An Update! A Book Even!


Hello everyone. Yes a post by someone other than Tim. We still exist!

Thanks again Tim for letting me post stuff here. What have I been doing some might ask? well many things, but the topic of this post is to say sometime ago I decided to write a book. The book remained in a mostly finished state(about 95%) but I just sat on it unsure of what to do.

I felt inclined to talk to the bishop about it. The book is 15 questions/topics of concern. I believe it is a bit different from the usual affair when it comes to these kinds of books. The bishop and I have been slowly getting through this and are currently going to be on chapter 6 next time. I suspect it could easily be next year by the time we finish. So I thought what am I do with this book? Self-publishing on Kindle will probably be the most immediate route. From what I can tell Amazon really helps out self-publishing people these days.

Since I am sure someone will ask, no the bishop has not disciplined me. So no horror stories to report!

So at some point in the future, ideally by next week I have an update on that. For now I will simply leave the 15 chapter titles(excluding the introduction and epilogue)

  1. Testimony of Jesus Christ
  2. God’s Mouthpiece
  3. Two churches only
  4. Miracles and signs that follow
  5. Circumcision and the abuse of the least among you – split into two chapters
  6. Tithing, and Fine clothing, and robbing the poor
  7. Testimony meetings and their failure to testify of Christ
  8. General boredom and failure of teachers
  9. Priesthood problems
  10. Baptism
  11. Sacrament
  12. The Corporation
  13. Sustaining and common consent
  14. Women speaking and in leadership
  15. Are we truly serious against Satan?

These are the 15 primary topics addressed and I link them together. I believe it is these linking of topics, and even talking about certain topics, that sets this book apart from the usual books and blogs that address these things.

In any event, have a blessed day and let’s bring some more life to this blog!

Doctrine of Christ Conference Update


stgeorgearea

Doctrine of Christ Conference

March 18th – 19th 2017 — St. George, Utah, USA

The website at DoctrineofChristConference.com is being updated with the following information on February 27, 2017

About this Conference

The idea for this spring conference came after the September 2016 Boise Doctrine of Christ Conference where an amazing thing happened – people said they felt something entirely new and different there. For the first time, after so many years of hearing about Zion and reading about Zion, some of us found real hope that we really can learn to love each other enough to live together in a city of peace.

That’s what the Doctrine of Christ Conference in Boise gave us, and that’s what we pray that the St. George Doctrine of Christ Conference will become to those who gather there this spring. Every detail of what we have planned and sacrificed in order to make this conference happen is to invite our Lord to be present, again, and to feel that sweet spirit of fellowship that makes life worth living.

Who we are

We are a few friends and believers in the Doctrine of Christ as taught in The Book of Mormon. We are not a formal organization or fellowship.

This conference is non-denominational and is not affiliated with any organized religion. There is no specific group hosting this event – we’re all just individuals contributing our time and effort to make this happen. The heavy lifting for the web site, and technical help with sound and recording comes from some of the Boise folks who did it before and are kind enough to do it again so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We thank them sincerely.

Location

We chose Southern Utah for several reasons. One is for the sheer beauty of the place. Another good reason is the warmer spring weather in the Southern Utah area. But proximity to our friends in California, Arizona and Nevada was most important to us, since St. George is about halfway between them and our North Idaho and Canadian friends. Having this conference at the crossroads will, we hope, make it a little easier for those who were unable to make the drive to Boise. God brought us together, we want to stay together.

Spring break is a tough time to find room at the inn in this area. Hopefully, if you haven’t yet booked a room you can still find a place nearby in the surrounding areas of Mesquite, La Verkin, Hurricane, Cedar City, or Parowan.

Please make your reservations ASAP.

With what we anticipate being shared in the presentations at this conference,

and also the spirit which will attend it, we encourage you to expend any effort to come if you are impressed to do so, in spite of difficulty. There is a place provided on the website for you to request help, or to provide help for those who are requesting lodging, but please be aware that options are very limited. The organizers are few in number but will do what we can to assist.

The timing and the date of this conference

Spring Equinox is a time each year when light begins to overcome the darkness

of winter. This is the perfect time to gather again with old friends, to make new friends, and to rejoice in the light of new revelations coming forth in our day. The conference presentations of Saturday March 18th, and Sunday March 19th will provide a natural transition into the actual day of Equinox: Monday, March 20, 2017.

The planners had originally envisioned organizing a conference sunrise service at the Parowan Gap Monday morning, but have decided instead to focus all logistical time and resources on the speaking and Sacrament sessions of the conference. We leave it to individuals and families to create the Parowan Gap sunrise experience on their own. Maps of Parowan Gap and other interesting local areas will be available at the welcome tables at both venues.

The venues  

As we first contemplated organizing this conference and searched for locations, the impression came to go big or go home. We knew we needed to plan for at least a thousand people, probably more since general press releases will go out in Las Vegas, St. George and Salt Lake City.

There are many considerations for a group this size, especially for families with small children. The Cox Center for the Performing Arts seemed perfect. There’s seating for 1,200, an easy access location, good parking, clean accessible restrooms, and great acoustics for speakers and recording. There is a carpeted foyer for toddlers to roam, and piped sound and video to the foyer for any overflow crowd.

The Cox Center is on the campus of Dixie State University and therefore alcohol is not allowed on the premises. It’s a great place for speakers, but we found that there was just no way to do a conference Sacrament service there.

