Praying on the Mountain Top


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

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

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

A Quiet, Peaceful Circle

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

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

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

The Elements of Prayer

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

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

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

The Effort is Worth it

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

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

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

Prayer Brings Confidence

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

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

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

God bless…

Oh Babylon, We Bid Thee Farewell


linkedin-timmalone

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

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

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

Living in a War-Torn World 

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

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

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

Building the Lord’s Temple 

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

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

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

Guidelines to Perform a Wedding

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

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

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

Fellowships and Friendships 

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

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

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

Judgement Belongs to the Lord 

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

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

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

If Ye Are Not One… 

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

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

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

The Importance of Unity in Marriage 

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

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

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

The Spirit of Revelation 

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

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

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

 

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.

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.

 

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.

 

Thoughts That Go Bump In The Night


never-a-vacationAs my mother got older, she would retire each night earlier and earlier. She was not one to take naps, but strove valiantly to use every precious moment of her life in keeping active and doing good. An avid lifetime genealogist, she maintained a tremendous correspondence with thousands of people up until the day she entered the hospital a couple of weeks before she passed away.

Invariably, when one retires for the night earlier and earlier over the years – first at 9pm, then 8pm and finally 7pm – the waking hours also come earlier and earlier. Mother would find herself wide awake at 4am, then 3am, then 2am. And wouldn’t you know it? The same pattern has been developing in my life. My mind snaps awake too early now with a multitude of racing thoughts.

I call upon the Lord in prayer for relief, but lately have resigned myself to responding to what I believe are promptings of the spirit to write and to share. I don’t always know what the Lord wants me to write when I start, but the very act of letting my thoughts flow through my fingers brings feelings and ideas I believe are from the Lord. Such is the case this early morning hour.

Mansplaining Love and Romance

For the past few nights, my thoughts have turned to love. I’m not a young man, am happily married and wonder why such feelings would demand my attention at 2am. I think often during the day of the love of my Savior. My prayers each morning petition His presence in my walk through life. My prayers at night thank Him for His comfort and sweet influence each day.

These feelings of love are profound. Normally men aren’t very good at explaining love and I am no different. Men in our culture learn at a young age to be stoic and staid when it comes to such things as romance. Years of living with Carol, one of whose favorite stations is the Hallmark Channel, have introduced me to more shows about falling in love than any man should ever see.

Being married to a romance writer has enriched my life in ways I never thought possible. Even though I was raised with four sisters, I never understood just how strong the desire for romance is in a woman. Carol has demonstrated for me the idea that “happily ever after” is more than a fairy tale – it can be a reality. I’ve also learned of another type of romance – “happy for now.”

Happy For Now – a Daily Reality

Don’t think of “happy for now” as a lesser kind of love. Think of it as a daily goal, one that is achievable and desirable. It’s a skill I’ve noticed some women have – perhaps all women – that is not built-in to the male psyche, or at least not into mine. When I’m alone for extended periods of time, I’m a pretty miserable and irrational fellow. I do stupid things that I just can’t explain.

When I’m with Carol, even if only for a few hours in the evening after a long day at work, I am content to simply sit at Carol’s side either in front of the TV, watching yet another Hallmark show or side by side at our computers as we write or edit stories and essays. I can’t begin to describe the joy I feel when Carol asks me to read aloud to proof edit one of her latest chapters.

This woman can write. Her stories move me with empathy and compassion for her characters. My stories focus on action, adventure and danger, while Carol’s stories focus on the simple human experience of building a relationship. I confess I never thought about such things growing up. Based on my behavior, my sisters must have thought boys were pretty icky.

Conversations with the Lord

Where am I going with this? Stick with me for a minute and we’ll both find out. When I pray to my Heavenly Father each night, I often discover I am actually speaking with my Savior. This started a few years ago. At first I would catch myself and switch back to the more formal way in which I addressed Father. I would sense a smile from both my Father and my Savior as I did so.

I no longer try to make a distinction. I have discovered the Lord is happy to talk to me and has no qualms about guiding me in my thoughts as I pray. He doesn’t mind that I address him directly. We speak all day long anyway. Why should a kneeling prayer at night be any different? We talk about my work, about my worries and concerns and about the people with whom I interact daily.

Carol and I pray together morning and night. Well, morning prayers together are not as common because I’m often on the road before 7am to get to work on time. I am grateful for the lifelong habit of praying together each night as husband and wife. When asked if she would like to be the voice for our evening prayer, Carol always seems to be willing to let me lead out in our worship.

Sacred Moments as Husband and Wife

And worship it is. Feelings come into my heart when I pray with Carol that are significantly more profound than the feelings I experience when I pray on my own afterward. There is an added strength when praying together. A desire for unity enters my soul. Expressions that are tender and sweet escape my lips that I ordinarily don’t use in those personal, private prayers.

