Return To The Restoration


3-Nephi-11-31-40It seems everybody and their dog has offered commentary and opinion on the excommunication of John Dehlin. It was even in the national news. I want to focus on this one statement from his stake president: “…you do not have the right to remain a member of the Church in good standing while openly and publicly trying to convince others that [LDS] Church teachings are in error.”

It probably won’t surprise you to learn I agree with President King’s statement. That’s why I resigned my membership. I no longer believed certain things the LDS Church was teaching. I was and remain convinced some things are being taught in the LDS Church that are not true. Since I no longer met the requirements for membership, we had an amicable parting of ways.

How I Differ From John Dehlin

Although no longer a member of the LDS Church, I differ from John in at least three areas: 1) I believe I am a theomorphic man. In other words, I believe I am made in the image of God. I am His son. He is my Father. I do not believe in an anthropomorphic God or a divine being to whom we ascribe human characteristics. Nor do I believe God is some unseen being. He has been seen.

2) I believe the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price to be the word of God. They are not fiction to me. Too many evidences of the fulfillment of Moroni 10:4 from the time I first learned to read have been burned into my soul. Both books answer so many questions for me. They are unique in fulfilling their purpose of testing our faith in the idea of modern revelation.

3) I do not reject The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as having been established with power and authority from God. It was so established and remained authorized to pass on that authority until recently. Of course, this is the crux of the matter for me and why I resigned. Even in its present state the Lord works through the LDS Church. But He also works in other ways.

Everyone Has A Religion

The LDS Church is full of good people. They are some of the best in the world. But it is not the only place we will find people who believe in God and Christ. There are good people in every faith and religion, including the fundamentalist offshoots of the LDS Church. There are good people who have no religion at all, or so they claim. I am of the opinion everyone has a religion.

I agree with Dr. Scott Peck: “As human beings grow in discipline and love and life experience, their understanding of the world and their place in it naturally grows apace. Conversely, as people fail to grow in discipline, love and life experience, so does their understanding fail to grow. Consequently, among the members of the human race there exists an extraordinary variability in the breadth and sophistication of our understanding of what life is all about.

This understanding is our religion. Since everyone has some understanding-some world view, no matter how limited or primitive or inaccurate-everyone has a religion. This fact, not widely recognized, is of the utmost importance: everyone has a religion.” (Dr. M. Scott Peck, M.D. – The Road Less Traveled, Section III – Growth and Religion, p. 185) Even the atheist or agnostic has a religion. It may not include a belief in a divine being, but it encompasses their life view.

Legal Demand to Stay Off LDS Property

Five months after my resignation, I still attend LDS services. I enjoy the expressions of faith and worship. I enjoy the community. I am grateful they have not restricted me from attending as they have some of my fellow bloggers. If you criticize the LDS Church, look out for that letter from Kirton McConkie. Yes, the LDS Church can and will demand that you stay off their property.

The Church will have you arrested for trespassing. So keep it civil, folks. I know some who leave the Church do not ever want to set foot back in the building again. I have no desire to hurt the missionary efforts of the Church or to discourage anyone from joining the LDS Church if they so desire. The instruction and ordinances found in the LDS Temples are good reason to be baptized.

However, the day will come when that will change. Temple instruction and ordinances will be available in temples other than those built by the LDS Church. The knowledge is fundamental and the ordinances are required. That’s why I still tell my non-LDS friends who communicate with me about getting baptized they should do so. Prepare yourself to enter into the LDS temple.

Don’t Be Afraid of Excommunication

If you are a member of the Church today with questions, doubts or reservations about what is taught in the correlated curriculum, work them out. God works with each of us one on one. He will answer your prayers. He will help you know which path is best for you – to remain active, to resign, to keep quiet or to be vocal about your concerns. Don’t be afraid of excommunication.

If you have children of missionary age, encourage them to serve missions. Teach them to focus on bringing souls to Christ. What greater work is there? What greater joy can one experience than knowing their efforts have been instrumental in helping a fellow traveler in this world find hope in Jesus Christ? Proclaiming the message of the restoration is still a current commandment.