We wanted to be able to provide a place where the Sacrament with wine could be served, so we had to rent a separate “wine friendly” place. That’s the reason there are two venues. The Hilton Garden Inn was chosen because of proximity to Cox, and because the ballroom seats about 400. If needed, we can provide two Sacrament services, one after the other, to accommodate all of those who would like to take the Sacrament at this conference. The earlier Sacrament will start at 6:00 pm, and a second Sacrament service may be available at about 8:00 pm if there are those who were not able to take the Sacrament at 6 pm. Families with small children may want to attend the earlier Sacrament meeting. Although over 1,000 are estimated to attend, and the Cox Auditorium seats 1,200, we will only be able to accommodate 800 for Sacrament service, so please be prompt.

The Hilton charges a $5.00 per bottle (or per canning jar) “corkage” fee for any wine brought from outside, so we are asking that families please do not bring your own wine to this Sacrament meeting. All bread, wine and grape juice will be provided.

We have secured the Hilton from 8 am to 10 pm Saturday as a general meeting and gathering place. After the last Sacrament there will be time available for socializing at the Hilton until 10 pm. Although a welcome table will be available and there will be greeters there off and on during the day Saturday, the Hilton is not available to us on Sunday.

When we got the actual cost figures for renting The Cox Center for the Performing Arts and the Hilton Garden Inn we were nearly overwhelmed. We were trying to figure out how in the world we could possibly do this when a donor stepped up and provided the cash contribution which enabled us to secure both places under contract. Of course that person wishes to remain anonymous, but we hope that when he/she is sitting there in the audience surrounded by all of us experiencing the blessing of being able to witness this event, the magnitude of the effect of that generosity will warm the heart and soul of our donor.

There are significant costs associated with any large event like this. We’re not out of the woods yet and are doing our best to cover the remainder of the costs of the venues, all the Sacrament bread and wine for 800+ people, program printing, etc.

We could sure use your help to cover these costs. Anything you can contribute is needed. On the web page at DoctrineofChrist.com is a place to contribute, if you can. Please know that after basic conference costs are covered 100% of all extra funds will go directly to those in need of financial assistance.

Saturday morning baptisms

We have scheduled 9:00 am for baptisms at Ivins Reservoir, in order to allow time to get back to St. George, dress, eat lunch and make it to the Cox Auditorium for the start of the Saturday conference at 1:00 pm. But baptisms can of course be any day or time which you prefer.

There are other places around the area for living water baptisms. One warm springs pool is close by has a steep trail down to it. (See notes at the end for detail.) Maps and information will be available at the welcome tables, and from contacting the Born of Water web host directly yourself, which we encourage you to do if you have any questions. That link is listed on the website.

Ivins Reservoir is about 12 miles from St. George, and is easily accessible for baptisms at any time. It’s a public place, so there may possibly be others there, but that’s not very likely at 9 am in March. The water is quite refreshing (OK, really cold). There are no public restrooms but we’re planning for a tent to be there for changing and dressing. If you think you may want to be baptized, please bring your own extra towels. Someone with authority from Jesus Christ will be at Ivins Reservoir at 9:00 am to baptize you if you have not brought someone yourself. (There will not be anyone standing by at other baptism sites besides Ivins.) Information on how to get to Ivins Reservoir is posted on the web site.

The Speakers and the Program

After a lot of prayer, and our willingness to let the Lord indicate who the speakers should be – each one of the speakers became an obvious choice to contribute their particular perspective on an aspect of The Doctrine of Christ.

Their topics and speaking order will be listed in a later update. For now we have confirmed the following as speakers; Rob and Quintina BearChief Adolfo, Denver Snuffer, Karen Strong, Jeanene Custer, John Pratt, Chris Hamill, and Paul Durham. There may be others to come.

All conference speakers will be recorded, and their talks will be made available on the Doctrine of Christ Conference website at a later date. Where possible, transcripts of talks will also be made available. Denver Snuffer’s talk may also be available on his website in audio and transcript form at a later date.

All conference prayers will be by invitation. Various musical numbers will be presented, as detailed in the printed programs which will be available at the welcome tables. There will also be congregational hymns. Testimonies at the Saturday Sacrament meeting are by inspiration and invitation. Because of time restraints there will not be an open testimony mic at this conference, but hopefully the time will soon come when that is possible.

Although starting times of each session are fixed, as noted below, we have reserved additional time at both venues in order to make the ending times flexible enough to accommodate the spirit of whatever is being presented.

Please be aware that ending times may go over what is posted in the schedule.

Both Chris Hamill and Denver Snuffer will have Q and A time in the speaking schedule. 3×5 cards for writing your questions for both Chris and Denver will be available at the welcome tables. A submission button tor questions for Denver will be active on the Doctrine of Christ website shortly.

General Schedule

Saturday, March 18

9:00 am       Baptisms

                        Ivins Reservoir

1:00 pm –      Welcome and Saturday Conference Session

4:30 pm        Cox Center for the Performing Arts

Dixie State University

325 S 700 E

St. George, Utah 84770

6:00 pm-       Sacrament Meeting/Testimonies/Music/Social Gathering

10:00 pm      Hilton Garden Inn

1731 S. Convention Center Dr.

St. George, Utah 84970

(435) 634-4100

Sunday, March 19

9:00 am –      Sunday Conference Session

1:00 pm        Cox Center for the Performing Arts

Dixie State University

325 S 700 E

St. George, Utah 84770

There will be an additional information update to the Doctrine of Christ website about a week before the conference with more detail. With what we anticipate being shared in the presentations at this conference, and also the spirit which will attend it, we encourage you to expend any effort to come if you are impressed to do so. We sincerely hope you will come and we look forward to seeing you there.

