Faith, Sacrifice and Making a Living


 

avjet_wwii_smallSeveral readers have asked me if I am still blogging. The answer is no, even though this is a new post. To me, blogging is writing often, like two or three times a week, and spending considerable thought and research on the subject. Active blogging also involves promotion in order to increase your readership. I did that for many years, but now I write just to share observations on occasion.

Something I have noticed over the past few years is how much sacrifice the Lord asks of us. He asks kindly, but can be rather insistent at times. Agency is honored, but if we think about what the Lord is trying to accomplish, He is more than willing to provide glimpses of what He has in mind. That’s a general rule I’ve noted. Sometimes, it’s a strong impression with no explanation.

May I share an example that may help? Even if everyone who reads this responds that what I have written is benign and obvious, I feel the need to share, to be sure I understand the trial through which I am passing. We all have trials, don’t we? I think I’ve shared in a previous post of the strong, very strong and unusual impression I received to resign from my employment early last year.

BTW, the picture above is where I have worked for the past twelve years. Obviously, the picture was taken during WWII. My office is in the front middle hangar. We have two server rooms, tied together with 10Gb fiber, with onsite and offsite redundant backup. It has been a wonderful place to work, but the daily commute is a killer.

The Cardinal Rule

servers1It’s been drilled into me all my life that the husband in a marriage has the responsibility to provide for his family, both temporarily and spiritually. I’ve had a good career, but to resign from a lucrative position after twelve years without any other prospect in sight is breaking a cardinal rule in the process. Men think mostly about their work. It’s always on our minds.

I enjoy my work. I’m a computer generalist, meaning I have a broad knowledge of a lot of things related to computers, networks and managing technical projects and people. But I’m also a bit of a specialist in many areas such as ensuring disaster recovery, removing viruses, blocking spam and administering networks, especially through VMWare and Microsoft Active Directory.

Enough of the boring stuff. The point of this post is you don’t break the cardinal rule when you feel the urge to change jobs. That is exactly what the Lord asked of me last year. My employer was bought out and I felt, through the process of prayer, that the Lord wanted me to leave that company, for reasons which I’ve explained in my last post. So I gave a good six month notice.

Assurance from the Lord

linkedin-timmalone1I hesitated several months after the company was sold before I gave my notice. I kept thinking, “I can’t do this. I don’t have anything else lined up and I’m too young to retire.” But the Lord is insistent. The impression continued for months. Finally, to my wife’s dismay, I resigned and reported back to the Lord. His response? Wait. He asked me to wait until the end of the year.

Wait for what? I was to wait to begin my job search. Carol and I prayed every morning and night for the faith to be patient. We asked continually for the Lord to show us the path, prepare the way and open a door when the time came to begin the search in earnest. That day came just after Christmas last year. You can read about it in my last post. In the meantime I worked and prayed.

The day after I posted about Preserving the Fruit of the Restoration, which fruit I believe to be marriages, I received a text from a long-time reader indicating he felt impressed to contact me about an opportunity, which by the way, involved moving to a foreign country. At first I dismissed it, but each night in prayer the Lord asked if I had responded to this individual yet.

A Whirlwind Journey

passport1The Lord really is patient with us, but He can be very insistent. Finally I reached out to my reader and he began the process of sharing what he had in mind. I was very intrigued. I was invited to visit the company, which is not based in my home state of California, and spend some time in interviews and meetings. At the end of the week, I had an amazing offer in my hand.

I was invited back for a week of training, made travel arrangements, and waited. Imagine my surprise when I received a call from the HR Manager five days before I was to begin my journey informing me the offer had been rescinded. The call came as Carol and I were in the car so she heard the entire conversation. Gratefully, she bit her tongue as I tried to salvage the deal.

Wow. What a shock. We had arrived at home and sat in the car numbed by what had just taken place. How could this happen? We had a written offer. I had given up a month of my search time in preparing for travel out of country – renewing my passport, starting the process of packing, and in general wrapping our heads around the idea of living in a completely foreign environment.

Consultation with the Lord

refinersfire1Our scripture reading and prayer that night were especially poignant. Tears flowed as we begged the Lord to help us deal with this turn of events. Truly, the Lord will wrench our very heart strings in testing us in the refiner’s fire. Yet, we know we are made perfect through sufferings. It has been a few days. I decided to take next week off to dedicate to connecting with my network.

I have one month of gainful employment remaining. Normally this close to the end of the job, I would have something new lined up. This is surely a test. I’ve been fired two or three times in my career, each time through no fault of my own, usually due to the completion of a project. The last time it took seven months to land a job. I think I’ve described that process in a blog post.

I’ve asked the Lord privately why this happened, what I should do and what lies before us. I can honestly say this is one of those times when I know we did everything the Lord asked of us and have every right to expect his blessings in answering our many months of prayer together. The only thing I hear from the Lord when I ask is,” Be faithful. Do your part. You are being tested.”

A Common Experience

georgewashington1Obviously we are not the only couple in the world to have gone through a challenge like this. The difference is that I would never quit a job without something else lined up. Yet, the Lord asked me to do so, to step out into the unknown, to see if I trusted Him enough to provide. In some ways, this is a double test, because I thought it was nailed down. Yet now we begin anew.

The last time I was let go at the end of a computer conversion project, I fasted and went to the temple every week. I intend to follow that same plan this time, only my temple will be on the mountain top each Saturday afternoon. I can’t think of any trial that can break up a marriage faster than unemployment. Yet our scripture reading and prayers remain sacred and sweet.

