Looking into the LDS Church from the Outside


 

WhyIResignedWhen I decided to stop writing in my blog on a regular basis last month, I felt a great burden had been removed. I felt free to think, ponder and pray about my course in life without asking if the Lord wanted me to share my thoughts on any particular subject. I kept my feelings and beliefs to myself and appreciated the idea that I’m just another sojourner on this earth travelling with you. I began to feel less stress, less pressure and fewer impressions or ideas on which to elaborate here.

In many ways I’m no different from you. We have a lot in common. I think we both believe there is purpose in life. We get excited about some things that happen to us as we move through each day and annoyed at others. From past experience I know my audience is vast and wide. Most of my readers are LDS or former LDS. Most are believers in God, a personal God who knows and loves us individually. I especially appreciate many readers have kept in touch with me privately.

Changes in Church Handbook

LDSChurchHandbooks1A lot has happened in the world over the past month that caused me to want to post some ideas as it relates to the last days. The Paris attacks and the change in the LDS handbook both had me wanting to share a few comments but I resisted the urge. I enjoyed a much needed break. Things even seemed to quiet down at work. I still manage the day-to-day operations of my department and move several projects along, but for the most part, I feel less stress in my daily schedule.

I think my health has improved. After spending a week in the hospital and losing fifteen pounds, I began to feel my energy pick up in a way I haven’t felt in several years. This blogging break seems to have been good for me. I moved the blog to WordPress.com, which is free, and off the very expensive site, Blue Host. I miss the plug-ins, and there are still a few missing photos to be restored but I am happy I was able to transfer most of the history and photos to this free format.

My Meeting with the Bishop

our-bishopI also discovered something very interesting about myself and my personal growth. In the last month I have listened to the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, The New Testament, the Doctrine and Covenants and am just finishing Genesis. Instead of thinking and pondering on my 75-minute daily drive to and from work, I have been listening to the scriptures on lds.org. There’s something different about going through them that fast. Time seems to be compressed.

I also met with my bishop in the last month. I wanted to confirm two things – that I was welcome to attend and that I could sing in the ward and stake choirs, which I had missed very much over the past year. I came to a slow realization I had made a mistake in some of the posts I directed to my Bishop and Stake President last year. I might be LDS today if I had not written those posts. But what’s done is done. I’m now on the outside looking in and have been for over the past year.

Social Stigma of Being an Apostate

preserving-the-restoration1If you’re interested, I’d like to share with you a few thoughts over the next little while about the idea of becoming a member of the LDS Church again. I know this may be a real shock to some readers so let me explain. If you’ll recall, and as far as I can tell, Denver never once advocated we resign from the LDS Church. I may be wrong, and if so, feel free to point that out. I think I did that on my own, believing I could not be baptized and remain a member of the LDS Church.

“Why,” you may ask,” would you want to become a member of the LDS Church once again?” There are plenty of reasons, the primary of which is to be fair to Carol. She feels she was cheated out of something when I resigned. I did not ask her. I told her. That was a foolish mistake. I knew what her response would be had I asked and I was determined to do what I felt the Lord was asking me to do. Of course many said I was deceived, but I assure you I was not deceived.

Purpose of Life is to Gain Experience

brighamyoung.jpgI made my decision about several years of study and prayer. I like to compare what I did in leaving the LDS Church as similar to what Brigham Young did in joining the LDS Church. He was in no hurry and neither was I. He studied, attended meetings, read, prayed and participated with the saints – mainly with his own family – in the LDS worship practices. When I decided to be baptized I seem to recall reading in the Church Handbook that baptism is a sign of apostasy.

Note I was not baptized into any existing or new church. I chose to be baptized as a token or sign between me and the Lord that I believed he had sent a teacher in our day with a message the LDS Church – the Gentile Church – had fallen away or had apostatized from the original format and intended purpose for which it had been established. I was not baptized into the Church of Denver Snuffer. I am not a follower of Denver Snuffer. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. That is the same.

