council meetings, along with many thousands of hours of personal study, temple attendance and prayer, I am still not sure I understand LDS doctrine when it comes to the doctrine of sealing.

      On the one hand, we are all aware of people who say, “All you need to do is get married in the temple and then you’ve got it made. You can do anything you want after that. You will eventually achieve the highest degree of exaltation.” I don’t believe that. Never have and never will. I hope no intelligent Mormon believes that way.

      I have always believed EVERY ordinance is conditional upon our righteousness AND upon being sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. I have read dozens of competing definitions of that phrase, especially lately as this has been on my mind. I may have the priesthood, but has my marriage been sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise?

      That’s the question I have been discussing with Carol. More specifically, since I don’t believe it has been yet, can it be in this life or must we simply do our best in faith, trusting in the promise that receiving the ordinance in the temple is good enough? In my particular case, has Carol lost anything because I resigned from the Church?

      According to the letter from my Bishop, I have lost every claim on temple promises and covenants I have made. In other words, Carol will be given to someone else in the eternities just because I resigned from the LDS Church. I don’t believe that. I don’t believe the LDS Church has the power or right to make that kind of declaration.

      I want this question answered. That’s why I brought up this personal example. Contrary to my expectations, it has offended at least one reader. I am amazed at the focus being placed on the shared personal example used as opposed to the doctrine behind the example. I call that a Red Herring in an argument. Let’s focus on the doctrine please.

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      • I believe many of your questions regarding the sealing power and the Holy Spirit of Promise are the same questions I have myself. I would appreciate any further insight on this topic. I too don’t believe that any institution has the power or right to make the statement that was made in your letter.

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  6. Would all of us have the power to seal our marriage into eternity? If we love our spouse enough. If we sacrifice and serve each other enough, would or could Father recognize that union as sacred and pronounce that marriage is worthy of preserving? Especially if coupled with obedient and righteous living? If a marriage must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise then that which is performed in temples in just an example of what we should strive for and not the actual sealing. Right? It would seem that if Father can give the priesthood to whomever he chooses than surely he can seal a marriage for eternity, with or without the use of an organization of man. Is the sealing of your own marriage, a key that can be given to you and your spouse from Father? Just some thoughts.

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    • I’ve thought the same things for a long time.

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  7. I love your post, Tim! They are always so thoughtful, emotionally invigorating, and heartfelt. The book that saved my marriage early on was, The Five Love Languages. If you haven’t read that one, please do. It will change your life. And it will completely change your marriage and how you relate to each other.

    And on another note, that book may actually help you and you wide agree on how you want to spend your tithing money. I married a man who was not a member of the Church at the time. He later joined. But he always had opinions about what he felt in his gut was right and true. Those opinions actually coincided completely to what Denver sSuffer has taught. We would argue incessantly about it because I felt just like your wife at the time. Everything was very black and white for me. It took 20 years of living, marriage, and illness, to come to a place where I was ready to learn more.

    Continue being patient, and when the time is right for her, things will change. A person has to be ready to hear more. It cannot be forced. But you already know that lol. Remain faithful and things will work out. Maybe not when you want them to, but in the end.

    thank you again for your wonderful post. I would like to meet you in person someday.

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  8. So private conversation or not with regards to Tim sharing: How is it any different when we read a professionally published book? We give authority to a psychologist or counselor who chooses to write a book about his anonymous patients. We glean from others’ life experiences, striving to improve our people skills. This part-member marriage is a huge elephant in the room right next to the “Priesthood, priesthood…whose got the priesthood?” elephant.

    That being said, we have looming dilemmas that may or may not resolve themselves in the tithing groups just like Tim pointed out. People who are anxious to get started in a tithing group whose hands are tied because their spouse is not on board. Meanwhile there are people to help.

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  9. I told Carol I’m happy to delete the post and start over. I had hoped my readers would appreciate the personal example and rise to the occasion of discussing doctrine. Can some intelligent, knowledgeable person please respond and answer the following questions for me? Please forgive me if the personal example offended you.

    By resigning from the LDS Church have I lost every promise and nullified every covenant I have ever made with the Lord in baptism, in taking upon me the priesthood or in the temple? According to LDS policy the answer is yes. I don’t believe that. I don’t believe the LDS Church can control what the Lord says, thinks or does.