I am grateful. It is an opportunity to show the Lord I trust in Him no matter what. It is so easy to give in to fears and play “What are we going to do?” That’s exactly what Satan wants. That is not the Lord’s way to deal with a challenge like this. The Lord requires the sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. I feel both. I so appreciate having my sweetheart standing at my side.

One last note

christianreformation1I promised Denver I would mention the new website about the 500th anniversary of the history of the Christian Reformation. I have spent some time at the site, viewing the videos and reading the items under the tab entitled “Reformation.” It is well done, teaches truth, and makes some things so much clearer than the way I remember being taught growing up. It’s well worth your time.

www.christianreformation500years.info

…and…

www.youtube.com/channel/UC6cEtBt6U_A0oDKfQCGoCjA

God bless.

Praying on the Mountain Top


praying-on-a-mountain-topOver the last few months I have been scouting local hiking trails for places to be alone. Why? There is something about raising your voice in prayer that makes it more powerful, or at least that has been my experience. I thought I had found two such locations but each time I returned to them, they seemed desecrated – beer bottles strewn about, signs of a party, things such as that.

So I kept searching. One of the first place I went was Mt. Pinos on the Kern County line. Sadly, it was covered in snow the first time I was there. I made a promise to come back. Thursday I did so. After performing a marriage for a friend and partaking of the sacrament, I began the hike up to the top. Just before I got there, the spirit whispered, “Turn off here, go left, I will direct you.”

I was not disappointed. After less than five minutes I encountered a beautiful fallen log, with an area encircled by the log as if it were set aside for privacy. I needn’t have worried. It was 4:00 in the afternoon and I had only seen two couples on the trail. They were going down as I was going up. I knew the Lord had directed me to this place. I had been praying about it for several months.

A Quiet, Peaceful Circle

ForestLogI sat in the enclosure with my back to the tree and began to pray. I will filled with joy and desired to express it. I prayed for about a half hour. I am not sure I asked for much other than to bless my friends and family. I had much to tell the Lord. Doing so in “voz alta” seemed to give my words that extra power and direction I had been searching for. My heart was overfilled with gratitude.

It’s Sunday as I write this so I have had time to ponder what happened. No, I saw no light, was not visited by any beings from the unseen world, and did not hear any voices speaking out loud. However, and of this I am certain, the veil was thin. I was surrounded by those who loved me. I felt their love. I knew they were there. Was it all in my mind? I suppose you could say that.

So what? Did that make it any less real? Not to me. The feeling of “thinness” of the veil stayed with me all the rest of that day and into the next. I expressed it in family prayer that night. Carol looked at me a little funny. There were words I did not normally used – expressions of purpose and meaning that were strong, powerful and heart-felt. They came from this feeling of thinness.

The Elements of Prayer

minds-eyeHow can I explain it so you will understand? I’m not sure I can. I was filled with peace, joy and a sense of connection to those unseen beings all about me. It was as if they too had been waiting a long time to “make the connection” and impart something unto me I cannot describe. A think a gift would be the best word – a spiritual gift, one filled with longevity and one that would grow.

I felt the Lord was pleased. In fact, I know he was. While I did not hear audible voices, there were voices in my mind, familiar voices I had heard before, especially that of the Lord. He let me know I was on the right path. He expressed satisfaction as I thought about some of the sacrifices I had made lately. He made it clear He was aware of them and appreciated them.

Open to my mind’s eye was a vision of what the future held. This is not unusual. I have had such visions before. They are always dependent on my behavior, my actions and how hard I worked to cause them to come to pass. They were familiar, as if I had seen them before, some place or time in the distant past, others in the more recent past, meaning sometime earlier my mortal life.

The Effort is Worth it

mesa-homesWhy am I sharing this? Am I trying to impress? I hope not. My desire is to communicate the idea the Lord answers prayer, especially if we make the effort to place ourselves in a spiritual state of peace and focused relaxation. I don’t know why, but my nightly prayers simply don’t come close to this kind of communication. Perhaps it’s because I’m still so wrapped up in the day’s work.

I prayed about whether I should share this. It was clear the Lord desired I at least document even if only as a part of my personal journal. In this case, the impression came that the idea of making the extra effort to be alone in the woods or on top of a mountain would be helpful to someone. I want to make it clear the Lord answers us according to our efforts to reach him in such a manner.

Was it worth it to climb a mountain for an hour or more? You can drive most of the way up. Yes, Absolutely. I used to find quiet spots on the mesa in St. George earlier in my life when visiting my in-laws. This was the same sort of prayer then – filled with a close bond that seemed to be obtainable in no other way. It is in these sort of prayers that the veil is thin and impressions clear.

Prayer Brings Confidence

sealing-of-couplesMy heart was filled with joy as I descended the mountain. Nothing had changed as far as my work and work expectations. In fact, I had to go back to work that night to take care of some things on the network that could only be done after everyone was gone for the day. I don’t think anything was changed as far as my relationship with my wife, it being a little strained right now.

What did change was a sense I was on the right path. No, it was more of a confirmation of such. I KNEW I was on the right path. My efforts and reading, studying and sharing both on my blog and in private emails was pleasing to the Lord and He let me know it. I came down with a greater sense of encouragement, a greater desire to make a difference, to contribute, to strengthen others.