I was criticized a month or two ago by a reader who felt my discussion of married life with Carol was inappropriate. I conceded his point that if I shared something on my blog that caused Carol to feel uncomfortable then I probably should not share it. If this anonymous reader wants to take exception at this post, I am happy to hear what he has to say about his own experience in prayer.

There is a reason God said it is not good for man to be alone. Some men can do it, but I always had difficulties when Carol went away to visit family for sometimes weeks at a time. I would throw myself into my work and come home as late as possible to keep from feeling lonely. That’s another thing our culture frowns upon. If men get lonely, they go hang with the boys.

The Value of a Combined Effort

once-upon-a-timeI admit I’m different. If I am alone I would rather think, read, study, pray, ponder, write or otherwise do something with my mind on the computer that helps me interact with a large but unseen audience of readers. Creativity for me is best when Carol is around. I confess I try to outdo her in friendly competition, but when I’m alone, the creative muse seems to disappear.

Carol is my muse. I write for her, even though she has said she doesn’t care for my posts. I should listen to Carol more. Character development is where it’s at. Theories and ponderings on doctrine, commentaries on scripture which seem to generate endless arguments, or discussions, and explanations of the way I think things are, pale in comparison to building relationships.

I can just hear my women readers at this point… “Well, duh, of course relationships are the most important thing.” No seriously, men don’t naturally think that way, at least I don’t, or haven’t, until recently. It’s my observation most men love to write about things in a way that shows they have been thinking seriously about a subject and are now ready to tell the world how things are.

Spicing Up The End of the World

I’ve been working on an end-of-the-world type novel for over five years. It has been a very slow process. Some chapters are downright exciting. Others are still obvious first drafts. I set one goal this year or at least one goal I have shared publicly. I want to finish that novel. When I started writing fiction, it was at Carol’s request to join her in writing adventures. Our paths diverged.

I think the reason the Lord has been waking me up in the early morning hours is because that’s when He has my undivided attention. I’ve had just enough rest where, if I had to, I could write a few hours and still function normally during the day. These thoughts of love I’ve been feeling lately are causing me to ask the Lord seriously what He is trying to communicate. I think I know.

When Carol and I first talked about my novel, she got so excited about the possible romances that could blossom between the characters. My efforts to put some of those ideas into the story backfired. After all, this was a story of death and destruction. Who has time for romance? Well, the Lord has been telling me Carol was right. I need to try harder on the relationship aspect.

A Project to Strengthen a Marriage

Can writing a work of fiction together as husband and wife be fulfilling? I think so. I’m not sure how or when I’m going to carve out the time, but if the Lord is going to wake me up at 2am each morning until I pay attention, then perhaps He knows a whole lot more than I do about writing. Somehow, someway, He will help us work it out so we can get this book written … together.

I hope it’s not the Lord’s plan to continue waking me at 2am with ideas for the book, but if that’s what He has in mind, then I’m willing. I can give my drafts to Carol to edit and critique during the day, then edit them at night when I get home. You know what they say, “Don’t quit your day job.” I have no dreams of publishing a best seller. I just want to get this book out of my system.

They say everyone has a book in them, but they’ll never write themselves. Its hard work to write and edit, re-write and then re-write some more until a story really flows. I’ve completed enough chapters that I’m familiar with the process. If this is what the Lord wants me to do, then there must be a reason for it. I sure hope this isn’t beyond me with all I do each day at the airport.

But in the end, does anyone really say, “I wish I’d spent more time away from home on the job?”

The Elephant in the Room


Holiday-SplendorAnybody who tells you life is rosy after one spouse leaves the church is either blind or lying. I knew things would be difficult in our marriage after I resigned, but I didn’t know just how difficult it could be. I thought things were under control until I wanted to talk about using some tithing money to help one of my fellow bloggers in need. The resulting conversation was not encouraging. It brought deep-seated feelings of frustration and disappointment to the surface.

With Kindness and Love Unfeigned

I left for work that morning convinced there was no hope for ever coming to an understanding or agreement on fundamental beliefs we once shared in common. I felt badly about the way I had expressed myself. It caused Carol to cry so you know I was wrong. I knew I was wrong in the way I had shared my feelings. We are both stubborn and determined about what we believe. Now that we have diverged in those beliefs, we have lost some of that common ground we once had.

Pink and Blue – Love and Respect

I did a lot of praying and muttering to myself that day. I was not upset with Carol. I was upset with myself for not exercising restraint in my emotions as we discussed the tithing issue. We both attended a marriage class years ago from Dr. Emerson Eggerichs based on his book, Love and Respect. If you haven’t read it, I recommend you do. It is well worth the time and effort. There are some YouTube excerpts of his lectures online that give you a taste of his fun style.

Managing the family Budget

I think we both recognized immediately we were talking past each other. I was using my blue megaphone and Carol was hearing with her pink earphones. I was looking for respect for my desire to spend the tithing money in a way I felt would be pleasing to the Lord – to help a friend in need – and she was hearing me say I didn’t love her anymore. Carol has always managed the money in our marriage. We agreed on that right from the beginning. It seems to have worked.