    By resigning from the LDS Church, has Carol lost any claim upon the promises made to her in the temple, particularly in the marriage covenant she made with the Lord? Just because I resigned from the LDS Church, does that nullify her promises? I can’t imagine anyone suggesting that my actions will remove God’s promises to her.

    According to the Church Handbook, IF I were to decide to come back into the Church, be baptized and wait an appropriate amount of time, petition for and receive clearance from the First Presidency, they would send out a General Authority to interview me and if worthy, perform the ordinance of restoration of priesthood and temple blessings.

    In other words, I would not have the priesthood conferred upon me again, nor would I be required to go through the endowment ceremony again or be married again. Do you see my point? By this policy, the LDS Church shows they do not believe I have lost priesthood. They have simply told me I cannot exercise it IN THE LDS CHURCH.

    By this policy and “ordinance” of restoration of blessings, which is not mentioned in scripture anywhere of which I am aware, the LDS Church is also saying, ALL that is being restored is the opportunity to exercise the priesthood again in a congregation. Don’t you see people? The LDS Church CANNOT take away covenants with the Lord.

    The covenants I have made are between me and the Lord, or, in the case of my marriage, between me and Carol. They are NOT covenants with the LDS Church, the LDS Church Prophet, any LDS Church priesthood leader or members other than my wife. The whole idea of resigning from a community DOES NOT AFFECT promises.

    Anybody?

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    • Probably overstepping. If so, I apologize. It sounds to me that you and Carol together need to renew or review the covenants that you have made before God to one another to see if they still stand. If it is by faith that all things are created (Lectures on Faith, Lecture 3), than it is faith that will determine your the details of your marriage covenant in the now and the hereafter.

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    • Tim,

      I apologize – what kind of answer are you looking for?

      If it’s the right answer, then only God can give it to you.

      If it’s an answer consistent with the Church’s claims, then you already have that.

      If it’s an opinion you want, well, flip a coin and choose between yours and Carol’s.

      My opinion – belief, hunch, whatever – is that the answer is in the endowments and sealing ordinance, as I mentioned. And if I’m right, a whole lot of people are going to be surprised.

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      • You know what I’m discovering? I have the LDS culture so ingrained in me that I keep looking for “authoritative sources” to tell me the way things are. This idea that I can ask God and get an answer for myself on something as important as the sealing power is… I won’t say new, but is a different way of thinking.

        I’m not looking for opinions, I’m not looking for statements by the LDS Church as found in the handbook. You nailed it, Log, as you almost always do. I need to study it out – from the scriptures – and take it to the Lord to confirm in prayer. I have, but then continue to compare what I hear or feel with what is LDS doctrine.

        It takes courage to ask the Lord and believe you can get a definitive answer on something as important as the sealing power between a husband and wife. It’s a sacred subject and it’s one upon which rests our exaltation, or so I believe. As always, thanks, Log for your precise, clear-cut honing in on the real issues.

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      • Log,
        Your dichotomy may be oversimplified. God has already told us a great deal about the sealing power and from that we can figure out an answer to Tim’s question.

        There are men who have the power to seal on earth and expect that sealing will be sealed in heaven (Helaman 9 something I think). No contract, covenant entered into and not sealed by the HSofP is of no value when men are dead, etc.(D&C 132 something.). The Lord himself is the Holy Spirit of Promise.

        Here is how I piece that together. Unless Jesus Christ gives his okey dokey to an earthly ordinance it doesn’t survive death. He does that through his own voice. when he says, Nephi, whatever you say, will happen, he just then and there sealed all things Nephi would later declare. He, Jesus, caused the famine that Nephi would later pronounce on the land. when he ‘gave’ Joseph the sealing power, he didnt tranfer the power from himself to Joseph, rather he sealed at that time by his own voice all things Joseph would later seal. In both instances Jesus has spoken and it is His word that seals the ordinance.

        The idea that the Holy Ghost is the Holy Spirit of Promise is a false LDS idea. It derives from the word “spirit”. Some don’t understand that the word ‘spirit’ is used in many places to refer to Jesus, i.e.Spirit of Truth=Jesus Christ.

        McKay

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        • The Catholics figured out quite a bit from the scriptures over 2000 years, too. I’m rather doubtful about the quality of their discoveries, though.