As a note of closing, I want to express thanks to Keith for sharing certain things on his blog. For the first time in nearly two years, I was able to perform a priesthood ordinance outside my own home. At one point I was touched. I had clearly seen myself performing this ordinance when I had prayed for permission to do so previously. It was acceptable to the Lord. His voice is unmistakable.

God bless…

Oh Babylon, We Bid Thee Farewell


linkedin-timmalone

One of the disadvantages of putting so much of one’s energy into a worldly career is the drain on both time and energy to focus on the true purpose of life – finding ways to bless one’s fellow man. Being at the epitome or last days of this worldly career seems to have sapped from me what I once felt in abundance – a desire to write and share about my experiences with the spirit world.

I have a friend who uses in jest the phrase “independently wealthy” when he describes me. Nothing could be further from the truth. While not in debt to my eyeballs like some I know, I anticipate another seven to ten years of continuous employment before I can retire comfortably. I enjoy my work, but there is a high price to be paid for devotion given to this world in Babylon.

I constantly ask myself, “What does the Lord think of these many hours I put into making sure my work tasks are completed successfully and the projects I’ve been assigned move smoothly?” Because of the distance I live from my place of employment, I spend several hours a day on the commute. Such is life in Los Angeles. It can be difficult to keep feelings of resentment at bay.

Living in a War-Torn World 

eisenhower-farewell-warningFor those who don’t know, I now work for one of the largest warmongers in the world. I don’t know how I feel about this. One of my long-time readers shared his feelings and eventually left employment with the military at a great reduction in salary along with a high price to his family happiness. Security seems high, what with the prophecy of continual wars of the last days, but…

It is a matter of constant prayer. I value peace. I abhor war. I am especially distraught to earn a living from a company that makes bombs and missiles. It seems war can be waged these days without putting oneself in harm’s way, at least not in the sense we have done throughout history. Those with remote control skills are rewarded for their many years of video game expertise.

President Eisenhower warned us over fifty years ago about the military-industrial complex. It only works when there is war somewhere, one that is often promoted by the United States. Please don’t think me a traitor or that I am not patriotic. I love my country, but do not care for the evil that this nation can and does promulgate upon the rest of the world, so often in abject secrecy.

Building the Lord’s Temple 

zion-city-of-enochRegular readers know I continue to pay my tithing, but because of a stalemate between my wife and me, the money sits in a bank account. I have asked her to not give it to the LDS Church and yet I don’t feel it would go over well if I used any form of compulsion or force to ensure the money goes to the poor as I feel in my heart it should. So there it sits, awaiting its future destiny.

I have a dream of being able to contribute to the building of the Lord’s temple someday. The LDS Church has clearly stated they cannot or will not guarantee the money we pay in tithing will go to the sources we designate. Thus it grows, held in bay by a lack of unity. “If ye are not one, ye are not mine…” I leave this matter up to the Lord and trust in His infinite wisdom to resolve.

You may think I am wandering in my writing thus far. True, there does not seem to be a central theme, so perhaps I can introduce one: “How does one live exact to what the Lord has revealed when a spouse is diametrically opposed to such a plan of action?” We compromise. For example, on our family vacation next month, I will slip away for a few hours to attend a Sunstone session.

Guidelines to Perform a Wedding

keith-on-marriageI will also next month, by invitation, perform a wedding ceremony for a dear friend using the guidelines shared by Keith on his blog. I am honored to have been asked to conduct such a ceremony and feel intense impressions from the Lord each time I pray about the occasion and visualize it in my mind. I cherish such events along with our occasional fellowship gatherings.

We are so few in California. I hope you in Utah who have regular large gatherings appreciate that blessing. I’ve probably mentioned before how we in California have met in groups of various sizes, always small, maybe a dozen times in the last two years. Perhaps it is for the best, as I continue to attend Sacrament meeting with Carol each Sunday. I enjoy singing in the choir.

My point is this: We can be true to what the Lord has revealed to us because it is filled with the spirit of love. In other words, sacrifice allows me to forego things I desire because I know the time is not right in my marriage for such things. I know the Lord has some things in mind that will change our world dramatically over the next few years. He needs stalwart, faithful disciples.

Fellowships and Friendships 

stake-reorganizationI miss writing on my blog more frequently but know what I write irritates at least a few of the men whose association I enjoyed when I served in leadership positions in the LDS Church. I did my best to remove them from the mailing list, but somehow, something I write always seems to get into the hands of the bishop or stake president, whose good feelings I desire to offend not.

Our stake was reorganized recently, so I have yet another new bishop. Having served almost five years, he will undoubtedly be released before the end of the year. Why do I bring this up? There is in my heart a desire to offend no man, especially those who lead the local wards and stakes. Each time I get a new home teacher, it seems I am required to tell my story yet one more time.

How do you avoid offense without stating clearly the differences in doctrine and history taught in the LDS Church today from what I have discovered in my studies and prayers? It is difficult. Thus I rarely speak up, especially since it hurts my dear wife to hear of such things. Oh, how I enjoy getting together with those who believe as I do and discussing the gospel of Christ.

Judgement Belongs to the Lord 

captain-moroni1Like Paul, I want to be able to say I love all men. I want to take no offense, no matter what is said or done. I continue to walk away when pornographic stories are shared. I strive to be tolerant of those who use foul language, especially those I supervise. I’m not so sure these are the “big things” the Lord is referring to when he counsels us to make friends with mammon.