In my letter from the bishop confirming my name had been removed from the records of the church, he pointed out I could be re-baptized after meeting with a General Authority. I had to chuckle to myself. I resigned specifically because I wanted to get re-baptized and knew that would cause disciplinary proceedings to be conducted on  my behalf in very short order.

Let God Direct Your Path

One of the reasons for baptism is to record your name on the records of the Church. When I was re-baptized, I sent my name in to an individual who had volunteered to be a central recorder. The last report I read from her a few months ago indicated the rebaptisms are now in the thousands. A large, large percentage of those individuals also remain members of record in the LDS Church.

If you have come to a change of beliefs about the LDS Church, meaning you no longer believe it is authorized of God, or is no longer teaching the pure doctrine of Christ, ask God what he would have you do with that newfound understanding. Ask Him how He can use you. He will answer. We each have individual gifts and talents. We each have something to offer others in this work.

Faith is Mental Exertion – Through Words

And work it is. I thought I understood faith. I had read this statement from Joseph before, but have lately come to a newfound appreciation that faith is work: “…when a man works by faith he works by mental exertion instead of physical force. It is by words, instead of exerting his physical powers, with which every being works when he works by faith.” (Lectures on Faith 7:3)

I am exercising faith as I write this post. I have pondered and prayed about it all week. I knew I wanted to write it after John’s news conference Tuesday. I knew I wanted to post it this evening. I knew I wouldn’t have time to do so until now. I therefore asked the Lord to bless and inspire me as to what He would have me share here. Thoughts and ideas have come to me all this week.

A New Website To Find A Community

return-to-the-doctrine-of-christWhen people would ask me where they could find a local community with whom they could worship or wanted to find someone nearby who could baptize then, I used to refer them to a site setup specifically for that purpose. It no longer exists. Instead, there is a new site that will help you find local communities and those who have been sustained as authorized to baptize you.

I know the individuals who created the site and who will respond to queries. Obviously there are those who wish to remain members of the LDS Church but also wish to be re-baptized as a sign to God they accept His messenger and His message. My own moral compass would not allow me to do that, but you may be directed otherwise. You can trust the individuals behind this new site.

Leave a comment along with your contact information on the web page and they will help you find the community or an authorized and sustained priesthood holder. I am not currently authorized or sustained to perform baptisms. I do not meet one of the requirements. That day will come. In the meantime, rejoice. The work of the Lord goes forward. Unite yourself to these communities.

Zion Will NOT Come Through An Institution

It will be hard work. You may find it difficult at first if you are used to the rigid and structured format of LDS worship. The purpose of these communities is to partake of the sacrament, to instruct and encourage each other in the gospel of Jesus Christ and to learn to be of one heart and one mind. In other words, to establish Zion – which does NOT come through a large institution.

If you recognize as I did that the principles of truth taught by Joseph have been altered, changed, denigrated, forgotten, or simply replaced by precepts of men, then you owe it to yourself to look into these new communities that are springing up all over the Intermountain West. For those who live outside the Mormon corridor, it may take some time to build up substantial communities.

Act Without Being Deceived

I am continually asked by readers, usually in private emails, “Why do you believe this movement is going to be different from any other offshoot of the LDS Church?” A valid corollary is often, “How do you know you haven’t been deceived in what you have done and are doing?” So many have extended love and compassion in their emails, while others are downright mean and nasty.

The answer remains the same. I worked by faith. I did as we have been taught in the LDS faith. I searched, pondered and prayed. Then I asked God if what I felt in my heart was true. Anybody who has read my blog knows this was not a spur of the moment decision. It took me two years of intense effort in study and prayer to come to the conclusion as to what I should do before I acted.

You Need to Take Action

I want to be a part of this opportunity to reach as many people as possible. My blog is small, has a limited audience, but I offered it to the Lord with all my heart. I consecrated it to His purposes. I believe the falling away of the institutional church was prophesied in the Book of Mormon. I also believe the Lord when He said He would do nothing without revealing it through a prophet.

If you’re new here, go back and read my story. It starts in January of 2012. I documented it here every step of the way. If you’ve been following and have completed your own investigation, then you know it’s time to act. You need to take action. You need to be baptized and offer it to others. The commandment of the Lord to be baptized has been renewed again by Him, today, to you.

To find communities for fellowship, visit: http://fellowshipwith.us/

To find someone to baptize you, visit: http://returntotherestoration.com

 

18 Responses

  1. Tim, So good to hear from you again. Thank you for your wise counsel.

    I wanted to offer my second witness that indeed the Lord will direct each of us in our unique ministries concerning how to act. Many are in a hurry to leave the church, when they can do so much more for God by staying just a little longer…It is hard to be involved, but Jesus Christ never gave up on the Jews, and I need to apply that same patience and love to the Mormons.

    God be with us all,
    Bret

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  2. Glad to have the chance to follow my friend and brother Bret. Thank you Tim for all you have shared on your blog. There is a sweet spirit here which is undeniable. I know you to be a man of great integrity and I count it my honor to know you personally. Thank you for extending to our brother Log the opportunity to share his personal views. His writings are so in tune with the Lord’s own heart. The first and great commandment is that we are to love the Lord with all our heart (what we love), might (what we do), mind (what we ponder), and strength (what we are good at).
    I believe you, our brother Log, and our brother Bret exemplify this teaching for those who choose to read your blog.
    Thank you brother and bless you.
    James Russell Uhl

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  3. Thanks Tim for the sound counsel. I have found myself eager, excited to leave, move on and be fully involved the return of the restoration.
    But at present I feel impressed to stay and do all I can to spread the doctrine of Christ at every possible opportunity, even if it’s just a remark here or there. Now I have the blessing of teaching gospel doctrine from time to time, which has been exciting to see the look on people’s eyes when I challenge their traditions. So far so good, we shall see if it bares any fruit!

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  4. Tim,

    I am still on the Levi Savage path for now. But I appreciate your insights and blog.

    Thank you ,
    Tom

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  5. Attributed to Levi Savage after returning from his mission and joining the Willie handcart company: “What I have said I know to be true; but seeing you are to go forward, I will go with you, will help all I can, will work with you, will rest with you, and if necessary, will die with you. May God in his mercy bless and preserve us.”

    I assume you didn’t mean the part of his story where he lived in peace in Southern Utah with his three wives for the last 45 years of his life. Two of those wives were his step-daughters. Interesting fellow, Levi. Kept wonderful journals all his life.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levi_Savage_Jr.

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    • Levi Savage was also openly rebuked by his priesthood leader for warning of the peril of snow and freezing conditions in the Rocky Mountains given their late departure date.

      * * *

      Some of my ancestors were polygamist, but I am monogamous. Plural marriage is a Pandora Box issue in the LDS Church, but far from being the only one.

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      • Levi Savage was a wise, as well as kind and generous soul…willing to lay down his life for his brethren. BTW, he circumnavigated the globe on his mission.

        Carol’s ancestors were also polygamous. Family stories are rampant with the dislike of the practice. I, too am committed to monogamy.

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  6. If you’ve been following and have completed your own investigation, then you know it’s time to act. You need to take action. You need to be baptized and offer it to others. The commandment of the Lord to be baptized has been renewed again by Him, today, to you.

    Has it, though?

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    • Perhaps the commandment was only intended for those present. Perhaps it was only intended for me. I knew when I heard it, I would act upon it as a sign of my faith and acceptance of the messenger.

      Context: “”And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water. And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one. And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize.”

      I am telling you in the name of the Lord that commandment is renewed again by Him today, to you. This is His command recorded in the Book of Mormon, translated by Joseph Smith through the gift and power of God, and confirmed again today! “And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been. For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another.”

      And later on…

      “Our day is filled with darkness and deception. Our day is the day Nephi wrote about. If you turn to 2 Nephi chapter 28, beginning halfway through verse 4. “…and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance.” This is why the ordinance of baptism must be renewed again. This is why the pattern has to be followed. This is why the light has to be turned on. The Holy Ghost can give you robust assistance if you are penitent. God cannot dwell in unclean vessels, and so He remedies that by cleaning the vessel in accordance with the pattern that He has given, thereby making it possible for the Holy Ghost to give to you utterance.”

      Source: Phoenix / Mesa lecture, page 17.

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      • Do you say it only because Snuffer said it and you believed him and desire affirmation and validation on your present course? Or do you say it because the Lord has said it to you and told you to say it to others? If the former, would you agree that pattern of behavior is problematic in general? If the latter, why cite Snuffer?

        I recall a parable someone once wrote about an abyss featuring a straight and narrow path and a monster that would attack those who attempted to walk the path, etc. I’m sure you recall this parable. Might acting without the direct request of the Lord fall under hastily rushing across the abyss?

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        • In other words – I will be baptized again if or when the Lord requests it of me, and that is the course I would advise others to take if counsel were sought from me on whether to be baptized into the LDS Church or to be baptized outside of it.

          8 Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.

          9 Will I accept of an offering, saith the Lord, that is not made in my name?

          10 Or will I receive at your hands that which I have not appointed?
          D&C 132:8-10

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        • If one believes Denver Snuffer to be a true messenger and the LDS church is in apostasy, the authoritative call for re baptism should be taken very seriously.
          If you don’t believe that then what does it matter, not to worry, all is well in Zion! Tim, DS and the like are just a misguided lot crying in the electronic wilderness!
          Now the real question, how is it one knows DS to be a true messenger or not?
          Well at the very least it had better be answer akin to the one you received regarding the divinity of Christ as Lord, Joseph Smith and the B of M.
          If it’s just some angst about the church and its corporate mentality, or, the traditions of your fathers you had better be careful about haste in the decision.
          I for one can testify of receiving a most profound answer on the subject, he is a true messenger and his work should be given the most serious of consideration!
          Given that, the Lord is at work also with us each individually, I have NOT been asked as of yet to proclaim that widely, but as mentioned above in an earlier comment, I have been impressed to continue my work of the last seven years, to stay put and do what I can to teach Christ and his doctrine. Although I was re baptized last November!

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  7. I see nothing wrong with Tim repeating this counsel. Some people have never heard this. After they hear it, they can then decide if it applies to them or if the time is right for them.

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  8. Dear Brother Log,

    Are we really baptized into the LDS church?

    Is church membership the purpose of baptism?

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    • Forgive my imprecision. I should have said “in” rather than “into.”

      Nevertheless, even as it stands, what I wrote would seem to be consistent with the Book of Mormon.

      17 And they were called the church of God, or the church of Christ, from that time forward. And it came to pass that whosoever was baptized by the power and authority of God was added to his church.
      Mosiah 18:17

      21 And he that will hear my voice shall be my sheep; and him shall ye receive into the church, and him will I also receive.

      22 For behold, this is my church; whosoever is baptized shall be baptized unto repentance. And whomsoever ye receive shall believe in my name; and him will I freely forgive.
      Mosiah 26:21-22

      Additional citations can be found throughout the Book of Mormon to this effect. I have found no scriptural support for the claim that confirmation, as opposed to baptism, is for the purpose of granting Church membership, whatever the modern practice or terminology may be.

      Does the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints possess power and authority of God to baptize? If it does, does it possess exclusive power and authority to baptize? Those would be very interesting answers to get from God, and not as a matter of logical deduction nor assumption. Remember, even the Jews had authority and power to baptize until John, and they were apostate since the days of Moses. “Salvation is of the Jews,” said Jesus.

      If Snuffer has any significance, surely it is that a man must receive answers from God and not settle for the word of men, and that belief is not sufficient. Not even if what is believed is really, really believed totally strongly.

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  9. Log: Those are some of the best questions I have ever been asked. You really got me thinking deeply and pondering, which I have been doing as I have gone about my work tasks. Thank you for asking such thoughtful questions. In response to the first, I offer the following:

    No, I did not write what I did only because I heard Denver deliver the words. I wrote what I did after 1) Praying for inspiration as to what the Lord would have me share in my post and 2) Feeling the words flow through me with power as I wrote them under the spirt of inspiration.

    Do I desire affirmation and validation of my present course? No. I received that from the Lord a long time ago. I would continue on this course independent of anything further from Denver or anyone else. I acted upon what I felt that day and pondered over the next day traveling home.

    To clarify: I believed Denver AND had independent confirmation of the spirit as I listened to his words. I know that’s a very subjective response. In short, it was a spiritual experience for me to both hear the words AND to have that simultaneous independent confirming witness of the spirit.

    To use Denver’s analogy, I was enlightened by the Holy Ghost but I also experienced a thrilling, emotional sensation, which of course was my own response to the recognition of enlightenment. I was prompted to action not because of the thrilling emotions but because of divine illumination.

    I agree desiring affirmation and validation of a chosen course of action is problematic. If we are sure about something, then act upon it and remain sure, which I am. Why cite Snuffer? That is the best question of the group and the one I have pondered the most. It brings up the following:

    Is Denver Snuffer a prophet? If so, is he acting as such? Also, why has he not openly declared himself to be a prophet? Do we need a prophet today? Are those who lead the LDS Church, and to whom we have given the title, also acting as such? Are they qualified? Are they authorized?

    Your proposed response or advice offered to anyone seeking baptism – either inside or outside the LDS Church – is exactly the right response. Do what the Lord directs. Of course, that brings up the whole personal responsibility thing AND this other rather common issue I am often asked:

    How does one determine the voice and the will of the Lord for themselves? Is it easier to look to others to tell us what to do or to find out for ourselves directly from the Lord? What if we’re deceived? Dare we risk such a fundamental and consequential decision such as baptism?

    In regards to the parable of rushing up the mountain pass: Patience is always in order. Can timely opportunities be lost? Yes, of course. But what I am directed to do is not always what you will be directed to do in the same circumstances. Timing for you – and others – depends on the Lord.

    To summarize, I wrote what I did because it came to me after asking for inspiration. Was Denver the original source? Yes, and yet, he was only quoting scripture. Then again, there seems to be a sense of urgency in his words: THIS day, is THIS command renewed in your ears.” Powerful.

    At least to me, which is why I did what I did. Your course should be what the Lord directs. I suppose this is one of those testing moments in life that determines how quickly we advance in knowledge and in favor with the Lord. I’m still finding delight in new faith of mental discipline.

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  10. “Let us here observe, that three things are necessary, in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation.

    “First, The idea that he actually exists.

    “Secondly, A correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes.

    “Thirdly, An actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing, is according to his will.

    “For without an acquaintance with these three important facts, the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive; but with this understanding, it can become perfect and fruitful, abounding in righteousness unto the praise and glory of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

    For what it’s worth, to close this dialog, I reached that third level of faith the day I decided to be baptized again. At that point, I knew with a sure knowledge from God, that the course I was pursuing was according to His – the Lord’s – will.

    That’s why I responded as I did above, in response to your question about desiring affirmation and validation. I already had it. The Lord gave it to me. It was, and is, real and tangible to me. It gives me abiding strength and courage to stay the course.

    Five months later, I can say, with conviction and sureness, the course I am pursuing is according to the will of the Lord. I don’t know the details of what the future holds for me, but I know the Lord is pleased. He has told me so.

    What greater affirmation can one have than the word of the Lord? It trumps what anyone else could every say.

    Don’t know why…just felt the need to wrap up this dialog with those comments from one of my favorite sections in the Lectures on Faith.

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  11. Tim,

    I commend your integrity. There are so many that stay in the church and endlessly criticize the brethren, doctrine, whatever…fill in the___________. I have always maintained that if one stays in the church that they have no choice but to go through the channels specified in the D+C for redress of grievances. Their comeback is “I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work”. Too bad, it is the Lord’s way, and if you don’t like it, take it up with him. Or, people can simply leave, as you have. Yours is the only honorably way to exit the church and this frees you up to make whatever truth claims you like, instead of constantly undermining the leadership, which I think is sinfull. Know what I mean RW?

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