          I mean, check this out.

          John 15:26
          26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.

          John 16:13
          12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
          13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
          14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
          15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

          So, here we have the Holy Ghost as the Spirit of Truth.

          D&C 88:3 Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.

          And…

          D&C 130:3 The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.

          The conclusion appears straightforward.

          While I’m sure a case could be made that Christ is the Holy Spirit of Promise, such a case probably falls short of being able to declare of the opposing view, that the Holy Ghost is or can be the HSOP, false.

          I’m also going to suggest there is critical ambiguity in the word “sealing” that I’m not going to address at this time other than to say the ability to seal in heaven and on earth is not necessarily the same as the sealing (welding) of man / woman as one, neither the sealing (welding) of completed humans (man/woman pairs) in a great chain of welding to the Most High God.

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    • Tim I suspect you already know the answers to these things or you would not have left the church. I don’t believe for a minute you did it flippantly or out of bitterness or to spite anyone. But it sounds like your wife might be struggling to understand some of these things. According to my understanding, I would answer your questions this way:

      “By resigning from the LDS Church have I lost every promise and nullified every covenant I have ever made with the Lord in baptism, in taking upon me the priesthood or in the temple?”

      –NO!! You have not lost anything between you and the Lord simply because you severed your connection with an earthly organization that does purport truth, but also epitomizes everything described in Mormon 8. If you made three-party covenants that involved you, the church, and the Lord, and one of those parties violates the covenant on their end (the church), then the covenant remains between you and the Lord if you have not violated your end of it. If you leave that contract that is now null and void and covenant directly with the Lord, how is that costing you any blessings and promises between you and the Lord? You may no longer be given privileges by the church, but that has nothing to do with what is between you and the Lord. I discussed this concept in my “Dissent Letter” to the church: http://myjourneytothefullness.com/2014/06/12/my-dissent/

      “By resigning from the LDS Church, has Carol lost any claim upon the promises made to her in the temple, particularly in the marriage covenant she made with the Lord? Just because I resigned from the LDS Church, does that nullify her promises?”

      –NO!! First of all, Carol’s exaltation is utterly individual and between her and the Lord – no matter what you do. She has claim upon whatever blessings she qualifies for on her own. Second, the ordinances and such performed within the LDS church are to teach and invite us to attain the real thing – the spiritual counterpart to the physical symbol. If the two of you took part in the LDS sealing ceremony, for example, that doesn’t mean anything more than you were given a demonstration of what should take place between you and Carol spiritually, and admonition to go do it! If you leave the church, that doesn’t nullify the things you were taught and admonished to do. The church has no claim on yours or Carol’s connections to God, nor does it have claim upon the connection you and her have with each other. Those things are absolutely independent from any earthly institution. You are both still entitled to receive those things individually and together, that the church invited you to receive. The difference now is that you can no longer go inside the LDS temple to look at the symbols and receive the invitation again from them.

      “In other words, I would not have the priesthood conferred upon me again, nor would I be required to go through the endowment ceremony again or be married again. Do you see my point? By this policy, the LDS Church shows they do not believe I have lost priesthood. They have simply told me I cannot exercise it IN THE LDS CHURCH.”

      –EXACTLY!! The church has NO authority to manage your connection with God and the Savior. They only have (had) the authority to extend the invitation. That someone exercises unrighteous dominion over you and acts as if they have that authority to come between you and the heavens, does not GIVE them that actual authority (as they suppose).

      “By this policy and “ordinance” of restoration of blessings, which is not mentioned in scripture anywhere of which I am aware, the LDS Church is also saying, ALL that is being restored is the opportunity to exercise the priesthood again in a congregation. Don’t you see people? The LDS Church CANNOT take away covenants with the Lord.

      The covenants I have made are between me and the Lord, or, in the case of my marriage, between me and Carol. They are NOT covenants with the LDS Church, the LDS Church Prophet, any LDS Church priesthood leader or members other than my wife. The whole idea of resigning from a community DOES NOT AFFECT promises.”

      –YES, YES, YES, THIS ^^^^^^^^^ !!!

      We have scriptures – this is all in there. It’s our fear and lack of understanding and complacency that gives the church perceived power over things of God that they simply do not have.