Obviously this is more of a personal journal entry. I desire to be a righteous influence but to me, that means, “Do not judge.” I leave all judgment up to the Lord. I try to take no offense nor give any. I am grateful I have time yet in which to associate with those who are dedicated or even consumed with the building up of the worldly companies of this day and age. Yet I love them.

I feel like Moroni. He despaired for the salvation of the people or the troops he lead, yet he wet his pillow by night for their welfare (or was that Nephi…perhaps both?) Their focus is on the building if wealth. We know that such wealth is fleeting, momentary, and only for this world. We are commanded to give to him that asketh of us. How literally do we take this command?

If Ye Are Not One… 

i-see-ariseI am saddened to read of friends whose marriages are dissolving because of their acceptance of the idea of revelation coming through channels other than the “Brethren.” This is such a strident and contentious subject. On the one hand are those who feel the Lord would never do any work outside the “authorized” priesthood channels. What do we do if the Lord says to us otherwise?

“You are deceived,” they cry. If what you claim to have heard does not fall in line with what we have heard from the pulpit of the General Authorities, you can be sure it is of the devil. Really? I have always felt and been taught that salvation is a personal thing. We are born alone and naked and will enter the spirit world in the same manner upon our mortal death. How confident are we?

I recently purchased Doug Mendenhall’s latest book, “I See…Arise.” I look forward to reading it next week. Doug’s previous books have not disappointed. He writes from experience. There are those who cannot accept even the idea of the adversary working upon us and concepts such as portals or devices attached to us. I know otherwise. I have felt their influence. They are real.

The Importance of Unity in Marriage 

keiths-personal-writingsI also recently discovered…silly me for not paying attention…that Keith has personal entries on his blog that are well worth reading. For example, the wedding ceremony I will be following when I conduct the ritual in a couple of weeks. It is sacred, and from my contemplation, is very much approved of the Lord. Let’s just say the Lord showed me exactly how it would be done.

Someday, I still hope to construct an altar in my back yard where I can pray unto the Lord with outstretched arms in prayer. For now, I use a temporary altar in my home when I seek to open a portal to the heavens and commune with those on the other side of the veil. There is so much to learn and so much to do. It is hard to not resent the time I spend on my daily worldly pursuits.

In any event, I think as time goes by, it will become obvious to more and more people how the Lord is moving among the regular people of the world who seek Him. One does not need to be a leader in the LDS Church to commune with the Lord and receive revelation for himself, his family, or to know what the Lord has in mind as he works his marvelous works in these days.

The Spirit of Revelation 

last-days-imageI am convinced the last days are upon us as never before. The days of the Gentiles are coming to an end if they have not already done so. There is no reason to fear, but there is reason to be prepared for change and catastrophe. We often talk of economic disaster as being one of the most prominent signs of the last days. I feel otherwise. Look to the skies, to the stars and the planets.

Most of my readers know I don’t participate much in the discussion that follows my posts. It’s not a matter of not wanting to do so, it’s a matter of lack of time. My commitments are elsewhere as I strive to provide for my family and fulfil my temporal responsibilities. Man shall work by the sweat of his brow. It my case, ensuring the flow of electrons in networks I build and maintain.

God bless you all as these the last days become more and more obvious. Perhaps I am wrong. The spirit of prophecy is like the gift of the Holy Ghost. It listeth where it will. In other words, even I am not always able to clearly explain what I mean when I feel inspired to describe what I see in my mind’s eye or pronounce what I hear as I listen for the voice of the Lord. Be cheerful.

 

Strengthening One Another in Fellowship


HatchRockTwo weeks ago Carol and I travelled to Moab Utah for the weekend. We attended a conference of the Southern Utah and Colorado fellowships. We were asked to refrain from promoting it on social media, thus I wrote nothing in my blog. It was a wonderful gathering held at the Rockland Ranch (Hatch Rock) over two days with speakers from the various fellowships. I am so grateful to have been able to attend.

I am also grateful Carol went with me. I did not tell her much about it, nor especially did I mention that Denver might be there. Although Carol attended several of Denver’s lectures with me in 2014, and was especially complimentary of his lecture in St George on marriage, she is not particularly fond of the man. Perhaps it is because I resigned from the LDS Church after reading his books and attending his lectures.

On Saturday, I was asked to provide a short report of our fellowship activities in California, a difficult task since we are spread out so far up and down the length of the state, a few toward San Diego, a few here near Ventura, a few more in Northern California. I did my best – it was pouring rain – then sat down to enjoy the fine testimonies of others and they bore witness of how their various fellowships were blessing their lives.

And Their Number Were Few

FewInNumbersI have to ask myself, and upon receipt of a social email from Denver, I asked him, why so few? Why are so few willing to read the words he has written, or listen to the testimony he has borne of the Savior? He reminded me we are constrained by section 121: persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge… These are the tools of the Savior to persuade.

I also ask myself, after having served in the church for so many years, why was I unsatisfied? Why did I not feel fulfilled in my soul with a sense of purpose and meaning that should come from participating as fully as I could in what is proclaimed to be the true and living church upon the face of the earth? Was I not reading the scriptures or studying the gospel enough? I asked the Lord in prayer. That was not the case.

I want you to know I love the Lord. I wish I could tell you more of the things He has revealed to me, but He has asked me to refrain. I have hinted and tried to share as much as I dared in years past when He revealed them to me. I have been in His presence. He has encircled me about in His love. I have felt the reality of forgiveness from sins. He is quick to forgive. But there is so much more He would give us.

Correlation is Death to the Spirit

PriesthoodCorrelationLast week I attended a small gathering of our local fellowship – just five or six of us. We witnessed baptisms, partook of the sacrament and then discussed the gospel in a way that fulfilled my soul so much more as compared to sitting in a High Priest Group being fed the correlated lesson. And I was a HP Group leader. My point is the spirit is real and gives life but there is something missing in those correlated lessons.

I hope not to offend anyone. The LDS Church is doing a wonderful job, but something is lacking. I did not recognize it until a few years ago while serving as a High Priest Group Leader. There are many standard questions and equally standard answers. If your answer does not fit within the accepted nature of what is suggested in the manual, the brethren around you are quick to let you know. I speak from experience.

This should not be. Man should be free to speak his mind and expect respect and illumination from his brethren who share the same faith. Sadly, the correlated curriculum has destroyed that opportunity to be free with one’s thought and explications on the subject, quote or verses being considered. This is sad to me and is the very reason I refuse to attend Gospel Doctrine classes or High Priest’s group anymore.

A Loosening of the Tongue

start-a-blogBesides, as a non-member, the HP Group is considered a private meeting, is it not? I could be mistaken. My purpose of this post is not to rail against the tightly controlled structure of the LDS Church class meetings, but to write about the benefits and joys of fellowship among those who love you and feel the same about the Lord and the Restoration. For the most part they have been cast out or have resigned.

After witnessing baptisms in the living water of Ventura harbor, we sat on the grass a little inland, blessed and partook of the sacrament in the open air and under a bright sun. You may say that wine loosens the tongue but I tell you it caused those who partook to feel the love and blessings of the Lord. We do not drink wine to get drunk but to remember the Lord, his blood which was shed for us, and the life he imbues in us by so partaking.

We speak of what we write – three of us are bloggers – or what we read on various blogs. The gospel is discussed. The utmost importance of obeying the commandments, the reality of the Lord’s admonition to give unto the poor, without restraint. Tithing is to care for the poor, not to pay the salaries of the many General Authorities or build shopping malls.  I didn’t used to have a problem with that idea. Now it galls me.

Discussing the Gospel with Joy and Gladness

blogs-of-noteWe laugh. We joke a bit. We express love. We hug. We speak of deep doctrine and often speak of the foolishness of those who write on our blogs who have no clue what they are expressing, not having studied of contemplated the subject in depth. We are not perfect or scholars. We are each sinners as are all who have need of fellowship and the sacrament. But when we leave, we are uplifted and strengthened.

I express gratitude to my brethren and sisters who participate with me in our fellowship meetings, even though we do not get together as often as we like. I administer the sacrament in my own home each week after attending the local LDS Sacrament meeting with my wife. I pray with passion, I study the gospel, I write – either in my journal or here on my blog. I wish our fellowship could get together more often.

This will be short. I simply wanted to express gratitude for those the Lord has placed nearby – within a few hours travelling distance – and for their willingness to drive that distance here in the Golden state. I love you my brethren. You know who you are. I pray for you and your families. We share many of the same feelings about the LDS Church even if we currently attend the meetings or not.

God bless all the humble followers of Christ who desire to cry mightily unto him and to obey his commandments. I am so grateful for the Sacrament. I love my brothers and sisters who attend our LDS Wards, but derive so much more from our small fellowship, even if we sometimes only get together via the Internet. NOTE: If you wish to read or hear Denver’s address to the combined fellowships at the conference, you can find them on his downloads page.

Obeying the Voice of God


home-teachersIntroduction: This was written at the request of my home teacher. Spoken word and tradition seem more important than written accounts. I prefer writing. In this short essay I have placed some critical phrases that probably mean more to me than to someone who has only heard them. Those who have read my sources or my journal / blog summaries over the past eight years might gain from this. Otherwise, I hope this is an intriguing introduction.

A Few Salient Points on Which Perhaps we can Agree

Most people I know are good, meaning they want to do good things, help others, and enjoy happiness in life. Their actions are based on their beliefs. Most people fit this mold. To do otherwise would be untrue to yourself and leads down the path of sorrow. I was asked to relate this story. I will be as concise as possible.

A faith is a set of practices based on a set of beliefs. Our early forebears set out to the new world believing God had something better in mind for them other than the repression of being controlled by others. Nobody likes that. We each have an inborn desire for freedom. Our history, past and current state teach this.

In other words, this life is a journey, either physical, mental or spiritual, but today, mostly spiritual. Let’s forget politics for now. This post is not about that subject. You don’t have to be LDS or Mormon to appreciate this but it helps. Christian or Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and the list goes on. We are human beings.

We live on the same planet. We see the same goodness and evil. Most of us hate war. I do. Yet we believe in protecting ourselves. Most of us believe in freedom, yet we detest forcing our beliefs on others. I do. You believe what you want about God, life after death, the purpose of life, and why things happen to you each day.

I believe what I chose to believe about these same subjects. After nearly sixty years I have seen direct comparisons expressing sincere love and being downright mean. I don’t like to cause people to feel uncomfortable. That’s why I don’t argue, yet I stand up for truth by example. I strive to be someone other people can like.

preserving-the-restoration1What Led Me to Be Intrigued by Alternate Voices

Let’s get personal. You may have been born a Catholic or a Muslim. I was born a Presbyterian on my mother’s side and a Baptist on my father’s. I didn’t see much difference back then, although I do now, having studied each for many years. My family, led by my mother, found and joined the LDS Church when I was just five.