Perhaps the Church Won’t Want Me

latemple_small.jpgBesides restoring to my wife what was taken from her without her consent, I believe I can do more good from within the LDS Church than I can from outside the Church. I miss the temple. Of course I recognize it will probably be years before the First Presidency decides I am worthy to have my temple blessings restored. Perhaps they will decide I can never have those blessings restored. After all, when I resigned, I did so fully acknowledging the severing of temple links.

I will be happy with simply being baptized again. You and I both know that once an individual dies, their family members do their temple work all the while reciting the phrase, “it will all work out in the end. God will make it right. If they are worthy, they will have the blessings of the temple for eternity. If not, they will receive what they have earned or are worthy of receiving.” I suspect most LDS folks, including many leaders, don’t know the mind of the Lord on this matter.

I Enjoy Attending the LDS Church

SLCSealingRoom.jpgUnlike many stories I read online and that have been shared with me in private emails, I have not had a bad experience in the LDS Church. I enjoyed my fifty-plus years as a member. I enjoyed my mission. I enjoyed going to the temple. I enjoyed serving in many callings over the years, especially the twenty-five years in various bishoprics and on the High Council. I love to teach the gospel and miss that. If baptized again, I doubt I would ever be given a call to teach or lead.

Incidentally, according to LDS doctrine, Carol lost nothing when I resigned. Just as children lose nothing when the sealing of their parents is cancelled, they still have the blessings of the sealing ordinance. I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding in the LDS Church about the temple, what the ordinances represent and how they work. Probably the least understood concept, even among long-time High Priests who should know better, is the Holy Spirit of Promise in eternal marriage.

Lots of Questions to Work Out

baptism-saratoga-springsGo ahead and call me a fool if you like. I am aware of hundreds of people who were baptized as I was, who did not leave the LDS Church. They continue to serve in callings in the church and at the same time hold sacrament meetings at home and invite others to be baptized as a token they accept what the Lord has done and is doing in these last days. I have a lot of things I need to work out with the bishop before I can be baptized again, such as, “What is the Gentile Church?”

Did the Saints accomplish what the Lord asked of them in Nauvoo or were they cursed as the Lord said they would be because they did not complete the temple before Joseph’s death? Just what exactly is the higher priesthood and is it something that can be passed on from one man to another? Why do we have Joseph teaching ALL the prophets of the old testament after Moses received the higher priesthood directly from the Lord. Is that the ONLY way it is received?

Good People Who Are Disciples of Christ

carl_bloch_the_christWhy does the Church Handbook take precedence over the scriptures when most of the general body of the LDS Church has never seen it and certainly has never voted on it as binding upon them as a church? How in the world can the LDS Church punish the children of apostates when such action goes directly against the second article of faith? I have dozens of additional questions like these I am seeking to answer before I can answer the baptismal questions about LDS leaders.

I am in a unique position of being an outsider looking in at the Church after more than fifty years of being a members of that church. My views have changed considerably in the last year since I resigned. One thing that hasn’t changed is my love of the people in the church. I feel most are still my friends. Most seem to be genuine in their love for me. I believe most are true followers of Jesus Christ and want to please Him. My concern is with those who declare what is doctrine.

19 Responses

  1. I am gratified to learn of your intention to return to the fold, Tim. You are well aware that I advocate remaining in good standing and fellowship with the Saints, in spite of problems I might see. It is the only church that retains the essence of the Restoration. For that reason alone, it deserves our full support.

    As you know, I have supported your decisions in recent years, though I did not always agree with you. You have been and always will be a treasured friend, Carol as well.

    So, I applaud your decision. For my tiny part, I welcome you back with open arms. For me, it is as though you never left.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great post Tim. Much good can be done within the church. Do what you feel the Lord is telling you to do. God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bro. Malone,

    Thanks for what you have shared, I am one of those who was baptized again as a token of obedience unto Christ and continue to serve in the Church in my calling. It isn’t easy, I anguish over my brothers and sisters, many of which I know genuinely love the Lord and strive to be good and obedient to Him. Sometimes, I think it would be easier for me if I resigned and just washed my hands of it, obviously that’s not always the case. Both choices are a difficult path and experience unique challenges.