      I hope that Carol will be comforted by the Lord and know that she has opportunities being opened up to her (and you), not loss. Carol has the opportunity to be married to a man who is learning to know the Lord and be strong individually, not simply part of a herd. The direction you’ve been going and the choices that you’ve discussed and openly shared with all of us on your blog, are toward God. You are a wonderful example of seeking the Lord and overcoming attachments to tradition, unrighteous dominion, and facades that keep us from truly connecting with the heavens despite the fears and changes involved. Thank you for this and for teaching others! I pray that all of us will overcome our fears and traditions that keep us from knowing Him!

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      • Thanks Jules, you helped answer a ton of my questions!

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    • Amen, Amen, Amen- Tim, you don’t need the questions answered, because you already have the answers right there in your post. Others will not see because they don’t want to see. It’s ok, allow them there free agency to do or see as they wish. You are a good man with a sincere heart, just as Carol is a good woman with a sincere heart. If others want to feel uncomfortable or be offended, that is their choice…yes, THEIR choice.

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    • Hi Tim, Long time reader, fairly new blogger.So I am a Johnny come lately and I apologize before hand if I am off base in my comments. Your are so right that which is between you and Heavenly Father is indeed between you and Him. Your marriage is based on your relationship with Heavenly Father. He must be your #1 Priority in order for all else to be governed and operated in a purely divine order. Like Elder Maxwell taught, If we in the end have not Chosen God The Father First , then in the end it wont matter what else we have put in His place…(Purely Paraphrasing).
      Now it is my belief that when we are unequally yoked together in marriage, then the team of oxen will either turn in circles or be torn apart in time. Our responsibilities are plainly given to us as saints or those practicing the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel, (Let alone Temple Covenants). That we as husbands are to love our wives even as Christ loved the Church. What does that mean? Well in my limited perspective and well meaning attempt at giving unsolicited counsel, I believe we must love and give our lives for our sweetheart and partner for eternity. Giving our lives might mean giving things up now and being selfless to a painful resolution or it might mean relying on The Father and The Comforter as well as the Atonement for healing and strength. I am not in your position, (I have my own afflictions to deal with) but pray that Heavenly Father will lift you both up and give you direction and strength to heed His Counsel. Good Luck Tim and Carol. Thank you for letting me blog on your site. I will try and keep my feet clean while treading on sacred ground.

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      • “I believe we must love and give our lives for our sweetheart and partner for eternity. Giving our lives might mean giving things up now and being selfless to a painful resolution…”

        In fact, it is a commandment, and the ONLY time men have been commanded to love someone with ALL their hearts besides GOD.

        “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.” (D&C 42:22)

        “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” (Eph 5:25)

        “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.” (Eph 5:28)

        “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” (Col 3:19)

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  10. God is foremost a God of Love. Whatever was undertaken in the spirit of love, without pride, the Lord will honor in the spirit of love. Now, many will say that is a wishy-washy theology because no one can measure righteousness by love, but the Lord has never been one to carry around a yard stick.
    –Craig

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  11. From what I understand, marriages are SEALED (that is, made eternal) by the Holy Spirit of Promise, right? Likewise, an individual is SEALED to eternal life when his or her calling and election is made sure. I didn’t notice before, but these two sacred events, these two sealings, are very connected and perhaps we can take what we know about having one’s calling and election made sure and apply it to a marriage being sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promis

    Concerning the event of one’s calling and election being made sure, it is given once the individual has proved himself or herself to have sufficient faith and obedience until the end. There will still be hardships afterwards for the sake of refinement, but that person will no longer need to be proved.
    I believe marriages are sealed in this way. The Holy Spirit of Promise seals the marriage once this blessed union has been tested and proved sufficiently to be binding in heaven.

    I hesitate to make any judgments, for I do not claim to know exactly what’s going on with your marriage (as such is between you, Carol, and the Lord), but perhaps your marriage is to be further tested and proved before its “calling and election is made sure” by being sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.

    This Sealing doesn’t come from any man or Church. It is directly from the Lord. I believe the sealing you received in the temple was an outward ordinance and it was not binding in heaven. I don’t mean to say that the temple sealing and covenants you made were void of any power–I’m not saying that at all. I believe the power that sealed you and Carol was that of the lesser priesthood (that is the priesthood conferred from one man to another with or without the Lord’s approval) the Church used to hold until recently.

    So those are my two cents. I apologize if I have offended you or Carol or if I’m spouting any false doctrine. I’m not afraid to be wrong, so anyone is welcome to correct me if you see any fallacies in my thought process. I won’t be offended, especially because I can’t speak from experience as I have neither been married nor had my calling and election made sure.

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    • Now THAT makes sense to me, Sandi, especially in light of my prayer Sunday evening in which the Lord said, “You will be tested and proven in the coming days more than you have perhaps ever been before in your life.” I even told Carol about it because it seemed so unusual to receive advance warning like that.

      The very next morning at 7am, the worst nightmare of an IT Manager came to pass – a text from an employee that ALL Internet and Email access was down for hundreds of employees, and “What are you going to do about it? We have planes in the air and broken planes in Russia.” That got my heart beating faster.

      It was over eight hours later before AT&T was able to resolve the issue. The CEO was in my office insisting I get it fixed NOW. Talk about stress! It was the very next morning Carol and I had our conversation about tithing that got a little heated. I don’t think I passed the test. The Lord sure knows how to make a test real.

      I am fully convinced we can and should seek to hear the voice of the Lord declare unto us our calling and election is made sure and our married is sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. I am not content to simply wait until this life is over, hoping I’ve done my best, but not having heard the promise from the voice of the Lord.

      Thanks so much for adding to the dialog, Sandi. I appreciate the thoughtfulness.

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  12. I agree that it is good to study things out IN OUR MINDS! Like joseph talked about pondering the deep things of eternity.
    What if something isn’t in the scriptures, can we ask God about that and get an answer? Absolutely! Even the doctrine and covenants talks about learning by the study of books, or learning by faith. We can ask God ANYTHING and receive answers. Otherwise people with faith could never fulfill the promise to “reveal things, which never have been revealed”.

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  13. Speaking of studying it out in our minds…

    If we attempt to untangle the probably historical from the fanciful, we soon discover the common ground on which they meet and fuse: it is ritual. Myths arise at attempts to explain ritual doings, whose meaning has been forgotten—”What mean these stones?” After much discussion back and forth, the consensus now emerges that it is the rites and ordinances that come first. This should have been clear from the outset, since myths and legends are innumerable while the rites and ordinances found throughout the world are surprisingly few and uniform, making it quite apparent that it is the stories that are invented—the rites are always there.

    Such indeed has always been the Latter-day Saint position. Adam first performed an ordinance and when asked to give an explanation of it replied that he knew of none “save the Lord commanded me.” (Moses 5:6.) Then it was that the true explanation came forth from the mouth of a heavenly instructor.

    But if in later times members of some distant tribe, having inherited the rites, were asked to explain them, they would have to come up with some invented stories of their own—and that would be myth. It is in their contact with ritual that history and fantasy share a common ground and mingle with each other. –cite

    Nibley is seriously one of the most subversive authors.

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  14. I think we can all know if our marriages are on track to be sealed. A few months ago I was giving my wife a priesthood blessing. During the blessing I was told to promise her eternal life and exaltation. I hesitated for a few seconds and asked, “Can I say that?” I was told that these are my words, you are the mouth piece. I continued with the blessing and voiced His words. My wife and I talked a great deal about that experience. Among many other things, she thinks that if she is promised exaltation then it follow that I would by necessity have to be granted it also. (I hope she is right). Since that time we have placed great faith in our marriage one day being sealed by the Holy Spirit. I tell this story because this last Sunday I was being insensitive and caused a rift between us. The darkness from this issue lasted until Tuesday night, at which time we were both humbled and forgiving enough that we forgave and put it behind us. Immediately and the next day I noticed and marveled at the return of the Spirit in my life and in my marriage relationship . I was humbled by the love and spiritual connection that returned and was strengthened. I spoke to my wife about it and she had noticed it also. The Spirit can be upon your marriage. You can know if you are progressing toward the goal of having it sealed.

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  15. Tim,
    May God bless you and Carol as you place your love and commitment for one another above relatively insignificant differences of opinion in matters of religious practice.

    How about a change up post? Things have been “heavy” on this site for so long.

    Somehow I stumbled across your book review of Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint from years ago. Wow, I thought, another Mormon who appreciates Roth. How about a book review of another one like Operation Shylock or The Counterlife?

    In all seriousness, I love your blog and look forward to each of your posts.

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  16. To help with the understanding of the Holy Spirit of Promise and the implication of temple ordinances toward our exaltation thereof; look and ponder the dialogue between two subjects. Notice the tone and content. See how you feel after pondering under the Spirit:

    1) Behold, the Nemenhah know unto whom they look for atonement. It is the same today as it was when the
    Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost did gather all living into that great council wherein they did initiate the New and Everlasting Covenant. Yea, we do know that we shall have all things brought to our
    remembrance by the Holy Ghost, even the Holy Spirit of Promise. And behold, I say again, we do know
    unto whom we look for exaltation. We do look to our Creator, the Peacemaker, even the Son of God.
    2) And we do also know that should any man, kindred or nation declare unto the world that salvation comes
    not through Him who is mighty to save, behold, it is a sign unto us that they have left the plan of
    happiness and the path of truth. Yea, if ever we begin to think of ourselves as saviors in that light, we
    know to turn ourselves again and repent of the evil which has come into our hearts.

    Now the other subject:
    76) Set aside all that you have learned of men and listen to me, for I speak the words of God. There is one authority given of heaven whereby the ordinances of salvation may be delivered unto the children of men. And this authority is the priesthood. By it and through it men speak and act in the name of God and only in this way may we avail ourselves of the ordinances and performances required by the Lord for
    salvation’s sake. Surely, He will not admit anyone into His kingdom who has not received the ordinances
    of the priesthood.
    77) And He has revealed through this same angel that, although many men might possess this authority, they shall nevertheless be governed by that one in whom the Lord shall invest the keys thereof. And none shall have more authority than the anointed of God. Wherefore, it is reasonable that when the prophet of God shall receive a doctrine by revelation, he is not to be questioned in it, neither by men, nor by spirit.
    78) For, the Gifts of the Spirit are good and they are useful, but they do not supersede the priesthood. And
    shall one man have a gift and do away with the authority given to the anointed of God? I say unto you,
    Nay, for this is confusion. Yet have we been confused all these generations. For, we have been taught
    that even Christ Himself may not speak without our rushing out to test His words by this Holy Ghost.
    And shall the Holy Ghost, which is but a spirit, possess more authority than God, who is both body and spirit?
    79) And shall one man’s gift overcome another’s. It has been revealed unto me that one man may have a gift and it may only be useful until it seeks to make conquest of the power and authority of the priesthood.
    And this priesthood God gives in orders and He sets apart His chosen to govern it on earth, even as He
    governs it in heaven. And behold, at the head of the orders of the priesthood, God places His anointed.
    For, God’s house is a house of order and there is no confusion in it.
    80) Now, it is certain that they who act against the word and will of God, as it is revealed by Him to His
    servants the prophets, shall not enjoy the same blessings as they who obey His commandments. And
    surely, they shall not go up into the House of the Lord if they will not obey His commandments. Wherefore, it has been revealed unto me by the angel that only they who have proven themselves loyal to the commandments of God ought to enter into the holy halls of His home. It is to keep out the filthiness of
    the world that the doors of the High Place are closed to all but the righteous.

    Before all naysayers who do discount this because they are convinced of their own knowledge, feel the Spirit speak and when He does not. Notice the difference? Notice the usurping of man’s powers over that of our great redeemer, all in the name of an unknown power? Who becomes the object? Who is left out of the exaltation process altogether, by our worthiness determined by man? Does the latter sound like a general conference talk?

    Tim, I hope this may bring peace to your situation. Your great Redeemer is your beacon of hope. God bless

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    • Just to be clear Sfort, the second part that you quoted, was it taught as truth from the mentinah? Because I was definitely thinking that is not true! It took me a minute to consider that the person is teaching falsehoods on purpose or what? Ha ha I guess I would need to read that part so I could understand what the context is. The first quote, sounded very good to me: )

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      • Did you not read the introduction on the comment? Yes it was a falsehood. This was a discussion between Moroni and Tucantor. You can know the difference between who on this. Moroni was the first comment; the second comment was similar to teachings today

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