With love, and in the name of Our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ,

The St. George Doctrine of Christ Conference

Organizing Committee

 

He Shall Give You Another Comforter


request-baptismI had expected to spend this Saturday in what I anticipated to be an all-day project for work. About a half hour into the project, it became evident I needed to be onsite to accomplish the many required tasks, thus I turned to pondering and study instead.

I began to ponder a running text dialog with a long-time reader. He seemed agitated, troubled and bothered by something that, to me, seemed perfectly clear and with which I was at peace. It had to do with the physical feelings that accompany The Comforter.

Personal Knowledge

I will not quote any scriptures. I simply wish to share my own thoughts and express gratitude to the Lord for teaching me over a lifetime of experience of the reality of the Holy Ghost, and how I experience his influence in my heart and in my mind.

I know when I am being taught by the Lord. Ideas flow into my mind that lead to faith in Christ. They are often accompanied by feelings of comfort and peace. On occasion, the power of the Holy Ghost upon me was so strong as to cause me to be overcome.

Physical Sensation

Yes, I mean with emotion – that sweet peaceful feeling that all is well in spite of the turmoil and trouble around me. The feeling, for me, is both physical and emotional. In others words, the phrase “burning of the bosom” has real significance to me.

There is a tangible warmth in my heart, in the area of my chest that is stronger when I pray, study, serve, bless or participate in an ordinance such as the sacrament or a baptism. I know what I am describing is common to many people, but not to some.

The Presence of Christ

My friend becomes agitated when I try to explain that I have had this gift, and yes it is a gift, for about as long as I can remember. The physical sensation of warmth is sometimes accompanied by a feeling of vibration in my spirit and of an aching in my bones.

I have written previously about being in the presence of Christ, and knowing it. I have heard his voice declare his love for me and ask me to do things that I simply would not have thought to do on my own. I felt free to not do the thing and still feel loved.

Spirit of Revelation

I was also shown what would happen if I did the difficult thing, and knew He would comfort me to endure the consequences of following the prompting. He has been true to His word. There is no doubt I am lonely and yet, I am not. He abides with me.

Does this make sense? I’ll tell you why I think this is so. It is because I exercised faith, was baptized, and believed the Lord’s promise that the Father would give me another comforter. This is the doctrine of Christ: to believe, to be baptized and receive.

Receive The Holy Ghost

Receive what? Receive the comforter. I know I am writing with very simple and basic statements. This is not new to most people who will read this, but to my friend, who has not been baptized, it is agitating. It is not a difficult concept. It simply takes faith.

I don’t want to make this long. With my friend, he keeps wanting to focus on the physical. I guess if you’ve never felt it before, it can be difficult to accept and believe. But the Lord promises we can feel the Holy Ghost before we are baptized if we ask Him.

Baptism is the Gateway

How else could the missionaries do their work? The Lord fulfils His promises. He sends the Holy Spirit to bear record of truth. If we are asked to do something that leads to greater faith in Christ then He will bless us in some way that we each will understand.

How can it be any clearer? Once baptized, simply obey what the Lord said: “Receive the Holy Ghost.” He is real. The Comforter is real. And yes, sometimes, many times, most times for me, I feel a physical sensation of warmth in spite of what others say.

A Constant Companion

My friend, I hope you will read this in the spirit it is intended. I mean you no harm. I have only words to persuade. But when I speak or write the truth, as I have here, God will make it known unto you in plain and simple ways so you can understand it.

God bless you my friend. I know you are desperate. You have told me so. I know you are lonely. You can have The Comforter as your constant companion. I am nearly sixty years old and still continue to feel the sweet peace from this wonderful gift of God.

Loss and Loneliness

I am sorry for your loss. I do not know what it is like to be alone or not have someone I can turn to when I am hurting. I am so, so very grateful to my wife for her loving companionship, but the peace I feel from the Holy Ghost surpasses all understanding.

I forgive you for lashing out in anger and pray God’s love to be upon you. Go get baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. Show the Lord you are serious. Baptism is the sign He recognizes. Once you take that step, I promise you your life will change.

Talking With God

How do I know? Because you are so serious when we discuss the subject. I know you are searching. I know you want this. Prayer is so much easier when the Lord gives you the words to say. This too is a part of the Gift of the Holy Ghost – Inspiration.

My friend, I pray for you every night. I pray you will focus on the things that are important and repent, which means to simply discard the false beliefs you hold in your heart about what God requires of you. He simply asks you to love and trust Him. Shalom.

Therefore Shall a Man Cleave Unto His Wife


sealing-room-altarOn September 13 2014, I submitted a letter of resignation from the LDS Church to my local leader. I had thought long and hard about my decision and confirmed it in prayer several times. What I did not do was to tell my wife in advance of my action, but I think she saw it coming. If you understand what the LDS Church teaches about temple marriages, you will agree with me Carol is indeed a wonderful woman.

For those who don’t know, the LDS Church teaches the most important thing a man and woman can do in this life is to marry in an LDS Temple and remain married throughout their mortal lives. Carol has the advantage in this situation. She did not resign from the LDS Church, therefore, it is believed and taught she will be given to or allowed to choose any worthy man who remains faithful in the kingdom of Heaven.

I, on the other hand, am damned forever, according to LDS doctrine, unless I repent, renounce what I have done, subscribe again to the baptismal requirements, am baptized again as a member of the LDS Church, and eventually, after a long period of probation, have my temple blessings restored, a process which requires authorization from the First Presidency or the highest leadership of the LDS Church.

Traditions of Their Fathers

SaltLakeTempleNightI have detailed this previously, but to summarize, Carol is a fifth-generation member of the LDS Church. On the other hand, my family are converts from the 1960’s, with only two out of the eight considered active today, my parents having passed on in the last decade. They had informally left the church earlier. Tradition is a powerful influence in Carol’s spiritual life, which I believe I understand and deeply respect.

Sometimes I am simply amazed at the depth of Carol’s love of the Lord and tolerance for me. If you can put yourself in her shoes for a moment, I’m sure you can understand the loss she has suffered. On ward temple night, she goes alone. She knows I partake of the sacrament using wine. The very idea of wine in her home has deep personal repugnance, her grandfather having lost his legs and died as an alcoholic.

She often comments, wondering aloud really, why those who leave the church are so vocal in their comments about how anyone could belong to such a deluded organization. It hurts her to hear or read such material. She has seen it firsthand from some of the people I have chosen to associate with in various fellowship groups. I feel similarly about some things said by LDS members and Church leaders.

Study, Ponder, Pray

libraryfrontroom.jpg

I still attend our main church meeting with Carol each Sunday. She asked this of me and I still dearly love so many of our friends we have associated with over the years. It is difficult at times to hear what I now consider subtle innuendos and even outright lies from the pulpit (I don’t attend classroom activities), from good people who have NOT studied things out and are simply repeating what others have said.

I considered myself an orthodox Mormon for all my life. I served an LDS mission at age nineteen. I met my wife through the LDS Church Young Single Adult program and married in the temple shortly after. As is fairly normal, I served for over twenty-five years in various teaching and leadership positions and did my best to make my private worship practice something that would give me spiritual strength each day.

I am a computer professional and spend almost all day every day on the Internet. It is a part of my job. When I take breaks I would go read what others were writing about the LDS Church and participate in the ongoing dialog on many of the blogs and chat groups. I like to consider myself well-read, or at least I can say I have contributed a lot of money to Deseret Book over the years in building my well-stocked library.

Hearing the Voice of the Lord

ezekial-chariotThe subjects of my blog were almost always on my mind for eight years. I thought about, studied about and wrote about the basic history and doctrines in a manner I hoped would be helpful to those who were serious about learning more about the LDS faith. Of course, as anyone can tell you who has done a serious study of Mormon history, the LDS Church white-washed, covered up and lied about much of it.

I have been pondering the idea of seeking re-admittance to the LDS Church. Why would I do such a thing? Mainly to strengthen my marriage. “Don’t do it for me,” Carol says. She is right. So I continue to ponder, pray and study. My greatest desire is to do the will of the Lord. We each have spiritual gifts. I like to think I have at least some sensitivity to the voice of the Lord. In other words, I hear His voice.

This is not a unique claim, one that has certain requirements of course, but is highly sought after by most members of the LDS Church I know. If a Mormon says to you, “I don’t want to hear the voice of the Lord,” I would translate that to mean, “I don’t want to do what I’m afraid I might hear,” Likewise, it is, or was, a long-time aspiration of faithful Mormons to come into the presence of the resurrected Lord.

Receive the Second Comforter

carl_bloch_the_christThis idea – embracing the Lord as a mortal – is a hot topic of debate today, at least among those who think it has significance. Some have told me, “It doesn’t matter. Just endure to the end and all will be well.” Did we not at one time teach it is worth any sacrifice to embrace the Lord while yet in this life? That’s the debate: Should we seek to come into the presence of the Lord? Or simply endure to the end?

Those who quote Joseph (and I’m certain I’ve shared this quote a dozen times on this blog), are looked upon by most as being quacks. The correlated material found in the LDS manuals today does not include this doctrine of seeking an audience with the Lord. This is the main doctrine I studied for two years before I decided I didn’t want to be part of an organization that almost NEVER brought this up.

“Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him,

“Potshots at the Brethren”

quorum-twelve-april-2016“and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions–Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn.”  TPJS, 149-151

Well, actually, there was much more to my decision that this. I met with my Bishop for a year to discuss my concerns. I was serving in the Stake Presidency at the time. He didn’t seem to have any problems with my questions. I figure he just accepted such things as part of my private gospel study. One time I quoted a General Authority saying we needn’t be concerned with this specific doctrine. My bishop reacted.

I won’t say he was upset. He’s a good man in control of his emotions. His statement, as I recall and recorded it, is that I was “taking potshots at the Brethren.” That got me thinking. Why is this doctrine so divisive? Is it not desirable? Does it not motivate? I will say, without a doubt, the idea of coming into the presence of the Lord is a thousand times more motivating to me than the idea of regular temple service.