    I cannot fault you, no opportunity is lost
    to the Lord, so whatever path you ultimately decide He will use it to bless you and teach you all about Him and this too will give you experience, knowledge and wisdom.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tim,

    Happy to read another of your posts. I understand your need to withdraw from the stress, but it is good to hear from you once in awhile. I am still in my “Levi Savage” mode, staying in the LDS Church even though there are problems and challenges.

    Best wishes,
    Tom

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  5. I think wherever you find the greatest joy for you in your life, then that is ALL that matters. I think your experience on the outside has given you a greater perspective that will no doubt, only bring greater perspective to those you come in contact with or associate with within the LDS faith. I don’t think my journey will ever take me back to the LDS faith, but I have an incredible love of where I came from. I learned much and wouldn’t be who I am today without that experience. I say go where your heart leads you!! Much love to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tim, I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for several years now, and it’s always good to hear from you directly. I’m happy for you. I’m still a member of the Church, although I didn’t know how long I would be for some time.

    I won’t bore you with the details, but will say I have been brought nearly full circle, beginning to look at things in a new light. Something that really brought me understanding this last week was from Elder Holland’s son’s recollection of his childhood:
    “Returning from an exploring trip on back-country roads, he and his father came to an unexpected fork and could not remember which road to take. It was late in the day, and darkness would soon be enveloping them. Seizing a teaching moment, Jeffrey Holland asked his son to pray for direction. Afterward, he asked his son what he felt, and Matt replied that he felt strongly they should go left. Replying that he had felt the same way, his father turned the truck to the left. Ten minutes later, they came to a dead end and returned to take the other route.
    Matt thought for a time and then asked his father why they would get that kind of answer to a prayer. His father replied that with the sun going down, that was undoubtedly the quickest way for the Lord to give them information—in this case, which one was the wrong road. Now, though the other road might not be familiar and could be difficult in places, they could proceed confidently, knowing it was the right one. ”

    All along my journey, I know I’ve been led where I’ve gone. I was led to toss out false tradition, to drink wine, to re-baptism among other things. Church members would say I was walking a dangerous road, or was deceived, or apostate. Yet, for whatever reason, and for whatever the Lord is teaching me, I know I’ve been where He has wanted and needed me to be. If you are following Him, you are always on the right road, even if it’s the ‘wrong’ road.

    God bless you on your journey, Tim.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Did you feel the Lord wanted you to resign or are you now second guessing that revelation?

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    • “I have a lot of things I need to work out with the bishop before I can be baptized again.”

      How are you going to reconcile with the church in light of your testimony of Denver Snuffer being a prophet, and thus the church forfeiting it’s authority to perform ordinances when he was excommunicated…among other of his teachings that the church rejects?

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      • We are now living in the dispensation of the fullness of cognitive dissonance. Reconciliation is so passe.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lizzy. I am certain the Lord wanted me to be baptized as a demonstration of my acceptance of the message presented by his servant. I also knew he wanted me to blog about it. For some people the path was to be baptized quietly. Not me. I did what I felt the Lord asked me to do.

      Second thoughts? No. Once again, I am seeking to follow the spirit of the Lord. There is purpose and meaning in what I am doing. I don’t always understand in advance. In fact, it can take years for me to understand why the Lord inspired me to take a certain path. This is one of those occasions.

      By the way, to be baptized again would require the approval of the First Presidency. Do you think they will approve such a request after the many testimonies I have shared that Denver has been sent as a messenger by the Lord in our day? I would be a fool to deny the many witnesses I have received of that message and messenger.

      Nevertheless, that does not change what the Lord has asked me to do. This is not as simple as it may seem. I told the Lord I would do anything he asked. This is one of them. I’m sure there will be many people who will castigate me for this course of action.

      Yet, I am at peace and feel the Lord’s support without knowing how this will turn out of what is the purpose in inspiring me to be baptized last year and now to seek readmittance into the LDS Church. Perhaps someone who feels they know the mind of the Lord will explain it to me someday.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, no one can accuse you, Tim, of NOT being that “little leaven” that leaventh the whole lump! You surely have a way of constantly stirring yourself back into the pot, time and time again, to touch another unleavened soul! Your experience — going out and coming back in again — paints in stark relief the LDS Church’s doctrines, for good or bad. (We’ll see!) Thank you for sharing your (continuing) experience with all of us.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I personally rejoice in your decision as a long time fan.

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  9. “Of course I recognize it will probably be years before the First Presidency decides I am worthy to have my temple blessings restored. Perhaps they will decide I can never have those blessings restored”

    No.

    No, they won’t and no it won’t take years.

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  10. Tim,

    If the Lord asked you to be baptized, and if you had asked for permission, and that permission was denied, what would you have done?

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  11. Tim,

    As a fellow blogger and someone who you have graciously allowed to make posts on your site, I support your decision. I have always seen that you never take any decision lightly, and that it always seems guided by the Lord. My own path has taken me out of the Church through resignation. I was done as a sacrifice. My wife supports me as she believes much as I do, and I would not have done it had she not supported me, so I get where you are coming from. It’s critical to have Zion with your own spouse. It has been hard. I feel the loss of fellowship from the LDS Saints, although I have felt an increase of the blessings of heaven. I wouldn’t have chosen this path had the Lord not told me to do it. It was a sacrifice that allowed me to receive my Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost.

    But all paths are different. If the Lord leads me to rejoin the LDS body, I will follow, if they will allow me to rejoin AND keep my beliefs. There are definitely good things that come from the Church as a body and from the leadership, even if there are also troubling things and doctrinal errors that have strayed from the intent of the Restoration.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Love you Tim! I support you in your desire to find happiness with all that you seek.

    Life is funny, though… As you turn toward the church, I have left. I just sent in my resignation letter because I didn’t want my name affiliated with any organization that would deny baptism to a child. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s so anti-Christ. So ungodly. As an elementary school teacher, I feel being cruel to children is where I must draw the line.

    I hope you can find a way to make sense of everything better than I can!

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  13. Dear Brother Tim,

    It is refreshing that you have reconnected with those of us that consider you a dear friend. I wish there were no limitations (time and distance) in supporting one another; I can envision you and I talking daily as brothers in Christ and true friends.

    I am still coping as an active Mormon who can’t say what he’s really thinking without alienating those “brothers and sisters” I meet with every Sunday. There are some folks who are obviously uncomfortable in my presence because I dared say “I believe Joseph Smith was a monogamist”. Some in the Bishopric know I voluntarily surrendered my temple recommend at last years tithing settlement because I have chosen to share my increase directly with poor and needy rather than hobnob with the elite. A lot of uncomfortable glances as I come and go each Sunday.

    I am still waiting on the Lord for further light and knowledge regarding my future. Perhaps your efforts to return to the fold will prove something to Carol. She will observe how you are treated and know whether or not it is of the Lord.

    Blessings to you and Carol.

    Roy Moore
    Monroe, UT

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  14. Tim as you probably won”t remember I commented on your decision to resign when you first raised the possibility. I remarked then that i had serious doubts about the necessity of doing that even it you wanted to be rebaptized . I have elected to be rebaptized and participate often in my local community of approximately 10 -15 adults but retain my membership in the LDS church and by church standards am ” active”. Doing both is difficult but brings certain rewards . In my case the institutional church offers me opportunities to serve that are not easily duplicated. I teach a LDS but Christ centered religion class to 25 men at our local prison. I also often teach the 11 year olds in Primary and I HT 8 widows or single sisters who would unfortunately be virtually forgotten if I didn’t try to succor them. I often skip SS and HP group ( mostly because I have difficuty restraining myself at the false doctrine that is taught) but I do love the people and my association with them, I think others would benefit if you could participate more fully , i will tell you that the institutional policy in my neck of the woods os to rapidly excommnicate those who have been rebaptized or are participating in any sort of extraLDS community. Good luck in your endeavors and let us know what you decide and if the institutional church will have you back ( which alas i doubt unless you renounce your beliefs about priesthood authority ,keys and what it means to be a disciple of Christ ). We will pray for you Boo

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  15. Tim, I rejoice in your desire to come back to the LDS Church. Surely, you have been missed and we need you! There is so much work to be done. Good luck with whatever path the Lord sends you on.

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