The Lord Will tell You How He Feels

To Carol, the discussion wasn’t about money. It was about love. I got frustrated, tried harder to make my point. She got defensive, tried harder to test my love. Gratefully, we were able to part for work that morning with a prayer, ingrained from years of habit. We were both emotional throughout the prayer, disappointed to have had such a disagreement after thirty-two years of marriage. As I travelled down the freeway, I knew the Lord was not pleased. He told me so.

Flowers – a Peace Offering

A thought crossed my mind that sparked hope of resolving the issue – flowers. How long had it been since I had brought Carol flowers? Well, it was just a few weeks ago. I got one of those $5 bouquets from someone selling them at the freeway entrance I use every night. But that wasn’t what the Lord was suggesting to me. How about a real bouquet and a beautiful vase, picked out with love and sent with a personal message to her workplace so everyone else could see them?

A Mature and Rational Discussion

That cracked the ice and got us communicating again, although it was via text messaging all day. We both arrived home at the same time. The chilly feeling I had been experiencing for months seemed to have melted. We were both pleasant and cordial, had a bite to eat and then sat down to have a mature, rational, non-emotional discussion about money, faith, common beliefs, temple sealings, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, priesthood, community fellowship and Denver.

Blessings Lost for Resigning from Church

Ah, there was the problem. Anytime I brought up an idea that was outside traditional orthodox Mormon teachings, his name came up. I shared a recent letter from the Bishop I had not shared previously. It was the “Here’s what you can no longer do” letter all priesthood leaders have clerks send out after a disciplinary council. I continued to direct the conversation back to the basic question, “What do you think of this statement from the Bishop about temple blessings?”

Church claims Temple Sealing Null and Void

Carol focused on the obvious. “You lose out on the blessings of regular temple attendance.” We discussed what those are. I asked the big question about the elephant in the room. “What do you think about our temple sealing? Do you believe it is still in force?” Carol became thoughtful and quiet. “I believe if we endure to the end, the Lord will reward us according to our faithfulness.” I told her I agreed but that she hadn’t answered my question. I asked it again. Thoughtful silence.

The Holy Spirit of Promise

Finally, a quiet and tearful, “no,” came forth. “You gave that up when you turned your back on all I thought you believed in about the Church.” I asked what she understood or believed about the Holy Spirit of Promise. We discussed that for a minute. I asked if she believed the Church had the power to control the Holy Spirit of Promise. I don’t think she understood the question. I rephrased, “Do you believe the LDS Church controls the Holy Ghost or the Priesthood of God?

Update: See discussion in comments below about the definition of the Holy Spirit of Promise.

LDS Church Does Not Control Priesthood

“Yes.” Ah, now there’s a critically important point on which we disagree. The priesthood was restored to Joseph and Oliver before the church was organized. The LDS Church relies on the priesthood, not the other way around. It is the priesthood of God. It is not the priesthood owned and managed by the LDS Church. God can give the priesthood to anyone he wants to give it to. Equally important, God can give the Holy Ghost to anyone without LDS Church involvement.

Make Sure Who Has the Sealing Power

Again Carol was thoughtful. “What about the sealing power?” I told her Joseph had it but the higher priesthood was lost sometime after Kirtland and before Nauvoo. She disagreed. “You can’t have it both ways. Either the church has the sealing power or it doesn’t.” We had come full circle to our original dialog about “Passing the Heavenly Gift” from nearly three years ago. I said, “That’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? We’d better be sure we know who has that power.”

We Can Agree to Disagree

“Well, I believe the church has it,” she said. “And I believe the church has lost it,” I said. We both sat quietly. “Then I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree,” Carol offered. “Agreed,” I said. The atmosphere in the room had lightened. We were in agreement – sort of. The conversation changed to other subjects normal to married couples such as how our workday had gone and how our son was doing. The presence of the comforter was apparent, so different from that morning.

Use Tithing Money to Help the Poor

The next day Carol told me she would let me decide how the tithing money from my paycheck would be used. I reminded her that she qualified for some of that tithing money because she / we have a few medical and other bills that needed to be paid and had been hanging for quite some time. I reminded her that we had used part of the tithing money I previously gave to the Church to help get her car fixed. She remembered and expressed gratitude. The day was starting well.

Knowledge is Different From Belief

I share this with you to set the scene for what I believe are some of the most important questions we can ask in life. “Who has the power to seal a marriage so it endures into eternity? Can we receive a promise from the Lord – not a man – in this life that our marriage is sealed and will be in full force in the life to come? And finally, is it possible the LDS Church could have lost the sealing power as Denver claimed it did in April of 2014? If so, how can we know for sure?”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,716 other followers

%d bloggers like this: