Invitation to Fellowship

logsblogWhat is it about climbing a mountain that helps you feel closer to the Lord? I’ve hiked up to the top of Mt. Pinos a few times now, each time by myself. Upon arriving at the top I found, or rather felt directed to a private place just off to one side and behind a fallen tree. To me, it’s a perfect spot for pondering and praying aloud. I went there again last Saturday and came home feeling absolutely wonderful. I’ve decided to make another visit next month on Saturday October 15th at noon.

mtpinosmapI invite you to join me if you’re anywhere near us in Southern California and willing to drive up the mountain. You can drive up to the end of the road, leaving about a half hour to walk to the top. It’s about two hours from my house in Camarillo, and is the highest peak sitting right on the line between Ventura and Kern counties. If you’re not into mountain climbing, show up at 3pm for sacrament meeting in the picnic area. You’re all invited. We have such a small group in Southern California, we hope you’ll consider joining us.

Click on the first image above for a link to Log’s Cabin blog and a little more information. We intend to enjoy the Sacrament together at 3pm and discuss the gospel. God bless.

Determining Your Mission in Life

JacobBlessesSonsFirst of all, YOU determine your mission in life. Nobody else can do it for you. YOU decide what you want to do with your life. YOU decide what it is that God would like you to do with your life. If you feel God would like you to be a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, then you be the best damn member of the LDS Church you can possibly be.

If you feel God wants you to become an expert on LDS Church History, then by all means, do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. Obviously you’ll want to be balanced in your pursuit. We all have a regular life – you know, work, school, family, sleep, church, social and the like. But if God has given you a desire to pursue something and you feel it is right, then give it your heart.

Don’t take crap from anybody who tells you how wrong you are to be focused on something that gives you pleasure and provides you with enjoyment. Especially beware of well-meaning people who want you to adopt their modus operandi in life as yours. Just because they can’t understand what makes you tick, doesn’t give them the right to tell you how wrong you are for your focus.

May God Bless the LDS Church

For example, on my last post, a well-intentioned individual decided to let loose with all kinds of advice that apparently works well for that person in their life, but is so full of judgement and fear I could hardly read it without laughing out loud. I won’t name the reader. I value their comments and they are welcome to post them as they please, but it was so, so very wrong for my situation.

LDSChurchOfficeBuildingI love the LDS Church. Always have. Always will. It has a special and sacred mission. It was established by divine mandate. It was led by the Lord for many generations. The hand of the Lord prospered the LDS Church and just about everything it did. No matter how many ways the imperfect leaders and members messed it up, it always came out on top because God blessed it.

The Lord is still blessing the LDS Church, the members and the leaders. They are sustained by the prayers of the faithful members. I continue to pray for them, every night, by name, and ask the Lord to bless them in their work. I pray for those who are sick. I ask the Lord to join my faith with the faith of millions of members of the LDS Church all over the world praying for them.

How You Judge Reveals You to Others

I was a member of the LDS Church for over fifty years. I continue to attend the LDS Church. I love the local leaders and pray for them each night. I enjoy listening to the counsel of these leaders and see the hand of the Lord upon them. There is no doubt they have prayed for the help of the Lord to magnify their callings. They are blessed according to their faith and prayers.

speaking-in-churchPlease don’t judge my motivation as to why I write about the LDS Church. Don’t assume to know what makes me tick. Don’t think you know what my mission in life is. Don’t proclaim I have a fixation with the LDS Church when you have no right to proclaim any such thing. You have no idea what my mission is. You don’t know what the Lord has shared with me about this.

Just because you are offended by any mention of the LDS Church doesn’t mean I have to stop writing about it. You don’t have to read my blog. Go elsewhere. What you’ll find here are good things about the LDS church, the leaders, the programs and the much good accomplished by the LDS Church. I don’t care about the cost of City Creek mall. I gave my tithing willingly. So there.

Seek to Find Common Ground

My desire is to minister to the good people of the LDS Church. I am most familiar with the inner workings for the church, having served in a local leadership capacity for over twenty-five years. I have no desire to tell, persuade or convince anyone to leave the LDS Church. There is too much good in our local wards and stakes. I look forward to my continued association with my friends.

josephsmith.jpgYou don’t know my mission. I am not here to shake anything up. I am here to bless and bring attention to good things wherever they may be in the LDS Church or in the culture or in any one of the many Mormon groups that claim to be part of the restoration movement. If you know and love Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon then you and I have a lot in common.

I love the LDS Temples. I wish I could go. I miss attending the temple. The LDS Church has not done me wrong in any way, shape or form. They have gone out of their way to be nice to me, to see to my spiritual needs and to truly befriend me as best they can. Nobody is perfect. No leader can be everything we think they should be. The burden we put on local leaders is so very unfair.

Seek to Strengthen Your Marriage

I pray for the success of the mission of the LDS Church. I pray for the continued success or the missionaries, local and foreign. I pray they will be a good example and not mess anything up. They are young and inexperienced. I am so grateful they are blessed with good and faithful mission presidents and mothers who look out for them. Some were my missionary companions.

EldersBookOfMormonIf you choose to leave the LDS Church out of your life, that’s your prerogative. It will be a big part of mine until the day I die. The LDS Church has a mission. I intend to watch it fulfill that mission. I will never be a member again but that doesn’t mean I can’t be a friend. I am married to one of the most dedicated, faithful, loyal and protective members of the Church in all the world.

I have watched her become stronger in her beliefs, her practices and her prayers. She is studying the atonement of Jesus Christ and shares with me her observations as she reads. Carol reads the scriptures every night before she goes to bed. I’m more hit and miss in reading. I tend to spend a lot of time on Tuesdays and Saturdays in the scriptures – the days I work from the home office.

Your Mission Is Not My Mission

Your claim that I have a fixation with the LDS church is wrong. Your statement I am looking backward not forward is wrong. Your claim I must forgive the LDS Church is erroneous. Your proclamation that I am full of judgment and fear more likely applies to your own life, not mine. People tend to see in others what is most bothersome in themselves. I suggest you repent of that.

new-heavens7You ask why I feel the need to talk about the LDS Church now that I have resigned. Has it ever occurred to you maybe that Lord wants me to write about the LDS Church? Have you thought maybe the Lord and I have discussed this and have come to the conclusion my best work can be done by reaching out to those like me who have been faithful all their lives but have questions?

You don’t know me. You never will. Nobody can. My family doesn’t know me. My wife doesn’t know me. The only person who knows me is God. He and I talk every day, all day throughout the day. We discuss the challenges I face. We talk about solving problems together. We laugh about the silly things people do and say. We cry together about misunderstandings and injustices.

Come Place Your Name in the Temple

recorders-clearinghouseWe cry together about the calamities that are coming upon the earth. We discuss ways we can do more to reach people to warn them without sounding like a fool. We mourn for those who judge me and my friends because we are so adamant the Lord is actively moving among the good LDS people in a way most of them don’t recognize. He is finding a few here and there who will listen.

There are thousands who have heard the message of the messenger He sent. Yes, thousands. I wish more people would come forward and record their names on the register. Do they just not realize how important this is? This is the list of names to be presented to the Lord in the temple when He comes again. My name is on that list. Is yours? Why haven’t you sent it to be recorded?

You advised me to let go of the Church soapbox. Sorry. If what I write offends you, don’t read my blog. This is what I know. This is how the Lord works with me. Maybe he works differently with you. I honor that. You can best serve your creator by honoring the choices of others. Don’t pretend you know what is best for another. Only God can tell them that. God reveals missions.


Investigating Mormonism Today

Note from Tim: This is a guest post from a long-time investigator of Mormonism. He and I have been conversing about having prayers answered. He had so many good questions on the subject I suggested he write them up for general discussion on the blog. He agreed. I hope you will be kind and consider his sincerity.

Some Shall Be Cast Out

Christian-UniversalismI have studied Christian Universalism much of my adult life. I believe or hope God wants to save all His creations. I don’t want to believe some of God’s creatures will be eternally and irrevocably cast out into a state of unending torment as we read in the Book of Mormon:

“… in the great and last day there are some who shall be cast out, yea, who shall be cast off from the presence of the Lord; Yea, who shall be consigned to a state of endless misery, fulfilling the words which say: They that have done good shall have everlasting life; and they that have done evil shall have everlasting damnation.” (Hel 12:25-26)

I would like to believe the Amalekites were right when they said, “…Behold, we have built sanctuaries, and we do assemble ourselves together to worship God. We do believe that God will save all men.” (Alma 21:6) It seems to me Helaman also wanted to believe it: “…I would that all men might be saved…” (Hel 12:25.)

A Difficult Doctrine to Accept

JosephSmithThis idea of being cast out is much more clearly taught in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants than anywhere in the Old and New Testament. This has made it very hard for me to believe these scriptures and thus, to accept Joseph Smith as a prophet.

There are things he said and taught – things I can read in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants – I don’t really want to believe are true.

Does that mean I don’t have a sincere heart? (Moroni 10:4)

Is this why I haven’t received a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon?

Maybe, I don’t know.

I only know I pray every day, and I sometimes get very confused.

Investigating Mormonism has meant not only looking at your scriptures, but looking inside at my own feelings, and outside at things that could be promptings.

What Do You Consider a Prompting?

If I sneeze, could God be telling me that what I just said or what I just heard or read someone else saying is true?

If I accidentally bite my tongue, could God be telling me what I just said was a lie or untrue?

If something I read online contains spelling errors, could God be telling me that it contains more serious doctrinal errors?

And even if such things mean nothing of themselves, what if they seem to mean something to me at a given time?

Does that make it a prompting?

I seem to get mixed signals, and don’t know how to interpret them, but then, maybe I have OCD. Has anyone here ever seen the TV show, Monk?

So Many Questions I Want to Ask

Muhammed-GabrielWhen you communicate with someone online, and you think it’s possible they actually could be sharing something they were taught by the Spirit, what questions would you ask them to help you decide?

For example, if Muhammad were alive and claiming here online today he was given a divine revelation by the angel Gabriel, what would you ask him to know it was really Gabriel who came to him?

We are told to prove all things, and hold fast to that which is good. (1 Thess 5:21) If he said Gabriel shook his hand, how would you interpret that in light of D&C 129? Did Gabriel visit Muhammad?

Likewise, when you make claims online that you have received revelation, what should I ask you so I can know for myself? Is it okay to ask you how you received revelation?

Is it okay to ask you specific details about where you were, what you were doing, and if praying, what questions you asked and how exactly you knew it was God who answered you?

Teach me. So many Mormons talk about revelation and testimonies and such and yet, I can’t seem to duplicate the process no matter how hard I try. What am I doing wrong?


Spirituality and Self-Discipline

the-road-less-traveledIn a recent email dialog with one of my readers, I was reminded of the works of Dr. M. Scott Peck (1936-2005), one of which I’ve been reading over the holidays: The Road Less Traveled. First published in 1978, it has sold over ten million copies. The first section of the book is about discipline. I have long believed achieving spirituality cannot be complete without self-discipline.

One of life’s greatest truths is that life is difficult. It was meant to be that way. If you have been taught or believe otherwise, you have been deceived. It would serve you well to cast off such a defective map and replace it with the truth. Because the sooner you do so, the sooner you accept this truth, then life is no longer difficult. Well, maybe it is, but that no longer matters, does it?

Life is a series of problems. They are presented to us for our growth and benefit. We can either moan about them or we can solve them. Discipline contains a basic set of tools we use to solve life’s problems. Without discipline we can solve nothing. Dr. Peck elaborates on the four tools as 1) Delaying Gratification, 2) Accepting Responsibility, 3) Dedication to Truth and 4) Balancing.

The Only Decent Way to Live

“Delaying gratification is a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with. It is the only decent way to live.” (Dr. Peck, p. 19) A sure-fire indication that someone has learned this character trait is in the way they use their time. It also reveals how they feel about themselves.

The feeling of being valuable – “I am a valuable person” – is essential to mental health and is a cornerstone of self-discipline. When one considers oneself valuable, one will take care of oneself in all ways that are necessary. Self-discipline is self-caring. If we feel ourselves valuable, we will feel our time to be valuable. We choose how we spend time. We will want to use our time well.

Time is one of the greatest gifts of life. If we take the time, we can solve most of our problems. But we must choose to invest the time required. We live in an age of instant gratification. This does not help when the only way to solve problems is to invest precious time. Problems do not go away by themselves and we cannot solve our own life’s problems except by solving them.

The Pain of Freedom

That last statement may appear to be self-evident, but it is seemingly beyond the comprehension of much of the human race. This is because we must accept responsibility for a problem before we can solve it. We can’t solve a problem by saying, “It’s not my problem. I was born that way.” We can’t solve a problem by hoping someone else will come along and solve it for us someday.

The problem of distinguishing what we are and what we are not responsible for in this life is one of the greatest problems of human existence. It is never entirely solved. We seem to spend our lives continually assessing and reassessing where our responsibilities lie in this ever-changing course of events. It is not a painless process. It requires a willingness to suffer self-examination.

In desiring to avoid the pain of responsibility, millions, even billions of people, daily attempt to escape from freedom. Whenever we seek to avoid the responsibility for our own behavior or our own condition, we do so by attempting to give that responsibility to some other individual, organization or entity. That means we give away our power to that entity. We give up freedom.

A Total Dedication to the Truth

Truth is reality. That which is false is unreal. The more clearly we can see the world, the better equipped we will be to deal with the world. The less clearly we see the reality of the world – the more our minds are befuddled by falsehood, misperceptions and illusions – the less we will be able to determine correct courses of action and make wise decisions. We need an accurate map.

While this may be obvious, most people choose to ignore it. The route to reality is not easy. We are not born with maps. We have to make them. It takes effort to make an accurate map. Maps need to be continually revised. The world as well as our vantage point is constantly changing. Major revisions are painful, excruciatingly so. Change can be frightening, even overwhelming.

Yet we must revise our maps when new truths are learned, otherwise we will not grow and fulfill our purpose in life. We must be open to change, even to challenges to our maps. We must live a life of total dedication to continuous, never-ending, stringent self-examination. Study, pondering, meditation and prayer are a few tools of this total dedication. They bring light, peace and safety.

Life Balancing, a True Art Form

Self-discipline is a demanding and complex task. It requires both flexibility and judgment. We must push ourselves to be completely and courageously honest with ourselves yet know when it is appropriate to withhold opinions from others. We must take total responsibility for ourselves, but in doing so we must possess the capacity to reject responsibility that is not meant to be ours.

To be organized and efficient, to live wisely, we must daily delay gratification and keep an eye on the future. Yet to live joyously we must also possess the capacity, when it is not destructive, to live in the present and act spontaneously. In other words, discipline itself must be disciplined. Balancing is the discipline that gives us flexibility. It is a key skill that requires constant practice.

Life is not an all or nothing proposition and our response system should reflect this. An adequate response to each situation requires judgment to balance raw emotion. Anger, passion, temptation and challenges can all be met with an appropriate, balanced response. Not all situations appear in our lives the same each time. What is appropriate for one circumstance fits not at all in another.

The Healthiness of Depression

What I’ve presented in the preceding fourteen paragraphs is a summary of the first section of the book, The Road Less Traveled, on discipline. If you’re like me, there was probably something in at least one of those paragraphs that triggered a thought similar to this: “That’s a wonderful ideal, but it’s not the reality of my world. I’m nowhere near perfection in that particular characteristic.”

The feeling associated with giving up something loved – or at least something that is a part of us and familiar – is depression. Mentally healthy human beings must grow. Sacrificing or giving up a long-cherished but deficient piece of the old self is an integral part of the process of growth. Therefore depression is a normal and basically healthy phenomenon, if completed properly.

Depression sets in when one realizes in order to grow, to evolve or become better, one must leave behind old, incorrect patterns of thinking. We can no longer cling to unhealthy beliefs. There is a sense of loss and grief when we realize things can never be the way they used to be. This can be a depressing thought. The solution is to put our “self” aside, or, to lose ourselves.

Renunciation and Rebirth

It is in the giving up of self that human beings can find the most ecstatic, lasting, solid, durable joy of life. In Western culture, self is held sacred. Death is considered an unspeakable insult. Yet it is death which provides life with all its meaning. This secret is the central wisdom of religion, and more particularly, of faith. We must give up our old self in order to make room for the new.

It is an unusual person who has learned to silence the demand for the familiar and to welcome the new and the strange. Give it up. There is no other way to grow. We sacrifice, or give things up for something better. Self-discipline is a self-enlarging process. The pain of giving up is the pain of death, but death of the old is birth of the new. The pain of death is the pain of new birth.

In order to develop new and better ideas and theories of understanding, old concepts and ideas that may have served well for a while, must die. This lifetime is a simultaneous series of deaths and rebirths. Throughout life, we must learn to die. The farther one travels on the journey of life, the more births one will experience, and therefore the more deaths, the more pain, the more joy.

Thoughts on Personal Application

I’ve shared these notes from Dr. Peck’s bestseller because they have become the standard for so many who study the art of personal growth. I am in a transition phase of my life right now as are so many of my friends. The transition for me has been a death and a rebirth. I chose to sacrifice something I loved in order to move on in my life. Some of my friends had it ripped from them.

I am grateful for the rebirth. It is very real to me. The acceptance of responsibility for my life has become more tangible and pronounced. I deal directly with the Lord on matters of salvation. He and I are working things out in a way that seemed to elude me before. Things seem to be clearer. There’s no thought of a middleman anymore. There’s no need to explain myself to anyone else.

Conformity to an unrealistic orthodoxy is no longer a concern. Pleasing my Savior is my only guide. He lets me know when I am off-course more than ever before. The path is indeed strait, yet at the same time I feel a greater sense of freedom and prompting from the Lord on what is best for me. I am on a road less traveled, a journey back to God, walking as a disciple of Christ.

Could You Gaze Into Heaven

BeyondThisWorldOne of the basic tenets of the Mormon faith is personal revelation. We cherish the idea. We talk about it. We teach it. We tell everyone it is the way to know something for ourselves. Yet, when someone receives revelation that is contrary to the LDS tradition, the immediate response from LDS members and leaders is, “You have been deceived. You need to repent of this terrible sin.”

Scriptural Foundation

D&C 9:8 – “But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.”

“Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject” (TPJS, p. 324)

Thoughts to Ponder

“Before any gathering, we must be put through a refining process. We must grow; we must rise up first, before God will gather us to Zion.” (Denver Snuffer, Preserving the Restoration, p. 21)

“If you don’t lay hold upon this, if you don’t move this forward, if you don’t rise up, I suppose He will find another people. But you ought to accept this invitation, and then come to the feast He offers us.” (Denver Snuffer, Preserving the Restoration, p. 39)

A New Prophet in Town

I have been reading, studying, pondering and praying about the Phoenix lecture for the last few months. I think I’ve read it or listened to it at least five times. I have highlighted and marked key phrases and pondered the reasoning behind some of the thoughts expressed. I have come to the conclusion the lecture was meant to be an invitation – powerfully expressed – for us to rise up.

In one sense, it’s a continuation of what was started in the first book, “The Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil,” which Denver was asked by the Lord to write. In another sense, what was delivered in this last series of lectures is more detailed, more explicit and even more of a message from the Lord to us now, in our day, to prepare ourselves for Zion.

Agency to Accept or Reject

My testimony of the Book of Mormon and of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ was rejected thousands of times when I served as a missionary in Central America. That did not change my own feelings about Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon, which was obtained through personal revelation in a manner I could not deny, confirmed after years of intense study and deep prayer.

Likewise, my actions of the last few months, in resigning from the LDS Church and in being baptized anew as a sign or covenant between me and God that I accepted both the message and the messenger, the sacred feelings which have come into my heart as I have studied and prayed about the message, are undeniable. I have not been deceived. I am not looking beyond the mark.

Saddened by Your Decision

I re-read the letter from my bishop the other night, delivered after I resigned. He and I had been meeting off and on for almost a year prior to the action I took. We counseled together. He was very careful to listen to my answers to his questions, but I could tell he didn’t get it. He could not relate to what I was sharing – that I had had received revelation about the message I had studied.

In the letter to me he expressed that “the Lord as well as your ward family are saddened by your decision.” I took that question to the Lord. I asked Him if He was saddened by my decision. He said yes. I asked why. He said He was saddened because He knew the pain and suffering through which I would pass because of the misunderstandings of friends who feel rejected and confused.

Beyond the Realm of Possibility

I too am saddened. I no longer feel oppressed as I did before I resigned, but I do feel saddened. There are so few who will take the time to seriously consider the possibility God could send a messenger in our day from outside the hierarchy of the LDS Church. It is simply outside the realm of any possibility. There is nothing in the LDS tradition or teachings to account for this.

Or is there? We have the obvious accounts of Abinadi and Samuel the Nephite in the Book of Mormon, but in modern LDS history, there is no precedent. In fact, such an idea of a prophet being sent with a message from anyone other than the fifteen who lead the LDS Church is considered ludicrous, crazy, an obvious attempt to deceive and could only be a false prophet.

Ye Shall Know Them By Their Fruits

One of my associates from when I served on the High Council in another stake, who now serves as a Stake President, reached out to me both publically and privately. He wrote he truly wanted to understand what motivated someone like me to resign from the LDS Church. He is a convert from Judaism and teaches religion classes in the Church Educational System. He knows his stuff.

Yet, as far as I know, he would not or did not read any of the material published by Denver. In my current stake, another CES employee and member of my High Priest’s quorum wrote me privately, expressing his concern I had been deceived. He said he “knew something” of this Denver Snuffer and had come to the conclusion he was a crackpot, and was no prophet of God.

Persuasion is Not the Only Tool

I wrote back in an attempt to persuade, but knew it was a futile endeavor. A friend sent me a text yesterday. He knows my story well. He wrote something profound. “I do not believe you have to persuade … I believe all you have to do is set a good example.” I trust this friend. The thought was inspired. The Lord told me so as I read it. He’s right. Some people will never be persuaded.

The Lord has given us other tools in exercising the priesthood. They include long-suffering, as well as gentleness, meekness, love unfeigned, kindness and pure knowledge. I had forgotten about that last tool. Pure knowledge is powerful, even if it cannot be shared except when the Lord prompts or permits it. Pure knowledge gives us confidence in our position on something.

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

The-CaveIn the allegory of the cave, the prisoners chained to the floor of the cave see only shadows on the wall of the cave from actors moving in front of a fire. Those who have escaped the cave see life as it really is, in all its full color and glory. How can you relate such views to those who see only shadows? You can’t. They can’t relate. They think you’re crazy. Pure knowledge is so similar.

Even those in power and authority, some of whom may have escaped the chains at one time and seen the light are unable to relate to the light that you say you have seen. Your knowledge is not their knowledge. Even though you may be seeking the same thing, unless the Lord reveals it to them, they cannot know what you know. In fact, the Lord sometimes must tell us what we know.

Timing in This Life is Everything

I cannot relate what I have seen. I have tried and failed. I must now rely on other tools of the priesthood beside persuasion. Long-suffering was demonstrated by the Lord in his trials before Pilate and Herod. He was the meekest of men, yet He was a God. How He loved us and loves us still. Oh, the knowledge he tried to share but was so misunderstood, even by his own disciples.

I once worked with a Controller who was fired because he spent all his time developing these wonderful spreadsheets but would not share them with others, nor explain how they could be used. I know there were other reasons he was fired, but this was one expressed by management. I only pray the Lord will help me share what is appropriate when He deems it is time to do so.

They Also Serve Who Only Stand and Wait

In the meantime, I shall continue to seek pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge my soul, without guile. Do you know the meaning of the word? It means to be without evil intent. To be without guile is to be honest and willing to share, even to a fault, believing others should see the honesty of the knowledge shared. Sadly, the traditions of men have blinded this generation.

I am nobody. I am a fool. I am a witness, but am not called to share that witness. That task has been assigned to others. I hope the refining process through which I am called to pass will be sufficient to prepare me to gather with those who are called upon to build Zion, when the day comes. For mark my words, the day will come, and it may be sooner than you or I think today.

That They Do Always Remember Him

SacramentMinervaTeichertI ask myself why I do this. I go to Sacrament meeting each week with my wife, because I don’t want her to feel alone, but I don’t partake of the Sacrament. As a non-member, I could partake. It’s clearly spelled out in the handbook that those who are not members of the LDS Church are not to be prohibited in any way from partaking of the Sacrament. Funny how that rule works.

The Sacrament in the Home

I go home after Sacrament meeting and administer the Sacrament to myself because I have no local community with whom to associate. I started partaking of the sacrament at home when my bishop prohibited me from partaking of it in church because he said I didn’t sustain the prophet. I told him otherwise. I accept President Monson as the authorized leader of the LDS Church today.

An Unauthorized Requirement Imposed

He said that wasn’t good enough. I’m not sure what more he was looking for. I guess he wanted me to say I accept President Monson as the only person on the earth today who possesses and is authorized to exercise all the priesthood keys. Because I can no longer say that, nor do I believe it, he imposed discipline in not allowing me to partake of the sacrament. Funny how that works.

Vague Definition of Priesthood Keys

I’m still not sure I understand what all the priesthood keys are. I know what the LDS Church teaches about them. They represent permission to perform an ordinance or preside in a quorum or to carry out an assignment from a priesthood leader. I’m not sure this is what the Lord had in mind when he used the word keys in the scriptures. I believe it refers more to sacred knowledge.

Forbidding to Partake of the Sacrament

So he forbade me from remembering Jesus Christ as commanded by partaking of the sacrament because I would not accept Thomas S. Monson as the only mouthpiece for the Lord on the earth today. That just seems wrong to me. Obviously I still have strong feelings about it or I wouldn’t be writing about it some four months after the fact. A man has come between me and the Lord.

Don’t Blame the Local Leaders

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying my bishop has come between me and worshiping the Lord. I’m saying that because I will not pledge allegiance to a man, one I have never met, because I won’t take an oath-like sustaining vote to the man millions of LDS members sustain as God’s living mouthpiece on the earth, the LDS Church forbids me to partake of the sacrament.

Let no One Come Between You and God

That is not right. Let no person come between you and God. The Sacrament is a commandment. The LDS Church does not have exclusive rights to administer the sacrament. Anybody with the priesthood can do so. I have the priesthood and am grateful for that blessing in my life. I have always appreciated it, but have come to appreciate it more so since I resigned from the Church.

Can’t Really Blame the Prophet Either

In other words, a man millions call prophet has enacted a rule that forbids me from partaking of the sacrament. Can you see how wrong this is? Actually, he inherited this handbook or this set of rules, which contain this abomination. I do not blame President Monson. I am happy to pray for him as well as Presidents Eyring and Uchtdorf every night in my personal and our family prayer.

The LDS Church Has Become Anti-Christ

The Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to partake of the sacrament regularly in remembrance of him. Why does the LDS Church think they have the right to forbid a man from obeying this commandment? This is anti-Christ. Yes, I just called the LDS Church anti-Christ. I am morally worthy. There is no reason to forbid me from partaking of the Sacrament to remember the Lord.

Priesthood is Not Controlled by LDS Church

The LDS Church does not control the priesthood. It was restored by John the Baptist to Joseph and Oliver before the LDS Church was organized. The Church depends on the priesthood, not the other way around. I received the priesthood from my father so I have no problem feeling I am authorized to administer the Sacrament to myself in my home just like Moroni did for years.

We Should Use Wine in the Sacrament

Besides, I asked the Lord in prayer if I could do so. “Oh, Lord, bless thy servant that he may carry out this work with holiness of heart.” I then knelt and blessed the bread and wine using the prayers from the Book of Mormon. And yes, I use wine because it is more symbolic to me than water. The bitterness reminds me of the bitter cup the Lord drank to redeem my soul from hell.

The Sacrament is a Soothing Balm

I need the Sacrament. I struggle with the stresses of life. Pressures from earning a living in this Babylonian world weigh upon my soul during the week. Kindness is not the prevailing sentiment in getting things done in the business world. There is intense pressure to perform, to deliver, to conform and to get things done. Kindness flies out the window if you neglect to deliver on time.

There is Power in the Sacrament

When I partake of the Sacrament I feel the Lord’s healing hand upon my heart and soul. I feel His presence. I feel He is pleased when I remember Him in this manner. I feel power entering into my soul – power to forgive, power to live in a more Christ-like manner. Power comes upon me to return kindness for disrespect or demands for compliance.  I feel I can go on in Christ.

True Order of Prayer

I miss the temple. I can no longer attend the temples that President Monson owns. Yes, he is the Corporate Sole that owns everything related to the LDS Church. So I have dedicated an altar in my home in order to worship the Lord in the true order of prayer. I often dress in the robes of the priesthood, offer the signs and pray with power the Lord has given me through the endowment.

Tithing to be Used to Help the Poor

I look forward to the day when I can contribute financially to the building of a temple where I am welcome. I have paid 10% tithing on my gross income to the LDS Church for all my life. I now choose where I use that tithing money. I want it to be used to help the poor, not to build malls of commerce where Babylon is flaunted. I don’t think City Creek Mall pleased the Lord.

A Prophet should Prophesy and Reveal

I hope you can perceive I’m feeling a little passionate right now. As much as I love the good people in my ward in stake, I struggle with some of the testimonies I hear on days like today – a Fast Sunday. So few focus on what Christ has done for them, so many pay homage to a living prophet. We know he has dementia, so why do we keep saying he speaks for the Lord today?

The Lord has Sent His Servant

I have listened to, read, studied and prayed about a message delivered by a servant of the Lord. When I read and study this message, I feel the spirit of the Lord testifying to me what is being taught is approved of the Lord. The Restoration was real and the Lord intends to bring about Zion. In a coming day, His voice will be heard in global catastrophes. Will we give heed then?

A Community of One

Today I cannot administer ordinances in the priesthood beyond my own family. I continually pray for my wife’s support just as I seek to support Carol in her tradition of worship, handed down through generations of LDS Pioneers. I am looking forward to the conference called by my friend Bret in Colorado this coming May. I pray the Lord’s blessings upon our communities.

God Bless the Growing Communities

I pray those who are meeting in communities will strengthen one another. I pray the Sacrament will be an uplifting experience for you and your families. I pray you will remember the poor in your midst. I pray you find strength in knowing the Lord fulfills His promise to comfort us in our weaknesses and will visit us when He determines we are ready. I seek that promised blessing.

The Holy Spirit of Promise

Sun-Behind-Clouds-Over-OceanI continue to ponder the dialog in one of the last High Priest Group meetings I attended. The lesson was on marriage. The discussion focused on the temple sealing ordinance. I was a little concerned by the comments I was hearing from the brethren in the group about how grateful they were to have been sealed in the temple. While I too was and am grateful to have been married in the temple, I felt impressed, deeply impressed, to share the first part of D&C 132:19 to consider.

After reading the scripture, I made my point, which is this: It doesn’t matter what ordinances we have received in the temple. If they are not sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, they are null and void in the world to come. According to the words of the revelation, such marriages “are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead.” They must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. That phrase must be important. It is used four times in the revelation.

As I’ve noted previously, I was profoundly shocked by the response from some brethren in the group as they proceeded to castigate me for bringing up the phrase and ascribing importance to the necessity of receiving such a promise. The subject turned to the tradition of “following the prophet” and that whatever was done in the temple was permanent. I didn’t bother to quote any of the words of prophets that state just the opposite, but I’ll add two of them here for emphasis.

Holy Spirit of Promise Required

“The sealing of earthly covenants and performances is conditional and depends upon the recipient’s personal commitment and worthiness. If a person who has received the Holy Spirit of Promise subsequently becomes unrighteous, the seal is broken until full repentance and forgiveness occur.” (Joseph Fielding Smith)

The Holy Ghost is the Holy Spirit of Promise (Acts 2:33). He confirms as acceptable to God the righteous acts, ordinances, and covenants of men. The Holy Spirit of Promise witnesses to the Father the saving ordinances have been performed properly and that the covenants associated with them have been kept. (LDS Guide to the Scriptures)

Update: A friend has shared a paper with me that demonstrates the Holy Ghost is NOT the Holy Spirit of Promise, but is something more profound. I have asked permission to share the paper. He agreed. Here is the link. It is from Nelson Whiting. In short, the paper proposes the Holy Spirit of Promise is the Second Comforter. The logic seemed sound as I read it.

There are way too many LDS members under the false assumption that just because they have gone to the Temple they have made it. This is not true. A temple sealing is just the beginning of the journey. From there they must go on in righteousness until that temple sealing is ‘sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise’ as are all the other ordinances in a person’s life.

A Recent Online Conversation

“…I am worried about what you might do with your marriage. Just as you have given up your relationship with the church the Savior restored, might you someday come to a similar conclusion about your marriage to someone who may remain an unbeliever of your new path? What will happen if you conclude that the temple ordinance that bound you together for all eternity was without proper authorization, just like your original baptism? You covenanted before God in the temple to be dedicated to her forever and to work together for eternal goals.

“You have now rejected things that would have been shocking to you earlier. Please don’t ever give up on the imperfect people in your marriage, and always maintain this covenant of eternal family. Then, no matter where your thinking takes you, you will have a chance at those eternal blessings with your wife and posterity. Of course, success in marriage takes two, and what might happen if your wife sees you rejecting your former covenants? You’ve got yourself into a sticky situation, but I trust you will always trust in God, and that means hope is never extinguished.”

My Response to Such Judgment

“D&C 132:19 – And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection;

“The LDS Church does not control the priesthood, the Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit of Promise. That covenant made before God, angels and witnesses is in full force, just as is the authority of the priesthood I received from my father, just as are the blessings of the Holy Ghost, who abides with me still. The LDS Church does not have a monopoly on these things. God controls them.”

Reply from My Online Friend

“I’m glad your new views encourage you to keep that covenant. It is worrisome to people like me that you no longer recognize the divinity in certain aspects of the restored Church of Jesus Christ, and it makes us wonder what you might reject in the future as your new beliefs develop.”

Nothing Has Been Lost

I did not get re-baptized because I felt my original baptism was invalid. I got re-baptized as a sign to the Lord I accepted of his messenger and the message delivered. In spite of what any local or general authority of the LDS Church may say, my resignation was from a church that, because of unrighteous dominion, recently lost the right to claim they are led by the priesthood.

I did not turn my back on my God or the Lord. I did not turn my back on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith, repentance, baptism and receipt of the Holy Ghost are all required by the Savior. The Lord works though whatever means he desires to bring about his righteous purposes. One of His purposes is to establish Zion. That will NOT come about through a large institutional church.

Marriage Can and Should be Eternal

My marriage is of the utmost importance to me. I strive to serve my sweetheart in every way I can. The Lord looks upon marriage filled with love as being fruit worthy to preserve. I desire that great blessing and will continue to do all within my power to unite two souls – man and woman – in the way God intended it. He has a hand in my marriage. He makes it clear to me every day.

A covenant or vow must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise to be made eternal. We have prayed for that blessing almost every day of our married lives and continue to do so. Nothing has changed. The promises remain intact. I have them memorized and can quote them. The Lord has made it clear to me I have done the right thing even if others disagree. Only He can judge me.

The Example of Loving Parents

I share the following because the Lord asked me to. I’m just a regular guy. I’m nobody special. I was born to parents who loved me and taught me the gospel. That is a joy to my soul. My parents were not perfect. They disagreed and argued about various things just as all married couples do. Yet I know they loved each other. They forgave each other often. They told me they loved each other. I could see they loved each other. They had their problems but love kept them together.

I have tried to pattern my marriage after their example. From my father I learned how important it is to express love often. He did a better job at buying flowers and cards for mother because he knew she appreciated them. He rarely if ever raised his voice at her or caused her to feel in any way unloved. He bit his tongue. He went for long walks when he needed to blow off steam. He did everything he could to encourage my mother and help her find happiness in this life.

Receiving the Holy Spirit of Promise

I love Carol. We do not currently agree on some matters of LDS Church history. She has a long tradition in her family of Mormonism. Her great-great grandparents joined the LDS Church in the mid 1800’s, after the time of Joseph. They crossed the plains and settled in Brigham City, Mantua, Plain City and in Paradise, Cache Valley, Utah. My mother was raised a Presbyterian and my father a Baptist. They came from Oklahoma in the mid 1950’s to live here in California.

Mother and Dad joined the LDS Church in 1962. We all went to the temple in 1963 to be sealed as a family. I was married in the Los Angeles temple in 1982. Carol and I have had our ups and downs but I believe we are still committed to each other in spite of my recent resignation from the LDS Church. Because this has been on my mind, I asked the Lord in prayer last night if the Holy Spirit of Promise was present in our marriage. The answer: “Yes, you have that promise.”

Hearing the Voice of the Lord

I guess is always comes down to hearing the voice of the Lord. Am I so different from others in that I hear the Lord speak to me in my mind and am certain it is His voice I am hearing? I think not. The Lord has promised He will answer us when we pray and ask in faith, nothing doubting. It does not matter what any local authority or general authority of the LDS Church has to say on this most important subject. This covenant is between me, Carol and the Lord. His voice matters.

If you have resigned from or have been excommunicated from the LDS Church for apostasy, I urge you to take a moment in prayer and confirm your promises with the Lord. You will find they are intact. You can continue to take the sacrament each week in your home. You can go to the Lord in the true order of prayer before an altar you have dedicated to Him for this purpose. You can join with and worship the Lord in new communities that are forming all over the world.

Join With Those Seeking Zion

I invite you to join in a conference that has been called to take place on the Grand Mesa in May of 2015. Anyone can call a conference. Bret felt inspired to do so. I hope and pray we will join in partaking of the sacrament together at the conference. There will be three days of activities, with selected speakers, sacred music and worshipful activities, including time to approach the Lord in prayer, in sacred places, in small groups. I intend to be there to petition the Lord to bless others.

I want to reiterate what the Lord has revealed to my soul, as he has to others. Zion will not be established by a large institutional, hierarchical organization. It will be established in small groups that gather in humility in homes or parks or up on mesas. Zion will be gathered first to the tops of the mountains. The opportunity exists today for us to rise up and prepare ourselves to be with the Lord. He will come and make His abode with those who seek Him in constant prayer.

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