Teaching the Word of the Lord

LDSChurchOfficeBuildingI want to have the Lord abide with me. That is the promise of the Second Comforter. I will do anything asked of the Lord to obtain this goal. It befuddles and amazes me when good brethren in my High Priest group told me I was wrong to bring this subject up, that enduring to the end is ALL that is required. That was the last time I attended a High Priest Group meeting. It seems their minds are made up forever.

I am saddened by the reports I read of husbands writing they will no longer be participating in some of the online groups that are out there – the ones Elder Ballard said in which we should be involved. I have also made that decision. I do not comment on the blogs anymore and I rarely write one. The reason given? The wife holds the upper hand. Divorce is threatened. “You teach correlated stuff or you’re out of here.” * See my comment below. This is NOT quoting Carol but was shared by an online friend in sorrow.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and cleave unto his wife. He has a responsibility to lead his family in righteousness. It is a sad thing we have relegated that responsibility as to what we believe to those who write the correlated doctrinal manuals that are used in the LDS Church today. The word of the Lord should come from God and the head of the family, not from some committee writings.

 

High on a Mountain Top


mountain-altarBirthdays, in my opinion, are wonderful opportunities for reflecting and pondering upon one’s life achievements up to the point of that birthday. On the occasion of my birthday last month, I did just that…I pondered. I sat and thought about what I had accomplished and what I was doing with life that is of benefit to others, my own family being the primary recipients in mind.

One of the ideas for pondering that came forcibly to mind was that of my health. I am grateful for my life and have always thanked the Lord for intervening in both preserving it and warning me when I am in danger of losing it. On the day of my birthday last month, I began a tradition that I have been attempting to maintain each Saturday since – that of climbing some mountain.

Those who are my Facebook friends will have seen some of the photos I have posted of those excursions, each being a bit more strenuous than the last, this last Saturday being no exception. There were moments in my descent from the heights in which the Lord, almost audibly, said to me, “Get on your butt and scoot down the trail before you find yourself flying head over heels.”

Hearing the Voice of the Lord

daymon-smith-skeletorI will always think of Daymon Smith when I bring up the voice of the Lord. His introduction of the possibility that the voice I hear is simply my own conscious occurs to me on occasions such as this, but to make the matter plain in this case, it was indeed the Lord – my Heavenly Father – warning me with love and yet strong emphasis: “Be careful. I love you. Don’t lose your life.”

In any event, I have been climbing mountains almost every Saturday over the past five weeks. “Why?” you ask? To get closer to the Lord or course. Now I know one does not NEED to climb a mountain to speak with the Lord. Still, there I go, looking for yet another place where I can be high above the earth, alone and away from others nearby who may happen to hear my words.

I found such a spot this last week and intend to return next week or the week after. I asked the Lord if He was pleased with my search. He confirmed. “Speak with confidence, my son,” and I did so. I thought I might share a few thoughts about the idea of calling upon the Lord in mighty prayer. For me, it requires that confidence of being away from others and up on a mountain.

Hiking in the Mountains

philmont-scout-ranchIt doesn’t have to be that way. For some reason I’ve somehow always been a hiker. As a youth, my longest excursion took me 59 miles into Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico. Of course I was much younger then but I have similar fond memories of hiking up the Pacific Crest backbone in the San Gabriel Mountains to Mt. Baden Powell – a 3,000 foot climb over 8 miles.

Why do men climb mountains? I don’t know. I only know my purposes: to be alone, to be close to the Lord and to raise my voice in prayer, to “cry mightily” unto to Lord. I loved camp-outs during my Boy Scout years. I would stare for hours at the stars before falling asleep. I was in awe of such grandeur and the idea of such distances the light had travelled to reach my eyes.

I suppose it comes from the image of Moses ascending the mountain to see the Lord. In the Old Testament times, before temples were built, men approached the Lord at the top of mountains. I also think of Enos, who, although he was not on a mountain, sought the Lord in solitude. We know Nephi was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain.

High on a Mountain Top

nephi-visionWouldn’t that be something – to be carried away by the Lord to a high solitary place to hold a sacred conversation? Again, I’m not saying you need to go climb a mountain to achieve the goal of hearing the voice of the Lord. For me, it brings security, peace, trust and confidence. Joseph Smith sought the grove, sacred to their family, early in the morning, to reach out to his Father.

As I’m sure most of you have, I have heard the voice of the Lord. It is unmistakable. Some call it our conscious, others our inner spirit, or guiding light. I recall conversations with my Heavenly Father when I was a teenager, answering my prayers and directing my actions when asked. At times, the Lord was clear He preferred I NOT participate in the activities of others around me.

I think we might be surprised if we really think and ponder just how much our Heavenly Father really is involved in our lives. Sometimes I have a running conversation that lasts for days as I work on some complex project at work. Other times, His voice has been clear in enticing me to stay away from certain activities. A common thread deals with my need to repent more often.

The Hidden Trail

end-of-the-roadWhen I reached what I thought was the end of the road on my hike Saturday, I looked to see if I could continue hiking down and across the canyon in front of me. No way. I asked out loud, “It this the spot?” No voice, but an impression came to look to the right. There was a small trail, most likely used by the local wildlife to get to the top. “Ah, ha.” I began the long, steep ascent.

Halfway to the top I came upon a small clearing, not quite a meadow but no longer ascending. I immediately knew this was the spot. I could come to this place anytime for privacy and to feel that nobody would hear me if I were to raise my voice and cry unto the Lord in mighty prayer. I felt a sense of exhilaration and rejoicing. It seemed I had been looking for this place for years.