I didn’t take it seriously – just went along. It was no big deal for me. I became a Mormon. So what? To me, it was just Christianity, although, not so much at first. I was taught – mostly by good, dedicated women – to be kind, unselfish, peaceful, and especially to change my ways when they brought unhappiness into my life.

In other words, I leaned about repentance or change. When I was about sixteen, I was a bit rebellious. This period lasted about six months. I did not like the feelings of unhappiness I felt – cognitive dissonance we would call it today. So I decided to do something about it. I decided to practice the orthodox teachings of my faith.

I became your typical Mormon. Before that, I was just a teenager who sometimes made bad choices and learned I didn’t like the results. Now I began to make some very purposeful choices typical of a Mormon. I went to an LDS University. I went on an LDS foreign mission. I dated and married an LDS girl, in a local LDS temple.

I tried to be orthodox. For forty years I did everything I was asked, gave of my time and money to the institution and believed as the modern published manuals taught. I noticed an unusual thing, even in the short forty years I was LDS. Things were changing. I mean specific beliefs and teachings found in the LDS doctrines were noticeably changing.

Keeping Your Eyes Open Can Be a Dangerous Thing

PassingHeavenlyGiftIt was subtle at first and not really important or far-reaching into the lives of my fellow believers. Over time, especially over the last seven to ten years, they have become radical, very noticeable and very contrary to what we used to believe and to practice. I suppose the most evident has been the intense focus on following and obeying the hierarchy.

It even got to the point where those who asked questions, simple questions about why we did things a certain way, were brought under pressure by local leaders for raising such questions. Heresy was the correct word that should have been used, but things change slowly in the Church. Asking questions made one an apostate.

Desiring to follow the counsel of the hierarchy, I began to write publically. Over time I suppose I became bolder in sharing what I was discovering in my studies. I read, I studied, I prayed and I wrote. Soon I found I was accused of being a gadfly, a troublemaker, because I pointed out how things had changed over our history.

One day, I has told I was “taking potshots at the Brethren.” If there was a moment in my journey that caused me to reconsider my dedication to the LDS Church, it was that moment. I thought long and hard about that comment from a trusted leader. I was flabbergasted, really, and wondered what he meant. I was simply studying. I write and publish as I study.

I read, I pondered, I prayed, I meditated, I wrote, I shared, I did what I thought my leaders wanted me to do, especially Elder Ballard who issued the challenge to be involved in the online dialog about the LDS Church. In my eight years of blogging about the LDS Church I was honest and sincere in what I wrote, or so I thought.

LibraryFrontRoom.jpgThere’s Always Someone Hated by the Orthodox

I was introduced to the writings of an individual whom I recognized had taken many of the same subjects I had pondered and presented them in such a way I could not deny he communicated the subjects in the way the Lord wanted them presented. I read, I studied, I pondered, I prayed, and the Lord answered.

And now comes the dilemma. What do you do when he Lord says one thing and the leaders of the Church who claim to be His say another? Do you trust man or do you trust God? I chose to believe what I felt in my heart, or more accurately, what I felt the Lord speak to me in my mind. I did what I felt the Lord wanted me to do.

Immediately the arguments started from those who loved me: “You have been deceived. This man is a liar. His words contradict the scriptures.” NO, I studied his words. They contradicted the LDS Church handbook, and much tradition, not what I believed to be scripture, including The Lectures on Faith, which were and are canonized as scripture.

And there’s where I’ll leave this short explanation requested of my home teacher as to why I resigned from the LDS Church. The key to my heart and conversion lies in those two points: The Church Handbook replaced the Lectures on Faith. One is canonized and another secretly hidden from most members of the LDS Church.

After twenty-five years of serving in LDS Church Leadership positions where we read and studied the handbook more than the scriptures in our leadership meetings, I came to the conclusion the LDS Church is led by man, and NOT by God, at least not by the God who spoke to me during my studies and prayers.

The big question is, or course, is whose voice did I hear when my prayers were answered? Was I deceived? You’ll have to decide that for yourself. I decided to demonstrate my beliefs when I resigned and was baptized. I did that specifically to show I accepted the writings, teachings and the work of the Lord’s servant.

A Few Final Questions to Determine Further Interest

carl_bloch_the_christOf course, you must answer for yourself: Who is the servant of the Lord today?

God bless you each and every one as you sincerely ponder this critical question.

Is there a man you trust more than you trust the voice of God when you pray?

Is your faith based on tradition and not on what you have heard from the Lord?

Finally, this one: Can tradition save you or does it take meeting with a saved being?

Life and Death of a Blog


brotherofjaredA blog requires passion. I say that from eight years of experience. It takes vision. It requires time and effort. It is a labor of love. I loved blogging in Latter-day Commentary, especially in the years 2012-2014 as I was discovering, reading, digesting, pondering and praying about the writings of Denver Snuffer. Obviously the content and frequency of LDC posts has died down considerably. I obtained what I was seeking. Your feedback in the comments helped me find my answers. I love and appreciate all the wonderful comments over the years. Thank you for the warnings, the edification, and for the additional light and truth. You blessed me.

Two of my co-writers now have their own blogs. I highly recommend them. Many readers enjoyed Log’s posts. He is a master of the scriptures. You can find Log at http://logscabin.blogspot.com/ and Peter at http://latterdaywitnesses.com. I am grateful for their contributions over the years, especially my friend Log, whom I love dearly. Despite the title of this post, LDC will be around as a historical record for at least five more years. There may be occasional posts, but they will be rare. Of course, it’s best to keep up with Denver at http://denversnuffer.com/ and Keith at http://recordersclearinghouse.com to keep up with restoration events.

To be baptized, go here: http://www.bornofwater.org. There are so many great blogs commenting on the restoration movement there is no way I can list them all or even keep up anymore. I am nearly sixty years old and am winding down my career. Most of my energy is spent there. I have prayed much about what to do with the blog. It kept me in the scriptures. It kept me thinking and, sadly, it got me into trouble with the LDS Church and my own marriage. My focus is on loving Carol and on her happiness. My blogging efforts caused a serious rift in my marriage, which I treasure and would rather keep than to continually agitate my dear wife.

Life Goes On

jacobs-ladder1I am grateful for all the friends I have made over the years, especially certain individuals who I consider sentinels, messengers and true servants of the Lord. My emails have not changed. Unless I’m dead, you can always reach me at either address listed on the side column of my blog. I am at peace with what I have done in regards to the LDS Church. I still have so many friends in my ward and stake who I appreciate for their kind hand of fellowship. May God bless each of us in our journey up the ladder. I bear witness that He lives. He has ministered unto me in words that cannot be spoken. I have been consumed by the fire of His love.

Things will be changing dramatically in our world over the next few years. You know this as well as I do. I pray we may meet again. Watch for the signs. Do not fall asleep. It takes constant effort, discipline and work to walk in the light. I am so grateful for repentance. He answers immediately. He gives peace. Many of you have specific missions yet to perform in preparation for the return of the Lord. I cannot say if I have completed what the Lord sent me here to accomplish. I continue to ascend the mountain, both symbolically and literally to commune with the Lord. I promise you He speaks. Our task is to remain worthy, be patient and listen.

God bless.

Vision of the Abandoned Temple


RuinedTempleI had not expected to write publically again. I thought my shared ministry was over. In my mind I had sealed my writings and closed the books. I even told the Lord so and felt His acceptance of my offering. Yet for the last three days, including this morning – it is now 5am as I start this – the Lord has been clear He wants this shared. I don’t know why. Perhaps it will be helpful to someone else. We shall see.

It took me ten minutes to relate it to Carol last night. I will try to condense it to a less time-consuming post. It has to do with dreams, specifically flying dreams. I’m not an expert on the subject, and my interpretation of these dreams is from years of pondering and praying. I have experienced flying dreams all my life. They have been the most common type of dream I have experienced for years and years.

Again, I had not expected to prepare this for public consumption, but for my journal. However, when it stays on my minds for three days in a row, I know there is something in it meant for someone other than myself. First a little background on how I interpret flying dreams. They come in four flavors or levels. Level one is the beginning’s level – baby steps. In each step, the flying action is accomplished through faith and your own will.

A little about flying dreams

In the first level of flying, you find you are able to leap up, take a few steps of simple will power to get yourself to some other place not far away, usually that can be seen. “Poof,” you’re there. Nine times out of ten you crash into things as you travel on your way, including bumping into people, chairs, walls and other obstacles. This is the level of “baby steps.” You may or may not turn horizontal in your short journey at this level.

In the second level, you have discovered you can exercise some level of control around obstacles and are able to do the “hop, skip and jump” type of flying that becomes progressively longer over time and with practice. In other words, you can go from one end of town to another with a willful amount of faith, without impaling yourself on the fireplug as you whiz by. It is a quick, but still a bit shaky mode of travel.

In the third level, you soar. It is glorious. You go high. You go far. You reach great distances in an instant. In fact, you can find yourself lost, because you are visiting areas you have never seen on the ground. You can look in airplane windows, skim the tops of clouds and mountains and – this is the especially neat part in my opinion – you can pause in mid-air, look down at a lighted city and discern things going on there.

Watch out for Imposed Limits

One big drawback of level three is the wires. There is something about high-tension electric wires that is simply catastrophic to this form of spirit travel (all taking place in your dreams). They represent severe limits and must be avoided at all costs. If you run through one you are severed in half and find yourself tumbling to earth in an uncontrolled, frightening descent with a painful landing require time to heal.

In the fourth level of flying, one could say you have mastered the skill and have it under control. You are capable of great bursts of speed and energy, but rarely use it because it is not needed here on earth. For the most part, it is for taking advantage of situations where a quick assessment of the territory would be helpful. With this background I can now give you an example, which is what I believe I’m asked to share.

I have had dozens of flying dreams over the years. They almost always come either after learning of some major change about to happen in my life or as a prelude warning or announcement of upcoming change. Up until two nights ago, all my flying dreams were of level three – look out for the wires. In my real life, I had either just received or was about to receive a promotion or complete some major intense project.

A Visit to the Dream-world

Two nights ago I experienced my first level four flying dream. I was with a group of about eighty other “servants” I will call them. The number is significant. There were four countries in my mission. We had about eighty missionaries in each country. On this day we were all together, something that in reality would never happen, but of course, in symbolic dreams, anything that is necessary can happen to you.

We were travelling through a “burned-out” district, and I mean physically burned out. Devastation and destruction surrounded us. The infrastructure was destroyed – no electric or phone communications, no roads – all broken up and buildings destroyed, burning or burned. There were also no people. They had all left – in a hurry – several days earlier. It was your typical post-apocalyptic scene but without zombies.

Large buildings had toppled, small buildings had burned. The only edifices still standing – and this was a point of great curiosity to our group – were temples. They were built in a short, squatty style, by which they were able to survive the devastation. These were sacred buildings of this culture – the timeframe could not be determined – modern, past 200 years, or whenever. Nor could we determine the location.

Dreams Can Be Symbolic

Those things were not important. Remember, dreams are symbolic. The key to interpreting dreams is to look for the symbolism, or rather to pray to have the symbolic elements revealed to you right away. In this case, I did so and you will understand why when we reach the end of the dream. In this particular vision, we found ourselves marching up a curved, ascending entryway to the doorway of a temple.

We were naturally drawn to temples because we were missionaries. We had been sent to this place and time on a particular mission, even though it was not revealed to me in the dream, I have an idea what that mission was, and perhaps may still be. We entered the temple. It was not lit. It was night. The light from fires burning outside the building through curtain-less windows allowed us to barely see our way around.

We immediately began to explore. Most stayed in a group, but we seemed to be in a hurry to want to know what had happened to the people who we hoped we would find in the temple. It was at this time I was either asked, volunteered or just knew my flying skills would come in handy and so I rose and began to rapidly move through the hallways. All the doors were open. Nothing was blocked, including stairs.

We Had Arrived Too Late

In an instant, or so it seemed, I was able to determine the building was devoid of inhabitants. I quickly returned to my group, hovering just about them and beckoned them to follow me. I led them because I had the flying gift and could get them to where we wanted to go in short order. I took them directly to the altar of the temple. Now I need to mention something about the feelings we shared in our group.

We were warriors as well as missionaries. We were like the first wave in some immensely important battle. We were chosen or had volunteered for this mission specifically because of our skills in a certain area, which I feel constrained to not mention at this time. However, imagine a group of missionaries, men and women, who, after many, many long years – perhaps fifty or more – had experienced no success.

We were sad. We were tired. Yet we were true to our mission and were about our duty. We were seeking a people who had a rare kind of understanding – a kind of empathy not found in the rest of the society. We had searched for these people for years, always just missing them as they moved ahead of us to stay away from the rest of the world that followed after them, trying to steal whatever they possessed.

We Can Be Visited In Our Dreams

As we passed on the way to the altar of the temple, we each noted this was not a brand new temple. It had been used for many years. The carpets were worn. The bannisters were in need of a coat of varnish. It was especially clear around the altars by the indentations of knees on the cushions. This was a building that had been used for many years and served some great purpose but now had been just abandoned.

We had failed. Our entire life’s mission was to find these people. We had searched for a lifetime in vain. We reached the main altar and, as if on a signal, but without a word, lowered our weapons, dropped to our knees, still clothed in our protective armor, surrounded the altar and bowed our heads in sadness. Nobody said a word, the Eldest of the warrior missionaries on one side and the youngest on the other.

This is the conclusion and then perhaps one of two interpretations of symbolism. As we knelt and from the side where the eldest of the warriors knelt, a soft presence began to be felt. Descending from the heavens were angels – no wings – golden in color. They gently came down and touched each warrior. As they did so the feelings that permeated the room transcended any joy they had ever felt in all their days.

Dreams Serve a Real Purpose

At this moment I awoke and found myself sobbing. That feeling was in my heart. Although but a dream, I knew I also had been touched by one of the golden angels. I had never felt such feelings before. They stayed with me for at least fifteen minutes as I cried and sobbed out of sheer exhaustion and joy. I knew my efforts had been appreciated, my work had been finished and I could now go home if I so desired.

As I shared at the beginning, this was originally intended to be a private journal entry. I have no idea how it will be received or why it needed to be shared. You decide who the warriors represented. You decide why the number was so small. Perhaps you can determine what their mission was and why they had been sent to find these people. What were they to do when they found them? What gifts did they have?

Incidentally, in the third level of flying, the wires represented bounds beyond which one should not go. They were there to protect the travelers / flyers from rising too high too fast and being burned by unseen or unknown forces. In my life these level three dreams have ALWAYS come just after I recognized for myself that I had achieved or mastered some new skill. The wires were a warning to practice humility.

Dreams Can Be Considered Visions

I’ll offer nothing more. I think that’s all I should share. I could tell you who the warriors are or rather who they represent, but those who are members of that group probably already got that right away. For some people this is nonsense and gobbledygook. That’s okay. I did not write this for them. I think the Lord wants those in the group of eighty to rethink the value of what they have been doing and have done.

By the way, my prayer that night before I retied to sleep with filled with pleadings to the Lord for help and direction in my career and my life. I am going through some big changes and challenges right now. Some are relationship-based, some have to do with feelings of security, some deal with anticipated future events, real and based on scripture. I believe this dream was an answer to that tearful prayer.

I pray you’ll forgive me for not being very responsive on my blog. In my mind, it is over. I left it up because I offered it to the Lord in a sacred prayer a couple of years ago. In a clear and unmistakable answer to that prayer – at least to me – he accepted the blog, used it for a season, and then released me from continuing. The cost of this blog has been high and painful in many profound and personal ways.

God bless. I love you all.

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