Remember


recorders-clearinghouseFirst, Keith asked fellow bloggers to get the word out about the deadline to record 2015 baptismal ordinances. You can read more about it on his blog: Recorder’s Clearinghouse. And Keith, don’t be mad, but may I offer this: a new entry in an existing blog is called a post. So what Keith has written is a new post in his blog. If you received baptism in 2015, be sure it gets recorded in the book to be placed in the temple when it is built. The top link in this paragraph will take you directly to that specific post, not the front page.

money-pitSecond, please remember Rock and Connie Waterman in your prayers. Rock is suffering from some sort of blood poisoning. Rock is a fellow blogger who I met at the Sunstone Symposium last year. His blog is Pure Mormonism. One of the best posts there is his treatment on tithing. If you have not read it, I highly recommend it. After years of reading what others had to say about the “right” amount of tithing to pay, I asked the Lord about it and was reminded of Rock’s post on the subject. It changed my mind and more importantly, my heart. Yes, tithing is a commandment and I still pay it, just not to the LDS Church.

doctrine-of-christThird, I’ve been asked to make sure the word gets out about the Doctrine of Christ general conference (lower case “g” and “c”) that will take place in Boise, Idaho this September. You can read more about it on the site dedicated to the event. At this point, as much as I would like to go, I anticipate a conflict with a major work project to take place precisely on that weekend. I’ll be lucky to make it to Sunstone but only because it falls on the same weekend as Carol’s family reunion. I hope to slip away for a few hours to hear Denver’s presentation. Living in California makes it difficult for me to attend events such as these. I can’t wait to retire to St. George.

Remember Christ

carl_bloch_the_christNow that the business has been conducted, I turn to the subject at hand: Remember, specifically, remembering Christ. Even though I attend our local LDS Sacrament meeting with Carol each week, I also participate in the ordinance of the sacrament in my own home using wine each week. I do this for two reasons: First, to show the Lord I remember Him and am grateful for his voice unto me when I asked if I should be baptized. Second, to show I remember his sacrifice for me, that allowed me to have that “born again experience” in my youth when I was first brought into His presence.

You’ll note I include Carl Bloch’s rendering of the Savior and not Del Parson’s. No offense to Del, but my experience with the Savior is depicted more in Carl’s version. There is a softness and gentleness about the rendition that if different from the red robe version from Del. You’ll find a copy Del’s painting in just about every Bishop’s office of the LDS Church. There is a sternness to that version that bothers me. It causes me to think that Satan was also a son of God. Would they not appear similar?

Finally, a note to those many readers who have been so kind to me over the years, many sending me their books and some teaching me privately. I remember you and I remember your kindness. Please forgive me if anything I have written has harmed you or your faith in Christ in any way. I ask this because I know we will meet again, if not in this life, then on the other side of the veil. I remember you. I remember your kindness. I remember what you have shared. I especially appreciate the sacred experiences related in private. God bless us each in our work. There is much to do. I pray to God each day to find the strength and especially the time to do what I know He wants me to do: write and teach.

It Is Not Good For Man To Be Alone


Matt Slick and the Fall of AdamThis is unusual for me to post two days in a row. But, when I asked what I could do to bless my fellowman, this is the answer that came – write. For you it may be different. I asked the Lord what would be a good use of my time this Sabbath day. The answer: Share what you have learned over the last year or more about living together with your wife in love. I will do my best.

I resigned from the LDS Church in September of 2014. In some ways as I look back at it now, I can say without hesitation it was a mistake. In other ways, I knew, and still know, it was what the Lord asked me to do in order to act with full purpose of heart. I was baptized again, but not as a member of the LDS Church. I am not an LDS member and probably will not be for many years, if ever again.

Membership in the LDS Church

Am I striving to become LDS again? In some ways, yes. I have a long way to go. Why am I doing this? I desire to show my wife I love and respect her choice and her heritage. I believe as President Kimball said, “Any two good people can live together in love, as long as they are dedicated to the Lord.” Please, this is an essay on traditional marriage between man and a women.

Carol fulfills me. She gives me love. I believe she loves me. I know I hurt her when I resigned from the LDS Church. Yet, she bore with me. She expressed her disappointment. She has been at times, cold and distant. Can you blame her? I suppose I would be too if the faith I had been raised in was rejected by the love of my life, my husband. She could have divorced me. But she didn’t.

Working Together in a Marriage

I love Carol. In fact, I adore her. She gives me strength and purpose without even knowing it. I go to work each day, mainly motivated by the desire to provide for her a good life, and at our age, good health insurance. Don’t laugh. Wait until you get older. You will see how important good health insurance is, even if it seems like the silliest of reasons to hold a long steady job.

I love Carol because she challenges me. She is not shy about speaking up when we discuss the doctrines of eternity. We have much in common. I try to make sure we read aloud from the Book or Mormon each night and discuss what we read. Sometimes it is a partial chapter, and then a lot of discussion. I love the fact that Carol is committed to her heritage and her gospel testimony.

Compromise and Cooperation

Do we disagree on things? Of course we do. I interpret certain scriptures differently and I try to slip those interpretations in as we comment to each other on what we are reading. I love that she is willing to read the scriptures with me. I love that she is a returned missionary, that she taught Seminary and Sunday school and that she reads the scriptures on her own almost every day.

Is it difficult? Of course it is. I go to Sacrament meeting with her, because I love to fellowship with the Saints. I agree with so much of what I experience there. I was raised LDS and served in leadership positions for twenty-five years. I feel comfortable there. I am grateful for a bishop and for home teachers. I love that the LDS Church looks out for the spiritual welfare of the members.

Each Seeking the Truth

Does Carol resent that I resigned from the LDS Church? I am sure it hurt her terribly. She has made it clear in no uncertain words she blames Denver Snuffer, although I strive to do all I can to disavow her of those feelings. They are misdirected. I do not follow Denver Snuffer, although I have declared him to be a prophet. He has never said he is one, but I know otherwise.

Have I been deceived? Perhaps. My former bishop accused me of apostasy. I think he meant heresy but that’s a different story. The point is, I believe Joseph was a prophet but I also believe the LDS Church, specifically under the direction of Brigham Young, altered history to support the principles and policies he (Brigham) wanted to put forth. That rankles my dear wife. I understand.

Long-Suffering and Kindness

So I have learned to steer clear of certain points of view. I do not need to push them. They have been stated. She knows how I feel and most of what I believe that is different from her beliefs about the history and doctrines of the LDS Church. It is a good church. I enjoy Sacrament meetings and I enjoy the good it promotes daily both among members and through their PR efforts.

Am I follower of Denver Snuffer? Of course not. The man can do little for me and my efforts to find happiness in life right now other than to point me to Christ and encourage me to come unto Him – that is to Christ. I am striving to do so as never before. I love the encouragement I feel when I read his books or listen to his lectures. I say God bless Denver Snuffer, a servant of God.

Truth from Many Sources

But I also enjoy listening to the General Authorities in General Conference and when they speak at other LDS Gatherings, such as BYU or CES devotionals. I believe these are good men, and are also inspired of God. I’m a little concerned about some of the things they say, and the manner in which they put them forth with such passion and emotion, referring particularly to Elder Holland.

There has been much discussion lately of Elder Holland’s lecture in Arizona about the cowardice of those who leave the LDS Church. I understand. I am sorry to disappoint you Elder Holland, because I love and admire you – always have. Nevertheless, I felt I did the right thing when I left the LDS Church and was baptized as a sign I accepted the messages of a servant of the Lord.

Finding Good in Many Places

Yes, this rankles my wife and others. I understand. Nevertheless, I do not feel like a quitter, of which you accused people like me. I feel I did the honorable thing. Come what may, we shall all stand before the bar of Christ. You said what you said, I hope inspired of the Lord. I did what I did, also, I believe inspired of the Lord. I love you and pray the Lord’s blessing upon you friend.

What do I do to live in peace and harmony with my dear wife who is faithful in just about every way to the LDS Church? I do not fight or disagree with her when she makes her points about how much good the LDS Church is doing. I will not fight or challenge her views. There is so much being done by the LDS Church and faithful members. I applaud them for their efforts in service.

Some professional Guidance

Bret Corbridge published and distributed a book about staying together when one is faithful to the LDS Church and another in their marriage feels otherwise. I recommend it. I have read it, helped edit parts of it and highly endorse it. The idea is we can and should make every effort to be faithful to our spouses in spite of our ideological or doctrinal differences. God bless you Bret.

I’ll l try to keep this short. I simply wanted to express in writing my gratitude for a good woman who is true and faithful to what she believes, to her heritage and her traditions. Of course, that is a loaded word. It causes one to think of the Lamanites, but also of the descendants of prominent multi-generational (Nauvoo) LDS Mormon families. Carol and many of you come from such families.

Correlation Killed the Church

I acknowledge the miracle it is that Carol has remained with me, in spite of our now serious differences in beliefs in regards to the history and current indoctrination of the LDS Church. It is not viewed that way by those in the LDS Church, but it is clear to those who view it from the outside. It all has to do with correlation, something even LDS Presidents feared with a passion.

So much has been hidden or withheld from the approved correlated manuals. To even read a book not published by the LDS Church is frowned upon by some faithful members. How closed-minded and shallow can you get? It is not our place to judge but to declare what we know after study and prayer. Differences will always exist, especially about what IS the Gentile church.

Build Each Other Up

Enough. I end with this admonition: Seek peace. Strive for unity. If not possible, hold your tongue. Be kind, patient, loving, tolerant, and above all, allow others their differences of opinion. We all have our reasons for holding on to truth as we know it. It’s a difficult concept for the mortal mind to accept that we might each have a different understanding of what if true.

In the meantime, live together in love. Serve one another. Encourage each other. Help your spouse achieve their goals. Do all you can to bring the spirit of the Lord into your home with faith, prayer, scripture reading and gospel study. The Lord will bless you for your efforts and the spirit of peace will abide in your home. This load has promised this unto those who endure.

God bless.

He Shall Give You Another Comforter


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

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

Personal Knowledge

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

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

Physical Sensation

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

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

The Presence of Christ

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

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

Spirit of Revelation

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

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

Receive The Holy Ghost

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

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

Baptism is the Gateway

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

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

A Constant Companion

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

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

Loss and Loneliness

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

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

Talking With God

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

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

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.

Therefore Shall a Man Cleave Unto His Wife


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

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

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

Traditions of Their Fathers

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

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

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

Study, Ponder, Pray

libraryfrontroom.jpg

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

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

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

Hearing the Voice of the Lord

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

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

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

Receive the Second Comforter

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

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

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

“Potshots at the Brethren”

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

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

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

Teaching the Word of the Lord

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

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

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

 

High on a Mountain Top


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

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

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

Hearing the Voice of the Lord

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

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

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

Hiking in the Mountains

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

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

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

High on a Mountain Top

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

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

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

The Hidden Trail

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

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

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

Making a Living Can Be Stressful

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

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

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

Cry Mightily Unto the Lord

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

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

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

The Lord Might Drive Us Into the Desert

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

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

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?

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