The wonderful thing is, it is close to my home – within a fifteen-minute drive – and less than an hour along the trail, giving me plenty of time to think about what I want to say to the Lord. The area is flat enough I could build an altar there if I wanted to, but I feel in my heart that it will be some time before I do so, IF I choose to do so. One reason of course is it is in public wilderness.

Making a Living Can Be Stressful

avjet-hangarI’m going to Moab, Utah in a few weeks to associate with some friends, observe the Sabbath and to partake of the Sacrament. At first Carol had agreed to go with me but has a conflict with a writing seminar. I’m not sure how comfortable she would be with wine in place of water we use in the Sacrament. It will be good to get away from all the stress of my work at the airport.

For those who don’t know, my company was bought by a subsidiary of a Fortune 100 company. I swore I would never work for a public company again – I despise audits – but am excited at the opportunity to help the owner of the company I have been with for the past eleven years as he starts his new company. I enjoy building new things and making technology work like it should.

I recognize this has been a long, rambling post. I simply wanted to share how grateful I am the Lord hears and answers our prayers even though it can sometimes take years. I have long felt the need for a spot to build an altar, a spot I could hold sacred, a spot I could pray in voz alta. The Lord has answered my many prayers and shown me a place that He would find acceptable.

Cry Mightily Unto the Lord

brotherofjaredI believe that may be why we feel some of our prayers are not answered. Perhaps we are too timid in what we offer to the Lord. When speaking out loud, when we “cry mightily,” we are led by the Lord in what would be for our best good. He knows what we need. Somehow, when we put our heart into it as implied by “cry mightily,” our spirits seem to be more in tune with His will.

But then, I have felt the same thing when pondering and meditating ever so quietly. I guess it just depends on what your spirit needs at that particular moment. I only know there are times I felt compelled to pray with great passion – to cry mightily – and have felt restrained even in my own home, and even then concern over what the neighbors may think can easily hold me back.

I encourage you to find your own sacred place where you can cry mightily to the Lord. Perhaps you have concerns that others would think you in need of medical or psychiatric assistance. Another good place that comes to mind is way out in the desert, far from any habitation, a place that perhaps took an hour took to reach. I know some such places down in the St. George area.

The Lord Might Drive Us Into the Desert

Adam-and-EveI am confident the Lord can and will drive any of us into the desert to some spot He has picked out for us, a place where we can raise our voices in mighty prayer and come to know His will. He is anxious to answer. He will give even inspire us with words or phrases that will help us come into the state of mind or being that allows us to receive answers clearly and confidently.

May God bless each of us to find our own mountain top to commune with our Heavenly Father.

Your Bill Is Coming Due.


PaymentDueThroughout this post, the JST ( http://centerplace.org/hs/iv/ ) is made use of instead of the KJV.

If you agree that Jesus spoke the words attributed to him in the Book of Mormon and in the Bible, and if you agree that by entering into the waters of baptism you have entered into a covenant to be obedient to him until the end of your life, or if you have partaken of the sacrament, then you have witnessed unto God, the Father, that you are willing to keep the commandments of the Lord.

Moroni 4:3 O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.

JST John 14

15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;

17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

18 I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.

19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me; because I live, ye shall live also.

20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

22 Judas saith unto him, (not Iscariot,) Lord, how is it thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings; and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

If you love Jesus, keep his commandments.  You love Jesus if, and only if, you keep his commandments.  If you keep his commandments, he will come to you, and he will bring the Father to you.

Doctrine and Covenants 130:3 John 14:23—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 visit spoken of is literal, and in this world.

D&C 132

21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to [my] glory.

22 For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.

23 But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also.

24 This is eternal lives—to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he. Receive ye, therefore, my law.

25 Broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to the deaths; and many there are that go in thereat, because they receive me not, neither do they abide in my law.

Remember, the idea that one receives Jesus in one’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.  To receive Jesus therefore means to take him into your home, or to embrace him physically.  If you do not thus receive him in the world, then you do not know him, and you do not receive exaltation.  If you thus receive him in the world, then you know him, and will receive exaltation.

Putting it all together, you love Jesus if, and only if, you keep his commandments.  If you keep his commandments, he will come to you, and you will take him into your home, or embrace him physically.  If you thus receive him, he will bring the Father to you, and you will receive your exaltation.

Doctrine and Covenants 82:10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.

If you do not keep his commandments, you have no promise of any of these things.

Doctrine and Covenants 130:21 [W]hen we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

So what are the commandments of the Lord?  For brevity, here is the shortest version.

JST Luke 6

20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed are the poor; for theirs is the kingdom of God.

21 Blessed are they who hunger now; for they shall be filled. Blessed are they who weep now; for they shall laugh.

22 Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from among them, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.

23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy; for behold your reward shall be great in heaven; for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

24 But woe unto you that are rich! For ye have received your consolation.

25 Woe unto you who are full! For ye shall hunger. Woe unto you who laugh now! For ye shall mourn and weep.

26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets.

27 But I say unto you who hear my words, Love your enemies, do good to them who hate you.

28 Bless them who curse you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you.

29 And unto him who smiteth thee on the cheek, offer also the other; or, in other words, it is better to offer the other, than to revile again. And him who taketh away thy cloak, forbid not to take thy coat also.

30 For it is better that thou suffer thine enemy to take these things, than to contend with him. Verily I say unto you, Your heavenly Father who seeth in secret, shall bring that wicked one into judgment.

31 Therefore give to every man who asketh of thee; and of him who taketh away thy goods, ask them not again.

32 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

33 For if ye love them only who love you, what reward have you? For sinners also do even the same.

34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what reward have you? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great; and ye shall be the children of the Highest; for he is kind unto the unthankful, and to the evil.

36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned; forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.

38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal, it shall be measured to you again.

39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?

40 A disciple is not above his master; but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

41 And why beholdest thou the mote which is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam which is in thine own eye?

42 Again, how canst thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam which is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote which is in thy brother’s eye.

43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit;

44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.

45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth that which is good. And an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart, bringeth forth that which is evil; for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

46 And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like.

48 He is like a man who built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock, and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it; for it was founded upon a rock.

49 But he who heareth and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

These teachings are repeated three times throughout scripture.  Three times.  Thrice.

 3 Nephi 12:20 Therefore come unto me and be ye saved; for verily I say unto you, that except ye shall keep my commandments, which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Are you keeping these sayings of Jesus?  Are you performing them daily?  Are you giving to every man that asketh?  Are you lending to all, not hoping to receive again?  Are you returning reviling for reviling, or are you patiently enduring abuse?

These are, after all, the things you witnessed unto God that you are willing to do.

And, remember further, great promises are offered to those who both do and teach.

JST Matthew 5:21 Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so to do, he shall in no wise be saved in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach these commandments of the law until it be fulfilled, the same shall be called great, and shall be saved in the kingdom of heaven.

Whoever breaks the least of these commandments, and teaches men to do likewise, are promised they shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven, while those who both do them and teach them are promised they shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.

JST Luke 14

25 And when he had finished these sayings, he departed thence, and there went great multitudes with him, and he turned and said unto them,

26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, or husband, yea and his own life also; or in other words, is afraid to lay down his life for my sake, cannot be my disciple.

27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

28 Therefore, settle this in your hearts, that ye will do the things which I shall teach, and command you.

29 For which of you intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have money to finish his work?

30 Lest, unhappily, after he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish his work, all who behold, begin to mock him,

31 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. And this he said, signifying there should not any man follow him, unless he was able to continue; saying,

32 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand, to meet him who cometh against him with twenty thousand.

33 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an embassage, and desireth conditions of peace.

34 So likewise, whosoever of you forsaketh not all that he hath he cannot be my disciple.

He meant it.  And do not think to claim that by your loyalty to the prophets and apostles of the Church, or any others, that you can bypass the requirements Jesus has set.

35 Then certain of them came to him saying, Good Master, we have Moses and the prophets, and whosoever shall live by them, shall he not have life?

36 And Jesus answered, saying, Ye know not Moses, neither the prophets; for if ye had known them, ye would have believed on me; for to this intent they were written. For I am sent that ye might have life. Therefore I will liken it unto salt which is good;

37 But if the salt had lost its savor, wherewith shall it be seasoned?

38 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dung hill; men cast it out. He who hath ears to hear, let him hear. These things he said, signifying that which was written, verily must all be fulfilled.

So likewise if you keep not his sayings, even while claiming loyalty to prophets, you are as salt that has lost its savor, a covenant people claiming Jesus for king yet not obeying the king’s laws, and therefore are covenant-breakers, good for nothing but to be cast out.

Those who teach you that you owe less to the Lord than you have covenanted to do are the unjust steward, who will be sharing lodging with you in everlasting habitations if you agree with them (see JST Luke 16).  Time is short, and your bill is coming due.

Therefore, do not procrastinate the day of your fulfillment of your own words, covenants, witnesses, or agreements, but begin today to keep the commandments of the Lord that he delivered by his own voice to his people, that you may be accounted faithful in all things.

 Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain [bring into your home] strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unaware.

And who knows but that the angel in disguise might be the Lord himself, seeing if you are one of his disciples.

The Rules of the Contest


the-contestHow easy it is to be misunderstood. People often jump to conclusions so quickly. Even things close friends write in response to a post can be way out of line. It becomes clear to see where an individual stands in fulfilling one the most important parts of friendship. Or maybe I’m such a damned poor writer I am unable to get my thoughts across as clear as I once believed I could.

I was raised with four sisters. I learned way too late in my teenage years how important it is to be kind to those you love. My brother and I were rough with each other but never worried about hurting each other’s feelings. Hell, he was a U.S. Marine, gone from home at age seventeen so he wasn’t around when I was a teenager. It was from my sisters I learned a fundamental key of life.

Kindness, non-judgment, and expressions of compassion are character traits real men can learn and use all their lives. Men who master these traits will have a great advantage over those who push their way through life with a mean, rough exterior being exhibited as their primary persona. Learning how to listen and hear a person out is not the exclusive domain of women in our lives.

The Glory of God is Intelligence

glory-of-god-is-intelligenceThe most intelligent man I know is also the best listener. In fact, when I think of him, his ability to hear and understand me are the first things that come to mind. He seems to know my mind on any given subject even before I do. Yet he listens and never butts in when I’m explaining how I feel about something. Come to think of it, he only responds when I invite him to share his ideas.

Long-time readers know how seriously I take my religion. Perhaps too serious. I have often been counseled to lighten up. Well-meaning people with my best interests in mind have been clear on this idea. Perhaps a better word for religion would be faith. Specifically, faith in Jesus Christ. I have strong feelings about my Savior and greatly respect those who exhibit His mild demeanor.

I think gentleness best describes what I appreciate about the Savior. He truly is a gentle man. I don’t mean gentle in the sense of weak or wishy-washy, but gentle in his concern for us and how we will respond to what he asks of us. Which leads me to the focus of this post: understanding what the Lord asks of us. Sometimes, it can seem strange or even contrary to a previous request.

Timing Can Be so Important

god-is-patientFor example, in my previous post, I summarized how for several years I studied the teachings of a man I consider inspired and a servant of the Lord before taking action on an invitation to show I accepted those teachings. I stated that perhaps I had made a mistake in the way I managed this essential action. In short, I resigned my membership in the LDS Church and sought for baptism.

Because I mentioned mistake, some thought I was referring to the idea of being baptized again. Let me be clear. I don’t believe it was a mistake to be baptized again. I know many who have been re-baptized, but did it quietly, sharing their good news with only a few close friends. In my case, I also felt it was right at that time to publicize it widely. So where did I make a mistake?

I don’t feel I made a mistake in resigning from the LDS Church. I could have gone ahead and been baptized without resigning and without announcing it on my blog. Others shared they felt that was the right path for them. I didn’t feel that way then and still don’t. It seems dishonest. If anything, my mistake was in not consulting with Carol before taking such a consequential action.

A Few Definitions to Agree Upon

define-prayerSeveral individuals who I thought were trusted friends jumped all over me for that very reason. “How could you do such a thing?” they said. “What were you thinking?” another said. “Did it not occur to you how this would affect your wife?” Trust me, I pondered Carol’s response very carefully over many days. Because I trust her, I followed the promptings of the Lord in prayer.

Because it’s important, here is my definition of how the Lord answers prayer, at least for me. When I want to know the Lord’s will on something, I ask for inspiration and guidance in my thoughts, I review what I already know about the idea or subject and then I ask the Lord to make it clear what would be the best path for me – the one that is filled with the most light at that time.

In describing answers to prayers in previous posts, I have mentioned feelings, visits, visions, voices, dreams and promptings. I have given examples of each. The most common has been in feelings, as in, “the Spirit of the Lord pressed upon my feelings,” or “A feeling I should pursue a certain course of action continually ran through my mind so much I could see myself doing it.”

Responding to the Ultimate Authority

jesus-teaching1I was surprised at the number of private emails I received in response to this last post. Perhaps the individuals didn’t want others to know how they felt about my post. After all, it *appeared* I was saying I wanted to be baptized again in the LDS Church. I noted I had met with my current bishop without mentioning things we discussed, limited mainly to historical and doctrinal doubts.

I suppose what I’m looking for is someone who can answer my questions and clear up doubts I have picked up over the past few years along with those I have put on the shelf from years past. I recognize the responsibility to answer these questions are mine. I own these questions. It would be unfair to anyone else to burden them with my doubts. The Savior is the ultimate authority.

In one of those private emails the individual asked, “If the Lord told you to be baptized into the LDS Church once again, would you do so?” My immediate response was in the affirmative. I love the people of my ward and stake. I hold no ill feelings toward anyone in our congregation although I’m sure there are many who are angry with me for the very public actions I have taken.

The Objective is Truth

truth-has-no-agendaAlthough this is certainly not a game, I’ve shared two rules of the contest: How, for me, prayers are answered and what actions should be taken when such prayers are clearly answered. May I introduce a third rule? Truth is the objective in this competition. I am not interested in being part of a group whose goal is to create loyal followers or congregants who fit their idea of fellowship.

I am seeking truth. I don’t believe truth is subjective based on who is telling the story. I’m not in this for the social benefits, although there are clearly many such benefits. I appreciate the idea that fellowship is required in order to serve one another that our burdens may be light. I love to worship together in song and prayer. The gifts of the spirit are given to strengthen one another.

Perhaps I can leave you with something to ponder to demonstrate the objective of truth. In 3 Ne 11, the Lord taught the requirements of baptism are to repent and to become as a little child. He also said, “And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock.” Now look at the second baptismal question.

Come Follow Me, the Savior Said

come-follow-meWho has the right to set the requirements for baptism? We are entering into a covenant with our Savior, with Jesus Christ. Why is it a requirement of salvation to accept a man as an intermediary between us and Christ? I’m not trying to trick anyone here. I simply want to know. It just doesn’t seem right. Christ was clear what he taught in 3 Ne 11, at least it’s clear to me as I pray about it.

We follow the Lord. He has the power to save us. No man, as far as I can tell, can do anything to redeem us from hell. That’s why I was baptized again. I was not baptized into a Church. I was not baptized to demonstrate allegiance to any man. I was baptized to demonstrate my acceptance of the doctrine to follow Christ. Adding to these requirements is evil. Or so the Savior has said.

I wish I had the power to open the eyes of the people to see what we have done. We have set a man in the place of Christ. I know that sounds harsh, but this is the first question I would need to have resolved before I would consider accepting baptism in the LDS Church. That question and several others would need to be removed from the baptismal interview. Does this not seem clear?

%d bloggers like this: