A Testimony Revisited


testimony-glove

Carol and I had one of those conversations Sunday after church. I was talking with a friend about preparations for the upcoming April conference in Colorado. After our phone conversation concluded, Carol said,

“We need to talk.”

Uh-oh.

“Okay,” I said. “What about?”

“About the elephant in the room.”

“Ah, yes.” I knew what she was talking about. “What do you want to know?”

“I want to know where you stand. Are you ever going to be re-baptized?”

“Ummm…” Long pause.

“It’s been over four years. You’re still talking to those people.”

“They’re my friends.”

“But they’re leading you astray. Especially that Korihor false prophet.”

Sometimes silence is the best response. “I’m listening…”

“Do you even have a testimony any more?”

“Of course I do.”

“Then what’s preventing you from being baptized?”

“I was already baptized. Remember? You were there. You took the pictures.”

“I wish I hadn’t. I still can’t believe you did that.”

“It was the right thing to do.”

“You’ve broken your covenents.”

“I don’t think so. Name one I’ve broken.”

“The last one.”

I had to think a moment. “I guess you’re right.”

The tears started flowing. I said nothing, patiently waiting.

“What’s changed? You used to have such a strong testimony.”

“I’ll meet with the Bishop and Stake President again if you want.”

“Won’t do any good. You have to pay tithing.”

“I totally accept that. It’s a commandment.”

“I mean to the Church.”

“Yeah, I guess I have a problem with that.”

“Once you give it to the Lord, it’s His to use as He wants.”

“That’s the problem. Giving it to the Church is not the same.”

“You used to believe is was. What happened?”

“I know. I used to teach it. I guess I don’t believe that any more.”

More tears. I felt it best to leave the room for a moment. I went upstairs to the bedroom to talk things over with the Lord. Didn’t take long. He sent me right back down there.

Carol continued, “So you don’t believe the Church is true?”

“I think it’s a wonderful institution that does a lot of good.”

“Do you think it’s led by a living prophet?”

“I think the men who lead the Church believe they are prophets.”

“But you don’t.”

“I used to, but no, I guess I don’t anymore.”

“Was Joseph Smith a prophet?”

“Yes. Absolutely.”

“And the Book of Mormon?”

“The word of God intended for our day.”

“I know you believe in God.”

“And Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and our Savior.”

“But you don’t believe we have living prophets today.”

“Yes, but…”

“But just not in the Church.”

“Right.”

“And the sealing power?”

“Can’t be passed from man to man. Must be received directly from God.”

“I’ll pray for you.”

passing-the-heavenly-gift

And that was that. We ended up right where we started out back in 2012 when I first read Passing the Heavenly Gift. That sealing power truly is the crux of the matter. Can it be passed from one man to another as the Church proclaims and as I once taught?

16 Replies to “A Testimony Revisited”

  1. Nice dialogue Tim. I think it all boils down to this: Heaven is what you make of it. God maybe approves of a religion that teaches concepts such ss “the sealing power”. There is a place in heaven for such. It doesnt mean that friends and families who are not of that faith. cannot associate outside that group. Swedenborg talks about how heaven is made of different groups of like minded people. It doesnt make them right, or wrong. They are just different. Gof thrives on variety. Look at nature. We live in a universe of infinite possibilites.
    cheers
    Terry

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  2. “You’ve broken your covenents.”
    “I don’t think so. Name one I’ve broken.”
    “The last one.”
    I had to think a moment. “I guess you’re right.”

    What is “the last one?” I am in the same situation and I can’t think of any covenants that I have broken.

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  3. “You and each of you covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar, that you do accept the Law of Consecration as contained in the Doctrine and Covenants, in that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion. “

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  4. Interesting testimony mneumonic/score card for the Primary kids. Three out of five ain’t bad.

    So, regarding that last temple covenant: What does it state the LDS Church’s role is in that obligation? Is it, in fact, either building up the Kingdom of God on the earth (which Joseph stated *is not* the LDS Church) or establishing the city of Zion? Can you keep this covenantal promise if the institition is unwilling to meet its obligation? If it were to break that portion of this contract, how might it affect your obligation? Is it possible that the breaking of “its” obligation could void this obligation you made, as you expected, before God, angels, and witnesses?

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  5. “The term millennial is perfect for you if that term reminds you of who you really are and what your purpose in life really is. A true millennial is one who taught and who was taught the gospel of Jesus Christ premortally and who made covenants there with our Heavenly Father about courageous things —even morally courageous things—that he or she would do while here on earth.”
    https://www.lds.org/ensign/2016/10/young-adults/stand-as-true-millennials?lang=eng
    Russell Nelson in a talk given in 2016 told young people that they made covenants in the pre-mortal realm with their Father in Heaven. Then they come to Earth with a veil of forgetfulness, never to remember on their own the eternal covenants made with God.
    When we begin to question the church, the worst part is when our spouses do not walk with us down this path.
    But are the covenants enforceable? The ones spoken above cannot be. How could a God be just if he holds you to a promise made with Him while at the same time he causes you to forget the things to which you promised? Is a covenant made to man but before God enforceable if the other party has not kept their end of the bargain? Is the church really building the kingdom of God? Are they really establishing Zion? By their fruits ye shall know them.
    I think we might find that the temple has turned something it was not meant to be. Hang in there and continue to do what you are doing. Your love for your wife is quite evident, which is the most important thing of all.

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  6. Hi Vaughn. You and Corina have an advantage in that you are both on the same page, or so it appears to me, when it comes to definitions such as the Kingdom of God and what constitutes Zion. I’m with you in recognizing the LDS Church is NOT the kingdom of God on the earth nor was it ever recognized by Joseph as such. Zion has not yet been established, and certainly not by the LDS Church.

    However, such a thought is tantamount to blasphemy to those who have been taught all their life to conflate the LDS Church with Zion, just as many conflate the LDS Church with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was a little taken aback at my own recognition of how little it meant to me when I agreed with Carol I had broken that last covenant. But to Carol it was a confession of the most heinous proportions. To her, it’s as if I am now spiritually dead.

    It didn’t bother me at all to recognize this because I saw it no longer had validity in the first place. This is precisely because of what you noted in your comment. It is my observation, made over fifty+ years, the LDS Church is NOT seeking the establishment of Zion, nor can it build up the Kingdom of God on the earth. As an organized institution, seemingly interested only in self-preservation, it does not have that power.

    It constantly amazes me how few people give credence to Boyd K Packer’s declaration that the LDS Church is only a temporary scaffolding to prepare us to establish Zion in our homes, families and fellowships. He was also emphatic the LDS Church would cease to be needed once Zion is established. Again, such a thought is now considered blasphemy and demonstrated by the treatment you have received over the past year.

    Thanks for visiting me and sharing your thoughts. And thanks for your blog. I visit it almost every day, wondering when you’ll be publishing something new. Your last post was a wowzer. For those who may not know, you can visit Vaughn here: http://seekingfurther.blogspot.com/

    God bless and Merry Christmas

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  7. Somebody put a comma in there that was not in the dialogue

    you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion

    WHICH is most important?
    giving it to the church Inc or giving it to the building up of Zion and the kingdom of God?

    You are not a covenant breaker if you give everything you have towards the building up of Zion and the kingdom of God…. whether or not that happens to include the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints.

    It seems that LDS Inc is intent on excluding themselves from building up the kingdom of God and Zion.

    Which leaves you free to fulfill your Covenant obligation by giving all that you have and are two building up the kingdom directly

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  8. Consecration Ended by Joseph Smith

    After the experiences in the early common-stock companies, and in community efforts in Kirtland, Ohio, Independence, and Far West, Missouri, Joseph Smith ended any attempts at consecration. In a council meeting on March 6, 1840 in Montrose, Iowa Territory, he announced to the church the Lord rescinded consecration:

    He said that the Law of consecration could not be kept here, & that it was the will of the Lord that we should desist from trying to keep it, & if persisted in it would produce a perfect abortion, & that he assumed the whole responsibility of not keeping it until proposed by himself. (JS Papers, Documents Vol. 7, p. 215, emphasis added, all spelling as in original.)

    Joseph died before the Lord gave any command to resume it. Therefore the earlier commandment, still in the T&C, as well as the D&C, is not to be kept. Since it was the will of the Lord that consecration end, it will require a new command from the Lord to resume the attempt.

    Source: https://denversnuffer.com/2018/06/consecration-ended-by-joseph-smith/

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  9. The endowment wording has been changed since it was initially introduced. I don’t think it said that initially, nor did it subject women to their husbands. It’s been a while since I looked it up, I think you can find the initial endowment online. That was my defense anyway. Ordinances have been changed, covenants were broken.

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  10. Tim, I feel your pain. I am in the same boat. The local stake president called me in to determine whether or not a disciplinary council should be called. After our discussion, he said that there will not be a disciplinary council. He is doing his job as he sees it. I found the man to be very sincere, friendly, honest, likable, like many LDS members who are still asleep. I felt that I needed to start going to church in order to be supportive of my wife, so that she is not sitting in Sacrament meeting alone. I announced in Priesthood meeting a few weeks ago (about three Sundays ago) that I was going to start coming back to church. There were smiles all around. However, I do not feel any differently, meaning I still feel the church is in apostasy, since Joseph’s death and that wicked men are and have been at the top of the church’s leadership for many years. Men who are like wolves in sheep’s clothing. I miss the camaraderie I once had within the LDS Church, and my many friends. Some have no idea that I’ve fallen out of the boat. It is what it is. I follow the Lord Jesus Christ and I cannot follow a Prophet blindly, because he is the “arm of flesh”. I choose what I will read and ask God to help me to distinguish between truth and error. So far, I am on the road I feel is correct. I will state that I used to respect Brigham Young until I read how he took other men’s wives declaring that he had higher priesthood and this somehow entitled him to do this. Brigham Young did not have the guidance of the Lord as any kind of Prophet, Seer and Revelator and being next in line does not make you called of God with any power, other than in your own mind. God calls who He will call.

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  11. Thank you for sharing this with us. I am in a similar situation but my wife is a bit more open to my desires to follow the Lord and not man. I asked her recently if she had noticed any difference in me since I have been on this path. If she has noticed any change in me and my behavior towards her and everyone we associate with especially since my re-baptism this last summer and she had to admit that I have changed for the better which is due to the change one encounters when the Lord takes control of your heart. Hopefully your wife will begin to see as you diligently pursue righteousness and her heart will be softened as you love her, care for her, be kind and exercise long suffering and loving persuasion. By your fruits she will know…the Lord knows and will bless you for your diligence.

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  12. I went through the temple over 50 years ago and have seen many changes. If I remember correctly, the words,”The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” was NOT in the last endowment covenant at the time I went through and was added later. I have ask several people who went through the temple for the first time in the same time period I did and they too remember that particular covenant did NOT include the present LDS terminology.

    If we are held accountable for every spoken covenant we made in the temple at the time we took out our endowment, we are all in trouble, So much has been changed. If the “Penalty” issue was important to my commitment then… why is it still not included? If the “Preacher” dialogue was important then, why has it been removed? If they are important… hopefully those who removed them or added unnecessary promises will be held accountable.

    Actually, all the little “Do’s and Don’ts” are beginning to feel “Pharisaical”. I simply don’t get too caught up in all the “Procedural” nonsense simply because “Christ” is the keeper of the gate and he alone knows my heart.

    I think we are all going to be surprised when we find out just how much we have attached ourselves to “false traditions” and “false demands”. Heaven help us!

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  13. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Church of Jesus Christ in this last earthly dispensation. It was called into existence by the Lord Himself. No other church or group or teachings can replace or supersede His Church, even if many of those ultimately saved are not currently blessed by the fullness of the Gospel. Those who reject His Church reject His Gospel, at least in part. And that is a mistake that needs correction.

    Sending you aloha and praying that 2019 will bring greater enlightenment and discipleship to us all.

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  14. Love and patience Tim. Your wife is a good woman. Last time I went thru temple, the Spirit testified to me, right at the point where the Law of Consecration was being introduced, that the LDS church is neither seeking for “the building up of the Kingdom of God upon the earth” nor for “the establishment of Zion”. That settled a few things for me re: tithing, temple work, temple covenants, temple recommends, who is running the LDS Corp., the presence/absence of real Priesthood in the “front office”, etc. Stay the course brother! TRUTH will prevail.
    James Russell Uhl

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